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Title: Davenport Dunn, a Man of Our Day. Volume 2 (of 2)
Author: Lever, Charles James
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Davenport Dunn, a Man of Our Day. Volume 2 (of 2)" ***

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Volume Two of Two

By Charles Lever.

With Illustrations By Phiz.



When Mr. Davenport Dunn entered the drawing-room before dinner on that
day, his heart beat very quickly as he saw Lady Augusta Arden was there
alone. In what spirit she remembered the scene of the morning,--whether
she felt resentment towards him for his presumption, was disposed to
scoff down his pretensions, or to regard them, if not with favor,
with at least forgiveness, were the themes on which his mind was yet
dwelling. The affable smile with which she now met him did more to
resolve these doubts than all his casuistry.

“Was it not very thoughtful of me,” said she, “to release you this
morning, and suffer you to address yourself to the important things
which claimed your attention? I really am quite vain of my self-denial.”

“And yet, Lady Augusta,” said he, in a low tone, “I had felt more
flattered if you had been less mindful of the exigency, and been more
interested in what I then was speaking of.”

“What a selfish speech!” said she, laughing. “Now that my forbearance
has given you all the benefits it could confer, you turn round and say
you are not grateful for it. I suppose,” added she, half pettishly, “the
despatch was not very pressing after all, and that this was the cause of
some disappointment.”

“I am unable to say,” replied he, calmly.

“What do you mean? Surely, when you read it--”

“But I have not read it,--there it is still, just as you saw-it,” said
he, producing the packet with the seal unbroken.

“But really, Mr. Dunn,” said she, and her face flushed up as she spoke,
“this does not impress me with the wonderful aptitude for affairs men
ascribe to you. Is it usual to treat these messages so cavalierly?”

“It never happened with me till this morning, Lady Augusta,” said he, in
the same low tone. “Carried away by an impulse which I will not try to
account for, I had dared to speak to you of myself and of my future in a
way that showed how eventful to both might prove the manner in which you
heard me.”

“Well, Dunn,” cried Lord Glengariff, entering, “I suppose you have made
a day of work of it; we have never seen you since breakfast.”

“On the contrary, my Lord,” replied he, in deep confusion, “I have taken
my idleness in the widest sense. Never wrote a line,--not looked into a

“Wouldn’t even open a telegraphic message which came to his hands this
morning,” said Lady Augusta, with a malicious drollery in her glance
towards him.

“Incredible!” cried my Lord.

“Quite true, I assure your Lordship,” said Dunn, in deeper confusion,
and not knowing what turn to give his explanation.

“The fact is,” broke in Lady Augusta, hurriedly, “Mr. Dunn was so
implicit in his obedience to our prescription of perfect rest and
repose, that he made it a point of honor not even to read a telegram
without permission.”

“I must say it is very flattering to us,” said Lord Glengariff; “but now
let us reward the loyalty, and let him see what his news is.”

Dunn looked at Lady Augusta, who, with the very slightest motion of her
head, gave consent, and he broke open the despatch.

Dunn crushed the paper angrily in his hand when he finished reading it,
and muttered some low words of angry meaning.

“Nothing disagreeable, I trust?” asked his Lordship.

“Yes, my Lord, something even worse than disagreeable,” said he; then
flattening out the crumpled paper, he held it to him to read.

Lord Glengariff, putting on his spectacles, perused the document slowly,
and then, turning towards Dunn, in a voice of deep agitation, said,
“This is very disastrous indeed; are you prepared for it?”

Without attending to the question, Dunn took the despatch from Lord
Glengariff, and handed it to Lady Augusta.

“A run for gold!” cried she, suddenly. “An attempt to break the Ossory
Bank! What does it all mean? Who are they that make this attack?”

“Opponents--some of them political, some commercial, a few, perhaps, men
personally unfriendly,--enemies of what they call my success!” and he
sighed heavily on the last word. “Let me see,” said he, slowly, after a
pause; “to-day is Thursday--to-morrow will be the 28th--heavy payments
are required for the Guatemala Trunk Line,--something more than forty
thousand pounds to be made up. The Parma Loan, second instalment, comes
on the 80th.”

“Dinner, my Lord,” said a servant, throwing open the door.

“A thousand pardons, Lady Augusta,” said Dunn, offering his arm. “I am
really shocked at obtruding these annoyances upon your notice. You
see, my Lord,” added he, gayly, “one of the penalties of admitting the
‘working-men of life’ into your society.”

It was only as they passed on towards the dinner-room that Lord
Glengariff noticed Miss Kellett’s absence.

“She has a headache or a cold, I believe,” said Lady Augusta,
carelessly; and they sat down to dinner.

So long as the servants were present the conversation ranged over
commonplace events and topics, little indeed passing, since each seemed
too deeply impressed with grave forebodings for much inclination for
mere talking. Once alone--and Lord Glengariff took the earliest moment
to be so--they immediately resumed the subject of the ill-omened

“You are, at all events, prepared, Dunn?” said the Earl; “this onslaught
does not take you by surprise?”

“I am ashamed to say it does, my Lord,” said he, with a painful smile.
“I was never less suspectful of any malicious design upon me. I was, for
the first time perhaps in all my life, beginning to feel strong in the
consciousness that I had faithfully performed my allotted part in
the world, advanced the great interests of my country and of humanity
generally. This blow has, therefore, shocked me deeply.”

“What a base ingratitude!” exclaimed Lady Augusta, indignantly.

“After all,” said Dunn, generously, “let us remember that I am not
a fair judge in my own cause. Others have taken, it may be, another
reading of my character; they may deem me narrow-minded, selfish,
and ambitious. My very success--I am not going to deny it has been
great--may have provoked its share of enmity. Why, the very vastness
and extent of my projects were a sort of standing reproach to petty
speculators and small scheme-mongers.”

“So that it has really come upon you unawares?” said the Earl, reverting
to his former remark.

“Completely so, my Lord. The tranquil ease and happiness I have enjoyed
under this roof--the first real holiday in a long life of toil--are the
best evidences I can offer how little I could have anticipated such a

“Still I fervently hope it will not prove more than inconvenience,” said
he, feelingly.

“Not even so much, my Lord, as regards money. I cannot believe that the
movement will be general. There is no panic in the country, rents are
paid, prices remunerating, markets better than we have seen them for
years; the sound sense and intelligence of the people will soon detect
in this attack the prompting of some personal malice. In all likelihood
a few thousands will meet the whole demand.”

“I am so glad to hear you say so!” said Lady Augusta, smiling. “Really,
when I think of all our persuasions to detain you here, I never could
acquit us of some sort of share in any disaster your delay might have

“Oh, Dunn would never connect his visit here with such consequences,
I ‘m certain,” said the Earl.

“Assuredly not, my Lord,” said he; and as his eyes met those of Lady
Augusta, he grew red, and felt confused.

“Are your people--your agents and men of business, I mean,” said the
Earl--“equal to such an emergency as the present, or will they have to
look to _you_ for guidance and direction?”

“Merely to meet the demand for gold is a simple matter, my Lord,”
 said Dunn, “and does not require any effort of mind or forethought. To
prevent the back-water of this rushing flood submerging and engulfing
other banking-houses; to defend, in a word, the lines of our rivals and
enemies; to save from the consequences of their recklessness the very
men who have assailed us,--these are weighty cares!”

“And are you bound in honor to take this trouble in their behalf?”

“No, my Lord, not in honor any more than in law, but bound by the debt
we owe to that commercial community by whose confidence we have acquired
fortune. My position at the head of the great industrial movement in
this country imposes upon me the great responsibility that ‘no injury
should befall the republic’ Against the insane attacks of party hate,
factious violence, or commercial knavery, I am expected to do my duty,
nay, more, I am expected to be provided with means to meet whatever
emergency may arise,--defeat this scheme, expose that, denounce the
other. Am I wrong in calling these weighty cares?”

Self-glorification was not usually one of Davenport Dunn’s
weaknesses,--indeed, “self,” in any respect, was not a theme on which
he was disposed to dwell,--and yet now, for reasons which may better be
suspected than alleged, he talked in a spirit of even vain exultation
of his plans, his station, and his influence. If it was something to
display before the peer claims to national respect, which, if not so
ancient, were scarcely less imposing than his own, it was more pleasing
still to dilate upon a theme to which the peer’s daughter listened so
eagerly. It was, besides, a grand occasion to exhibit the vast range of
resources, the widespread influences, and far-reaching sympathies of
the great commercial man, to show him, not the mere architect of his own
fortune, but the founder of a nation’s prosperity. While he thus held
forth, and in a strain to which fervor had lent a sort of eloquence, a
servant entered with another despatch.

“Oh! I trust this brings you better news,” cried Lady Augusta, eagerly;
and, as he broke the envelope, he thanked her with a grateful look.

“Well?” interposed she, anxiously, as he gazed at the lines without

“Just as I said,” muttered Dunn, in a deep and suppressed voice,--“a
systematic plot, a deep-laid scheme against me.”

“Is it still about the Bank?” asked the Earl, whose interest had been
excited by the tenor of the recent conversation.

“Yes, my Lord; they insist on making me out a bubble speculator, an
adventurer, a Heaven knows what of duplicity and intrigue. I would
simply ask them: ‘Is the wealth with which this same Davenport Dunn has
enriched you real, solid, and tangible; are the guineas mint-stamped;
are the shares true representatives of value?’ But why do I talk of
these people? If they render me no gratitude, they owe me none,--my
aims were higher and greater than ever _they_ or _their_ interests
comprehended.” From the haughty defiance of his tone, his voice fell
suddenly to a low and quick key, as he said: “This message informs me
that the demand upon the Ossory to-morrow will be a great concerted
movement. Barnard, the man I myself returned last election for the
borough, is to head it; he has canvassed the county for holders of
our notes, and such is the panic that the magistrates have sent for an
increased force of police and two additional companies of infantry. My
man of business asks, ‘What is to be done?’”

“And what _is_ to be done?” asked the Earl.

“Meet it, my Lord. Meet the demand as our duty requires us.”

There was a calm dignity in the manner Dunn spoke the words that had its
full effect upon the Earl and his daughter. They saw this “man of the
people” display, in a moment of immense peril, an amount of cool courage
that no dissimulation could have assumed. As they could, and did indeed
say afterwards, when relating the incident, “We were sitting at the
dessert, chatting away freely about one thing or another, when the
confirmed tidings arrived by telegraph that an organized attack was to
be made against his credit by a run for gold. You should really
have seen him,” said Lady Augusta, “to form any idea of the splendid
composure he manifested. The only thing like emotion he exhibited was
a sort of haughty disdain, a proud pity, for men who should have thus
requited the great services he had been rendering to the country.”

It is but just to own that he did perform his part well; he acted it,
too, as theatrical critics would say, “chastely;” that is, there was no
rant, no exaggeration,--not a trait too much, not a tint too strong.

“I wish I knew of any way to be of service to you in this emergency,
Dunn,” said the Earl, as they returned to the drawing-room; “I’m no
capitalist, nor have I a round sum at my command--”

“My dear Lord,” broke in Dunn, with much feeling, “of money I can
command whatever amount I want. Baring, Hope, Rothschild, any of them
would assist me with millions, if I needed them, to-morrow, which
happily, however, I do not. There is still a want which they cannot
supply, but which, I am proud to say, I have no longer to fear. The
kind sympathy of your Lordship and Lady Augusta has laid me under an
obligation--” Here Mr. Dunn’s voice faltered; the Earl grasped his hand
with a generous clasp, and Lady Augusta carried her handkerchief to her
eyes as she averted her head.

“What a pack of hypocrites!” cries our reader, in disgust. No, not
so. There was a dash of reality through all this deceit. They _were_
moved,--their own emotions, the tones of their own voices, the workings
of their own natures, _had_ stirred some amount of honest sentiment in
their hearts; how far it was alloyed by less worthy feeling, to what
extent fraud and trickery mingled there, we are not going to tell
you,--perhaps we could not, if we would.

“You mean to go over to Kilkenny, then, to-morrow, Dunn?” asked his
Lordship, after a painful pause.

“Yes, my Lord, my presence is indispensable.”

“Will you allow Lady Augusta and myself to accompany you? I believe and
trust that men like myself have not altogether lost the influence they
once used to wield in this country, and I am vain enough to imagine I
may be useful.”

“Oh, my Lord, this overwhelms me!” said Dunn, and covered his eyes with
his hand.


The great Ossory Bank, with its million sterling of paid-up capital, its
royal charter, its titled directory, and its shares at a premium, stood
at the top of Patrick Street, Kilkenny, and looked, in the splendor of
its plate-glass windows and the security of its iron railings, the very
type of solvency and safety. The country squire ascended the hall-door
steps with a sort of feeling of acquaintanceship, for he had known the
Viscount who once lived there in days before the Union, and the farmer
experienced a sense of trustfulness in depositing his hard-earned gains
in what he regarded as a temple of Croesus. What an air of prosperity
and business did the interior present! The massive doors swung
noiselessly at the slightest touch, meet emblem of the secrecy that
prevailed, and the facility that pervaded all transactions, within. What
alacrity, too, in that numerous band of clerks who counted and cashed
and checked unceasingly! How calmly they passed from desk to desk, a
word, a mere whisper, serving for converse; and then what a grand and
mysterious solemnity about that back office with its double doors,
within which some venerable cashier, bald-headed and pursy, stole
at intervals to consult the oracle who dwelt within! In the spacious
apartment devoted to cash operations, nothing denoted the former destiny
of the mansion but a large fireplace, with a pretentious chimney-piece
of black oak, over which a bust of our gracious Queen now figured, an
object of wonderment and veneration to many a frieze-coated gazer.

On the morning of the 12th August, to which day we have brought our
present history, the street in front of the Bank presented a scene of no
ordinary interest. From an early hour people continued to pour in, till
the entire way was choked up with carriages and conveyances of every
description, from the well-equipped barouche of the country gentleman to
the humblest “shandradan” of the petty farmer. Sporting-looking fellows
upon high-conditioned thoroughbreds, ruddy old squires upon cobs,
and hard-featured country-folk upon shaggy ponies, were all jammed up
together amidst a dense crowd of foot passengers. A strong police-force
was drawn up in front of the Bank, although nothing in the appearance of
the assembled mass seemed to denote the necessity for their presence.
A low murmur of voices ran through the crowd as each talked to his
neighbor, consulting, guessing, and speculating, as temperament
inclined: some were showing placards and printed notices they had
received through the post; some pointed to newspaper paragraphs; others
displayed great rolls of notes; but all talked with a certain air of
sadness that appeared to presage coming misfortune. As ten o’clock drew
nigh, the hour for opening the Bank, the excitement rose to a painful
pitch; every eye was directed to the massive door, whose gorgeous brass
knocker shone with a sort of insolent brilliancy in the sun. At every
moment watches were consulted, and in muttered whispers men broke their
fears to those beside them. Some could descry the heads of people
moving about in the cash-office, where a considerable bustle appeared to
prevail; and even this much of life seemed to raise the spirits of the
crowd, and the rumor ran quickly on every side that the Bank was about
to open. At last the deep bell of the town-hall struck ten. At each fall
of the hammer all expected to see the door move, but it never stirred;
and now the pent-up feeling of the multitude might be marked in a sort
of subdued growl,--a low, ill-boding sound, that seemed ta come out
of the very earth. As if to answer the unspoken anger of the crowd,--a
challenge accepted ere given,--a heavy crash was heard, and the police
proceeded to load with ball in the face of the people,--a demonstration
whose significance there was no mistaking. A cry of angry defiance burst
from the assembled mass at the sight, but as suddenly was checked again
as the massive door was seen to move, and then, with a loud bang, fly
wide open. The rush was now tremendous. With some vague impression that
everything depended upon being amongst the first, the people poured in
with all the force of a mighty torrent. Each, fighting his way as if for
life itself, regardless of the cries of suffering about him, strove to
get forward; nor could all the efforts of the police avail to restrain
them in the slightest. Bleeding, wounded, half suffocated, with bruised
faces and clothes torn to tatters, they struggled on,--no deference
to age, no respect to condition. It was a fearful anarchy, where every
thought of the past was lost in the present emergency. On they poured,
breathless and bloody, with gleaming eyes and faces of demoniacal
meaning; they pushed, they jostled, and they tore, till the first line
gained the counter, against which the force behind now threatened to
crush them to death.

What a marvellous contrast to the storm-tossed multitude, steaming and
disfigured, was the calm attitude of the clerks within the counter!
Not deigning, as it seemed, to bestow a glance upon the agitated scene
before them, they moved placidly about, pen behind the ear, in voices of
ordinary tone, asking what each wanted, and counting over the proffered
notes with all the impassiveness of every-day habit. “Gold for these,
did you say?” they repeated, as though any other demand met the ear!
Why, the very air rang with the sound, and the walls gave back the cry.
From the wild voice of half-maddened recklessness to the murmur that
broke from fainting exhaustion, there was but one word,--“Gold!” A
drowning crew, as the surging waves swept over them, never screamed for
succor with wilder eagerness than did that tangled mass shout, “Gold,

In their savage energy they could scarcely credit that their demands
should be so easily complied with; they were half stupefied at the
calm indifference that met their passionate appeal. They counted and
recounted the glittering pieces over and over, as though some trick were
to be apprehended, some deception to be detected. When drawn or pulled
back from the counter by others eager as themselves, they might be seen
in corners, counting over their money, and reckoning it once more. It
was so hard to believe that all their terrors were for nothing, their
worst fears without a pretext. Even yet they couldn’t imagine but that
the supply must soon run short, and they kept asking those that came
away whether they, too, had got their gold. Hour after hour rolled
on, and still the same demand, and still the same unbroken flow of the
yellow tide continued. Some very large checks had been presented; but no
sooner was their authenticity acknowledged than they were paid. An agent
from another bank arrived with a formidable roll of “Ossory” notes, but
was soon seen issuing forthwith two bursting little bags of sovereigns.
Notwithstanding all this, the pressure never ceased for a moment; nay,
as the day wore on, the crowds seemed to have grown denser and more
importunate; and when the half-exhausted clerks claimed a few minutes’
respite for a biscuit and a glass of wine, a cry of impatience burst
from the insatiable multitude. It was three o’clock. In another hour the
Bank would close, as many surmised, never to open again. It was evident,
from the still increasing crowd and the excitement that prevailed, how
little confidence the ready payments of the Bank had diffused. They who
came forth loaded with gold were regarded as fortunate, while they
who still waited for their turn were in all the feverish torture of

A little after three the crowd was cleft open by the passage of a large
travelling-barouche, which, with four steaming posters, advanced slowly
through the dense mass.

“Who comes here with an earl’s coronet?” said a gentleman to his
neighbor, as the carriage passed. “Lord Glengariff, and Davenport Dunn
himself, by George!” cried he suddenly.

The words were as quickly caught up by those at either side, and the
news, “Davenport Dunn has arrived,” ran through the immense multitude.
If there was an eager, almost intense anxiety to catch a glimpse of him,
there was still nothing that could indicate, in the slightest degree,
the state of popular feeling towards him. Slightly favorable it might
possibly have been, inasmuch as a faint effort at a cheer burst forth at
the announcement of his name; but it was repressed just as suddenly, and
it was in a silence almost awful that he descended from the carriage at
the private door of the Bank.

“Do, I beg of you, Mr. Dunn,” said Lady Augusta, as he stood to assist
her to alight; “let me entreat of you not to think of us. We can be most
comfortably accommodated at the hotel.”

“By all means, Dunn. I insist upon it,” broke in the Earl.

“In declining my poor hospitality, my Lord,” said Dunn, “you will grieve
me much, while you will also favor the impression that I am not in a
condition to offer it.”

“Ah! quite true,--very justly observed. Dunn is perfectly right,
Augusta. We ought to stop here.” And he descended at once, and gave his
hand to his daughter.

Lady Augusta turned about ere she entered the house, and looked at the
immense crowd before her. There was something of almost resentfulness
in the haughty gaze she bestowed; but, let us own, the look, whatever it
implied, well became her proud features; and more than one was heard to
say, “What a handsome woman she is!”

This little incident in the day’s proceedings gave rise to much
conjecture, some auguring that events must be grave and menacing when
Dunn’s own presence was required, others inferring that he came to give
assurance and confidence to the Bank. Nor was the appearance of Lord
Glen-gariff less open to its share of surmise; and many were the
inquiries how far he was personally interested,--whether he was a large
stockholder of the concern, or deep in its books as debtor. Leaving the
speculative minds who discussed the subject without doors, let us
follow Mr. Dunn, as, with Lady Augusta on his arm, he led the way to the

The rooms were handsomely furnished, that to the back opening upon a
conservatory filled with rich geraniums, and ornamented with a pretty
marble fountain, now in full play. Indeed, so well had Dunn’s orders
been attended to, that the apartments which he scarcely occupied for
above a day or so in a twelvemonth had actually assumed the appearance
of being in constant use. Books, prints, and newspapers were scattered
about, fresh flowers stood in the vases, and recent periodicals lay on
the tables.

“What a charming house!” exclaimed Lady Augusta; and, really, the
approbation was sincere, for the soft-cushioned sofas, the perfumed
air, the very quiet itself, were in delightful contrast to the heat and
discomfort of a journey by “rail.”

It was in vain Dunn entreated his noble guests to accept some luncheon;
they peremptorily refused, and, in fact, declared that they would only
remain there on the condition that he bestowed no further thought upon
them, addressing himself entirely to the weighty cares around him.

“Will you, at least, tell me at what hour you’d like dinner, my Lord?
Shall we say six?”

“With all my heart. Only, once more, I beg, never think of us. We are
most comfortable here, and want for nothing.”

With a deep bow of obedience, Dunn moved towards the door, when suddenly
Lady Augusta whispered a few rapid words in her father’s ear.

“Stop a moment, Dunn!” cried the Earl. “Augusta is quite right. The
observation is genuine woman’s wit She says I ought to go down along
with you, to show myself in the Bank; that my presence there will have a
salutary effect. Eh, what d’ye think?”

“I am deeply indebted to Lady Augusta for the suggestion,” said
Dunn, coloring highly. “There cannot be a doubt that your Lordship’s
countenance and support at such a moment are priceless.”

“I ‘m glad you think so, glad she thought of it,” muttered the Earl, as
he arranged his white locks before the glass, and made a sort of hasty
toilet for his approaching appearance in public.

To judge from the sensation produced by the noble Lord’s appearance
in the Bank, Lady Augusta’s suggestion was admirable. The arrival of
a wagon-load of bullion could scarcely have caused a more favorable
impression. If Noah had been an Englishman, the dove would have brought
him not an olive-branch but a lord. I say it in no spirit of sarcasm or
sneer, for, _coteris paribus_, lords are better company than commoners;
I merely record it passingly, as a strong trait of our people and our
race. So was it now, that from the landed gentleman to the humblest
tenant-farmer, the Earl’s presence seemed a fresh guarantee of solvency.
Many remarked that Dunn looked pale,--some thought anxious; but all
agreed that the hearty-faced, white-haired old nobleman at his side was
a perfect picture of easy self-satisfaction.

They took their seats in the cash-office, within the counter, to be seen
by all, and see everything that went forward. If Davenport Dunn regarded
the scene with a calm and unmoved indifference, his attention being, in
fact, more engrossed by his newspaper than by what went on around, Lord
Glengariff’s quick eye and ear were engaged incessantly. He scanned the
appearance of each new applicant as he came up to the table; he listened
to his demand, noted its amount, and watched with piercing glance what
effect it might produce on the cashier. Nor was he an unmoved spectator
of the scene; for while he simply contented himself with an angry stare
at the frieze-coated peasant, he actually scowled an insolent defiance
when any of higher rank or more pretentious exterior presented himself,
muttering in broken accents beneath his breath, “Too bad, too bad!”
 “Gross ingratitude!” “A perfect disgrace!” and so on.

He was at the very climax of his indignation, when a voice from the
crowd addressed him with “How d’ ye do, my Lord? I was not aware you
were in this part of the country.”

He put up his double eyeglass, and speedily recognized the Mr. Barnard
whom Dunn mentioned as so unworthily requiting all he had done for him.

“No, sir,” said the Earl, haughtily; “and just as little did I expect to
see you here on such an errand as this. In _my_ day, country gentlemen
were the first to give the example of trust and confidence, and not
foremost in propagating unworthy apprehensions.”

“I’m not a partner in the Bank, my Lord, and know nothing of its
solvency,” said the other, as he handed in two checks over the counter.

“Eight thousand six hundred and forty-eight. Three thousand, twelve,
nine, six,” said the clerk, mechanically. “How will you have it, sir?”

“Bank of Ireland notes will do.”

Dunn lifted his eyes from the paper, and then, raising his hat, saluted
Mr. Barnard.

“I trust you left Mrs. Barnard well?” said he, in a calm voice.

“Yes, thank you--well--quite well,” said Barnard, in some confusion.

“Will you remember to tell her that she shall have the acorns of
the Italian pines next week? I have heard of their arrival at the

While Barnard muttered a very confused expression of thanks, the
old Earl looked from one to the other of the speakers in a sort of
bewilderment. Where was the angry indignation he had looked for from
Dunn,--where the haughty denunciation of a black ingratitude?

“Why, Dunn, I say,” whispered he, “isn’t this Barnard the fellow you
spoke of,--the man you returned to Parliament t’ other day?”

“The same, my Lord,” replied Dunn, in a low, cautious voice. “He is here
exacting a right,--a just right,--and no more. It is not now, nor in
this place, that I would remind him how ungraciously he has treated me.
This day is _his_. _Mine_ will come yet.”

Before Lord Glengariff could well recover from the astonishment of this
cold and calculating patience, Mr. Hankes pushed his way through the
crowd, with an open letter in his hand.

It was a telegram just received, with an account of an attack made by
the mob on Mr. Dunn’s house in Dublin. Like all such communications, the
tidings were vague and unsatisfactory: “A terrific attack by mob on
No. 18. Windows smashed, and front door broken, but not forced. Police
repulsed; military sent for.”

“So much for popular gratitude, my Lord,” said Dunn, as he handed the
slip of paper to the Earl. “Fortunately, it was never the prize on which
I had set my heart. Mr. Hankes,” said he, in a bland, calm voice, “the
crowd seems scarcely diminished outside. Will you kindly affix a notice
on the door, to state that, to convenience the public, the Bank will on
this day continue open till five o’clock?”

“By Heaven! they don’t deserve such courtesy!” cried the old Lord,
passionately. “Be as just as you please, but show them no generosity. If
it be thus they treat the men who devote their best energies, their very
lives, to the country, I, for one, say it is not a land to live in, and
I spurn them as countrymen!”

“What would you have, my Lord? The best troops have turned and fled
under the influence of a panic; the magic words, ‘We are mined!’ once
routed the very column that had stormed a breach! You don’t expect to
find the undisciplined masses of mankind more calmly courageous than the
veterans of a hundred fights.”

A wild hoarse cheer burst forth in the street at this moment, and
drowned all other sounds.

“What is it now? Are they going to attack us here?” cried the Earl.

The cry again arose, louder and wilder, and the shouts of “Dunn forever!
Dunn forever!” burst from a thousand voices.

“The placard has given great satisfaction, sir,” said Hankes,
reappearing. “Confidence is fully restored.”

And, truly, it was strange to see how quickly a popular sentiment spread
its influence; for they who now came forward to exchange their notes
for gold no longer wore the sturdy air of defiance of the earlier
applicants, but approached half reluctantly, and with an evident sense
of shame, as though yielding to an ignoble impulse of cowardice and
fear. The old Earl’s haughty stare and insolent gaze were little
calculated to rally the diffident; for with his double eyeglass he
scanned each new-comer with the air of a man saying, “I mark, and I ‘ll
not forget you!”

What a contrast was Dunn’s expression,--that look so full of gentle pity
and forgiveness! Nothing of anger, no resentfulness, disfigured the
calm serenity of his pale features. He had a word of recognition--even
a smile and a kind inquiry--for some of those who now bashfully tried
to screen themselves from notice. The great rush was already over; a
visible change had come over that vast multitude who so lately clamored
aloud for gold. The very aspect of that calm, unmoved face was a
terrible rebuke to their unworthy terror.

“It’s nigh over, sir,” whispered Hankes to his chief, as he stood with
his massive gold watch in the hollow of his hand. “Seven hundred only
have been paid out in the last twelve minutes. The battle is finished!”

The vociferous cheering without continued unceasingly, and yells for
Dunn to come forth and show himself filled the air.

“Do you hear them?” asked Lord Glengariff, looking eagerly at Dunn.

“Yes, my Lord. It is a very quick reaction. Popular opinion is generally
correct in the main; but it is rare to find it reversing its own
judgments so suddenly.”

“Very dispassionately spoken, sir,” said the old Lord, haughtily; “but
what if you had been unprepared for this onslaught to-day,--what if
they had succeeded in compelling you to suspend payments?”

“Had such been possible, my Lord, we would have richly deserved any
reverse that might have befallen us. What is it, Hankes?” cried he, as
that gentleman endeavored to get near him.

“You’ll have to show yourself, sir; you must positively address them in
a few words from the balcony.”

“I do not think so, Hankes. This is a mere momentary burst of popular

“Not at all, sir. Listen to them now; they are shouting madly for you.
To decline the call will be taken as pride. I implore you to come out,
if only for a few minutes.”

“I suppose he is right, Dunn,” said Lord Glengariff, half doggedly.
“For my own part, I have not the slightest pretension to say how popular
demonstrations--I believe that is the word for them--are to be treated.
Street gatherings, in my day, were called mobs, and dispersed by horse
police; our newer civilization parleys to them and flatters them. I
suppose you understand the requirements of the times we live in.”

The clamor outside was now deafening, and by its tone seemed, in some
sort, to justify what Hankes had said, that Dunn’s indifference to their
demands would be construed into direct insult.

“Do it at once!” cried Hankes, eagerly, “or it will be too late. A few
words spoken now will save us thirty thousand pounds to-morrow.”

This whisper in Dunn’s ear decided the question, and, turning to the
Earl, he said, “I believe, my Lord, Mr. Hankes is right; I ought to show

“Come along, then,” said the old Lord, heartily; and he took his arm
with an air that said, “I ‘ll stand by you throughout.”

Scarcely had Dunn entered the drawing-room, than Lady Augusta met him,
her cheek flushed and her eyes flashing. “I am so glad,” cried she,
“that you are going to address them. It is a proud moment for you.”

When the window opened, and Davenport Dunn appeared on the balcony, the
wild roar of the multitude made the air tremble; for the cry was taken
up by others in remote streets, and came echoing back, again and again.
I have heard that consummate orators--men practised in all the arts of
public speaking--have acknowledged that there is no such severe test,
in the way of audience, as that mixed assemblage called a mob, wherein
every class has its representative, and every gradation its type. Now,
Dunn was not a great public speaker. The few sentences he was obliged
to utter on the occasions of his health being drunk cost him no uncommon
uneasiness; he spoke them, usually, with faltering accents and much
diffidence. It happens, however, that the world is often not displeased
at these small signs of confusion--these little defects in oratorical
readiness--in men of acknowledged ability, and even prefer them to the
rapid flow and voluble ease of more practised orators. There is, so to
say, a mock air of sincerity in the professions of a man whose feelings
seem fuller than his words,--something that implies the heart to be
in the right place, though the tongue be but a poor exponent of
its sentiments; and lastly, the world is always ready to accept the
embarrassment of the speaker as an evidence of the grateful emotions
that are swaying him. Hence the success of country gentlemen in the
House; hence the hearty cheers that follow the rambling discursiveness
of bucolic eloquence!

If Mr. Dunn was not an orator, he was a keen and shrewd observer, and
one fact he had noticed, which was that the shouts and cries of
popular assemblages are to an indifferent speaker pretty much what
an accompaniment is to a bad singer,--the aids by which he surmounts
difficult passages and conceals his false notes. Mr. Hankes, too, well
understood how to lead this orchestra, and had already taken his place
on the steps of the door beneath.

Dunn stood in front of the balcony, Lord Glengariff at his side and a
little behind him. With one hand pressed upon his heart, he bowed deeply
to the multitude. “My kind friends,” said he, in a low voice, but
which was audible to a great distance, “it has been my fortune to have
received at different times of my life gratifying assurances of sympathy
and respect, but never in the whole course of a very varied career do I
remember an occasion so deeply gratifying to my feelings as the present.
(Cheers, that lasted ten minutes and more.) It is not,” resumed he, with
more energy,--“it is not at a moment like this, surrounded by brave
and warm hearts, when the sentiments of affection that sway _you_ are
mingled with the emotions of my own breast, that I would take a dark or
gloomy view of human nature, but truth compels me to say that the attack
made this day upon my credit--for _I_ am the Ossory Bank--(loud and wild
cheering)--yes, I repeat it, for the stability of this institution
_I_ am responsible by all I possess in this world. Every share, every
guinea, every acre I own are here! Far from me to impute ungenerous or
unworthy motives to any quarter; but, my worthy friends, there has been
foul play--(groans)--there has been treachery--(deeper groans)--and my
name is not Davenport Dunn but it shall be exposed and punished.
(Cries of “More power to ye,” and hearty cheers, greeted this solemn

“I am, as you are well aware, and I glory in declaring it, one of
yourselves. (Here the enthusiasm was tremendous.) By moderate abilities,
hard work, and unflinching honesty--for that is the great secret--I have
become that you see me to-day! (Loud cheering.) If there be amongst you
any who aspire to my position, I tell him that nothing is easier than to
attain it. I was a poor scholar--you know what a poor scholar is--when
the generous nobleman you see now at my side first noticed me. (Three
cheers for the Lord were proposed and given most heartily.) His generous
patronage gave me my first impulse in life. I soon learned how to do the
rest. (“That ye did;” “More power and success to ye,” here ran through
the mob.) Now, it was at the table of that noble Lord--enjoying
the first real holiday in thirty years of toil--that I received a
telegraphic despatch, informing me there would be a run for gold upon
this Bank before the week was over. I vow to you I did not believe it.
I spurned the tidings as a base calumny upon the people, and as I handed
the despatch to his Lordship to read, I said, ‘If this be possible--and
I doubt it much--it is the treacherous intrigue of an enemy, not the
spontaneous movement of the public.’ (Here Lord Glengariff bowed an
acquiescence to the statement, a condescension on his part that speedily
called for three vociferous cheers for “the Lord,” once more.)

“I am no lawyer,” resumed Dunn, with vigor,--“I am a plain man of the
people, whose head was never made for subtleties; but this I tell you,
that if it be competent for me to offer a reward for the discovery of
those who have hatched this conspiracy, my first care will be on my
return to Dublin to propose ten thousand pounds for such information
as may establish their guilt! (Cheering for a long time followed these
words.) They knew that they could not break the Bank,--in their hearts
they knew that our solvency was as complete as that of the Bank of
England itself,--but they thought that by a panic, and by exciting
popular feeling against me, I, in my pride of heart and my conscious
honesty, might be driven to some indignant reaction; that I might turn
round and say, Is this the country I have slaved for? Are these the
people for whose cause I have neglected personal advancement, and
disregarded the flatteries of the great? Are these the rewards of days
of labor and nights of anxiety and fatigue?”

They fancied, possibly, that, goaded by what I might have construed into
black ingratitude, I would say, like Coriolanus, ‘I banish you!’ But
they little knew either you or me, my warm-hearted friends! (Deafening
cheers.) They little knew that the well-grounded confidence of a nation
cannot be obliterated by the excitement of a moment. A panic in the
commercial, like a thunder-storm in the physical world, only leaves the
atmosphere lighter, and the air fresher than before; and so I say to
you, we shall all breathe more freely when we rise to-morrow,--no longer
to see the dark clouds overhead, nor hear the rumbling sounds that
betoken coming storm.

“I have detained you too long. (“No, no!” vociferously broke forth.) I
have spoken also too much about myself. (“Not a bit; we could listen to
ye till mornin’,” shouted a wild voice, that drew down hearty laughter.)
But, before I go, I wish to say, that, hard pressed as we are in the
Bank--sorely inconvenienced by the demands upon us--I am yet able to ask
your excellent Mayor to accept of five hundred pounds from me for the
poor of this city--(what a yell followed this announcement! plainly
indicating what a personal interest the tidings seemed to create )--and
to add--(loud cheers)--and to add--(more cheers)--and to add,” cried he,
in his deepest voice, “that the first toast I will drink this day shall
be, The Boys of Kilkenny!”

It is but justice to add that Mr. Dunn’s speech was of that class of
oratory that “hears” better than it reads, while his audience was also
less critically disposed than may be our valued reader. At all events,
it achieved a great success; and within an hour after its delivery
hawkers cried through the streets of the city, “The Full and True
Account of the Run for Gold, with Mr. Dunn’s Speech to the People;” and,
sooth to say, that though the paper was not “cream laid,” and though
many of the letters were upside down, the literature had its admirers,
and was largely read. Later on, the city was illuminated, two immense
letters of D. D. figuring in colored lamps in front of the town-hall,
while copious libations of whiskey-punch were poured forth in honor
of the Man of the People. In every rank and class, from the country
gentleman who dined at the club-house, to the smallest chop-house in
John Street, there was but one sentiment,--that Dunn was a fine fellow,
and his enemies downright scoundrels. If a few of nicer taste and more
correct feeling were not exactly pleased with his speech, they wisely
kept their opinions to themselves, and let “the Ayes have it,” who
pronounced it to be manly, above-board, modest, and so forth.

Throughout the entire evening Mr. Hankes was everywhere, personally
or through his agents; his care was to collect public sentiment, to
ascertain what popular opinion thought of the whole events of the
morning, and to promote, so far as he could with safety, the flattering
estimate already formed of his chief. Scarcely half an hour elapsed
without Dunn’s receiving from his indefatigable lieutenant some small
scrap of paper, with a few words hastily scrawled in this fashion:--

“Rice and Walsh’s, Nine o’clock.--Company in the coffee-room
enthusiastic; talk of a public dinner; some propose portrait in

“A quarter to Ten, Judy’s, Rose Inn Street.--Comic song, with a

     “‘If for gold ye run,
          Says the Shan van Voght;
     If for gold ye run,
          I’ll send for Davy Dunn,
     He’s the boy to show ye fun,
          Says the Shan van Voght!’”

“Eleven o’clock, High Street.--Met the Dean, who says, ‘D. D. is an
honor to us; we are all proud of him.’ The county your own when you want

“Twelve o’clock.--If any one should venture to ask for gold to-morrow,
he will be torn to pieces by the mob.”

Assuredly it was a triumph; and every time that the wild cheers from
the crowds in the street broke in upon the converse in the drawing-room,
Lady Augusta’s eyes would sparkle as she said, “I don’t wonder at your
feeling proud of it all!”

And he _did_ feel proud of it. Strange as it may seem, he was as proud
as though the popularity had been earned by the noblest actions and the
most generous devotion. We are not going to say why or wherefore this.
And now for a season we take our leave of him to follow the fortunes
of some others whose fate we seem to have forgotten. We have the less
scruple for deserting Davenport Dunn at this moment, that we leave him
happy, prospering, and in good company.


Am I asking too much of my esteemed reader, if I beg of him to remember
where and how I last left the Honorable Annesley Beecher? for it is to
that hopeful individual and his fortunes I am now about to return.

If it be wearisome to the reader to have his attention suddenly drawn
from the topic before him, and his interest solicited for those he has
well-nigh forgotten, let me add that it is almost as bad for the writer,
who is obliged to hasten hither and thither, and, like a huntsman with a
straggling pack, to urge on the tardy, correct the loiterer, and repress
the eager.

When we parted with Annesley Beecher, he was in sore trouble and anxiety
of mind; a conviction was on him that he was “squared,” “nobbled,”
 “crossed,” “potted,” or something to the like intent and with a like
euphonious designation. “The Count and Spicer were conspiring to put him
in a hole!” As if any “hole” could be as dark, as hopeless, and as deep
as the dreary pitfall of his own helpless nature!

His only resource seemed flight; to break cover at once and run for it,
appeared the solitary solution of the difficulty. There was many a spot
in the map of Europe which offered a sanctuary against Grog Davis. But
what if Grog were to set the law in motion, where should he seek refuge
then? Some one had once mentioned to him a country with which no treaty
connected us with regard to criminals. It began, if he remembered
aright, with an S; was it Sardinia or Sweden or Spain or Sicily or
Switzerland? It was surely one of them, but which? “What a mass of
rubbish, to be sure,” thought he, “they crammed me with at Rugby, but
not one solitary particle of what one could call useful learning! See
now, for instance, what benefit a bit of geography might be to me!” And
he rambled on in his mind, concocting an educational scheme which would
really fit a man for the wear and tear of life.

It was thus reflecting he entered the inn and mounted to his room; his
clothes lay scattered about, drawers were crammed with his wearables,
and the table covered with a toilet equipage, costly, and not yet paid
for. Who was to pack all these? Who was to make up that one portmanteau
which would suffice for flight, including all the indispensable and
rejecting the superfluous? There is a case recorded of a Frenchman who
was diverted from his resolve on suicide by discovering that his pistols
were not loaded, and, incredible as it may seem, Beecher was deterred
from his journey by the thought of how he was to pack his trunk; He had
never done so much for himself since he was born, and he did n’t
think he could do it; at all events, he wasn’t going to try. Certain
superstitious people are impressed with the notion that making a will
is a sure prelude to dying; so others there are who fancy that, by
the least effort on their own behalf, they are forecasting a state of
poverty in which they must actually work for subsistence.

How hopelessly, then, did he turn over costly waistcoats and embroidered
shirts, gaze on richly cut and crested essence-bottles and boot-boxes,
whose complexity resembled mathematical instruments! In what manner they
were ever conveyed so far he could not imagine. The room seemed actually
filled with them. It was Rivers had “put them up;” but Rivers could no
longer be trusted, for he was evidently in the “lay” against him.

He sighed heavily at this: it was a dreary, hopeless sigh over the
depravity of the world and mankind in general. “And what a paradise it
might be,” he thought, “if people would only let themselves be cheated
quietly and peaceably, neither threatening with their solicitors, nor
menacing with the police. Heaven knew how little he asked for: a safe
thing now and then on the Derby, a good book on the Oaks; he wanted
no more! He bore no malice nor ill-will to any man breathing; he never
wished to push any fellow to the wall. If ever there was a generous
heart, it beat in _his_ bosom; and if the world only knew the
provocation he had received! No matter, he would never retaliate,--he ‘d
die game, be a brick to the last;” and twenty other fine things of the
same sort that actually brought the tears to his own eyes over his own

Goodness, however, will not pack a trunk, nor will moral qualities,
however transcendent, fold cravats and dress-coats, and he looked very
despondently around him, and thought over what he half fancied was the
only thing he could n’t do. So accustomed had he been of late to seek
Lizzy Davis’s counsel in every moment of difficulty, that actually,
without knowing it, he descended now to the drawing-room, some vague,
undefined feeling impelling him to be near her.

She was singing at the piano, all alone, as he entered; the room, as
usual, brilliantly lighted up as if to receive company, rare flowers and
rich plants grouped tastefully about, and “Daisy”--for she looked
that name on this occasion--in one of those charming “toilettes” whose
consummate skill it is to make the most costly articles harmonize into
something that seems simplicity itself. She wore a fuchsia in her
hair, and another--only this last was of coral and gold elaborately
and beautifully designed--on the front of her dress, and, except these,
nothing more of ornament.

“Tutore mio,” said she, gayly, as he entered, “you have treated me
shamefully; for, first of all, you were engaged to drive with me to
the Kreutz Berg, and, secondly, to take me to the opera, and now,
at half-past nine, you make your appearance. How is this, Monsieur?

“Shall I tell the truth?” said he.

“By all means, if anything so strange should n’t embarrass you.”

“Well, then, I forgot all about both the drive and the opera. It’s all
very well to laugh,” said he, in a tone of half pique; “young ladies,
with no weightier cares on their hearts than whether they ought to wear
lilac or green, have very little notion of a man’s anxieties. They fancy
that life is a thing of white and red roses, soft music and bouquets;
but it ain’t.”

“Indeed! are you quite sure?” asked she, with an air of extreme

“I suspect I am,” said he, confidently; “and there’s not many a man
about town knows more of it than I do.”

“And now, what may be the cares, or, rather, for I don’t want to be
curious, what sort of cares are they that oppress that dear brain? Have
you got any wonderful scheme for the amelioration of mankind to which
you see obstacles? Are your views in politics obstructed by ignorance
or prejudice? Have you grand notions about art for which the age is not
ripe; or are you actually the author of a wonderful poem that nobody has
had taste enough to appreciate?”

“And these are your ideas of mighty anxieties, Miss Lizzy?” said he,
in a tone of compassionate pity. “By Jove! how I’d like to have nothing
heavier on my heart than the whole load of them.”

“I think you have already told me you never were crossed in love?”

“Well, nothing serious, you know. A scratch or so, as one may say,
getting through the bushes, but never a cropper,--nothing like a regular

“It would seem to me, then, that you have enjoyed a singularly fortunate
existence, and been just as lucky in life as myself.”

Beecher started at the words. What a strange chaos did they create
within him! There is no tracing the thoughts that came and went, and
lost themselves in that poor bewildered head. The nearest to anything
like, consistency was the astonishment he felt that she--Grog Davis’s
daughter--should ever imagine she had drawn a prize in the world’s

“Yes, Mr. Beecher,” said she, with the ready tact with which she often
read his thoughts and answered them, “even so. I do think myself very,
very fortunate! And why should I not? I have excellent health, capital
spirits, fair abilities, and, bating an occasional outbreak of anger, a
reasonably good temper. As regards personal traits, Mr. Annesley Beecher
once called me beautiful; Count Lienstahl would say something twice
as rapturous; at all events, quite good-looking enough not to raise
antipathies against me at first sight; and lastly, but worth all the
rest, I have an intense enjoyment in mere existence; the words ‘I live’
are to me, ‘I am happy.’ The alternations of life, its little incidents
and adventures, its passing difficulties, are, like the changeful
aspects of the seasons, full of interest, full of suggestiveness,
calling out qualities of mind and resources of temperament that in
the cloudless skies of unbroken prosperity might have lain unused and
unknown. And now, sir, no more sneers at my fancied good fortune; for,
whatever _you_ may say, I feel it to be real.”

There was that in her manner--a blended energy and grace--which went
far deeper into Beecher’s heart than her mere words, and he gazed at
her slightly flushed cheek and flashing eyes with something very nearly
rapture; and he muttered to himself, “There she is, a half-bred ‘un, and
no training, and able to beat them all!”

This time, at all events, she did not read his thoughts; as little,
perhaps, did she care to speculate about them. “By the by,” said she,
suddenly approaching the chimney and taking up a letter, “this has
arrived here, by private hand, since you went out, and it has a
half-look of papa’s writing, and is addressed to you.”

Beecher took it eagerly. With a glance he recognized it as from Grog,
when that gentleman desired to disguise his hand.

“Am I correct?” asked she,--“am I correct in my guess?”

He was too deep in the letter to make her any reply. Its contents were
as follows:--

     “Dear B.,--They ‘ve kicked up such a row about that affair
     at Brussels that I have been obliged to lie dark for the
     last fortnight, and in a confoundedly stupid hole on the
     right bank of the Rhine. I sent over Spicer to meet the
     Baron, and take Klepper over to Nimroeguen and Magdeburg,
     and some other small places in Prussia. They can pick up in
     this way a few thousand florins, and keep the mill going. I
     gave him strict orders not to see my daughter, who must know
     nothing whatever of these or any like doings. The Baron she
     might see, for he knows life thoroughly, and if he is not a
     man of high honor, he can assume the part so well that it
     comes pretty much to the same thing. As to yourself, you
     will, on receipt of this, call on a certain Lazarus Stein,
     Juden Gasse, Nov 41 or 42, and give him your acceptance for
     two thousand gulden, with which settle your hotel bill, and
     come on to Bonn, where, at the post-office, you will find a
     note, with my address. Tramp, you see, has won the
     Cotteswold, as I prophesied, and ‘Leo the Tenth’ nowhere.
     Cranberry must have got his soup pretty hot, for he has come
     abroad, and his wife and the children gone down to Scotland.
     As to your own affairs, Ford says you are better out of the
     way; and if anything is to be done in the way of
     compromise, it must be while you are abroad. He does not
     think Strich can get the rule, and you must n’t distress
     yourself for an extra outlawry or two. There will be some
     trouble about the jewels, but I think even that matter may
     be arranged also. I hope you keep from the tables, and I
     look for a strict reckoning as to your expenses, and a
     stricter book up as regards your care of my daughter. ‘All
     square’ is the word between pal and pal, and there never
     was born the man did n’t find that to be his best policy
     when he dealt with

     “Your friend,

     “Christopher Davis.

     “To while away the time in this dreary dog-hole, I have been
     sketching out a little plan of a martingale for the
     roulette-table. There’s only one zero at Homburg, and we can
     try it there as we go up. There’s a flaw in it after the
     twelfth ‘pass,’ but I don’t despair of getting over the
     difficulty. Old Stein, the money-changer, was upwards of
     thirty years croupier at the Cursaal, and get him to tell
     you the average runs, black and red, at rouge-et-noir, and
     what are the signs of an intermitting game; and also the
     six longest runs he has ever known. He is a shrewd fellow,
     and seeing that you come from me will be confidential.

     “There has been another fight in the Crimea, and somebody
     well licked. I had nothing on the match, and don’t care a
     brass farthing who claimed the stakes.

     “Tell Lizey that I ‘m longing to see her, and if I didn’t
     write it is because I ‘m keeping everything to tell her when
     we meet. If it was n’t for her picture, I don’t know what
     would have become of me since last Tuesday, when the rain
     set in.”

Beecher re-read the letter from the beginning; nor was it an easy matter
for him to master at once all the topics it included. Of himself and his
own affairs the information was vague and unsatisfactory; but Grog knew
how to keep him always in suspense,--to make him ever feel that he was
swimming for his life, and he himself the only “spar” he could catch at.

“Bring me to book about my care of his daughter!” muttered he, over and
over, “just as if she was n’t the girl to take care of herself. Egad! he
seems to know precious little about her. I ‘d give a ‘nap’ to show her
this letter, and just hear what she ‘d say of it all. I suppose she ‘d
split on me. She ‘d go and tell Davis, ‘Beecher has put me up to
the whole “rig;”’ and if she did--What would happen then?” asked he,
replying to the low, plaintive whistle which concluded his meditation.
“Eh--what! did I say anything?” cried he, in terror.

“Not a syllable. But I could see that you had conjured up some
difficulty which you were utterly unable to deal with.”

“Well, here it is,” said he, boldly. “This letter is from your father.
It’s all full of private details, of which you know nothing, nor would
you care to hear; but there is one passage--just one--that I’d greatly
like to have your opinion upon. At the same time I tell you, frankly, I
have no warranty from your father to let you see it; nay, the odds are
he ‘d pull me up pretty sharp for doing so without his authority.”

“That’s quite enough, Mr. Beecher, about _your_ scruples. Now, _mine_ go
a little further still; for they would make me refuse to learn anything
which my father’s reserve had kept from me. It is a very easy rule of
conscience, and neither hard to remember nor to follow.”

“At all events, he meant this for your own eye,” said Beecher, showing
her the last few lines of the letter.

She read them calmly over; a slight trembling of the lip--so slight that
it seemed rather like a play of light over her face--was the only sign
of emotion visible, and then, carefully folding the letter, she gave it
back, saying, “Yes, I had a right to see these lines.”

“He _is_ fond of you, and proud of you, too,” said Beecher. A very
slight nod of her head gave an assent to his remark, and she was silent.
“We are to leave this at once,” continued he, “and move on to Bonn,
where we shall find a letter with your father’s address, somewhere,
I take it, in that neighborhood.” He waited, hoping she would say
something, but she did not speak. And then he went on:

“And then you will be once more at home,--emancipated from this tiresome
guardianship of mine.”

“Why tiresome?” asked she, suddenly.

“Oh, by Jove! I know I’ m very slow sort of fellow as a ladies’ man;
have none of the small talents of those foreigners; couldn’t tell Mozart
from Verdi; nor, though I can see when a woman is well togged, could I
tell you the exact name of any one part of her dress.”

“If you really did know all these, and talked of them, I might have
found you very tiresome,” said she, in that half-careless voice she
used when seeming to think aloud. “And you,” asked she, suddenly, as
she turned her eyes fully upon him,--“and you, are you to be emancipated
then,--are you going to leave us?”

“As to that,” replied he, in deep embarrassment, “there ‘a a sort of
hitch in it I ought, if I did the right thing, to be on my way to Italy
now, to see Lackington,--my brother, I mean. I came abroad for that; but
Gr--your father, I should say--induced me to join _him_, and so, with
one thing and the other, here I am, and that’s really all I know about

“What a droll way to go through life!” said she, with one of her low,
soft laughs.

“If you mean that I have n’t a will of my own, you ‘re all wrong,” said
he, in some irritation. “Put me straight at my fence, and see if I won’t
take it. Just say, ‘A. B., there’s the winning-post,’ and mark whether I
won’t get my speed up.”

What a strange glance was that which answered this speech! It implied no
assent; as little did it mean the reverse. It was rather the look of one
who, out of a maze of tangled fancies, suddenly felt recalled to life
and its real interests. To poor Beecher’s apprehension it simply seemed
a sort of half-compassionate pity, and it made his cheek tingle with
wounded pride.

“I know,” muttered he to himself, “that she thinks me a confounded fool;
but I ain’t. Many a fellow in the ring made that mistake, and burned his
fingers for it after.”

“Well,” said she, after a moment or so of thought, “I am ready; at
least, I shall be ready very soon. I ‘ll tell Annette to pack up and
prepare for the road.”

“I wish I could get you to have some better opinion of me, Miss Lizzy,”
 said he, seriously. “I’d give more than I ‘d like to say, that you
‘d--you ‘d--”

“That I’d what?” asked she, calmly.

“That you ‘d not set me down as a regular flat,” said he, with energy.

“I ‘m not very certain that I know what that means; but I will tell
you that I think you very good tempered, very gentle-natured, and very
tolerant of fifty-and-one caprices which must be all the more wearisome
because unintelligible. And then, you are a very fine gentleman,
and--the Honor-Able Annesley Beecher.” And holding out her dress in
minuet fashion, she courtesied deeply, and left the room.

“I wish any one would tell me whether I stand to win or not by that
book,” exclaimed Beecher, as he stood there alone, nonplussed and
confounded. “Would n’t she make a stunning actress! By Jove! Webster
would give her a hundred a week, and a free benefit!” And with this
he went off into a little mental arithmetic, at the end of which he
muttered to himself, “And that does not include starring it in the

With the air of a man whose worldly affairs went well, he arranged his
hair before the glass, put on his hat, gave himself a familiar nod, and
went out.


The Juden Gasse, in which Beecher was to find out the residence of
Lazarus Stein, was a long, straggling street, beginning in the town and
ending in the suburb, where it seemed as it were to lose itself. It was
not till after a long and patient search that Beecher discovered a small
door in an old ivy-covered wall, on which, in irregular letters, faint
and almost illegible, stood the words, “Stein, Geldwechsler.”

As he rang stoutly at the bell, the door opened, apparently of itself,
and admitted him into a large and handsome garden. The walks were
flanked by fruit-trees in espalier, with broad borders of rich flowers
at either side; and although the centre spaces were given up to the
uses of a kitchen garden, the larger beds, rich in all the colors of the
tulip and ranunculus, showed how predominant was the taste for flowers
over mere utility. Up one alley, and down another, did Beecher saunter
without meeting any one, or seeing what might mean a habitation; when,
at length, in a little copse of palm-trees, he caught sight of a smalt
diamond-paned window, approaching which, he found himself in front of
a cottage whose diminutive size he had never seen equalled, save on
the stage. Indeed, in its wooden framework, gaudily painted, its quaint
carvings, and its bamboo roof, it was the very type of what one sees
in a comic opera. One sash of the little window lay open, and showed
Beecher the figure of a very small old man, who, in a long dressing-gown
of red-brown stuff, and a fez cap, was seated at a table, writing. A
wooden tray in front of him was filled with dollars and gold pieces in
long stately columns, and a heap of bank-notes lay pressed under a heavy
leaden slab at his side. No sooner had Beecher’s figure darkened the
window than the old man looked up and came out to meet him, and, taking
off his cap with a deep reverence, invited him to enter. If the size of
the chamber, and its curious walls covered over with cabinet pictures,
might have attracted Beecher’s attention at another moment, all his
wonderment, now, was for the little man himself, whose piercing black
eyes, long beard, and hooked nose gave him an air of almost unearthly

“I suppose I have the honor to speak to Mr. Stein?” said he, in English,
“and that he can understand me in my own tongue?”

“Yaas,--go on,” said the old man.

“I was told to call upon you by Captain Davis; he gave me your address.”

“Ah, der Davis--der Davis--a vaary goot man--my vaary dear friend. You
are der rich Englander that do travel wit him,--eh?”

“I am travelling with him just now,” said Beecher, laughing slightly;
“but as to being rich,--why, we ‘ll not dispute about it.”

“Yaas, here is his letter. He says, Milord will call on you hisself, and
so I hold myself--how you say ‘bereit?’--ready--hold myself ready to see
you. I have de honor to make you very mush welcome to my poor house.”

Beecher thanked him courteously, and, producing Davis’s letter,
mentioned the amount for which he desired to draw.

The old man examined the writing, the signature, and then the seal,
handing the document back when he had finished, muttering to himself,
“Ah, der Davis--der Davis!”

“You know my friend very intimately, I believe?” asked Beecher.

“I belief I do,--I belief I do,” said he, with a low chuckle to himself.

“So he mentioned to me and added one or two little matters on which I
was to ask you for some information. But first this bill,--you can let
me have these two thousand florins?”

“And what do he do now, der Davis?” asked the Jew, not heeding the

“Well, I suppose he rubs on pretty much the same as ever,” said Beecher,
in some confusion.

“Yaas--yaas--he rub on--and he rub off, too, sometimes--ha! ha! ha!”
 laughed out the old man, with a fiendish cackle. “Ach, der Davis!”

Without knowing in what sense to take the words, Beecher did not exactly
like them; and as little was he pleased with that singular recurrence
to “der Davis,” and the little sigh that followed. He was growing
impatient, besides, to get his money, and again reverted to the

“He look well? I hope he have de goot gesundheit--what you call it?”

“To be sure he does; nothing ever ails him. I never heard him complain
of as much as a headache.

“Ach, der Davis, der Davis!” said the old man, shaking his head.

Seeing no chance of success by his direct advances, Beecher thought he
‘d try a little flank attack by inducing a short conversation, and so he
said, “I am on my way to Davis, now, with his daughter, whom he left in
my charge.”

“Whose daughter?” asked the Jew.

“Davis’s,--a young lady that was educated at Brussels.”

“He have no daughter. Der Davis have no daughter.”

“Has n’t he, though? Just come over to the ‘Four Nations,’ and I ‘ll
show her to you. And such a stunning girl too!”

“No, no, I never belief it--never; he did never speak to me of a

“Whether he did or not--there she is, that’s all I know.”

The Jew shook his head, and sought refuge in his former muttering of
“Ach, der Davis!”

“As far as not telling you about his daughter, I can say he never told
me, and I fancy we were about as intimate as most people; but the fact
is as I tell you.”

Another sigh was all his answer, and Beecher was fast reaching the limit
of his patience.

“Daughter, or no daughter, I want a matter of a couple of thousand
florins,--no objection to a trifle more, of course,--and wish to know
how you can let me have them.”

“The Margraf was here two week ago, and he say to me, ‘Lazarus,’ say
he,--‘Lazarus, where is your goot friend Davis?’ ‘Highness,’ say I, ‘dat
I know not.’ Den he say, ‘I will find him, if I go to Jerusalem;’ and I
say, ‘Go to Jerusalem.’”

“What did he want with him?”

“What he want?--what every one want, and what nobody get, except how he
no like--ha! ha! ha! Ach, der Davis!”

Beecher rose from his seat, uncertain how to take this continued
inattention to his demand. He stood for a moment in hesitation, his eyes
wandering over the walls where the pictures were hanging.

“Ah! if you do care for art, now you suit yourself, and all for a
noting! I sell all dese,--dat Gerard Dow, dese two Potters, de leetle
Cuyp,--a veritable treasure, and de Mieris,--de best he ever painted,
and de rest, wit de land-schaft of Both, for eighty tousand seven
hundred florins. It is a schenk--a gift away--noting else.”

“You forget, my excellent friend Stein,” said Beecher, with more
assurance than he had yet assumed, “that it was to receive and not spend
money I came here this morning.”

“You do a leetle of all de two--a leetle of both, so to say,” replied
the Jew. “What moneys you want?”

“Come, this is speaking reasonably. Davis’s letter mentions a couple of
thousand florins; but if you are inclined to stretch the amount to five,
or even four thousand, we ‘ll not fall out about the terms.”

“How you mean--no fall out about de terms?” said the other, sharply.

“I meant that for a stray figure or so, in the way of discount, we
should n’t disagree. You may, in fact, make your own bargain.”

“Make my own bargain, and pay myself too,” muttered the Jew. “Ach, der
Davis, how he would laugh!--ha! ha! ha!”

“Well, I don’t see much to laugh at, old gent, except it be at my own
folly, to stand here so long chaffering about these paltry two thousand
florins. And now I say, ‘Yea or nay, will you book up, or not?’”

“Will you buy de Cuyp and de Wouvermans and de Ostade?--dat is the

“Egad, if you furnish the ready, I ‘ll buy the Cathedral and the
Cursaal. I ‘m not particular as to the investment when the cash is
easily come at.”

“De cash is very easy to come at,” said the Jew, with a strange grin.

“You ‘re a trump, Lazarus!” cried Beecher, in ecstasy at his good
fortune. “If I had known you some ten years ago, I ‘d have been
another man to-day. I was always looking out for one really fair,
honester-hearted fellow to deal with, but I never met with him till

“How you have it,--gold or notes?” said Lazarus.

“Well, a little of both, I think,” said Beecher, his eyes greedily
devouring the glittering little columns of gold before him.

“How your title?--how your name?” asked Stein, taking up a pen.

“My name is Annesley Beecher. You may write me the ‘Honorable Annesley

“Lord of--”

“I ‘m not Lord of anything. I’m next in succession to a peerage, that’s

“He call you de Viscount--I forget de name.”

“Lackington, perhaps?”

“Yaas, dat is de name; and say, give him de moneys for his bill. Now,
here is de acceptance, and here you put your sign, across dis.”

“I ‘ll write Annesley Beecher, with all my heart; but I ‘ll not write
myself Lackington.”

“Den you no have de moneys, nor de Cuyp, nor de Ostade,” said the Jew,
replacing the pen in the ink-bottle.

“Just let me ask you, old boy, how would it benefit you that I should
commit a forgery? Is that the way you like to do business?”

“I do know myself how I like my business to do, and no man teach me.”

“What the devil did Davis mean, then, by sending me on this fool’s
errand? He gave me a distinct intimation that you ‘d cash my

“Am I not ready? You never go and say to der Davis dat I refuse it! Ah,
der Davis!” and he sighed as if from the very bottom of his heart.

“I’ll tell him, frankly, that you made it a condition I was to sign a
name that does not belong to me,--_that_ I ‘ll tell him.”

“What care he for dat? Der Davis write his own name on it and pay it

“Oh! and Davis was also to indorse this bill, was he?” asked Beecher.

“I should tink he do; oderwise I scarce give you de moneys.”

“That, indeed, makes some difference. Not, in reality, that it would
n’t be just as much a forgery; but if the bill come back to Grog’s own

“Ach, der Grog,--ha! ha! ha! ‘Tis so long dat I no hear de name,--Grog
Davis!” and the Jew laughed till his eyes ran over.

“If there’s no other way of getting at this money--”

“Dere is no oder way,” said Lazarus, in a tone of firmness..

“Then good-morning, friend Lazarus, for you ‘ll not catch me spoiling
a stamp at that price. No, no, old fellow. I ‘m up to a thing or two,
though you don’t suspect it. I only rise to the natural fly, and no

“I make no mistake; I take vaary goot care of dat,” said Lazarus,
rising, and taking off his fez, to say adieu. “I wish you de vaary goot

Beecher turned away, with a stiff salutation, into the garden. He was
angry with Davis, with himself, and with the whole world. It was a
rare event in his life to see gold so much within his reach and yet not
available, just for a scruple--a mere scruple--for, after all, what was
it else? Writing “Lackington” meant nothing, if Lack-ington were never
to see, much less to pay the bill. Once “taken up,” as it was sure to
be by Grog, what signified it if the words across the acceptance were
Lackington or Annesley Beecher? And yet, what could Davis mean by
passing him off as the Viscount? Surely, for such a paltry sum as a
couple of thousand florins, it was not necessary to assume his brother’s
name and title. It was some “dodge,” perhaps, to acquire consequence in
the eyes of his friend Lazarus that he was the travelling-companion of
an English peer; and yet, if so, it was the very first time Beecher had
known him yield to such a weakness. He _had_ a meaning in it, that much
was certain, for Grog made no move in the game of life without a plan!
“It can’t be,” muttered Beecher to himself,--“it can’t be for the sake
of any menace over me for the forgery, because he has already in his
hands quite enough to push me to the wall on that score, as he takes
care to remind me he might any fine morning have me ‘up’ on that
charge.” The more Beecher ruminated over what possible intention
Davis might have in view, the more did he grow terrified, lest, by any
short-comings on his own part, he might thwart the great plans of his
deep colleague.

“I never met his equal yet to put a fellow in a cleft stick,” muttered
Beecher, as he walked to and fro in intense agitation, “and he’s just
the man also, whenever anything goes wrong, not to listen to a word of
explanation. ‘Why didn’t you do as I bade you?’ or, ‘As I ordered you?’
for that’s his phrase generally. ‘Who told _you_ that you had any option
in the matter? Did _I_ take you into consultation? Play up to _my_
hand!’ that’s his cry. ‘Play up to _my_ hand, and never mind your own!’
Well, I have been doing so some ten or twelve years back, and a nice
game I’ve made of it! Break with him!--of course I’d break with him,
if any one would tell me how! Egad, sometimes I begin to think that
transportation and the rest of it would not be a bit harder to bear
than old Grog’s tyranny! It wears one out,--it positively drains a man’s
nature dry!” There are volcanic throes, that, however they may work
and struggle, throw up no lava; so with Beecher. All his passionate
indignation could not rouse him to action, although his actual suffering
might have prompted energy to any amount. He took out Davis’s letter and
re-read it. One line which had escaped his attention before, now caught
his eye on the blank leaf. It ran thus: “Take care that you do not delay
at Aix after receipt of this. Benson’s fellows are after you.” A cold
shudder came over Beecher as he perused the line. Benson’s fellows
meant bailiffs, detectives, or something of the like. Benson was a
money-lender of the most inveterate villany,--a fellow who had pursued
more men of station and condition than any one living. He was the
terror of the “swells.” To be in Benson’s hands meant ruin in its most
irretrievable shape; and at the very moment he stood there his minions
were on his track!

Ere he was well aware of it, he was back at the little window of the

“I must have this money on your own terms, Stein,” said he. “I find that
Davis has some urgent need of my presence. I can’t delay here another

“How many tousend gulden, milord?” asked the Jew respectfully, as he
dipped his pen in the ink-bottle.

“Davis says two--I should like to say four, or even five.”

“Five if you wish it, milord; to me is it all as one--five, fifteen, or
fifty; whatever sum you want.”

Beecher put his hand on the other’s wrist to detain him while he took
a moment’s counsel with himself. Never had such a golden opportunity
as this presented itself. Never before had he seen the man who so
generously proffered his services. It was ask and have. Was he to reject
such good fortune?--was he to turn his back on the very first piece of
luck that had ever befallen him? What heartburnings might he be storing
up for future years when he looked back to the time that, with a word,
he might have made his fortune!

“But are you quite sure, friend Lazarus, that if I say eight or ten
thousand,--for I don’t want more,--Davis will be as willing to back the

“I am quite sure.”

“Well, now, I am not so very certain of that; and as it is Davis will
have to book up, it might be safer, perhaps, that I did n’t go beyond
the amount he mentions,--eh?”

“As you will,--as you please yourself. I only say, dere is der Herr
Davis’s name; he send it to me and say, ‘Milord will do de rest.’”

“So that he sent you a blank acceptance?” cried Beecher, in amazement.

“Yaas, Just as you see,--‘Christopher Davis,’ and de flourish as usual.
Ach, der Davis!” and he sighed once more.

The man who held Grog’s signature on a blank stamp assumed no common
shape in Annesley Beecher’s eyes, and he continued to gaze on the old
man with a strange sense of awe and astonishment. If he had not the
document there before him on the table, he would not have believed it.
The trustful courage of Van Amburgh, who used to place his head in the
lion’s mouth, seemed poor in comparison with such heroic boldness as
this; and he gazed at the writing in a sort of fascination.

“And Grog actually sent you that over by letter?” asked he again.

“Yaas, as you see,” was the calm answer.

“Well, here goes then, Abraham--Lazarus, I mean; make it out for a
matter of--five--no, eight--hang it, let as say ten thousand florins
when we are about it! Ten thousand, at six months,--eh?”

“Better at tree months,--we can always renew,” said Stein, calmly.

“Of course; and by that time we may want a little more liquor in the
decanter,--eh! old boy?” said Beecher, laughing joyfully.

“To be sure, vaary mush more liquor as you want it.”

“What a brick!” said Beecher, clapping him on the shoulder in all the
ecstasy of delight.

“Dere!” said the Jew, as he finished writing, “all is done; only to say
where it be paid,--what bank at London.”

“Well, that is a bit of a puzzle, I must own!” said Beecher, rubbing his
chin with an air of doubt and hesitation.

“Where do de Lord Lackington keep his account?” asked the Jew; and the
question was so artfully posed that Beecher Answered promptly,--

“Harmer and Gore’s, Lombard Street, or Pall Mall, whichever you like.”

“Hanper and Gore. I know dem vaary well,--that will do; you do sign your
name dere.”

“I wish I could persuade you that Annesley Beecher would be

“You write de name as der Davis say, and no oder!”

“Here goes, then! ‘In for a penny,’ as the proverb says,” muttered he;
and in a bold, dashing hand, wrote “Lackington” across the bill.

[Illustration: 058]

“Ah!” said the Jew, as he examined it with his glass, and scanned every
letter over and over; “and now, vat you say for de Cuyp, and de Mieris,
and de Ostade,--vill you take ‘era all, as I say?”

“I ‘ll think over it,--I ‘ll reflect a bit first, Master Stein. As for
pictures, they ‘re rather an encumbrance when a man has n’t a house to
hang them in.”

“You have de vaary fine house in town, and an oder vaary fine house in
de country, beside a what you call box--shoot-box--”

“Nothing of the kind, Lazarus. I haven’t a thing as big as the crib
we are standing in. Your mind is always running upon my brother; but
there’s a wide difference between our fortunes, I assure you. He drew
the first ticket in the lottery of life; and, by the way, that reminds
me of something in Grog’s letter that I was to ask you.” And Beecher
took the epistle from his pocket and ran his eye over it. “Ah! here it
is! ‘Ask Stein what are the average runs at rouge-et-noir, what are
the signs of an intermitting game, and what are the longest runs he
remembers on one color?’ Can you answer me these?”

“Some of dem I have here,” said Stein, taking down from a shelf a small
vellum-bound volume, fastened with a padlock and chain, the key of which
he wore attached to his watch. “Here is de grand ‘arcanum,’” said he,
laughing; “here are de calculs made in de experience of forty-one
year! Where is de man in Europe can say as mush as dat? In dis book is
recounted de great game of de Duc de Brancas, where he broke de bank
every night of de week till Saturday,--two million tree hundred tousand
francs! Caumartin, the first croupier, shot hisself, and Nogeot go mad.
He reckon de moneys in de casette, for when he say on Friday night,
‘Monseigneur,’ say he, ‘we have not de full sum here,--there’s one
hundred and seventy tousand francs too little,’ de Duc reply, ‘Never
mind, mon cher Monsieur Nogeot, I am noways pressed,--don’t distress
yourself,--only let it be pay before I go home to bed.’ Nogeot lose his
reason when he hear it. Ah! here is de whole ‘Greschichte,’ and here de
table of chances.”

Beecher gazed on the precious volume as Aladdin might have done on the
lamp. It was the mystic key to untold riches. With that marvellous
book a man needed no more in life; there lay all the “cabals,” all the
“martingales,” that years of intense toil and deep study had discovered.
To win that knowledge, too, what hearts had been broken, what
desolation, what death! It was a record of martyrs in his eyes, and he
really regarded it with a sort of rapturous veneration.

Old Lazarus did not fail to detect the expression of wonderment and
admiration. He saw depicted there the glowing ecstasy that all
the triumphs of high art could not call up. The vigorous energy of
Wouvermans, the glowing coloring of Cuyp, the mellow richness of Mieris,
had not touched that nature which now vibrated in every chord to the
appeal of Fortune. It was the submissive worship of a devotee before
some sacred relic! Stein read that gaze, and tracked its every motive;
and with a solemn gesture he clasped the volume and locked it.

“But you are surely going to show me--I mean, you are about to tell me
the answer to these questions?”

Stein shook his head dubiously, as he said: “Dat is my Kleinod, my
idol,--in dat book lie de secret of secrets, and I say to myself,
‘Lazarus, be poor, be destitute, be houseless to-morrow, and you know
how to get rich if you will.’ De great law of Chances--de rule dat guide
what we call ‘Luck’--dere it is written! I have but to say I will have,
and I have! When I die, I will burn it, or have it lay wit me in my

“It’s not possible you could do this!” cried Beecher, in horror: far
less of indignation had it cost him to hear that any one should carry
out of the world with him the cure of cancer, of cholera, or some such
dread scourge of poor humanity. The black-hearted selfishness of such a
crime seemed without a parallel, and for a second or two, as he
looked at the decrepid object before him, and saw the lonely spot, the
isolation, and the propitious moment, a strange wild thought flashed
across his mind that it might be not only pardonable, but praiseworthy,
to seize upon and carry it off by force.

Whether the old man read what was passing within him is hard to say, but
he returned the other’s look as steadily and as fiercely, and Beecher
felt abashed and cowed.

“I’ ll tell you what, Stein,” said he, after a pause, “I ‘ll buy that
same old volume of yours, just for the curiosity of the thing, and I ‘ll
make you a sporting offer,--I ‘ll give you ten thousand francs for it!”

A low wailing whistle of utter contempt was all the Jew replied.

“Well, it’s a splendid bid, if you come to think of it; for, just
suppose it be everything you say--and I own I can’t believe it is,--but
suppose it were, who is to guarantee the continuance of these great
public play-tables? All the Governments of Europe are setting their
faces against them,--not a year passes without one or two being closed.
This very spring there was a talk of suppressing play at Baden. Who can
tell what the first outbreak of fanatic zeal may effect?”

“No, no. So long as men live, dey will do tree tings,--make love, make
war, and gamble. When dey give up dese, de world shut up.”

There was a truthful force about this Beecher felt could not be
gainsaid, and he stood silent and confuted. There was another appeal
that he had not tried, and he resolved to neglect nothing that gave
even the faintest chance of success. He addressed himself to the Jew’s
goodness of heart,--to the benevolence that he knew must have its home
in his nature. To what end, therefore, should he carry to the grave, or
destroy, a secret that might be a blessing to thousands? He depicted,
not without knowledge, some of the miseries of the man “forgotten
of Fortune,”--the days of fevered anxiety,--the nights of agonizing
torture, as, half maddened by his losses, he played wildly, recklessly
on,--suicide in all its darkest forms ever present to his aching
faculties, while all this time one glance within that little book would
save him. And he wound up all by a burst of enthusiastic praise of a man
who could thus transmit happiness to generations unborn.

“I never wish to sell dat book. I mean it alway to die wit myself! but
if you will give me one tousand pounds, it is yours. If you delay, I
will say two tousands.”

“Done--I take it. Of course a bill will do--eh?”

“Yaas, I will take a bill,--a bill at tree months. When it is yours, I
will tell you dat you are de luckiest man in all Europe. You have dere,
in dat leetle volume, all man strive for, fight for, cheat for, die

As he said this, he sat down again at his desk to write the acceptance
Beecher was to sign; while the other, withdrawing into the window
recess, peered eagerly into the pages of the precious book.

“Mind,” said the Jew, “you no let any one see de ‘Cabal.’ If it be once
get abroad, de bank will change de play. You just carry in your head
de combinations, and you, go in, and win de millions dat you want at de

“Just so,” said Beecher, in ecstasy, the very thought of the golden
cataract sending a thrill of rapture through him. “I suppose, however, I
may show it to Davis?”

“Ach, der Davis, yaas,--der Davis can see it,” said the Jew, with a
laugh whose significance it were very hard to interpret. “Dere now,”
 said Stein, handing him the pen, “write de name dere as on de oder.”

“Still Lackington, I suppose--eh?” asked Beecher.

“Yaas,--just de same,” said Stein, gravely.

“‘Just as good for a sheep as a lamb,’ as the proverb says,” muttered
Beecher. And he dashed off the name with a reckless flourish. “I ‘ll
tell you one thing, Master Stein,” said he, as he buttoned up the magic
volume in the breast of his coat, “if this turn out the good dodge
you say it is, I ‘ll behave handsomely to you. I pledge you my word of
honor, I’ll stand to you for double--treble the sum you have got written
there. _You_ don’t know the fellow you’re dealing with,--very few know
him, for the matter of that,--but though he has got a smart lesson
or two in life, he has good stuff in him still; and _if_--I say _if_,
because, of course, all depends on _that_--_if_ I can give the bank
at Hamburg a spring in the air with the aid of this, I ‘ll not forget
_you_, old boy.”

“You make dem all spring in de air!--Ems, Wiesbaden, Baden--all go up
togeder!” And the Jew laughed with the glee of a demon.

“Not that I want to hurt any one,--not that I ‘d like to squeeze a
fellow too hard,” broke in Beecher, suddenly, for a quick thrill of
superstitious fear--the gambler’s innate conscience--shot through him,
and made him tremble to think that by a chance word or thought he might
disgust the Fortune he would propitiate. “No, no; my motto is, ‘Live
and let live!’ There’s room for us all!” And with the utterance of a
sentiment he believed so truly generous, he took leave of the Jew, and


It was at a little village called Holbach, about fifteen miles from
the right bank of the Rhine, Grog Davis had taken up his quarters while
awaiting the arrival of his daughter. Near as it was to that great
high-road of Europe, scarcely out of earshot of whizzing steamers and
screaming trains, the spot was wonderfully secluded and unvisited.
A little trout-stream, known to a few, who treasured the secret like
fishermen, made the inn resorted to in the months of May and June; but
for the rest of the year the “Golden Hook” had few customers, and the
landlord almost abdicated his functions till spring came round again.
The house, originally intended for a mill, was built over the river
itself, so that the indolent angler might actually have fished from the
very window. The pine-clad mountains of Nassau enclosed the narrow glen,
which straggled irregularly along for miles, now narrowing to a mere
strip, now expanding into little plains of fertile meadow-land, with
neat cottages and speckled cattle scattered around them. A narrow belt
of garden flanked the river, on whose edge a walk of trellised vines
was fashioned,--a charming spot in the sultry heat of summer, with its
luxuriant shade above and the rippling stream below. Davis had seen
the place years before in some hurried Journey; but his retentive mind
carried a full memory of the spot, and he soon found that it comprised
all he was in search of,--it was easy of access, secret, and cheap.

Only too well pleased to meet with a guest at this dead season of the
year, they gave up to him the choicest apartment, and treated him with
every solicitude and attention.

His table was supplied well, almost luxuriously; the good wine of
Ettleberg given in liberal profusion; the vine alley converted into a
pistol gallery for his use; and all for such a sum _per diem_ as would
not have satisfied a waiter at the Clarendon. But it was the calm
seclusion, the perfect isolation that gratified him most. Let him
stroll which way he would, he never chanced upon a traveller. It was
marvellous, indeed, how such a place could have escaped that prying
tribe of ramblers which England each year sends forth to wrangle,
dispute, and disparage everything over Europe; and yet here were
precisely the very objects they usually sought after,--beautiful
scenery, a picturesque peasantry, and a land romantic in all its traits
and traditions.

Not that Grog cared for these: rocks, waterfalls, ruins, leafy groves,
or limpid streams made no appeal to _him_, He lived for the life of men,
their passions and their ambitions. He knew some people admired this
kind of thing, and there were some who were fond of literature; others
liked pictures; others, again, fancied old coins. He had no objection.
They were, if not very profitable, at least, harmless tastes. All he
asked was, not to be the companion of such dreamers. “Give me the fellow
that knows life,” would he say; and I am afraid that the definition of
that same “life” would have included some things scarcely laudable.

If the spot were one to encourage indolence and ease, Davis did not
yield to this indulgence. He arose early; walked for health; shot with
the pistol for practice; studied his martingale for the play-table; took
an hour with the small-sword with an old maître d’armes whom he found
in the village; and, without actually devoting himself to it as a task,
practised himself in German by means of conversation; and, lastly, he
thought deeply and intently over the future. For speculations of this
kind he had no mean capacity. If he knew little of the human heart in
its higher moods, he understood it well in its shortcomings and its
weaknesses; to what temptations a man might yield, when to offer them,
and how, were mysteries he had often brooded over. In forecastings of
this order, therefore, Davis exercised himself. Strange eventualities,
“cases of conscience,” that I would fain believe never occurred to you,
dear reader, nor to me, arose before him, and he met them manfully.

The world is generous in its admiration of the hard-worked minister,
toiling night-long at his desk, receiving and answering his twenty
despatches daily, and rising in the House to explain this, refute that,
confirm the other, with all the clearness of an orator and all the
calmness of a clerk; but, after all, he is but a fly-wheel in that
machine of government of which there are some hundred other component
parts, all well fitting and proportioned. _Précis_ writers and private
secretaries cram, colleagues advise him. The routine of official life
hedges him in his proper groove; and if not overcome by indolence or
affected by zeal, he can scarcely blunder. Not so your man of straits
and emergency, your fellow living by his wits, and wresting from the
world, that fancies it does not want him, reward and recognition. It
is no marvel if a proud three-decker sail round the globe; but very
different is our astonishment if a cockboat come safely from the China
Seas, or brave the stormy passage round the Cape. Such a craft as this
was Grog, his own captain: himself the crew, he had neither owner nor
underwriter; and yet, amidst the assembled navies of the world, he would
have shown his bunting!

The unbroken calm of his present existence was most favorable to these
musings, and left him to plan his campaign in perfect quiet Whether the
people of the inn regarded him as a great minister in disgrace come,
by hard study, to retrieve a lost position, a man of science deeply
immersed in some abstruse problem, or a distinguished author seeking
isolation for the free exercise of his imagination, they treated him
not only with great respect, but a sort of deference was shown in their
studious effort to maintain the silence and stillness around. When he
was supposed to be at his studies, not a voice was heard, not a footfall
on the stairs. There is no such flattery to your man of scapes and
accidents, your thorough adventurer, as that respectful observance that
implies he is a person of condition. It is like giving of free will
to the highwayman the purse he expected to have a fight for. Davis
delighted in these marks of deference, and day by day grew more eager in
exacting them.

“I heard some noise outside there this morning, Carl,” said he to the
waiter; “what was the meaning of it?” For a moment or two the waiter
hesitated to explain; but after a little went on to speak of a stranger
who had been a resident of the inn for some months back without ever
paying his bill; the law, singularly enough, not giving the landlord
the power of turning him adrift, but simply of ceasing to afford him
sustenance, and waiting for some opportunity of his leaving the house to
forbid his re-entering it. Davis was much amused at this curious piece
of legislation, by which a moneyless guest could be starved out but
not expelled, and put many questions as to the stranger, his age,
appearance, and nation. All the waiter knew was that he was a
venerable-looking man, portly, advanced in life, with specious manners,
a soft voice, and a benevolent smile; as to his country, he could n’t
guess. He spoke several languages, and his German was, though peculiar,
good enough to be a native’s.

“But how does he live?” said Davis; “he must eat.”

“There’s the puzzle of it!” exclaimed Carl; “for a while he used to
watch while I was serving a breakfast or a dinner, and sallying out of
his room, which is at the end of the corridor, he ‘d make off, sometimes
with a cutlet,--perhaps a chicken,--now a plate of spinach, now an
omelette, till, at last, I never ventured upstairs with the tray without
some one to protect it. Not that even this always sufficed, for he was
occasionally desperate, and actually seized a dish by force.”

“Even these chances, taken at the best, would scarcely keep a man
alive,” said Davis.

“Nor would they; but we suspect he must have means of getting out at
night and making a ‘raid’ over the country. We constantly hear of fowls
carried off; cheese and fruit stolen. There he is now, creeping along
the gallery. Listen! I have left some apples outside.”

With a gesture to enforce caution, Davis arose, and placed a
percussion-cap on a pistol, a motion of his hand sufficing to show that
the weapon was not loaded.

“Open the door gently,” said he; and the waiter, stealing over
noiselessly, turned the handle. Scarcely had the door been drawn back,
when Grog saw the figure of a man, and snapped off the pistol. At the
same moment he sprang from the spot, and rushed out to the corridor. The
stranger, to all seeming, was not even startled by the report, but was
gravely occupied in examining his sleeve to see if he had been struck.
He lifted up his head, and Davis, with a start, cried out,--

“What, Paul!--Paul Classon! Is this possible!”

“Davis--old fellow!--do I see you here?” exclaimed the other, in a deep
and mellow voice, utterly devoid of irritation or even excitement.

“Come in,--come in here, Paul,” said Davis, taking him by the arm; and
he led him within the room. “Little I suspected on whom I was playing
this scurvy trick.”

“It was not loaded,” said the other, coolly.

“Of course not”

“I thought so,” said he, with an easy smile; “they ‘ve had so many
devices to frighten me.”

“Come, Paul, old fellow, pour yourself out a tumbler of that red wine,
while I cut you some of this ham; we ‘ll have plenty of time for talk

The stranger accepted the invitation, but without the slightest show of
eagerness or haste. Nay, he unfolded his napkin leisurely, and fastened
a corner in one buttonhole, as some old-fashioned epicures have a trick
of doing. He held his glass, too, up to the light, to enjoy the rich
color of the wine, and smacked his lips, as he tasted it, with the air
of a connoisseur.

“A Burgundy, Davis, eh?” asked he, sipping again.

“I believe so. In truth, I know little about these wines.”

“Oh, yes, a ‘Pomard,’ and very good of its kind. Too loaded, of course,
for the time of year, except for such palates as England rears.”

Davis had now covered his friend’s plate with ham and capon, and, at
last, was pleased to see him begin his breakfast.

We are not about to impose upon our reader the burden of knowing more of
Mr. Classon than is requisite for the interests of our story; but while
he eats the first regular meal he has tasted for two months and more,
let us say a word or so about him. He was a clergyman, whose life
had been one continued history of mischances. Occasionally the sun of
prosperity would seem disposed to shine genially on his head; but for
the most part his lot was to walk with dark and lowering skies above

[Illustration: 068]

If he held any preferment, it was to quarrel with his rector, his dean,
or his bishop; to be cited before commissions, tried by surrogates,
pronounced contumacious, suspended, and Heaven knows what else. He was
everlastingly in litigation with churchwardens and parish authorities,
discovering rights of which he was defrauded, and privileges of which he
was deprived. None like him to ferret out Acts of Edward or Henry, and
obsolete bequests of long-buried founders of this, that, or t’other, of
which the present guardians were little better than pickpockets. Adverse
decisions and penalties pressing on him, he grew libellous, he spoke,
wrote, and published all manner of defamatory things, accused every
one of peculation, fraud, and falsehood, and, as the spirit of attack
strengthened in him by exercise, menaced this man with prosecution, and
that with open exposure. Trials by law, and costs accumulated against
him, and he was only out of jail here, to enter it again there. From the
Courts “above” he soon descended to those “below;” he became dissipated
and dissolute, his hireling pen scrupled at nothing, and he assailed
anything or any one, to order. Magistrates “had him up” as the author
of threatening letters or begging epistles. To-day he was the mock
secretary of an imaginary charity; tomorrow he ‘d appear as a distressed
missionary going out to some island in the Pacific. He was eternally
before the world, until the paragraph that spoke of him grew to be
headed by the words, “The Reverend Paul Classon again!” or, more
briefly, “Paul Classon’s last!” His pen, all this while, was his sole
subsistence; and what a bold sweep it took!--impeachment of Ministers,
accusation of theft, forgery, intimation of even worse crimes against
the highest names in the realm, startling announcements of statesmen
bribed, ambassadors corrupted, pasquinades against bishops and judges,
libellous stories of people in private life, prize fights, prophetic
almanacs, mock missionary journals, stanzas to celebrate quack
remedies,--even street ballads were amongst his literary efforts; while,
personally, he presided at low singing-establishments, and was the
president of innumerable societies in localities only known to the
police. It was difficult to take up a newspaper without finding him
either reported drunk and disorderly in the police-sheet, obstructing
the thoroughfare by a crowd assembled to hear him, having refused to pay
for his dinner or his bed, assaulted the landlady, or, crime of crimes,
used intemperate language to “G 493.” At last they got actually tired
of trying him for begging, and imprisoning him for battery; the law was
wearied out; but the world also had its patience exhausted, and Paul saw
that he must conquer a new hemisphere. He came abroad.

What a changeful life was it now that he led,--at one time a tutor, at
another a commissionaire for an hotel, a railway porter, a travelling
servant, a police spy, the doorkeeper of a circus company, editor of
an English journal, veterinary, language master, agent for patent
medicines, picture-dealer, and companion to a nervous invalid, which,
as Paul said, meant a furious maniac. There is no telling what he went
through of debt and difficulty, till the police actually preferred
passing him quietly over the frontier to following up with penalty so
incurable an offender. In this way had he wandered about Europe for
years, the terror of legations, the pestilence of charitable committees.
Contributions to enable the Rev. Paul Classon to redeem his clothes, his
watch, his divinity library, to send him to England, to the Andes, to
Africa, figured everywhere. I dare not say how often he had been rescued
out of the lowest pit of despondency, or snatched like a brand from the
burning; in fact, he lived in a pit, and was always on fire.

“I am delighted,” said Davis, as he replenished his friend’s plate,--“I
am delighted to see that you have the same good, hearty appetite as of
old, Paul.”

“Ay, Kit,” said he, with a gentle sigh, “the appetite has been more
faithful than the dinner; on the same principle, perhaps, that the last
people who desert us are our creditors!”

“I suspect you ‘ve had rather a hard time of it,” said Davis,

“Well, not much to complain of,--not anything that one would call
hardships,” said Classon, as he pushed his plate from him and proceeded
to light a cigar; “we ‘re all stragglers, Kit, that’s the fact of it.”

“I suppose it is; but it ain’t very disagreeable to be a straggler with
ten thousand a year.”

“If the having and enjoying were always centred in the same individual,”
 said Classon, slowly, “what you say would be unanswerable; but it’s not
so, Kit. No, no; the fellows who really enjoy life never have anything.
They are, so to say, guests on a visit to this earth, come to pass a few
months pleasantly, to put up anywhere, and be content with everything.”
 Grog shook his head dissentingly, and the other went on, “Who knows the
truth of what I am saying better than either of us? How many broad acres
did your father or mine bequeath us? What debentures, railroad shares,
mining scrip, or mortgages? And yet, Kit, if we come to make up the
score of pleasant days and glorious nights, do you fancy that any
noble lord of them all would dispute the palm with us? Oh,” said he,
rapturously, “give _me_ the unearned enjoyments of life,--pleasures that
have never cost me a thought to provide, nor a sixpence to pay for! Pass
the wine, Kit,--that bottle is better than the other;” and be smacked
his lips, while his eyes closed in a sort of dreamy rapture.

“I ‘d like to hear something of your life, Paul,” said Davis. “I often
saw your name in the ‘Times’ and the ‘Post,’ but I ‘d like to have your
own account of it.”

“My dear Kit, I ‘ve had fifty lives. It’s the man you should
understand,--the fellow that is here;” and he slapped his broad chest
as he spoke. “As for mere adventures, what are they? Squalls that never
interfere with the voyage,--not even worth entering in the ship’s log.”

“Where’s your wife, Paul?” asked Davis, abruptly, for he was half
impatient under the aphorizing tone of his companion.

“When last I heard of her,” said Classon, slowly, as he eyed his glass
to the light, “she was at Chicago,--if that be the right prosody of
it,--lecturing on ‘Woman’s Rights.’ Nobody knew the subject better than

“I heard she was a very clever woman,” said Davis.

“Very clever,” said Classon; “discursive; not always what the French
call ‘consequent,’ but, certainly, clever, and a sweet poetess.” There
was a racy twinkle in that reverend eye as he said the last words, so
full of malicious drollery that Davis could not help remarking it;
but all Classon gave for explanation was, “This to her health and
happiness!” and he drained off a bumper. “And yours, Kit,--what of her?”
 asked he.

“Dead these many years. Do you remember her?”

“Of course I do. I wrote the article on her first appearance at the
Surrey. What a handsome creature she was then! It was I predicted her
great success; it was I that saved her from light comedy parts, and told
her to play Lady Teazle!”

“I ‘ll show you her born image to-morrow,--her daughter,” said Davis,
with a strange choking sensation that made him cough; “she’s taller than
her mother,--more style also.”

“Very difficult, that,--very difficult, indeed,” said Classon, gravely.
“There was a native elegance about her I never saw equalled; and then
her walk, the carriage of the head, the least gesture, had all a certain
grace that was fascination.”

“Wait till you see Lizzy,” said Davis, proudly; “you ‘ll see these all

“Do you destine her for the boards, Kit?” asked Classon, carelessly.

“For the stage? No, of course not,” replied Davis, rudely.

“And yet these are exactly the requirements would fetch a high price
just now. Beauty is not a rare gift in England; nor are form and
symmetry; but, except in the highly born, there is a lamentable
deficiency in that easy gracefulness of manner, that blended dignity and
softness, that form the chief charm of woman. If she be what you say,
Kit,--if she be, in short, her mother’s daughter,--it is a downright
insanity not to bring her out.”

“I ‘ll not hear of it! That girl has cost me very little short of ten
thousand pounds,--ay, ten thousand pounds,--schooling, masters, and
the rest of it. She ‘s no fool, so I take it; it ain’t thrown away! As
regards beauty, I’ll stake fifteen to ten, in hundreds, that, taking
your stand at the foot of St. James’s Street on a drawing-room day,
you don’t see her equal. I’m ready to put down the money to-morrow, and
that’s giving three to two against the field! And is that the girl I ‘m
to throw away on the Haymarket? She’s a Derby filly, I tell you, Paul,
and will be first favorite one of these days.”

“Faustum sit augurium!” said Classon, as he raised his glass in a
theatrical manner, and then drained it off. “Still, if I be rightly
informed, the stage is often the antechamber to the peerage. The
attractions that dazzle thousands form the centre of fascination for
some one.”

“She may find her way to a coronet without that,” said Davis, rudely.

“Ah, indeed!” said Paul, with a slight elevation of the eyebrow;
but though his tone invited a confidence, the other made no further

“And now for yourself, Classon, what have you been at lately?” said
Davis, wishing to change the subject.

“Literature and the arts. I have been contributing to a London weekly,
as Crimean correspondent, with occasional letters from the gold
diggings. I have been painting portraits for a florin the head, till
I have exhausted all the celebrities of the three villages near us. My
editor has, I believe, run away, however, and supplies have ceased for
some time back.”

“And what are your plans now?”

“I have some thoughts of going back to divinity. These newly invented
water-cure establishments are daily developing grander proportions; some
have got German bands, some donkeys, some pleasure-boats, others rely
upon lending libraries and laboratories; but the latest dodge is a

“But won’t they know you, Paul? Have not the newspapers ‘blown you’?”

“Ah, Davis, my dear friend,” said he, with a benevolent smile, “it’s far
easier to live down a bad reputation than to live up to a good one. I
‘d only ask a week--one week’s domestication with the company of these
places--to show I was a martyred saint. I have, so to say, a perennial
fount of goodness in my nature that has never failed me.”

“I remember it at school,” said Davis, dryly.

“_You_ took the clever line, Kit, ‘suum cuique;’ it would never have
suited _me_. _You_ were born to thrive upon men’s weaknesses, mine the
part to have a vested interest in their virtues.”

“If you depend upon their virtues for a subsistence, I ‘m not surprised
to see you out at elbows,” said Davis, roughly.

“Not so, Kit,--not so,” said the other, blandly, in rebuke. “There ‘s a
great deal of weak good-nature always floating about life. The world is
full of fellows with ‘Pray take me in’ written upon them.”

“I can only vouch for it very few have come in my way,” said Davis, with
a harsh laugh.

“So much the better for _them_,” said Paul, gravely.

A pause of considerable duration now ensued between them, broken, at
last, by Davis abruptly saying, “Is it not a strange thing, it was only
last night I was saying to myself, ‘What the deuce has become of Holy
Paul?--the newspapers have seemingly forgotten him. It can’t be that he
is dead.’”

“Lazarus only sleepeth,” said Classon; “and, indeed, my last eleven
weeks here seem little other than a disturbed sleep.”

Continuing his own train of thought, Davis went on, “If I could chance
upon him now, he’s just the fellow I want, or, rather, that I may want.”

“If it is a lampoon or a satire you ‘re thinking of, Kit, I ‘ve given
them up; I make no more blistering ointments, but turn all my skill to
balsams. They give no trouble in compounding, and pay even better. Ah,
Davis, my worthy friend, what a mistake it is to suppose that a man must
live by his talents, while his real resource is his temperament. For a
life of easy enjoyment, that blessed indolence that never knew a care,
it is heart, not head, is needed.”

“All I can say is, that with the fellows I ‘ve been most with, heart had
very little to do with them, and the best head was the one that least
trusted his neighbors.”

“A narrow view, my dear friend,--a narrow view, take my word for it; as
one goes on in life he thinks better of it.”

A malicious grin was all the answer Davis made to this remark. At last
he turned his eyes full upon the other, and in a low but distinct voice
said: “Let us have no more of this, Paul. If we are to play, let us
play, as the Yankees say, without the ‘items,’--no cheating on either
side. Don’t try the Grand Benevolence dodge with me,--don’t. When I said
awhile ago, I might want you, it was no more than I meant. You _may_ be
able to render me a service,--a great service.”

“Say how,” said Classon, drawing his chair nearer to him,--“say how,
Kit, and you’ll not find the terms exorbitant.”

“It’s time enough to talk about the stakes when we are sure the match
will come off,” said Davis, cautiously. “All I ‘ll say for the present
is, I may want you.”

Classon took out a small and very greasy-looking notebook from his
waistcoat-pocket, and with his pencil in hand, said, “About what time
are you likely to need me? Don’t be particular as to a day or a week,
but just in a rough-guessing sort of way say when.”

“I should say in less than a month from this time,--perhaps within a

“All right,” said Classon, closing his book, after making a brief note.
“You smile,” said he, blandly, “at my methodical habits, but I have been
a red-tapist all my life, Kit I don’t suppose you ‘ll find any man’s
papers, letters, documents, and so forth, in such trim order as
mine,--all labelled, dated, and indexed. Ah! there is a great philosophy
in this practical equanimity; take my word for it, there is.”

“How far are we from Neuwied here?” asked Davis, half pettishly; for
every pretension of his reverend friend seemed to jar upon his nerves.

“About sixteen or eighteen miles, I should say?”

“I must go or send over there to-morrow,” continued Davis. “The
postmaster sends me word that several letters have arrived,--some to my
address, some to my care. Could you manage to drive across?”

“Willingly; only remember that once I leave this blessed sanctuary I may
find the door closed against my return. They ‘ve a strange legislation

“I know--I ‘ve heard of it,” broke in Davis. “I ‘ll guarantee
everything, so that you need have no fears on that score. Start at
daybreak, and fetch back all letters you find there for me or for the
Honorable Annesley Beecher.”

“The Honorable Annesley Beecher!” said Classon, as he wrote the name
in his note-book. “Dear me! the last time I heard that name was--let
me see--fully twelve years ago. It was after that affair at Brighton.
I wrote an article for the ‘Heart of Oak,’ on the ‘Morality of our
Aristocracy.’ How I lashed their vices! how I stigmatized their lives of
profligacy and crime!”

“You infernal old hypocrite!” cried Davis, with a half-angry laugh.

“There was no hypocrisy in that, Kit. If I tell you that a statue is
bad in drawing, or incorrect in anatomy, I never assert thereby that I
myself have the torso of Hercules or the limbs of Antinous.”

“Leave people’s vices alone, then; they ‘re the same as their debts; if
you’re not going to pay them, you ‘ve no right to talk about them.”

“Only on public grounds, Kit Our duty to society, my dear friend, has
its own requirements!”

“Fiddlestick!” said Davis, angrily, as he pushed his glass from before
him; then, after a moment, went on: “Do you start early, so as to be
back here before evening,--my mind is running on it. There’s three
naps,” said he, placing the gold pieces on the table. “You’ll not want

“Strange magnetism is the touch of gold to one’s palm,” said Classon,
as he surveyed the money in the hollow of his hand. “How marvellous
that these bits of stamped metal should appeal so forcibly to my inner

“Don’t get drunk with them, that’s all,” said Davis, with a
stern savagery of manner, as he arose from his seat. “There’s my
passport,--you may have to show it at the office. And now, good-bye, for
I have a long letter to write to my daughter.”

Classon poured the last of the Burgundy into a tumbler, and drank it
off, and hiccuping out, “I’ll haste me to the Capitol!” left the room.


It was a very wearisome day to Davis as he waited for the return of
Paul Classon. Grog’s was not a mind made for small suspicions or petty
distrusts,--he was a wholesale dealer in iniquity, and despised minute
rogueries; yet he was not altogether devoid of anxiety as hour, by hour
went over, and no sign of Classon. He tried to pass the time in
his usual mode. He shot with the pistol, he fenced, he whipped the
trout-stream, he went over his “martingale” with the cards, but somehow
everything went amiss with him. He only hit the bull’s-eye once in three
shots; he fenced wide; a pike carried off his tackle; and, worst of all,
he detected a flaw in the great “Cabal,” that, if not remediable, must
render it valueless.

“A genuine Friday, this!” muttered he, as he sauntered up a little
eminence, from which a view might be had of the road for above a mile.
“And what nonsense it is people saying they ‘re not superstitions!
I suppose I have as little of that kind of humbug about me as my
neighbors; yet I would n’t play half-crowns at blind-hookey today. I’d
not take the favorite even against a chance horse. I’d not back myself
to leap that drain yonder; and why? Just because I ‘m in what the French
call _guignon_. There’s no other word for it that ever I heard. These
are the days Fortune says to a man, ‘Shut up, and don’t book a bet!’
It’s a wise fellow takes the warning. I know it so well that I always
prepare for a run against me, and as sure as I am here, I feel that
something or other is going wrong elsewhere. Not a sign of him,--not a
sign!” said he, with a heavy sigh, as he gazed long and earnestly along
the line of road. “He has n’t bolted, that I’m sure of; he’d not ‘try
that on’ with _me_. He remembers to this very hour a licking I gave him
at school. I know what it is, he’s snug in a wine ‘Schenke.’ He’s in for
a big drink, the old beast, as if he could n’t get blind drunk when he
came home. I think I see him holding forth to the boors, and telling
them what an honor it is to them to sit in his company; that he took a
high class at Oxford, and was all but Bishop of--Eh, is that he? No,
it ‘s going t’ other way. Confounded fool!--but worse fool myself for
trusting him. That’s exactly what people would say: ‘He gave Holy Paul
three naps, and expected to see him come back sober!’ Well, so I did;
and just answer me this: Is not all the work of this world done by
rogues and vagabonds? It suits them to be honest for a while; they ride
to order so long as they like the stable. Not a sign of him!” And with a
comfortless sigh he turned back to the house.

“I wish I knew how Lizzy was to-night!” muttered he, as he rested his
head on his hand, and sat gazing at her picture. “Ay, that is your
own saucy smile, but the world will take that out of you, and put a
puckered-up mouth and hard lines in its place, that it will, confound
it! And those eyes will have another kind of brightness in them, too,
when they begin to read life glibly. My poor darling, I wish you could
stay as you are. Where are you now, I wonder? Not thinking of old Kit, I
‘m certain! And yet, maybe, I wrong her,--maybe she is just dwelling on
long--long ago--home, and the rest of it. Ay, darling, that’s what the
lucky ones have in life, and never so much as know their luck in having
it. By Jove! she is handsome!” cried he, as he held up the miniature
in ecstasy before him. “‘If she’s so beautiful, Mr. Ross, why don’t
she come to the Drawing-room?’ say the Court people. Ay, you’ll see her
there yet, or I’m not Kit Davis! Don’t be impatient, ladies; make your
running while the course is your own, for there’s a clipper coming. I’d
like to see where they’ll be when Lizzy takes the field.”

And now, in his pride, he walked the room, with head erect and arms
folded. It was only for a very short space, however, that these
illusions withdrew him from his gloomier reveries; for, with a start,
he suddenly recurred to all the anxieties of the morning, and once more
issued forth upon the high-road to look out for Classon. The setting sun
sent a long golden stream of light down the road, on which not a living
thing was to be seen. Muttering what were scarcely blessings on the head
of his messenger, he strolled listlessly along. Few men could calculate
the eventualities of life better or quicker than Davis. Give him the man
and the opportunities, and he would speedily tell you what would be the
upshot. He knew thoroughly well how far experience and temperament mould
the daring spirit, and how the caution that comes of education tames
down the wild influences suggested by temptation.

“No,” said he to himself, “though he had my passport and three Napoleons
besides, he has not levanted. He is far too deep a fellow for that.”

At last a low rumbling sound came up from the distance; he stopped
and listened. It came and went at intervals, till, at last, he could
distinctly mark the noise of wheels, and the voice of a man urging on
his horse. Davis quickened his pace, till, in the gray half-light, he
descried a little one-horse carriage slowly advancing towards him. He
could only see one man in it; but as it came nearer, he saw a heap of
clothes, surmounted by what indicated the presence of another in the
bottom of the conveyance, and Grog quickly read the incident by the aid
of his own anticipation. There, indeed, lay Paul Classon, forgetful of
the world and all its cares, his outstretched arm almost touching the
wheel, and the heavy wooden shoe of the peasant grazing his face.

[Illustration:  080]

“Has he got the letters? Where are they?” cried Davis, eagerly, to the

“They’re in his hat”

Grog snatched it rudely from his head, and found several letters of
various sizes and shapes, and with what, even in that dim light, seemed
a variety of addresses and superscriptions.

“Are you certain none have fallen out or been lost on the road?” said
Davis, as he reckoned them over.

“That I am,” said the man; “for at every jolt of the wagon he used to
grip his hat and hold it fast, as if it was for very life, till we
came to the last village. It was there he finished off with a flask of
Laubthaler that completely overcame him.”

“So, then, he was sober on leaving Neuwied?”

“He was in the so-called ‘bemuzzed’ state!” said the man, with a
half-apologetic air.

“Take him down to the inn; throw him into the hay-yard--or the river, if
you like,” said Davis, contemptuously, and turned away.

Once in his own room, the candles lighted, the door locked, Davis sat
down to the table on which the letters were thrown. Leisurely he took
them up one by one and examined their superscriptions.

“Little news in these,” said he, throwing three or four to one side;
“the old story,--money-seeking.” And he mumbled out, “‘Your acceptance
being duly presented this day at Messrs. Haggitts and Drudge’s, and no
provision being made for payment of the same--’ It’s like the burden of
an old song in one’s ears. Who is this from? Oh, Billy Peach, with some
Doncaster news. I do wonder will the day ever come that will bring
me good tidings by the post; I ‘ve paid many a pound in my life for
letters, and I never yet chanced upon one that told me my uncle Peter
had just died, leaving me all his estates in Jamaica, or that my aunt
Susan bequeathed to me all her Mexican stock and the shares in four
tin-mines. This is also from Peach, and marked ‘Immediate;’” and he
broke it open. It contained only these lines: “Dark is the word for
a week or two still. On Tuesday your name will appear amongst the
passengers for New York by the ‘Persia.’ Saucy Sal is a dead break-down,
and we net seven hundred safe; Pot did it with a knitting-needle while
they were plaiting her. What am I to do about the jewels?”

Davis’s brow darkened as he crushed the paper in his hand, while he
muttered, “I wish these infernal fools had not been taught to write! He
ought to know that addressing me Captain Christopher never deceived a
‘Detective’ yet. And this is for the Honorable Annesley Beecher,”
 said he, reading aloud the address, “‘care of Captain Christopher,
Coblentz--try Bingen--try Neuwied.’ A responsible-looking document this;
it looks like a despatch, with its blue-post paper and massive seal;
and what is the name here, in the corner? ‘Davenport Dunn,’ sure
enough,--‘Davenport Dunn.’ And with your leave, sir, we ‘ll see what you
have to say,” muttered he, as he broke the seal of the packet. A very
brief note first met his eyes; it ran thus:--

     “Dear Sir,--While I was just reading a very alarming account
     of Lord Lackington’s illness in a communication from Messrs.
     Harmer and Gore, the post brought me the enclosed letter for
     yourself, which I perceive to be in her Ladyship’s hand; I
     forward it at once to Brussels, in the hope that it may
     reach you there. Should her Ladyship’s tidings be better
     than I can fain persuade myself to hope, may I presume to
     suggest that you should lose no time in repairing to Italy.
     I cannot exaggerate the peril of his Lordship’s state; in
     fact, I am hourly expecting news of his death; and, the
     _peculiar circumstances_ of the case considered, it is
     highly important you should possess yourself of every
     information the exigencies of the event may require. I beg
     to enclose you a bank post-bill for two-hundred pounds,
     payable at any banker’s on your signature, and have the
     honor to be, with sincere respect,

     “Your humble Servant,

     “Davenport Dunn.

     “P. S.--I have reason to know that certain claims are now
     under consideration, and will be preferred erelong, if
     suitable measures be not adopted to restrain them.”

“From which side do you hold your brief, Master Davenport Dunn? I should
like to know _that!_” said Davis, as he twice over read aloud this
postscript. He looked at Lady Lackington’s letter, turned it over,
examined the seal and the postmark, and seemed to hesitate about
breaking it open. Was it that some scruple of conscience arrested his
hand, and some mysterious feeling that it was a sisterly confidence he
was about to violate? Who knows! At all events, if there was a struggle
it was a brief one, for he now smashed the seal and spread the open
letter before him.

With a muttered expression of impatience did he glance over the four
closely written pages indited in the very minutest of hands and the
faintest possible ink. Like one addressing himself, however, to a severe
task, he set steadily to work, and for nigh an hour never rose from the
table. We have no right, as little have we the wish, to inflict upon our
reader any portion of the labor this process of deciphering cost Davis,
so that we will briefly state what formed the substance of the epistle.
The letter was evidently begun before Lord Lackington had been taken
ill, for it opened with an account of Como and the company at the Villa
d’Este, where they had gone to resume the water-cure. Her Ladyship’s
strictures upon the visitors, their morals, and their manners, were
pleasantly and flippantly thrown off. She possessed what would really
seem an especial gift of her class,--the most marvellous use of the
perceptive faculties,--and could read not alone rank and condition, but
character and individuality, by traits of breeding and manner that would
have escaped the notice of hundreds of those the world calls shrewd
observers. This fragment, for it was such, was followed, after a
fortnight, by a hastily written passage, announcing that Lord Lackington
had been seized with an attack resembling apoplexy, and for several
hours remained in great danger. She had detained the letter to give the
latest tidings before the post closed, and ultimately decided on not
despatching it till the next day. The following morning’s communication
was a minute account of medical treatment, the bleedings, the
blisterings, the watchings, and the anxieties of a sick-bed, with all
the vacillating changes that mark the course of malady, concluding with
these words: “The doctors are not without hopes, but confess that their
confidence is rather based on the great strength and energy of his
constitution than upon any success that has attended their treatment,
from which I may say that up to this no benefit has accrued. So well
as I can interpret his utterance, he seems very anxious to see you, and
made an effort to write something to you, which, of course, he could not
accomplish. Come out here, therefore, as quickly as possible; the route
by Lucerne is, they tell me, the shortest and speediest. If I were to
give my own opinion, it would be that he is better and stronger than
yesterday; but I do not perceive the doctors disposed to take this
view.” After this came a lengthened statement of medical hopes and
fears, balanced with all the subtle minuteness known to “the Faculty.”
 They explained to a nicety how if that poor watch were to stop it could
not possibly be from any fault of theirs, but either from some vice in
its original construction, or some organic change occasioned by
time. They demonstrated, in fact, that great as was their art, it was
occasionally baffled; but pointed with a proud humility to the onward
progress of science, in the calm assurance that, doubtless, we should
one day know all these things, and treat them as successfully as we
now do--I am afraid to say what. One thing, however, was sufficiently
clear,--Lord Lackington’s case was as bad as possible, his recovery
almost hopeless. On the turn-down of the last page was the following,
written in evident haste, if not agitation: “In opening the letters
which have arrived since his illness, I am astonished to find many
referring to some suit, either meditated or actually instituted, against
our right to the title. Surely some deep game of treachery is at work
here. He never once alluded to such a possibility to myself, nor had I
the slightest suspicion that any pretended claim existed. One of these
letters is from Mr. Davenport Dunn, who has, I can see from the tone
in which he writes, been long conversant with the transaction, and as
evidently inclines to give it a real or feigned importance. Indeed, he
refers to a ‘compromise’ of some sort or other, and strongly impresses
the necessity of not letting the affair proceed further. I am actually
distracted by such news coming at such a moment. Surely Lackington
could never have been weak enough to yield to mere menace, and have thus
encouraged the insolent pretensions of this claim? As you pass through
London, call at Fordyce’s, somewhere in Furnival’s Inn, and, just in
course of conversation, showing your acquaintance with the subject,
learn all you can on the matter. Fordyce has all our papers, and must
necessarily know what weight is due to these pretensions. Above all,
however, hasten out here; there is no saying what any day--any hour--may
produce. I have no one here to give me a word of advice, or even
consolation; for, though Lady Grace is with us, she is so wrapped up in
her new theological studies--coquetting with Rome as she has been all
the summer--that she is perfectly useless.

“Have you any idea who is Terence Driscoll? Some extraordinary notes
bearing this signature, ill-written and ill-spelt, have fallen into my
hands as I rummaged amongst the papers, and they are all full of this
claim. It is but too plain Lackington suffered these people to terrify
him, and this Driscoll’s tone is a mixture of the meanest subserviency
and outrageous impertinence. It is not unlikely Fordyce may know him. Of
course, I need not add one word of caution against your mention of
this affair, even to those of your friends with whom you are in closest
intimacy. It is really essential not a hint of it should get abroad.

“I have little doubt, now, looking back on the past, that anxiety
and care about this matter have had a large share in bringing on
Lackington’s attack. He had been sleepless and uneasy for some time
back, showing an eagerness, too, about his letters, and the greatest
impatience if any accident delayed the post Although all my maturer
thoughts--indeed, my convictions--reject attaching any importance to
this claim, I will not attempt to conceal from you how unhappy it has
made me, nor how severely it has affected my nerves.”

With one more urgent appeal to lose not an hour in hastening over the
Alps, the letter concluded; the single word “weaker,” apparently written
after the letter was sealed, giving a deep meaning to the whole.

Davis was not satisfied with one perusal of the latter portion of this
letter, but read it over carefully a second time; after which, taking a
sheet of paper, he wrote down the names of Fordyce and Terence Driscoll.
He then opened a Directory, and running his eye down a column, came to
“Fordyce and Fraude, 7 Furnivats Inn, solicitors.” Of Terence Driscolls
there were seventeen, but all in trade,--tanners, tinmen, last-makers,
wharfingers, and so on; not one upon whom Davis could fix the likelihood
of the correspondence with the Viscount. He then walked the room, cigar
in mouth, for about an hour, after which he sat down and wrote the note
to Beecher which we have given in a former chapter, with directions
to call upon Stein, the moneylender, and then hasten away from Aix as
speedily as possible. This finished, he addressed another and somewhat
longer epistle to Lazarus Stein himself, of which latter document this
true history has no record.

We, perhaps, owe an apology to our reader for inverting in our narrative
the actual order of these events. It might possibly have been more
natural to have preceded the account of Beecher’s reception of the
letter by the circumstances we have just detailed. We selected the
present course, however, to avoid the necessity of that continual change
of scene, alike wearisome to him who reads as to him who writes; and as
we are about to sojourn in Mr. Davis’s company for some time to come,
we have deferred the explanation to a time when it should form part of a
regular series of events. Nor are we sorry at the opportunity of asking
the reader to turn once again to that brief note, and mark its
contents. Though Davis was fully impressed with the conviction that Lord
Lackington’s days were numbered; though he felt that, at any moment,
some chance rumor, some flying report might inform Beecher what great
change was about to come over his fortunes,--yet this note is written in
all the seeming carelessness of a gossiping humor: he gives the latest
news of the turf, he alludes to Beecher’s new entanglements at home, to,
his own newly discovered martingale for the play-table, trusting to the
one line about “Benson’s people” to make Beecher hasten away from Aix,
and from the chance of hearing that his brother was hopelessly ill.
While Grog penned these lines, he would have given--if he had it--ten
thousand pounds that Beecher was beside him. Ay, willingly had he given
it, and more, too, that Beecher might be where no voice could whisper
to him the marvellous change that any moment might cause in his destiny.
Oh, ye naturalists, who grow poetical over the grub and the butterfly,
what is there, I ask ye, in the transformation at all comparable with
that when the younger brother, the man of strait and small fortune,
springs into the peer, exchanging a life of daily vicissitudes, cheap
dinners and duns, dubious companionships and high discounts, for the
assured existence, the stately banquets, the proud friendships, the pomp
and circumstance of a lord? In a moment he soars out of the troubled
atmosphere of debts and disabilities, and floats into the balmy region
whose very sorrows never wear an unbecoming mourning.

Grog’s note was thus a small specimen of what the great Talleyrand used
to call the perfection of despatch writing, “not the best thing that
could be said on the subject, but simply that which would produce
the effect you desired.” Having sent off this to Beecher, he then
telegraphed to his man of business, Mr. Peach, to ascertain at Fordyce’s
the latest accounts of Lord Lackington’s health, and answer “by wire.”

It was far into the night when Davis betook himself to bed, but not to
sleep. The complications of the great game he was playing had for him
all the interest of the play-table. The kind of excitement he gloried
in was to find himself pitted against others,--wily, subtle, and
deep-scheming as himself,--to see some great stake on the board, and to
feel that it must be the prize of the best player. With the gambler’s
superstition, he kept constantly combining events with dates and eras,
recalling what of good or ill-luck had marked certain periods of his
life. He asked himself if September had usually been a fortunate month;
did the 20th imply anything; what influence might Holy Paul exert over
his destiny; was he merely unlucky himself, or did he bring evil fortune
upon others? If he suffered himself to dwell upon such “vain auguries”
 as these, they still exerted little other sway over his mind than to
nerve it to greater efforts; in fact, he consulted these signs as a
physician might investigate certain symptoms which, if not of moment
enough to call for special treatment, were yet indicative of hidden

His gambling experiences had given him the ready tact, by a mere glance
around the table, to recognize those with whom the real struggle
should be waged; to detect, in a second, the deep head, the crafty
intelligence, that marvellous blending of caution with rashness that
make the gamester; and in the same spirit be now turned over in thought
each of those with whom he was now about to contend, and muttered
the name of Davenport Dunn over and over. “Could we only ‘hit it off’
together, what a game might we not play!” was his last reflection ere he
fell off to sleep.


Davis was surprised, and something more, as he entered the
breakfast-room the next morning to find the Rev. Paul Classon already
seated at the table, calmly arranging certain little parallelograms of
bread-and-butter and sardines. No signs of discomfiture or shame showed
themselves in that calmly benevolent countenance. Indeed, as he arose
and extended his hand there was an air of bland protection in the
gesture perfectly soothing.

“You came back in a pretty state last night,” said Davis, roughly.

“Overtaken, Kit,--overtaken. It was a piece of good news rather than the
grape juice did the mischief. As the poet says,--

     “‘Good tidings flowed upon his heart
          Like a sea o’er a barren shore,
     And the pleasant waves refreshed the spot
          So parched and bleak before.’

“The fact is, Kit, you brought me luck. Just as I reached the
Post-Office, I saw a letter addressed to the Rev. Paul Classon,
announcing that I had been accepted as Chaplain to the great Hydropathic
Institution at Como! and, to commemorate the event, I celebrated in wine
the triumphs of water! You got the letters all safely?”

“Little thanks to you if I did; nor am I yet certain how many may have
dropped out on the road.”

“Stay,--I have a memorandum here,” said Paul, opening his little
note-book. “Four, with London post-marks, to Captain Christopher;
two from Brussels for the same; a large packet for the Hon. Annesley
Beecher. That’s the whole list.”

“I got these!” said Grog, gruffly; “but why, might I ask, could you not
have kept sober till you got back here?”

“He who dashes his enthusiasm with caution, waters the liquor of life.
How do we soar above the common ills of existence save by yielding to
those glorious impulses of the heart, which say, ‘Be happy!’”

“Keep the sermon for the cripples at the water-cure,” said Davis,
savagely. “When are you to be there?”

“By the end of the month. I mentioned the time myself. It would be as
soon, I thought, as I could manage to have my divinity library out from

The sly drollery of his eye, as he spoke, almost extorted a half-smile
from Davis.

“Let me see,” muttered Grog, as he arose and lighted his cigar, “we are,
to-day, the 21st, I believe. No, you can’t be there so early. I shall
need you somewhere about the first week in October; it might chance to
be earlier. You mustn’t remain here, however, in the interval. You’ll
have to find some place in the neighborhood, about fifteen or twenty
miles off.”

“There’s Höchst, on the Lahn, a pleasant spot, eighteen miles from

“Höchst be it; but, mark me, no more of last night’s doings.”

“I pledge my word,” said Paul, solemnly. “Need I say, it is as good as
my bond?”

“About the same, I suspect; but I ‘ll give you _mine_ too,” said Davis,
with a fierce energy. “If by any low dissipation or indiscretion of
yours you thwart the plans I am engaged in, I ‘ll leave you to starve
out the rest of your life here.”

“‘So swear we all as liegemen true, So swear to live and die!’” cried
out Paul, with a most theatrical air in voice and gesture.

“You know a little of everything, I fancy,” said Davis, in a more
good-humored tone. “What do you know of law?”

“Of law?” said Paul, as he helped himself to a dish of smoking
cutlets,--“if it be the law of debtor and creditor, false arrest,
forcible possession, battery, or fraudulent bankruptcy, I am
indifferently well skilled. Nor am I ignorant in divorce cases, separate
maintenance, and right of guardianship. Equity, I should say, is my weak

“I believe you,” said Davis, with a grin, for he but imperfectly
understood the speech. “But it is of another kind of law I ‘m speaking.
What do you know about disputed title to a peerage? Have you any
experience in such cases?”

“Yes; I have ransacked registries, rummaged out gravestones in my time.
I very nearly burned my fingers, too, with a baptismal certificate that
turned out to be--what shall I call it?--unauthentic!”

“You forged it!” said Grog, gruffly.

“They disputed its correctness, and, possibly, with some grounds for
their opinion. Indeed,” added he, carelessly, “it was the first thing of
the kind I had ever done, and it was slovenly--slovenly.”

“It would have been transportation!” said Davis, gravely.

“With hard labor,” added Classon, sipping his tea.

“At all events, you understand something of these sort of cases?”

“Yes; I have been concerned, one way or another, with five. They
are interesting when you take to them; there are so many, so to say,
surprises; always something turning up you never looked for,--somebody’s
father that never had a child, somebody’s mother that never was married.
Then people die,--say a hundred and fifty years ago,--and no proof
of the death can be made out; or you build wonderfully upon an act
of Parliament, and only find out at the last hour that it has been
repealed. These traits give a great deal of excitement to the suit. I
used to enjoy them much when I was younger.” And Mr. Classon sighed as
if he had been calling up memories of cricket-matches, steeple-chases,
or the polka,--pleasures that advancing years had rudely robbed him of.

Davis sat deep in thought for some time. Either he had not fully made up
his mind to open an unreserved confidence with his reverend friend, or
which is perhaps as likely, he was not in possession of such knowledge
as might enable him to state his case.

“These suits, or actions, or whatever you call them,” said he, at
length, “always drag on for years,--don’t they?”

“Of course they do; the lawyers take care of that. There are trials at
bar, commissions, special examinations before the Masters, arguments
before the peers, appeals against decisions; in fact, it is a question
of the purse of the litigants. Like everything else, however, in this
world, they ‘ve got economy-struck. I remember the time--it was the
Bancroft case--they gave me five guineas a day and travelling expenses
to go out to Ravenna and take the deposition of an old Marchess,
half-sister of the Dowager, and now, I suppose, they ‘d say the service
was well paid with one half. Indeed, I may say I had as good as accepted
a sort of engagement to go out to the Crimea and examine a young
fellow whom they fancy has a claim to a peerage, and for a mere
trifle,--fifteen shillings a day and expenses. But they had got my
passport stopped here, and I could n’t get away.”

“What was the name of the claimant?”

“Here it is,” said he, opening his note-book. “Charles Conway, formerly
in the 11th Hussars, supposed to be serving as orderly on the staff
of General La Marmora. I have a long letter of instructions Froode
forwarded me, and I suspect it is a strong case got up to intimidate.”

“What is the peerage sought for?” asked Davis, with an assumed

“I can tell you in five minutes if you have any curiosity on the
subject,” said Paul, rising. “The papers are all in my writing-desk.”

“Fetch them,” said Davis, as he walked to the window and looked out.

Classon soon re-entered the room with a large open letter in his hand.

“There’s the map of the country!” said he, throwing it down on the
table. “What would you call the fair odds in such a case, Kit,--a
private soldier’s chance of a peerage that has been undisturbed since
Edward the Third?”

“About ten thousand to one, I ‘d call it.”

“I agree with you, particularly since Froode is in it. He only takes
up these cases to make a compromise. They ‘re always ‘settled.’ He’s a
wonderful fellow to sink the chambers and charge the mine, but he never

“So that Froode can always be squared, eh?” asked Davis.

“Always.” Classon now ran his eyes over the letter, and, mumbling
the lines half aloud, said, “In which case the Conways of Abergeldy,
deriving from the second son, would take precedence of the Beecher
branch.’ The case is this,” added he, aloud: “Viscompt Lackington’s
peerage was united to the estates by an act of Edward; a motion for a
repeal of this was made in Elizabeth’s time, and lost--some aver the
reverse; now the claimant, Conway, relies upon the original act, since
in pursuit of the estates he invalidates the title. It’s a case to
extort money, and a good round sum too. I ‘d say Lord Lack-ington might
give twenty thousand to have all papers and documents of the claim
surrendered into his hands.”

“A heavy sum, twenty thousand,” muttered Davis, slowly.

“So it is, Kit; but when you come to tot up suits at Nisi Prius, suits
in Equity, searches at the Herald’s office, and hearings before the
Lords, you ‘ll see it is a downright saving.”

“But could Lackington afford this? What is he worth?”

“They call the English property twelve thousand a year, and he has a
small estate in Ireland besides. In fact, it is out of that part of the
property the mischief has come. This Conway’s claim was discovered in
some old country-house there, and Froode is only partially instructed in

“And now, Paul,” said Davis, slowly, “if you got a commission to square
this here affair and make all comfortable, how would you go about it?”

“Acting for which party, do you mean?” asked Paul.

“I mean for the Lackingtons.”

“Well, there are two ways. I ‘d send for Froode, and say, ‘What’s the
lowest figure for the whole?’ or I’d despatch a trusty fellow to the
Crimea to watch Conway, and see what approaches they are making to him.
Of course they’ll send a man out there, and it ought n’t to be hard
to get hold of him, or, if not himself, of all his papers and

“That looks business-like,” said Grog, encouragingly.

“After all, Kit, these things, in ninety-nine cases out of the hundred,
are only snaps of the percussion-cap. There ‘s scarcely a peerage in
England is not menaced with an attempt of the kind; but such is the
intermarriage--such the close tie of affinity between them--they stand
manfully to the fellow in possession. They know in their hearts, if once
they let the world begin to pick out a stone here or there, the whole
wall may come tumbling down, and so they say, ‘Here ‘s one of us since
Henry II.’s time going to be displaced for some upstart fellow none of
us ever heard of.’ What signifies legitimacy that dates seven centuries
back, in favor of one probably a shoemaker or a house-painter? They
won’t stand that, Kit, and reasonably enough, too. I suppose you’ve
heard all about this case from Beecher?”

“Well, I _have_ heard something about it,” said Grog, in confusion, for
the suddenness of the question disconcerted him; “but _he_ don’t care
about it.”

“Very likely not. If Lackington were to have a son, it would n’t concern
him much.”

“Not alone that, but he does n’t attach any importance to the claim; he
says it’s all got up to extort money.”

“What of that? When a highwayman stops you with the same errand, does
n’t the refusal occasionally provoke him to use force? I know very few
things so hard to deal with as menaces to extort money. Life is, after
all, very like the game the Americans call ‘Poker,’ where the grand
secret is, never to ‘brag’ too far on a bad hand. What was _your_ part
in this business, Kit?” asked he, after a brief silence.

“How do you mean by _my_ part?” rejoined Davis, gruffly.

“I mean, how were you interested? Do you hold any of Lackington’s
paper?--have you got any claims on the reversion?--in a word, does it in
any way concern you which king reigns in Israel?”

“It might, or it might not,” said Grog, dryly. “Now for a question to
_you_. Could you manage to get employed in the affair,--to be sent out
after this Conway,--or is it too late?”

“It might, or it might not,” said Classon, with a significant imitation
of the other’s tone and manner. Davis understood the sarcasm in a
moment, and in a voice of some irritation said,--

“Don’t you try to come the whip-hand over me, Holy Paul. If there
be anything to do in this matter, it is I, and not _you_, will be
paymaster; so much for this, so much for that,--there’s the terms!”

“It is such dealings I like best,” said Classon, blandly “Men would
have benefited largely in this world had probity been parcelled out as
task-work instead of being made daily labor.”

“I suspect that neither you nor I would have had much employment either
way,” said Davis, with a bitter laugh. “But come, you must be stirring.
You ‘ll have to be off out of this before the afternoon. The Rhine
steamer touches at Neuwied at three, and I expect my daughter by this
boat. I don’t want her to see you just yet awhile, Paul. You ‘ll start
for Höchst, put up at the inn there, and communicate with me at once, so
that I may be able to reckon upon you when needed. It were as well, too,
that you’d write a line to Froode, and say that on second thoughts that
expedition to the Crimea might suit; explore the way, in fact, and let
me know the tidings. As to terms,” said Grog,--for the other’s blank
look expressed hesitation,--“if _I_ say, ‘Go,’ _you_ shall say ‘For

“I do love these frank and open dealings,” said Paul, warmly.

“Look here!” said Davis, as the other was about to leave the room;
“old Joe Morris, of Mincing Lane, made his fortune by buying up all the
forged bills of exchange he could lay hands on, well knowing that the
fellows he could hang or transport any day would be trusty allies. Now,
I have all my life committed every critical thing to somebody or other
that no other living man would trust with a sixpence. They stood to _me_
as I stood to _them_, and they knew why. Need I tell you that why?”

“No necessity in the world to do so,” said Paul, blandly.

“That ‘s enough,” said Davis. “Come to me when you’re ready, and I’ll
have some cash for you.”


Along a road pleasantly shaded by linden-trees, Davis strolled
leisurely that afternoon to meet his daughter. It was a mellow autumnal
day,--calm, silent, and half sombre,--one of those days in which the
tranquil aspect of nature has an influence of sad but soothing import,
and even the least meditative minds are led to reflection. Down the
deep valley, where the clear trout-stream eddied along, while the
leafy chestnut-trees threw their shadows over the water; over the
rich pasture-lands, where the spotted cattle roamed; high up the blue
mountains, whose snowy summits mingled with the clouds,--Davis wandered
with his eyes, and felt, he knew not why or how, a something of calming,
subduing effect upon a brain racked with many a scheme, wearied with
many a plot.

As he gazed down upon that fair scene where form and color and odor
were blended into one beauteous whole, a struggling effort of fancy sent
through his mind the question, “Is this, after all, the real prize of
life? Is this peaceful existence worth all the triumphs that we strive
and fight for?” And then came the thought, “Could this be lasting, what
would a nature like mine become, thus left in rust and disuse? Could I
live? or should I enjoy life without that eternal hand-to-hand conflict
with my fellow-men, on which skill and ready wit are exercised?” He
pondered long over this notion, nor could he satisfy himself with any

He thought he could remember a time when he would thoroughly have liked
all this,--when he could have taken leave of the busy world without one
regret, and made the great race of life a mere “walk over;” but now that
he had tasted the poisonous fascination of that combat, where man is
pitted against man, and where even the lust of gain is less stimulating
than a deadly sense of jealous rivalry, it was too late--too late! How
strange, too, did it seem to him, as he looked back upon his wild and
stormy life, with all its perils and all its vicissitudes, to think
that an existence so calm, so uneventful, and so safe, could yet be
had,--that a region existed where craft could find no exercise, where
subtlety might be in disuse! It was to him like a haven that he was
rejoiced to know,--a harbor whose refuge, some one day or other, he
would search out; but there was yet one voyage to make,--one grand
venture,--which, if successful, would be the crowning fortune of his

The sharp crack, crack of a postilion’s whip started him from his
musings, and, looking up, he saw a post-carriage approaching at full
speed. He waved his hat as the carriage came near for the men to draw
up, and the next moment Lizzy Davis was in her father’s arms. He kissed
her twice, and then, holding her back, gazed with proud delight at her
beautiful features, never more striking than in that moment of joyful

“How well you are looking, Lizzy!” said he, with a thick utterance.

“And you too, dear papa,” said she, caressingly. “This quiet rural life
seems to have agreed wonderfully with you. I declare you look five years
younger for it, does he not, Mr. Beecher?”

“Ah, Beecher, how are you?” cried Davis, warmly shaking the other’s
hand. “This _is_ jolly, to be all together again,” said he, as, drawing
his daughter’s arm within his own, and taking Beecher on the other side,
he told the postilions to move forward, while they would find their way
on foot.

“How did you ever hit upon this spot?” asked Beecher; “we could n’t find
it on the map.”

“I came through here some four-and-twenty years ago, and I never forget
a place nor a countenance. I thought at the time it might suit me, some
one day or other, to remember, and you see I was right. You are grown
fatter, Lizzy; at least I fancy so. But come, tell me about your life at
Aix,--was it pleasant? was the place gay?”

“It was charming, papa!” cried she, in ecstasy; “had you only been
with us, I could not have come away. Such delightful rides and drives,
beautiful environs, and then the Cursaal of an evening, with all its
odd people,--not that my guardian, here, fancied so much my laughing at

“Well, you did n’t place much restraint upon yourself, I must say.”

“I was reserved even to prudery; I was the caricature of Anglo-Saxon
propriety,” said she, with affected austerity.

“And what did they think of you, eh?” asked Davis trying to subdue the
pride that would, in spite of him, twinkle in his eye.

“I was the belle of the season. I assure you it is perfectly true!”

“Come, come, Lizzy--”

“Well, ask Mr. Beecher. Be honest now, and confess frankly, were you
not sulky at driving out with me the way the people stared? Didn’t you
complain that you never expected to come home from the play without a
duel or something of the kind on your hands? Did you not induce me
to ruin my toilette just to escape what you so delicately called ‘our
notoriety’? Oh, wretched man! what triumphs did I not relinquish out of
compliance to your taste for obscurity!”

“By Jove! we divided public attention with Ferouk Khan and his wives. I
don’t see that my taste for obscurity obtained any brilliant success.”

“I never heard of such black ingratitude!” cried she, in mock
indignation. “I assure you, pa, I was a martyr to his English notions,
which, to me, seem to have had their origin in Constantinople.”

“Poor Beecher!” said Davis, laughingly.

“Poor Beecher, no, but happy Beecher, envied by thousands. Not indeed,”
 added she, with a smile, “that his appearance at this moment suggests
any triumphant satisfaction. Oh, papa, you should have seen him when
the Russian Prince Ezerboffsky asked me to dance, or when the Archduke
Albrecht offered me his horses; or, better still, the evening the
Margrave lighted up his conservatory just to let me see it.”

“Your guardianship had its anxieties, I perceive,” said Davis, dryly.

“I think it had,” said Beecher, sighing. “There were times I ‘d have
given five thousand, if I had it, that she had been safe under your own

“My dear fellow, I’d have given fifty,” said Davis, “if I did n’t know
she was just in as good hands as my own.” There was a racy heartiness in
this speech that thrilled through Beecher’s heart, and he could scarcely
credit his ears that it was Grog spoke it. “Ay, Beecher,” added he, as
he drew the other’s arm closer to his side, “there was just one man--one
single man in Europe--I ‘d have trusted with the charge.”

“Really, gentlemen,” said Lizzy, with a malicious sparkle of the eye,
“I am lost in my conjectures whether I am to regard myself as a sort of
human Koh-i-noor--a priceless treasure--or something so very difficult
to guard, so perilous to protect, as can scarcely be accounted a
flattery. Say, I entreat of you, to which category do I belong?”

“A little to each, I should say,--eh, Beecher?” cried Grog, laughingly.

“Oh, don’t appeal to _him_, papa. _He_ only wants to vaunt his heroism
the higher, because the fortress he guarded was so easy of assault!”

Beecher was ill-fitted to engage in such an encounter, and stammered out
some commonplace apology for his own seeming want of gallantry.

“She’s too much for us, Beecher,--too much for us. It’s a pace we can’t
keep up,” muttered Grog in the other’s ear. And Beecher nodded a ready
assent to the speech.

“Well,” said Lizzy, gayly, “now that your anxieties are well over, I
do entreat of you to unbend a little, and let us see the lively,
light-hearted Mr. Annesley Beecher, of whose pleasant ways I have heard
so much.”

“I used to be light-hearted enough once, eh, Davis?” said Beecher, with
a sigh. “When you saw me first at the Derby--of, let me see, I don’t
remember the year, but it was when Danby’s mare Petrilla won,--with
eighteen to one ‘given and taken’ against her, the day of the
race,--Brown Davy, the favorite, coming in a bad third,--he died the
same night.”

“Was he ‘nobbled’?” asked Lizzy, dryly.

“What do you mean?” cried Grog, gruffly. “Where did you learn that

“Oh, I’m quite strong in your choice vocabulary,” said she, laughingly;
“and you are not to fancy that in the dissipations of Aix I have
forgotten the cares of my education. My guardian there set me a task
every morning,--a page of Burke’s Peerage and a column of the ‘Racing
Calendar;’ and for the ninth Baron of Fitzfoodle, or the fifteenth
winner of the Diddlesworth, you may call on me at a moment.”

The angry shadow on Davis’s brow gradually faded away, and he laughed a
real, honest, and good-humored laugh.

“What do you say to the Count, Lizzy?” asked he next. “There was a fine
gentleman, wasn’t he?”

“There was the ease and the self-possession of good breeding without the
manners. He was amusing from his own self-content, and a sort of latent
impression that he was taking you in, and when one got tired of that, he
became downright stupid.”

“True as a book, every word of it!” cried Beecher, in hearty gratitude,
for he detested the man, and was envious of his small accomplishments.

“His little caressing ways, too, ceased to be flatteries, when you saw
that, like the cheap bonbons scattered at a carnival, they were made for
the million.”

“Hit him again, he has n’t got no friends!” said Beecher, with an
assumed slang in his tone.

“But worst of all was that mockery of good nature,--a false air of
kindliness about him. It was a spurious coinage, so cleverly devised
that you looked at every good guinea afterwards with distrust.”

“How she knows him,--how she reads him!” cried Davis, in delight.

“He was very large print, papa,” said she, smiling.

“Confound me!” cried Beecher, “if I didn’t think you liked him, you used
to receive him so graciously; and I’ll wager he thinks himself a prime
favorite with you.”

“So he may, if it give him any pleasure,” said she, with a careless

Davis marked the expression of Beecher’s face as she said these words;
he saw how that distrustful nature was alarmed, and he hastened to
repair the mischief.

“I am sure you never affected to feel any regard for him, Lizzy?” said

“Regard for him!” said she, haughtily; “I should think not! Such people
as he are like the hired horses that every one uses, and only asks that
they should serve for the day they have taken them.”

“There, Beecher,” said Davis, with a laugh. “I sincerely hope she’s not
going to discuss _your_ character or _mine_.”

“By Jove! I hope not.” And in the tone in which Beecher uttered this
there was an earnestness that made the other laugh heartily.

“Well, here we are. This is your home for the present,” said Davis, as
he welcomed them to the little inn, whose household were all marshalled
to receive them with fitting deference.

The arrangements within doors were even better than the picturesque
exterior promised; and when Lizzy came down to dinner, she was in
raptures about her room, its neatness even to elegance, and the glorious
views that opened before the windows.

“I’m splendidly lodged too,” said Beecher; “and they have given me a
dressing-room, with a little winding-stair to the river, and a bath in
the natural rock. It is downright luxury, all this.”

Davis smiled contentedly as he listened. For days past had he been
busied with these preparations, determined to make the spot appear in
all its most favorable colors. Let us do him justice to own that his
cares met a full success. Flowers abounded in all the rooms; and the
perfumed air, made to seem tremulous by the sounds of falling water,
was inexpressibly calming after the journey. The dinner, too, would
have done honor to a more pretentious “hostel;” and the Steinberger, a
cabinet wine, that the host would not part with except for “love as well
as money,” was perfection. Better than all these,--better than the
fresh trout with its gold and azure speckles,--better than the delicate
Rehbraten with its luscious sauce,--better than the red partridges in
their bed of truffles, and a dessert whose grapes rivalled those of
Fontainebleau,--better, I say, than all, was the happy temper of the
hour! Never were three people more disposed for enjoyment. To Lizzy, it
was the oft dreamed-of home, the quiet repose of a spot surrounded
with all the charm of scenery, coming, too, just as the dissipations
of gayety had begun to weary and pall upon her. To Beeeher, it was the
first moment of all his life in which he tasted peace. Here were neither
duns nor bailiffs. It was a Paradise where no writ had ever wandered,
nor the word “outlawry” had ever been uttered. As for Davis, if he had
not actually won his game, he held in his hand the trump card that he
knew must gain it. What signified, now, a day or even a week more or
less; the labor of his long ambition was all but completed, and he saw
the goal reached that he had striven for years to attain.

Nor were they less pleased with each other. Never had Lizzy seemed to
Beecher’s eyes more fascinating than now. In all the blaze of full dress
she never looked more beautiful than in that simple muslin, with
the sky-blue ribbon in her glossy hair, and the boquet of moss
roses coquettishly placed above her ear, for--I mention it out of
accuracy--she wore her hair drawn back, as was the mode about a
century ago, and was somewhat ingenious in her imitation of that
mock-shepherdess _coiffure_ so popular with fine ladies of that time.
She would have ventured on a “patch” if it were not out of fear for
her father; not, indeed, that the delicate fairness of her skin, or the
dazzling brilliancy of her eyes, needed the slightest aid from art.
Was it with some eye to keeping a toilette that she wore a profusion of
rings, many of great price and beauty? I know not her secret; if I did,
I should assuredly tell it, for I suspect none of her coquetries were
without their significance. To complete Beecher’s satisfaction, Davis
was in a mood of good humor, such as he had never seen before.

Not a word of contradiction, not one syllable of disparagement fell from
his lips, that Beecher usually watched with an utmost childish terror,
dreading reproof at every moment, and not being over certain when
his opinions would pass without a censure. Instead of this, Grog was
conciliating even to gentleness, constantly referred to Beecher what
he thought of this or that, and even deferred to his better judgment on
points whereon he might have been supposed to be more conversant. Much
valued reader, has it ever been your fortune in life to have had your
opinions on law blandly approved of by an ex-Chancellor, your notions
of medicine courteously confirmed by a great physician, or your naval
tactics endorsed by an admiral of the fleet? If so, you can fully
appreciate the ecstasy of Annesley Beecher as he found all his
experiences of the sporting world corroborated by the “Court above.”
 This was the gold medal he had set his heart on for years,--this the
great prize of all his life; and now he had won it, and he was really
a “sharp fellow.” There is an intense delight in the thought of having
realized a dream of ambition, of which, while our own hearts gave us the
assurance of success, the world at large only scoffed at our attempting.
To be able to say, “Yes, here I am, despite all your forebodings and all
your predictions,--I knew it was ‘in me’!” is a very proud thing, and
such a moment of vaingloriousness is pardonable enough.

How enjoyable at such a moment of triumph was it to hear Lizzy sing and
play, making that miserable old piano discourse in a guise it had
never dreamed of! She was in one of those moods wherein she blended
the wildest flights of fancy with dashes of quaint humor, now breathing
forth a melody of Spohr’s in accents of thrilling pathos, now hitting
off in improvised doggerel a description of Aix and its company,
with mimicries of their voice and manner irresistibly droll. In these
imitations the Count, and even Beecher himself, figured, till Grog,
fairly worn out with laughter, had to entreat her to desist.

As for Beecher, he was a good-tempered fellow, and the little raillery
at himself took nothing from the pleasure of the description, and he
laughed in ready acknowledgment of many a little trait of his own manner
that he never suspected could have been detected by another.

“Ain’t she wonderful,--ain’t she wonderful?” exclaimed Grog, as she
strolled out into the garden, and left them alone together.

“What I can’t make out is, she has no blank days,” said Beecher. “She
was just as you saw her there, the whole time we were at Aix; and while
she’s rattling away at the piano, and going on with all manner of fun,
just ask her a serious question,--I don’t care about what,----and she’ll
answer you as if she had been thinking of nothing else for the whole day

“Had she been born in _your_ rank of life, Beecher, where would she
be be now,--tell me that?” said Davis; and there was an almost fierce
energy in the words as he spoke them.

“I can tell you one thing,” cried Beecher, in a transport of
delight,--“there’s no rank too high for her this minute.”

“Well said, boy,--well said,” exclaimed Davis, warmly; “and here’s to
her health.”

“That generous toast and cheer must have been in honor of myself,” said
Lizzy, peeping in at the window, “and in acknowledgment I beg to invite
you both to tea.”


Lizzy Davis had retired to her room somewhat weary after the day’s
journey, not altogether unexcited by her meeting with her father. How
was it that there was a gentleness, almost a tenderness, in his manner
she had never known before? The short, stern address, the abrupt
question, the stare piercing and defiant of one who seemed ever to
distrust what he heard, were all replaced by a tone of quiet and easy
confidence, and a look that bespoke perfect trustfulness.

“Have I only seen him hitherto in moments of trial and excitement; are
these the real traits of his nature; is it the hard conflict of life
calls forth the sterner features of his character; and might he, in
happier circumstances, be ever kind and confiding, as I see him now?”
 What a thrill of ecstasy did the thought impart! What a realization
of the home she had often dreamed of! “He mistakes me, too,” said she,
aloud, “if he fancies that my heart is set upon some high ambition.
A life of quiet obscurity, in some spot peaceful and unknown as this,
would suffice for all my wishes. I want no triumphs,--I covet no
rivalries.” A glance at herself in the glass at this moment sent the
deep color to her cheek, and she blushed deeply. Was it that those
bright, flashing eyes, that fair and haughty brow, and those lips
tremulous with proud significance gave a denial to these words? Indeed,
it seemed as much, for she quickly added, “Not that I would fly the
field, or ingloriously escape the struggle--Who’s there?” cried she,
quickly, as a low tap came to the door.

“It is I, Lizzy. I heard you still moving about, and I thought I ‘d
propose half an hour’s stroll in the moonlight before bed. What do you
say to it?”

“I should like it of all things, papa,” cried she, opening the door at

“Throw a shawl across your shoulders, child,” said he; “the air is not
always free from moisture. We ‘ll go along by the river-side.”

A bright moon in a sky without a cloud lit up the landscape, and by the
strongly marked contrast of light and shadow imparted a most striking
effect to a scene wild, broken, and irregular. Fantastically shaped
rocks broke the current of the stream; at every moment gnarled and
twisted roots straggled along the shelving banks, and in the uncertain
light assumed goblin shapes and forms, the plashing stream, as it
rushed by, appearing to give motion to the objects around. Nor was the
semblance all unreal, for here and there a pliant branch rose and fell
on the surging water like the arm of some drowning swimmer.

[Illustration: 108]

The father and daughter walked along for some time in utter silence, and
the thoughts of each filled with the scene before them. Lizzy fancied
it was a conflict of river gods,--some great Titanic war, where angry
giants were the combatants; or again, as fairer forms succeeded, they
seemed a group of nymphs bathing in the soft moonlight. As for Grog, it
reminded him of a row at Ascot, where the swell-mob smashed the police;
and so strikingly did it call up the memory of the event that he laughed
aloud and heartily.

“Do tell me what you are laughing at, papa,” said she, entreatingly.

“It was something that I saw long ago,--something I was reminded of by
those trees yonder, bobbing up and down with the current.”

“But what was it?” asked she, more eagerly; for even yet the memory kept
him laughing.

“Nothing that could interest you, girl,” said he, bluntly; and then, as
if ashamed of the rudeness of his speech, he added, “Though I have seen
a good deal of life, Lizzy, there’s but little of it I could recall for
either your benefit or instruction.”

Lizzy was silent; she wished him to speak on, but did not choose to
question him. Strangely enough, too, though be shunned the theme, he had
been glad if she had led him on to talk of it.

After a long pause he sighed heavily, and said: “I suppose every one, if
truth were told, would have rather a sad tale to tell of the world when
he comes to my age. It don’t improve upon acquaintance, I promise you.
Not that I want to discourage _you_ about it, my girl. You ‘ll come to
my way of thinking one of these days, and it will be quite soon enough.”

“And have you really found men so false and worthless as you say?”

“I’ll tell you in one word the whole story, Lizzy. The fellows that are
born to a good station and good property are all fair and honest, if
they like it; the rest of the world must be rogues, whether they like it
or not.”

“This is a very disenchanting picture you put before me.” “Here ‘s how
it is, girl,” said he, warming with his subject. “Every man in the world
is a gambler; let him rail against dice, racing, cards, or billiards, he
has a game of his own in his heart, and he’s playing for a seat in
the Cabinet, a place in the colonies, a bishopric, or the command of a
regiment. The difference is, merely, that your regular play-man admits
chance into his calculations, the other fellows don’t; they pit pure
skill against the table, and trust to their knowledge of the game.”

She sighed deeply, but did not speak.

“And the women are the same,” resumed he: “some scheming to get their
husbands high office, some intriguing for honors or Court favor; all of
them ready to do a sharp thing,--to make a hit on the Stock Exchange.”

“And are there none above these mean and petty subterfuges?” cried she,

“Yes; the few I have told you,--they who come into the world to claim
the stakes. They can afford to be high-minded, and generous, and
noble-hearted, as much as they please. They are booked ‘all right,’
and need never trouble their heads about the race; and that is the real
reason, girl, why these men have an ascendancy over all others. They are
not driven to scramble for a place; they have no struggles to encounter;
the crowd makes way for them as they want to pass; and if they have
anything good, ay, or even good-looking, about them, what credit don’t
they get for it!”

“But surely there must be many a lowly walk where a man with contentment
can maintain himself honorably and even proudly?”

“I don’t know of them, if there be,” said Davis, sulkily. “Lawyers,
parsons, merchants, are all, I fancy, pretty much alike,--all on ‘the

“And Beecher,--poor Beecher?” broke in Lizzy. And there was a blended
pity and tenderness in the tone that made it very difficult to say what
her question really implied.

“Why do you call him poor Beecher?” asked he, quickly. “He ain’t so poor
in one sense of the word.”

“It was in no allusion to his fortune I spoke. I was thinking of him
solely with reference to his character.”

“And he is poor Beecher, is he, then?” asked Davis, half sternly.

If she did not reply, it was rather in the fear of offending her father,
whose manner, so suddenly changing, apprised her of an interest in the
subject she had never suspected.

“Look here, Lizzy,” said he, drawing her arm more closely to his side,
while he bespoke her attention; “men born in Beecher’s class don’t
need to be clever; they have no necessity for the wiles and schemes and
subtleties that--that fellows like myself, in short, must practise. What
they want is good address, pleasing manners,--all the better if they be
good-looking. It don’t require genius to write a check on one’s banker;
there is no great talent needed to say ‘Yes,’ or ‘No,’ in the House of
Lords. The world--I mean their own world--likes them all the more if
they have n’t got great abilities. Now Beecher is just the fellow to
suit them.”

“He is not a peer, surely?” asked she, hastily.

“No, he ain’t yet, but he may be one any day. He is as sure of the
peerage as--I am not! and then, poor Beecher--as you called him awhile
ago--becomes the Lord Viscount Lackington, with twelve or fourteen
thousand a year! I tell you, girl, that of all the trades men follow,
the very best, to enjoy life, is to be an English lord with a good

“And is it true, as I have read,” asked Lizzy, “that this high station,
so fenced around by privileges, is a prize open to all who have talent
or ability to deserve it,--that men of humble origin, if they be
gifted with high qualities, and devote them ardently to their country’s
service, are adopted, from time to time, into that noble brotherhood?”

“All rubbish; don’t believe a word of it. It’s a flam and a humbug,--a
fiction like the old story about an Englishman’s house being his castle,
or that balderdash, ‘No man need criminate himself.’ They ‘re always
inventing ‘wise saws’ like these in England, and they get abroad, and
are believed, at last, just by dint of repeating. Here ‘s the true state
of the case,” said he, coming suddenly to a halt, and speaking with
greater emphasis. “Here I stand, Christopher Davis, with as much wit
under the crown of my hat as any noble lord on the woolsack, and I might
just as well try to turn myself into a horse and be first favorite for
the Oaks, as attempt to become a peer of Great Britain. It ain’t to be
done, girl,--it ain’t to be done!”

“But, surely, I have heard of men suddenly raised to rank and title for
the services--”

“So you do. They want a clever lawyer, now and then, to help them on
with a peerage case; or, if the country grows forgetful of them, they
attract some notice by asking a lucky general to join them; and even
then they do it the way a set of old ladies would offer a seat in the
coach to a stout-looking fellow on a road beset with robbers,--they hope
he ‘ll fight for ‘em; but, after all, it takes about three generations
before one of these new hands gets regularly recognized by the rest.”

“What haughty pride!” exclaimed she; but nothing in her tone implied

“Ain’t it haughty pride?” cried he; “but if you only knew how it is
nurtured in them, how they are worshipped! They walk down St. James’s
Street, and the policeman elbows me out of the way to make room for
them; they stroll into Tattersall’s, and the very horses cock their
tails and step higher as they trot past; they go into church, and the
parson clears his throat and speaks up in a fine round voice for them.
It’s only because the blessed sun is not an English institution, or he
‘d keep all his warmth and light for the peerage!”

“And have they, who render all this homage, no shame for their

“Shame! why, the very approach to them is an honor. When a lord in the
ring at Newmarket nods his head to me and says, ‘How d’ ye do, Davis?’
my pals--my acquaintances, I mean--are twice as respectful to me for the
rest of the day. Not that _I_ care for that,” added he, sternly; “I know
_them_ a deuced sight better than they fancy!--far better than _they_
know _me!_”

Lizzy fell into a revery; her thoughts went back to a conversation she
had once held with Beecher about the habits of the great world, and all
the difficulties to its approach.

“I wish I could dare to put a question to you, papa,” said she, at last.

“Do so, girl. I ‘ll do my best to answer it”

“And not be angry at my presumption,--not be offended with me?”

“Not a bit. Be frank with me, and you ‘ll find me just as candid.”

“What I would ask, then, is this,--and mind, papa, it is in no mere
curiosity, no idle indulgence of a passing whim I would ask it, but for
sake of self-guidance and direction,--who are we?--what are we?”

The blood rose to Davis’s face and temples till he became crimson;
his nostrils dilated, and his eyes flashed with a wild lustre. Had the
bitterest insult of an enemy been hurled at his face before the open
world, his countenance could not have betrayed an expression of more
intense passion.

“By heaven!” said he, with a long-drawn breath, “I did n’t think there
was one in Europe would have asked me that much to my face. There’s no
denying it, girl, you have my own pluck in you.”

“If I ever thought it would have moved you so--”

“Only to make me love you the more, girl,--to make me know you for my
own child in heart and soul,” cried he, pressing her warmly to him.

“But I would not have cost you this emotion, dearest pa--”

“It’s over now; I am as cool as yourself. There ‘s my hand,--there
‘s not much show of nervousness there. ‘Who are we?’” exclaimed he,
fiercely, echoing her question. “I ‘d like to know how many of that
eight-and-twenty millions they say we are in England could answer such a
question? There’s a short thick book or two tells about the peerage and
baronetage, and says who are they; but as for the rest of us--” A wave
of the hand finished the sentence. “My own answer would be that of
many another: I ‘m the son of a man who bore the same name, and who,
if alive, would tell the same story. As to what we are, that’s another
question,” added he, shrewdly; “though, to be sure, English life
and habits have established a very easy way of treating the matter.
Everybody with no visible means of support, and who does nothing for his
own subsistence, is either a gentleman or a vagrant. If he be positively
and utterly unable to do anything for himself, he ‘s a gentleman; if he
can do a stroke of work in some line or other, he ‘s only a vagrant.”

“And you, papa?” asked she, with an accent as calm and unconcerned as
might be.

“I?--I am a little of both, perhaps,” said he, after a pause.

A silence ensued, long enough to be painful to each; Lizzy did not dare
to repeat her question, although it still remained unanswered, and Davis
knew well that he had not met it frankly, as he promised. What a severe
struggle was that his mind now endured! The hoarded secret of his whole
life,--the great mystery to which he had sacrificed all the happiness of
a home, for which he had consented to estrange himself from his child,
training her up amidst associations and habits every one of which
increased the distance between them,--there it was now on his lip; a
word might reveal it, and by its utterance might be blasted all the
fondest hopes his heart had ever cherished. To make Lizzy a lady, to
surround her not only with all the wants and requirements of station,
but to imbue her mind with sentiments and modes of thought such as befit
that condition, had been the devoted labor of his life. For this he had
toiled and struggled, contrived, plotted, and schemed for years long.
What terrible scenes had he not encountered, with what desperate
characters not associated! In the fearful commerce of the play-table
there was not a dark passion of the human heart he had not explored,--to
know men in their worst aspects, in their insolence of triumph, the
meanness of their defeat, in their moments of avarice, in their waste;
to read their natures so that every start or sigh, a motion of the
finger, a quivering of the lip should have its significance; to
perceive, as by an instinct, wherein the craft or subtlety of each lay,
and by the same rapid intuition to know his weak point also! Men have
won high collegiate honors with less intensity of study than he gave to
this dark pursuit; men have come out of battle with less peril to life
than he faced every day of his existence, and all for one object,--all
that his daughter might breathe an atmosphere from which he must live
excluded, and know a world whose threshold he should never pass. Such
was the terrible conflict that now raged within him as he reviewed the
past, and saw to what a narrow issue he had reduced his one chance of
happiness. “There she stands now,” thought he, “all that my fondest
hopes had ever fashioned her; and who is to say what one word--one
single word uttered by my lips--may not make of that noble nature, pure
and spotless as it is? How will she bear to hear that her station is
a deception, her whole life a lie,--that she is the daughter of Grog
Davis, the leg?” Heaven knows with what dexterous artifices he had often
met this difficulty as it used to present itself to his mind, how he
had seen in what way he could extricate himself, how reconcile his own
shortcomings with her high-soaring tastes and habits! Whatever such
devices he had ever conceived, none came to his aid now; not one offered
him the slightest assistance.

Then came another thought,--“How long is this deception to be carried
on? Am I to wait?” said he, “and if so, for what? Ay, there’s the
question, for what? Is it that some other may break the news to her,
and tell her whose daughter she is?” In that world he knew best he could
well imagine with what especial malice such a tale would be revealed.
Not that slander need call imagination to its aid. Alas! his life had
incidents enough for malignity to gloat over!

His stout arm shook, and his strong frame trembled with a sort of
convulsive shudder as these thoughts flashed across his mind.

“Are you cold, dearest pa? Are you ill?” asked she, eagerly.

“No. Why do you ask?” said he, sternly.

“You trembled all over; I was afraid you were not well.”

“I ‘m never ill,” said he, in the same tone. “There ‘s a bullet in me
somewhere about the hip--they can’t make out exactly where--gives me
a twinge of pain now and then. Except that, I never knew what ailment

“In what battle?”

“It was n’t a battle,” broke he in; “it was a duel. It’s an old story
now, and not worth remembering. There, you need not shudder, girl;
the fellow who shot me is alive, though, I must say, he has n’t a very
graceful way of walking. Do you ever read the newspapers,--did they
allow you ever to read them at school?”

“No; but occasionally I used to catchy a glance at them in the
drawing-room. It was a kind of reading fascinated me intensely, it was
so real. But why do you ask me?”

“I don’t know why I asked the question,” muttered he, half moodily, and
hung his head down. “Yes, I do,” cried he, after a pause. “I wanted to
know if you ever saw _my_ name--our name--in the public prints.”

“Once,--only once, and very long ago, I did, and I asked the governess
if the name were common in England, and she said, ‘Yes.’ I remember
the paragraph that attracted me to this very hour. It was the case of
a young man--I forget the name--who shot himself in despair, after some
losses at play, and the narrative was headed, ‘More of Grog Davis!’”

Davis started back, and, in a voice thick and hoarse with passion, cried

“And then? What next?” The words were uttered in a voice so fearfully
wild that Lizzy stood in a sort of stupefied terror, and unable to
reply. “Don’t you hear me, girl?” cried he. “I asked you what came

“There was an account of an inquest,--some investigation as to how the
poor fellow had met his death. I remember little about that. I was only
curious to learn who this Grog Davis might be--”

“And they could n’t tell you, it seems!”

“No; they had never heard of him.”

“Then I ‘ll tell you, girl. Here he stands before you.”

“You! papa--you--dearest pa! Oh, no, no!” cried she, imploringly, as
she threw herself on his neck and sobbed bitterly,--“oh no! I ‘ll not
believe it.”

“And why not believe it? What was there in that same story that should
prejudice _me_? There, there, girl, if you give way thus, it will offend
me,--ay, Lizzy, offend me.”

She raised her head from his shoulder, dried her eyes, and stood calm
and unmoved before him. Her pale face, paler in the bright moonlight,
now showed not a trace of passion or emotion.

Davis would have given his right hand at that moment that she had been
led into some burst of excitement, some outbreak of passionate feeling,
which, in rebuking, might have carried him away from all thoughts about
himself; but she was cold and still and silent, like one who has heard
some terrible tidings, but yet has summoned up courage for the trial.
There was that in her calm, impassive stare that cut him to the very
heart; nor could any words have reproached him so bitterly as that
steadfast look.

“If you don’t know who we are, you know what we are, girl. Is that not
so?” cried he, in a thick and passionate tone. “I meant to have told it
you fifty times. There was n’t a week in the last two years that I did
n’t, at least, begin a letter to you about it I did more: I cut all
the things out of the newspapers and made a collection of them, and
intended, some day or other, you should read them. Indeed, it was only
because you seemed so happy there that, I spared you. I felt the day
must come, though. Know it you must, sooner or later, and better from me
than another I mean better for the other; for, by heaven! I ‘d have shot
him who told you. Why don’t you speak to me, girl? What’s passing in
your mind?”

“I scarcely know,” said she, in a hollow voice. “I don’t quite feel sure
I am awake!”

“Yes!” cried he, with a terrible oath, “you _are_ awake; it was the past
was the dream! When you were the Princess, and every post brought you
some fresh means of extravagance,--_that_ was the dream! The world went
well with myself in those days. Luck stood to me in whatever I touched.
In all I ventured I was sure to come right, as if I had made my bargain
with Fortune. But the jade threw me over at last, that she did. From the
hour I went in against Hope’s stables at Rickworth,--that’s two years
and eleven days to-day,--I never won a bet! The greenest youngsters from
Oxford beat me at my own weapons. I went on selling,--now a farm, now a
house, now a brood mare. I sent the money all to you, girl, every guinea
of it. What I did myself I did on tick till the September settling at
Cottiswoode, and then it was all up. I was ruined!”

“Ruined!” echoed she, while she grasped his arm and drew him closer to
her side; “you surely had made friends--”

“Friends are capital things when the world goes well with you, but
friends are fond of a good cook and iced champagne, and they don’t fancy
broken boots and a bad hat. Besides, what credit is to the merchant,
luck is to one of us. Let the word get abroad luck is against you; let
them begin to say, ‘There ‘s that poor devil Davis in for it again; he’s
so unlucky!’--once they say that, you are shunned like a fellow with the
plague; none will associate with you, none give you a helping hand or a
word of counsel. Why, the grooms wouldn’t gallop if I was on the ground,
for fear my bad luck might strain a sinew and slip a ligament! And they
were right too! Smile if you like, girl,--I am not a very superstitious
fellow,--but nobody shall persuade me there ain’t such a thing as luck.
Be that as it may, _mine_ turned,--I was ruined!”

“And were there none to come to your aid? You must surely have lent a
helping hand to many--”

“Look here, girl,” said he; “now that we are on this subject, you may as
well understand it aright. If a gentleman born--a fellow like Beecher,
there--comes to grief, there’s always plenty of others ready to serve
him; some for the sake of his family, some for his name, some because
there’s always the chance that he may pay one day or other. Snobs, too,
would help him, because he ‘s the Honorable Annesley Beecher; but it’s
vastly different when it’s Grog Davis is in case. Every one rejoices
when a leg breaks down.”

“A leg is the slang for--for--”

“For a betting man,” interposed Davis. “When a fellow takes up the turf
as a profession, they call him ‘a leg,’--not that they ‘d exactly say it
to his face!” added he, with a smile of intense sarcasm.

“Go on,” said she, faintly, after a slight pause.

“Go on with what?” cried he, rudely. “I’ve told you everything. You
wanted to know what I was, and how I made my living. Well, you know it
all now. To be sure, the newspapers, if you read them, could give
you more precise details; but there’s one thing, girl, they could n’t
blink,--there’s not one of them could say that what my head planned
overnight my hand was not ready to defend in the morning! I can’t always
throw a main, but I ‘ll hit my man,--and at five-and-thirty paces, if he
don’t like to stand closer.”

“And what led you to this life, papa? Was it choice?”

“I have told you enough already; too much, mayhap,” said he, doggedly.
“Question me no more!”

Had Davis but seen the face of her at his side, what a terrible shock
it would have given him, hard and stern as he was! She was pale as
marble,--even the lips were colorless; while along her cheeks a heavy
tear stole slowly along. It was the only one she shed, but it cost an

“And this is the awaking from that glorious dream I have long been lost
in?--this the explanation of that life of costly extravagance, where
every wish was answered, every taste pampered. This is the reverse of
that medal which represented me as noble by birth and high in station!”
 If these were the first bitter thoughts that crossed her mind, her next
were to ask herself why it was that the tidings had not humiliated her
more deeply. “How is it that while I see and hear all this,” cried she,
“I listen in a spirit of defiance, not defeat? Is it that in my heart I
dare to arraign the decrees the world has adopted for its guidance? Do
I presume to believe that I can play the rebel successfully against the
haughtiest aristocracy of Europe?--There is yet one question, papa,”
 said she, slowly and deliberately, “that I would wish to ask you. It is
the last I will ever put, leaving to your own discretion to answer it
or not. Why was it--I mean, with what object did you place me where by
habit and education I should contract ideas of life so widely different
from those I was born to?”

“Can’t you guess?” said he, rudely.

“Mayhap I do guess the reason,” said she, in a low but unbroken voice.
“I remember your saying one night to Mr. Beecher, ‘When a colt has a
turn of speed, he ‘s always worth the training.’”

Davis grew crimson; his very ears tingled as the blood mounted to his
head. Was it shame, was it anger, was it a strange pride to see the
traits of his own heart thus reflected on his child, or was it a
blending of all three together? At all events, he never uttered a word,
but walked slowly along at her side.

A low faint sigh from Lizzy suddenly aroused him, and he said, “Are you
ill,--are you tired, girl?”

“I ‘d like to go back to the house,” said she, calmly but weakly. He
turned without a word, and they walked on towards the inn.

“When I proposed this walk, Lizzy, I never meant it to have been so sad
a one.”

“Nor yours the fault if it is so,” said she, drearily.

“I could, it is true, have kept you longer in the dark. I might have
maintained this deception a week or two longer.”

“Oh, that were useless; the mistake was in not--No matter--it was
never a question wherein I could have a voice. Has n’t the night grown

“No; it’s just what it was when we came out,” said he, gruffly. “Now
that you know all this affair,” resumed he, after a lapse of some
minutes, “there ‘s another matter I ‘d like to talk over; it touches
yourself, too, and we may as well have it now as later. What about
Beecher; he has been paying you attentions, hasn’t he?”

“None beyond what I may reasonably expect from one in his position
towards me.”

“Yes, but he has, though. I sent over Lienstahl to report to me, and
he says that Beecher’s manner implied attachment, and yours showed no
repugnance to him. Is this true?”

“It may be, for aught I know,” said she, indifferently. “Mr. Beecher
probably knows what he meant. I certainly can answer for myself, and
will say that whatever my manner might imply, my heart--if that be the
name for it--gave no concurrence to what the Count attributed to me.”

“Do you dislike him?”

“Dislike? No; certainly not; he is too gentle, too obliging, too
conciliating in manner, too well bred to create dislike. He is not very

“He ‘ll be a peer,” broke in Davis.

“I suspect that all his views of life are deeply tinged with prejudice?”

“He’ll be a peer,” continued Davis.

“He has been utterly neglected in education.”

“He don’t want it.”

“I mean that to suit the station he fills--”

“He has got the station; he’s sure of it; he can’t be stripped of it.
In one word, girl, he has, by right and birth, rank and fortune, such
as ten generations of men like myself, laboring hard every hour of their
lives, could never win. He ‘ll be a peer of England, and I know of no
title means so much.”

“But of all his failings,” said Lizzy, who seemed to take little heed
of her father’s interruptions, while steadily following out her own
thoughts,--“of all his failings, he has none greater or more pernicious
than the belief that it is a mark of intelligence to outwit one’s
neighbor; that cunning is a high quality, and craft means genius.”

“These might be poor qualities to gain a living with,” said Davis, “but
I tell you, once for all, he does n’t need to be brilliant, or witty, or
any other nonsense of that kind. He ‘ll have the right to go where all
the cleverness of the world couldn’t place him, to live in a set where,
if he could Write plays like Shakspeare, build bridges like Brunel, or
train a horse like John Scott, it would n’t avail him a brass farthing;
and if you only knew, child, what these people think of each other, and
what the world thinks of _them_, you ‘d see it’s the best stake ever was
run for.”

Lizzy never replied a word; every syllable of her father’s speech was,
as it were, “filtering down” into her mind, and she brooded long over
the thoughts thus suggested. Thus, walking along in silence, side by
side, they drew nigh the house. They had now gained the little garden
before the door, and were standing in the broad full moonlight, face to
face, Davis saw that her eyes were red and her cheeks marked by tears;
but an impassive calm, and a demeanor subdued even to coldness, seemed
to have succeeded to this emotion. “Oh, my poor girl,” broke he out, in
a voice of deepest feeling, “if I did n’t know the world so well,--if I
did n’t know how little one gains by indulging affection,--if I did
n’t know, besides, how you yourself will think of all this some ten or
twelve years hence, I could n’t have the heart for it.”

“And--must--it--be?” faltered she out, in a broken accent.

Davis threw his arm around her, and, pressing her to him, sobbed
bitterly. “There, there,” cried he, “go in,--go in, child; go to bed,
and get some sleep.” And with this he turned quickly away and left her.


Long before Lizzy had composed herself to sleep--for her heart was torn
by a first sorrow, and she lay restless and fevered--her father, mounted
on a post-horse, was riding away towards the Rhine. He had desired that
the reply to his telegraphic message should be addressed to him at the
post-office of Neuwied, and thither he was now bent. It is a strange
thing, that when the affections of men of this stamp are deeply
moved,--when their sensibilities, long dulled and hardened by the
rubs of life, are once evoked,--the feelings excited are less those of
gentleness and tenderness than an almost savage desire for some personal
conflict. Urging his horse to full speed, Davis spared neither whip nor
spur. Alone upon that solitary road, he asked himself aloud if he were
less alone in the broad, bleak world? “Is not the ‘field’ against
me wherever I go? I never heard of the fellow that had not some
‘moorings’--some anchorage--except myself.” But a brief hour ago and
there was one who loved him with all her heart,--who saw, or fancied she
saw, a rich mine of generous qualities in his rough manners and blunt
address,--who pictured to her mind what such a nature might have been
under happier circumstances and with better culture. “And now,” cried
he, aloud,--“now she knows me for what I am, how will she bear this?
Will she sink under it, will it crush her, or has she enough of my own
blood in her veins to meet it courageously? Oh! if she only knew the
world as I do,--what a mean coward it is, how it bullies the weak and
truckles to the strong, how it frowns down the timid and simpers to the
sturdy! Every man--ay, and every woman--can sell his life dearly; and
strange it is, one only learns the value of this secret too late. Let
a fellow start with it, and see what it does for him. _I_ went at them
single-handed; _I_ went down all alone into the ring, and have they
beaten _me?_ I had no honorable or right honorable friends to pick _me_
out of a scrape. It would be hard to find three men, with good hats on
them, would bail me to the amount of ten pounds; and here I am to-day
just as ready to face them all as ever.”

What canting nonsense do we occasionally read in certain quarters
to disparage mere personal courage,--“mere personal courage”! We are
reminded that the ignoble quality is held in common with the bull-dog,
and that in this essential he is our master; we are reminded that it is
a low and vulgar attribute that neither elevates nor enlightens, that
the meanest creatures are often gifted with it, and the noblest natures
void of it. To all this we give a loud and firm denial; and we affirm as
steadfastly, that without it there is neither truth nor manliness. The
self-reliance that makes a man maintain his word, be faithful to his
friendships, and honorable in his dealings, has no root in a heart that
shakes with craven fear. The life of a coward is the voyage of a ship
with a leak,--eternal contrivance, never-ceasing emergency. All thoughts
dashed with a perpetual fear of death, what room is there for one
generous emotion, one great or high-hearted ambition?

What a quality must that be, I would ask, that gives even to such
a nature as this man’s a sort of rugged dignity? Yes, with all his
failings and short-comings, and I am not going to hide one of them, his
personal courage lifted him out of that category of contempt to which
his life assigned him. How well the world understands such men to be
the _feræ naturæ_ of humanity! It may shun, deprecate, disparage, but it
never despises them. If then of such value be a gift that makes even
the bad appear tolerable, there is this evil in the quality, that it
disposes men like Davis to be ever on the attack. Their whole policy of
life is aggressive.

It was about eight o’clock, on a mellow autumnal morning, as Grog
reached Neuwied, and rode down the main street, already becoming
thronged with the peasantry for the market: Guiding his horse carefully
through the booths of flaunting wares, gay stalls of rural finery, and
stands of fruit, he reached the little inn where he meant to breakfast.

The post was not to open for an hour, so that he ordered his meal to be
at once got ready, and looked also to the comfort of his beast, somewhat
blown by a long stage. His breakfast had been laid in the public room,
in which two travellers were seated, whose appearance, even before he
heard them speak, proclaimed them to be English. They were both
young, fresh-looking, and well favored; that stamp of half-modesty,
half-boldness, so essentially British, was on them, and, notwithstanding
the entrance of a stranger, they talked away in their native language
with all the fearless security your genuine John Bull feels that no
confounded foreigner can understand him. It is but fair to admit that
Grog’s beard and moustaches, his frogged and braided grass-green coat,
and his blue spectacles made him resemble anything on earth rather than
a subject of Queen Victoria.

In the mere glance Grog bestowed upon them as he passed, he saw the
class to which they pertained,--young Oxford or Cambridge men, “out”
 for their vacation,--an order for which he ever entertained a supreme
contempt. He despised their mock shrewdness, their assumed craft, and
that affectation of being “fast men,” which in reality never soared
above running up a bill at the pastrycook’s, thrashing a townsman, and
giving a stunning wine-party at their rooms. To what benefit could such
miniature vices be turned? It was only “punting” with the Evil One, and
Grog thought so and avoided them.

Deep in the “mysterious gutturals” of the “Cologne Gazette,” or busily
discussing his carbonadoed beefsteak, Davis gave no heed to the
bald, disjointed chat of his neighbors; broken phrases reached him
at intervals about proctors and the “little go,” the stroke oar of
Brazennose, or some new celebrity of the ballet, when suddenly the name
of Annesley Beecher startled him. He now listened attentively, and heard
one of them relating to the other that while waiting for his arrival
at Aix la-Chapelle, he had devoted himself to watching Beecher and “the
stunning girl” that was with him. It appeared from what he said that all
Aix was wildly excited by curiosity on her account. That she was neither
wife, sister, nor mistress, none disputed. Who was she, then? or what
could be the explanation of that mysterious companionship? “You should
have seen her at the rooms,” continued the narrator; “she used to make
her appearance about eleven--rarely before--dressed with a magnificence
that threw all the little German royalties into the shade,--such lace
and ornaments! They said, of course, it was all false; I can only tell
you that old Lady Bamouth got beside her one night just to examine her
scarf, and she proclaimed it real Brussels, and worth I can’t say how
much; and for the recovery of an opal that fell out of her bracelet one
night Beecher gave six hundred francs next morning.”

“Then it was the money was false,” broke in the other; “Beecher is
ruined, he hasn’t sixpence,--at least I’ve always heard him mentioned as
a fellow regularly cleaned out years ago.”

“He was before my day,” resumed the first; “but I heard the same story
you did. But what’s the meaning of calling a fellow ruined that can go
about the world stopping at first-rate hotels, having carriages, horses,
opera-boxes? Why, the waiter at Aix told me that he paid above five
hundred florins for flowers. This girl, whoever she was, was wild about
moss-roses and pink hyacinths, and they fetched them from Rotterdam for
her. Pretty well that for a ruined man!”

“Perhaps it was she herself had the money,” suggested the other, half

“That’s possible, too; I know that whenever she came down to the wells
and took a glass of the waters, she always gave a gold piece to the girl
that served her.”

“Then she was not a lady by birth; that trait is quite sufficient to
decide the point.”

Davis started as if he had been stung; here, from the lips of these raw
youths, was he to receive a lesson in life, and be told that all the
cost and splendor by which he purposed to smooth over the difficult
approaches to society were fatal blunders and no more,--that the
very extravagance so imposing in one of acknowledged station becomes
“suspect” in those of dubious rank. Like all men of quick resentments,
he soon turned the blame from himself to others. It was Lizzy’s fault.
What right had she to draw upon herself all the censorious tongues of
a watering-place? Why should she have attracted this foolish notoriety?
After all, she was new to life and the world, and might be pardoned;
but Beecher,--it was just the one solitary thing he _did_ know,--Beecher
ought to have warned her against this peril; he ought to have guarded
against it himself. Why should such a girl be exposed to the insolent
comments of fellows like these? and he measured them deliberately, and
thought over in his mind how little trouble it would cost him to put two
families into mourning,--mayhap, to throw a life-long misery into
some happy home, and change the whole destinies of many he had never
seen,--never should see! There was, however, this difficulty, that in
doing so he drew a greater publicity upon her,--all whose interests
required secrecy and caution. “‘Till she have the right to another name
than mine, she must not be the talk of newspapers,” said he to himself;
and, like many a prudent reflection, it had its sting of pain.

These meditations were rudely cut short by the sound of his own name.
It was the elder of the two young men who was discussing the duel
at Brussels, and detailing, with all the influence of his superior
experience, the various reasons “why no man was called upon to meet
such a fellow as Davis.” “I talked it over with Stan worth and Ellis,
and they both agreed with me.”

“But what is to be done?” asked the younger.

“You hand him over to the police, or you thrash him right well with a
horsewhip, pay five pounds penalty for the assault, and there’s an end

“And is ‘Grog’ as they call him, the man to put up with that mode of

“What can he do? Notoriety must ruin him. The moment it gets abroad that
a wolf has been seen near a village, all turn out for the pursuit.”

Had he who uttered this sentiment only cast his eyes towards the
stranger at the table in the corner, he would have seen, by the
expression of the features, that his simile was not a bad one. Davis
shook with passion, and his self-control, to sit still and listen, was
almost like a fit.

“All the more ungenerous, then, would be the conduct,” said the younger,
“to resent a personal wrong by calling in others to your aid.”

“Don’t you see, George,” broke in the other, “that men have their beasts
of prey like other animals, and agree to hunt them down, out of common
security, for the mischief he causes, and the misery he spreads through
the world? One of these fellows in his lair is worse than any tiger that
ever crouched in a jungle. And as to dealing with him, as Ellis says,
do you ever talk of giving a tiger fair play,--do you make a duel of it,
with equal weapons; or do you just shoot him down when you can and how
you can?”

Davis arose and drew himself up, and there was a moment of irresolution
in his mind, of which, could the two travellers-have read the secret,
they would almost as soon have smoked their cigars in the den of a wild
beast. And yet there they sat, puffing indolently away the blue cloud,
scarcely deigning a passing glance at Grog, as he proceeded to leave the

Anatomists assure us that if we but knew the delicate tissues by which
the machinery of our life is carried on, how slight the fibres, how
complex the functions on which vitality depends, we should not have
courage to move, or even speak, lest we should destroy an organization
so delicate and sensitive. In like manner, did we but know in life the
perils over which we daily pass, the charged mines over which we walk,
the volcanoes that are actually throbbing beneath our feet, what terrors
would it give to mere existence! It was on the turn of a straw how Davis
decided,--a word the more, a look from one of them, a laugh, might have
cost a life. With a long-drawn breath, the sigh of a pent-up emotion,
Grog found himself in the open air; there was a vague feeling in his
mind of having escaped a peril, but what or where or how he could n’t

He sat down in the little porch under the clustering vines; the
picturesque street, with its carved gables and tasteful balconies,
sloped gently down to the Rhine, which ran in swift eddies beneath. It
was a fair and pleasant scene, nor was its influence all lost upon
him. He was already calmed. The gay dresses and cheerful faces of the
peasants, as they passed and repassed, their merry voices, their hearty
recognitions and pleasant greetings, gave a happier channel to his
thoughts. He thought of Lizzy,--how _she_ would like it, how enjoy it!
and then a sudden pang shot through his heart, and he remembered that
she, too, was no longer the same. The illusion that had made her life a
fairy tale was gone,--dissipated forever. The spell that gave the charm
to her existence was broken! What was all the cultivation of mind,--what
the fascinations by which she moved the hearts of all around her,--what
the accomplishments by which she adorned society, if they only marked
the width of that chasm that separated her from the well-born and the
wealthy? To be more than their equal in grace, beauty, and genius, less
than their inferior in station, was a sad lesson to learn, and this the
last night had taught her.

“Ay,” muttered he, below his breath, “she knows who she is now, but she
has yet to learn all that others think of her.” How bitterly, at that
instant, did he reproach himself for having revealed his secret! A
thousand times better to have relinquished all ambition, and preserved
the warm and confiding love she bore him. “We might have gone to
America,--to Australia. In some far-away country I could easily earn
subsistence, and no trace of my former life follow me. She, at least,
would not have been lost to me,--her affection would have clung to me
through every trial. Mere reverse of fortune--for such and no more had
it seemed--would never have chilled the generous glow of her woman’s
heart, and I need not have shocked her self-love, nor insulted her
dignity, by telling her that she was the gambler’s daughter.”

As he was thus musing, the two travellers came out and seated themselves
in the porch; the elder one, needing a light for his cigar, touched
his hat to Davis, and muttered some broken words of German, to request
permission to light it from him. Grog bowed a stiff acquiescence; and
the younger said, “Not over-courteous,--a red Jew, I take it!”

“A travelling jeweller, I fancy,” said the other; “twig the smart

Oh, young gentlemen, how gingerly had you trod there if you only knew
how thin was the ice under your feet, and how cold the depth beneath
it! Davis arose and walked down the street. The mellow notes of a bugle
announced the arrival of the post, and the office must now open in a few
minutes. Forcing his way through the throng to the open window, he asked
if there were any letters for Captain Christopher? None. Any for Captain
Davis? None. Any for the Hon. Annesley Beecher? The same reply. He was
turning away in disappointment, when a voice called out, “Wait! here’s
a message just come in from the Telegraph-office. Please to sign the
receipt for it.” He wrote the name C. Christopher boldly, and pushed his
way through the crowd once more.

If his heart throbbed painfully with the intensity of anxiety, his
fingers never trembled as he broke the seal of the despatch. Three brief
lines were all that were there; but three brief lines can carry the
tidings of a whole destiny. We give it as it stood:--

“William Peach to Christopher, Neuwied, in Nassau.

“The Viscount died yesterday, at four p. m. Lawyers want A. B.’s address

“Proceedings already begun.”

Davis devoured the lines four--five times over, and then muttered
between his teeth, “Safe enough now,--the match as good as over!”

“I say, George,” said one of the young travellers to his companion, “our
friend in the green frock must have got news of a prize in the lottery.
Did you ever see anything like his eyes? They actually lit up the blue

“Clap the saddle on that black horse,” cried Grog, as he passed into the
stable; “give him a glass of Kirsch-wasser and bring him round to the

“He knows how to treat an old poster,” said the ostler; “it’s not the
first ride he has taken on a courier’s saddle.”


When Davis reached the little inn at evening, he was surprised to learn
that Annesley Beecher had passed the day alone. Lizzy complained of
headache, and kept her room. Grog listened to this with a grave, almost
stern look; he partly guessed that the ailment was a mere pretext; he
knew better to what to attribute her absence. They dined tête-à-tête;
but there was a constraint over each, and there was little of that
festive enjoyment that graced the table on the day before. Beecher was
revolving in his mind all the confessions that burdened his conscience
about Stein and the mystical volume he had bought from him; the large
sums he had drawn for were also grievous loads upon his heart, and he
knew not in what temper or spirit Davis would hear of them. Grog, too,
had many things in his head; not, indeed, that he meant to reveal them,
but they were like secret instructions to his own heart, to be referred
to for guidance and direction.

They sipped their wine under the trellised vines, and smoked their
cigars in an atmosphere fragrant with the jessamine and the rose, the
crystal river eddying along at their feet, and the purple mountain
glowing in the last tints of declining day. “We want Lizzy to enliven
us,” said Davis, after a long silence on both sides. “We ‘re dull and
heavy without her.”

“By Jove! it does make a precious difference whether she’s here or not,”
 said Beecher, earnestly.

“There’s a light-heartedness about that girl does one good,” said Davis,
as he puffed his cigar. “And she’s no fool, either.”

“I should think she’s not,” muttered Beecher, half indignantly.

“It could n’t be supposed she should know life like you or me, for
instance; she hasn’t seen the thing,--never mixed with it; but let
the time come that she shall take her part in the comedy, you ‘ll see
whether she ‘ll not act it cleverly.”

“She has head for anything!” chimed in Beecher.

“Ay, and what they call tact too. I don’t care what company you place
her in; take her among your duchesses to-morrow, and see if she’ll not
keep her own place,--and that a good one.”

Beecher sighed, but it was not in any despondency.

And now a long silence ensued; not a sound heard save the light noise of
the bottle as it passed between them, and the long-drawn puffs of smoke
that issued from their lips.

“What did you do with Stein? Did he give you the money?” asked Davis, at

“Oh yes, he gave it--he gave it freely enough; in fact, he bled so
easily that, as the doctors say, I took a good dash from him. You
mentioned two thousand florins, but I thought, as I was about it, a
little more would do us no harm, and so I said, ‘Lazarus, old fellow,
what if we make this for ten thousand--”

“Ten thousand!” said Davis, removing his cigar from his lips and staring
earnestly, but yet not angrily, at the other.

“Don’t you see that as I have the money with me,” began Beecher, in a
tone of apology and terror, “and as the old fellow didn’t put ‘the screw
on’ as to discount--”

“No, he’s fair enough about that; indeed, so far as my own experience
goes, all Jews are. It’s your high-class Christian I’m afraid of; but
you took the cash?”

“Yes!” said Beecher, timidly, for he was n’t sure he was yet out of

“It was well done,--well thought of,” said Grog, blandly. “We ‘ll want
a good round sum to try this new martingale of mine. Opening with five
naps, we must be able to bear a run of four hundred and eighty, which,
according to the rule of chances, might occur once in seventeen thousand
three hundred and forty times.”

“Oh, as to that,” broke in Beecher, “I have hedged famously. I bought
old Stein’s conjuring-book; what he calls his ‘Kleinod,’ showing how
every game is to be played, when to lay on, when to draw off. Here it
is,” said he, producing the volume from his breast-pocket. “I have been
over it all day. I tried three problems with the cards myself, but I
couldn’t make them come up right.”

“How did you get him to part with this?” asked Davis, as he examined the
volume carefully.

“Well, I gave him a fancy price,--that is, I am to give it, which makes
all the difference,” said Beecher, laughing. “In short, I gave him a bit
of stiff, at three months, for one thousand--”


“No, pounds,--pounds sterling,” said Beecher, with a half-choking

“It _was_ a fancy price,” said Grog, slowly, not the slightest sign of
displeasure manifesting itself on his face as he spoke.

“You don’t think, then, that it was too much?” faltered out Beecher.

“Perhaps not, _under_ the circumstances,” said Davis, keenly.

“What do you mean by ‘under the circumstances’?”

Davis threw his cigar into the stream, pushed bottle and glasses
away from him,--far enough to permit him to rest both his arms on the
table,--and then, steadfastly fixing his eyes on the other, with a look
of intense but not angry significance, said, “How often have I told you,
Beecher, that it was no use to try a ‘double’ with me? Why, man, I know
every card in your hand.”

“I give you my sacred word of honor, Grog--”

“To be renewed at three months, I suppose?” said Davis, sneeringly. “No,
no, my boy, it takes an earlier rise to get to the blind side of Kit
Davis. I ‘m not angry with you for trying it,--not a bit, lad; there ‘s
nothing wrong in it but the waste of time.”

“May I be hanged, drawn, and quartered, if I know what you are at,
Grog!” exclaimed the other, piteously.

“Well, all I can say is _I_ read _you_ easier than _you_ read _me_.
_You_ gave old Lazarus a thousand pounds for that book after reading
that paragraph in the ‘Times.’”

“What paragraph?”

“I mean that about your brother’s title not being legal.”

“I never saw it,--never heard of it,” cried Beecher, in undisguised

“Well, I suppose I ‘m to believe you,” said Davis, half reluctantly.
“It was in a letter from the Crimea, stating that so confident are the
friends of a certain claimant to the title and estates now enjoyed by
Lord Lackington, that they have offered the young soldier who represents
the claim any amount of money he pleases to purchase promotion in the

“I repeat to you my word of honor, I never saw nor heard of it”

“Of course, then, I believe you,” said Grog.

Again and again did Beecher reiterate assurances of his good faith;
he declared that during all his stay at Aix he had never looked into
a newspaper, nor had he received one single letter, except from Davis
himself; and Davis believed him, from the simple fact that such a
paragraph as he quoted had no existence,--never was in print, never
uttered till Grog’s own lips had fashioned it.

“But, surely, Grog, it is not a flying rumor--the invention of some
penny-a-liner--would find any credence with _you?_”

“I don’t know,” said Davis, slowly; “I won’t say I ‘d swear to it all,
but just as little would I reject it as a fable. At all events, I gave
you credit for having trimmed your sails by the tidings; and if you did
n’t, why, there’s no harm done, only you ‘re not so shrewd a fellow as I
thought you.”

Beecher’s face grew scarlet; how near, how very near, he was of being
“gazetted” the sharp fellow he had been striving for years to become,
and now, by his own stupid admission, had he invalidated his claim to
that high degree.

“And this is old Stein’s celebrated book? I ‘ve heard of it these
five-and-thirty years, though I never saw it till now. Well, I won’t say
you made a bad bargain--”

“Indeed, Grog,--indeed, by George! I ‘m as glad as if I won five hundred
to hear you say so. To tell you the truth, I was half afraid to own
myself the purchaser. I said to myself, ‘Davis will chaff me so about
this book, he ‘ll call me all the blockheads in Europe--’”

“No, no, Beecher, you ain’t a blockhead, nor will I suffer any one to
call you such. There are things--there are people, too, Just as there
are games--that you don’t know, but before long you ‘ll be the match of
any fellow going. I can put you up to them, and I will. There’s my hand
on it.”

Beecher grasped the proffered hand, and squeezed it with a warmth there
was no denying. What wonderful change had come over Grog he could not
guess. Whence this marvellous alteration in his manner towards him? No
longer scoffing at his mistaken notions of people, or disparaging his
abilities, Davis condescended now to talk and take counsel with him as
an equal.

“That ‘s the king of wines,” said Davis, as he pushed a fresh bottle
across the table. “When you can get Marcobrunner like that, where’s the
Burgundy ever equalled it? Fill up your glass, and drink a bumper to our
next venture, whatever it be!”

“‘Our next venture, whatever it be!’” echoed Beecher, as he laid the
empty glass on the table.

“Another toast,” said Davis, replenishing the glasses. “‘May all of our
successes be in company.’”

“I drink it with all my heart, old fellow. You ‘ve always stood like a
man to me, and I ‘ll never desert you,” cried Beecher, whose head was
never proof against the united force of wine and excitement.

“There never were two fellows on this earth so made to run in double
harness,” said Davis, “as you and myself. Let us only lay our heads
together, and there’s nothing can resist us.”

Grog now launched forth into one of those descriptions which he
could throw off with a master’s hand, sketching life as a great
hunting-ground, and themselves as the hunters. What zest and vigor could
he impart to such a picture!--how artfully, too, could he make Beecher
the foreground figure, he himself only shadowed forth as an accessory!
Listening with eagerness to all he said, Beecher continued to drink
deeply; the starry night, the perfumed air, the rippling sounds of
the river, all combining with the wine and the converse to make up a
dreamland of fascination. Nor was the enchantment less perfect that the
objects described passed before him like a series of dissolving views.
They represented, all of them, a life of pleasure and enjoyment,--means
inexhaustible, means for every extravagance, and, what he relished fully
as much, the undisputed recognition by the world to the claim of being
a “sharp fellow,”--a character to which Grog’s aid was so dexterously
contributed as to escape all detection.

Perhaps our reader might not have patience with us were we to follow
Davis through all the devious turns and windings of this tortuous
discourse. Perhaps, too, we should fail signally were we to attempt
to convey in our cold narrative what came from his lips with all the
marvellous power of a good story-teller, whose voice could command many
an inflection, and whose crafty nature appreciated the temper of the
metal beneath his beat If we could master all these, another and a
greater difficulty would still remain; for how could we convey, as
Davis contrived to do, that through all these gorgeous scenes of worldly
success, in the splendor of a life of magnificence, amidst triumphs
and conquests, one figure should ever pass before the mind’s eye, now
participating in the success, now urging its completion, now, as it
were, shedding a calm and chastened light over all,--a kind of angelic
influence that heightened every enjoyment of the good, and averted every
approach of evil?

Do not fancy, I beseech you, that this was a stroke of high art far
above the pencil of Grog Davis. Amongst the accidents of his early
life the “stage” had figured, and Grog had displayed very considerable
talents for the career. It was only at the call of what he considered
a higher ambition he had given up “the boards” for “the ring.” Besides
this, he was inspired by the Marcobrunner, which had in an equal degree
affected the brain of him who listened. If Grog were eloquent, Beecher
was ductile. Indeed, so eagerly did he devour all that the other
said, that when a moment of pause occurred, he called out, “Go on, old
fellow,--go on! I could listen to you forever!”

Nor was it altogether surprising that he should like to hear words of
praise and commendation from lips that once only opened in sarcasm and
ridicule of him. How pleasant to know, at last, that he was really and
truly a great partner in the house of Davis and Co., and not a mere
commission agent, and that this partnership--how that idea came to
strike him we cannot determine--was to be binding forever. How exalting,
too, the sentiment that it was just at the moment when all his future
looked gloomiest this friendship was ratified. The Lackington peerage
might go, but there was Grog Davis, stanch and true,--the ancient
estates be torn from his house, but there was the precious volume of
old Lazarus, with wealth untold within its pages. Thus threading his
way through these tortuous passages of thought, stumbling, falling, and
blundering at every step, that poor brain lost all power of coherency
and all guidance, and he wavered between a reckless defiance of the
world and a sort of slavish fear of its censure.

“And Lackington, Grog,--Lackington,” cried he, at length,--“he’s as
proud as Lucifer; what will he say?”

“Not so much as you think!” remarked Grog, dryly. “Lackington will take
it easier than you suspect.”

“No, no, you don’t know him,--don’t know him at all. I wouldn’t stand
face to face with him this minute for a round sum!”

“I ‘d not like it over-much myself!” muttered Davis, with a grim smile.

“It’s all from pride of birth and blood, and he ‘d say, ‘Debts, if you
like; go ahead with Jews and the fifty per centers, but, hang it, don’t
tie a stone round your throat, don’t put a double ditch between you and
your own rank! Look where I am,’ he ‘d say,--‘look where I am!’”

“Well, I hope he finds it comfortable!” muttered Grog, with a dry

“Look where I am!” resumed Beecher, trying to imitate the pretentious
tones of his brother’s voice. “And where is it, after all?”

“Where we ‘ll all be, one day or other,” growled out Grog, who could not
help answering his own reflections.

“‘And are you sure of where you are?’--that’s what I ‘d ask him, eh,
Grog?--‘are you sure of where you are?’”

“That _would_ be a poser, I suspect,” said Davis, who laughed heartily;
and the contagion catching Beecher, he laughed till the tears came.

“I might ask him, besides, ‘Are you quite sure how long you are to
remain where you are?’ eh, Grog? What would he say to that?”

“The chances are, he ‘d not answer at all,” said Davis, dryly.

“No, no! you mistake him, he’s always ready with a reason; and then he
sets out by reminding you that he’s the head of the house,--a fact that
a younger brother does n’t need to have recalled to his memory. Oh,
Grog, old fellow, if I were the Viscount,--not that I wish any ill
to Lack-ington,--not that I ‘d really enjoy the thing at any cost to
_him_,--but if I were--”

“Well, let’s hear. What then?” cried Davis, as he filled the other’s
glass to the top,--“what then?”

“Would n’t I trot the coach along at a very different pace. It’s not
poking about Italy, dining with smoke-dried cardinals and snuffy old
‘marchesas,’ I ‘d be; but I ‘d have such a stable, old fellow, with Jem
Bates to ride and Tom Ward to train them, and yourself, too, to counsel
me. Would n’t we give Binsleigh and Hawksworth and the rest of them a
cold bath, eh?”

“That ain’t the style of thing at all, Beecher,” said Grog,
deprecatingly; “you ought to go in for the ‘grand British nobleman
dodge,’--county interests, influence with a party, and a vote in the
Lords. If you were to try it, you ‘d make a right good speech. It
wouldn’t be one of those flowery things the Irish fellows do, but a
manly, straightforward, genuine English discourse.”

“Do you really think so, Grog?” asked he, eagerly.

“I ‘m sure of it I never mistook pace in my life; and I know what’s in
you as well as if I saw it. The real fact is, you have a turn of speed
that you yourself have no notion of, but it will come out one of these
days if you ‘re attacked,--if they say anything about your life on the
turf, your former companions, or a word about the betting-ring.”

The charm of this flattery was far more intoxicating than even the
copious goblets of Marcobrunner, and Beecher’s flushed cheeks and
flashing eyes betrayed how it overpowered him. Davis went on:--

“You are one of those fellows that never show ‘the stuff they ‘re made
of’ till some injustice is done them,--eh?”

“True as a book!” chimed in Beecher.

“Take you fairly, and a child might lead you; but try it on to deny you
what you justly have a right to,--let them attempt to dictate to you,
and say, ‘Do this, and don’t do the other,’--little they know on what
back they ‘ve put the saddle. You ‘ll give them such a hoist in the air
as they never expected!”

“How you read every line of me!” exclaimed Beecher, in ecstasy.

“And I ‘ll tell you more; there’s not another man breathing knows
you but myself. They ‘ve always seen you in petty scrapes and little
difficulties, pulling the devil by the last joint of his tail, as Jack
Bush says; but let them wait till you come out for a cup race,--the Two
Thousand Guinea Stakes,--then I’m not Kit Davis if you won’t be one of
the first men in England.”

“I hope you ‘re right, Davis. I almost feel as if you were,” said
Beecher, earnestly.

“When did you find me in the wrong, so far as judgment went? Show me one
single mistake I ever made in a matter of opinion? Who was it foretold
that Bramston would bolt after the Cotteswold if Rugby didn’t win?
Who told the whole yard at Tattersall’s that Grimsby would sell
Holt’s stable? Who saw that Rickman Turner was a coward, and would n’t
fight?--and I said it, the very day they gave him ‘the Bath’ for his
services in China! I don’t know much about books, nor do I pretend to;
but as to men and women--men best--I ‘ll back myself against all England
and the Channel Islands.”

“And I ‘ll take as much as you ‘ll spare me out of your book, Grog,”
 said Beecher, enthusiastically, while he filled his glass and drained

“You see,” said Davis, in a low, confidential tone, as if imparting a
great secret, “I’ve always remarked that the way they smash a fellow
in Parliament--I don’t care in which House--is always by raking up
something or other he did years before. If he wrote a play, or a novel,
or a book of poems, they ‘re down on him at once, about his imagination
and his fancy,--that means, he never told a word of truth in his life.
If he was unfortunate in business, they ‘re sure to refer to him about
some change in the Law of Bankruptcy, and say, ‘There’s my honorable
friend yonder ought to be able to help us by his experiences!’ Then,
if a fellow has only his wits about him, how he floors them! You see
there’s a great deal of capital to be made out of one of these attacks.
You rise to reply, without any anger or passion; only dignity,--nothing
but dignity! You appeal to the House if the assault of the right
honorable baronet opposite was strictly in good taste,--whatever
that means. You ask why you are signalled out to be the mark of his
eloquence, or his wit, or whatever it be; and then you come out with a
fine account of yourself, and all the honorable motives that nobody ever
suspected you of. That’s the moment to praise everything you ever did,
or meant to do, or couldn’t do; that’s the time to show them what a man
they have amongst them.”

“Capital, glorious, excellent!” cried Beecher, in delight “Well, suppose
now,” said Davis, “there ‘s a bill about marriages,--they ‘re always
changing the law about them; it’s evidently a contract does n’t work
quite smoothly for all parties,--well, there’s sure to be many a spicy
remark and impertinent allusion in the debate; it’s a sore subject, and
every one has a ‘raw’ on it; and, at last, somebody says something about
unequal matches, alliances with an inferior class, ‘noble lords that
have not scrupled to mingle the ancient blood of their race with
the--the thin and washy current that flows in plebeian veins.’ I ‘m the
Lord Chancellor, now,” said Grog, boldly, “and I immediately turn round
and fix my eyes upon _you_. Up you get at once, and say, ‘I accept, my
Lords,--I accept for myself, and my own case, every word the noble Duke
or Marquis has just uttered. It never would have occurred to me to make
my personal history the subject of your Lordships’ attention; but
when thus rudely brought before you,--rudely and gratuitously
introduced--‘Here you ‘d frown at the last speaker, as much as to say,
‘You ‘ll hear more about this outside--’”

“Go on,--go on!” cried Beecher, with impatience.

“‘I rise in this place,’--that has always a great impression, to say
‘this place,’--‘I rise in this place to say that I am prouder in the
choice that shares with me the honors of my coronet, than in all the
dignity and privilege that same coronet confers.’ What a cheer, what
a regular hurrah follows that, for they have seen her,--ay, that have
they! They have beheld her sweeping down the gilded drawing-room,--the
handsomest woman in England! Where’s the Duchess with her eyes, her
skin, her dignity, and her grace? Does n’t she look ‘thoroughbred in
every vein of her neck’? Where did she get that graceful sweep, that
easy-swimming gait, if she had n’t it in her very nature’?”

“By Heaven, it’s true, every syllable of it!” cried out Beecher, in all
the wild ecstasy of delight.

“Where is the man--I don’t care what his rank might be--who would n’t
envy you after you ‘d made that speech? You ‘d walk down Westminster the
proudest man in England after it.”

Beecher’s features glowed with a delight that showed he had already
anticipated the sense of his popularity.

“And then how the newspapers will praise you! It will be as if you built
a bridge over the gulf that separates two distinct classes of people.
You ‘ll be a sort of noble reformer. What was the wisest thing Louis
Napoleon ever did? His marriage. Do you mark that he was always
following his uncle’s footsteps in all his other policy; he saw that the
only great mistake he ever made was looking out for a high match, and,
like a shrewd fellow, he said, ‘I have station, rank, power, and money
enough for two. It ‘s not to win the good favor of a wrinkled old
Archduchess or a deaf old Princess, I ‘m going to marry. I ‘ll go in for
the whole field. I ‘ll take the girl that, if I was n’t an Emperor, I ‘d
be proud to call my own.’ And signs on ‘t, they all cried out, ‘See if
he has n’t his heart in the right place; there’s an honest drop there!
Let him be as ambitious as you like, he married just as you or I would.’
Ain’t it a fine thing,” exclaimed Grog, enthusiastically, “when one
has all the middle classes in one’s favor,--the respectable ruck that’s
always running, but seldom showing a winner? Get these fellows with you,
and it’s like Baring’s name on the back of your bill. And now, Beecher,”
 said Davis, grasping the other’s hand, and speaking with a deep
earnestness,--“and now that I ‘ve said what you might have done, I ‘ll
tell you what I _will do_. I have just been sketching out this line of
country to see how you ‘d take your fences, nothing more. You ‘ve shown
me that you ‘re the right sort, and I ‘m not the man to forget it. If
I had seen the shadow of a shade of a dodge about you,--if I ‘d have
detected one line in your face, or one shake in your voice, like
treachery,--so help me! I ‘d have thrown you over like winking! You
fancied yourself a great man, and was stanch and true to your old
friends; and now it’s my turn to tell you that I would n’t give that
empty flask yonder for all your brother Lackington’s lease of his
peerage! Hear me out I have it from his own lawyers,--from the fellows
in Furnival’s Inn,--it’s up with him; the others are perfectly sure of
their verdict There’s how it is! And now, Annesley Beecher, you were
willing to marry Kit Davis’s daughter when you thought you could make
her a peeress; now I say, that when you ‘ve nothing, nor haven’t a
sixpence to bless yourself with, it’s Kit himself will give her to
you, and say, there’s not the other man breathing he’d as soon see the
husband of this same Lizzy Davis!”

The burst of emotion with which Beecher met this speech was, indeed, the
result of very conflicting feelings. Shock at the terrible tidings of
his brother’s downfall, and the insult to his house and name, mingled
with a burst of gratitude to Davis for his fidelity; but stronger and
deeper than these was another sentiment,--for, smile if you will, most
sceptical reader, the man was in love, after _his_ fashion. I do not ask
of you to believe that he felt as you or I might or ought to feel the
tender passion. I do not seek to persuade you that the object of his
affection, mingled with all his thoughts, swayed them and etherealized
them; that she was the theme of many a heart-woven story, the heroine
of many an ecstatic dream: still she was one who could elicit from
that nature, in all its selfishness, little traits of generous feeling,
little bursts of honest sentiment, that made him appear better to his
own heart. And so far has the adage truth with it, virtue is its own
reward, in the conscious sense of well doing, in the peaceful calm of an
unrepining spirit, and, not least of all, in that sympathy which good
men so readily bestow upon even faint efforts to win their suffrage.

And so he sobbed out something that meant grief and gratitude; hope,
fear, and uncertainty--worse than fear--all agitating and distracting
him by turns.

Very little time did Grog give himself for calmer reflection; away he
went at full speed to sketch out their future life. They were to make
the tour of Europe, winning all before them. All the joyous part,
all the splendor of equipage, retinue, mode of life, and outlay being
dictated by Beecher; all the more business detail, the play and the
money-getting, devolving upon Davis. Baden, Ems, Wiesbaden, Hamburg, and
Aix,--all glowed in the descriptions like fields of foretold glory. How
they were to outshine Princes in magnificence and Royal Highnesses in
display; the envy of Beecher, of his unvarying luck; the splendor of all
his belongings; Lizzy’s beauty, tool What a page would he fill in the
great gossip calendar of Europe!

Well Davis knew how to feed the craving vanity of that weak nature,
whose most ardent desire was to be deemed cunning and sharp, the
cautious reserve of prudent men in his company being a tribute to
his acuteness, the dearest his heart could covet Oh, if he longed for
anything as success, it was for a time when his coming would spread a
degree of terror at a play-table, and men would rise rather than risk
their fortune against _his!_ Should such a moment ever be his? Was that
great triumph ever to befall him? And all this as the husband of Lizzy

“Ay!” said Grog, as he read and traced each succeeding emotion in that
transparent nature,--“ay! that’s what may be called life; and when we
‘ve done Europe, smashed every bank on the Continent, we ‘ll cross the
Atlantic, and give Jonathan a ‘touch of our quality.’ I know all their
games well, and I ‘ve had my ‘three bullets and a poker’ before now on
a Mississippi steamer! Your Yankee likes faro, and I’ve a new cabal to
teach him; in short, my boy, there’s a roving commission of fun before
us, and if it don’t pay, _my_ name ain’t Davis!”

“Was this your scheme, then, Grog,” asked Beecher, “when you told me at
Brussels that you could make a man of me?”

“It was, my boy,” cried Davis, eagerly. “You ‘ve guessed it. There was
only one obstacle to the success of the plan at that time, and this
exists no longer.”

“What was the obstacle you speak of?”

“Simply, that so long as you fancied yourself next in succession to a
peerage, you ‘d never lay yourself down regularly to your work; you’d
say, ‘Lackington can’t live forever; he’s almost twenty years my senior.
I must be the Viscount yet. Why should I, therefore, cumber myself with
cares that I have no need of, and involve myself amongst people I’ll
have to cut one of these days? No, I’ll just make a waiting race of
it, and be patient.’ Now, however, that you can’t count upon this
prospect,--now that to-morrow or next day will declare to the world that
Henry Hastings Beecher is just Henry Hastings Beecher, and not Viscount
Lackington, and that the Honorable Annesley is just Annesley, and no
more,--now, I say, that you see this clearly with your own eyes, you ‘ll
buckle to, and do your work manfully. And there was another thing--”
 And here Davis paused, and seemed to meditate.

“What was that, Grog? Be candid, old fellow, and tell me all.”

“So I will, then,” resumed Davis. “That other thing was this. So long
as you were the great man in prospective, and might some fine day be
a Lord, you could always persuade yourself--or some one else could
persuade you--that Kit Davis was hanging on you just for your rank; that
he wanted the intimacy of a man in your station, and so on. Now, if
you ever came to believe this, there would have been an end of all
confidence between us; and without confidence, what can a fellow do for
his pal? This was, therefore, the obstacle; and even if you could have
got over it, _I_ couldn’t. No, hang me if I could! I was always saying
to myself, ‘It’s all very nice and smooth now, Kit, between you and
Beecher,--you eat, drink, and sleep together,--but wait till he turns
the corner, old fellow, and see if he won’t give you the cold shoulder.”

“You could n’t believe--”

“Yes, but I could, and did too; and many’s the time I said to myself,
‘If Beecher was n’t a top-sawyer, what a trump he ‘d be! He has head
for anything, and address for anything.’ And do you know,”--here
Grog dropped his-voice to a whisper, and spoke as if under great
emotion,--“and do you know that I could n’t be the same man to you
myself just because of your rank? That was the reason I used to be so
sulky, so suspicious, and so--ay, actually cruel with you, telling you,
as I did, what could n’t I do with certain acceptances? Now, look here,
Beecher--Light that taper beside you; there’s a match in that box at
your elbow.”

Unsteady enough was Beecher’s hand; indeed, it was not wine alone now
made him tremble. An intense agitation shook his frame, and he shivered
like one in an ague fit. He couldn’t tell what was coming; the theme
alone was enough to arrest all process of reasoning on his part. It was
like the force of a blow that stunned and stupefied at once.

“There, that will do,” said Grog, as he drew a long pocket-book from
his breast-pocket, and searched for some time amongst its contents. “Ay,
here they are; two--three--four of them,--insignificant-looking scraps
of paper they look; and yet there’s a terrible exposure in open court,
a dreary sea-voyage over the ocean, and a whole life of a felon’s
suffering in those few lines.”

“For the love of mercy, Davis, if you have a spark of pity in your
heart,--if you have a heart at all,--don’t speak in this way to me!”
 cried Beecher, in a voice almost choked with sobs.

“It is for the last time in my life you’ll ever hear such words,” said
Grog, calmly. “Read them over carefully; examine them well. Yes, I wish
and require it.”

“Oh, I know them well!” said Beecher, with a heavy sigh. “Many’s the
sleepless night the thought of them has cost me.”

“Go over every line of them; satisfy yourself that they ‘re the
same,--that the words ‘Johnstone Howard’ are in your own hand.”

Beecher bent over the papers; but, with his dimmed eyes and trembling
fingers, it was some time ere he could decipher them. A sigh from the
very bottom of his heart was all the reply he could make.

“They’ll never cost you another sleepless night, old fellow!” said
Davis, as he held them over the flame of the taper. “There’s the end of
‘em now!”


A wiser head than that of Annesley Beecher might have felt some
confusion on awaking the morning after the events we have just related.
Indeed, his first sensations were those of actual bewilderment as he
opened his eyes, and beheld the pine-clad mountains rising in endless
succession; the deep glens; the gushing streams, crossed by rude bridges
of a single tree; the rustic saw-mills all dripping with spray. And
trembling with the force of their own machinery. Where was he? What
strange land was this? How came he there? Was this in reality the “new
world beyond the seas” Davis had so often described to him? By a slow,
laborious process, like filtering, stray memories dropped, one by one,
through his clouded faculties; and, at length, he remembered the scene
of the preceding night, and all that had passed between Davis and
himself. Yet, withal, there was much of doubt and uncertainty mixed up,
nor could he, by any effort, satisfy himself how much was fact, how much
mere speculation. Was it true that Lackington was to lose his peerage?
Was it possible such a dreadful blow was to fall on their house? If
so, what portion of the estates would follow the title? Would a great
part--would all the property be transferred to the new claimant? What
length of time, too, might the suit occupy?--such things often lasted
for years upon years. Was it too late for a compromise? Could not some
arrangement be come to “some way”? Grog was surely the man to decree
a plan for this; at all events, he could protract and spin out
proceedings. “It’s not p.p.; the match may never come off,” muttered
Beecher, “and I ‘ll back old Grog to ‘square it’ _somehow_.”

And then the bills, the forged acceptances,--they were actually burned
before his face! It was well-nigh incredible; but he had seen them, held
them in his own hand, and watched them as the night wind wafted
away their blackened embers never more to rise in judgment against
him,--never to cost him another night of sleepless terror! Who would
have believed Davis capable of such magnanimity? Of all men living, he
had deemed him the last to forego any hold over another; and then
the act was his own spontaneous doing, without reservation, without

Beecher’s heart swelled proudly as he thought over this trait of his
friend. Was it that he felt a sense of joy in believing better of
mankind? Was it that it awoke within his breast more hopeful thoughts of
his fellow-men? Did it appeal to him like a voice, saying, “Despair of
no man; there are touches of kindliness in natures the very roughest,
that redeem whole lives of harshness”? No, my good reader, it would be
unfair and unjust to you were I to say that such sentiments as these
swayed him. Annesley Beecher’s thoughts flowed in another and very
different channel. The words he whispered to his heart were somewhat
in this wise: “What a wonderful fellow must you be, Beecher, to acquire
such influence over a man like Davis; what marvellous gifts must you not
be endowed with! Is it any wonder that Grog predicts a brilliant future
to him who can curb to his will the most stubborn of natures, and elicit
traits of sacrifice out of the most selfish of men? Who but yourself
could work this miracle?” Mean and ignoble as such a mode of arguing may
seem, take my word for it, most patient reader, it is not unfrequent
in this world of ours, nor is Annesley Beecher the only one who has
ascribed all his good fortune to his own deservings.

“Shrewd fellow, that Davis! He always saw what stuff was in _me; he_
recognized the real metal, while others were only sneering at the
dross,--just as he knows this moment, that if I start fresh without
name, fortune, or title, that I ‘m sure to be at the top of the tree
at last. Give me his daughter! I should think he would! It’s not all up
with Lackington yet, dark as it looks; we ‘re in possession, and there
is a ‘good line of country’ between the Honorable Annesley Beecher, next
Viscount in succession, and Kit Davis, commonly called Grog of that
ilk! Not that the girl isn’t equal to any station,--there’s no denying
_that!_ Call her a Greville, a Stanley, or a Seymour, and she’s a match
for the finest man in England! Make her a Countess to-morrow, and she
‘ll look it!”

It is but fair to acknowledge that Beecher was not bewildered without
some due cause; for if Davis had at one time spoken to him as one who
no longer possessed claim to rank and station, but was a mere adventurer
like himself, at another moment he had addressed him as the future
Viscount, and pictured him as hurling a proud defiance to the world in
the choice he had made of his wife. This was no blunder on Grog’s part.
That acute individual had, in the course of his legal experiences,
remarked that learned counsel are wont to insert pleas which are
occasionally even contradictory, alleging at times that “there was no
debt,” and then, that “if there had been, it was already paid.” In the
same spirit did Davis embrace each contingency of fortune, showing that,
whether Peer or Commoner, Annesley Beecher “stood to win” in making
Lizzy his wife. “Scratch the pedigree, and she ‘ll be a stunning
peeress; and if the suit goes against us, show me the girl like her to
meet the world!” This was the sum of the reflections that cost him a
whole morning’s intellectual labor, and more of actual mental fatigue
than befalls a great parliamentary leader after a stormy debate.

That Davis had no intention to intimidate him was clearly shown by his
destroying the acceptances: had he wished to lean on coercion, here was
the means. Take your choice between matrimony and a felony, was a short
and easy piece of argumentation, such as would well have suited Grog’s
summary notions; and yet he had, of his own accord, freely and forever
relinquished this vantage ground. Beecher was now free. For the first
time for many a long year of life he arose from his bed without a fear
of the law and its emissaries. The horrible nightmare that had scared
him so often, dashing the wildest moments of dissipation with sudden
fear, deepening the depths of despondency with greater gloom, had all
fled, and he awoke to feel that there was no terror in a “Beak’s” eye,
nothing to daunt him in the shrewd glances of a detective. They who have
lived years long of insecurity, tortured by the incessant sense of an
impending peril, to befall them to-day, tomorrow, or next day, become
at length so imbued with fear that when the hour of their emancipation
arrives, they are not able for a considerable time to assure themselves
of their safety. The captive dreams of his chains through many a night
after he has gained his liberty; the shipwrecked sailor can never forget
the raft and the lone ocean on which he tossed; nor was it altogether
easy for Beecher to convince himself that he could walk the world with
his head high, and bid defiance to Crown prosecutors and juries!

“I ‘m out of _your_ debt, Master Grog,” said he, with a pleasant laugh
to himself; “catch me if you can running up another score in _your_
books. Wait till you see me slipping my neck into a noose held by _your_
fingers. You made me feel the curb pretty sharp for many a long day, and
might still, if you had n’t taken off the bridle with your own hands;
but I ‘m free now, and won’t I show you a fair pair of heels! Who could
blame me, I ‘d like to know? When a fellow gets out of jail, does he
take lodgings next door to the prison? _I_ never asked him to burn those
bills. It was all his own doing. I conclude that a fellow as shrewd as
he knew what he was about. Mayhap he said to himself, ‘Beecher’s the
downiest cove going. It will be a deuced sight better to have him as
my friend and pal than to send him to break stones in Australia. I can
stand to win a good thing on him, and why should I send him over
seas just out of spite? I’ll come the grand magnanimous dodge over
him,--destroy the papers before his face, and say, “Now, old fellow,
what do you say to that for a touch of generosity?”’

“‘Well, I’ll tell you what I say, Master Davis,’” said he, drawing
himself up, and speaking boldly out. “‘I say that you’re a regular
trump, and no mistake; but you ‘re not the sharp fellow I took you
for. No, no, old gent, you ‘re no match for A. B.! He’s been running in
bandages all this time past; and now that his back sinews are all right,
you’ll see if he hasn’t a turn of speed in him.’ And what is more, I
‘d say to him, ‘Look here, Grog, we’ve jogged along these ten or twelve
years or so without much profit to either of us,--what say you if we
dissolve the partnership and let each do a little business on his own
account? If I should turn out anything very brilliant, you ‘ll be proud
of me, just as England says she is when a young colony takes a great
spring of success, and say, “Ay, he was one of my rearing!”’ Of course
all dictation, all that bullying intolerance is at an end now, and time
it was! Wasn’t I well weary of it! wasn’t I actually sick of life with
it! I couldn’t turn to anything, could n’t think of anything, with that
eternal fear before me, always asking myself, ‘Is he going to do it
now?’ It is very hard to believe it’s all over.” And he heaved a deep
sigh as though disburdening his heart of its last load of sorrow.

“Davis is very wide awake,” continued he; “he ‘ll soon see how to trim
his sails to this new wind; he ‘ll know that he can’t bully, can’t

A sharp quick report of a pistol, with a clanging crash, and then a
faint tinkle of a bell, cut short his musings, and Beecher hastened to
the window and looked out. It was Davis in the vine alley practising
with the pistol; he had just sent a ball through the target, the bell
giving warning that the shot had pierced the very centre. Beecher
watched him as he levelled again; he thought he saw a faint tremor of
the hand, a slight unsteadiness of the wrist; vain illusion,--bang went
the weapon, and again the little bell gave forth the token of success.

“Give me the word--one--two,” cried out Davis to the man who loaded and
handed him the pistols. “One--two,” called out the other; and the same
instant rang out the bell, and the ball was true to its mark.

“What a shot,--what a _deadly_ shot!” muttered Beecher, as a cold
shudder came over him.

As quickly as he could take the weapons, Davis now fired;
four--five--six balls went in succession through the tiny circle, the
bell tinkling on and never ceasing, so rapidly did shot follow upon
shot, till, as if sated with success, he turned away, saying, “I’ ll try
to-morrow blindfold!”

“I’m certain,” muttered Beecher, “no man is bound to go out with a
fellow like that. A duel is meant to be a hazard, not a dead certainty!
To stand before him at twenty--ay, forty paces, is a suicide, neither
more nor less; he must kill you. I’d insist on his fighting across a
handkerchief. I ‘d say, ‘Let us stand foot to foot!’” No, Beecher, not
a bit of it; you ‘d say nothing of the kind, nor, if you did, would it
avail you! Your craven heart could not beat were those stern gray eyes
fixed upon you, looking death into you from a yard off. He ‘d shoot you
down as pitilessly, too, at one distance as at the other.

Was it in the fulness of a conviction that his faltering lips tried
to deny, that he threw himself back upon a chair, while a cold, clammy
sweat covered his face and forehead, a sickness like death crept over
him, objects grew dim to his eyes, and the room seemed to turn and swim
before him? Where was his high daring now? Where the boastful spirit in
which he had declared himself free, no more the slave of Grog’s insolent
domination, nor basely cowering before his frown? Oh, the ineffable
bitterness. Of that thought, coming, too, in revulsion to all his late
self-gratulations! Where was the glorious emancipation he had dreamed
of, now? He could not throw him into prison, it is true, but he could
lay him in a grave.

“But I ‘d not meet him,” whispered he to himself. “One is not bound to
meet a man of this sort.”

There is something marvellously accommodating and elastic in the phrase,
“One is not bound” to do this, that, and t’ other. As the said bond is
a contract between oneself and an imaginary world, its provisions are
rarely onerous or exacting. Life is full of things “one is not bound
to do.” You are “not bound,” for instance, to pay your father’s debts,
though, it might be, they were contracted in your behalf and for your
benefit. You are not bound to marry the girl whose affections have been
your own for years if you can do better in another quarter, and she
has nothing in your handwriting to establish a contract. You are not
bound,--good swimmer though you be,--to rescue a man from drowning, lest
he should clutch too eagerly and peril your safety. You are not bound to
risk the chance of a typhus by visiting a poor friend on his sick-bed.
You are not bound to aid charities you but half approve,--to assist
people who have been improvident,--to associate with many who are
uninteresting to you. But why go on with this expurgatorial catalogue?
It is quite clear the only things “one _is_ bound” to do are those the
world will enforce at his hands; and let our selfishness be ever so
inveterate, and ever so crafty, the majority will beat us, and the Ayes
have it at last!

Now, few men had a longer list of the things they were “not bound to
do” than Annesley Beecher; in reality, if the balance were to be struck
between them and those he acknowledged to be obligatory, it would have
been like Falstaff’s sack to the miserable morsel of bread. Men of
his stamp fancy themselves very wise in their generation. They are not
easy-natured, open, trustful, and free-handed, like that Pharisee! Take
my word for it, the system works not so well as it looks, and they
pass their existence in a narrow prison-ward of their own selfish
instincts,--their fears their fetters, their cowardly natures heavy as
any chains!

Beecher reasoned somewhat in this wise. Grog was “not bound” to destroy
the acceptances. He might have held them in terrorism over him for a
long life, and used them, at last, if occasion served. At all events,
they were valuable securities, which it was pure and wanton waste to
burn. Still, the act being done, Beecher was “bound” in the heaviest
recognizances to his own heart to profit by the motion; and the great
question with him was, what was the best and shortest road to that
desirable object? Supposing Lackington all right,--no disputed claim
to the title, no litigation of the estate,--Beecher’s best course had
possibly been to slip his cable, make all sail, and part company with
Davis forever. One grave difficulty, however, opposed itself to this
scheme. How was it possible for any man walking the earth to get out of
reach of Grog Davis? Had there been a planet allotted for the special
use of peers,--were there some bright star above to which they could
betake themselves and demand admission by showing their patent, and from
which all of inferior birth were excluded, Beecher would assuredly
have availed himself of his privilege; but, alas! whatever inequalities
pervade life, there is but one earth to bear us living, and cover
us when dead! Now, the portion of that earth which constitutes the
continent of Europe Davis knew like a detective. A more hopeless
undertaking could not be imagined than to try to escape him. Great as
was his craft, it was nothing to his courage,--a courage that gave him a
sort of affinity to a wild animal, so headlong, reckless, and desperate
did it seem. Provoke him, he was ever ready for the conflict; outrage
him, and only your life’s blood could be the expiation. And what an
outrage had it been if Beecher had taken this moment,--the first,
perhaps the only one in all his life, in which Davis had accomplished a
noble and generous action,--to desert him! How he could picture to
his mind Grog, when the tidings were told him!--not overwhelmed by
astonishment, not stunned by surprise, not irresolute even for a second,
but starting up like a wounded tiger, and eager for pursuit, his fierce
eyeballs glaring, and his sinewy hands closed with a convulsive grip.
It was clear, therefore, that escape was impossible. What, then, was the
alternative that remained? To abide,--sign a lifelong partnership with
Grog, and marry Lizzy. “A stiff line of country,--a very stiff line
of country, Annesley, my boy,” said he, addressing himself: “many a
dangerous rasper, many a smashing fence there,--have you nerve for it?”
 Now Beecher knew life well enough to see that such an existence was,
in reality, little else than a steeple-chase, and he questioned himself
gravely whether he possessed head or hand for the effort. Grog, to be
sure, was a marvellous trainer, and Lizzy,--what might not Lizzy achieve
of success, with her beauty, her gracefulness, and her genius! It was
not till after a long course of reflection that her image came up before
him; but when once it did come, it was master of the scene. How he
recalled all her winning ways, her siren voice, her ready wit, her easy,
graceful motion, her playful manner, that gave to her beauty so many new
phases of attraction! What a fascination was it that in her company he
never remembered a sorrow,--nay, to think of her was the best solace he
had ever found against the pain of gloomy reveries. She was never out
of humour, never out of spirits,--always brilliant, sparkling, and

What a glorious thing to obtain a share of such a nature,--the very next
best thing to having it oneself! “But all this was not Love,” breaks in
my impatient reader. Very true; I admit it in all humility. It was not
what you, nor perhaps I, would call by that name; but yet it was all
that Annesley Beecher had to offer in that regard.

Have you never remarked the strange and curious efforts made by men who
have long lived on narrow fortunes to acquit themselves respectably on
succeeding to larger means? They know well enough that they need not
pinch and screw and squeeze any longer,--that fortune has enlarged her
boundaries, and that they can enter into wider, richer, and pleasanter
pasturage,--and yet, for the life of them, they cannot make the venture!
or if they do, it is with a sort of convulsive, spasmodic effort far
more painful than pleasurable. Their old instincts press heavily upon
them, and bear down all the promptings of their present prosperity; they
really do not want all these bounties of fate,--they are half crashed
by the shower of blessings. So is it precisely with your selfish man in
his endeavors to expand into affection, and so was it with Beecher when
he tried to be a lover.

Some moralists tell us that, even in the best natures, love is
essentially a selfish passion. What amount of egotism, then, does it not
include in those who are far--very far--from being “the best”? With all
this, let us be just to poor Beecher. Whatever there was of heart
about him, she _had_ touched; whatever of good or kind or gentle in his
neglected being existed, she had found the way to it. If he were capable
of being anything better, she alone could have aided the reformation.
If he were not to sink still lower and lower, it was to her helping hand
his rescue would be owing. And somehow--though I cannot explain how--he
felt and knew this to be the case. He could hear generous sentiments
from _her_, and not deem them hypocrisy. He could listen to words of
trust and hopefulness, and yet not smile at her credulity. _She_ had
gained that amount of ascendancy over his mind which subjugated all
his own prejudices to her influence, and, like all weak natures, he was
never so happy as in slavery. Last of all, what a prize it would be
to be the husband of the most beautiful woman in Europe! There was a
notoriety in that, far above the fame of winning “Derbys” or breaking
Roulette Banks; and he pictured to himself how they would journey
through the Continent, admired, worshipped, and envied,--for already he
had invested himself with the qualities of his future wife, and gloried
in the triumphs she was so sure to win.

“By Jove! I’ll do it,” cried he, at last, as he slapped his hand on the
table. “I don’t care what they’ll say, I _will_ do it; and if there’s
any fellow dares to scoff or sneer at it, Grog shall shoot him. I’ll
make that bargain with him; and he ‘ll like it, for he loves fighting.”
 He summed up his resolution by imagining that the judgment of the world
would run somehow in this fashion: “Wonderful fellow, that Annesley
Beecher! It’s not above a year since his brother lost the title, and
there he is now, married to the most splendid woman in all Europe,
living like a prince,--denying himself nothing, no matter what it
cost,--and all by his own wits! Show me his equal anywhere! Lackington
used to call him a ‘flat.’ I wonder what he ‘d say now!”


What a wound would it inflict upon our self-love were we occasionally to
know that the concessions we have extorted from our own hearts by
long effort and persuasion would be deemed matters of very doubtful
acceptance by those in whose favor they were made. With what
astonishment should we learn that there was nothing so very noble in our
forgiveness, nothing so very splendid in our generosity! I have been led
to this reflection by thinking over Annesley Beecher’s late resolve, and
wondering what effect it might have had on him could he have overheard
what passed in the very chamber next his own.

Though Lizzy Davis was dressed and ready to come down to breakfast, she
felt so ill and depressed that she lay down again on her bed, telling
the maid to close the shutters and leave her to herself.

“What’s this, Lizzy? What’s the matter, girl?” said Davis, entering, and
taking a seat at her bedside. “Your hand is on fire.”

“I slept badly,--scarcely at all,” said she, faintly, “and my head feels
as if it would split with pain.”

“Poor child!” said he, as he kissed her burning forehead; “I was the
cause of all this. Yes, Lizzy, I know it, but I had been staving off
this hour for many and many a year. I felt in my heart that you were the
only one in all the world who could console or cheer me, and yet I was
satisfied to forego it all--to deny myself what I yearned after--just to
spare you.”

The words came with a slow and faltering utterance from him, and his
lips quivered when he had done speaking.

“I ‘m not quite sure the plan was a good one,” said she, in a low voice.

“Nor am I now,” said he, sternly; “but I did it for the best.”

She heaved a heavy sigh, and was silent.

“Mayhap I thought, too,” said he, after a pause, “that when you
looked back at all the sacrifices I had made for you, how I toiled
and labored,--not as other men toil and labor, for _my_ handicraft was
always exercised with a convict ship in the offing--There, you needn’t
shudder now; I ‘m here beside you safe. Well, I thought you ‘d say,
‘After all, he gave me every advantage in his power. If he could n’t
bestow on me station and riches, he made me equal to their enjoyment if
they ever befell me. He didn’t bring me down to his own level, nor to
feel the heartburnings of his own daily life, but he made me, in thought
and feeling, as good as any lady in the land.’”

“And for what--to what end?” said she, wildly.

“That you might be such, one day, girl,” said he, passionately. “Do you
think I have not known every hour, for the last thirty-odd years, what I
might have been, had I been trained, and schooled, and taught the things
that others know? Have I not felt that I had pluck, daring, energy, and
persistence that only wanted knowledge to beat them all, and leave them
nowhere? Have I not said to myself, ‘She has every one of these, and she
has good looks to boot; and why shouldn’t she go in and carry away the
cup?’ And do you think, when I said that, that I was n’t striking a
docket of bankruptcy against my own heart forever? for to make _you_
great was to make _me_ childless!”

Lizzy covered her face with her hands, but never uttered a word.

“I did n’t need any one to tell me,” resumed he, fiercely, “that
training you up in luxury and refinement was n’t the way to make you
satisfied with poverty, or proud of such a father as myself. I knew
deuced well what I was preparing for myself there. ‘But no matter,’ I
said, ‘come what will, _she_ shall have a fair start of it. Show me the
fellow will try a balk,--show me the man will cross the course while
she’s running.’”

Startled by the thick and guttural utterance of his words, Lizzy removed
her hands from her face, and stared eagerly at him. Strongly shaken by
passion as he was, every line and lineament tense with emotion, there
was a marvellous resemblance between her beautiful features and the
almost demoniac savagery of his. Had he not been at her side, the
expression was only that of intense pain on a face of surpassing beauty,
but, seen through the baneful interpretation of his look, she seemed the
type of a haughty nature spirited by the very wildest ambition.

“Ay, girl,” said he, with a sigh, “you ‘ve cost me more than money or
money’s worth; and if I ever come to have what they call a ‘conscience,’
I ‘ll have an ugly score to settle on your account.”

“Oh, dearest father!” cried she, bitterly, “do not wring my heart by
such words as these.”

“There, you shall hear no more of it,” said he, withdrawing his hand
from her grasp and crossing his arm on his breast.

“Nay,” said she, fondly, “you shall tell me all and everything. It has
cost you heavily to make this confidence to me. Let us try if it cannot
requite us both. I know the worst. No?” cried she, in terror, as he
shook his head; “why, what is there remains behind?”

“How shall I tell you what remains behind?” broke he in, sternly; “how
shall I teach you to know the world as I know it,--to feel that
every look bent on me is insult,--every word uttered as I pass a
sarcasm,--that fellows rise from the table when I sit down at it? and
though, now and then, I ‘m lucky enough to catch one who goes too far,
and make him a warning to others, they can do enough to spite me,
and yet never come within twelve paces of me. I went over to Neuwied
yesterday to fetch my letters from the post. You ‘d fancy that in a
little village on this untravelled bank of the Rhine I might have rested
an hour to bait my horse and eat my breakfast unmolested and without
insult. You ‘d say that in a secluded spot like that I would be safe.
Not a bit of it. Scandal has its hue and cry, and every man that walks
the earth is its agent. Two young fellows fresh from England--by their
dress, their manner, and their bad French, I judged them to be young
students from Oxford or Cambridge--breakfasted in the same room with
me, and deeming me a foreigner, and therefore--for it is a right English
conclusion--unable to understand them, talked most freely of events and
people before me. I paid little attention to their vapid talk till my
ear caught the name of Beecher. They were discussing him and a lady who
had been seen in his company at Aix-la-Chapelle. Yes, they had seen her
repeatedly in her rides and drives, followed her to the Cursaal, and
stared at her at the opera. They were quite enthusiastic about her
beauty, and only puzzled to know who this mysterious creature might be
that looked like a queen and dressed like a queen. One averred she was
not Beecher’s sister,--the peerage told them that; as little was she his
wife. Then came the other and last alternative. And I had to sit still
and listen to every _pro_ and _con_ of this stupid converse,--their
miserable efforts to reason, or their still more contemptible attempts
to jest, and dare not stand up before them and say, ‘Hold your
slanderous tongues, for she is my daughter,’ because, to the
first question they would put to me, I must say, ‘My name is
Davis--Christopher Davis’--ay, ‘Grog Davis,’ if they would have it so.
No, no, girl, all your beauty, all your grace, all your fascinations
would not support such a name,--the best horse that ever won the
Derby will break down if you overweight him; and so I had to leave my
breakfast uneaten and come away how I could. For one brief moment I was
irresolute. I felt that if I let them off so easily I ‘d pine and fret
over it after, and maybe give way to passion some other time with less
excuse; but my thoughts came back to you, Lizzy, and I said, ‘What
signifies about me? I have no object, no goal in life, but her. She must
not be talked of, nor made matter for newspaper gossip. She will one
day or other hold a place at which slander and malevolence only talk in
whispers, and even these must be uttered with secrecy!’ I could n’t help
laughing as I left the room. One of them declined to eat salad because
it was unwholesome. Little he knew on what a tiny chance it depended
whether that was to be his last breakfast. The devilish pleasure of
turning back and telling him so almost overcame my resolution.”

“There was, then, an impropriety in my living at Aix as I did?” asked
Lizzy, calmly.

“The impropriety, as you call it, need not have been notorious,”
 said he, in angry confusion. “If people will attract notice by an
ostentatious display,--horses, equipage, costly dressing, and so
on,--the world will talk of them. You could n’t know this, but Beecher
did. It was his unthinking folly drew these bad tongues on you. It is a
score he ‘ll have to settle with me yet.”

“But, dearest papa, let me bear the blame that is my due. It was I--I
myself--who encouraged, suggested these extravagances. I fancied myself
possessed of boundless wealth; he never undeceived me; nay, he would not
even answer my importunate questions as to my family, my connections,
whence we came, and of what county.”

“If he had,” muttered Grog, “I ‘d be curious to have heard his

“I saw, at last, that there was a secret, and then I pressed him no

“And you did well. Had you importuned, and had he yielded, it had been
worse for _him_.”

“Just as little did I suspect,” continued she, rapidly, “that any
reproach could attach to my living in his society; he was your friend;
it was at your desire he accepted this brief guardianship; he never, by
a word, a look, transgressed the bounds of respectful courtesy; and
I felt all the unconstrained freedom of old friendship in our

“All his reserve and all your delicacy won’t silence evil tongues, girl.
I intended you to have stayed a day or two, at most, at Aix. You passed
weeks there. Whose fault that, you say? Mine,--of course, mine, and no
one else’s. But what but my fault every step in your whole life? Why
was n’t I satisfied to bring you up in my own station, with rogues and
swindlers for daily associates? Then I might have had a daughter who
would not be ashamed to own me.”

“Oh, that I am not; that I will never be,” cried she, throwing her arm
around his neck. “What has your whole life been but a sacrifice to me?
It may be that you rate too highly these great prizes of life; that
you attach to the station you covet for me a value I cannot concur in.
Still, I feel that it was your love for me prompted this hope, and that
while _you_ trod the world darkly and painfully, you purchased a path of
light and pleasantness for _me_.”

“You have paid me for it all by these words,” said he, drawing his hand
across his eyes. “I ‘d work as a daily laborer on the road, I’d be a
sailor before the mast, I’d take my turn with the chain-gang and eat
Norfolk Island biscuit, if it could help to place you where I seek to
see you.”

“And what is this rank to which you aspire so eagerly?”

“I want you to be a peeress, girl. I want you to be one of the
proudest guild the world ever yet saw or heard of; to have a station so
accredited that every word you speak, every act you do, goes forth with
its own authority.”

“But stay!” broke she in, “men’s memories will surely carry them back to
who I was.”

“Let them, girl. Are you the stuff to be chilled by that? Have I made
you what you are, that you cannot play their equal? There are not many
of them better looking; are there any cleverer or better informed? Even
those Oxford boys said you looked like an empress. If insult will crush
you, girl, you ‘ve got little of _my_ blood in you.”

Lizzy’s face flushed scarlet, and her eyes glittered wildly, as they
seemed to say, “Have no fears on that score.” Then, suddenly changing to
an ashy pallor, and in a voice trembling with intense feeling, she said:
“But why seek out an existence of struggle and conflict? It is for me
and my welfare that all your anxieties are exercised. Is it not possible
that these can be promoted without the dangerous risk of this ambition?
You know life well; tell me, then, are there not some paths a woman may
tread for independence, and yet cause no blush to those who love her
best? Of the acquirements you have bestowed upon me, are there not some
which could be turned to this account? I could be a governess.”

“Do you know what a governess is, girl?--a servant in the garb of a
lady; one whose mind has been cultivated, not to form resources for
herself, but to be drained and drawn on by others. They used to kill a
serf, in the middle ages, that a noble might warm his feet in the hot
entrails; our modern civilization is satisfied by driving many a poor
girl crazy, to cram some stupid numbskull with a semblance of knowledge.
You shall not be a governess.”

“There is the stage, then,” cried she. “I’m vain enough to imagine I
should succeed there.”

“I’ll not hear of it,” broke in Davis, passionately. “If I was certain
you could act like Siddons herself, you should not walk the boards. _I_
know what a theatre is. I know the life of coarse familiarity it leads
to. The corps is a family gathered together like what jockeys call ‘a
scratch team,’--a wheeler here, and a leader there, with just smartness
enough to soar above the level of a dull audience, crammed with the
light jest of low comedy, and steered by no higher ambition than a
crowded benefit, or a junketing at Greenwich. How would _you_ consort
with these people?”

“Still, if I achieved success--”

“I won’t have it,--that’s enough. I tell you, girl, that there is but
one course for _you_. You must be declared winner at the stand-house
before you have been seen on the ground. If you have to run the gauntlet
through all the slanders and stories they will rake up of _me_,--if,
before you reach the goal, you have to fight all the lost battles of
_my_ life over again,--you ‘ll never see the winning-post.”

“And is it not better to confront the storm, and risk one’s chances with
the elements, than suffer shipwreck at once? I tell you, father,” cried
she, eagerly, “I ‘ll face all the perils you speak of, boldly; I’ll
brave insolence, neglect, sarcasm,--what they will,--only let me feel
one honest spot in my heart, and be able to say to myself, ‘You have
toiled lowly, and fared ill; you have dared a conflict and been worsted;
but you have not made traffic of your affections, nor bought success by
that which makes it valueless.’”

“These are the wild romances of a girl’s fancy,” said Davis. “Before a
twelvemonth was over, you could n’t say, on your oath, whether you had
married for love or interest, except that poverty might remind you of
the one, and affluence suggest the other. Do you imagine that the
years stop short with spring, and that one is always in the season of
expectancy? No, no; months roll along, and after summer comes autumn,
and then winter, and the light dress you fancied that you never need
change would make but scanty clothing.”

“But if I am not able to bring myself to this?”

“Are you certain you will be able to bring _me_ to worse?” said he,
solemnly. “Do you feel, Lizzy, as if you could repay my long life of
sacrifice and struggle by what would undo them all? Do you feel strong
enough to say, ‘My old father was a fool to want to make _me_ better
than himself; I can descend to the set he is ashamed of; and, more
still, I can summon courage to meet taunts and insults on him, which,
had I station to repel them from, had never been uttered’?”

“Oh, do not tempt me this way!” cried she, bitterly.

“But I will, girl; I will leave nothing unsaid that may induce you to
save yourself from misery, and _me_ from disgrace. I tell you, girl, if
I face the world again, it must be with such security as only you can
give me,--you, a lady high in rank and position, can then save _me_. My
enemies will know that their best game will not be to ruin me.”

“And are you sure it would save you?” said she, sternly and coldly.

“I am,” said he, in a voice like her own.

“Will you take a solemn oath to me that you see no other road out of
these difficulties, whatever they are, than by my doing this?”

“I will swear it as solemnly as ever words were sworn. I believe--before
Heaven I say it--that there’s not another chance in life by which your
future lot can be secured.”

“Do not speak of mine; think solely of your fortunes, and say if this
alone can save them.”

“Just as firmly do I say, then, that once in the position I mean, you
can rescue me out of every peril. You will be rich enough to pay some,
powerful enough to promote others, great enough to sway and influence

“Good God! what have you done, then, that it is only by sacrificing all
my hopes of happiness that you can be ransomed?” cried she, with a burst
of irrepressible passion.

“You want a confession, then,” said Davis, in a tone of most savage
energy; “you ‘d like to hear my own indictment of myself. Well, there
are plenty of counts in it.”

“Stand forward, Kit Davis. You are charged with various acts of swindling
and cheating,--light offences, all of them,--committed in the best of
company, and in concert with honorable and even noble colleagues. By the
virtue of your oath, Captain Davis, how many horses have you poisoned,
how many jockeys have you drugged, what number of men have you hocussed
at play, what sums have you won from others in a state of utter
insensibility? Can you state any case where you enforced a false
demand by intimidation? Can you charge your memory with any instance of
shooting a man who accused you of foul play? What names besides your own
have you been in the habit of signing to bills? Have you any revelations
to make about stock transferred under forgery? Will you kiss the
book, and say that nineteen out of twenty at the hulks have not done a
fiftieth part of what you have done? Will you solemnly take oath that
there are not ten, fifteen, twenty charges, which might be prosecuted
against you, to transportation for life? and are there not two--or,
certainly, is there not one--with a heavier forfeiture on it? Are there
not descriptions of you in almost every police bureau in Europe, and
photographic likenesses, too, on frontier passport-offices of little
German States, that Hesse and Cassel and Coburgh should not be ravaged
by the wolf called Grog Davis?”

“And if this be so, to what end do I sacrifice myself?” cried she, in
bitter anguish. “Were it not better to seek out some far-away land where
we cannot be traced? Let us go to America, to Australia,--I don’t care
how remote it be,--the country that will shelter us--”

“Not a step. I’ll not budge out of Europe; win or lose, here I stay! Do
as I tell you, girl, and the game is our own. It has been my safety this
many a year that I could compromise so many in my own fall. Well, time
has thinned the number marvellously. Many have died. The Cholera, the
Crimea, the Marshalsea, broken hearts, and what not, have done their
work; and of the few remaining, some have grown indifferent to exposure,
others have dropped out of view, and now it would be as much as I could
do to place four or five men of good names in the dock beside me. That
ain’t enough. I must have connections.

“I want those relations that can’t afford disgrace. Let me only have
_them_, they ‘ll take care of their own reputations. You don’t know, but
I know, what great folk can do in England. There ‘s not a line in the
Ten Commandments they could n’t legalize with an Act of Parliament. They
can marry and unmarry, bind and loosen, legitimize or illegitimize, by a
vote ‘of the House;’ and by a vote of society they can do just as much:
make a swindling railroad contractor the first man in London, and, if
they liked it, and saw it suited their book, they could make Kit Davis
a member of White’s, or the Carlton; and once they did it, girl, they ‘d
think twice before they ‘d try to undo it again. All I say is, give me a
Viscount for a son-in-law, and see if I don’t ‘work the oracle.’ Let me
have just so much backing as secures a fair fight, and my head be
on’t if they don’t give in before I do! They ‘re very plucky with one
another, girl, because they keep within the law; but mark how they
tremble before the fellow that does n’t mind the law,--that goes through
it, at one side of it, or clean over it. That’s the pull _I_ have over
them. The man that don’t mind a wetting can always drag another into the
water; do you see that?”

Davis had now so worked upon himself that he walked the room with
hasty steps, his cheeks burning, and his eyes wildly, fiercely glaring.
Amongst the traits which characterize men of lawless and depraved lives,
none is more remarkable than the boastful hardihood with which they will
at times deploy all the resources of their iniquity, even exaggerating
the amount of the wrongs they have inflicted on society. There is
something actually satanic in their exultation over a world they have
cheated, bullied, injured, and insulted, so that, in their infernal
code, honesty and trustfulness seem only worthy of contempt, and he
alone possessed of true courage who dares and defies the laws that bind
his fellow-men.

Davis was not prone to impulsiveness; very few men were less the slaves
of rash or intemperate humors. He had been reared in too stern a school
to let mere temper master him; but his long practised self-restraint
deserted him here. In his eagerness to carry his point, he was borne
away beyond all his prudence, and once launched into the sea of his
confessions, he wandered without chart or compass. Besides this, there
was that strange, morbid sense of vanity which is experienced in giving
a shock to the fears and sensibilities of another. The deeper the tints
of his own criminality, the more terrible the course he had run in life,
so much the more was he to be feared and dreaded. If he should fail to
work upon her affections, he might still hope to extract something from
her terror; for who could say of what a man like him was not capable?
And last of all, he had thrown off the mask, and he did not care to
retain a single rag of the disguise he so long had worn; thus was
it, then, that he stood before her in all the strong light of his
iniquities,--a criminal, whose forfeitures would have furnished Guilt
for fifty.

“Shall I go on?” said he, in a voice of thick and labored utterance, “or
is this enough?”

“Oh, is it not enough?” cried she, bitterly.

“You asked me to tell you all,--everything,--and now that you ‘ve
only caught a passing glimpse of what I could reveal, you start back
affrighted. Be it so; there are, at least, no concealments between us
now; and harsh as my lesson has been, it is not a whit harsher than if
the world had given it I ‘ve only one word more to say, girl,” said he,
as he drew nigh the door and held his hand on the lock; “if it be your
firm resolve to reject this fortune, the sooner you let me know it the
better. I have said all that I need say; the rest is within your own
hands; only remember that if such be your determination, give me the
earliest notice, for I, too, must take my measures for the future.”

If there was nothing of violence in the manner he uttered these
words, there was a stern, impassive serenity that made them still more
impressive; and Lizzy, without a word of reply, buried her face between
her hands and wept.

Davis stood irresolute; for a moment it seemed as if his affection had
triumphed, for he made a gesture as though he would approach her; then,
suddenly correcting himself with a start, he muttered, below his breath,
“It is done now,” and left the room.


The little Hermitage of Glengariff, with its wooded park, its winding
river, its deep solitudes fragrant with wild-rose and honeysuckle, is
familiar to my reader. He has lingered there with me, strolling through
leafy glades, over smooth turf, catching glimpses of blue sea through
the dark foliage, and feeling all the intense ecstasy of a spot that
seemed especially created for peaceful enjoyment. What a charm was in
those tangled pathways, overhung with jessamine and arbutus, or now
flanked by moss-clad rock, through whose fissures small crystal rivulets
trickled slowly down into little basins beneath. How loaded the air
with delicious perfume; what a voluptuous sense of estrangement from
all passing care crept over one as he stole noiselessly along over the
smooth sward, and drank in the mellow blackbird’s note, blended with the
distant murmur of the rippling river! And where is it all now? The park
is now traversed in every direction with wide, unfinished roads; great
open spaces appear at intervals, covered with building materials;
yawning sand-quarries swarming with men; great brick-fields smoking
in all the reeking oppression of that filthy manufacture; lime-kilns
spreading their hateful breath on every side; vast cliffs of slate and
granite-rock, making the air resound with their discordant crash, with
all the vulgar tumult of a busy herd. If you turn seaward, the same
ungraceful change is there: ugly and misshapen wharfs have replaced the
picturesque huts of the fishermen; casks and hogsheads and bales and
hampers litter the little beach where once the festooned net was wont to
hang, and groups of half-drunken sailors riot and dispute where once the
merry laugh of sportive childhood was all that woke the echoes. If the
lover of the picturesque could weep tears of bitter sorrow over these
changes, to the man of speculation and progress they were but signs of
a glorious prosperity. The Grand Glengariff Villa Allotment and Marine
Residence Company was a splendid scheme, whose shares were eagerly
sought after at a high premium. Mr. Dunn must assuredly have lent all
his energies to the enterprise, for descriptions of the spot were to be
found throughout every corner of the three kingdoms. Colored lithographs
and stereoscopes depicted its most seductive scenes through the pages
of popular “weeklies,” and a dropping fire of interesting paragraphs
continued to keep up the project before the public through the columns
of the daily press. An “Illustrated News” of one week presented its
subscribers with an extra engraving of the “Yachts entering Glengariff
harbor after the regatta;” the next, it was a finished print of the
“Lady Augusta Arden laying the foundation-stone of the Davenport
Obelisk.” At one moment the conflict between wild nature and ingenious
art would be shown by a view of a clearing in Glengariff forest, where
the solid foundations of some proud edifice were seen rising amidst
prostrate pines and fallen oak-trees, prosaic announcements in
advertising columns giving to these pictorial devices all the solemn
stability of fact, so that such localities as “Arden Terrace,”
 “Lackington Avenue,” “Glengariff Crescent,” and “Davenport Heights”
 became common and familiar to the public ear.

The imaginative literature of speculation--industrial fiction it might
be called--has reached a very high development in our day. Not content
with enlisting all the graces of fancy in the cause of enterprise,
heightening the charms of scenery and aiding the interests of romance
by historic association, it actually allies itself with the slighter
infirmities of our social creed, and exalts the merits of certain
favored spots by the blessed assurance that they are patronized by our
betters. Amongst the many advantages fortune bestowed upon the grand
Glengariff scheme was conspicuously one,--Dukes had approved, and Earls
admired it “We are happy to learn,” said the “Post,” “that the Marquis
of Duckington has intrusted the construction of his marine villa at
Glengariff to the exquisite skill and taste of Sir Jeffrey Blocksley,
who is, at present, engaged in preparing Noodleton Hall for his Grace
the Duke of Rowood, at the same charming locality.” In the “Herald”
 we find: “The Earl of Hanaper is said to have paid no less than twelve
thousand guineas for the small plot of land in which his bathing-lodge
at Glengariff is to stand. It is only right to mention that the view
from his windows will include the entire bay, from the Davenport Obelisk
to Dunn Lighthouse,--a prospect unequalled, we venture to assert,
in Europe.” And, greater than these, the “Chronicle” assures us, the
arrival of a Treasury Lord, accompanied by the Chairman of the Board of
Works, on Monday last, at Glengariff, proclaimed the gracious intention
of her Majesty to honor this favored spot by selecting it for a future
residence. “‘Queen’s Cot,’ as it will be styled, will stand exactly on
the site formerly occupied by the late residence of Lord Glengariff,
well known as the Hermitage, and be framed and galleried in wood in the
style so frequently seen in the Tyrol.”

Where is the born Briton would not feel the air balmier and the breeze
more zephyr-like if he could see that it waved a royal standard? Where
the Anglo-Saxon who would not think the sea more salubrious that helped
to salt a duke? Where the alley that was not cooler if a marquis walked
beneath its shadow? It is not that honest John Bull seeks the intimacy
or acquaintance of these great folk; he has no such weakness or
ambition,--he neither aspires to know or be known of them; the limit of
his desire is to breathe the same mountain air, to walk the same chain
pier, to be fed by their poulterer and butcher, and, maybe, buried by
their undertaker. Were it the acquaintanceship he coveted, were it some
participation in the habits of refined and elegant intercourse, far be
it from us to say one word in disparagement of such ambition, satisfied,
as we are, that in all that concerns the enjoyment of society, for the
charms of a conversation where fewest prejudices prevail, where least
exaggerations are found, where good feeling is rarely, good taste never,
violated, the highest in rank are invariably the most conspicuous. But,
unhappily, these are not the prizes sought after; the grand object being
attained if the Joneses and Simpkinses can spend their autumn in the
same locality with titled visitors, bathe in the same tides, and take
their airings at the same hours. What an unspeakable happiness might
it yield them to know they had been “bored” by the same monotony, and
exhausted by the same _ennuis!_

They who were curious in such literature fancied they could detect the
fine round hand of Mr. Hankes in the glowing descriptions of Glengariff.
Brought up at the feet of that Gamaliel of appraisers, George Robins,
he really did credit to his teachings. Nor was it alone the present
delights of the spot he dwelled upon, but expatiated on the admirable
features of an investment certain to realize, eventually, two or three
hundred per cent It was, in fact, like buying uncleared land in the
Bush, upon which, within a few years, streets and squares were to
be found, purchasing for a mere nominal sum whole territories that
to-morrow or next day were to be sold as building lots and valued by the

As in a storm the tiniest creeks and most secluded coves feel in their
little bays the wild influence that prevails without, and see their
quiet waters ruffled and wave-tossed, so, too, prosperity follows the
same law, and spreads its genial sunshine in a wide circle around
the spot it brightens. For miles and miles along the shore the grand
Glengariff scheme diffused the golden glory of its success. Little
fishing-villages, solitary cottages in sequestered glens, lonely creeks,
whose yellow strands had seldom seen a foot-track,--all felt it. The
patient habits of humble industry seemed contemptible to those who
came back to their quiet homesteads after seeing the wondrous doings
at Glengariff; and marvellous, indeed, were the narratives of sudden
fortunes. One had sold his little “shebeen” for more gold than he knew
how to count; another had become rich by the price of the garden before
his door; the shingly beach seemed paved with precious stones, the rocks
appeared to have grown into bullion. How mean and despicable seemed
daily toil; the weary labor of the field, the precarious life of the
fisherman, in presence of such easy prosperity, were ignoble drudgery.
It savored of superior intelligence to exchange the toil of the hands
for the exercise of speculative talents, and each began to compute what
some affluent purchaser might not pay for this barren plot, what that
bleak promontory might not bring in this market of fanciful bidders.

Let us note the fact that the peasant was not a little amused by the
absurd value which the rich man attached to objects long familiar and
unprized by himself. The picturesque and the beautiful were elements so
totally removed from all his estimate of worth, that he readily ascribed
to something very like insanity the great man’s fondness for them. That
a group of stone pines on a jutting cliff, a lone and rocky island, a
ruined wall, an ancient well canopied by a bower of honeysuckle, should
be deemed objects of price, appeared to be the most capricious of all
tastes; and, in his ignorance as to what imparted this value, he glutted
the market with everything that occurred to him. Spots of ground the
least attractive, tenements occupying the most ill-chosen sites, ugly
and misshapen remains of cottages long deserted, were all vaunted as
fully as good or better than their neighbors had sold for thousands.
It must be owned, the market price of any article seemed the veriest
lottery imaginable. One man could actually find no purchaser for four
acres of the finest potato-garden in the county; another got a hundred
guineas for his good-will of a bit of stony land that wouldn’t feed
a goat; here was a slated house no one would look at, there was a mud
hovel a Lord and two Members of Parliament were outbidding each other
over these three weeks. Could anything be more arbitrary or inexplicable
than this? In fact, it almost seemed as if the old, the ruinous, the
neglected, and the unprofitable had now usurped the place of all that
was neat, orderly, or beneficial.

If we have suffered ourselves to be led into these remarks, they are
not altogether digressionary. The Hermitage, we have said, was doomed.
Common report alleged that the Queen had selected the spot for her
future residence, and of a truth it was even worthy of such a destiny.
Whether in reality royalty had made the choice, or that merely it
was yet a speculation in hope of such an event, we cannot say, but an
accomplished architect had already begun the work of reconstruction,
and more than two-thirds of the former building were now demolished. The
fragment that still remained was about the oldest part of the cottage,
and not the least picturesque. It was a little wing with three gables to
the front, the ancient framework, of black oak, quaintly ornamented
with many a tasteful device and grim decoration. A little portico, whose
columns were entirely concealed by the rich foliage of a rhododendron,
stood before the windows, whose diamond panes told of an era when glass
bore a very different value; a gorgeous flower-plat, one rich expanse
of rare tulips and ranunculi, sloped from the portico to the river, over
which a single plank formed a bridge. The stream, which was here
deep and rock-bottomed, could be barely seen between the deep hanging
branches of the weeping-ash; but its presence might be recognized by
the occasional plash of a leaping trout, or the still louder stroke of
a swan’s wing as he sailed in solemn majesty over his silent domain.
So straggling and wide-spreading had been the ancient building, that,
although a part of the condemned structure, the clank of the mason’s
trowel and the turmoil of the falling materials could scarcely be heard
in this quiet, sequestered spot. Here Sybella Kellett still lived,--left
behind by her great protectors,--half in forgetfulness. Soon after the
triumph of the Ossory Bank they had removed to Dublin, thence to
London, where they now awaited the passage of a special bill to make
the Glen-gariff allotment scheme a chartered company. Although the great
turn in the fortunes of Glengariff had transmitted to other hands the
direction and guidance of events there, her zeal, energy, and, above
all, her knowledge of the people, especially marked her out as one whose
services were most valuable. English officials, new to Ireland and its
ways, quickly discovered the vast superiority she possessed over them
in all dealings with the peasantry, whose prejudices she understood, and
whose modes of thought were familiar to her. By none were her qualities
more appreciated than by Mr. Hankes. There was a promptitude and
decision in all she did, a ready-witted intelligence to encounter
whatever difficulty arose, and a bold, purpose-like activity of
character about her that amazed and delighted that astute gentleman.

“She ‘s worth us all, sir,” he would say to Sir Elkanah Paston, the
great English engineer,--“worth us all. Her suggestions are priceless;
see how she detected the cause of those shifting sands in the harbor,
and supplied the remedy at once; mark how she struck out that line
of road from the quarries; think of her transplanting those pinasters
five-and-thirty feet high, and not a failure,--not one failure amongst
them; and there’s the promontory, now the most picturesque feature of
the bay: and as to those terraced gardens that she laid out last week,
I vow and declare Sir Joseph himself couldn’t have done it better. And
then, after a day of labor--riding, perhaps, five-and-twenty or thirty
miles--she ‘ll sit down to her desk and write away half the night.”

If it had not been for one trait, Mr. Hankes would have pronounced her
perfection; there was, however, a flaw, which the more he thought over
the more did it puzzle him. She was eminently quick-sighted, keen
to read motives and appreciate character, and yet with all this she
invariably spoiled every bargain made with the people. Instead of taking
advantage of their ignorance and inexperience, she was continually on
the watch over _their_ interests; instead of endeavoring to overreach
them, she was mindful of their advantage, cautiously abstaining from
everything that might affect their rights.

“We might have bought up half the county for a song, sir, if it were not
for that girl,” Mr. Hankes would say; “she has risen the market on us
everywhere. ‘Let us be just,’ she says. I want to be just, Miss Kellett,
but just to ourselves.”

A pleasant phrase is that same one “just to ourselves;” but Mr. Hankes
employed it like many other people, and never saw its absurdity.

Now, Sybella Kellett fancied that justice had a twofold obligation,
and found herself very often the advocate of the poor man, patiently
sustaining his rights, and demanding their recognition. Confidence, we
are told by a great authority, is a plant of slow growth, and yet she
acquired it in the end. The peasantry submitted to her claims the most
complex and involved; they brought their quaint old contracts, half
illegible by time and neglect; they recited, and confirmed by oral
testimony, the strangest possible of tenures; they recounted long
narratives of how they succeeded to this holding, and what claims they
could prefer to that; histories that would have worn out almost any
human patience to hear, and especially trying to one whose apprehension
was of the quickest. And yet she would listen to the very end, make
herself master of the case, and give it a deep and full consideration.
This done, she decided; and to that decision none ever objected.
Whatever her decree, it was accepted as just and fair, and even if a
single disappointed or discontented suitor could have been found, he
would have shrunk from avowing himself the opponent of public opinion.

It was, however, by the magic of her sympathy, by the secret charm of
understanding their natures, and participating in every joy and sorrow
of their hearts, that she gained her true ascendancy over them. There
was nothing feigned or factitious in her feeling for them; it was not
begotten of that courtly tact which knows names by heart, remembers
little family traits, and treasures up an anecdote; it was true,
heart-felt, honest interest in their welfare. She had watched them long
and closely; she knew that the least amiable trait in their natures was
also that which oftenest marred their fortunes,--distrust; and she set
herself vigorously to work to uproot this vile, pernicious weed, the
most noxious that ever poisoned the soil of a human heart. By her own
truthful dealings with them she inspired truth, by _her_ fairness she
exacted fairness, and by the straightforward honesty of her words and
actions they grew to learn how far easier and pleasanter could be the
business of life where none sought to overreach his neighbor.

[Illustration: 175]

To such an extent had her influence spread that it became at last
well-nigh impossible to conclude any bargain for land without her
co-operation. Unless her award had decided, the peasant could not
bring himself to believe that his claim had met a just or equitable
consideration; but whatever Miss Bella decreed was final and
irrevocable. From an early hour each morning the suitors to her court
began to arrive. Under a large damson-tree was placed a table, at which
she sat, busily writing away, and listening all the while to their
long-drawn-out narratives. It was her rule never to engage in any
purchase when she had not herself made a visit to the spot in question,
ascertained in person all its advantages and disadvantages, and
speculated how far its future value should influence its present price.
In this way she had travelled far and near over the surrounding country,
visiting localities the wildest and least known, and venturing into
districts where a timid traveller had not dared to set foot. It required
all her especial acuteness, often-times, to find out--from garbled and
incoherent descriptions--the strange and out-of-the-way places no
map had ever indicated. In fact, the wild and untravelled country was
pathless as a sea, and nothing short of her ready-witted tact had been
able to navigate it.

She was, as usual, busied one morning with her peasant levee when Mr.
Hankes arrived. He brought a number of letters from the post, and
was full of the importance so natural to him who has the earliest

“Great news, Miss Bella,” said he, gayly,--“very great news. One of
the French Princes announces his intention to build a villa here. He
requires a small park of some forty or fifty acres, access to the
sea, and a good anchorage for his yacht. This note here will give all
particulars. Here is an application from Sir Craven Tollemache; he wants
us to build him a house on any picturesque site near the shore, and
contracts to take it on lease. Here is a demand for one hundred shares,
fifty to be exchanged for shares in the Boquantilla Cobalt and Zinc
Mines, now at a premium. Kelsal and Waterline wish to know what
facilities we would afford them to establish yacht-building in Crooke’s
Harbor. If liberally dealt with, they propose to expend fifty thousand
on permanent improvements. Lord Drellington is anxious for a house in
Lackington Crescent. I believe he is too late. There are also seven
applications for ‘Arden House,’ which, I fancy, has been promised to Sir
Peter Parkeswith. Founde’s Cliff, too, is eagerly run after; that sketch
you made of it has been a great success. We must extend our territories,
Miss Bella,--we must widen our frontier; never was there such a hit.
It is the grandest operation of Mr. Dunn’s life. Seven hundred and
twenty-three thousand pounds,--one-fourth already paid, the remainder
available at short calls. Those Welsh people, Plimnon and Price,
are eager about our lead-mine, and we can run up the shares there to
sixty-five or seventy whenever we please. Here, too, are the plans
for the new Casino and Baths. This is the sketch of a Hydropathic
Establishment,--a pet scheme of Lord Glengariffs; we must let him
have it. And here is Truevane’s report about the marble. It will serve
admirably for every purpose but statuary. Our slate slabs are pronounced
the finest ever imported. We mean to flag the entire terrace along
the sea with them. This is from Dunn himself; it is very short, and
hurriedly written: ‘Chevass will move the second reading of our bill on
Tuesday. I have spoken to the Chancellor, and it is all right. Before it
goes to the Lords we must have a new issue of shares. I want, at least,
two hundred and fifty thousand by the end of the year.’ He says nothing
about politics; indeed, he is so occupied with gayeties and fine
company, he has little time for business. He only mentions that ‘till we
have done with this stupid war we cannot hope for any real extension to
our great enterprise.’”

“And does he put our miserable plottings here in competition with the
noble struggle of our glorious soldiers in the Crimea?” cried she, now
breaking silence for the first time.

Mr. Hankes actually started with the energy of her manner, and for a
moment could scarcely collect himself to reply.

“Well, you know, Miss Bella,” said he, faltering at every word, “we are
men of peace,--we are people engaged in the quiet arts of trade,--we
cannot be supposed indifferent to the interests our lives are passed in

“But you are Englishmen, besides, sir; not to say you _are_ brothers and
kinsmen of the gallant men who are fighting our enemies.”

“Very true, Miss Bella,--very true; they have their profession and we
have ours. We rejoice in their success as we participate in all the
enthusiasm of their gallantry. I give you my word of honor, I could n’t
help filling out an extra glass of sherry yesterday to the health of
that fine fellow who dashed at the Russian staff and carried off a
colonel prisoner. You saw it, I suppose, in the papers?”

“No. Pray let me hear it,” said she, eagerly.

“Well, it was an observation--a ‘reconnaissance’ I think they called
it--the Russians were making of the Sardinian lines, and they came so
near that a young soldier--an orderly of General La Marmora’s--heard one
of them say, ‘Yes, I have the whole position in my head.’ Determining
that so dangerous a fellow should not get back to head-quarters, he
watched him closely, till he knew he could not be mistaken in him,
and then setting off at speed,--for he was mounted,--he crossed the
Tchernaya a mile or so further up, and, waiting for them, he lay
concealed in a small copse. His plan was to sell his own life for this
officer’s; but whether he relinquished that notion, or that chance
decided the event, there’s no knowing. In he dashed, into the midst of
them, cut this colonel’s bridle-arm across at the wrist, and, taking his
horse’s reins, rode for it with all speed towards his own lines. He got
a start of thirty or forty strides before they could rally in pursuit,
which they did actually up to the very range of the rifle-pits, and only
retired at last when three fell dead or wounded.”

[Illustration: 178]

“But _he_ escaped?” cried she.

“That he did, and carried his prisoner safe into the lines, and
presented him to the General, modestly remarking, ‘He is safer here than
over yonder,’--pointing to Sebastopol; and, strangest part of the whole
thing, he turns out to be an Englishman.”

“An Englishman?”

“Yes. He was serving, by some strange accident, on General La Marmora’s
staff, as a simple orderly, though evidently a man of some education and
position,--one of those wild young bloods, doubtless, that had gone
too fast at home, but who really do us no discredit when it comes to a
question of pluck and daring.”

“Do us no discredit!” cried she; “and have you nothing more generous to
say of one who has asserted the honor of England so nobly in the face of
an entire army? Do us no discredit! Why, one such feat as this adds more
glory to the nation than all the schemes of all the jobbers who deal in
things like these.” And she threw contemptuously from her the colored
plans and pictures that littered the table.

“Dear me, Miss Kellett, here’s a whole ink-bottle spilled over the
Davenport Obelisk.”

“Do us no discredit!” burst out she again. “Are we really the nation of
shopkeepers that France calls us? Have we no pride save in successful
bargaining, no glory save in growing rich? Is money-getting so close at
the nation’s heart that whatever retards or delays its hoardings savors
of misfortune? When you were telling me that anecdote, how I envied
the land that owned such a hero; and when you said he was our own,--our
countryman; my heart felt bursting with gratitude. Tell me his name.”

“His name,--his name,--how strange that I should have forgotten it; for,
as I told you, I toasted his health only yesterday.”

“Yes, you remember the sherry!” said she, bitterly.

Mr. Hankes’s cheek tingled and grew crimson. It was a mood of passionate
excitement he had never witnessed in her before, and he was astounded at
the change in one usually so calm and self-possessed. It was then in
no small confusion that he turned over the letter before him to find
something which might change the topic in discussion.

“Ah, here is a matter,” said he, referring once more to Dunn’s
letter. “He says: ‘Beg of Miss Kellett to see a small holding called
“Kilmaganagh;” I cannot exactly say where, but it lies to the north
of Bantry Bay. I suspect that it possesses few recommendations such
as would entitle it to a place in the “scheme;” but, if to be had on
reasonable terms, I would be well pleased to obtain it. Driscoll had
effected a part purchase, but, having failed to pay up the instalment
due last March, his claim lapses. By the way, can you ascertain for me
where this same Driscoll has gone to? It is now above four months since
I have heard of him. Trace him, if possible. As to Kilmaganagh, tell
Miss K. that she may indulge that generosity she is not indisposed to
gratify, and be on this occasion a liberal purchaser.’ He fancies you
lean a little to the country-people, Miss Bella,” said Hankes, as
he stole a cautious glance at her now heightened color. “I will even
consent to what is called a fancy price for the tenement, and certainly
not lose it for a hundred or two above its actual value. Look to this,
and look to Driscoll. There’s a riddle here, Miss Bella, if we knew how
to read it,” said Hankes, as he looked over the few lines once more.

“I have but scant wits to read riddles, Mr. Hankes. Let us see where
this place lies.” And she turned to a large map on the table, the paths
and cross-paths of which had been marked in different colored inks by
her own hand. “I remember the name. There was an old tower called
Kilmaganagh Fort, which used to be visible from the bay. Yes, here it
is,--a strange, wild spot, too, and, as Mr. Dunn opines, scarcely
available for his great scheme.”

“But he has so many great schemes,” said Hankes, with a sly and sidelong
glance towards her.

Sybella, however, paid no attention to the remark, but, leaning over the
map, continued to trace out the line of route to the spot in question.
“By crossing Bantry Bay at Gortalassy, one might save above thirty miles
of way. I have been over the road before, and remember it well.”

“And you really mean to undertake the journey?” asked Hankes, in some

“Of course I do. I ask nothing better than to be fully occupied, and am
well pleased when in so doing I can exchange the desk for the saddle,
or, almost better, the stern-sheets of a Bantry Hooker. You are not a
woman, and you cannot feel, therefore, the sense of pride inspired by
mere utility.”

“I wish I might ask you a favor, Miss Kellett,” said he, after a
moment’s thought.

“A favor of _me!_” said she, laughing, as though the idea amused her.

“Yes,” said he, resuming. “I would beg to be permitted to accompany you
on this same journey. I have never been any of these wild, untravelled
tracts, and it would be a great additional charm to visit them in your

“So far as I am concerned, I grant you the permission freely; but it
were well for you to remember that you must not only be well mounted,
but prepared to ride over some rough country. I go, usually, as the crow
flies, and, as nearly as I can, the same pace too. Now, between this and
Loughbeg, there are, at least, three trying fences: one a wall with a
deep drop beyond it, and another a steep bank, where I remember that
somebody narrowly escaped having an ugly fall; there’s a small estuary,
too, to cross, near Gortalassy. But I am ashamed to enumerate these
petty obstacles; such as they are, they are the only ones,--there are
none on my part.”

“When do you mean to set out?” asked Hankes, in a tone far less eager
than his former question.

“There’s a full moon to-morrow night, so that, leaving this about
midnight, we might reach the bay by six or seven o’clock, and then, if
we should be fortunate with the wind, arrive at Kilmaganagh by about
four o’clock. Taking there three or four hours to see the place, we
could start again about eight, or even nine--”

“Good heavens! that gives nothing for repose,--no time to recruit.”

“You forget there are fully five hours on board the boat. I ‘ll not be
the least offended if you sleep the entire time. If there ‘s not wind
enough to take in a reef, I ‘ll give the tiller to old Mark Spillane,
and take a sleep myself.”

“It is really like a Tartar journey,” said the terrified Hankes.

“I have told you the worst of it, I must own,” said she, laughing, “for
I feel I have no right to obtain your escort on false pretences.”

“And you would go alone over this long distance,--land and sea?”

“Land and sea are very grand words, Mr. Hankes, for some five-and-twenty
miles of heather and a few hours in an open boat; but such as they are,
I would go them alone.”

Mr. Hankes would like to have said something complimentary, something
flattering, but it did not exactly occur to him how he was to do it.
To have exalted her heroism would be like a confession of his own
poltroonery; to have seen any surprising evidence of boldness in her
daring might possibly reflect upon her delicacy. He felt--none could
have felt more thoroughly--that she was very courageous and very full of
energy; but, somehow, these were humble aid to propagate that notion,--I
had almost said that fallacy. “Only hear me out,” said she, as he tried
to interrupt “I began my duties in the most sanguine of all moods.
Heaven knows not what dreams I had of a land of abundance and content.
Well, I have seen the abundance,--the wealth has really poured in; every
one is richer, better fed, clothed, housed, and cared for, and almost
in an equal ratio are they grown more covetous, grasping, envious,
and malevolent--You won’t let me finish,” cried she, as he showed an
increasing impatience. “Well, perhaps, as we stroll along the cliffs
to-morrow, you will be more disposed to listen; that is, if I have not
already terrified you from accepting the companionship.”

“Oh, no! by no means; but how are we to go,--do we drive?”

“Drive! why, my dear Mr. Hankes, it is only a Kerry pony has either
legs or head for the path we must follow. Cast your eye along this
coast-line; Jagged and fanciful as it looks, it conveys no notion of its
rugged surface of rock, and its wild and darksome precipices. Take
my word for it, you have as much to learn of the scenery as of the
temperament of the land.”

“But I’d like to go,” repeated he, his accent being marvellously little
in accordance with the sentiment.

“Nothing easier, sir. I’ll give orders to have a pony--a most reliable
pony--ready for you here to-morrow evening, when I shall expect you at

Mr. Hankes bowed his grateful acknowledgments.

“I suspect, sir,” said she, playfully, “that I have guessed your reason
for this journey.”

“My reason, my dear Miss Kellett,” said he, in confusion,--“my reason is
simply the pleasure and honor of _your_ company, and the opportunity of
visiting an interesting scene with--with--with--”

“No matter for the compliment; but I began really to imagine that you
wished to learn my secret of bargaining with the people; that you wanted
to witness one of these contracts you have heard so much of. Well, sir,
you shall have it: our sole secret is, we trust each other.”


Sybella Kellett was less than just when she said that the country
which lay between the Hermitage and Bantry Bay had few claims to the
picturesque. It may possibly have been that she spoke with reference to
what she fancied might have been Mr. Hankes’s judgment of such a scene.
There was, indeed, little to please an English eye,--no rich and waving
woods, no smiling corn-fields, no expanse of swelling lawn or upland of
deep meadow; but there was a wild and grand desolation, a waving surface
fissured with deep clefts opening on the sea, which boomed in many a
cavern far beneath. There were cliffs upright as a wall, hundreds of
feet in height, on whose bare summits some rude remains were still
traceable,--the fragment of a church, or shrine, or some lone cross,
symbol of a faith that dated from centuries back. Heaths of many a
gorgeous hue--purple, golden, and azure--clad a surface ever changing,
and ferns that would have overtopped a tall horseman mingled their
sprayey leaves with the wild myrtle and the arbutus. The moon was at her
full as Sybella, accompanied by Mr. Hankes, and followed by an old and
faithful groom,--a servant of her father’s in times past,--took her way
across this solitary tract.

If my reader is astonished that Mr. Hankes should have offered himself
for such an expedition, it is but fair to state that the surprise was
honestly shared in by that same gentleman. Was it that he made the offer
in some moment of rash enthusiasm; had any impulse of wild chivalry
mastered his calmer reason; was it that curious tendency which
occasionally seems to sway Cockney natures to ascend mountains, cross
dangerous ledges, or peep into volcanic craters? I really cannot aver
that any of these was his actual motive, while I have my suspicion that
a softer, a gentler, though a deeper sentiment influenced him on this
occasion. Mr. Hankes--to use a favorite phrase of his own--“had frequent
occasion to remark” Miss Kellett’s various qualities of mind and
intelligence; he had noticed in her the most remarkable aptitude
for “business.” She wrote and answered letters with a facility quite
marvellous; details, however complicated, became by her treatment simple
and easy; no difficulties seemed to deter her; and she possessed a
gift--one of the rarest and most valuable of all--never to waste a
moment on the impracticable, but to address herself, with a sort of
intuition, at once, to only such means as could be rendered available.

Now, whether it was that Mr. Hankes anticipated a time when Mr. Dunn,
in his greatness, might soar above the meaner cares of a business
life,--when, lifted into the Elysian atmosphere of the nobility, he
would look down with contemptuous apathy at the straggles and cares of
enterprise,--or whether Mr. Hankes, from sources of knowledge available
peculiarly to himself, knew that the fortunes of that great man were
not built upon an eternal foundation, but shared in that sad lot which
threatens all things human with vicissitude; whether stern facts and
sterner figures taught him that all that splendid reputation, all that
boundless influence, all that immense riches, might chance, one day or
other, to be less real, less actual, and less positive than the world
now believed them to be; whether, in a word, Mr. Hankes felt that
Fortune, having smiled so long and so blandly on her favorite, might
not, with that capriciousness so generally ascribed to her, assume
another and very different aspect,--whatever the reason, in short, he
deemed the dawn of his own day was approaching, and that, if only true
to himself, Mr. Hankes was sure to be the man of the “situation,”--the
next great star in the wide hemisphere that stretches from the Stock
Exchange to--the Marshalsea, and includes all from Belgravia to

Miss Kellett’s abilities, her knowledge, her readiness, her tact, a
certain lightness of hand in the management of affairs that none but a
woman ever possesses, and scarcely one woman in ten thousand combines
with the more male attributes of hard common-sense, pointed her out to
Mr. Hankes as one eminently suited to aid his ambition. Now, men married
for money every day in the week; and why not marry for what secured not
alone money, but fame, station, and influence? Mr. Hankes was a widower;
his own experience of married life had not been fortunate. The late Mrs.
Hankes was a genius, and had the infirmities of that unsocial class; she
despised her husband, quarrelled with him, lampooned him in a book,
and ran off with the editor of a small weekly review that eulogized her
novel. It was supposed she died in Australia,--at least, she never
came back again; and as the first lieutenant gravely confirms the sun’s
altitude when he mutters, “Make it noon,” so Mr. Hankes, by as simple
a fiat, said, “Make her dead,” and none disputed him. At all events, he
was a widower by brevet, and eligible to be gazetted a husband at any

Miss Kellett possessed many personal attractions, nor was he altogether
insensible to them; but he regarded them, after all, pretty much as
the intended purchaser of an estate might have regarded an ornamental
fish-pond or a flower-garden on the property,--something, in short,
which increased the attraction, but never augmented the value. He was
glad they were there, though they by no means would have decided him to
the purchase. He knew, besides, that the world set a high price on these
things, and he was not sorry to possess what represented value of any
kind. It was always scrip, shares, securities, even, although one could
not well say how, when, or where the dividend was to be paid.

There was another consideration, too, weighed materially with him. The
next best thing, in Mr. Hankes’s estimation, to marrying into a good
connection, was to have none at all,--no brothers, no sisters-in-law,
no cousins-german or otherwise, no uncles, aunts, or any good friends of
parental degree. Now, except a brother in the Crimea,--with an excellent
chance of being killed,--Sybella had none belonging to her. In the happy
phrase of advertisements, she had no encumbrances. There was no one to
insist upon this or that settlement; none to stipulate for anything
in her favor; and these were, to his thinking, vast advantages. Out of
these various considerations our reader is now to fashion some of the
reasons which induced Mr. Hankes to undertake an excursion alike foreign
to his taste and uncongenial to his habits; but as a placeman would not
decline the disagreeables of a sea-voyage as the preliminary to reaching
the colony he was to govern, so this gentleman consoled himself by
thinking that it was the sole penalty attached to a very remunerative

If Sybella was not without some astonishment at his proposal to
accompany her, she never gave herself the slightest trouble to explain
the motive. She acceded to his wish from natural courtesy and the desire
to oblige, and that was all. He had been uniformly polite and civil
in all their intercourse; beyond that, he was not a person whose
companionship she would have sought or cared for, and so they rode
along, chatting indifferently of whatever came uppermost,--the scene,
the road, the season, the condition of the few people who formed the
inhabitants of this wild region, and how their condition might possibly
be affected by the great changes then in progress near them.

Guarded and cautious as he was in all he said, Mr. Hankes could not
entirely conceal how completely he separated, in his own mind, the
success of the great scheme and the advantage that might accrue to the
people; nor was she slow to detect this reservation. She took too true
and just a view of her companion’s temper and tone to approach this
theme with the scruples that agitated herself, but at once said,--

“Let us suppose this scheme to be as prosperous as its best friends
can wish it, Mr. Hankes; that you all--I mean you great folk, who are
directors, chairmen, secretaries, and so forth--become as rich and
powerful as you desire, see your shares daily increasing in value, your
speculations more and more lucrative, what becomes of the people--the
poor man--all this while?”

“Why, of course he participates in all these successes; he grows rich
too; he sells what he has to sell at a better market, obtains higher
wages for his labor, and shares all our prosperity.”

“Granted. But who is to teach him the best use of this newly acquired
prosperity? You, and others like you, have your tastes already formed;
the channels are already made in which your affluence is to run: not so
with him; abundance may--nay, it will--suggest waste, which will beget
worse. Who are to be his guides,--who his examples?”

“Oh, as to that, his increase of fortune will suggest its own
appropriate increase of wants. He will be elevated by the requirements
of his own advancing condition, and even if he were not, it is not
exactly any affair of ours; we do our part when we afford him the means
of a higher civilization.”

“I don’t think so. I suspect that not alone do you neglect a duty, but
that you inflict a wrong. But come, I will take another alternative; I
will suggest--what some are already predicting--that the project will
not prove a success.”

“Who says that?” cried Hankes, hastily, and in his haste forgetting his
habitual caution of manner.

“Many have said it. Some of those whose opinions I am accustomed
to place trust in, have told myself that the speculation is too
vast,--disproportioned to the country, undertaken on a scale which
nothing short of imperial resources could warrant--”

“But surely you do not credit such forebodings?” broke he in.

“It is of little consequence how far _I_ credit them. I am as nothing
in the event. I only would ask, What if all were to fail?--what if ruin
were to fall upon the whole undertaking, what is to become of all those
who have invested their entire fortunes in the scheme? The great and
affluent have many ventures,--they trust not their wealth to one
argosy; but how will it be with those who have embarked their all in one

Mr. Hankes paused, as if to reflect over his reply, and she continued:
“It is a question I have already dared to address to Mr. Dunn himself. I
wrote to him twice on the subject. The first time I asked what guarantee
could be given to small shareholders,--those, for instance, who had
involved their whole wealth in the enterprise. He gave me no answer.
To my second application came the dry rejoinder that I had possibly
forgotten in whose service I was retained; that I drew my resources from
the Earl of Glengariff, and not from the peasantry, whose advocate I had
constituted myself.”

“Well?” cried Hankes, curious to hear what turn the correspondence took.

“Well,” said she, smiling gently, “I wrote again. I said it was true I
had forgotten the fact of which he reminded me, but I pleaded in excuse
that neither the Earl nor her Ladyship had refreshed my memory on the
circumstance by any replies to eight, or, I believe, nine letters I sent
them. I mentioned, too, that though I could endure the slight of this
neglect for myself, I could not put up with it for the sake of those
whose interest I watched over. Hear me out,” said she, perceiving that
he was about to interrupt. “It had become known in Glengariff that all
the little fortune I was possessed of--the few hundred pounds Mr. Dunn
had rescued for me out of the wreck of our property--was invested in
this scheme. Mr. Dunn counselled this employment of the money, and I
consented to it. Now, this trustfulness on my part induced many others
to imitate what they deemed my example.”

“And you really did make this investment?” said Hankes, whose eagerness
could not brook longer delay.

“Yes,” said she, with a quiet smile, “though, evidently, had I consulted
Mr. Hankes, he would never have counselled the step.” After a moment,
she resumed, “I have half a mind to tell you how it happened.”

“I pray you let me hear it.”

“Well, it was in this way: Shortly after that affair of the Ossory
Bank,--the run for gold, I mean,--I received a few hurried lines from
Mr. Dunn, urging me to greater exertion on the score of the Glengariff
scheme, and calling upon me to answer certain newspaper insinuations
against its solvency, and so forth. Before replying to these attacks,
I was, of course, bound to read them; and, shall I confess it, such was
the singular force of the arguments they employed, so reasonable did
their inferences appear, and so terrible the consequences should the
plan prove a failure, that I for the first time perceived that it was
by no means impossible the vast superstructure we were raising might be
actually on the brink of a volcano. I did not like exactly to tell Mr.
Dunn these misgivings; in fact, though I attempted two or three letters
to that effect, I could not, without great risk of offending, convey my
meaning, and so I reflected and pondered over the matter several days,
working my brain to find some extrication from the difficulty. At last,
I bethought me of this: Mr. Dunn was my guardian; by his efforts was the
small fragment of property that fell to me rescued and saved. What if I
were to request him to invest the whole of it in this scheme? Were its
solvency but certain, where could the employment of the money be safer
or more profitable? If he consented, I might fairly suppose my fears
were vain, and my misgivings unfounded. If, however, he showed any
reluctance, even backwardness, to the project, the very phrase he might
employ to dissuade me would have its especial significance, and I could
at once have something to reason upon. Well, I wrote to him, and he
answered by the next post: ‘I fully coincide with your suggestion, and,
acting on it, you are now the possessor of fifty-four shares in the
allotment. As the moment for buying in is favorable, it is a thousand
pities you could not make an equally profitable investment for your
brother, whose twelve hundred pounds is yielding the very inglorious
interest of the bank.’”

“And so you took the shares?” said Hankes, sighing; then added, “But let
me see,--at what rate did you buy?”

“I am ashamed to confess, I forget; but I know the shares were high?”

“After the Ossory run,” muttered he,--“that was about September. Shares
were then something like one hundred and twenty-seven and a quarter;
higher afterwards; higher the whole month of November; shaky towards
the end of the year; very shaky, indeed, in January. No, no,” said he to
himself, “Dunn ought not to have done it.”

“I perceive,” said she, half smiling, “Mr. Hankes opines that the money
had been better in the bank.”

“After all,” continued he, not heeding her remark, “Dunn could n’t do
anything else. You own, yourself, that if he had attempted to dissuade
you, you would immediately have taken alarm; you ‘d have said, ‘This
is all a sham. All these people will find themselves “let in” some fine
morning;’ and as Dunn could very readily make good your few hundred
pounds, why, he was perfectly justified in the advice he gave.”

“Not when his counsel had the effect of influencing mine,” said she,
quickly; “not when it served to make me a perfidious example to others.
No, no, Mr. Hankes; if this scheme be not an honest and an upright one,
I accept no partnership in its details.”

“I am only putting a case, remember,” said Hankes, hurriedly,--“a
possible, but most improbable case. I am supposing that a scheme with
the finest prospectus, the best list of directors, the most respectable
referees in the empire, to be--what shall I say?--to be sickly,--yes,
sickly,--in want of a little tonic treatment, generous diet, and so

“You ‘ll have to follow me here, Mr. Hankes,” broke in Sybella; “the
pathway round this cliff only admits one at a time. Keep close to the
rock, and if your head be not steady, don’t look down.”

“Good heavens! we are not going round that precipice!” cried Hankes, in
a voice of the wildest terror.

“My servant will lead your horse, if you prefer it,” said she, without
answering his question; “and mind your footing, for the moss is often
slippery with the spray.”

Sybella made a signal with her whip to the groom, who was now close
behind, and then, without awaiting for more, moved on. Hankes watched
her as she descended the little slope to the base of a large rock,
around which the path wound itself on the very verge of an immense
precipice. Even from where he now stood the sea could be seen surging
and booming hundreds of feet below; and although the night was calm and
still, the ever-restless waves beat heavily against the rocks, and sent
masses of froth and foam high into the air. He saw her till she turned
the angle of the path, and then she was lost to his view.

“I don’t think I have head for it. I ‘m not used to this kind of thing,”
 said Hankes, in a voice of helpless despondency to the old groom, who
now stood awaiting him to dismount “Is there much danger? Is it as bad
as it looks?”

“‘Tis worse when you get round the rock there,” said the groom, “for
it’s always going down you are, steeper than the roof of a house, with a
shingle footing, and sloping outwards.”

“I’ll not go a step; I ‘ll not venture,” broke in Hankes.

“Indeed, I wouldn’t advise your honor,” said the man, in a tone too
sincere to be deemed sarcastic.

“I know my head could n’t bear it,” said he, with the imploring accents
of one who entreated a contradiction. But the old groom, too fully
convinced of the sentiment to utter a word against it, was now only
thinking of following his mistress.

[Illustration: 191]

“Wait a moment,” cried Hankes, with an immense effort. “If I were
once across this”--he was going to add an epithet, but restrained
himself--“this place, is there nothing more of the same kind

“Is n’t there, faith!” cried the man. “Isn’t there the Clunk, where the
beast has to step over gullies five-and-thirty or forty feet deep? Isn’t
there Tim’s Island, a little spot where you must turn your horse round
with the sea four hundred feet under you? Is n’t there the Devil’s

“There, there, you need n’t go on, my good fellow; I ‘ll turn back.”

“Look where she is now,” said the man, pointing with his whip to a rocky
ledge hundreds of feet down, along which a figure on horseback might be
seen creeping slowly along. “‘Tis there, where she’s stealing along now,
you need the good head and the quick hand. May I never!” exclaimed he,
in terror, “if them isn’t goats that’s coming up to meet her! Merciful
Joseph! what’ll she do? There, they are under the horse’s legs, forcing
their way through! Look how the devils are rushing all round and about
her! If the beast moves an inch--” A wild cry broke from the old man
here, for a fragment of rock, displaced by the rushing herd, had just
come thundering down the cliff, and splashed into the sea beneath. “The
heavens be praised! she’s safe,” muttered he, piously crossing himself;
and then, without a word more, and as if angry at his own delay, he
pressed his horse forward to follow her.

It was in vain Hankes cried to him to wait,--to stop for only an
instant,--that he, too, was ready to go,--not to leave him and desert
him there,--that he knew not where to turn him, nor could ever retrace
his way,--already the man was lost to view and hearing, and all the
vain entreaties were uttered to the winds. As for Sybella, her perilous
pathway gave her quite enough to do not to bestow a thought upon her
companion; nor, indeed, had she much recollection of him till the old
groom overtook her on the sandy beach, and recounted to her, not without
a certain touch of humor, Mr. Hankes’s terror and despair.

“It was cruel to leave him, Ned,” said she, trying to repress a smile
at the old man’s narrative. “I think you must go back, and leave me to
pursue my way alone.”

“Sorra one o’ me will go back to the likes of him. ‘T is for your own
self, and ne’er another, I’d be riskin’ my neck in the same spot,” said
he, resolutely.

“But what’s to become of him, Ned? He knows nothing of the country; he
‘ll not find his way back to Glengariff.”

“Let him alone; devil a harm he ‘ll come to. ‘T is chaps like that never
comes to mischief. He ‘ll wander about there till day breaks, and
maybe find his way to Duffs Mill, or, at all events, the boy with the
letter-bag from Caherclough is sure to see him.”

Even had this last assurance failed to satisfy Sybella, it was so
utterly hopeless a task to overrule old Ned’s resolve that she said
no more, but rode on in silence. Not so Ned; the theme afforded him an
opportunity for reflecting on English character and habits which was not
to be lost.

“I ‘d like to see your brother John turn back and leave a young lady
that way,” said he, recurring to the youth whose earliest years he had
watched over.

No matter how impatiently, even angrily, Bella replied to the old man’s
bigoted preference of his countrymen, Ned persisted in deploring the
unhappy accident by which fate had subjected the finer and more gifted
race to the control and dominion of an inferior people. To withdraw
him effectually from a subject which to an Irish peasant has special
attraction, she began to tell him of the war in the East and of
her brother Jack, the old man listening with eager delight to the
achievements of one he had carried about in his arms as a child. Her
mind filled with the wondrous stories of private letters,--the intrepid
daring of this one, the noble chivalry of that,--she soon succeeded in
winning all his attention. It was singular, however, that of all the
traits she recorded, none made such a powerful appeal to the old man’s
heart as the generous self-devotion of those women who, leaving home,
friends, country, and all, gave themselves up to the care of the sick
and wounded. He never wearied of hearing how they braved death in its
most appalling shape amidst the pestilential airs of the hospital, in
the midst of such horrors as no pen can picture, taking on them the most
painful duties, accepting fatigue, exhaustion, and peril as the common
incidents of life, braving scenes of agony such as in very recital
sickened the heart, descending to all that was menial in their
solicitude for some poor sufferer, and all this with a benevolence and
a kindness that made them seem less human beings than ministering angels
from heaven.

“Oh, Holy Joseph! is n’t it yourself ought to be there?” cried the old
man, enthusiastically. “Was there ever your like to give hope to a sick
heart? Who ever could equal you to cheer up the sinking spirit, and even
make misery bearable? Miss Bella, darling, did you never think of going

“Ay, Ned, a hundred times,” said she, sighing drearily. “I often, too,
said to myself, There’s not one of these ladies--for they are ladies
born and bred--who has n’t a mother, father, sisters, and brothers dear
to her, and to whom she is herself dear. She leaves a home where she is
loved, and where her vacant place is daily looked at with sorrow; and
yet here am I, who have none to care for, none to miss me, who would
carry over the sea with me no sorrows from those I was leaving, for I am
friendless,--surely I am well fitted for such a task--”

“Well,” said he, eagerly, as she seemed to hesitate, “well, and why--”

“It was not fear held me back,” resumed she. “It was not that I shrank
from the sights and sounds of agony that must have been more terrible
than any death; it was simply a hope--a wish, perhaps, more than a
hope--that I might be doing service to those at home here, who, if
I were to leave them, would not have one on their side. Perhaps I
overrated what I did, or could do; perhaps I deemed my help of more
value than it really was; but every day seemed to show me that the
people needed some one to counsel and to guide them,--to show them
where their true interests lay, and by what little sacrifices they could
oftentimes secure a future benefit.”

“That’s thrue, every word of it. Your name is in every cabin, with a
blessing tacked to it. There’s not a child does n’t say a prayer for you
before he goes to sleep; and there’s many a grown man never thought of
praying at all till he axed a blessing for yourself!”

“With that, too,” resumed she, “was coupled power, for my Lord left much
to my management. I was able to help the deserving, to assist the
honest and industrious; now I aided this one to emigrate, now I could
contribute a little assistance of capital. In fact, Ned, I felt they
wanted me, and I knew I liked _them_. There was one good reason for not
going away. Then there were other reasons,” said she, falteringly. “It
is not a good example to give to others to leave, no matter how humble,
the spot where we have a duty, to seek out a higher destiny. I speak as
a woman.”

“And is it thrue, Miss Bella, that it’s Mister Dunn has it all here
under his own hand,--that the Lord owns nothing only what Dunn allows
him, and that the whole place down to Kenmare River is Dunn’s?”

“It is quite true, Ned, that the control and direction of all the great
works here are with Mr. Dunn. All the quarries and mines, the roads,
harbors, quays, ‘bridges, docks, houses, are all in his hands.”

“Blessed hour! and where does he get the money to do it all?” cried he,
in amazement.

Now, natural as was the question, and easy of reply as it seemed,
Sybella heard it with something almost like a shock. Had the thought not
occurred to her hundreds of times? And, if so, how had she answered
it? Of course there could be no difficulty in the reply; of course such
immense speculations, such gigantic projects as Mr. Dunn engaged in,
supplied wealth to any amount. But equally true was it, that they
demanded great means; they were costly achievements,--these great lines
of railroad, these vast harbors. Nor were they always successful; Mr.
Hankes himself had dropped hints about certain “mistakes” that were very
significant. The splendid word “Credit” would explain it all, doubtless,
but how interpret credit to the mind of the poor peasant? She tried to
illustrate it by the lock of a canal, in which the water is momentarily
utilized for a particular purpose, and then restored, unimpaired, to the
general circulation; but Ned unhappily damaged the imagery by remarking,
“But what’s to be done if there’s no water?” Fortunately for her logic,
the road became once more only wide enough for one to proceed at a time,
and Sybella was again left to her own musings.

Scarcely conscious of the perilous path by which she advanced, she
continued to meditate over the old man’s words, and wonder within
herself how it was that he, the poor, unlettered peasant, should have
conceived that high notion of what her mission ought to be,--when and
how her energies should be employed. She had been schooling herself for
years to feel that true heroism consisted in devoting oneself to some
humble, unobtrusive career, whose best rewards were the good done to
others, where self-denial was a daily lesson, and humility a daily
creed; but, do what she could, there was within her heart the embers of
the fire that burned there in childhood. The first article of that
faith taught her that without danger there is no greatness,--that in
the hazardous conflicts where life is ventured, high qualities only are
developed. What but such noble excitement could make heroes of those
men, many of whom, without such stimulus, had dropped down the stream of
life unnoticed and undistinguished? “And shall I,” cried she, aloud,
“go on forever thus, living the small life of petty cares and interests,
confronting no dangers beyond a dark December day, encountering no other
hazards than the flippant rebuke of my employer?” “There’s the yawl,
Miss Bella; she’s tacking about, waiting for us,” said Ned, as he
pointed to a small sailboat like a speck in the blue sea beneath; and at
the same instant a little rag of scarlet bunting was run up to the peak,
to show that the travellers had been seen from the water.


It is possible that my reader might not unwillingly accompany Sybella
as she stepped into the little boat, and, tripping lightly over the
“thwarts,” seated herself in the stern-sheets. The day was bright and
breezy, the sea scarcely ruffled, for the wind was off the land; the
craft, although but a fishing-boat, was sharp and clean built, the
canvas sat well on her, and, last of all, she who held the tiller was a
very pretty girl, whose cheek, flushed with exercise, and loosely
waving hair, gave to her beauty the heightened expression of which care
occasionally robbed it. The broad bay, with its mountain background
and its wide sea-reach, studded with tall three-masters, was a fine and
glorious object; and as the light boat heeled over to the breeze, and
the white foam came rustling over the prow, Sybella swept her fair
hand through the water, and bathed her brow with the action of one who
dismissed all painful thought, and gave herself to the full enjoyment of
the hour. Yes, my dear reader, the companionship of such a girl on
such a day, in such a scene, was worth having; and so even those rude
fishermen thought it, as, stretched at full length on the shingle
ballast, they gazed half bashfully at her, and then exchanged more
meaning looks with each other as she talked with them.

[Illustration: 198]

Just possible it is, too, that some curiosity may exist as to what
became of Mr. Hankes. Did that great projector of industrial enterprise
succeed in retracing his steps with safety? Did he fall in with some one
able to guide him back to Glengariff? Did he regain the Hermitage after
fatigue and peril, and much self-reproach for an undertaking so foreign
to his ways and habits; and did he vow to his own heart that this was to
be the last of such excursions on his part? Had he his misgivings, too,
that his conduct had not been perfectly heroic; and did he experience a
sense of shame in retiring before a peril braved by a young and delicate
girl? Admitted to a certain share of that gentleman’s confidence, we are
obliged to declare that his chief sorrows were occasioned by the loss
of time, the amount of inconvenience, and the degree of fatigue the
expedition had caused him. It was not till late in the afternoon of the
day that he chanced upon a fisherman on his way to Bantry to sell his
fish. The poor peasant could not speak nor understand English, and after
a vain attempt at explanation on either side, the colloquy ended by
Hankes joining company with the man, and proceeding along with him,
whither he knew not.

If we have not traced the steps of Sybella’s wanderings, we are little
disposed to linger along with those of Mr. Hankes, though, if his own
account were to be accepted, his journey was a succession of adventures
and escapes. Enough if we say that he at last abandoned his horse amid
the fissured cliffs of the coast, and, as best he might, clambered over
rock and precipice, through tall mazes of wet fern and deep moss, along
shingly shores and sandy beaches, till he reached the little inn at
Bantry, the weariest and most worn-out of men, his clothes in rags,
his shoes in tatters, and he himself scarcely conscious, and utterly
indifferent as to what became of him.

A night’s sound sleep and a good breakfast were already contributing
much to efface the memory of past sufferings, when Sybella Kellett
entered his room. She had been over to the cottage, had visited the
whole locality, transacted all the business she had come for, and only
diverged from her homeward route on hearing that Mr. Hankes had just
arrived at Bantry. Rather apologizing for having left _him_ than
accusing him of deserting _her_, she rapidly proceeded to sketch out her
own journey. She did not dwell upon any incidents of the way,--had they
been really new or strange she would not have recalled them,--she only
adverted to what had constituted the object of her coming,--the purchase
of the small townland which she had completed.

“It is a dear old place,” said she, “of a fashion one so rarely sees in
Ireland, the house being built after that taste known as Elizabethan,
and by tradition said to have once been inhabited by the poet Spenser.
It is very small, and so hidden by a dense beech-wood, that you might
pass within fifty yards of the door and never see it. This rude drawing
may give you some idea of it.”

“And does the sea come up so close as this?” asked Hankes, eagerly.

“The little fishing-boat ran into the cove you see there; her mainsail
dropped over the new-mown hay.”

“Why, it ‘s the very thing Lord Lockewood is looking for, He is
positively wild about a spot in some remote out-of-the-way region; and
then, what you tell me of its being a poet’s house will complete the
charm. You said Shakspeare--”

“No, Spenser, the poet of the ‘Faërie Queene,’” broke she in, with a

“It’s all the same; he ‘ll give it a fanciful name, and the association
with its once owner will afford him unceasing amusement.”

“I hope he is not destined to enjoy the pleasure you describe.”

“No?--why not, pray?”

“I hope and trust that the place may not pass into his hands; in a word,
I intend to ask Mr. Dunn to allow me to be the purchaser. I find that
the sum is almost exactly the amount I have invested in the Allotment
scheme,--these same shares we spoke of,--and I mean to beg as a great
favor,--a very great favor,--to be permitted to make this exchange. I
want no land,--nothing but the little plot around the cottage.”

“The cottage formerly inhabited by the poet Spenser, built in the purest
Elizabethan style, and situated in a glen,--you said a glen, I think,
Miss Kellett?” said Hankes,--“in a glen, whose wild enclosure, bosomed
amongst deep woods, and washed by the Atlantic--”

“Are you devising an advertisement, sir?”

“The very thing I was doing, Miss Kellett. I was just sketching out a
rough outline of a short paragraph for the ‘Post.’”

“But remember, sir, I want to possess this spot. I wish to be its

“To dispose of, of course, hereafter,--to make a clear three, four, or
five thousand by the bargain, eh?”

“Nothing of the kind, Mr. Hankes. I mean to acquire enough--some one
day or other--to go back and dwell there. I desire to have what I shall
always, to myself at least, call mine--my home. It will be as a goal to
win, the time I can come back and live there. It will be a resting-place
for poor Jack when he returns to England.”

Mr. Hankes paused. It was the first time Miss Kellett had referred to
her own fortunes in such a way as permitted him to take advantage of the
circumstance, and he deliberated with himself whether he ought not to
profit by the accident. How would she receive a word of advice from him?
Would it be well taken? Might it possibly lead to something more? Would
she be disposed to lean on his counsels; and, if so, what then? Ay, Mr.
Hankes, it was the “what then?” was the puzzle. It was true his late
conduct presented but a sorry emblem of that life-long fidelity he
thought of pledging; but if she were the clear-sighted, calm-reasoning
intelligence he believed, she would lay little stress upon what, after
all, was a mere trait of a man’s temperament. Very rapidly, indeed, did
these reflections pass through his mind; and then he stole a glance at
her as she sat quietly sipping her tea, looking a very ideal of calm
tranquillity. “This cottage,” thought he, “has evidently taken a hold
of her fancy. Let me see if I cannot turn the theme to my purpose.”
 And with this intention he again brought her back to speak of the spot,
which she did with all the eagerness of true interest.

“As to the association with the gifted spirit of song,” said Mr. Hankes,
soaring proudly into the style he loved, “I conclude that to be somewhat
doubtful of proof, eh?”

“Not at all, sir. Spenser lived at a place called Kilcoleman, from
which he removed for two or three years, and returned. It was in this
interval he inhabited the cottage. Curiously enough, some manuscript
in his writing--part of a correspondence with the Lord-Deputy--was
discovered yesterday when I was there. It was contained in a small oak
casket with a variety of other papers, some in quaint French, some
in Latin. The box was built in so as to form a portion of a curiously
carved chimney-piece, and chance alone led to its discovery.”

“I hope you secured the documents?” cried Hankes, eagerly.

“Yes, sir; here they are, box and all. The Rector advised me to carry
them away for security’ sake.” And so saying, she laid upon the table a
massively bound and strong-built box, of about a foot in length.

It was with no inexperienced hand that Mr. Hankes proceeded to
investigate the contents. His well-practised eye rapidly caught the
meaning of each paper as he lifted it up, and he continued to mutter to
himself his comments upon them. “This document is an ancient grant of
the lands of Cloughrennin to the monks of the Abbey of Castlerosse, and
bears date 1104. It speaks of certain rights reserved to the Baron Hugh
Pritchard Conway. Conway--Conway,” mumbled he, twice or thrice; “that’s
the very name I tried and could not remember yesterday, Miss Kellett.
You asked me about a certain soldier whose daring capture of a Russian
officer was going the round of the papers. The young fellow had but one
arm too; now I remember, his name was Conway.”

“Charles Conway! Was it Charles Conway?” cried she, eagerly; “but it
could be no other,--he had lost his right arm.”

“I ‘m not sure which, but he had only one, and he was called an orderly
on the staff of the Piedmontese General.”

“Oh, the noble fellow! I could have sworn he would distinguish himself.
Tell me it all again, sir; where did it happen, and how, and when?”

Mr. Hankes’s memory was now to be submitted to a very searching test,
and he was called on to furnish details which might have puzzled “Our
own Correspondent.” Had Charles Conway been rewarded for his gallantry?
What notice had his bravery elicited? Was he promoted, and to what
rank? Had he been decorated, and with what order? Were his wounds, as
reported, only trifling? Where was he now?--was he in hospital or on
service? She grew impatient at how little he knew,--how little the
incident seemed to have impressed him. “Was it possible,” she asked,
“that heroism like this was so rife that a meagre paragraph was deemed
enough to record it,--a paragraph, too, that forgot to state what had
become of its hero?”

“Why, my dear Miss Kellett,” interposed he, at length, “one reads a
dozen such achievements every week.”

“I deny it, sir,” cried she, angrily. “Our soldiers are the bravest in
the world; they possess a courage that asks no aid from the promptings
of self-interest, nor the urgings of vanity; they are very lions in
combat; but it needs the chivalrous ardor of the gentleman, the man
of blood and lineage to conceive a feat like this. It was only a noble
patriotism could suggest the thought of such an achievement.”

“I must say,” said Hankes, in confusion, “the young fellow acquitted
himself admirably; but I would also beg to observe that there is nothing
in the newspaper to lead to the conclusion you are disposed to draw.
There’s not a word of his being a gentleman.”

“But I know it, sir,--the fact is known to _me_. Charles Conway is a man
of family; he was once a man of fortune: he had served as an officer
in a Lancer regiment; he had been extravagant, wild, wasteful, if you

“Why, it can’t be the Smasher you’re talking of?--the great swell that
used to drive the four chestnuts in the Park, and made the wager he ‘d
go in at one window of Stagg and Mantle’s and out at t’other?”

“I don’t care to hear of such follies, sir, when there are better things
to be remembered. Besides, he is my brother’s dearest friend, and I will
not hear him spoken of but with respect. Take _my_ word for it, sir, I
am but asking what you had done, without a hint, were he only present.”

“I believe you,--by Jove, I believe you!” cried Hankes, with an honesty
in the tone of his voice that actually made her smile. “And so this is
Conway the Smasher!”

“Pray, Mr. Hankes, recall him by some other association. It is only fair
to remember that he has given us the fitting occasion.”

“Ay, very true,--what you say is perfectly just; and, as you say, he
is your brother’s friend. Who would have thought it!--who would have
thought it!”.

Without puzzling ourselves to inquire what it was that thus excited Mr.
Hankes’s astonishment, let us observe that gentleman, as he turns over,
one by one, the papers in the box, muttering his comments meanwhile to
himself: “Old title-deeds,--very old indeed,--all the ancient contracts
are recited. Sir Gwellem Conway must have been a man of mark and note in
those days. Here we find him holding ‘in capite’ from the king, twelve
thousand acres, with the condition that he builds a strong castle and
a ‘bawn.’ And these are, apparently, Sir Gwellem’s own letters. Ah!
and here we have him or his descendant called Baron of Ackroyd and
Bedgellert, and claimant to the title of Lackington, in which he seems
successful. This is the writ of summons calling him to the Lords as
Viscount Lackington. Very curious and important these papers are,--more
curious, perhaps, than important,--for in all likelihood there have been
at least half a dozen confiscations of these lands since this time.”

Mr. Hankes’s observations were not well attended to, for Sybella was
already deep in the perusal of a curious old letter from a certain Dame
Marian Conway to her brother, then Sheriff of Cardigan, in which some
very strange traits of Irish chieftain life were detailed.

“I have an antiquarian friend who’d set great store by these old
documents, Miss Kellett,” said Hankes, with a sort of easy indifference.
“They have no value save for such collectors; they serve to throw a
passing light over a dark period of history, and perhaps explain a
bygone custom or an obsolete usage. What do you mean to do with them?”

“Keep them. If I succeed in my plans about the cottage, these letters of
Spenser to Sir Lawrence Esmond are in themselves a title. Of course, if
I fail in my request, I mean to give them to Mr. Dunn.”

“These were Welsh settlers, it would seem,” cried Hankes, still bending
over the papers. “They came originally from Abergedley.”

“Abergedley!” repeated Sybella, three or four times over. “How strange!”

“What is strange, Miss Kellett?” asked Hankes, whose curiosity was
eagerly excited by the expression of her features.

Instead of reply, however, she had taken a small notebook from her
pocket, and sat with her eyes fixed upon a few words written in her own
hand: “The Conways of Abergedley--of what family--if settled at any time
in Ireland, and where?” These few words, and the day of the year when
they were written, recalled to her mind a conversation she had once held
with Terry Driscoll.

“What is puzzling you, Miss Kellett?” broke in Hankes; “I wish I could
be of any assistance to its unravelment.”

“I am thinking of ‘long ago;’ something that occurred years back. Didn’t
you mention,” asked she, suddenly, “that Mr. Driscoll had been the
former proprietor of thia cottage?”

“Yes, in so far as having paid part of the purchase-money. Does his name
recall anything to interest you, Miss Kellett?”

If she heard she did not heed his question, but sat deep sunk in her own

If there was any mood of the human mind that had an especial fascination
for Mr. Hankes, it was that frame of thought which indicated the
possession of some mysterious subject,--some deep and secret theme which
the possessor retained for himself alone,--a measure of which none were
to know the amount, to which none were to have the key. It would be
ignoble to call this passion curiosity, for, in reality, it was less
exercised by any desire to fathom the mystery than it was prompted by an
intense jealousy of him who thus held in his own hands the solution of
some portentous difficulty. To know on what schemes other men were bent,
what hopes and fears filled them, by what subtle trains of reasoning
they came to this conclusion or to that, were the daily exercises of
his intelligence. He was eternally, as the phrase is, putting things
together, comparing events, confronting this circumstance with that, and
drawing inferences from every chance and accident of life. Now, it was
clear to him Miss Kellett had a secret; or, at least, had the clew
to one. Driscoll was “in it,” and this cottage was “in it,” and, not
impossibly too, some of these Conway s were “in it.” There was something
in that note-book; how was he to obtain sight of it? The vaguest
line---a word--would be enough for him. Mr. Hankes remembered how he
had once committed himself and his health to the care of an unskilful
physician simply because the man knew a fact which he wanted, and
did worm out of him during his attendance. He had, at another time,
undertaken a short voyage in a most unsafe craft, with a drunken
captain, because the stewardess was possessed of a secret of which, even
in his sea-sickness, he obtained the key. Over and over again had he
assumed modes of life he detested, dissipation the most distasteful to
him, to gain the confidence of men that were only assailable in these
modes; and now he bethought him that if he only had a glimmering of his
present suspicion, the precipice and the narrow path and the booming sea
below had all been braved, and he would have followed her unflinchingly
through every peril with this goal before him. Was it too late to
reinstate himself in her esteem? He thought not; indeed, she did not
seem to retain any memory of his defection. At all events, there was
little semblance of it having influenced her in her manner towards him.

“We shall meet at Glengariff, Mr. Hankes,” said Sybella, rising, and
replacing the papers in the box. “I mean to return by the coast road,
and will not ask you to accompany me.”

“It is precisely what I was about to beg as a favor. I was poorly
yesterday,--a nervous headache, an affection I am subject to; in short,
I felt unequal to any exertion, or even excitement.”

“Pray let me counsel you to spare yourself a journey of much fatigue
with little to reward it. Frequency and long habit have deprived the
mountain tract of all terror for me, but I own that to a stranger it
is not without peril. The spot where we parted yesterday is the least
dangerous of the difficulties, and so I would say be advised, and keep
to the high-road.”

Now, there was not the slightest trace of sarcasm in what she said; it
was uttered in all sincerity and good faith, and yet Mr. Hankes could
not help suspecting a covert mockery throughout.

“I ‘m determined she shall see I am a man of courage,” muttered he to
himself; and then added, aloud, “You must permit me to disobey you, Miss
Kellett. I am resolved to bear you company.”

There was a dash of decision in his tone that made Sybella turn to
look at him, and, to her astonishment, she saw a degree of purpose and
determination in his face very unlike its former expression. If she did
not possess the craft and subtlety which long years had polished to a
high perfection in him, she had that far finer and more delicate tact by
which a woman’s nature reads man’s coarser temperament. She watched
his eye, too, and saw how it rested on the oaken box, and, even while
awaiting her answer, never turned from that object.

“Yes,” said she to herself, “there is a game to be played out between
us, and yonder is the stake.”

Did Mr. Hankes divine what was passing in her mind? I know not. All he
said was,--

“May I order the horses, Miss Kellett?”

“Yes, I am ready.”

“And this box, what is to be done with it? Best to leave it here in the
possession of the innkeeper. I suppose it will be safe?” asked he, half

“Perfectly safe; it would be inconvenient to carry with us. Will you
kindly tell the landlord to come here?”

No sooner had Mr. Hankes left the room on his errand, than Sybella
unlocked the box, and taking out the three papers in which the name of
Conway appeared, relocked it. The papers she as quickly consigned to
a small bag, which, as a sort of sabretasche, formed part of her

Mr. Hankes was somewhat longer on his mission than appeared necessary,
and when he did return there was an air of some bustle and confusion
about him, while between him and the landlord an amount of intimacy had
grown up--a sort of confidence was established--that Bella’s keen glance
rapidly read.

“An old-fashioned lock, and doubtless worth nothing, Miss Kellett,”
 said Hankes, as with a contemptuous smile he regarded the curiously
carved ornament of the keyhole. “You have the key, I think?”

“Yes; it required some ingenuity to withdraw it from where, I suppose,
it has been rusting many a year.”

“It strikes me I might as well put a band over the lock and affix my
seal. It will convey the notion of something very precious inside,”
 added he, laughing, “and our friend here, Mr. Rorke, will feel an
increased importance in the guardianship of such a treasure.”

“I ‘ll guard it like goold, sir; that you may depend on,” chimed in the

Why was it that, as Bella’s quick glance was bent upon him, he turned so
hastily away, as if to avoid the scrutiny?

Do not imagine, valued reader, that while this young girl scanned the
two faces before her, and tried to discover what secret understanding
subsisted between these two men,--strangers but an hour ago,--that she
herself was calm and self-possessed. Far from it; as little was she
self-acquitted. It was under the influence of a sudden suspicion
flashing across her mind--whence or how she knew not--that some
treachery was being planned, that she withdrew these documents from the
box. The expression of Hankes’s look, as it rested on the casket, was
full of significance. It meant much, but of what nature she could not
read. The sudden way he had questioned her about Driscoll imparted a
link of connection between that man and the contents of the box, or part
of them; and what part could that be except what concerned the name of
Conway? If these were her impulses, they were more easily carried
out than forgiven, and in her secret heart she was ashamed of her own
distrust, and of what it led her to do.

“It would be a curious question at law,” said Hankes, as he affixed the
third and last seal,--“a very curious question, who owns that box.
Not that its contents would pay for the litigation,” added he, with
a mocking laugh; “but the property being sold this morning, with an
unsettled claim of Driscoll’s over it, and the purchaser being still
undeclared,--for I suppose you bought it in for the Earl, or for Mr.
Dunn, perhaps--”

“No, sir, in my own name, and for myself, waiting Mr. Dunn’s good
pleasure to confirm the sale in the way I have told you.”

“Indeed!” exclaimed he, looking with an unfeigned admiration at a young
girl capable of such rapid and decisive action, “so that you really may
consider yourself its owner.”

“I do consider myself its owner,” was her calm reply.

“Then pray excuse my officiousness in this sealing up. I hope you will
pardon my indiscreet zeal.”

She smiled without answering, and the blood mounted to Mr. Hankes’s face
and forehead till they were crimson. He, too, felt that there was a game
between them, and was beginning to distrust his “hand.”

“Are we to be travelling-companions, Mr. Hankes?” asked she. And though
nothing was said in actual words, there was that in the voice and manner
of the speaker that made the question run thus: “Are we, after what we
have just seen of each other, to journey together?”

“Well, if you really wish me to confess the truth, Miss Kellett, I must
own I am rather afraid of my head along these mountain paths,--a sort of
faintness, a rushing of blood to the brain, and a confusion; in short,
Nature never meant me for a chamois-hunter, and I should bring no credit
on your training of me.”

“Your resolve is all the wiser, sir, and so to our next meeting.” She
waved him a half-familiar, half-cold farewell, and left the room.

Mr. Hankes saw her leave the town, and he loitered about the street
till he could mark two mounted figures ascending the mountain. He then
ordered a chaise to the door with all speed.

“Will you take it now, sir, or send for it, as you said at first?” asked
the innkeeper, as he stood with the oak box in his hands.

“Keep it till I write,--keep it till you hear from me; or, no, put it in
the chaise,--that’s better.”


Short as had been Sybella’s absence from the Hermitage, a vast number of
letters had arrived for her in the mean while. The prospect of a peace,
so confidently entertained at one moment, was now rudely destroyed by
the abrupt termination of the Vienna conferences, and the result was a
panic in the money-market.

The panic of an army rushing madly on to victory; the panic on shipboard
when the great vessel has struck, and after three or four convulsive
throes the mighty masts have snapped, and the blue water, surging and
bounding, has riven the hatchways and flooded the deck; the panic of
a mob as the charge of cavalry is sounded, and the flash of a thousand
sabres is seen through the long vista of a street; the panic of a city
stricken by plague or cholera,--are all dreadful and appalling things,
and have their scenes of horror full of the most picturesque terror;
still are there incidents of an almost equal power when that dread
moment has arrived which is called a “Panic on ‘Change.”

It was but yesterday, and the world went well and flourishingly, mills
were at work, foundries thundered with their thousand hammers, vessels
sailed forth from every port, and white-sailed argosies were freighted
with wealth from distant colonies. None had to ask twice for means to
carry out his speculations, for every enterprise there was capital;
and now scarcely twenty-four hours have passed, and all is changed.
A despatch has been received in the night; a messenger has arrived at
Downing Street; the Minister has been aroused from his sleep to hear
that we have met some great reverse; a terrible disaster has befallen
us; two line-of-battle ships, whose draught of water was too great,
have grounded under an enemy’s fire; in despite of the most heroic
resistance, they have been captured; the union-jacks are on their way to
Moscow. Mayhap the discomfiture, less afflicting to national pride, is
the blunder of a cavalry officer or the obstinacy of an envoy. Little
matter for the cause, we have met a check. Down goes credit, and up
go the discounts; the mighty men of millions have drawn their
purse-strings, and not a guinea is to be had; the city is full of
sad-visaged men in black, presaging every manner of misfortune. More
troops are wanted; more ships; we are going to have an increase of the
income-tax,--a loan,--a renewal of war burdens in fifty shapes! Each
fancies some luxury of which he must deprive himself, some expense to be
curtailed; and all are taking the dreariest view of a future whose chief
feature is to be privation.

So was it now. Amidst a mass of letters was one from Davenport Dunn,
written with brevity and in haste. By a mistake, easily made In the
hurry and confusion of such correspondence, it was, though intended for
Mr. Hankes, addressed to Miss Kellett; the words “Strictly private and
confidential” occupying a conspicuous place across the envelope, while
lower down was written “Immediate.”

It was a very rare event, latterly, for Mr. Dunn to write to Miss
Kellett, nor had she, in all their intercourse, once received from him a
letter announced thus “confidential.”

It was, then, in some surprise, and not without a certain anxiety, that
she broke the seal. It was dated “Wednesday, Irish Office,” and began
thus: “Dear S.”--she started,--he had never called her Sybella in his
life; he had been most punctiliously careful ever to address her as Miss
Kellett. She turned at once to the envelope, and read the address, “Miss
Kellett, the Hermitage, Glengariff.” And yet there could be no mistake.
It opened, “Dear S.” “He has forgotten a word,” thought she; “he meant
in his mood of confidence to call me Miss Sybella, and has omitted
the title.” The letter ran thus: “We have failed at Vienna, as we do
everywhere and in everything. The war is to continue; consequently, we
are in a terrible mess. Glumthal telegraphs this morning that he will
not go on; the Frankfort people will, of course, follow his lead,
so that Mount Cenis will be ‘nowhere’ by the end of the week. I am,
however, more anxious about Glengariff, which must be upheld, _for the
moment_, at any cost To-day I can manage to keep up the shares; perhaps,
also, to-morrow.. The old Earl is more infatuated about the scheme than
ever, though the accounts he receives from that girl”--“That girl,”
 muttered she; “who can he mean?”--“from that girl occasionally alarm
him. She evidently has her own suspicions, though I don’t clearly see
by what they have been suggested. The sooner, therefore, you can possess
yourself of the correspondence, the better. I have written to her by
this post with a proposition she will most probably accept; advise it,
by all means.”--“This is scarcely intelligible,” said she, once more
reverting to the direction of the letter.--“Should the Ministry be
beaten on Monday, they mean to dissolve Parliament. Now, they cannot
go to the country, in Ireland, without me, and my terms I have already
fixed. They _must_ give us aid,--material, substantial aid; I will not
be put off with office or honors,--it is no time for either. Meanwhile,
I want all the dividend warrants, and a brief sketch of our next
statement; for we meet on Saturday. Come what will, the Allotment must
be sustained till the new election be announced. I hope Lackington’s
check was duly presented, for I find that his death was known here on
the 4th. Where the new Viscount is, no one seems even to guess. Get rid
of the girl, and believe me, yours ever,--D. D.”

“Surely, there is some strange mystification here,” said she, as she
sat pondering over this letter. “There are allusions which, had they
not been addressed to me, I might have fancied were intended for myself.
This girl, whose accounts have terrified Lord Glengariff, and who
herself suspects that all is not right, may mean _me_; but yet it is to
me he writes, confidentially and secretly. I cannot complain that the
letter lacks candor; it is frank enough; every word forebodes coming
disaster, the great scheme is threatened with ruin, nothing can save it
but Government assistance,--an infamous compact, if I read it aright.
And if all this be so, in what a game have I played a part! This
great venture is a swindling enterprise! All these poor people whose
hard-earned gains have been invested in it will be ruined; my own small
pittance, too, is gone. Good heavens! to what a terrible network of
intrigue and deception have I lent myself! How have I come to betray
those whose confidence I strove so hard to gain! This girl,--this
girl,--who is she, and of whom does he speak?” exclaimed she, as, in an
outburst of emotion, she walked the room, her whole frame trembling, and
her eyes glaring in all the wildness of high excitement.

“May I come in?” whispered a soft voice, as a low tap was heard at the
door; and without waiting for leave, Mr. Hankes entered. Nothing could
be silkier nor softer than his courteous approach; his smile was the
blandest, his step the smoothest, his bow the nicest blending of homage
and regard; and, as he took Miss Kellett’s hand, it was with the air
of a courtier dashed with the devotion of an admirer. Cruel is the
confession that she noticed none--not one--of these traits. Her mind
was so engrossed by the letter, that, had Mr. Hankes made his entry in
a suit of chain armor, and with a mace in his hand, she would not have
minded it.

“I am come to entreat forgiveness,--to sue your pardon, Miss Kellett,
for a very great offence, of which, however, I am the guiltless
offender. The letter which I hold here, and which, as you see, is
addressed S. Hankes, Esq.,’ was certainty intended for you, and not me.”

“What--how--misdirected--a mistake in the address?” cried she, eagerly.

“Just so; placed in a wrong enclosure,” resumed he, in a tone of
well-graduated calm. “A blunder which occurs over and over in life, but
I am fain to hope has never happened with less serious results.”

“In short,” said she, hastily, “my letter, or the letter meant for me,
came directed to _you?_”

“Precisely. I have only to plead, as regards myself, that immediately
on discovery--and I very soon discovered that it could not have been
destined for my perusal--I refolded the epistle and hastened to deliver
it to your own hands.”

“More discreet and more fortunate than I,” said she, with a very
peculiar smile, “since this letter which I hold here, and which bore
my address, I now perceive was for you, and this I have not read merely
once or twice, but fully a dozen times; in truth, I believe I could
repeat it, word for word, if the task were required of me.”

What has become of Mr. Hankes’s soft and gentle manner? Where are his
bland looks, his air of courtesy and kindness, his voice so full of
sweetness and deference? Why, the man seems transfixed, his eyeballs are
staring wildly, and he actually clutches, not takes, the letter from her

“Why, the first words might have undeceived you,” cried he, rudely.
“Your name is not Simpson Hankes.”

“No, sir; but it is Sybella, and the writer begins ‘Dear S.,’--a
liberty, I own, I felt it, but one which I fancied my position was
supposed to permit. Pray read on, sir, and you will see that there was
matter enough to puzzle finer faculties than mine.”

Perhaps the tone in which she spoke these words was intentionally
triumphant; perhaps Mr. Hankes attributed this significance to them
causelessly; at all events, he started and stared at her for above a
minute steadfastly, he then addressed himself suddenly to the letter.

“Gracious heavens! what a terrible blunder!” exclaimed he, when he had
finished the reading.

“A great mistake, certainly, sir,” said she, calmly.

“But still one of which you are incapable to take advantage, Miss
Kellett,” said he, with eagerness.

“Is it to the girl who is to be got rid of, sir, you address this
speech? Is it to her whose trustfulness has been made the instrument
to deceive others and lure them to their ruin? Nay, Mr. Hankes, your
estimate of my forbearance is, indeed, too high.”

“But what would you do, young lady?”

“Do, sir! I scarcely know what I would not do,” burst she in,
passionately. “This letter was addressed to _me_. I know nothing of the
mistake of its direction; here is the envelope with my name upon it. It
is, consequently, mine,--mine, therefore, to publish, to declare to the
world, through its words, that the whole of this grand enterprise is
a cheat; that its great designer is a man of nothing, living the
precarious life of a gambling speculator, trading on the rich man’s
horde and the poor man’s pittance, making market of all, even to his
patriotism. I would print this worthy document with no other comment
than the words, ‘Received by me, Sybella Kellett, this day of September,
and sworn to as the handwriting of him whose initials it bears,
Davenport Dunn.’ I would publish it in such type that men might read
it as they went, that all should take warning and put no faith in these
unprincipled tricksters. Ay, sir, and I would cling, as my hope of
safety from the world’s scorn, to that insulting mention of myself,
and claim as my vindication that I am the girl to be ‘got rid of.’ None
shall dare to call me complice, since the little I once called my own
is lost. But I would do more, sir. The world I have unwittingly aided
to deceive has a full right to an expiation at my hands. I would make
public the entire correspondence I have for months back been engaged in.
You seem to say ‘No’ to this. Is it my right you dispute, or my courage
to assert the right?”

“You must be aware, Miss Kellett,” said he, deprecatingly, “that you
became possessed of this letter by a mistake; that you had no right
to the intelligence it contains, and, consequently, have none to avail
yourself of that knowledge. It may be perfectly true that you can employ
it to our detriment. It would, I have little doubt, serve to shake our
credit for a day or two; but do you know what misery, what utter ruin,
your rashness will have caused meanwhile? By the fall of our securities
you will beggar hundreds. All whose necessities may require them to sell
out on the day of your disclosures will be irretrievably ruined. You
meditate a vengeance upon Mr. Dunn, and your blow falls on some poor
struggling creatures that you never so much as heard of. I do not
speak,” continued he, more boldly, as he saw the deep effect his words
produced,--“I do not speak of the destitution and misery you will spread
here,--all works stopped, all enterprise suspended, thousands thrown out
of employment. These are the certain, the inevitable evils of what you
propose to do. And now, let me ask, What are to be the benefits? You
would depose from his station of power and influence the only man in
the kingdom who has a brain to conceive, or a courage to carry out these
gigantic enterprises,--the only man of influence sufficient to treat
with the Government, and make his own terms. You would dethrone him, to
install in his place some inferior intelligence,--some mere creature of
profit and loss, without genius or patriotism; and all for what?--for
a mere phrase, and that, too, in a letter which was never intended for
your eyes.”

Mr. Hankes saw that he was listened to, and he continued. Artfully
contriving to take the case out of its real issue, he made it appear to
Miss Kellett that she was solely impelled by personal motives, and had
no other object in view than a vengeance on the man who had insulted
her. “And now just throw your eyes over the letter intended for
yourself. I only glanced at it, but it seemed to me written in a tone of
sincerest well-wishing.”

It was so. It contained the offer of a most advantageous position. A
new Governor-General of India desired a suitable companion for his
daughters, who had lost their mother. He was a nobleman of highest rank
and influence. The station was one which secured great advantages,
and Dunn had obtained the promise of it in her behalf by considerable
exertion on his part Nay, more. Knowing that her fortune was engaged in
the “Allotment scheme,” he volunteered to take her shares at the highest
rate they had ever borne, as she would, probably, require immediate
means to procure an Indian outfit. The whole wound up with a deeply
expressed regret at the loss Glengariff would sustain by her departure;
“but all my selfishness,” added he, “could not blind me to the injustice
of detaining in obscurity one whose destiny so certainly points her out
for a station lofty and distinguished.”

She smiled at the words, and, showing them to Hankes, said, “It is most
unfortunate, sir, that I should have seen the other letter. I could so
readily have yielded myself up to all this flattery, which, even in its
hollowness, has a certain charm.”

“I am certain Miss Kellett has too much good sense--too much knowledge
of life--too much generosity, besides--”

“Pray, sir, let me stop you, or the catalogue of my perfections may
become puzzling, not to say that I need all the good gifts with which
you would endow me to aid me to a right judgment here. I wish I knew
what to do.”

“Can you doubt it?”

“If the road be so clear, will you not point it out?”

“Write to Mr. Dunn. Well, let _me_ write to him. I will inform him how
this mischance occurred. I will tell him that you had read and re-read
his letter before discovering the mistake of the address; that,
consequently, you are now--so far as this great enterprise is
concerned--one of ourselves; that, although you scorn to take advantage
of a circumstance thus accidentally revealed, yet that, as chance has
put you in possession of certain facts, that---that, in short--”

“That, in short, I ought to profit by my good fortune,” said she,
calmly, finishing the phrase for him.

“Unquestionably,” chimed in Hankes, quickly; “and, what’s more, demand
very high terms too. Dunn is a practical man,” added he, in a lower and
more confidential tone; “nobody knows better when liberality is the best

“So that this is a case for a high price?” asked she, in the same calm

“I ‘d make it so if I were in your place. I ‘d certainly say a ‘high
figure,’ Miss Keliett.”

“Shall I confess, sir, that, in so far as knowing how to profit by it,
I am really unworthy of this piece of fortune? Is Mr. Hankes enough my
friend to enlighten me?”

There was a smile that accompanied this speech which went far--very
far--to influence Mr. Hankes. Once again did his personal fortunes rise
before him; once again did he bethink him that this was an alliance that
might lead to much.

“I can give you a case in point, Miss Keliett,--I mean as to the value
of a secret. It was when Sir Robert Peel meditated his change in
the Corn-laws. One of the council--it does not matter to say his
name--accidentally divulged the secret intention, and a great journal
gave no less than ten thousand pounds for the intelligence,--ten
thousand pounds sterling!”

She seemed to pause over this story, and reflect upon it.

“Now,” resumed Hankes, “it is just as likely he ‘d say, ‘Money is scarce
just now; your demand comes at an inconvenient moment’ This would be
true,--there’s no gainsaying it; and I’d reply, ‘Let me have it in
shares,--some of the new preference scrip just issued.’”

“How it does allay difficulties to deal with persons of great practical
intelligence,--men of purpose-like mind!” said Sybella, gravely.

“Ah, Miss Kellett, if I could only believe that this was a favorable
moment to appeal to you in their behalf,--at least, in so far as regards
one of their number,--one who has long admired your great qualities in
silence, and said to himself, ‘What might she not be if allied to one
well versed in life, trained to all its chances and changes--’”

“It never occurred to me to fancy I had inspired all this interest,
sir,” said she, calmly.

“Probably because your thoughts never dwelt on _me_,” said Hankes,
with a most entreating look; “but I assure you,” added he, warmly, “the
indifference was not reciprocal. I have been long--very long attracted
by those shining abilities you display. Another might dwell upon your
personal attractions, and say the impression your beauty had made upon
him; but beauty is a flower,--a perishable hot-house flower. Not,” added
he, hastily, “that I pretend to be insensible to its fascinations; no,
Miss Kellett, I have my weaknesses like the rest.”

Sybella scarcely heard his words. It was but a day before, and a poor
unlettered peasant, an humble creature unread in life and human nature,
told her that he deemed her one fit for high and devoted enterprise,
and that her rightful place was amidst the wounded and the dying in
the Crimea. Had he construed her, then, more truly? At all events, the
career was a noble one. She did not dare to contrast it any longer with
her late life, so odious now did it seem to her, with all its schemes
for wealth, its wily plot-tings and intrigues.

“I am afraid, sir, I have been inattentive,--I fear that my thoughts
were away from what you have been saying,” said she, hastily.

“Shall I just throw my ideas on paper, Miss Kellett, and wait your
answer--say to-morrow?”

“My answer to what, sir?”

“I have been presumptuous enough to make you an offer of my hand, Miss
Kellett,” said he, with a half-offended dignity. “There are, of course,
a number of minor considerations--I call them minor, as they relate to
money matters--to be discussed after; for instance, with regard to these

“It will save us both a world of trouble, sir, when I thank you deeply
for the honor you would destine me, and decline to accept it.”

“I know there is a discrepancy in point of years--”

“Pray, sir, let us not continue the theme. I have given my answer, and
my only one.”

“Or if it be that any meddling individual should have mentioned the
late Mrs. H.,” said he, bristling up,-- “for she is the late, that I
can satisfy you upon,--I have abundant evidence to show how that woman

“You are confiding to me more than I have the right or wish to hear,

“Only in vindication,--only in vindication. I am aware how her atrocious
book has libelled me. It made me a perfect martyr for the season after
it came out; but it is out of print,--not a copy to be had for fifty
pounds, if it were offered.”

“But really, sir--”

“And then, Miss Kellett,” added he, in a sort of thrilling whisper,
“she drank; at first sherry,--brown sherry--but afterwards brandy,--ay,
ma’am, brandy neat and a matter of a bottle daily. If you only knew what
I went through with her,--the scenes in the streets, in the playhouses,
in coffee-rooms,--ay, and police-offices,--I give you my sacred word of
honor Simpson Hankes was rapidly becoming as great a public scandal as
the Rev. Paul Classon himself!”

“Cannot you perceive, sir, that these details are less than
uninteresting to me?”

“Don’t say that, Miss Kellett,--don’t, I beg you, or else you ‘ll make
me fear that you ‘ll not read the little pamphlet I published, entitled
‘A Brief Statement by Simpson Hankes,’--a brochure that I am proud to
believe decided the world in my favor.”

“Once for all, Mr. Hankes, I decline to hear more of these matters. If I
have not more plainly told you how little they claim to interest me, it
is because my own selfish cares fill up my thoughts. I will try to
hand you the correspondence Mr. Dunn desires to see in your keeping by
to-morrow morning. There are many circumstances will require special
explanation in it. However I will do my best to be ready.”

“And my offer, Miss Kellett?”

“I have declined it, sir.”

“But really, young lady, are you well aware of what it is you refuse?”
 asked he, angrily.

“I will not discuss the question, sir,” said she, haughtily. “Give me
that letter I showed you.”

“The letter, I opine, is mine, Miss Kellett. The address alone pertains
to you.”

“Do you mean, then, to retain possession of the letter?” asked she,

“I protest, I think it is better--better for all of us--that I should do
so. You will pardon me if I observe that you are now under the influence
of excited feelings,--you are irritated. Any line of action, under
such circumstances, will necessarily be deficient in that calm, matured
judgment which is mainly your characteristic.”

“It needed but this, sir, to fill up the measure!” ex-claimed she,

“I don’t perfectly apprehend you, Miss Kellett.”

“I mean, sir, that this last trait of yours was alone wanting to
complete the utter contempt I now feel for my late life and
its associates. Mr. Dunn’s letter, with all its disgraceful
disclosures,--your own crafty counsels how best to profit by the
accidental knowledge,--and now this refusal to restore the letter,--this
mean distrust based on a breach of confidence--”

“By no means, madam. In withholding this letter, I maintain it to be my
own. I have already explained to you that the address is all you can
lay claim to; a recent legal decision is in my favor. It was tried last
Hilary term before Justice Whitecroff. The case was Barnes _versus_

“If my anger prompt me to rasher acts than my calmer reason might have
counselled,” broke in Sybella, “remember, sir, it is to yourself you
owe it. At least upon one point you may rely. Whatever I decide to do
in this affair, it will not be swayed by any--the slightest--regard for
your friends or their interests. I will think of others alone,--never
once of _them_. Your smile seems to pay, ‘The war between us is an
unequal one.’ I know it. I am a woman, poor, friendless, unprotected;
you and yours are rich, and well thought of; and yet, with all this
odds, if I accept the conflict I do not despair of victory.”

As she left the room and the door closed after her, Mr. Hankes wiped
the perspiration from his forehead, and sat down, the perfect picture of

“What _is_ she up to?” cried he, three or four times to himself. “If
she resolves to make a public scandal of it, there’s an end of us! The
shares would be down--down to nothing--in four-and-twenty hours! I’ll
telegraph to Dunn at once!” said he, rising, and taking his hat. “The
mischance was his own doing; let him find the remedy himself.”

With all that perfection of laconic style which practice confers, Mr.
Hankes communicated to Davenport Dunn the unhappy mistake which had
just befallen. Under the safeguard of a cipher used between them, he
expressed his deepest fears for the result, and asked for immediate
counsel and guidance.

This despatch, forwarded by telegraph, he followed by a long letter,
entering fully into all the details of the mischance, and reporting
with--it must be acknowledged--a most scrupulous accuracy an account of
the stormy scene between Miss Kellett and himself. He impressed upon his
chief that no terms which should secure her silence would be too high,
and gently insinuated that a prompt and generous offer on Dunn’s part
might not impossibly decide the writer to seal his devotion to the
cause, by making the lady Mrs. Hankes. “Only remember,” added he, “it
must be in cash or approved bills.”

Partly to illustrate the difficulty of the negotiation he was engaged
in, partly to magnify the amount of the sacrifice he proposed to make,
he depicted Sybella in colors somewhat less flattering than ardent
love usually employs. “It is clear to me now,” wrote he, “from what
I witnessed to-day, that neither you nor I ever understood this
girl aright. She has a temper of her own, and an obstinacy perfectly
invincible. Acting on the dictate of what she fancies to be her
conscience, she is quite capable of going to any extreme, and I have the
strongest doubt that she is one to be moved by affection or deterred
by fear.” After a little more of this eulogistic strain, he wound up by
repeating his former generous proposal He adroitly pointed out that
it was in the interest of only such a patron he could ever dream of so
great a sacrifice; and then in that half-jocular way in which he often
attained to all the real and businesslike elements of a project,
he added, “Say ten thousand, and the ‘match’ will come off,--a very
moderate stake, if you only remember the ‘forfeit.’”

In a brief postscript he mentioned the discovery of the ancient document
found at the cottage, with, as he said, “some curious papers about the
Conway family. These I have duly sealed up in the box, and retain in my
possession, although Miss K. has evidently an eye upon them.

“Write fully and explicitly whatever you mean to do; should you,
however, fully agree to what I propose, telegraph back to

“Yours, ever faithfully,

“Simpson Hankes.

“They have come to tell me she is packing up her things and has sent a
twenty-pound note to be changed.”


If our story had a hero--which it has not--that hero would be Mr.
Davenport Dunn himself, and we might, consequently, feel certain
compunctious scruples as to the length of time that has elapsed since we
last saw him. When we parted, however, we took care to remind our reader
that we left him in good company, and surely such a fact ought to allay
all apprehensions on his behalf.

Months have rolled over; the London season has passed; Parliament has
but a few days to run; the wearied speakers are longing to loiter along
green lanes, or be touring or water-curing it in Germany; cities are all
but deserted, and town-houses have that dusty, ill-cared-for air that
reminds one of an estate in Chancery, or a half-pay lieutenant. Why is
it, then, that Mr. Dunn’s residence in Merrion Square wears a look of
unusual trimness? Fresh paint--that hypocrisy of architecture--has done
its utmost; the hall door is a marvel of mock oak, as are the columns
of spurious marble; the Venetian blinds are of an emerald green, and the
plate-glass windows mirror the parched trees in the square, and reflect
back the almost equally picturesque jaunting-cars as they drive past;
the balcony, too, throughout its whole length, is covered with rich
flowers and flowery shrubs. In a word, there is a look of preparation
that bespeaks a coming event. What can it be?

Various rumors are afloat as to the reason of these changes, some
averring that Mr. Dunn is about to take a high official position, and be
raised to a distinguished rank; others opine that he is about to retire
from the cares of a business life, and marry. What may he not be? Whom
may he not aspire to? Surely the world has gone well with this roan.
What a great general is to an army in the field,--what a great leader to
a party in the “House,” was he to every industrial enterprise. His name
was a guarantee for all that was accurate in discipline and perfect in
organization. The Board over which he presided as Chairman was sure to
meet with regularity and act with energy. The officials who served under
him, even to the very humblest, seemed to typify the wise principles by
which he had himself been guided in life. They appeared as though imbued
with the same patient industry; the same untiring application, the same
grave demeanor marked them. “I served under Mr. Davenport Dunn,” “Mr.
Dunn knows me,” “Mr. Dunn will speak for me,” were characters that had
the force of a diploma, since they vouched not alone for capacity, but
for conduct.

It is a very high eminence to attain when a man’s integrity and ability
throw such a light about him that they illumine not alone the path he
treads in life, but shine brightly on those who follow his track, making
an atmosphere in which all around participate. To this height had Dunn
arrived, and he stood the confessed representative of those virtues
Englishmen like to honor, and that character they boast to believe
national,--the man of successful industry. The fewer the adventitious
advantages he derived from fortune, the greater and more worthy did he
appear. He was no aristocrat, propped and bolstered by grand relatives.
He had no Most Noble or Right Honorable connections to push him. He was
not even gifted with those qualities that win popular favor,--he had
none of those graces of easy cordiality that others possess,--he was
not insinuating in address, nor ready of speech. They who described him
called him an awkward, bashful man, always struggling against his own
ignorance of society, and only sustained by a proud consciousness that
whispered the “sterling stuff that was inside,”--qualities which appeal
to large audiences, and are intelligible to the many. Ay, there was
indeed his grand secret. Genius wounds deeply, talent and ability offend
widely, but the man of mere commonplace faculties, using common gifts
with common opportunities, trading rather upon negative than positive
properties, succeeding because he is not this, that, and t’ other,
plodding along the causeway of life steadily and unobtrusively, seen
by all, patched and noticed in every successive stage of his upward
progress, so that each may say, “I remember him a barefooted boy,
running errands in the street,--a poor clerk at forty pounds a year,--I
knew him when he lived in such an alley, up so many pair of stairs!”
 Strange enough, the world likes all this; there is a smack of
self-gratulation in it that seems to say, “If I liked it, I could have
done as well as he.” Success in life won, these men rise into another
atmosphere, and acquire another appreciation. They are then used to
point the moral of that pleasant fallacy we are all so fond of repeating
to each other, when we assert, amongst the blessings of our glorious
Constitution, that there is no dignity too great, no station too high,
for the Englishman who combines industry and integrity with zeal and
perseverance. Shame on us, that we dare to call fallacy that which
great Lord Chancellors and Chief Justices have verified from their own
confessions; nay, we have even heard a Lord Mayor declare that he was,
once upon a time, like that “poor” publican! The moral of it all is that
with regard to the Davenport Dunns of this world, we pity them in their
first struggles, we are proud of them in their last successes, and we
are about as much right in the one sentiment as in the other.

The world--the great wide world of man--is marvellously identical with
the small ingredient of humanity of whose aggregate it consists. It has
its moods of generosity, distrust, liberality, narrowness, candor, and
suspicion,--its fevers of noble impulse, and its cold fits of petty
meanness,--its high moments of self-devotion, and its dark hours of
persecution and hate. Men are judged differently in different ages,
just as in every-day life we hear a different opinion from the same
individual, when crossed by the cares of the morning and seated in all
the voluptuous repose of an after-dinner _abandonnement_.

Now it chanced that Mr. Dunn’s lot in life had thrown him into a
fortunate conjuncture of the world’s temper. The prosperity of a long
peace had impressed us with an exaggerated estimate of all the arts that
amass wealth; riches became less the reward than the test of ability;
success and merit had grown to be convertible terms; clever speakers
and eloquent writers assured us that wars pertained only to ages of
barbarism,--that a higher civilization would repudiate them,--that
men, now bent upon a high and noble philanthropy, would alone strive to
diffuse the benefits of abundance and refinement amongst their fellows,
and that we were about to witness an elysian age of plenty, order,
and happiness. The same men who stigmatized the glory of war as the
hypocrisy of carnage, invented another hypocrisy infinitely meaner and
more ignoble, and placed upon the high altars of our worship the golden
image of Gain.

As the incarnation of this passion Davenport Dunn stood out before the
world; nor was there a tribute of its flattery that was not laid at his
feet. Even they who had neither wish nor necessity to benefit by his
peculiar influence did not withhold their homage, but joined in the
general acclamation that pronounced him the great man of our time; and
at his Sunday dinners were met the most distinguished in rank,--all
that the country boasted of great in station, illustrious by services or
capacity. His splendid house in Piccadilly--rented for the season for a
fabulous sum--was beset all the morning by visitors, somewhat unlike,
it must be owned, the class who frequented his Dublin levees. Here they
were not deputations or bank directors, railway chairmen or drainage
commissioners; they were all that fashion claims as her own,--proud
duchesses of princely fortune, great countesses high in courtly favor,
noble ladies whose smile of recognition was a firman to the highest
places. They met there, by one of those curious compacts the grand
world occasionally makes with itself, to do something, in a sort of half
imitation of that inferior race of mortals who live and marry and die
in the spheres beneath them. In fact, Dunn’s house was a sort of bourse,
where shares were trafficked in, and securities bought and sold, with
an eagerness none the less that the fingers that held them wore gloves
fastened with rubies and emeralds.

In those gorgeous drawing-rooms, filled with objects of high art,
statues stolen from the Vatican, gems obtained by Heaven knows what
stratagems from Italian or Spanish convents, none deigned to notice
by even a passing look the treasures that surrounded them. In vain the
heavenly beauty of Raphael beamed from the walls,--in vain the seductive
glances of Greuze in all their languishing voluptuousness,--in vain the
haughty nobility of Van Dyck claimed the homage of a passing look. All
were eagerly bent upon lists of stocks and shares, and no words were
heard save such as told of rise or fall,--the alternations of that
chance which makes or mars humanity.

It was while in the midst of that distinguished company Mr. Dunn
received the telegram we have mentioned in our last chapter as
despatched by Mr. Hankes. His was a nature long inured to the ups and
downs of fortune; his great self-teaching had been principally directed
to the very point of how best to meet emergencies; and yet, as he read
over these brief lines, for a moment his courage seemed to have deserted

“Chimbarago Artesian Well and Water Company,” lisped out a very pale,
sickly-looking Countess. “Shares are rising, Mr. Dunn; may I venture
upon them?”

“Here’s the Marquesas Harbor of Refuge scheme going to smash, Dunn!”
 whispered an old gentleman, with a double eye-glass, his hand trembling
as it held the share-list. “Eh, what do you say to that?”

“Glengariff ‘s going steadily up,--steadily up,” muttered Lord
Glengariff, in Dunn’s ear. Then, struck by the sudden pallor of his
face, he added, “Are you ill?--are you faint?”

“A mere nothing,” said Dunn, carelessly. “By the way, what hour is
it? Near one, and I have an appointment with the Chancellor of the
Exchequer. Yes, Lady Massingberd, perfectly safe; not a splendid
investment, but quite sure. Cagliari Cobalts are first-rate, Sir George;
take all you can get of them. The Dalmatian line _is_ guaranteed ‘by
the Austrian Government, my Lord. I saw the Ambassador yesterday. Pray
excuse a hasty leave-taking.”

His carriage was quickly ordered, but before he set out he despatched a
short telegraphic message to Hankes. It ran thus: “Detain her; suffer no
letters from her to reach the post.” This being duly sent off, he drove
to Downing Street. That dingy old temple of intrigue was well known to
him. His familiar steps had mounted that gloomy old stair some scores of
times; but now, for the first--the very first time in his life, instead
of being at once ushered into the presence of the Minister, he was asked
to “wait for a few moments.” What a shock did the intimation give him!
Was the news already abroad,--had the fell tidings escaped? A second’s
consideration showed this was impossible; and yet what meant this

“Is the Council sitting, Mr. Bagwell?” asked he, of a very well-dressed
young gentleman, with a glass fixed in his eye, who acted as Private
Secretary to the Minister.

“No; they’re chatting, I fancy,” lisped out the other. “The Council was
up half an hour ago.”

“Have you mentioned my name, sir?” asked Dunn, with a formidable
emphasis on the pronoun.

“Yes,” said he, arranging his hair before the glass; “I sent in your

“Well, and the answer?”

“There was no answer, which, I take it, means ‘wait,’” replied he, in
the same light and graceful tone of voice.

Dunn took his hat hastily from the table; and with a stern stare,
intended to mean “I shall remember your face again,” said,--

“You may inform Lord Jedburg that I came by appointment; that I was here
punctually at one o’clock; that I waited full fifteen minutes; that--”

What more Mr. Dunn was about to say was cut short by the opening
of a-door, and the issuing forth of some five or six gentlemen, all
laughing and talking together.

“How d’ye do, Mr. Dunn?” “How d’ye do, Dunn?” “How are you, Dunn?” said
some three or four, familiarly, as they passed through the room. And ere
he could acknowledge the salutations, Lord Jedburg himself appeared at
the door, and made a sign for him to enter. Never before had Davenport
Dunn crossed those precincts with so nervous a heart. If his reason
assured him that there was no cause of fear, his instincts and his
conscience spoke a different language. He bent one quick penetrating
glance on the Minister ere he sat down, as though to read there what he
might of the future; but there was nothing to awaken anxiety or distrust
in that face. His Lordship was far advanced in life, his hair more white
than gray, his brow wrinkled and deep-furrowed; and yet, if, instead of
the cares of a mighty empire, his concern had been the passing events of
a life of society and country habits, nothing could have more suited the
easy expression, the graceful smile, and the pleasant _bonhomie_ of that
countenance. Resuming the cigar he had been smoking as Dunn came in, he
lounged back indolently in his deep chair, and said,--

“What can I do for you at the Isle of Wight, Dunn? I fancy we shall have
a trip to Osborne to-morrow morning.”

“Indeed, my Lord?” asked he, anxiously; “are you going out?”

“So they say,” replied the other, carelessly. “Do you smoke? You ‘ll
find those Cubans very mild. So they say, Dunn. Monksley assures us that
we shall be in a minority to-night of fifteen or sixteen. Drake thinks

“From your Lordship’s easy mode of taking it, I conclude that there is
either a remedy for the disaster, or that--”

“It is no disaster at all,” chimed in his Lordship, gayly. “Well, the
Carlton Club are evidently of that mind, and some of the evening papers

“I perceive, my Lord,” said Dunn, with a peculiar smile, “the misfortune
_is_ not irremediable.”

“You are right, Dunn,” said the other, promptly. “We have decided to
accept a defeat, which, as our adversaries have never anticipated, will
find them perfectly unprepared how to profit by it They will beat us,
but, when called upon to form a Government, will be utterly unable.
The rest is easy enough: a new Parliament, and ourselves stronger than

“A very clever countryman of mine once told me, my Lord, that he made
a ruinous coach-line turn out a most lucrative speculation by simply
running an opposition and breaking it; so true are the world in their
attachment to success.”

A hearty laugh from the Minister acknowledged the parallel, and he added

“Sir George Bosely has a story of a fellow who once established a run
on his own bank just to get up his credit. A hit above even you, Master

If Dunn laughed, it was with a face of deepest crimson, though he saw,
the while, his secret was safe. Indeed, the honest frankness of his
Lordship’s laugh guaranteed that all was well.

“The fellow ought to have been a Cabinet Minister, Dunn. He had the true
governing element in him, which is a strong sense of human gullibility.”

“A little more is needed, my Lord,--how to turn that flame tendency to

“Of course,--of course. By the way, Dunn, though not _apropos_,” said
he, laughingly, “what of the great Glengariff scheme? Is it prospering?”

“The shares stand at one hundred and seventy-seven and an eighth, my
Lord,” said Dunn, calmly. “I can only wish your Lordship’s party as
favorable a fortune.”

“Well, we are rather below par just now,” said the Minister, laughing,
while he busied himself to select another cigar from the heap before

“It was just about that very enterprise I came to speak to your Lordship
this morning,” said Dunn, drawing his chair closer. “I need not tell you
how far the assurance of Government support has aided our success. The
report of the Parliamentary Committee as to the Harbor of Refuge, the
almost certain promise of her Majesty’s marine residence, the flattering
reception your Lordship gave to the deputation in the matter of the
American packet-station, have all done us good and efficient service.
But we want more, my Lord,--we want more!”

“The deuce you do! Why, my good friend, these marks of our preference
for your scheme have cost us some hundred angry addresses and
recriminations from all parts of the kingdom, where, we are told, there
is more picturesque scenery, more salubrious air, deeper water, and
better anchorage. If you built a villa for every member of the Cabinet,
and settled it on us in freehold there, it would not repay us for all we
have suffered in your cause.”

“We should be both proud and happy to accommodate your Lordship’s
colleagues on Jedburg Crescent,” said Dunn, bowing with a well-assumed

“But what do you want us to do?” said his Lordship, peevishly; for he
had the dislike great men generally feel to have their joke capped. It
is for them to be smart, if they please, but not for the Mr. Davenport
Dunns of this world to take up the clew of the facetiousness.

Mr. Dunn seemed somewhat posed by the abrupt directness of this
question. Lord Jedburg went on:--

“You surely never supposed that we could send you material assistance.
You are far too conversant with the working of our institutions to
expect such. These things are possible in France, but they won’t do
here. No, Dunn; perfectly impossible here.”

“And yet, my Lord, it is precisely in France that they ought to be
impossible. Ministers in that country have no responsibility except
towards their sovereign. If they become suddenly enriched, one sees at
once how they have abused the confidence of their master.”

“I’ll not enter upon that question,” said his Lordship, smartly. “Tell
me, rather, something about Ireland; how shall we fare there in a
general election?”

“With proper exertions you may be able to hold your own,” was the dry

“Not more? Not any more than this?”

“Certainly not, my Lord, nor do I see how you could expect it. What you
are in the habit of calling concessions to Irish interests have been
little other than apologies for the blunders of your colleagues. You
remove some burden imposed by yourselves, or express sorrow for some
piece of legislation your own hands have inflicted--”

“Come, come, Mr. Dunn, the only course of lectures I attend are
delivered in the House of Commons; besides, I have no time for these
things.” There was a tone of prompt decision in the way he uttered this
that satisfied Dunn he had gone fully as far as was safe. “Now as to
Ireland, we shall look for at least sixty, or perhaps seventy, sure
votes. Come, where’s your list, Dunn? Out with it, man! We are rather
rich in patronage just now. We can make a Bishop, a Puisne Judge, three
Assistant Barristers, a Poor Law Commissioner, not to say that there are
some fifty smaller things in the Revenue. Which will you have?”

“All, my Lord,” said Dunn, coolly,--“all, and some colonial appointments
besides, for such of our friends as find living at home inexpedient.”

His Lordship lay back in his chair, and laughed pleasantly. “There’s
Jamaica just vacant; would that suit you?”

“The Governorship? The very thing I want, and for a very old supporter
of your Lordship’s party.”

“Who is he?”

“The Earl of Glengariff, my Lord, a nobleman who has never received the
slightest acknowledgment for a political adherence of fifty-odd years.”

“Why, the man must be in second childhood. If I remember aright, he

“He is exactly four years your Lordship’s senior; he says you fagged for
him his last half at Eton.”

“Pooh, pooh! he mistakes; it was of my father he was thinking. But to
the point: what can he do for us?”

“I was alluding to what he had done, my Lord,” said Dunn, pointedly.

“Ah, Dunn, we are not rich enough for gratitude. That is the last luxury
of a ‘millionnaire;’ besides, you are aware how many claimants there
will be for so good a thing as this.”

“Which of them all, my Lord, can promise you ten votes in the Houses?”

“Well, is the bargain finished? Is all paid?”

“Not yet, my Lord; not yet You are averse to affording us any support to
the Glengariff scheme, and, for the present, I will not hamper you with
the consideration; you can, however, serve us in another way. Glumthal
is very anxious about the Jew Bill; he wishes, Heaven knows why, to see
his brother in the House. May I promise him that the next session will
see it law? Let me just have your Lordship’s word to that effect, so
that I may telegraph to him when I leave this.”

His Lordship shook his head dubiously, and said, “You forget that I have
colleagues, Dunn.”

“I remember it well, my Lord, and I only asked for your own individual
pledge. The fact is, my Lord, the Jews throughout the world
have attached an immense importance to this question; and if
Glumthal--confidentially, of course--be made the depositary of
the secret, it will raise him vastly in the estimation of his

“Let us see if the thing can be done. Is it practicable, and how?” “Oh,
as to that, my Lord, modern legislation is carried on pretty much like a
mercantile concern; you advertise your want, and it is supplied at once.
Ask the newspapers. ‘How are we to admit the Jews?’ and you ‘ll get your
answer as regularly as though it were a question of sport addressed to
‘Bell’s Life.’”

“Candor being the order of the day, what does Mr. Davenport Dunn want
for himself?”

“I am coming to him, my Lord, but not just yet.”

“Why, really, Dunn, except that we turn Colonel Blood in your behalf,
and steal the crown for you, I don’t see what more we can do.”

“It is a mere trifle in point of patronage, my Lord, though, in my
ignorance of such matters, it may be, possibly, not without difficulty,”
 said Dunn; and, for the first time, his manner betrayed a sign of
embarrassment “The Earl of Glengariff has an only unmarried daughter,
a lady of great personal attractions, and remarkably gifted in point
of ability; one of those persons, in short, on whom Nature has set the
stamp of high birth, and fitted to be the ornament of a Court.”

“But we are all married in the Cabinet. Even the Treasury Lords have got
wives,” said Lord Jedburg, laughing, and enjoying the discomfiture of
Dunn’s face even more than his own jest.

“I am aware of it, my Lord,” replied Dunn, with inflexible gravity; “my
ambitious hopes did not aspire so highly. What I was about to entreat
was your Lordship’s assistance to have the lady I have mentioned
appointed to a situation in the household,--one of her Majesty’s

“Impossible! perfectly impossible, Dunn!” said the Minister, flinging
away his cigar in impatient anger; “really, you seem to have neither
measure nor moderation in your demands. Such an interference on my part,
if I were mad enough to attempt it, would meet a prompt rebuke.”

“If your Lordship’s patience had permitted me to finish, you would have
heard that what I proposed was nothing beyond the barren honor of a
‘Gazette.’ On the day week that her Ladyship’s name had so appeared she
would be married.”

“It does not alter the matter in the least. It is not in my province to
make such a recommendation, and I refuse it flatly.”

“I am sorry for it, my Lord. Your Lordship’s refusal may inflict
great evils upon the country,--the rule of an incompetent and ungenial
Government,--the accession to power of men the most unscrupulous and
reckless.”. “Cannot you see, sir,” said the Minister, sharply, “that I
am in a position to comprehend what my office admits of, and where its
limits are laid? I have told you that these appointments are not in our

“Sir Robert Peel did not say so, my Lord; he insisted--actually
insisted--on his right to surround the throne with political partisans.”

“The Cabinet is not an Equity Court, to be ruled by precedents; and I
tell you once more, Dunn, I should fail if I attempted it.”

“The Viscountess might obtain this favor,” said Dunn, with an obdurate
persistence that was not to be resisted; “and even if unsuccessful, it
would inflict no rebuff on your Lordship. Indeed, it would come more
gracefully as a proposition from her Ladyship, who could also mention
Lady Augusta’s approaching marriage.”

“I almost think I might leave you to finish the discussion with my
wife,” said his Lordship, laughing; “I half suspect it would be the best
penalty on your temerity. Are you engaged for Sunday?--well, then, dine
with us. And now, that bill being adjourned,” said he, with a weary
sigh, “what next?”

“I am now coming to myself,--to my own case, my Lord,” said Dunn, with
the very slightest tremor in his voice. “Need I say that I wish it were
in the hands of any other advocacy? I am so far fortunate, however,
that I address one fully conversant with my claims on his party.
For five-and-twenty years I have been the careful guardian of their
interests in a country where, except in mere name, they never possessed
any real popularity. Your Lordship smiles a dissent; may I enter upon
the question?”

“Heaven forbid!” broke in the Minister, smiling good-humoredly.

“Well, my Lord, were I to reduce my services to a mere monetary
estimate, and furnish you with a bill of costs, for what a goodly sum
should I stand in the estimates. I have mainly sustained the charge of
seven county elections, hardly contested. I have paid the entire charges
on twenty-two borough contests. I have subsidized the provincial press
in your favor at a cost of several thousand pounds out of my own pocket
I have compromised three grave actions about to be brought against the
Government. Of the vast sums I have contributed to local charities,
schools, nunneries, societies of various denominations, all in the
interest of your party, I take no account I have spent in these and
like objects a princely fortune, and yet these hundreds of thousands of
pounds are as nothing--mere nothing to the actual personal services I
have rendered to your party. In the great revolution effected by the
sale of encumbered estates, I have so watchfully guarded your interests
that I have replaced the old rampant Toryism of the land by a gentry
at once manageable and practicable,--men intent less upon party than
personal objects, consequently available to the Minister, always
accessible by an offer of direct advantage. I have, with all this, so
thrown a Whig light over the rising prosperity of the country, that
it might seem the result of your wise rule that stimulated men to the
higher civilization they have attained to, and that a more forbearing
charity and a more liberal spirit went hand in hand with improved
agriculture and higher farming. To identify a party with the great
march of this prosperity, to make of your policy a cause of these noble
results, was the grand conception which, for a quarter of a century, I
have carried out. When Mr. O’Connell kept your predecessors in power,
his price was the bit-by-bit surrender of what in your hearts you
believed to be bulwarks of the constitution. In return for my support
what have I got? Some patronage--be it so--for my own dependants
and followers, no doubt! Show me one man of my name, one man of my
convictions, holding place under the Crown. No, my Lord, my power to
serve your party was based on this sure foundation, that I was open to
no imputation; I was the distributor of your patronage to the men best
worthy to receive it,--no more.”

“Four o’clock, Dunn; time’s up,” said his Lordship. “I must go down to
the House.”

“I am sorry to have detained your Lordship with so ungracious a theme.”

“Well, I do think you might have spared me some of it I know well my
colleagues all know your invaluable services,--an admirable member
of the party, active and able, but not quite neglected, either, eh,
Dunn?--not entirely left in oblivion?”

While he spoke, he busied himself in the search for a paper amidst
the heap of those before him, and could not, therefore, notice the
mortification so palpably expressed on Dunn’s face.

“I can’t find it,” muttered he; “I should like, however, to show you the
memorandum itself, in which your name stands recommended to her Majesty
for a baronetcy.”

Dunn’s sudden start made the speaker look up; and as he turned his
eyes on him, there was no mistaking the look of determined anger on his

“A baronetcy, my Lord,” said he, with a slow, thick utterance, “has
become the recognized reward of a popular writer, or a fashionable
physician, whose wives acquire a sort of Brummagem rank in calling
themselves ‘My Lady;’ but men like myself,--men who have sustained a
party,--men who, wielding many arms of strength, have devoted them all
to the one task of maintaining in power a certain administration,
which, whatever their gifts, assuredly did not possess the art of

“Come, it is a peerage you want?” broke in his Lordship, whose manner
betrayed a temper pushed to its last limits.

“If I am to trust your Lordship’s tone, the pretension would seem
scarcely credible,” said Dunn, calmly.

“I believe I can understand how it would appear to others. I can,
without great difficulty, imagine the light in which it would be

“As to that, my Lord, any advancement to a man like me will evoke plenty
of animadversion. I have done too-much for your party not to have made
many enemies. The same objection would apply were I to accept the paltry
acknowledgment you so graciously contemplated for me, and which I warn
you not to offer me.”

Was it the naked insolence of this speech, or was it that in uttering
it the proud pretension of the man summoned a degree of dignity to his
manner; but certainly the Minister now looked at him with a sort of
respect, he had not deigned hitherto to bestow.

“You know well, Dunn,” he began, in a tone of conciliation, “that
fitness for the elevation is only one of the requirements in such a
case. There are a mass of other considerations,--the ostensible claims;
I mean such as can be-avowed and declared openly,--of the pretending
party,--the services he has rendered to the country at large,--the
merits he can show for some great public recognition. The press,
whatever be its faults nowadays, has no defects on the score of
frankness, and we shall have the question put in twenty different
quarters, ‘What brilliant campaign has Mr. Dunn concluded?’ ‘What
difficult negotiation carried to successful issue?’ ‘Where have been his
great achievements in the law courts?’ To be sure, it might be said that
we honor the industrial spirit of our country in ennobling one who has
acquired a colossal fortune by his own unaided abilities; but Manchester
and Birmingham have also their ‘millionnaires.’”

“Your Lordship’s time is far too valuable to be passed in such
discussion; even mine might be more profitably spent than in listening
to it, My demand is now before you; in some three weeks hence it is not
impossible it may await the consideration of your Lordship’s successors.
In one word, if I leave this room without your distinct pledge on the
subject, you will no longer reckon me amongst the followers of your

“Half-past four, I protest,” said Lord Jedburg, taking up his gloves. “I
shall be too late at the House. Let us conclude this to-morrow morning.
Come down here at eleven.”

“Excuse me, my Lord. I leave town to-night I am going over to Ireland.”

“Yes, you ought to be there; I forgot. Well, you must leave this affair
in my hands. I ‘ll speak to Croydon and Locksley about it,--both stanch
friends of yours. I can make no pledge, you know,--no actual promise--”

“Nor I either, my Lord,” said Dunn, rising. “Let me, however, ask you to
accept of my excuses for Sunday at dinner.”

“I regret much that we are not to have the pleasure of your company,”
 said his Lordship, with a formal courtesy.

“These appointments,” said Dunn, laying down a list he had made on the
table, “are, of course, in your Lordship’s hands.”

“I conclude so,” was the dry reply, as the Minister but-toned his coat.

“I wish your Lordship a very good morning. Good-bye, my Lord.” And the
words had their peculiar utterance.

“Good-bye, Mr. Dunn,” said the Minister, shortly, and rang for his

Dunn had but reached the foot of the stairs, when he heard a rapid
tread behind him. “I beg pardon, Mr. Dunn,” cried Bagwell, the private
secretary; “his Lordship sent me to overtake you, and say that the
matter you are desirous about shall be done. His Lordship also hopes you
can dine with him on Sunday.”

“Oh, very well; say ‘Yes, with much pleasure.’ Has his Lordship gone?”

“Yes, by the private door. He was in a great hurry, and will, I fear, be
late, after all.”

“There’s a good thing to be done just now in potash, Bagwell, at Pesaro.
If you have a spare hundred or two, give me a call to-morrow morning.”
 And with a gesture to imply secrecy, Dunn moved away, leaving Bagwell in
a dream of gold-getting.


At an early portion of this true story, our reader was incidentally told
that Charles Conway had a mother, and that she lived in Wales. Her home
was a little cottage near the village of Bedgellert, a neighborhood
wherein her ancestors had once possessed large estates, but of which not
an acre now acknowledged her as owner. Here, on a mere pittance, she had
lived for years a life of unbroken solitude. The few charities to
the poor her humble means permitted had served to make her loved and
respected; while her gentle manners and kind address gave her that sort
of eminence which such qualities are sure to attain in remote and simple

All her thoughts in life, all her wishes and ambitions, were centred in
her son; and although it was to the wild and reckless extravagance of
his early life that she owed the penury which now pressed her, although
but for his wasteful excesses she had still been in affluence and
comfort, she never attached to him the slightest blame, nor did her lips
ever utter one syllable of reproach. Strong in the conviction that so
long as the wild excesses of youth stamp nothing of dishonor on the
character, the true nature within has sustained no permanent injury, she
waited patiently for the time when, this season of self-indulgence over,
the higher dictates of manly reason would assert their influence,
and that Charley, having sown his wild oats, would come forth rather
chastened and sobered than stained by his intercourse with the world.

If this theory of hers has its advocates, there are many--and wise
people, too--who condemn it, and who deem those alone safe who have
been carefully guarded from the way of temptation, and have been kept
estranged from the seductions of pleasure. To ourselves the whole
question resolves itself into the nature of the individual, at the same
time that we had far rather repose our confidence in one who had borne
his share in life’s passages, gaining his experience, mayhap, with cost,
but coming honorably through the trial, than on him who, standing apart,
had but looked out over the troubled ocean of human passion, nor risked
himself on the sea of man’s temptations.

The former was Conway’s case: he had led a life of boundless
extravagance; without any thought of the cost, he had launched out
into every expensive pursuit. What we often hear applied to others
figuratively, was strictly applicable to him; he never knew the value
of money; he never knew that anything one desired could be overpaid for.
The end came at last. With a yacht ready stored and fitted out for a
Mediterranean cruise, with three horses heavily engaged at Doncaster,
with a shooting-lodge filled with distinguished company in the
Highlands, with negotiations all but completed for the Hooksley hounds,
with speculations rife as to whether the Duchess of This or the
Countess of That had secured him for a daughter or a niece, there came,
one morning, the startling information from his solicitor that a
large loan he had contemplated raising was rendered impossible by some
casualty of the money-market Recourse must be had to the Jews; heavy
liabilities incurred at Newmarket must be met at once and at any cost.
A week of disaster fell exactly at this conjuncture; he lost largely at
the Portland, largely on the turf; a brother officer, for whom he had
given surety, levanted immensely in debt; while a local bank, in which
a considerable sum of his was vested, failed. The men of sixty per cent
saved him from shipwreck; but they took the craft for the salvage, and
Conway was ruined.

Amidst the papers which Conway had sent to his solicitor as securities
for the loan, a number of family documents had got mingled, old deeds
and titles to estates of which the young man had not so much as heard,
claims against property of whose existence he knew nothing. When
questioned about them by the man of law, he referred him coolly to his
mother, saying, frankly, “it was a matter on which he had never troubled
his head.’” Mrs. Conway herself scarcely knew more. She had heard that
there was a claim in the family to a peerage; her husband used to allude
to it in his own dreamy, indolent fashion, and say that it ought to be
looked after, and that was all.

Had the information come to the mind of an active or enterprising man of
business, it might have fared differently. The solicitor to the family
was, however, himself a lethargic, lazy sort of person, and he sent back
the papers to Mrs. Conway, stating that he was not sure “something might
not be made of them;” that is, added he, “if he had five or six thousand
pounds to expend upon searches, and knew where to prosecute them.”

This was but sorry comfort, but it did not fall upon a heart high in
hope or strong in expectation. Mrs. Conway had never lent herself to the
impression that the claim had much foundation, and she heard the tidings
with calm; and all that was remembered of the whole transaction was
when some jocular allusion would be made by Charles to the time when he
should succeed to his peerage, or some as light-hearted jest of the
old lady as to whether she herself was to enjoy a title or not The
more stirring incidents of a great campaign had latterly, however, so
absorbed all the young soldier’s interest that he seemed totally to have
forgotten the oft-recurring subject of joke between them. Strange enough
was it, yet, that in the very letter which conveyed to his mother
an account of his Tchernaya achievement, a brief postscript had the
following words:--

     “Since I have been confined to hospital, a person connected
     with the newspapers, I believe, has been here to learn the
     exact story of my adventure, and, curiously enough, has been
     pumping me about our family history. Can it be that ‘our
     peerage’ is looking up again? This last sabre-cut on my
     skull makes me rather anxious to exchange a chako for a
     coronet. Can you send me anything hopeful in this

It was on an answer to this letter the old lady was occupied, seated at
an open window, as the sun was just setting on a calm and mellow evening
in late autumn. Well understanding the temperament of him she addressed,
she adverted little to the danger of his late achievement, and simply
seemed to concur in his own remark when recounting it, that he who has
made his name notorious from folly has, more than others, the obligation
to achieve a higher and better reputation; and added, at the same time:
“Charley, what I liked best in your feat was its patriotism. The sense
of rendering a good and efficient service to the cause of your country
was a nobler prompting than any desire for personal distinction.” From
this she turned to tell him about what she well knew he loved best
to hear of,--her home and her daily life, with its little round of
uneventful cares, the little Welsh pony “Crw,” and his old spaniel
“Belle,” and the tulips he had taken such pains about, and the well
he had sunk in the native rock. She had good tidings, too, that the
railroad--the dreadful railroad--was not to take the line of their happy
valley, but to go off in some more “favored” direction. Of the cottage
itself she had succeeded in obtaining a renewed lease,--a piece of news
well calculated to delight him, “if,” as she said, “grand dreams of the
peerage might not have impaired his relish for the small hut at the foot
of Snowdon.” She had just reached so far when a little chaise, drawn
by a mountain pony, drew up before the door, and a lady in a sort of
half-mourning dress got out and rang the bell. As the old lady rose to
admit her visitor,--for her only servant was at work in the garden,--she
felt no small astonishment. She was known to none but the peasant
neighborhood about her; she had not a single acquaintance in the country
with its gentry; and although the present arrival came with little
display, in her one glance at the figure of the stranger she saw her to
be distinctly of a certain condition in life.

It will conduce equally to brevity and to the interests of our story if
we give what followed in the words wherein Mrs. Conway conveyed it to
her son:--

     “Little, I thought, my dear Charley, that I should have to
     cross this already long letter,--little suspected that its
     real and only interest was to have been suggested as I drew
     to its close; and here, if I had the heart for it, were the
     place to scold you for a pretty piece of mystification you
     once practised upon me, when you induced me to offer the
     hospitality of this poor cottage to an humble gentlewoman,
     whose poverty would not deem even _my_ life an existence of
     privation,--the sister of a fellow-soldier you called her,
     and made me to believe--whose the fault I am not sure--that
     she was some not very young or very attractive person, but
     one whose claim lay in her friendless lot and forlorn
     condition. Say what you will, such was my impression, and it
     could have no other source than your description.

[Illustration: 244]

     “Yes, Charley, my mind-picture was of a thin-faced, somewhat
     sandy-haired lady, of some six or eight and thirty years,
     bony, angular, and awkward, greatly depressed, and naturally
     averse to intercourse with those who had not known her or
     her better fortunes; shall I add that I assisted my
     portrait by adding coarse hands, and filled up my
     anticipation by suspecting a very decided Irish brogue? Of
     course this flattering outline could not have been revealed
     in a vision, and must have come from your hands, deny it
     whenever and however you may! And now for the reality,--the
     very prettiest girl I ever saw, since I left off seeing
     pretty people, when I was young and had pretensions myself:
     even then I do not remember any one handsomer, and with a
     winning grace of manner equal, if not superior, to her
     beauty. You know me as a very difficult critic on the
     subject of breeding and _maintien_. I feel that I am so,
     even to injustice, because I look for the reserved courtesy
     of one era as well as the easy frankness of another. _She_
     has both; and she is a court lady who could adorn a
     cottage. Of my own atrocious sketch there was nothing about
     her.    Stay, there was.    She had the Irish accent, but by
     some witchery of her own I got to like it,--fancied it was
     musical and breathed of the sweet south; but if I go on
     with her perfections, I shall never come to the important
     question, for which you care more to hear besides, as to how
     I know all these things. And now, to my horror, I find how
     little space is left me to tell you. Well, in three words
     you shall have it. She has been here to see me on her way
     somewhere, her visit being prompted by the wish to place in
     my hands some very curious and very old family records,
     found by a singular accident in an Irish country-house. They
     relate to the claim of some ancestor of yours to certain
     lands in Ireland, and the right is asserted in the name of
     Baron Conway, and afterwards the Lord Viscount Lackington. I
     saw no further; indeed, except that they all relate to our
     dear peerage, they seem to possess no very peculiar
     interest. If it were not that she would introduce your name,
     push me with interminable questions as to what it was you
     had really done, what rewards you had or were about to reap,
     where you were, and, above all, how, I should have called
     her visit the most disinterested piece of kindness I ever
     heard of. Still she showed a sincere and ardent desire to
     serve us, and said that she would be ready to make any delay
     in London to communicate with our lawyer, and acquaint him
     fully with the circumstances of this discovery.

     “I unceasingly entreated her to be my guest, were it only
     for a few days. I even affected to believe that I would send
     for our lawyer to come down and learn the curious details of
     the finding of the papers; but she pleaded the absolute
     necessity of her presence in London so strongly--she
     betrayed, besides, something like a deep anxiety for some
     coming event--that I was obliged to abandon my attempt, and
     limit our acquaintance by the short two hours we had passed

     “It will take some time, and another long letter, to tell
     you of the many topics we talked over; for, our first
     greeting over, we felt towards each other like old friends.
     At last she arose to leave me, and never since the evening
     you bade me good-bye did the same loneliness steal over my
     heart as when I saw her little carriage drive away from the

     “One distressing recollection alone clouds the memory of our
     meeting: I suffered her to leave me without a promise to
     return. I could not, without infringing delicacy, have
     pressed her more to tell me of herself and her plans for the
     future, and yet even now I regret that, at any hazard, I did
     not risk the issue. The only pledge I could obtain was that
     she would write to me. I am now at the end of my paper, but
     not of my theme, of which you shall hear more in my next.
     Meanwhile, if you are not in love with her, I am.

     “Your affectionate mother,

     “Marian Conway.”

We have ourselves nothing to add to the narrative of this letter save
the remark that Mrs. Conway felt far more deeply than she expressed the
disappointment of not being admitted to Sybella’s full confidence. The
graceful captivation of the young girl’s manner, heightened in interest
by her friendless and lone condition,--the perilous path in life that
must be trodden by one so beautiful and unprotected,--had made a deep
impression on the old lady’s heart, and she was sincere in self-reproach
that she had suffered her to leave her.

She tried again and again, by recalling all that passed between them, to
catch some clew to what Sybella’s future pointed; but so guardedly had
the young girl shrouded every detail of her own destiny, that the effort
was in vain. Sybella had given an address in town, where Mrs. Conway’s
lawyer might meet her if necessary, and with a last hope the old lady
had written a note to that place, entreating, as the greatest favor,
that she would come down and pass some days with her at the cottage; but
her letter came back to her own hands. Miss Kellett was gone.


In long-measured sweep the waves flowed smoothly in upon the low shore
at Baldoyle of a rich evening in autumn, as a very old man tottered
feebly down to the strand and seated himself on a rock. Leaning his
crossed arms on his stout stick, he gazed steadily and calmly on the
broad expanse before him. Was it that they mirrored to him the wider
expanse of that world to which he was so rapidly tending; was it in that
measured beat he recognized the march of time, the long flow of years he
could count, and which still swept on, smooth but relentless; or was
it that the unbroken surface soothed by its very sameness a brain long
wearied by its world conflict? Whatever the cause, old Matthew Dunn came
here every evening of his life, and, seated on the self-same spot, gazed
wistfully over the sea before him.

Although his hair was snow-white and the wrinkles that furrowed his
cheeks betrayed great age, his eyes yet preserved a singular brightness,
and in their vivid glances showed that the strong spirit that reigned
within was still unquenched. The look of defiance they wore was the very
essence of the man,--one who accepted any challenge that fortune
flung him, and, whether victor or vanquished, only prepared for fresh

There was none of the weariness so often observable in advanced age
about his features, nothing of that expression that seems to crave rest
and peace, still as little was there anything of that irritable activity
which seems at times to’ counterfeit past energy of temperament; no,
he was calm, stern, and self-possessed, the man who had fought this way
from boyhood, and who asked neither grace nor favor of fortune as he
drew nigh the end of the journey!

“I knew I’d find you here,” said a deep voice close to his ear. “How are

The old man looked up, and the next moment his son was in his arms.
“Davy, my own boy--Davy, I was just thinking of you; was it Friday or
Saturday you said you ‘d come.”

“I thought I could have been here Saturday, father, but Lord Jedburg
made a point of my dining with him yesterday; and it was a great
occasion,--three Cabinet Ministers present, a new Governor-General of
India too,--I felt it was better to remain.”

“Right, Davy,--always right,--them’s the men to keep company with!”

“And how are you, sir? Are you hale and stout and hearty as ever?” said
Dunn, as he threw his head back, the better to look at the old man.

“As you see me, boy: a little shaky about the knees, somewhat tardy
about getting up of a morning; but once launched, the old craft can keep
her timbers together. But tell me the news, lad,--tell me the news, and
never mind _me_.”

“Well, sir, last week was a very threatening one for us. No money to be
had on any terms, discounts all suspended, shares failing everywhere,
good houses crashing on all sides, nothing but disasters with every
post; but we ‘ve worked through it, sir. Glumthal behaved well, though
at the very last minute; and Lord Glengariff, too, deposited all his
title-deeds at Hanbridge’s for a loan of thirty-six thousand; and then,
as Downing Street also stood to us, we weathered the gale; but it was
close work, father,--so close at one moment I telegraphed to Liverpool
to secure a berth in the ‘Arctic.’”

A sudden start from the old man stopped him, but he quickly resumed:
“Don’t be alarmed, sir; my message excited no suspicion, for I sent a
fellow to New York by the packet, and now all is clear again, and we
have good weather before us.”

“The shares fell mighty low in the allotment, Davy; how was that?”

“Partly from the cause I have mentioned, father, the tightness in the
money market; partly that I suspect we had an enemy in the camp, that
daughter of Kellett’s--”

“Did n’t I say so? Did n’t I warn you about her? Did n’t I tell you that
it was the brood of the serpent that stung us first?” cried out the old
man, with a wild energy; “and with all that you would put her there with
the Lord and his family, where she ‘d know all that was doing, see the
letters, and maybe write the answers to them! Where was the sense and
prudence of that, Davy?”

“She was an enthusiast, father, and I hoped that she’d have been content
to revel in that realm, but I was mistaken.”

There was a tone of dejection in the way he spoke the last words that
made the old man fix his eyes steadfastly on him. “Well, Davy, go on,”
 said he.

“I have no more to say, sir,” said he, in the same sad voice. “The Earl
has dismissed her, and she has gone away.”

“That’s right, that’s right,--better late than never. Neither luck nor
grace could come of Paul Kellett’s stock. I hope that’s the last we ‘ll
hear of them; and now, Davy, how is the great world doing? How is the

Dunn could scarcely suppress a smile as he answered this question, asked
as it was in real and earnest anxiety; and for some time the old man
continued to press him with eager inquiries as to the truth of various
newspaper reports about royal marriages and illustrious visitors, of
which it was strange how he preserved the recollection.

“You have not asked me about myself, father,” said Dunn at last, “and I
think _my_ fortunes might have had the first place in your interest.”

“Sure you told me this minute that you didn’t see the Queen,” said the
old man, peevishly.

“Very true, sir, I did not, but I saw her Minister. I placed before him
the services I had done his party, my long sacrifices of time, labor,
and money in their cause; I showed him that I was a man who had
established the strongest claim upon the Government.”

“And wouldn’t be refused,--wouldn’t be denied, eh, Davy?”

“Just so, sir. I intimated that also, so far as it was prudent to do

“The stronger the better, Davy; weak words show a faint heart. ‘Tis
knowing the cost of your enmity will make men your friends.”

“I believe, sir, that in such dealings my own tact is my safest guide.
It is not to-day or yesterday that I have made acquaintance with men of
this order. For upwards of two-and-twenty years I have treated Ministers
as my equals.”

The old man heard this proud speech with an expression of almost ecstasy
on his features, and grasped his son’s hand in a delight too great for

“Ay, father, I have made our name a cognate number in this kingdom’s
arithmetic. Men talk of Davenport Dunn as one recognized in the land.”

“‘Tis true; ‘tis true as the Bible!” muttered the old man.

“And what is more,” continued the other, warming with his theme, “what
I have done I have done for all time. I have laid the foundations deep,
that the edifice might endure. A man of inferior ambition would have
been satisfied with wealth, and the enjoyments it secures; he might
have held a seat in Parliament, sat on the benches beside the Minister,
mayhap have held some Lordship of This or Under-Secretaryship of that,
selling his influence ere it matured, as poor farmers sell their crops
standing,--but I preferred the’ patient path. I made a waiting race of
it, father, and see what the prize is to be. Your son is to be a peer of
Great Britain!”

The old man’s mouth opened wide, and his eyes glared with an almost
unnatural brightness, as, catching his son with both arms, he tried to
embrace him.

“There, dear father,--there!” said Dunn, calmly; “you must not
over-excite yourself.”

“It’s too much, Davy,--it’s too much; I’ll never live to see it.”

“That you will, sir,--for a time, indeed, I was half disposed to
stipulate that the title should be conferred upon yourself. It would
have thus acquired another generation in date, but I remembered how
indisposed you might feel to all the worry and care the mere forms of
assuming it might cost you. You would not like to leave this old spot,

“No, on no account,” said the old man, pensively.

“And then I thought that your great pride, after all, would be to hear
of me, your own Davy, as Lord Castle-dunn.”

“I thought it would be plain Dunn,--Lord Dunn,” said the old man,

“If the name admitted of it, I ‘d have preferred it so.”

“And what is there against the name?” asked he angrily.

“Nothing, father; none have ever presumed to say a word against it. In
talking the matter over, however, with some members of the Cabinet, one
or two suggested Dunnscourt, but the majority inclined to Castledunn.”

“And what did your Lordship say?” asked the old man, with a gleeful
cackle. “Oh, Davy! I never thought the day would come that I ‘d call you
by any name I ‘d love so well as that you bore when a child; but see,
now, it makes my old eyes run over to speak to you as ‘my Lord.’”

“It is a fair and honest pride, father,” said Dunn, caressingly. “We
stormed the breach ourselves, with none to help, none to cheer us on.”

“Oh, Davy, but it does me good to call you ‘my Lord.’”

“Well, sir, you are only anticipating a week or two. Parliament will
assemble after the elections, and then be prorogued; immediately
afterwards there will be four elevations to the peerage,--mine one of

“Yes, my Lord,” mumbled the old man, submissively.

“But this is not all, father; the same week that sees me gazetted a peer
will announce my marriage with an Earl’s daughter.”

“Davy, Davy, this luck is coming too quick! Take care, my son, that
there’s no pit before you.”

“I know what I am doing, sir, and so does the Lady Augusta Arden. You
remember the Earl of Glengariffs name?”

“Where you were once a tutor, is it?”

“The same, sir.”

“It was they that used to be so cruel to you, Davy, wasn’t it?”

“I was a foolish boy, ignorant of the world and its ways at the time. I
fancied fifty things to mean offence which never were intended to wound

“Ay, they made you eat in the servants’ hall, I think.”

“Never, sir,--never; they placed me at a side table once or twice when
pressed for room.”

“Well, it was the room you had somewhere in a hayloft, eh?”

“Nothing of the kind, sir. Your memory is all astray. My chamber was
small,--for the cottage had not much accommodation,--but I was well and
suitably lodged.”

“Well, what was it they did?” muttered he to himself. “I know it was
something that made you cry the whole night after you came home.”

“Father, father! these are unprofitable memories,” said Dunn, sternly.
“Were one to treasure up the score of all the petty slights he may have
received in life, so that in some day of power he might acquit the debt,
success would be anything but desirable.”

“I’m not so sure of that, Davy. I never forgot an injury.”

“I am more charitable, sir,” said Dunn, calmly.

“No, you ‘re not, Davy,--no, you ‘re not,” replied the old man, eagerly,
“but you think it’s wiser to be never-minding; and so it would, boy, if
the man that injured you was to forget it too. Ay, Davy, that’s the rub.
But _he_ won’t; he ‘ll remember to his dying day that there’s a score
between you.”

“I tell you, father, that these maxims do not apply to persons of
condition, all whose instincts and modes of thought are unlike those of
the inferior classes.”

“They are men and women, Davy,--they are men and women.”

Dunn arose impatiently, observing that the night was growing chilly, and
it were better to return to the house.

“I mean to sup with you,” said he, gayly, “if you have anything to give

“A rasher and eggs, and a bladebone of cold mutton is all I have,”
 muttered the old man, gloomily. “I would not let them buy a chicken
this week, when I saw the shares falling. Give me your arm, Davy, I’ve
a slight weakness in the knees; it always took me at this season since
I was a boy.” And mumbling how strange it was that one did not throw off
childish ailments as one grew older, he crept slowly along towards the

As they entered the kitchen, Dunn remarked with astonishment how little
there remained of the abundance and plenty which had so characterized it
of old. No hams, no flitches hung from the rafters; no sturdy barrels of
butter stood against the walls; the chicken-coop was empty; and even
to the good fire that graced the hearth there was a change, for a few
half-sodden turf-sods were all that lingered in the place. Several
baskets and hampers, carefully corded and sealed, were ranged beside the
dresser, in which Dunn recognized presents of wine, choice cordials and
liqueurs, that he had himself addressed to the old man.

“Why, father, how is this?” asked he, half angrily. “I had hoped for
better treatment at your hands. You have apparently not so much as
tasted any of the things I sent you.”

“There they are, indeed, Davy, Just as they came for ‘Matthew Dunn,
Esq., with care,’ written on them, and not a string cut!”

“And why should this be so, sir, may I ask?”

“Well, the truth is, Davy,” said he, with a sigh, “I often longed to
open them, and uncork a bottle of ale, or brandy, or, maybe, sherry,
and sore tempted I felt to do it when I was drinking my buttermilk of
a night; but then I ‘d say to myself, ‘Ain’t you well and hearty? keep
cordials for the time when you are old, and feeble, and need support;
don’t be giving yourself bad habits, that maybe some fifteen or twenty
years hence you’ll be sorry for.’ There’s the reason, now, and I see by
your face you don’t agree with me.”

Dunn made no answer, but taking up a knife he speedily cut the cordage
of a large hamper, and as speedily covered a table with a variety of

“We ‘ll drink this to the Queen’s health, father,” said he, holding up
a flask of rare hock; “and this to the ‘House of Lords,’ for which
estimable body I mean to return thanks; and then, father, I ‘ll give
‘Prosperity to the landed interest and the gentry of Ireland,’ for which
you shall speak.”

Dunn went gayly along in this jesting fashion while he emptied the
hamper of its contents, displaying along the dresser a goodly line of
bottles, whose shape and corkage guaranteed their excellence. Meanwhile
an old servant-woman had prepared the table, and was busily engaged with
the materials of the meal.

“If I only thought we were going to have a feast, Davy, I ‘d have made
her light a fire in the parlor,” said the old man, apologetically.

“We’re better here, sir; it’s cosier and homelier, and I know you think
so. Keep your own corner, father, and I ‘ll sit here.”

With appetites sharpened by the sea air and a long fast, they seated
themselves at table and eat heartily. If their eyes met, a smile of
pleasant recognition was exchanged; for while the old man gazed almost
rapturously on his illustrious son, Dunn bent a look of scarcely
inferior admiration on that patriarchal face, whereon time seemed but to
mellow the traits that marked its wisdom.

“And what name do they give this, Davy?” said he, as he held up his
glass to the light.

“Burgundy, father,--the king of wines. The wine-merchant names this
Chambertin, which was the favorite drinking of the great Napoleon.”

“I wonder at that, now,” said the old man, sententiously.

“Wonder at it! And why so, father?--is it not admirable wine?”

“It’s just for that reason, Davy; every sup I swallow sets me
a-dreaming of wonderful notions,--things I know the next minute is quite
impossible,--but I feel when the wine is on my lips as if they were all
easy and practicable.”

“After all, father, just remember that you cannot imagine anything one
half so strange as the change in our own actual condition. There you
sit, with your own clear head, to remind you of when and how you began
life, and here am I!--for I am, as sure as if I held my patent in my
hand, the Right Honorable Lord Castledunn.”

“To your Lordship’s good health and long life,” said the old man,

“And now to a worthier toast, father,--Lady Castledunn that is to be.”

[Illustration: 255]

“With all my heart. Lady Castledunn, whoever she is.”

“I said, ‘that is to be,’ father; and I have given you her name,--the
Lady Augusta Arden.”

“I never heard of her,” muttered the old man, dreamily.

“An Earl’s daughter, sir; the ninth Earl of Glengariff,” said Dunn,

“What ‘s her fortune, Davy? She ought to bring you a good fortune.”

“Say rather, sir, it is I that should make a splendid settlement,--so
proud a connection should meet its suitable acknowledgment.”

“I understand little about them things, Davy; but there’s one thing I do
know, there never was the woman born I ‘d make independent of me if she
was my wife. It is n’t in nature, and it isn’t in reason.”

“I can only say, sir, that with _your_ principles you would not marry
into the peerage.”

“Maybe I ‘d find one would suit me as well elsewhere.”

“That is very possible, sir,” was the dry reply.

“And if she cost less, maybe she’d wear as well,” said the old man,
peevishly; “but I suppose your Lordship knows best what suits your
Lordship’s station.”

“That also is possible, sir,” said Dunn, coldly.

The old man’s brow darkened, he pushed his glass from him, and looked
offended and displeased.

Dunn quickly saw the change that had passed over him, and cutting
the wire of a champagne flask, he filled out a foaming tumbler of the
generous wine, saying, “Drink this to your own good health, father,--to
the man whose wise teachings and prudent maxims have made his son a
foremost figure in the age, and who has no higher pride than to own
where he got his earliest lessons.”

“Is it true, Davy,--are them words true?” asked the old man, trembling
with eagerness.

“As true as that I sit here.” And Dunn drained his glass as he spoke.

The old man, partly wearied by the late sitting, partly confused by all
the strange tidings he had heard, drooped his head upon his chest and
breathed heavily, muttering indistinctly a few broken and incoherent
words. Lost in his own reveries, Dunn had not noticed this drowsy
stupor, when suddenly the old man said,--

“Davy,--are you here, Davy?”

“Yes, father, here beside you.”

“What a wonderful dream I had, Davy!” he continued; “I dreamed you
were made a lord, and that the Queen sent for you, and I was looking
everywhere, up and down, for the fine cloak with the ermine all over it
that you had to wear before her Majesty; sorra a one of me could find
it at all; at last I put my hand on it, and was going to put it on your
shoulders, when what should it turn out but a shroud!--ay, a shroud!”

“You are tired, father; these late hours are bad for you. Finish that
glass of wine, and I’ll say good-night.”

“I wonder what sign a shroud is, Davy?” mumbled the old man,
pertinaciously adhering to the dream. “A coffin, they say, is a

“It is not a vigorous mind like yours, father, that lends faith to such
miserable superstitions.”

“That is just what they are not. Dreams is dreams, Davy.”

“Just so, sir; and, being dreams, have neither meaning nor consistency.”

“How do you know that more than me? Who told you they were miserable
superstitions? I call them warnings,--warnings that come out of our own
hearts; and they come to us in our sleep just because that’s the time
our minds is not full of cares and troubles, but is just taking
up whatever chances to cross them. What made Luke Davis dream of a
paycock’s feather the night his son was lost at sea? Answer me that if
you can.”

“These are unprofitable themes, father; we only puzzle ourselves when we
discuss them. Difficult as they are to believe, they are still harder to

“I don’t want to explain them,” said the old man, sternly, for he deemed
that the very thought of such inquiry had in it something presumptuous.

“Well, father,” said Dunn, rising, “I sincerely trust you will sleep
soundly now, and be disturbed by none of these fancies. I must hasten
away. I leave for Belfast by the early train, and have a mass of letters
to answer before that.”

“When am I to see you again, Davy?” asked the old man, eagerly.

“Very soon, I hope, sir; as soon as I can, of that you may be certain,”
 said he, cordially.

“Let it be soon, then, Davy, for the meeting does me good. I feel
to-night ten years younger than before you came, and it isn’t the
wine either; ‘tis the sight of your face and the touch of your hand.
Good-night, and my blessing be with you!” And a tear coursed down his
seared cheek as he spoke.


It was past midnight when Davenport Donn reached his own house. His
return was unexpected, and it was some time before he gained admission.
The delay, however, did not excite his impatience; his head was so
deeply occupied with cares and thoughts for the future that he was
scarcely conscious of the time he had been kept waiting.

Mr. Clowes, hurriedly summoned from his bed, came up full of apologies
and excuses.

“We did not expect you till to-morrow, sir, by the late packet,” said
he, in some confusion. Dunn made no answer, and the other went on: “Mr.
Hankes, too, thought it not improbable you would not be here before

“When was he here?”

“To-day sir; he left that oak box here this morning, and those letters,

While Dunn carelessly turned over the superscriptions, among which he
found none to interest him, Clowes repeatedly pressed his master to take
some supper, or at least a biscuit and a glass of dry sherry.

“Send for Mr. Hankes,” said Dunn, at last, not condescending to notice
the entreaties of his butler. “Let him wait for me here when he comes.”
 And so saying, he took a candle and passed upstairs.

Mr. Clowes was too well acquainted with his master’s temper to obtrude
unseasonably upon him, so that he glided noiselessly away till such time
as he might be wanted.

When Dunn entered the drawing-room, he lighted the candles of the
candelabra over the chimney and some of those which occupied the
branches along the walls, and then, turning the key in the door, sat
down to contemplate the new and splendid decorations of the apartment.

The task had been confided to skilful hands, and no more attempted than
rooms of moderate size and recent architecture permitted. The walls,
of a very pale green, displayed to advantage a few choice
pictures,--Italian scenes by Turner, a Cuyp or two, and a Mieris,--all
of them of a kind to interest those who had no connoisseurship to
be gratified. A clever statuette of the French Emperor, a present
graciously bestowed by himself, stood on a console of malachite, and
two busts of Whig statesmen occupied brackets at either side of a vast
mirror. Except these, there was little ornament, and the furniture
seemed rather selected for the indulgence of ease and comfort than
for show or display. A few bronzes, some curious carvings in ivory, an
enamelled miniature, and some illuminated missals were scattered about
amongst illustrated books and aquarelles, but in no great profusion; nor
was there that indiscriminate litter which too frequently imparts to
the salon the character of a curiosity-shop. The rooms, in short, were
eminently habitable.

Over the chimney in the back drawing-room was a clever sketch, by
Thorburn, of Lady Augusta Arden. She was in a riding-habit, and standing
with one hand on the mane of an Arab pony,--a beautiful creature
presented to her by Dunn. While he stood admiring the admirable
likeness, and revolving in his mind the strange traits of that
thoughtfulness which had supplied the picture,--for it was all Sybella
Kellett’s doing, every detail of the decorations, the color of the
walls, the paintings, even to the places they occupied, had all been
supplied by her,--Dunn started, and a sudden sickness crept over him. On
a little table beside the fireplace stood a small gold salver, carved by
Cellini, and which served to hold a few objects, such as coins and
rings and antique gems. What could it be, then, amidst these century-old
relics, which now overcame and so unmanned him that he actually
grew pale as death, and sank at last, trembling, into a seat, cold
perspiration on his face, and his very lips livid?

Mixed up amid the articles of _virtù_ on that salver was an
old-fashioned penknife with a massive handle of bloodstone, to which
a slip of paper was attached, containing two or three words in Miss
Kellett’s hand. Now, the sight of this article in that place so overcame
Dunn that it was some minutes ere he could reach out his hand to take
the knife. When giving to Miss Kellett the charge of several rare and
valuable objects, he had intrusted her with keys to certain drawers,
leaving to her own judgment the task of selection. He had totally
forgotten that this knife was amongst these; but even had he remembered
the circumstance, it would not have caused alarm, naturally supposing
how little worthy of notice such an object would seem amidst others
of price and rarity. And yet there it was, and, by the slip of paper
fastened to it, attesting a special notice.

With an effort almost convulsive he at last seized the knife, and reads
the words. They were simply these: “A penknife, of which Mr. Dunn can
probably supply the history.” He dropped it as he read, and lay back,
with a sense of fainting sickness.

The men of action and energy can face the positive present perils
of life with a far bolder heart than they can summon to confront the
terrors of conscience-stricken imagination. In the one case danger
assumes a shape and a limit; in the other it looms out of distance,
vast, boundless, and full of mystery. She knew, then, the story of his
boyish shame; she had held the tale secretly in her heart through all
their intercourse, reading his nature, mayhap, through the clew of that
incident, and tracing out his path in life by the light it afforded;
doubtless, too, she knew of his last scene with her father,--that
terrible interview, wherein the dying man uttered a prediction that was
almost a curse: she had treasured up these memories, and accepted his
aid with seeming frankness, and yet, all the while that she played the
grateful, trusting dependant, she had been slowly pursuing a vengeance.
If Paul Kellett had confided to her the story of this childish
transgression, he had doubtless revealed to her how heavily it had been
avenged--how, with a persistent, persecuting hate, Dunn had tracked him,
through difficulty and debt, to utter ruin. She had therefore read him
in his real character, and had devoted herself to a revenge deeper than
his own. Ay, he was countermined!

Such was the turn of his thoughts, as he sat there wiping the cold sweat
that broke from his forehead, and cursing the blindness that had so
long deceived him; and he, whose deep craft had carried him triumphant
through all the hardest trials of the world, the man who had encountered
the most subtle intellects, the great adventurer in a whole ocean of
schemes, was to be the dupe and sport of a girl!

And now, amid his self-accusings, there rose up that strange attempt at
compromise the baffled heart so often clings to, that he had, at times,
half suspected this deep and secret treachery,--that she had not been
either so secret or so crafty as she fancied herself. “If my mind,” so
reasoned he, “had not been charged with far weightier themes, I should
have detected her at once; all her pretended gratitude, all her assumed
thankfulness, had never deceived _me_; her insignificance was her
safeguard. And yet withal, I sometimes felt, she is too deeply in our
confidence,--she sees too much of the secret machinery of our plans.
While I exulted over the ignoble dependence she was doomed to,--while
I saw, with a savage joy, how our lots in life were reversed,--was I

So impressed was he with the idea of a game in which he had been
defeated, that he went over in his mind every circumstance he could
recall of his intercourse with her. Passages the simplest, words of
little significance, incidents the most trivial, he now charged with
deepest meaning. Amidst these, there was one for which he could find no
solution,--why had she so desired to be the owner of the cottage near
Bantry? It was there that Driscoll had discovered the Conway papers. Was
it possible--the thought flashed like lightning on him--that there was
any concert between the girl and this man? This suspicion no sooner
occurred to him than it took firm hold of his mind. None knew better
than Dunn the stuff Driscoll was made of, and knowing, besides, how he
had, by his own seeming luke-warmness, affronted that crafty schemer, it
was by no means improbable that such an alliance as this existed. And
this last discovery of documents,--how fortunate was it that Hankes had
secured them! The papers might or might not be important; at all events,
the new Lord Lackington might be brought to terms by their means; he
would have come to his peerage so unexpectedly that all the
circumstances of the contested claim would be strange to him. This was a
point to be looked at; and as he reasoned thus, again did he go back to
Sybella Kellett, and what the nature of her game might be, and how it
should first display itself.

A tap at the door startled him. “Mr. Hankes is below, sir,” said Clowes.

“I will be with him in a moment,” replied Dunn; and again relapsed into
his musings.


“Is she gone?--where to?” cried Dunn, without answering Mr. Hankes’s
profuse salutations and welcomes.

“Yes, sir; she sailed yesterday.”

“Sailed, and for where?”

“For Malta, sir, in the Euxine steamer. Gone to her brother in the
Crimea. One of the people saw her go on board at Southampton.”

“Was she alone?”

“Quite alone, sir. My man was present when she paid the boatman. She had
very little luggage, but they demanded half a guinea--”

“What of Driscoll? Have you traced him?” asked Dunn, impatient at the
minuteness of this detail.

“He left London for Havre on the 12th of last month, sir, with a
passport for Italy. He carried one of Hart-well’s circulars for three
hundred pounds, and was to have taken a courier at Paris, but did not.”

“And where is he now?” asked Dunn, abruptly.

“I am unable to say, sir,” said Hankes, almost abjectly, for he felt
self-rebuked in the acknowledgment. “My last tidings of him came from
Como,--a new Hydropathic Institution there.”

“Expecting to find the Viscount Lackington,” said Dunn, with a sardonic
laugh. “Death was before you, Master Driscoll; you did not arrive in
time for even the funeral. I say, Hankes,” added he, quickly, “what of
the new Viscount? Has he answered our letters?”

“Not directly, sir; but there came a short note signed ‘C. Christopher,’
stating that his Lordship had been very ill, and was detained at Ems,
and desiring to have a bank post-bill for two hundred forwarded to him
by return.”

“You sent it?”

“Of course, sir; the letter had some details which proved it to be

“And the sum a trifle,” broke in Dunn. “She is scarcely at Malta by
this, Hankes. What am I thinking of? She ‘ll not reach it before next
Friday or Saturday. Do you remember young Kellett’s regiment?”

“No, sir.”

“Well, find it out. I’ll write to the Horse Guards tomorrow to have him
promoted,--to give him an Ensigncy in some regiment serving in India.
Whom do you know at Malta, Hankes?”

“I know several, sir; Edmond Grant, in the Storekeeper’s Department;
James Hocksley, Second Harbor-Master; Paul Wesley, in the
Under-Secretary’s Office.”

“Any of them will do. Telegraph to detain her; that her brother is
coming home; she must not go to the Crimea.” There was a stern fixity of
purpose declared in the way these last words were spoken, which at the
same time warned Hankes from asking any explanation of them. “And now
for business. What news from Arigua,--any ore?”

“Plenty, sir; the new shaft has turned out admirably. It is yielding
upwards of twenty-eight per cent, and Holmes offers thirty pounds a ton
for the raw cobalt.”

“I don’t care for that, sir. I asked how were shares,” said Dunn,

“Not so well as might be expected, sir. The shake at Glengariff was felt

“What do you mean? The shares fell, but they rose again; they suffered
one of those fluctuations that attend on all commercial or industrial
enterprises; but they rallied even more quickly than they went down.
When I left town yesterday, they were at one hundred and forty-three.”

“I know it, sir. I received your telegram, and I showed it to Bayle and
Childers, but they only smiled, and said, ‘So much the better for the

“I defy any man--I don’t care what may be his abilities or what his
zeal--to benefit this country!” exclaimed Dunn, passionately. “There
is amongst Irishmen, towards each other, such an amount of narrow
jealousy--mean, miserable, envious rivalry--as would swamp the best
intentions, and destroy the wisest plans that ever were conceived. May
my fate prove a warning to whoever is fool enough to follow me!”

Was it that when Dunn thus spoke he hoped to persuade Mr. Hankes that he
was a noble-hearted patriot, sorrowing over the errors of an ungrateful
country? Did he fancy that his subtle lieutenant, the associate of all
his deep intrigues, the confidant of his darkest schemes, was suddenly
to see in him nothing but magnanimity of soul and single-hearted
devotedness? No, I cannot presume to say that he indulged in any such
delusion. He uttered the words just to please himself,--to flatter
himself! as some men drink off a cordial to give them Dutch courage.
There are others that enunciate grand sentiments, high sounding and
magniloquent, the very music and resonance of their words imparting a
warm glow within them.

It is a common error to imagine that such “stage thunder” is confined to
that after-dinner eloquence in whose benefit the canons of truth-telling
are all repealed. Far from it. The practice enters into every hour of
every-day life, and the greatest knave that ever rogued never cheated
the world half as often as he cheated himself!

As though it had been a glass of brown sherry that he swallowed, Mr.
Dunn felt “better” after he had uttered these fine words. He experienced
a proud satisfaction in thinking what a generous heart beat within
his own waistcoat; and thus reassured, he thought well of the world at

“And Ossory, Mr. Hankes,--how is Ossory?”

“A hundred and fourteen, with a look upwards,” responded Mr. Hankes.
“Since the day of ‘the run’ deposits have largely increased. Indeed,
I may say we are now the great country gentry bank of the midland. We
discount freely, too, and we lend generously.”

“I shall want some ready money soon, Hankes,” said Dunn, as he paced the
room with his hands behind his back, and his head bent forward. “You ‘ll
have to sell out some of those Harbor shares.”

“Bantry’s, sir? Glumthal’s have them as securities!”

“So they have; I forgot. Well, St Columbs, or the Patent Fuel, or that
humbug discovery of Patterson’s,--the Irish Asphalt There’s an American
fellow, by the way, wants that.”

“They’re very low,--very low, all these, sir,” said Hankes,
lugubriously. “They sank so obstinately that I just withdrew our name
quietly, so that we can say any day we have long ceased any connection
with these enterprises.”

“She ‘ll scarcely make any delay in Malta, Hankes. Your message ought to
be there by Thursday at latest” And then, as if ashamed of showing where
his thoughts were straying, he said, “All kinds of things--odds and ends
of every sort--are jostling each other in my brain to-night.”

“You want rest, sir; you want nine or ten hours of sound sleep.”

“Do I look fatigued or harassed?” asked Dunn, with an eagerness that
almost startled the other.

“A little tired, sir; not more than that,” cautiously answered Hankes.

“But I don’t _feel_ tired. I am not conscious of any weariness,” said
he, pettishly. “I suspect that you are not a very acute physiognomist,
Hankes. I have told you,” added he, hastily, “I shall want some twelve
or fifteen thousand pounds soon. Look out, too, for any handsome
country-seat--in the South, I should prefer it--that may be in the
market I ‘ll not carry out my intentions about Kellett’s Court. It is
a tumble-down old concern, and would cost us more in repairs than a
handsome house fit to inhabit.”

“Am I to have the honor of offering my felicitations, sir?” said Hankes,
obsequiously; “are the reports of the newspapers as to a certain happy
event to be relied on?”

“You mean as to my marriage? Yes, perfectly true. I might, in a mere
worldly point of view, have looked higher,--not higher, certainly
not,--but I might have contracted what many would have called a more
advantageous connection; in fact, I might have had any amount of money I
could care for, but I determined for what I deemed the wiser course. You
are probably not aware that this is a very long attachment. Lady Augusta
and myself have been as good as engaged to each other for--for a number
of years. She was very young when we met first,--just emerging from
early girlhood; but the sentiment of her youthful choice has never
varied, and, on _my_ part, the attachment has been as constant.”

“Indeed, sir!” said Hankes, sorely puzzled what to make of this

“I know,” said Dunn, returning rapidly to the theme, “that nothing
will seem less credible to the world at large than a man of _my_ stamp
marrying for love! The habit is to represent us as a sort of human
monster, a creature of wily, money-getting faculties, shrewd,
over-reaching, and successful. They won’t give us feelings, Hankes. They
won’t let us understand the ties of affection and the charms of a home.
Well,” said he, after a long pause, “there probably never lived a man
more mistaken, more misconceived by the world than myself.”

Hankes heaved a heavy sigh; it was, he felt, the safest thing he could
do, for he did not dare to trust himself with a single word. The sigh,
however, was a most profound one, and, plainly as words, declared the
compassionate contempt he entertained for a world so short-sighted and
so meanly minded.

“After all,” resumed Dunn, “it is the penalty every man must pay for
eminence. The poor little nibblers at the rind of fortune satisfy their
unsuccess when they say, ‘Look at him with all his money!’”

Another and deeper sigh here broke from Hankes, who was really losing
all clew to the speaker’s reflections.

“I’m certain, Hankes, you have heard observations of this kind five
hundred times.”

“Ay, have I, sir,” answered he, in hurried confusion,--“five thousand!”

“Well, and what was your reply, sir? How did you meet such remarks?”
 said Dunn, sternly.

“Put them down, sir,--put them down at once; that is, I acknowledged
that there was a sort of fair ground; I agreed in thinking that,
everything considered, and looking to what we saw every day around us in
life--and Heaven knows it is a strange world, and the more one sees of
it the less he knows--”

“I ‘m curious to hear,” said Dunn, with a stern fixedness of manner, “in
what quarter you heard these comments on my character.”

Hankes trembled from head to foot. He was in the witness-box, and felt
that one syllable might place him in the dock.

“You never heard one word of the kind in your life, sir, and you _know_
it,” said Dunn, with a savage energy of tone that made the other sick
with fear. “If ever there was a man whose daily life refuted such a
calumny, it was myself.”

Dunn’s emotions were powerful, and he walked the room from end to end
with long and determined strides. Suddenly halting at last, he looked
Hankes steadily in the face, and said,--

“It was the Kellett girl dared thus to speak of me, was it not? The
truth, sir,--the truth; I _will_ have it out of you!”

“Well, I must own you are right. It was Miss Kellett.”

Heaven forgive you, Mr. Hankes, for the lie, inasmuch as you never
intended to tell it till it was suggested to you.

“Can you recall the circumstance which elicited this remark? I mean,”
 said he, with an affected carelessness of manner, “how did it occur? You
were chatting together,--discussing people and events, eh?”

“Yes, sir; just so.”

“And she observed--Do you chance to remember the phrase she used?”

“I give you my word of honor I do not, sir,” said Hankes, with a sincere

“People who fancy themselves clever--and Miss Kellett is one of that
number--have a trick of eliminating every trait of a man’s character
from some little bias,--some accidental bend given to his youthful mind.
I am almost certain--nay, I feel persuaded--it was by some such light
that young lady read me. She had heard I was remarkable as a schoolboy
for this, that, or t’ other,--I saved my pocket-money, or lent it out at
interest. Come, was it not with the aid of an ingenious explanation of
this kind she interpreted me?”

Mr. Hankes shook his head, and looked blankly disconsolate.

“Not that I value such people’s estimate of me,” said Dunn, angrily.
“Calumniate, vilify, depreciate as they will, here I stand, with my foot
on the first step of the peerage. Ay, Hankes, I have made my own terms;
the first ‘Gazette’ after the new elections will announce Mr. Davenport
Dunn as Lord Castledunn.”

Hankes actually bounded on his chair. Had he been the faithful servant
of some learned alchemist, watching patiently for years the wondrous
manipulations and subtle combinations of his master, following him from
crucible to crucible and from alembic to alembic, till the glorious
moment when, out of smoke and vapor, the yellow glow of the long-sought
metal gleamed before his eyes, he could not have regarded his chief with
a more devoted homage.

Dunn read “worship” in every lineament of the other’s face. It was as
honest veneration as his nature could compass, and, sooth to say,
the great man liked it, and sniffed his incense with the-air of Jove

“I mean to take care of you, Hankes,” said he, with a bland
protectiveness. “I do not readily forget the men who have served me
faithfully. Of course we must draw out of all our enterprises here. I
intend at once to realize--yes, Hankes--to realize a certain comfortable
sum and withdraw.”

These were not very explicit nor very determinate expressions, but they
were amply intelligible to him who heard them.

“To wind up, sir, in short,” said Hankes, significantly.

“Yes, Hankes, ‘to wind up.’”

“A difficult matter,--a very difficult matter, sir.”

“Difficulties have never deterred me from anything, Mr. Hankes. The only
real difficulty I acknowledge in life is to choose which of them I
will adopt; that done, the rest is matter of mere detail.” Mr. Dunn now
seated himself at a table, and in the calm and quiet tone with which
he treated every business question, he explained to Hankes his views
on each of the great interests he was concerned in. Shares in home
speculations were to be first exchanged for foreign scrip, and these
afterwards sold. Of the vast securities of private individuals pledged
for loans, or given as guarantees, only such were to be redeemed as
belonged to persons over whom Dunn had no control. Depositary as he was
of family secrets, charged with the mysterious knowledge of facts whose
publication would bring ruin and disgrace on many, this knowledge was to
have its price and its reward; and as he ran his finger down the list
of names so compromised, Hankes could mark the savage exultation of his
look while he muttered unintelligibly to himself.

Dunn stopped at the name of the Viscount Lackington, and, leaning his
head on his hand, said, “Don’t let us forget that message to Malta.”

“A heavy charge that, sir,” said Hankes. “The Ossory has got all his
Lordship’s titles; and we have set them down, too, for twenty-one
thousand seven hundred above their value.”

“Do you know who is the Viscount Lackington?” asked Dunn, with a strange

“No, sir.”

“Neither do I,” said Dunn, hurriedly following him. “Mayhap it may cost
some thousands of pounds and some tiresome talk to decide that question;
at all events, it will cost you or me nothing.”

“The Earl of Glengariff’s claim must, I suppose, be satisfied, sir?”

“Of course, it must, and the very first of all! But I am not going to
enter minutely into these things now, Hankes. I need a little of that
rest you were just recommending me to take. Be here to-morrow at twelve;
do not mention my arrival to any one, but come over with the Ossory
statement and the two or three other most important returns.”

Mr. Hankes rose to withdraw; and as he moved towards the door, his eye
caught the oaken box, with three large seals placed by his own hand.

“You have scarcely had time to think about these papers, sir; but they
will have their importance when that peerage case comes to be discussed.
The Lackingtons were Conways--”

“Let me have a look at them,” said Dunn, rapidly.

Hankes broke open the paper bands, and unlocked the box. For some time
he searched through the documents as they lay, and then emptying them
all upon the table, he went over them more carefully, one by one. “Good
heavens!” cried he, “how can this be?”

“What do you mean?” exclaimed Dunn; “you do not pretend that they are

“They are gone,--they are not here!” said the other, almost fainting
from agitation.

“But these are the seals you yourself fastened on the box.”

“I know it,--I see it; and I can make nothing of it.”

“Mr. Hankes, Mr. Hankes, this is serious,” said Dunn, as he bent upon
the affrighted man a look of heart-searching significance.

“I swear before Heaven--I take my most solemn oath--”

“Never mind swearing; how could they have been extricated? That is the
question to be solved.”

Hankes examined the seals minutely; they were his own. He scrutinized
the box on every side to see if any other mode of opening it existed;
but there was none. He again went through the papers,--opening, shaking,
sifting them, one by one; and then, with a low, faint sigh, he sank down
upon a chair, the very image of misery and dismay. “Except it was the
devil himself--”

“The devil has plenty of far more profitable work on hand, sir,” said
Dunn, sternly; and then, in a calmer tone, added, “Is it perfectly
certain that you ever saw the documents you allude to? and when?”

“Saw them? Why, I held them in my hands for several minutes. It was I
myself replaced them in the box before sealing it.”

“And what interval of time occurred between your reading them and
sealing them up?”

“A minute,--half a minute, perhaps; stay,” cried he, suddenly, “I
remember now that I left the room to call the landlord. Miss Kellett
remained behind.”

With a dreadful imprecation Dunn struck his forehead with his hand, and
sank into his seat. “What cursed folly,” cried he, bitterly, “and what
misfortune and ruin may it beget!”

“It was then that she took them,--that was the very moment,” muttered
Hankes, as he followed on his own dreary thoughts.

“My father was right,” said Dunn, below his breath; “that girl will
bring sorrow on us yet.”

“But, after all, what value could they have in her eyes? She knows
nothing about the questions they refer to; she could not decipher the
very titles of the documents.”

“I ought to have known,--I ought to have foreseen it,” cried Dunn,
passionately. “What has my whole life been but a struggle against the
blunders, the follies, and the faults of those who should have served
me! Other men are fortunate in their agents. It was reserved for me to
have nothing but incapables, or worse.”

“If you mean to include _me_ in either of these categories, sir, will
you please to say which?” said Hankes, reddening with anger.

“Take your choice,--either, or both!” said Dunn, savagely.

“A man must be very strong in honesty that can afford to speak in this
fashion of others,” said Hankes, his voice tremulous with rage. “At all
events, the world shall declare whether he be right or not.”

“How do you mean, ‘the world shall declare’? Is it that what has passed
between us here can be made matter for public notoriety? Would you

“Oh, I would dare a great deal, sir, if I was pushed to it,” said
Hankes, scoffingly. “I would dare, for instance, to let the world we are
speaking of into some of the mysteries of modern banking. I have a vast
amount of information to give as to the formation of new companies,--how
shares are issued, cancelled, and reissued. I could tell some amusing
anecdotes about title-deeds of estates that never were transferred--”

Why is it that Mr. Hankes, now in the full flood of his sarcasm, stops
so suddenly? What has arrested his progress; and why does he move so
hurriedly towards the door, which Dunn has, however, already reached
before him and locked? Was it something in the expression of Dunn’s
features that alarmed him?--truly, there was in his look what might
have appalled a stouter heart,--or was it that Dunn had suddenly taken
something, he could not discern what, from a drawer, and hastily hidden
it in his pocket?

“Merciful heavens!” cried Hankes, trembling all over, “you would not

“Like yourself, sir, I would dare much if pushed to it,” said Dunn, in
a voice that now had recovered all its wonted composure. “But come,
Hankes, it is not a hasty word or an ungenerous speech is to break up
the ties of a long friendship. I was wrong; I was unjust; I ask your
pardon for it. You have served me too faithfully and too well to be
requited thus. Give me your hand, and say you forgive me.”

“Indeed, sir, I must own I scarcely expected--that is, I never

“Come, come, do not do it grudgingly; tell me, frankly, all is

Hankes took the outstretched hand, and muttered some broken,
unintelligible words.

“There, now, sit down and think no more of this folly.” He opened a
large pocket-book as he spoke, and searching for some time amongst its
contents, at last took forth a small slip of paper. “Ay, here it is,”
 said he: “‘Sale of West Indian estates; resident commissionership; two
thousand per annum, with allowance for house,’ &c. Sir Hepton Wallis was
to have it. Would this suit you, Hankes? The climate agrees with many

“Oh, as to the climate,” said Hankes, trembling with eagerness and
delight, “I ‘d not fear it.”

“And then with ample leave of absence from time to time, and a retiring
allowance, after six years’ service, of--if I remember aright--twelve
hundred a year. What say you? It must be filled up soon. Shall I write
your name instead of Sir Hepton’s?”

“Oh, sir, this is, indeed, generosity!”

“No, Hankes, mere justice; nothing more. The only merit I can lay claim
to in the matter is the sacrifice I make in separating myself from a
well-tried and trusted adherent.”

“These reports shall be ready immediately, sir,” said Hankes. “I ‘ll not
go to bed to-night--”

“We have ample time for everything, Hankes; don’t fatigue yourself, and
be here at twelve to-morrow.”


About five weeks have elapsed since we last sojourned with Grog Davis
and his party at the little village of Holbach. Five weeks are a short
period in human life, but often enough has it sufficed to include great
events, and to make marvellous changes in a man’s fortunes! Now,
the life they all led here might seem well suited to exclude such
calculations. Nothing seemed less likely to elicit vicissitudes. It was
a calm, tame monotony; each day so precisely like its predecessor that
it was often hard to remember how the week stole on. The same landscape,
with almost the same effects of sun and shadow, stretched daily before
their eyes; the same gushing water foamed and fretted; the same weeds
bent their heads to the flood; the self-same throbbing sounds of busy
mills mingled with the rushing streams; the very clouds, as they dragged
themselves lazily up the mountain side, and then broke into fragments
on the summit, seemed the same; and yet in that little world of three
people there was the endless conflict of hope and fear, and all the
warring interests which distract great masses of men filled their hearts
and engaged their minds.

At first Beecher chafed and fretted at the delay; Lizzy appeared but
rarely; and when she did it was with a strange reserve, almost amounting
to constraint, that he could not comprehend. She did not seem angry
or offended with him, simply more distant. Her high spirits, too,
were gone; no more the light-hearted, gay, and playful creature he
remembered, she was calm even to seriousness. A look of thoughtful
preoccupation marked her as she sat silently gazing on the landscape,
or watching the eddies of the circling river. There was nothing--save
a slight increase of paleness--to denote sorrow in her appearance; her
features were placid, and her expression tranquil. If her voice had lost
its ringing music, it had acquired a tone of deep and melting softness
that seemed to leave an echo in the heart that heard it. To this change,
which at first chilled and repelled Beecher, he grew day by day to
accustom himself. If her mood was one less calculated to enliven and to
cheer him, it was yet better adapted to make his confidence. He could
talk to her more freely of himself than heretofore. No longer did he
stand in dread of the sharp and witty epigrams with which she used to
quiz his opinions and ridicule his notions of life. She would listen to
him now with patience, if not with interest, and she would hear him
with attention as he talked for hours on the one sole theme he
loved,--himself. And, oh, young ladies,--not that you need any counsels
of mine in such matters; but if, perchance, my words of advice should
have any weight with you,--let me impress this lesson on your hearts:
that for the man who is not actually in love with you, but only
“spooney,” there is no such birdlime as the indulgence of his
selfishness. Let him talk away about his dogs and his horses, his
exploits in China or the Crimea, his fishings in Norway, his yachtings
in the Levant; let him discourse about his own affairs, of business as
well as pleasure; how briefs are pouring in or patients multiply; hear
him as he tells you of his sermon before the bishop, or his examination
at Burlington House,--trust me, no theme will make _him_ so eloquent
nor _you_ so interesting. Of all “serials,”--as the phrase is,--there is
none can be carried out to so many “numbers” as Egotism; and though the
snowball grows daily bigger, it rolls along even more easily.

I am not going to say that Lizzy Davis did this of “prepense;” I am
even candid enough to acknowledge to you that I am not quite sure I can
understand her. She had ways of acting and thinking peculiarly her
own. She was not always what the French call _conséquente_, but she was
marvellously quick to discover she was astray, and “try back.” She was
one of those people who have more difficulty in dealing with themselves
than with others. She had an instinctive appreciation of those whose
natures she came in contact with, joined to a strong desire to please;
and, lastly, there was scarcely a human temperament with which she could
not sympathize somewhere. She let Beecher talk on, because it pleased
_him_, and pleasing _him_ became, at last, a pleasure to herself. When
he recalled little traits of generosity, the kind things he had done
here, the good-natured acts he had done there, she led him on to feel
a more manly pride in himself than when recounting tales of his sharp
practices on the turf and his keen exploits in the ring.

Beecher saw this leaning on her part, and ascribed it all to her
“ignorance of the world,” and firmly believed that when she saw more
of life she would think more highly of his intellect than even of his
heart. Poor fellow! they were beautifully balanced, and phrenology
for once would have its triumph in showing the mental and the moral
qualities in equilibrium. After the first week they were always
together, for Davis was continually on the road,--now to Neuwied, now
to Höchst. The letters and telegrams that he despatched and received
were incredible in number; and when jested with on the amount of
his correspondence by Beecher, his only answer was, “It’s all _your_
business, my boy,--the whole concerns _you_.” Now, Annesley Beecher was
far too much of a philosopher to trouble his head about anything which
could be avoided, and to find somebody who devoted himself to his
interests, opened and read the dunning appeals of creditors, answered
their demands by “renewals,” or cajoled them by promises, was one of the
highest luxuries he could imagine. Indeed, if Grog would only fight for
him and go to jail for him, he ‘d have deemed his happiness complete.
“And who knows,” thought he, “but it may come to that yet? I seem to
have thrown a sort of fascination over the old fellow that may lead him
any lengths.”

Meanwhile there was extending over himself another web of fascination
not the less complete that he never perceived it His first waking
thought was of Lizzy. As he came down to breakfast, his dress showed how
studiously he cultivated appearance. The breakfast over, he sat down
to his German lesson beside her with a patient perseverance that amazed
him. There he was, with addled head and delighted heart, conjugating
“Ich liebe,” and longing for the day when he should reach the imperative
mood; and then they walked long country walks into the dark beech woods,
along grassy alleys where no footfall sounded, or they strayed beside
some river’s bank, half fancying that none had ever strolled over the
same sward before. And how odd it was to see the Honorable Annesley
Beecher, the great lion of the Guards’ Club, the once celebrity of the
Coventry, carrying a little basket on his arm, like a stage peasant in
a comic opera, with the luncheon, or, mayhap, bearing a massive stone
in his arms to bridge a stream for Lizzy to cross. Poor fellow! he did
these things with a good will, and even in his awkwardness there was
that air of “gentleman” which never left him; and then he would laugh
so heartily at his own inaptitude, and join in’ Lizzy’s mirth at the
mischances that befell him. And was it not delightful, through all these
charming scenes, on the high mountain-aide, in the deep heather, or deep
in some tangled glen, with dog-roses and honeysuckle around them, he
could still talk of himself, and she could listen?

For the life of him he could not explain how it was that the time
slipped over so pleasantly. As he himself said, “there was not much to
see, and nothing to do,” and yet, somehow, the day was always too short
for either. He wanted to write to his brother, to his sister-in-law,
to Dunn, to his man of business,--meaning the Jew who raised money for
him,--but never could find time. He was so puzzled by the problem that
he actually asked Lizzy to explain it; but she only laughed.

Now and then, when he chanced to be all alone, a sudden thought would
strike him that he was leading a life of inglorious idleness. He would
count up how many weeks it was since he had seen a “Bell’s Life,” and
try to calculate what races were coming off that very same day; then he
would draw a mind-picture of Tattersall’s on a settling day, and
wonder who were the defaulters, and who were getting passports for the
Continent; and he would wind up his astonishment by thinking that Grog
was exactly leading the game indolent existence, “although we have that
‘grand book with the martingale,’ and might be smashing the bank at
Baden every night.”

That a man should have the cap of Fortunatus, and yet never try it on,
even just for the experiment’s sake, was downright incredible. You might
not want money,--not that he had ever met the man in that predicament
yet,--you might, perhaps, have no very strong desire for this, that,
or t’ other; yet, somehow, “the power was such a jolly thing!” The fact
that you could go in and win whenever you pleased was a marvellously
fine consideration. As for himself,--so he reasoned,--he did not exactly
know why, but he thought his present life a very happy one. He never was
less beset with cares: he had no duns; there was not a tailor in Bond
Street knew his address; the very Jews had not traced him; he was as
free as air. Like most men accustomed to eat and drink of the best, the
simple fare of an humble inn pleased him. Grog, whenever he saw him, was
good-humored and gay; and as for Lizzy, “of all the girls he had ever
met, she was the only one ever understood him.”

As Annesley Beecher comprehended his own phrase, being “understood” was
no such bad thing. It meant, in the first place, a generous appreciation
of all motives for good, even though they never went beyond motives; a
hopeful trust in some unseen, unmanifested excellence of character; a
broadcast belief that, making a due allowance for temptations, human
frailties, and the doctrine of chances,--this latter most of all,--the
balance would always be found in favor of good _versus_ evil; and,
secondly, that all the imputed faults and vices of such natures as _his_
were little else than the ordinary weaknesses of “the best of us.” Such
is being “understood,” good reader; and, however it may chance with
others, I hope that “you and I may.”

But Lizzy Davis understood him even better and deeper than all this.
She knew him, if not better than I do myself, at least, better than I
am able to depict to you. Apart, then, from the little “distractions”
 I have mentioned, Beecher was very happy. It had been many a long day
since he felt himself so light-hearted and so kindly-minded to the world
at large. He neither wished any misfortune to befall Holt’s “stable”
 or Shipman’s “three-year old;” he did not drop off to sleep hoping
that Beverley might break down or “Nightcap” spring a back sinew; and,
stranger than all, he actually could awake of a morning and not wish
himself the Viscount Lackington. Accustomed as he was to tell Lizzy
everything, to ask her advice about all that arose, and her explanation
for all that puzzled him, he could not help communicating this new
phenomenon of his temperament, frankly acknowledging that it was a
mystery he could not fathom.

“Nothing seems ever to puzzle you, Lizzy,”--he had learned to call her
Lizzy some time back,--“so just tell me what can you make of it? Ain’t
it strange?”

“It _is_ strange,” said she, with a faint smile, in which a sort of sad
meaning mingled.

“So strange,” resumed he, “that had any one said to me, ‘Beecher, you
‘ll spend a couple of months in a little German inn, with nothing to
do, nothing to see, and, what’s more, it will not bore you,’ I ‘d
have answered, ‘Take you fifty to one in hundreds on the double
event,--thousands if you like it better,’--and see, hang me if I should
n’t have lost!”

“Perhaps not. If you had a heavy wager on the matter, it is likely you
would not have come.”

“Who knows! Everything is Fate in this world. Ah, you may laugh; but it
is, though. What else, I ask you--what brings you here just now?--why am
I walking along the river with you beside me?”

“Partly, because, I hope, you find it pleasant,” said she, with a droll
gravity, while something in her eyes seemed to betoken that her own
thoughts amused her.

“There must be more than that,” said he, thoughtfully, for he felt the
question a knotty one, and rather liked to show that he did not skulk
the encounter with such difficulties.

“Partly, perhaps, because it pleases _me_,” said she, in the same quiet

He shook his head doubtingly; he had asked for an explanation, and
neither of these supplied that want. “At all events, Lizzy, there is one
thing you will admit,--if it is Fate, one can’t help it,--eh?”

“If you mean by that that you must walk along here at my side, whether
you will or not, just try, for experiment’s sake, if you could not cross
over the stream and leave me to go back alone.”

“Leave _you_ to go back alone!” cried he, upon whom the last words were
ever the most emphatic. “But why so, Lizzy; are you angry with me?--are
you weary of me?”

“No, I ‘m not angry with you,” said she, gently.

“Wearied, then--tired of me--bored?”

“Must I pay you compliments on your agreeability, Mr. Beecher?”

“There it is again,” broke he in, pettishly. “It was only yesterday
you consented to call me Annesley, and you have gone back from it
already,--forgotten it all!”

“No, I forget very seldom--unfortunately.” This last word was uttered to
herself and for herself.

“You will call me Annesley, then?” asked he, eagerly.

“Yes, if you wish it,--Annesley.” There was a pause before she spoke the
last word; and when she did utter it, her accent faltered slightly, and
a faint blush tinged her cheek.

As for Beecher, his heart swelled high and proudly; he felt at that
moment a strange warm glow within him that counterfeited courage; for
an instant he thought he would have liked something perilous to
confront,--something in encountering which he might stand forth before
Lizzy as a Paladin. Was it that some mysterious voice within him
whispered, “She loves you; her heart is yours”? and, oh, if so, what
a glorious sentiment must there be in that passion, if love can move a
nature like this, and mould it to one great or generous ambition!

“Lizzy, I want to talk to you seriously,” said he, drawing her arm
within his own. “I have long wanted to tell you something; and if you
can hear it without displeasure, I swear to you I ‘d not change with
Lackington to-morrow! Not that it’s such good fun being a younger
son,--few men know that better than myself; still, I repeat, that if you
only say ‘yes’ to me, I pledge you my oath I ‘d rather hear it than be
sure I was to win the Oaks,--ay, by Heaven! Oaks and Derby, too! You
know now what I mean, dearest Lizzy, and do not, I beseech you, keep me
longer in suspense.”

She made no answer; her cheek became very pale, and a convulsive shudder
passed over her; but she was calm and unmoved the next instant.

“If you love another, Lizzy,” said he, and his lips trembled violently,
“say so frankly. It’s only like all my other luck in life, though
nothing was ever as heavy as this.”

There was an honesty, a sincerity in the tone, of these words that
seemed to touch her; for she stole a side look at his face, and the
expression of her glance was of kindly pity.

“Is it true, then, that you _do_ love another, Lizzy?” repeated he, with
even deeper emotion.

“No!” said she, with a slow utterance.

“Will you not tell me, dearest Lizzy, if--if--I am to have any hope? I
know well enough that you need n’t take a poor beggar of a younger son.
I know where a girl of your beauty may choose. Far better than you do I
know that you might have title, rank, fortune; and as for me, all I
have is a miserable annuity Lackington allows me, just enough to starve
on,--not that I mean to go on, however, as I have been doing; no, no, by
Jove! I ‘m round the corner now, and I intend to make play, and ‘take up
my running.’ Your father and I understand what we’re about.”

What a look was that Lizzy gave him! What a piercing significance must
the glance have had that sent the blood so suddenly to his face and
forehead, and made him falter, and then stop.

“One thing I ‘ll swear to you, Lizzy,--swear it by all that is most
solemn,” cried he, at last: “if you consent to share fortunes with me,
I ‘ll never engage in anything--no matter how sure or how safe--without
your full concurrence. I have been buying experience this many a
year, and pretty sharply has it cost me. They make a gentleman pay his
footing, I promise you; but I _do_ know a thing or two at last; I _have_
had my eyes opened!”

Oh, Annesley Beecher, can you not see how you are damaging your own
cause? You have but to look at that averted head, or, bending round, to
catch a glimpse of those fair features, and mark the haughty scorn upon
them, to feel that you are pleading against yourself.

“And what may be this knowledge of which you are so proud?” said she,

“Oh, as to that,” said he, in some confusion at the tone she had
assumed, “it concerns many a thing you never heard of. The turf, and the
men that live by it, make a little world of their own; they don’t bother
their heads about parties or politics,--don’t care a farthing who ‘s
‘in’ or who ‘s ‘out.’ They keep their wits--and pretty sharp wits they
are--for what goes on in Scott’s stable, and how Holt stands for the St.
Léger. They ‘d rather hear how Velocipede eat his corn, than hear all
the Cabinet secrets of Europe; and for that matter, so would I.”

“I do not blame you for not caring for State secrets,--it is very
possible they would interest you little; but surely you might imagine
some more fitting career than what, after all, is a mere trading on the
weakness of others. To make of an amusement a matter of profit is, in my
eyes, mean; it is contemptible.”

“That’s not the way to look on it at all. The first men in England have

“And precisely in the fact of their great wealth do they soar above all
the ignoble associations the turf obliges to those who live by it.”

“Well, I ‘ll give it up; there’s my word on’t I ‘ll never put my foot in
Tattersall’s yard again. I ‘ll take my name off the Turf Club,--is that

She could not help smiling at the honest zeal of this sacrifice; but the
smile had none of the scorn her features displayed before.

“Oh, Lizzy!” cried he, enthusiastically, “if I was sure we could just
live on here as we are doing,--never leave this little valley, nor see
more of the world than we do daily,--I’d not exchange the life for a
duke’s fortune--”

“And Holt’s stable,” added she, laughing. “Come, you must not omit the
real bribe.”

He laughed heartily at this sally, and owned it was the grand

“You are certainly very good-tempered, Annesley,” said she, after a

“I don’t think I am,” said he, half piqued, for he thought the remark
contained a sort of disparagement of that sharpness on which he chiefly
prided himself. “I am very hot at times.”

“I meant that you bore with great good-humor from me what you might, if
so disposed, have fairly enough resented as an impertinence. What do I,
what could I, know of that play-world of which you spoke? How gentlemen
and men of fashion regard these things must needs be mysteries to me;
I only wished to imply that you might make some better use of your
faculties, and that knowledge of life you possess, than in conning over
a betting-book or the ‘Racing Calendar.’”

“So I mean to do. That’s exactly what I ‘m planning.”

“Here’s the soup cooling and the sherry getting hot,” cried Grog, as
he shouted from the window of the little inn, and waved his napkin to
attract their notice.

“There’s papa making a signal to us,” said Lizzy; “did you suspect it
was so late?”

“Seven o’clock, by Jove!” cried Beecher, as he gave her his hand to
cross the stepping-stones. “What a fuss he ‘ll make about our keeping
the dinner back!”

[Illustration: 284]

“I have eaten all the caviare and the pickles, and nearly finished a
bottle of Madeira, waiting for you,” said Grog; “so, no dressing, but
come in at once.”

“Oh, dearest Lizzy!” cried Beecher, as they gained the porch, “just one
word,--only one word,--to make me the happiest fellow in the world or
the most miserable.” But Lizzy sprang up the stairs, and was in her room
almost ere his words were uttered.

“If I had bad but another moment,” muttered Beecher to himself, “just
one moment more, I’d have shown her that I meant to turn over a new
leaf,--that I was n’t going to lead the life I have done. I ‘d have told
her--though, I suppose, old Grog would murder me if he knew it--of
our grand martingale, and how we mean to smash the bank at Baden. No
deception about that,--no ‘cross’ there. She can’t bring up grooms and
jockeys and stable-helpers against me now. It will all be done amongst
ourselves,--a family party, and no mistake!”

All things considered, Annesley Beecher, it was just as well for you
that you had not that “one moment” you wished for.


Some eight or ten days have elapsed since the scene we have Just
recorded,--not one of whose incidents are we about to relate,--and
we are still at Holbach. As happens so frequently in the working of
a mathematical question, proofs are assumed without going over the
demonstrations; so, in real life,--certain postulates being granted,--we
arrive at conclusions which we regard as inevitable.

We are at Holbach, but no longer strolling along its leaf-strewn alleys,
or watching the laughing eddies of its circling river,--we are within
doors. The scene is a small, most comfortably furnished chamber of
the little inn, where an ample supper is laid out on a sideboard, a
card-table occupying the centre of the room, at which two players
are seated, their somewhat “charged” expressions and disordered dress
indicating a prolonged combat,--a fact in part corroborated by the
streak of pinkish dawn that has pierced between the shutters, and now
blends with the sickly glare of the candles. Several packs of cards
litter the floor around them, thrown there in that superstitious passion
only gamblers understand, and a decanter and some glasses stand on the
table beside the players, who are no others than our acquaintances Grog
Davis and Paul Classon.

There is a vulgar but not unwise adage that tells us “dogs do not eat
dogs,” and the maxim has a peculiar application to gamblers. All
sorts and manners of men love to measure their strength with each
other,--swordsmen, swimmers, pedestrians, even hard drinking used to
have its duels of rivalry,--gamblers never. Such an employment of their
skill would seem to their eyes about as absurd as that of a sportsman
who would turn his barrel against his companion instead of the
cock-pheasant before him. Their “game” is of another order. How, then,
explain the curious fact we have mentioned? There are rivalries
that last life-long; there are duels that go on from year to year
of existence, and even to the last leave the question of superiority
undetermined. The game of piquet formed such between these two men. At
every chance meeting in life,--no matter how long the interval or how
brief the passage might be,--they recurred to the old-vexed question,
which fortune seemed to find a pleasure in never deciding definitively.
The fact that each had his own separate theory of the game, would have
given an interest to the encounter; but besides there was now another
circumstance whose import neither were likely to undervalue. Davis had
just paid over to Paul Classon the sum of two hundred napoleons,--the
price of a secret service he was about to perform,--and the sight of
that glowing heap of fresh gold--for there it lay on the corner of the
table--had so stimulated the acquisitiveness of Grog’s nature that he
could not resist the temptation to try and regain them. The certainty
that when he should have won them it would only be to restore them to
the loser, for whose expenses on a long Journey they were destined,
detracted nothing from this desire on his part A more unprofitable
debtor than Holy Paul could not be imagined. His very name in a schedule
would reflect discredit on the bankruptcy! But there lay the shining
pieces, fresh from the mint and glittering, and the appeal they made was
to an instinct, not to reason. Was it with the knowledge of this fact
that Paul had left them there instead of putting them up in his pocket?
Had he calculated in his own subtle brain that temptations are
least resistible when they are most tangible? There was that in his
reverence’s look which seemed to say as much, and the thoughtless
wantonness of his action as his fingers fiddled with the gold may not
have been entirely without a purpose. They had talked together, and
discussed some knotty matters of business, having concluded which, Davis
proposed cards.

[Illustration:  290]

“Our old combat, I suppose?” said Paul, laughing. “Well, I ‘m always

And down they sat, hour after hour finding them still in the same hard
straggle, fortune swinging with its pendulous stroke from side to side,
as though to elicit the workings of hope and fear in each alternately.
Meanwhile they drank freely, and from time to time arose to eat at the
side-table in that hurried and greedy way that only gamblers eat, as
though vexed at the hanger that called them from their game. They
were both too great proficients in play to require that absorption
of faculties inferior gamblers need. They could, and did, talk of
everything that came uppermost, the terms of the game dropping through
the conversation like the measured booming of great guns amid the
clattering crash of musketry. Luck for some time had favored Holy Paul;
and while he became blander, softer, and more benign of look, Grog
grew fierce, his eyes fiery, and his words sharp and abrupt. Classon’s
polished courtesy chafed and irritated him, but he seemed determined
to control his anger as far as he might, and not give his adversary
the transient advantage of temper. Had spectators been admitted to the
lists, the backers would have most probably taken the Churchman. His
calm countenance, his mild, unexcited eye, his voice so composed and
gentle, must have made Paul the favorite.

“We shall scarcely have time for another game, Kit,”--he’d have called
him Grog, but that he was losing,--“I perceive the day is beginning to

“So am I, for the matter of that,” said Davis, with a bitter laugh. “You
have won--let me see--forty-six, and twenty-seven, and a hundred and
twelve,--that was a ‘thumper,’--and thirty-four, besides that loose cash
there,--about two hundred and forty or fifty naps, Master Paul. A very
pretty-night’s work, and more profitable than preaching, I take it.”

“Regarding the matter as a mere monetary question--”

“No gammon,--cut the cards,” broke in Davis; “one game must finish us.
Now, shall we say double or quits?”

“If you really wish me to speak my candid mind, I ‘d rather not.”

“I thought as much,” muttered Grog to himself; and then, in a louder
voice, “What shall it be then.--one-hundred and fifty? Come, even if you
should lose, you’ll get up winner of a clean hundred.”

“Would that it were at the expense of some one I love less!”

“Answer my question,” said Davis, angrily. “Will you have a hundred and
fifty on the last game,--yes or no?”

“Yes, of course, Kit, if you desire it.”

“Cut again; there is a faced card,” said Davis. And now he dealt with
a slow deliberation that showed what an effort his forced composure was
costing him.

Classon sat back in his chair watching the cards as they fell from the
dealer’s hand, but affecting in his half-closed eyes and folded arms the
air of one deep in his own musings.

“I will say this, Davis,” said he, at last, with the slow utterance that
announces a well-matured thought, “you have managed the whole of this
business with consummate skill; you have done it admirably.”

“I believe I have,” said Davis, with a sort of stern decision in his
tone; “and there was more difficulty in the case than you are aware of.”

“There must have been very considerable difficulty,” rejoined Paul,
slowly. “Even in the very little I have seen of him I can detect a man
whose temperament must have presented the greatest embarrassments. He
is proud, very proud, suspectful to any extent. I have five

“Not good.”

“Three queens.”

“Four tens.”

“So, then, my tierce in spades is not good, of course. I play one.”

“Fifteen and five, twenty, and the tens ninety-four. The first honor I
have scored this hour. The difficulty I allude to was with my daughter;
she would n’t have him.”

“Not have him?--not accept a peer of the realm?”

“Who told her he was a peer? She only knows him as the Honorable
Annesley Beecher.”

“Even so. As the Honorable Annesley Beecher, he is a man of high
connections,--related to some of the first people. A dub--play a club. I
take it that such a man is a very high mark indeed.”

“_She_ wasn’t of your mind, that’s clear,” said Davis, abruptly; “nor do
I believe it would have signified in the least to have told her that he
_was_ a Lord.”

“Romantic!” muttered Paul.

“No, not a bit.”

“Loved another, perhaps.”

“How should she? She never saw any other except a one-eyed Pole, that
taught her music at that Belgian school, and a sort of hairy dwarf, that
gave lessons in drawing! A hundred and seventeen. It’s your deal.”

“And he himself has no suspicion of his brother’s death?” said Classon,
as he gave out the cards.

“Not the slightest. He was trying to write a letter to him, to break the
news of his marriage, only yesterday.”

“Cleverly done,--most cleverly done,” said Paul, in ecstasy. “If he had
come to the knowledge, he might very possibly have refused _her_.”

“I rather--suspect--not,” said Grog, dwelling slowly on each word,
while his countenance assumed an expression of fierce and terrible
determination. “A lucky take in, that,--the queen of diamonds: it gives
me seven cards. Refuse her! by Heaven, he’d have had a short experience
of his peerage! Kings and knaves--six, and seven I play--twenty-three.
Piqued again, Holy Paul! No, no; he’d never have dared that.”

Classon shook his head doubtingly.

“You might just as well tell me, Paul Classon, that you ‘d refuse to
marry them,” said Davis, as he struck the table with his clenched fist,
“and that I would bear it! I have a way of not being denied what I have
determined on; that has done me good service in life. That blear-eyed
boy--the Attaché at the Legation in Frankfort--wanted to refuse me a
passport for the Honorable Annesley Beecher and Mrs. Beecher, saying
that, until the marriage, there was no such person. But I whispered a
word to him across the table, and he gave it, and there it is now.”

“Going to Italy!” said Classon, as he read from the document which
Grog had thrown down before him; “wonderful fellow,--wonderful
fellow,--forgets nothing!” muttered he to himself.

“Yes, but he does, though; he has just forgotten four kings and suffered
_you_ to count four queens, Master Paul,--a tribute to your agreeability
somewhat too costly.”

“Even to the travelling-carriage, Kit,” resumed Classon, not heeding the
sarcasm; “and a more complete thing I never saw in my life. You picked
it up at Frankfort.”

“Yes, at the Hôtel de Russie; got it for two thousand two hundred
francs,--it cost ten, six months ago. A quint in spades, and the cards
divided; I score thirty-one.”

“And when is he to learn that he has succeeded to the title?”

“When he’s across the Alps,--when he is out of the land of rouge et noir
and roulette; he may know it then, as soon as he pleases. I ‘m to join
them at Como, or Milan, as I can’t well ‘show’ at Baden, even at
this late time of year. Before I come up he ‘ll have heard all about
Lacking-ton’s death.”

“Will it ever occur to him, Kit, to suspect that you were aware of it?”

“I don’t know; perhaps it may,” said Grog, doggedly.

“If so, will the impression not lead to a very precarious state of
relations between you?”

“Maybe so,--seven hearts and five spades, you are ‘capoted.’ There,
Paul, that doesn’t leave so much between us, after all. What if he does
suspect it? The world suspects fifty things about me that no man has
ever yet dared to lay to my charge. If you and I, Master Paul, were to
fret ourselves about the suspicions that are entertained of us, we’d
have a pleasant life of it. Your good health.”

“To yours, my dear Kit; and may I never drink it in worse tipple would
be the only additional pleasure I could suggest to the toast. It is
wonderful Madeira!”

“I have had it in the London Docks since the year ‘81; every bottle of
it now, seeing that the vines are ruined in the island, is worth from
thirty shillings to five-and-thirty. I won it from Tom Hardiman; he took
the invoice out of his pocket-book and flung it across the table to
me. ‘Grog,’ says he, ‘when you take it out of bond, mind you ask me to
dinner, and give me a bottle of it?’ But he’s gone, ‘toes up,’ and so
here’s to his memory.”

“‘Drunk in solemn silence,’ as the newspapers say,” broke in Paul, as he
drained his glass.

“Yes,” said Davis, eying the wine by the light, “that’s a tipple this
little inn here is not much accustomed to see under its roof; but if I
were to stay a little longer, I ‘d make something of this place. They
never heard of Harvey’s sauce, Chili vinegar, Caviare, Stilton; even
Bass and British gin were novelties when I came. There, as well as I can
make it up, you are a winner of fifteen naps; there they are.”

“Dear me, I fancied I stood safe to come off with a hundred!” said Paul,

“So you did, without counting the points; but you ‘ve lost five hundred
and sixty-four,--ay, and a right good thing you ‘ve made of it, Master
Paul. I ‘d like to know how long it is since you earned such a sum

Classon sighed heavily as he swept the cash into his pocket, and said,
“I’m unable to tell you; my memory grows worse every day.”

“When you go back to England, you can always brush it up by the Police
sheet,--that’s a comfort,” said Davis, with a savage laugh.

“And what will the noble Viscount have to spend yearly?” asked Classon,
to change the theme.

“Something between eight and ten thousand.”

“A snug thing, Kit,--a very snug thing indeed; and I take it that by
this time o’ day he knows the world pretty well.”

“No; nothing of the kind!” said Grog, bluntly; “he’s a fool, and must
stay a fool!”

“The more luck his, then, to have Christopher Davis for his

“I ‘ll tell you what’s better still, Holy Paul,--to have Lizzy Davis for
his wife. _You_ think she’s going to make a great match of it because
he’s the Lord Viscount and she is _my_ daughter; but _I_ tell you, and I
‘m ready to maintain it too, I never met the man yet was worthy of her.
There may be girls as handsome, though I never saw them,--there may be
others as clever, that I’m no judge of; but this I do know,--that for
pluck, real pluck, you ‘ll not find her equal in Europe. She’d never
have married him for his rank; no, if it was a dukedom he had to offer
her. She ‘d never have taken him for his fortune, if it had been ten
times the amount. No, she would n’t consent to it, even to take _me_ out
of my difficulties and set me all straight with the world, because she
fancied that by going on the stage, or some such trumpery, she could
have done that just as well. She’d not have had him for himself, for
she knows he’s a fool, just as well as I do. There was only one thing
I found she could n’t get over: it was the thought she _dare_ not marry
him; that to thrust herself into the station and rank _he_ occupied
would be to expose herself to insults that must crush her. It was by a
mere chance I discovered that this was a challenge she ‘d have rather
died than decline. It was for all the world like saying to myself,
‘Don’t you go into the ring there, Kit Davis; my Lords and the gentlemen
don’t like it.’ ‘Don’t they? Well, let’s see how they’ll take it, for I
_am_ a-going!’ It was _that_ stung her, Paul Classon. _She_ did n’t want
all those fine people; _she_ did n’t care a brass farthing about their
ways and their doings! _She_ ‘d not have thought it a hard lot in life
just to jog on as she is. She did n’t want to be called a countess, nor
live like one; but when it was hinted to her, that if she _did_ venture
amongst them, it would be to be driven back with shame and insult, then
her mind was made up at once. Not that she ever confessed as much to me;
no, I found out her secret by watching her closely. The day I told her I
forget what anecdote about some outrageous piece of insolence played off
on some new intruder into the titled class, she suddenly started as
if something had stung her, and her eyes glared like a tiger’s; then,
catching me by the hand, she said, ‘Don’t tell me these things; they
pain me more to hear than real, downright calamities!’ That was enough
for _me_. I saw her cards, Paul, and I played through them!”

Classon heaved a deep sigh, and was silent.

“What are you sighing over, Paul?” asked Davis, half morosely.

“I was just sorrowing to myself to think how little all her pluck will
avail her.”

“Stuff and nonsense, sir! It is the very thing to depend on in the

“Ay, if there were a struggle, Kit, but that is exactly what there will
not be. You, for instance, go into Brookes’s to-morrow, you have been
duly elected. It was a wet day, only a few at the ballot, and somehow
you got in. Well, you are, to all intents, as much a member as his Grace
there, or the noble Marquis. There’s no commotion, no stir when you
enter the room. The men at their newspapers look up, perhaps, but they
read away immediately with only increased attention; the group at the
window talks on too; the only thing noticeable is that nobody talks to
_you_. If you ask for the ‘Globe’ or the ‘Chronicle,’ when the reader
shall have finished, he politely hands it at once, and goes away.”

“If he did, I’d follow him--”

“What for?--to ask an explanation where there had been no offence?
To make yourself at once notorious in the worst of all possible ways?
There’s nothing so universally detested as the man that makes a ‘row;’
witness the horror all well-bred people feel at associating with
Americans, they’re never sure how it’s to end. Now, if all these
considerations have their weight with men, imagine how they mast be
regarded by women, fifty times more exacting as they are in all the
exigencies of station, and whose freemasonry is a hundred times more

“That’s all rot!” broke in Davis, his passion the more violent as the
arguments of the other seemed so difficult to answer. “You think to
puzzle _me_ by talking of all these grand people and their ways as if
they weren’t all men and women. That they are, and a rum lot, too, some
of them! Come,” cried Davis, suddenly, as though a happy thought had
just flashed across his mind, “it was the turn of a straw one day, by
your own account, that you were not a bishop. Now, I ‘d like to know, if
that lucky event had really taken place, wouldn’t you have been the same
Holy Paul Classon that sits there?”

“Perhaps not, entirely,” said Classon, in his oiliest of voices. “I
trust that I should, in ascending to that exalted station, have cast off
the slough of an inferior existence, and carried up little of my former
self except the friendships of my early years.”

“Do you fancy, Master Paul, that gammon like this can impose upon a man
of my sort?”

“My dear and worthy friend,” rejoined Classon, “the tone in which I
appeal to you is my tribute to your high ability. To an inferior man
I had spoken very different language. Sentiments are not the less
real that they are expressed with a certain embroidery, just as a Bank
post-bill would be very good value though a Choctaw Indian might deem it
a piece of waste-paper.”

“I ‘d like to see you try it on with Lizzy in this fashion,” said Davis.
“I don’t think even your friend the Choctaw Indian would save you.”

“I should be proud of even defeat at such hands!” exclaimed Paul,

“You ‘d have little to be proud of when she ‘d have done with you,”
 cried Grog, all his good-humor restored by the mere thought of his

“Have you spoken to his Lordship about what I mentioned?” said Paul,
half diffidently.

“No,” said Grog; “on reflection, I thought it better not. I ‘m sure,
besides, that there’s no Church preferment in his gift; and then,
Classon, he knows you, as who does not?”

“‘Quæ regio terræ non plena est?’ Ay, Grog, you and I have arrived at
what the world calls Fame.”

“Speak for yourself, sir; I acknowledge no partnership in the case. When
I have written letters, they have not been begging ones; and when I have
stretched out my hand, there was no pistol in the palm of it!”

“Very true, Kit; _I_ never had a soul above petty larceny, and _you_ had
a spirit that aspired to transportation for life.”

Davis bounded on his chair, and glowered with a fearful stare at the
speaker, who meanwhile drained the decanter into his glass with an
unmoved serenity.

“Don’t be angry, my ancient friend,” said he, blandly. “The cares
of friendship, like the skill of a surgeon, must often pain to be
serviceable. Happy let us call ourselves when no ruder hand wields the
probe or the bistoury!”

“Make an end of canting, I want to speak to you about matters of moment.
You will set out to-day, I hope.”

“Immediately after the marriage.”

“What road do you take?”

“Strasburg, Paris, Marseilles, whence direct to Constantinople by the
first steamer.”

“After that?”

“Across the Black Sea to Balaklava.”

“But when do you reach the Crimea?”

“Balaklava is _in_ the Crimea.”

Davis flushed scarlet. The reflection on his geography wounded him, and
he winced under it.

“Are you quite clear that you understand my instructions?” said he,

“I wish I was as sure of a deanery,” said Paul, smacking his lips over
the last glass.

“You can scarcely wish over-well to the Church, when you desire to be
one of its dignitaries,” said Davis, with a sarcastic grin.

“Why so, my worthy friend? There is a wise Scotch adage says, ‘It taks
a’ kind of folk to mak a warld;’ and so, various orders of men, with
gifts widely differing, if not discrepant, are advantageously assembled
into what we call corporations.”

“Nonsense,--bosh!” said Grog, impatiently. “If you have no better
command of common-sense where you are going, I have made a precious bad
choice of an agent.”

“See how men misconstrue their own natures!” exclaimed Classon, with a
sort of fervor. “If any one had asked me what gift I laid especial claim
to possess, I protest I should have said ‘common-sense;’ a little more
common-sense than any one else I ever met.”

“You are modest too.”

“Becomingly so, I hope and believe.”

“Have you any other remarkable traits that you might desire to record?”

“A few, and a very few,” said Paul, with a well-assumed air of humility.
“Nature has blessed me with the very best of tempers. I am never rash,
hasty, or impetuous; I accept the rubs of life with submission; I think
well of every one.”

“Do you, faith!” exclaimed Davis, with a scornful laugh.

“Knowing well that we are all slaves of circumstances, I take motives
where others demand actions, just as I would take a bill at three months
from him who has no cash. It may be paid, or it may not.”

“You’d have passed it ere it became due, eh, Master Paul?”

“Such is possible; I make no claims above human frailty.”

“Is sobriety amongst your other virtues?”

“I rarely transgress its limits, save when alone. It is in the solitary
retirement where I seek reflection that I occasionally indulge. There I
am, so to say, ‘Classo cum Classone.’ I offer no example to others,--I
shock no outward decorum. If the instinctive appreciation of my
character--which I highly possess--passes that of most men, I owe it to
those undisguised moments when I stand revealed to myself. Wine keeps no
secrets; and Paul Classon drunk appeals to Paul Classon sober. Believe
me, Kit, when I tell you no man knows half the excellent things in his
own heart till he has got tipsy by himself!”

“I wish I had never thought of you for this affair,” said Davis,

“Pitt made the same speech to Wolfe, and yet that young general
afterwards took Quebec.”

“What do I care about Wolfe or Quebec? I want a particular service that
a man of moderate brains and a firm purpose can accomplish.”

“And for which Paul Classon pledges himself with his head? Ay, Grog
Davis, that is my bond.”

“The day you come back to me with proof of success, I hand you five
hundred pounds.”


“Cash,--and more, if all be done to our entire satisfaction. _He_--”
 here he jerked up his thumb towards Beecher’s room--“_he_ sha’n’t forget

Paul closed his eyes, and muttered something to himself, ending with,
“And ‘five pounds for the Cruelty to Animals,--from the Reverend Paul
Classon.’ I shall be in funds for them all.”

“Ah, Kit!” said he at last, with a deep-drawn sigh, “what slaves are
we all, and to the meanest accidents too,--the veriest trifles of our
existence. Ask yourself, I beseech you, what is it that continually
opposes your progress in life,--what is your rock ahead? Your name!
nothing but your name!--call yourself Jones, Wilkins, Simpson, Watkins,
and see what an expansion it will give your naturally fine faculties.
Nobody will dare to assert that you or I are the same men we were
five-and-twenty or thirty years ago, and yet _you_ must be Davis and _I_
must be Classon, whether we will or not. I call this hard,--very hard

“Would it be any benefit to me if I could call myself Paul Classon?”
 said Grog, with an insolent grin.

“It is not for the saintly man who bears that name to speak boastfully
of its responsibilities--”

“In bills of exchange, I O U’s, promissory notes, and so forth,” laughed
in Grog.

“I have, I own, done a little in these ways; but what gifted man ever
lived who has not at some time or other committed his sorrows to paper.
The misfortune in my case was that it was stamped.”

“Do you know, Holy Paul, I think you are the greatest ‘hemp’ I ever

“No, Kit, don’t say so,--don’t, my dear and valued friend; these words
give me deep pain.”

“I do say it, and I maintain it!”

“What good Company you must have kept through life, then!”

“The worst of any man in England. And yet,” resumed he, after a pause,
“I ‘m positively ashamed to think that my daughter should be married by
the Reverend Paul Classon.”

“A prejudice, my dear and respected friend,--a prejudice quite beneath
your enlarged and gifted understanding! Will it much signify to you
if he, who one of these days shall say, ‘The sentence of this court,
Christopher Davis, is transportation beyond the seas,’ be a Justice of
the Common Pleas or a Baron of the Exchequer? No, no, Kit; it is only
your vain, conceited people who fancy that they are not hanged if it was
n’t Calcraft tied the noose!”

More than once did Davis change color at this speech, whose
illustrations were selected with special intention and malice.

“Here ‘s daybreak already!” cried Grog, throwing open the window, and
admitting the pinkish light of an early dawn, and the fresh sharp air of

“It’s chilly enough too,” said Classon, shivering, as he emptied the gin
into his glass.

“I think you ‘ve had enough already,” said Grog, rudely, as he flung
both tumbler and its contents out of the window. “Go, have a wash, and
make yourself a little decent-looking; one would imagine, to see you,
you had passed your night in the ‘lock-up’!”

“When you see me next, you ‘ll fancy I ‘m an archdeacon.” So saying, and
guiding himself by the chairs, Paul Classon left the room.

With a quiet step, and firm, neither “overtaken” by liquor nor fatigued
by the night’s debauch, Davis hastened to his chamber. So long as he was
occupied with the cares of dressing, his features betrayed no unusual
anxiety; he did, indeed, endeavor to attire himself with more than
ordinary care; and one cravat after another did he fling on the floor,
where a number of embroidered vests were already lying. At length the
toilet was completed, and Grog surveyed himself in the large glass, and
was satisfied. He knew he didn’t look like Annesley Beecher and that
“lot,” still less did he resemble the old “swells” of Brookes’s and
the Carlton; but he thought there was something military, something
sporting,--a dash of the “nag,” with “Newmarket,”--about him, that might
pass muster anywhere! “At all events, Lizzy won’t be ashamed of me,”
 muttered he to himself. “Poor, poor Lizzy!” added he, in a broken tone;
and he sank down into a chair, and leaned his head on the table.

A gentle tap came to the door. “Come in,” said he, without raising his
head; and she entered.

As the rich robe of silk rustled across the floor, he never raised his
head; nor even when, bending over, she threw an arm around his neck and
kissed his forehead, did he stir or move.

“I want you to look at me, dearest papa,” said she, softly.

“My poor Lizzy,--my own dear Lizzy!” murmured he, half indistinctly;
then, starting suddenly up, he cried aloud, “Good heavens! is it worth
all this--”

“No, indeed, papa,” burst she in; “it is _not_--it is _not_ worth it!”

“What do you mean?” asked he, abruptly. “What were you thinking of?”

“It was _your_ thoughts I was following out,” said she, drearily.

“How handsome,--how beautiful you are, girl!” exclaimed he, as, holding
both her hands, he surveyed her at full length. “Is this Brussels lace?”

She nodded assent

“And what do you call these buttons?”

“They are opals.”

“How it all becomes you, girl! I’d never like to see you less smartly
dressed! And now.--and now I am to lose you!” And he fell upon her neck,
and clasped her fondly to his heart.

“Oh, my dear father, if you knew--” She could not continue.

“And don’t I know!” broke he in. “Do you think that all my hard, bad
experience of life has left me so bereft of feeling! But I ‘ll tell you
another thing I know, Lizzy,” said he, in a deep, calm voice; “that what
we fancy must break our hearts to do we can bear, and bear patiently,
and, what’s more, so learn to conform to, that after a few years of life
we wonder that we ever thought them hardships!”

“We do not change so much without heavy suffering!” said she,

“That is possible too,” said he, sighing. Then, suddenly rallying, he
said, “You’ll write to me often, very often, Lizzy; I ‘ll want to hear
how you get on with these great folk; not that I fear anything, only
this, girl, that their jealousy will stimulate their rancor. You are so
handsome, girl! so handsome!”

“I ‘m glad of it,” said she, with an air of proud exultation.

“Who’s there?” cried Davis, impatiently, as a sharp knock came to the
door. It was the Reverend Paul come to borrow a white neckcloth, none of
his own being sufficiently imposing for such an occasion.

“I am scarcely presentable, Miss Davis. I am sure I address Miss Davis,”
 said he, pushing into the room, and bowing ceremoniously at each step.
“There can be but only one so eminently beautiful!”

“There, take what you want, and be off!” cried Davis, rudely.

“Your father usurps all the privileges of long friendship, and emboldens
me to claim some, too, my dear young lady. Let me kiss the fairest hand
in Christendom.” And with a reverential homage all his own, Paul bent
down and touched her hand with his lips.

“This is the Reverend Paul Classon, Lizzy,” said Davis,--“a great
dignitary of the Church, and an old schoolfellow of mine.”

“I am always happy to know a friend of my father’s,” said she, smiling
gracefully. “You have only just arrived?”

“This moment!” said he, with a glance towards Grog.

“There, away with you, and finish your dressing,” broke in Davis,
angrily; “I see it is nigh seven o’clock.”

“Past seven, rather; and the company assembled below stairs, and Mr.
Beecher--for I presume it must be he--pacing the little terrace in all
the impatience of a bride-groom. Miss Davis, your servant.” And with a
bow of deep reverence Paul retired.

“There were so many things running in my mind to say to you, Lizzy,”
 said Davis, “when that Classon came in.” It was very hard for him not to
add an epithet; but he _did_ escape that peril.

“I own, papa, he did not impress me very favorably.”

“He’s a first-rate man, a great scholar, a regular don amongst the
shovel-hats,” said Grog, hastily; “that man was within an ace of being a
bishop. But it was not of _him_ my head was full, girl. I wanted to talk
to you about Beecher and that haughty sister-in-law of his. _She_ ‘ll
‘try-it on’ with you, Lizzy; I ‘m sure she will!”

“Dearest papa, how often have you told me that in preparing for the
accidents of life we but often exaggerate their importance. I’ll not
anticipate evil.”

“Here’s Beecher!--here he is!” cried Davis, as he clasped her once more
to his heart; and then, opening the door, led her down the stairs.

There was a full assemblage of all the folk of the little inn, and the
room was crowded. The landlord and his wife, and four buxom daughters
and two sons, were there; and a dapper waiter, with very tight-fitting
trousers, and a housemaid, and three farm-servants, all with big
bouquets in their hands and huge bows of white ribbon on their breasts;
and Mademoiselle Annette, Lizzy’s maid, in a lilac, silk and a white
crape bonnet; and Peters, Beecher’s man, in a most accurate blue frock,
except his master, looking far more like a gentleman than any one there.

As for Annesley Beecher, no man ever more accurately understood how
to “costume” for every circumstance in life; and whether you saw him
lounging over the rail in Rotten Row, strolling through the Park at
Richmond, sunning himself at Cowes, or yawning through a wet day in a
country-house, his “get-up” was sure to be faultless. Hundreds tried in
vain to catch the inimitable curl of his hat, the unattainable sweep of
his waistcoat-collar; and then there were shades and tones of his color
about him that were especially his own. Of course, I am not about to
describe his appearance on this morning; it is enough if I say that he
bestowed every care upon it, and succeeded. And Paul,--Holy Paul,--how
blandly imposing, how unctuously serene he looked! Marriage was truly
a benediction at such hands. He faltered a little, his dulcet accents
trembled with a modest reluctance, as he asked, “‘Wilt thou take--this
woman--’” Could he have changed the Liturgy for the occasion, he had
said, “this angel;” as it was, his voice compensated for the syllables,
and the question was breathed out like air from the Garden of Eden.

And so they were married; and there was a grand breakfast, where all the
household were assembled, and where Paul Classon made a most effective
little speech to “the health of the bride,” interpolating his English
and German with a tact all his own; and then they drove away with four
posters, with all the noise and whip-cracking, the sighs and smiles and
last good-byes, just as if the scene had been Hanover Square, and the
High Priest a Canon of Westminster!


A telegram, duly despatched, had prepared the hotel of the Cour de Bade
for the arrival of the Honorable Annesley and Mrs. Beecher; and when
the well-appointed travelling-carriage came clattering into the
_porte-cochère_ at nightfall, there was a dress parade of landlord and
waiters ready to receive them.

It was a very long time since Beecher had felt the self-importance of
being deemed rich. For many a year back life had been but a series of
struggles, and it was a very delightful sensation to him to witness once
more all the ready homage, all the obsequious attention which are only
rendered to affluence. Herr Bauer had got the despatch just in time to
keep his handsomest suite of rooms for him; indeed, he had “sent away
the Margraf of Schweinerhausen, who wanted them.” This was gratifying;
and, limited as Beecher’s German was, he could catch the muttered
exclamations of “Ach Grott, wie schön!” “Wie leiblich!” as his beautiful
wife passed up the stairs; and this, too, pleased him. In fact, his
was just then the glorious mood that comes once in a lifetime to the
luckiest of us,--to be charmed with everything.

To enjoy the sunshine one must have sojourned in shadow; and, certainly,
prosperity is never so entrancing as after some experience of its
opposite, and Beecher was never wearied of admiring the splendor of the
apartment, the wonderful promptitude of the waiters, and the excellence
of everything. It must be owned the dinner was in Bauer’s best
style,--the bisque, the raebraten, the pheasant, all that could be
wished for; and when the imposing host himself uncorked a precious flask
of a “Cabinet Steinberger,” Beecher felt it was a very charming world
when one had only got to the sunny side of it. Mr. Bauer--a politeness
rarely accorded, save to the highest rank--directed the service in
person, and vouchsafed to be agreeable during the repast.

“And so your season was a good one, Bauer?” said Beecher.

“Reasonably so, your Excellency. We had the King of Wurtemberg, the
Queen of Greece, a couple of archdukes, and a crown prince of
something far north,--second rate ones all, but good people, and easily

Beecher gave a significant glance towards Lizzy, and went on: “And who
were your English visitors?”

“The old set, your Excellency: the Duke of Middleton, Lord Headlam and
his four daughters, Sir Hipsley Keyling, to break the bank, as usual--”

“And did he?”

“No, Excellency; it broke _him_.”

“Poor devil! it ain’t so easy to get to windward of those fellows,
Bauer; they are too many for us, eh?” said Beecher, chuckling with the
consciousness that _he_ had the key to that mysterious secret.

“Well, Excellency, there’s nobody ever does it but one, so long as I
have known Baden.”

“And who is he, pray?”

“Mr. Twining,--Adderley Twining, sir; that’s the man can just win what
and when and how he pleases.”

“Don’t tell _me_ that, Bauer; _he_ has n’t got the secret. If Twining
wins, it ‘s chance,--mere chance, just as you might win.”

“It may be so, your Excellency.”

“I tell you, Bauer,--I know it as a _fact_,--there’s just one man in
Europe has the martingale, and here’s to his health.”

Mr. Bauer was too well skilled in his calling not to guess in whose
honor the glass was drained, and smiled a gracious recognition of the

“And your pretty people, Herr Bauer,” broke in Lizzy,--“who were your
great beauties this season?”

“We had nothing remarkable, Madame,” said he, bowing.

“No, Master Bauer,” broke in Beecher; “for the luck and the good looks I
suspect you should have gone somewhere else this summer.”

Bauer bowed his very deepest acknowledgment. Too conscious of what
became him in his station to hazard a flattery in words, he was yet
courtier enough to convey his admiration by a look of most meaning

“I conclude that the season is nigh over,” said Lizzy, half languidly,
as she looked out on the moonlit promenade, where a few loungers were

“Yes, Madame; another week will close the rooms. All are hastening away
to their winter quarters,--Rome, Paris, or Vienna.”

“How strange it is, all this life of change!” said Lizzy, thoughtfully.

“It is not what it seems,” said Beecher; “for the same people are always
meeting again and again, now in Italy, now in England. Ah! I see the
Cursaal is being lighted up. How jolly it looks through the trees! Look
yonder, Lizzy, where all the lamps are glittering. Many a sad night it
cost me, gay as it appears.”

Mr. Bauer withdrew as the dessert was placed on the table, and they were

“Rich fellow that Bauer,” said Beecher; “he lends more money than any
Jew in Frankfort. I wonder whether I could n’t tempt him to advance me a
few hundreds?”

“Do you want money, then?” asked she, unsuspectingly.

“Want it? No, not exactly, except that every one wants it; people always
find a way to spend all they can lay their hands on.”

“I don’t call that wanting it,” said she, half coldly.

“Play me something, Lizzy, here’s a piano; that Sicilian song,--and sing
it.” He held out his hand to lead her to the piano, but she only drew
her shawl more closely around her, and never moved. “Or, if you like
better, that Styrian dance,” continued he.

“I am not in the humor,” said she, calmly.

“Not in the humor? Well, be in the humor. I was never in better spirits
in my life. I would n’t change with Davis when he won the Czarewitch.
Such a dinner as old Bauer gave us, and such wine! and then this coffee,
not to speak of the company,--eh, Lizzy?”

“Yes, Mr. Bauer was most agreeable.”

“I was n’t talking of Mr. Bauer, _ma chère_, I was thinking of some one

“I did n’t know,” said she, with a half-weary sigh.

Beecher’s cheek flushed up, and he walked to the window and looked out;
meanwhile she took up a book and began to read. Along the alley beneath
the window troops of people now passed towards the rooms. The hour of
play had sounded, and the swell of the band could be heard from the
space in front of the Cursaal. As his eyes followed the various
groups ascending the steps and disappearing within the building, his
imagination pictured the scene inside.

There was always a kind of rush to the tables on the last few nights of
the season. It was a sort of gamblers’ theory that they were “lucky,”
 and Beecher began to con over to himself all the fortunate fellows who
had broken the bank in the last week of a season. “I told old Grog I ‘d
not go,” muttered he; “I pledged myself I’d not enter the rooms; but, of
course, that meant I ‘d not play,--it never contemplated mere looking in
and seeing who was there: rather too hard if I were not to amuse myself,
particularly when”--here he turned a glance towards Lizzy--“I don’t
perceive any very great desire to make the evening pass pleasantly here.
Ain’t you going to sing?” asked he, half angrily.

“If you wish it,” said she, coldly.

“Nor play?” continued he, as though not hearing her reply.

“If you desire it,” said she, rising, and taking her place at the piano.

He muttered something, and she began. Her fingers at first strayed
in half-careless chords over the instrument; and then, imperceptibly,
struck out into a wild, plaintive melody of singular feeling and
pathos,--one of those Hungarian airs which, more than any other national
music, seem to dispense with words for their expression.

Beecher listened for a few moments, and then, muttering indignantly
below his breath, he left the room, banging the door as he went out.
Lizzy did not seem to have noticed his departure, but played on, air
succeeding air, of the same character and sentiment; but at last she
leaned her head upon the instrument and fell into a deep revery.
The pale moonlight, as it lay upon the polished floor, was not more
motionless. Beecher, meanwhile, had issued forth into the street,
crossed the little rustic bridge, and held his way towards the Cursaal.
His humor was not an enviable nor an amiable one. It was such a mood as
makes a courageous man very dangerous company, but fills an individual
of the Beecher type with all that can be imagined of suspicion and
distrust. Every thought that crossed his mind was a doubt of somebody or
something. He had been duped, cheated, “done,” he did n’t exactly know
when, how, or by whom, with what object, or to what extent. But the fact
was so. He entered the rooms and walked towards the play-table. There
were many of the old faces he remembered to have seen years ago. He
exchanged bows and recognitions with several foreigners whose names he
had forgotten, and acknowledged suitably the polite obeisance of the
croupiers, as they rose to salute him. It was an interesting moment as
he entered, and the whole table were intently watching the game of one
player, whose single Louis d’or had gone on doubling with each deal,
till it had swelled into a sum that formed the limit of the bank. Even
the croupiers, models as they are of impassive serenity, showed a touch
of human sentiment as the deal began, and seemed to feel that they were
in presence of one who stood higher in Fortune’s favor than themselves.

“Won again!” cried out a number of voices; “the thirteenth pass! Who
ever saw the like? It is fabulous, monstrous!” Amid the din of incessant
commentaries, few of them uttered in the tone of felicitation, a very
tall man stretched his arm towards the table, and began to gather in the
gold, saying, in a pleasant but hurried voice: “A thousand pardons. I
hope you ‘ll excuse me; would n’t inconvenience you for worlds. I
think you said”--this was to the banker--“I think you said thirty-eight
thousand francs in all; thank you, extremely obliged; a very great run
of luck, indeed,--never saw the like before. Would you kindly exchange
that note, it is a Frankfort one; quite distressed to give you the
trouble; infinitely grateful;” and, bashfully sweeping the glittering
coins into his hat, as if ashamed to have interrupted the game,
he retired to a side table to count over his winnings. He had just
completed a little avenue of gold columns, muttering to himself little
congratulations, interspersed with “What fun!” when Beecher, stepping
up, accosted him. “The old story, Twining! I never heard nor read of a
fellow with such luck as yours!”

[Illustration: 311]

“Oh, very good luck, capital luck!” cried Twining, rubbing his lean
hands, and then slapping them against his leaner legs. “As your
Lordship observes, I do occasionally win; not always, not always,
but occasionally. Charmed to see you here,--delighted,--what fun!
Late,--somewhat late in the season,--but still lovely weather. Your
Lordship only just arrived, I suppose?”

“I see you don’t remember me, Twining,” said Beecher, smiling, and
rather amused to mark how completely his good fortune had absorbed his

“Impossible, my Lord-!--never forget a face,--never!”

“Pardon me if I must correct you this once; but it is quite clear you
_have_ forgotten me. Come, for whom do you take me?”

“Take you, my Lord,--take you? Quite shocked if I could make a blunder;
but really, I feel certain I am speaking with Lord Lackington.”

“There, I knew it!” cried Beecher, laughing out “I knew it, though, by
Jove! I was not quite prepared to hear that I looked so old. You know
he’s about eighteen years my senior.”

“So he was, my Lord,--so he was,” said Twining, gathering up his gold.
“And for a moment, I own, I was disposed to distrust my eyes, not seeing
your Lordship in mourning.”

“In mourning? and for whom?”

“For the late Viscount, your Lordship’s brother!”

“Lackington! Is Lackington dead?”

“Why, it’s not possible your Lordship hasn’t heard it? It cannot be
that your letters have not brought you the tidings? It happened six--ay,
seven weeks ago; and I know that her Ladyship wrote, urgently entreating
you to come out to Italy.” Twining continued to detail, in his own
peculiar and fitful style, various circumstances about Lord Lackington’s
last illness. But Beecher never heard a word of it, but stood stunned
and stupefied by the news. It would be too tangled a web were we to
inquire into the complicated and confused emotions which then swayed his
heart. The immense change in his own fortunes, his sudden accession to
rank, wealth, and station, came, accompanied by traits of brotherly love
and affection bestowed on him long, long ago, when he was a Harrow boy,
and “Lack” came down to see him; and then, in after life, the many
kind things he had done for him,--helping him out of this or that
difficulty,--services little estimated at the time, but now remembered
with more than mere gratitude. “Poor Lackington! and that I should not
haver been with you!” muttered he; and then, as if the very words had
set another chord in vibration, he started as he thought that he had
been duped. Davis knew it all; Davis had intercepted the letters. It was
for this he had detained him weeks long in the lonely isolation of that
Rhenish village. It was for this his whole manner had undergone such a
marked change to him. Hence the trustfulness with which he burned the
forged acceptances; the liberality with which he supplied him with
money, and then--the marriage! “How they have done me!” cried he, in
an agony of bitterness,--“how they have done me! The whole thing was
concerted,--a plant from the very beginning; and _she_ was in it!” While
he thus continued to mutter to himself imprecations upon his own folly,
Twining led him away, and imperceptibly induced him to stroll along one
of the unfrequented alleys. At first Beecher’s questions were all
about his brother’s illness,--how it began, what they called it, how it
progressed. Then he asked after his sister-in-law,--where she then was,
and how. By degrees he adverted to Lackington’s affairs; his will,--what
he had left, and to whom. Twining was one of the executors, and
could tell him everything. The Viscount had provided handsomely, not
extravagantly, for his widow, and left everything to his brother! “Poor
Lackington, I knew he loved me always!” Twining entered into a somewhat
complicated narrative of a purchase the late Viscount had made, or
intended to make, in Ireland,--an encumbered estate,--but Beecher paid
no attention to the narrative. All his thoughts were centred upon his
own position, and how Davis had done him.

“Where could you have been, my Lord, all that time, not to have heard of
this?” asked Twining.

“I was in Germany, in Nassau. I was fishing amongst the mountains,” said
the other, in confusion.

“Fishing?--great fun, capital fun; like it immensely,--no expense,
rods and hooks,--rods and hooks; not like hunting,--hunting perfectly
ruinous,--I mean for men like myself, not, of course, for your

“Poor Lackington!” muttered Beecher, half unconsciously.

“Ah!” sighed Twining, sympathetically.

“I was actually on my way out to visit him, but one thing or another
occurred to delay me!”

“How unfortunate, my Lord; and, really, his anxieties about _you_ were
unceasing. You have not to be told of the importance he attached to the
title and name of your house! He was always saying, ‘If Beecher were
only married! If we could find a wife for Annesley--’”

“A wife!” exclaimed the other, suddenly.

“Yes, my Lord, a wife; excellent thing, marriage,--capital thing,--great

“But it’s done, sir; I ‘m booked!” cried Beecher, vehemently. “I was
married on Sunday last.”

“Wish your Lordship every imaginable joy. I offer my felicitations on
the happy event Is the Viscountess here?”

“She _is_ here,” said Beecher, with a dogged sternness.

“May I ask the name of Lady Lackington’s family?” said Twining,

“Name,--name of her family!” echoed Beecher, with a scornful laugh.
Then, suddenly stopping, he drew his arm within Twining’s, and in the
low voice of a secret confidence, said, “You know the world as well
as most men,--a deal better, I should say; now, can you tell me, is a
marriage of this kind binding?”

“What kind of marriage do you mean?”

“Why, a private marriage in an inn, without banns, license, or
publication of any kind, the ceremony performed by a fellow I suspect
is a degraded parson,--at least, I used to hear he was ‘scratched’ years

“Paul Classon,--Holy Paul?--clever fellow, very ingenious. Tried to walk
into me once for a subscription to convert the Mandans Indians,--did n’t
succeed,--what fun!”

“Surely no ministration of his can mean much, eh?”

“Afraid it does, my Lord; as your late brother used to observe, marriage
is one of those bonds in which even a rotten string is enough to
bind us. Otherwise, I half suspect some of us would try to slip our
cables,--slip our cables and get away! What fun, my Lord,--what fun!”

“I don’t believe such a marriage is worth a rush,” went on Beecher, in
that tone of affirmation by which he often stimulated his craven heart
to feel a mock confidence. “At least, of this I am certain, there are
five hundred fellows in England would find out a way to smash it.”

“And do you want to ‘cryoff my Lord?” asked Twining, abruptly.

“I might, or I might not; that depends. You see, Twining, there’s
rather a wide line of country between Annesley Beecher with nothing, and
Viscount Lackington with a snug little estate; and if I had only known,
last Sunday morning, that I was qualified to run for a cup I’d scarcely
have entered for a hack stakes.”

“But then, you are to remember her connections.”

“Connections!” laughed out Beecher, scornfully.

“Well, family,--friends; in short, she may have brothers,--a father?”

“She _has_ a father, by Jove!--she _has_ a father!”

“May I be so bold as to ask--”

“Oh, you know him well!--all the world knows him, for the matter of
that. What do you say to Kit Davis,--Grog!”

“Grog Davis, my Lord?--Grog Davis!”

“Just so,” said Beecher, lighting a cigar with an affected composure he
intended to pass off for great courage.

“Grog--Grog--Grog!--wonderful fellow! astonishing fellow! up to
everything! and very amusing! I must say, my Lord,--I must say, your
Lordship’s father-in-law is a very remarkable man.”

“I rather suspect he is, Twining.”

“Under the circumstances,--the actual circumstances, I should say, my
Lord, keep your engagement,--keep your engagement.”

“I understand you, Twining; you don’t fancy Master Grog. Well, I know an
opinion of that kind is abroad. Many people are afraid of him; _I_ never
was,--eh?” The last little interrogative was evoked by a strange smile
that flickered across Twining’s face. “You suspect that I _am_ afraid of
him, Twining; now, why should I?”

“Can’t possibly conceive, my Lord,--cannot imagine a reason.”

“He is what is called a dangerous fellow.”

“Very dangerous.”


“To the last. Never abandons a pursuit, they tell me.”

“But we live in an age of civilization, Twining. Men of his stamp can’t
take the law in their own hands.”

“I ‘m afraid that is exactly the very thing they do, my Lord; they
contrive always to be in the wrong, and consequently have everything
their own way;” and so Mr. Twining rubbed his hands, slapped his legs,
and laughed away very pleasantly.

“You are rather a Job’s comforter, Twining,” said Beecher, tartly.

“Not very like Job, your Lordship; very little resemblance, I must say,
my Lord! Much more occasion for pride than patience,--peerage and a fine

“I ‘m sure I never coveted it; I can frankly say I never desired
prosperity at the price of--the price of--By the way, Twining, why
not compromise this affair? I don’t see why a handsome sum--I’m quite
willing it should be handsome--would n’t put all straight. A clever
friend might be able to arrange the whole thing. Don’t you agree with

“Perfectly, my Lord; quite convinced you have taken the correct view.”

“Should you feel any objection to act for me in the matter,--I mean, to
see Davis?”

Twining winced like a man in pain.

“Why, after all, it is a mere negotiation.”

“Very true, my Lord.”

“A mere experiment.”

“Just so, my Lord; so is proving a new cannon; but I’d just as soon not
sit on the breech for the first fire.”

“It’s wonderful how every one is afraid of this fellow, and _I_ wind him
round my finger!”

“Tact, my Lord,--tact and cleverness, that’s it.”

“You see, Twining,” said Beecher, confidentially, “I’m not quite clear
that I ‘d like to be off. I have n’t regularly made up my mind about it.
There’s a good deal to be said on either side of the question. I’ll tell
you what to do: come and breakfast with us to-morrow morning,--I ‘d say
dine, but I mean to get away early and push on towards the South; you
shall see her, and then--and then we ‘ll have a talk afterwards.”

“Charmed, my Lord,--delighted,--too happy. What ‘s your hour?”

“Let us say eleven. Does that suit you?”

“Perfectly; any hour,--eleven, twelve, one,--whenever your Lordship

“Well, good-night, Twining, good-night.”

“Good-night, my Lord, good-night. What fun!” muttered he, slapping his
legs as he stepped out to his lodgings.

It was not till he had smoked his fourth cigar, taking counsel from his
tobacco, as was his wont, that the new Viscount returned to his hotel.
It was then nigh morning, and the house was so buried in sleep that he
knocked full half an hour before he gained admittance.

“There’s a gentleman arrived, sir, who asked after you. He didn’t give
his name.”

“What is he like,--old, young, short, or tall?”

“Middle-aged, sir, and short, with red beard and moustaches. He drank
tea with the lady upstairs, sir, and waited to see you till nigh two

“Oh, I know him,” muttered Beecher, and passed on. When he reached
his dressing-room, he found the table covered with a mass of letters
addressed to Lord Viscount Lackington, and scrawled over with postmarks;
but a card, with the following few words, more strongly engaged his
attention: “It’s all right, you are the Viscount--C. D.”

A deep groan burst from Beecher as he dropped the card and sank heavily
into a seat. A long, long time slipped over ere he could open the letters
and examine their contents. They were almost all from lawyers and men of
business, explanation of formalities to be gone through, legal details
to be completed, with here and there respectful entreaties to be
continued in this or that agency. A very bulky one was entirely occupied
with a narrative of the menaced suit on the title, and a list of
the papers which would be hereafter required for the defence. It was
vexatious to be told of a rebellion ere he had yet seated himself on the
throne; and so he tossed the ungracious document to the end of the room,
his mood the very reverse of that he had so long pictured to himself it
might be.

“I suppose it’s all great luck!” muttered he to himself; “but up to this
I see no end of difficulty and trouble.”


Beecher had scarcely dropped off to sleep when he was awoke by a heavy,
firm tread in the room; he started up, and saw it was Davis.

“How is the noble Viscount?” said Grog, drawing a chair and seating
himself. “I came over here post haste when I got the news.”

“Have you told her?” asked Beecher, eagerly.

“Told her! I should think I have. Was it not for the pleasure of that
moment that I came here,--here, where they could arrest me this instant
and send me off to the fortress of Rastadt? I shot an Austrian officer
in the garrison there four years ago.”

“I heard of it,” groaned Beecher, from the utmost depth of his heart “So
that she knows it all?”

“She knows that you are a peer of England, and that she is a peeress.”

Beecher looked at the man as he spoke, and never before did he appear
to him so insufferably insolent and vulgar. Traits which he had in part
forgotten or overlooked now came out in full force, and he saw him in
all the breadth of his coarseness. As if he had read what was passing in
Beecher’s mind, Davis stared fully at him, resolute and defiant.

“I suppose,” resumed Grog, “it was a pleasure you had reserved for
yourself to inform her Ladyship of her step in rank, but I thought she’d
just like to hear the news as well from her father.”

Beecher made no answer, but sat buried in thought; at last he said: “Mr.
Twining, whom I met accidentally last night, told me of my brother’s
death, and told me, besides, that it had occurred fully eight weeks

“So long as that!” said Davis, dryly.

“Yes, so long as that,” said Beecher, fixing his eyes steadfastly on
the other. “He tells me, too, that Lady Lackington wrote twice, or even
thrice, to urge me to come on to Italy; that my arrival was looked for
hourly. Many other letters were also sent after me, but not one reached
my hand. Strange, very strange!”

“I suppose you have them all there now,” said Grog, defiantly, as he
pointed to the mass of letters on the dressing-table.

“No, these are all of recent dates, and refer, besides, to others which
I have never got.”

“What has become of the others, then?” asked Grog, resolutely.

“That’s the very point _I_ cannot decide, and it is the very question I
was about to ask of _you_.”

“What do you mean?” said Grog, calmly.

“What I mean is this,” said Beecher, “that I am curious to learn how
long it is since you knew of my brother’s death?”

“If you ‘d like to hear when I suspected that fact, perhaps I can tell
you,” said Grog.

“Well, let me hear so much.”

“It was shortly after your arrival at Holbach.”

“Ah! I thought so--I thought as much!” cried Beecher triumphantly.

“Wait a bit,--wait a bit; don’t be sure you have won the game, I ‘ve a
card in my hand yet. When you endorsed certain large bills for Lazarus
Stein at Aix, you signed your name ‘Lackington.’ Oh, there’s no denying
it, I have them here in this pocket-book. Now, either your brother was
dead, or you committed a forgery.”

“You know well, sir,” said Beecher, haughtily, “at whose instance and
persuasion I wrote myself Lackington.’”

“_I_ know it! I know nothing about it. But before we carry this
controversy further, let me give you a hint: drop this haughty tone you
have just taken with me,--it won’t do,--I tell you it won’t. If you ‘re
the Lord Viscount to the world, you know deuced well what you are to me,
and what, if you push me to it, I could make you to _them_.”

“Captain Davis, I am inclined to think that we had better come to an
understanding at once,” said Beecher, with a degree of firmness he could
rarely assume. “Our relations cannot be what they have hitherto been. I
will no longer submit to dictation nor control at your hands. Our roads
in life lie in opposite directions; we need seldom to meet, never to
cross each other. If Lady Lackington accepts the same view of these
matters as myself, well; if not, it will not be difficult to suggest an
arrangement satisfactory to each of us.”

“And so you think to come the noble Lord over me, do you?” said Grog,
with an irony perfectly savage in look and tone. “I always knew you
were a fool, but that you could carry your stupid folly that far I
never imagined. You want to tell me--if you had the pluck you would tell
me--that you are ashamed of having married _my_ daughter, and I tell
_you_ that out of your whole worthless, wretched, unmanly life, it is
the one sole redeeming action. That _she_ stooped to marry _you_ is
another matter,--she that, at this very moment, confers more honor upon
your rank than it can ever bestow upon _her!_ Ay! start if you will, but
don’t sneer; for if you do, by the eternal Heaven above us, it will be
the last laugh you ‘ll ever indulge in!” A sudden movement of his hand
towards the breast of his coat gave such significance to the words that
Beecher sprang from his seat and approached the bell-rope. “Sit down
there,--there, in that chair,” cried Grog, in the thickened accents of
passion. “I have n’t done with you. If you call a servant into the room,
I’ ll fling _you_ out of the window. If you imagined, when I burned your
forged acceptances, that I had n’t another evidence against you stronger
than all, you mistook Kit Davis. What! did you think to measure
yourself against _me?_ Nature never meant you for that, my Lord

If Davis was carried away by the impetuosity of his savage temper in all
this, anger never disabled him from keenly watching Beecher and scanning
every line in his face. To his amazement, therefore, did he remark that
he no longer exhibited the same extent of fear he had hitherto done. No,
he was calmer and more collected than Grog had ever seen him in a moment
of trial.

“When your passion has blown over,” said Beecher, quietly, “you will
perhaps tell me what it is you want or require of me.”

“Want of you,--want of you!” reiterated Davis, more abashed by the
other’s demeanor than he dared to confess, even to himself,--“what can
_I_ want of you? or, if I do want anything, it is that you will remember
who you are, and who am I. It is not to remember that you are a Lord,
and I a leg,--it is not that I mean,--you ‘re not very like to forget
it; it is to call to mind that I have the same grip of you I have
had any day these ten years, and that I could show up the Viscount
Lackington just as easily as the Honorable Annesley Beecher.”

If Beecher’s cheek grew paler, it was only for a moment, and, with an
amount of calm dignity of which Grog had not believed him capable, he

“There’s not any use in your employing this language towards
me,--there’s not the slightest necessity for me to listen to it. I
conclude, after what has passed between us, we cannot be friends:
there’s no need, however, of our being enemies.”

“Which means, ‘I wish you a very good-morning, Kit Davis,’ don’t it?”
 said Grog, with a grin.

Beecher gave a smile that might imply anything.

“Ah! so that’s it?” cried Davis, endeavoring, by any means, to provoke a

Beecher made no answer, but proceeded in most leisurely style with his
dressing. #

“Well, that’s candid, anyhow,” said Grog, sternly. “Now, I ‘ll be as
frank with _you_: I thought a few days back that I ‘d done rather a good
thing of it, but I find that I backed the wrong horse after all. You are
the Viscount, now, but you won’t be so this day six months.”

Beecher turned his head round, and gave a smile of the most insolent

“Ay, I know you’ll not believe it, because it is I that tell you; but
there came out a fellow from Fordyce’s with the same story, and when you
open your letters you ‘ll see it again.”

Beecher’s courage now deserted him, and the chair on which he leaned
shook under his grasp.

“Here’s how it is,” said Grog, in a calm, deliberate tone: “Dunn--that
same fellow we called on one day together--has fallen upon a paper--a
title, or a patent, or a writ, or something--that shows you have no
claim to the Viscounty, and that it ought to go, along with the estates,
to some man who represents the elder branch. Now Dunn, it seems, was
some way deep with your brother. He had been buying land for him,
and not paying, or paying the money and not getting the land,--at all
events, he was n’t on the square with him; and seeing that you might
probably bring him to book, he just says, ‘Don’t go into accounts with
me, and here’s your title; give me any trouble, and I ‘ll go over to the

“But there can be no such document.”

“Fordyce’s people say there is. Hankes, Dunn’s own agent, told them the
substance of it; and it seems it was on the list of proofs, but they
never could lay a hand on it.”

Beecher heard no more, but taking up the lawyer’s letter, which he had
thrown so indignantly from him the night before, he began patiently to
read it.

“Who can make head or tail of all this?” cried he, in angry impatience.
“The fellow writes as if I was a scrivener’s clerk, and knew all their
confounded jargon. Mere schemes to extort money these!”

“Not always. There’s now and then a real charge in the gun, and it’s too
late to know it when you ‘re hit,” cried Grog, quietly.

“Why do not Fordyce’s people send out a proper person to communicate
with myself directly,” said Beecher, haughtily. “They did, and I saw
him,” said Grog, boldly.

Beecher grew crimson, and his lip trembled with a convulsive movement.
It was very hard indeed to restrain himself, but, with an effort, he
succeeded, and simply said, “And then--”

“And then,” resumed Davis, “I packed him off again.”

“What authority had you to thrust yourself forward in this manner?”
 cried Beecher, passionately. “What authority?--the interest of my
daughter, the Viscountess Lackington,” said Grog, with a mingled
insolence and mockery. “You may safely swear it was out of no special
regard for _you_. What authority?” And with this he burst out into a
laugh of sarcastic defiance.

“It need not offend you,” said Beecher, “if I say that a question like
this must be intrusted to very different hands from yours.”

“You think so, eh?”

“I’m sure of it.”

“Well, I am not; so far from it, that I’m ready to declare if I can’t
pull you through, there’s not that man living who can. Lawyers can meet
lawyers. If one wins a trick here, the other scores one there. This
fellow has a deed,--that one has a codicil. It is always the same game;
and they ‘re in no hurry to finish, for they are playing on velvet. What
‘s really wanting is some one that does n’t care a rush for a little
risk,--ready to bribe this man,--square the other,--burn a parish
register, if need be, and come at--at any document that may be
required,--at the peril of passing his days at Norfolk Island.”

“You fancy that the whole world is like the ring at Ascot,” said
Beecher, sneeringly.

“And ain’t it? What’s the difference, I’d like to know? Is it noble
lords like yourself would prove the contrary?”

“I will see Fordyce myself,” said Beecher, coldly.

“You needn’t be at the trouble,” said Davis, calmly. “There’s two ways
of doing the thing: one is a compromise with the claimant, who turns out
to be that young Conway, the ‘Smasher.’”

“Young Conway, the one-armed fellow?”

“Just so. The other is, to get hold of Dunn’s papers. Now, I have
despatched a trusty hand to the Crimea to see about the first of these
plans. As for the other, I ‘ll do it myself.”

“How so?”

“Just this way: you shall give me a written authority to demand from
Dunn all your family papers and documents, making me out to be your
agent for the Irish estates.” Beecher started, and a slight cast of
derision marked his lip; but there was that in Grog’s face that speedily
suppressed every temptation to sneer, and he grew sick with terror.
“Dunn will be for holding out,” resumed Davis. “He ‘ll be for writing to
yourself for explanations, instructions, and so forth; and if I were a
fellow of his own sort, I ‘d have to agree; but, being what I am,--Kit
Davis, you see,--I’ll Just say: ‘No gammon, my old gent. We don’t mean
to lose this match, nor don’t mean to let _you_ nobble _us_. Be on
the square, and it will be all the better for yourself.’ _We ‘ll_ soon
understand each other.”

A gentle tap at the door here interrupted Davis, and Beecher’s servant,
with a most bland voice, said, “Her Ladyship is waiting breakfast, my
Lord,” and disappeared.

“Who told _him?_” asked Beecher, a strange sense of pleasure vibrating
through him as this recognition reminded him of his newly acquired

“I told him last night,” said Davis, with a look that seemed to say,
“And of whatever I do, let there be no farther question.”

As they entered the breakfast-room, they found Lizzy--I must ask pardon
if I return at times to their former names in speaking of her and
her husband--in conversation with Mr. Twining, that gentleman having
presented himself, and explained how he came to be there.

“Do you know Captain Davis, Twining? Let me present him to you,” said
Beecher, blushing deeply as he spoke.

“Charmed, my Lord,--much honored,--fancy we have met before,--met at
York Spring Meet. Rataplan beat by a neck,--great fun!”

“It was n’t great fun for me,” growled out Grog; “I stood to win on

“Excellent horse,--capital horse,--wonderful stride!”

“I’ll tell you what he was,” said Grog, sternly,--“a rare bad ‘un!”

“You surprise--amaze me, Captain Davis,--quite astonish me! Always heard
a great character of Braiser!”

“You did, did you?” said Grog, with a jocose leer.

“Well, the information wasn’t thrown away, for you laid heavily against

“Most agreeable man, your father-in-law, my Lord,” said Twining,
slapping his legs and laughing away in high good humor; then, turning
again to Davis, he engaged him in conversation.

Meanwhile Beecher had drawn Lizzy into a recess of the window, and was
whispering anxiously to her.

“Did this piece of news take you by surprise?” asked he, scanning her
closely as he spoke.

“Yes,” said she, calmly.

“It was quite unexpected,” said he, half in question,--“at least by me,”
 added he, after a pause.

She saw that some suspicion--she knew not of what, and as possibly cared
as little--agitated him, and she turned away to the breakfast-table
without speaking. Beecher, however, led her back again to the window. “I
‘d like much to ask you a question,” said he, half timidly; “that is, if
I did not fear you might take it ill.”

“And there is such a risk, is there?” asked she.

“Well, it is just possible,” faltered he.

“In that case, take my advice, and do not hazard it.” There was a calm
resolution in her tone that carried more weight with it than anything
like passion, and Beecher felt in his heart that he dared not reject her

Lizzy had now taken her place at the breakfast-table, her air, look, and
manner being all that could denote a mind perfectly easy and
contented. So consummate, too, was her tact, that she gradually led the
conversation into that tone of pleasant familiarity when frank opinions
are expressed and people talk without restraint; and thus, without the
semblance of an effort, she succeeded, while developing any agreeability
Beecher possessed, in silencing her father, whose judgments of men
and events were not always the safest. As for Twining, she perfectly
fascinated him. He was no mean critic in all that regards dress and
manners; few men could more unerringly detect a flaw in breeding or a
solecism in address. Mere acting, however good, would never have imposed
upon him, and all the polish of manner and the charm of a finished
courtesy would have failed with him if unaccompanied by that “sentiment”
 of good breeding which is its last and highest captivation. How subdued
was all the flippant mockery of his manner! how respectful the tone
in which he accosted her! It was the Viscountess, and not Grog Davis’s
daughter, he saw before him. Now Beecher saw all this, and a sense of
pride swelled his heart, and made him almost forget his distrusts and
suspicions. When breakfast was over, Lizzy, passing her arm within her
father’s, led him away. She had many things to say to him, and he to
her, so that Beecher and Twining were left alone together.

“Well, Twining,” said Annesley, as he lighted a cigar, “tell me
frankly,--don’t you think I might have done worse?”

“Impossible to have done better,--impossible!” said Twining. “I don’t
speak of her Ladyship’s beauty, in which she surpasses all I have ever
seen, but her manner--her courtesy--has a blending of grace and dignity
that would confer honor on the most finished Court in Europe.”

“I’m glad you say so, Twining; men quote _you_ as an authority on these
things, and I own frankly I am delighted to have my own judgment so

“Her appearance in the world will be such a success as one has not seen
for years!” exclaimed Twining.

“She’ll be sharply criticised,” said Beecher, puffing his cigar.

“She can well afford it, my Lord.”

“What will the women say, Twining? She is _so_ good-looking,--what will
the women say?”

“Where there’s no rivalry, there will be no dispraise. She is so
surpassingly beautiful that none will have courage to criticise; and if
they should, where can they detect a fault?”

“I believe you are right, Twining,--I believe you are right,” said
Beecher, and his face glowed with pleasure as he spoke. “Where she got
her manners I can’t make out,” added he, in a whisper.

“Ay, my Lord, these are Nature’s own secrets, and she keeps them

“It is the father--old Grog--is the difficulty,” whispered Beecher,
still lower; “what can be done with _him?_”

“Original, certainly; peculiar,--very peculiar,--what fun!” And Twining
in an instant recovered all his wonted manner, and slapped away at his
legs unmercifully.

“I don’t exactly see the fun of it,--especially for me,” said Beecher,

“After all, a well-known man, my Lord,--public character,--a celebrity,
so to say.”

“Confound it!” cried Beecher, angrily, “don’t you perceive there lies
the whole annoyance? The fellow is known from one end of England to the
other. You can’t enter a club of a rainy day, when men sit round the
fire, without hearing a story of him; you don’t get to the third station
on a railroad till some one says, ‘Have you heard old Grog’s last?’
There’s no end to him?”

“Wonderful resources!--astonishing!--great fun!”

“I’ll be hanged if it _is_ great fun, though you are pleased to say so,”
 said Beecher, angrily.

Twining was far too good-tempered to feel hurt by this peevishness, and
only rubbed his hands and laughed joyfully.

“And the worst of all,” resumed Beecher,--“the worst of all is, he
_will_ be a foreground figure; do what you may, he _will_ be in the
front of the Stand-house.”

“Get him a situation abroad, my Lord,--something in the colonies,” broke
in Twining.

“Not a bad thought that, Twining; only he is so notorious.”

“Doesn’t signify in the least, my Lord. Every office under the Crown has
its penal settlements. The Foreign Office makes its culprits consuls;
the Colonial sends their chief justices to the Gold Coast; and the Home
Secretary’s Botany Bay is Ireland.”

“But would they really give me something,--I mean something he ‘d take?”

“I have n’t a doubt of it, my Lord; I wanted to get rid of a poor
relation t’ other day, and they made him a Boundary Commissioner at
Baffin’s Bay. Baffin’s Bay!--what fun!” And he laughed immoderately.

“How am I to set about this, Twining? You are aware that up to this I
have had no relations with politics or parties.”

“Nothing easier, my Lord; always easy for a peer,--proxy often of great
consequence. Write to the Premier,--hint that you are well disposed to
adopt his views,--due maintenance of all the glorious privileges of our
Constitution, with progressive improvement,--great fun, capital fun!
all the landmarks firm and fixed, and as much of your neighbor’s farm as
possible. Or if you don’t like to do this, set Davenport Dunn at
them; he is your Lordship’s Irish agent,--at least, he was the late
Viscount’s,--he ‘ll do it,--none better, none so well!”

“That might be the best way,” said Beecher, musing.

“He’ll be charmed--delighted--overjoyed at this proof of your Lordship’s
confidence. He ‘ll go to work at once, and before your Lordship begins
to receive, or go out, your amiable and most highly gifted father-in-law
may be Income-tax Collector in Cochin-China.”

“Now, there’s only one thing more, Twining, which is, to induce Davis
to agree to this. He likes Europe,--likes the life of England and the

“Certain he does,--quite sure of it; no man more calculated to
appreciate society or adorn it. Capital fun!”

“Do you think,” resumed Beecher, “that you could just throw out a
hint--a slight suggestion--to see how he’d take it?”

“Come much better from your Lordship.”

“Well, I don’t know--that is, I half suspect--”

“Far better, infinitely better, my Lord; your own tact, your Lordship’s
good taste--Oh dear me, one o’clock already, and I have an appointment!”
 And with the most profuse apologies for a hurried departure, and as many
excuses to be conveyed to her Ladyship, Mr. Twining disappeared.

Although Twining’s reluctance to carry into execution the tone of policy
he suggested did not escape Beecher’s penetration, the policy itself
seemed highly recommendable. Grog out of Europe,--Grog beyond the seas,
collecting taxes, imprisoning skippers, hunting runaway negroes, or
flogging Caffres,--it mattered not, so that he never crossed his sight
again. To be sure, it was not exactly the moment to persuade Davis to
expatriate himself when his prospects at home began to brighten, and he
saw his daughter a peeress. Still, Dunn was a fellow of such marvellous
readiness, such astonishing resources! If any man could “hit off” the
way here, it was he. And then, how fortunate! Grog was eagerly pressing
Beecher to be accredited to this same Davenport Dunn; he asked that he
might be sent to confer and negotiate with him about the pending action
at law. What an admirable opportunity was this, then, for Dunn to sound
Davis and, if occasion served, tempt him with an offer of place! Besides
these reasons, valid and sound so far as they went, there was another
impulse that never ceased to urge Beecher forward, and this was a vague
shadowy sort of impression that if he could only succeed in his plan
he should have outwitted Grog, and “done” _him_. There was a sense of
triumph associated with this thought that made his heart swell with
pride. In his passion for double-dealing, he began to think how he could
effect his present purpose,--by what zigzag and circuitous road, through
what tangled scheme of duplicity and trick. “I have it,--I have it,”
 cried he at length; and he hastened to his dressing-room, and, having
locked the door, he opened his writing-desk and sat down to write. But
it is not at the end of a chapter I can presume to insert his Lordship’s


Beecher did not amongst his gifts possess the pen of a ready writer; but
there was a strange symmetry observable between the composition and
the manual part. The lines were irregular, the letters variously sized,
erasures frequent, blots everywhere, while the spelling displayed a
spirit that soared above orthography. A man unused to writing, in
the cares of composition, is pretty much in the predicament of a bad
horseman in a hunting-field. He has a vague, indistinct motion of
“where” he ought to go, without the smallest conception as to the “how.”
 He is balked or “pounded” at every step, always trying back, but never
by any chance hitting off the right road to his object.

Above a dozen sheets of paper lay half scrawled over before him after
two hours of hard labor, and there he still sat pondering over his
weary task. His scheme was simply this: to write a few lines to Dunn,
introducing his father-in-law, and instructing him to afford him all
information and details as to the circumstances of the Irish property,
it being his intention to establish Captain Davis in the position of
his agent in that country; having done which, and given to Grog to
read over, he meant to substitute another in its place, which other was
confidentially to entreat of Dunn to obtain some foreign and far-away
appointment for Davis, and by every imaginable means to induce him
to accept it. This latter document Dunn was to be instructed to burn
immediately after reading. In fact, the bare thought of what would
ensue if Davis saw it, made him tremble all over, and aggravated all the
difficulties of composition. Even the mode of beginning puzzled him,
and there lay some eight or ten sheets scrawled over with a single
line, thus: “Lord Lackington presents his compliments”--“The
Viscount Lackington requests”--“Lord Lackington takes the present
opportunity”--“Dear Dunn”--“Dear Mr. Dunn”--“My dear Mr. Dunn”--“Dear
D.” How nicely and minutely did he weigh over in his mind the value to
be attached to this exordium, and how far the importance of position
counterbalanced the condescension of close intimacy! “Better be
familiar,” said he, at last; “he ‘s a vulgar dog, and he ‘ll like it;”
 and so he decided for “My dear Dunn.”

“My dear Dunn,--As I know of your influence with the people in
power--too formal that, perhaps,” said he, re-reading it--“as I know
what you can do with the dons in Downing Street--that ‘s far better--I
want you to book the bearer--no, that is making a flunkey of him--I
want you to secure me a snug thing in the Colonies--or better, a snug
Colonial appointment--for my father-in-law--no, for my friend--no,
for my old and attached follower, Captain Davis--that’s devilish
well-rounded, ‘old and attached follower, Captain Davis.’ When I tell
you that I desire he may get something over the hills and far away, you
‘ll guess at once--you ‘ll guess at once why--no, guess the reason--no,
you ‘ll see with half an eye how the cat jumps.” He threw down his pen
at this, and rubbed his hands in an ecstasy of delight. “Climate does
n’t signify a rush, for he’s strong as a three-year-old, and has
the digestion of an ‘ostrage;’ the main thing, little to do, and
opportunities for blind hookey. As to outfit, and some money in hand,
I ‘ll stand it. Once launched, if there’s only a billiard-table or
dice-box in the colony, he ‘ll not starve.”

“Eh, Grog, my boy,” cried he, with a laugh, “as the parsons say, ‘Salary
less an object than a field of profitable labor!’ And, by Jove! the
grass will be very short, indeed, where you can’t get enough to feed on!
There ‘s no need to give Dunn a caution about reserve, and so forth with
him,--he knows Grog well.”

Having finished this letter, and placed it carefully in his pocket, he
began the other, which, seeing that it was never to be delivered,
and only shown to Davis himself, cost him very little trouble in the
composition. Still it was not devoid of all difficulty, since, by the
expectations it might create in Grog’s mind of obtaining the management
of the Irish property, it would be actually throwing obstacles in the
way of his going abroad. He therefore worded the epistle more carefully,
stating it to be his intention that Captain Davis should be his agent at
some future time not exactly defined, and requesting Dunn to confer with
him as one enjoying his own fullest confidence.

He had but finished the document when a sharp knock at the door
announced Davis. “The very man I wanted,” said Beecher; “sit down and
read that.”

Grog took his double eye-glass from his pocket,--an aid to his sight
only had recourse to when he meant to scrutinize every word and every
letter,--and sat down to read. “Vague enough,” said he, as he concluded.
“Small credentials for most men, but quite sufficient for Kit Davis.”

“I know that,” said Beecher, half timidly; for no sooner in the
redoubted presence than he began to tremble at his own temerity.

“This Mr. Dunn is a practical sort of man, they say, so that we shall
soon understand each other,” said Davis.

“Oh, you’ll like him greatly.”

“I don’t want to like him,” broke in Grog; “nor do I want him to like

“He’s a fellow of immense influence just now; can do what he pleases
with the Ministry.”

“So much the better for him,” said Grog, bluntly.

“And for his friends, sir,” added Beecher. “He has only to send in a
name, and he’s sure to get what he asks for, at home or abroad.”

“How convenient!” said Grog; and whether it was an accident or not, he
directed his eyes full on Beecher as he spoke, and as suddenly a deep
blush spread over the other’s face. “Very convenient, indeed,” went on
Grog, while his unrelenting glance never wavered nor turned away. As
he stared, so did Beecher’s confusion increase, till at last, unable
to endure more, he turned away, sick at heart “My Lord Viscount,”
 said Grog, gravely, “let me give you a word of counsel: never commit a
murder; for if you do, your own fears will hang you.”

“I don’t understand you,” faltered out Beecher.

“Yes, you do; and right well too,” broke in Grog, boldly. “What
rubbish have you got into your head now, about ‘a place’ for me? What
nonsensical scheme about making me an inspector of this or a collector
of that? Do you imagine that for any paltry seven or eight hundred a
year I ‘m going to enter into recognizance not to do what’s worth six
times the amount? Mayhap you ‘d like to send me to India or to China.
Oh, that’s the dodge, is it?” exclaimed he, as the crimson flush now
extended over Beecher’s forehead to the very roots of his hair. “Well,
where is it to be? There ‘s a place called Bogota, where they always
have yellow fever; couldn’t you get me named consul there? Oh dear, oh
dear!” laughed he out, “how you _will_ go on playing that little game,
though you never score a point!”

“I sometimes imagine that you don’t know how offensive your language
is,” said Beecher, whose angry indignation had mastered all his fears;
“at least, it is the only explanation I can suggest for your conduct
towards myself!”

“Look at it this way,” said Grog; “if you always lost the game whenever
you played against one particular man, wouldn’t you give in at last, and
own him for your master? Well, now, that is exactly what you are doing
with me,--losing, losing on, and yet you won’t see that you’re beaten.”

“I’ll tell you what I see, sir,” said Beecher, haughtily,--“that our
intercourse must cease.”

Was it not strange that this coarse man, reckless in action, headstrong
and violent, felt abashed, for the instant, in presence of the dignified
manner which, for a passing moment, the other displayed. It was the one
sole weapon Grog Davis could not match; and before the “gentleman” he
quailed, but only for a second or two, when he rallied, and said, “I
want the intercourse as little as you do. I am here for the pleasure of
being with my daughter.”

“As for that,” began Beecher, “there is no need--” He stopped abruptly,
something terribly menacing in Grog’s face actually arresting his words
in the utterance.

“Take you care what you say,” muttered Grog, as he approached him, and
spoke with a low, guttural growl. “I have n’t much patience at the best
of times; don’t provoke me _now._”

“Will you take this letter,--yes or no?” said Beecher, resolutely.

“I will: seal and address it,” said Grog, searching for a match to light
the taper, while Beecher folded the letter, and wrote the direction.
Davis continued to break match after match in his effort to strike a
light. Already the dusk of declining day filled the room, and objects
were dimly descried. Beecher’s heart beat violently. The thought that
even yet, if he could summon courage for it, he might outwit Grog, sent
a wild thrill through him. What ecstasy, could he only succeed!

“Curse these wax contrivances! the common wooden ones never failed,”
 muttered Davis. “There goes the fifth.”

“If you ‘ll ring for Fisher--”

An exclamation and an oath proclaimed that he had just burned his
finger; but he still persevered.

“At last!” cried he,--“at last!” And just as the flame rose slowly up,
Beecher had slipped the letter in his pocket, and substituted the other
in its place.

“I’ll write ‘Private and confidential,’” added Beecher, “to show that
the communication is strictly for himself alone.” And now the document
was duly sealed, and the name “Lackington” inscribed in the corner.

“I ‘ll start to-night,” said Davis, as he placed the letter in his
pocket-book; “I may have to delay a day in London, to see Fordyce. Where
shall I write to you?”

“I’ll talk that over with my Lady,” said the other, still trembling with
the remnant of his fears. “We dine at six,” added he, as Davis arose to
leave the room.

“So Lizzy told me,” said Davis.

“You don’t happen to know if she invited Twining, do you?”

“No! but I hope she didn’t,” said Grog, sulkily.

“Why so? He’s always chatty, pleasant, and agreeable,” said Beecher,
whose turn it was now to enjoy the other’s irritation.

“He’s what I hate most in the world,” said Davis, vindictively; “a swell
that can walk into every leg in the Ring,--that’s what he is!” And with
this damnatory estimate of the light-hearted, easy-natured Adderley
Twining, Grog banged the door and departed.

That social sacrament, as some one calls dinner, must have a strange,
mysterious power over our affections and our sympathies; for when these
two men next met each other, with napkins on their knees and soup before
them, their manner was bland, and even cordial. You will probably say,
How could they be otherwise? that was neither the time nor place to
display acrimony or bitterness, nor could they carry out in Lizzy’s
presence the unseemly discussion of the morning. Very true; and their
bearing might, consequently, exhibit a calm and decent courtesy; but it
did more,--far more; it was familiar and even friendly, and it is to
the especial influence of the dinner-table that I attribute the happy
change. The blended decorum and splendor--that happy union of tangible
pleasure with suggestive enjoyment, so typified by a well-laid and
well-spread table--is a marvellous peacemaker. Discrepant opinions blend
into harmonious compromise as the savory odors unite into an atmosphere
of nutritious incense, and a wider charity to one’s fellows comes
in with the champagne. Where does diplomacy unbend? where do its
high-priests condescend to human feelings and sympathies save at dinner?
Where, save at Mansion House banquets, are great Ministers facetious?

Where else are grave Chancellors jocose and Treasury Lords convivial?

The three who now met were each in their several ways in good spirits:
Grog, because he had successfully reasserted his influence over Beecher;
Beecher, because, while appearing to be defeated, he had duped his
adversary; and Lizzy, for the far better reason that she was looking
her very best, and that she knew it. She had, moreover, passed a very
pleasant morning; for Mr. Twining had made it his business--doubtless,
with much hand-rubbing and many exclamations of “What fun!”--to go
amongst all the tradespeople of Baden, proclaiming the arrival of
a “millionnaire Milor,” and counselling them to repair with all the
temptations of their shops to the hotel. The consequence was that
Lizzy’s drawing-room was like a fair till the hour of dressing for
dinner. Jewelry in its most attractive forms, rich lace, silks,
velvets, furs, costly embroideries, inlaid cabinets, gems, ancient
and modern,--all the knick-knackeries which a voluptuous taste has
conceived, all the extravagant inventions of a fashion bent on ruinous
expenditure,--were there; fans sparkling with rubies, riding-whips
incrusted with turquoises, slippers studded over with pearls. There was
nothing wanting; even richly carved meerschaums and walking-sticks were
paraded, in the hope that as objects of art and elegance they might
attract her favor. Her father had found her dazzled and delighted by
all this splendor, and told her that one of the first duties of her high
station was the encouragement of art. “It is to you, and such as you,
these people look for patronage,” said he. “An English peeress is a
princess, and must dispense her wealth generously.”

I am bound to acknowledge, her Ladyship did not shrink from this
responsibility of her station. Without caring for the cost,--as often
without even inquiring the price,--she selected what she wished; and
rows of pearls, diamond bracelets, rings, and head ornaments covered her
dressing-table, while sable and Astrakan cloaks, cashmeres, and Genoa
velvets littered every corner of the room. “After all,” thought she, as
she fixed a jewelled comb in her hair, “it is very nice to be rich; and
while delighting yourself you can make so many others happy.”

Doubtless, too, there was some reason in the reflection; and in
the smiling faces and grateful glances around her she found a ready
confirmation of the sentiment. Happily for her at the moment, she did
not know how soon such pleasures pall, and, as happily for ourselves,
too, is it the law of our being that they should do so, and that no
enjoyment is worth the name which has cost no effort to procure, nor
any happiness a boon which has not demanded an exertion to arrive at.
If Beecher was startled at the sight of all these costly purchases,
his mind was greatly relieved as Grog whispered him that Herr Koch, the
banker, had opened a credit for him, on which he might draw as freely
as he pleased. The word “Lackington” was a talisman which suddenly
converted a sea of storm and peril into a lovely lake only ruffled by a

At last the pleasant dinner drew to a close; and as the coffee was
brought in, the noise of a carriage beneath the windows attracted them.

“That’s _my_ trap,” said Davis; “I ordered it for half past eight,

“But there ‘s no train at this hour,” began Lizzy.

“I know that; but I mean to post all night, and reach Carlsruhe for
the first departure in the morning. I ‘m due in London on Monday
morning,--eh, my Lord?”

“Yes, that you are,” said Beecher; “Dublin, Tuesday evening.”

“Just so,” said Davis, as he arose; “and I mean to keep my time like
a pendulum. Can I do any little commission for your Ladyship as I pass
through town,--anything at Howell and James’s, anything from Storr’s?”

“I never heard of them--”

“Quite time enough, Lizzy,” broke in Beecher; “not to say that we might
stock a very smart warehouse with the contents of the next room. Don’t
forget the courier,--he can join us at Rome; and remember, we shall want
a cook. The ‘Mowbray’ have an excellent fellow, and I ‘m sure an extra
fifty would seduce him, particularly as he hates England, detests a
club, and can’t abide the ‘Sundays;’ and my Lady will require something
smarter than Annette as a maid.”

“Oh, I could n’t part with Annette!”

“Nor need you; but you must have some one who can dress hair in a
Christian fashion.”

“And what do you call that?” asked Grog, with a stare of insolent

“My Lord is quite right in the epithet; for I copied my present coiffure
from a picture of a Jewish girl I bought this morning, and I fancy it
becomes me vastly.”

There was in the easy coquetry of this speech what at once relieved the
awkwardness of a very ticklish moment, and Beecher rewarded her address
with a smile of gratitude.

“And the house in Portland Place to be let?” murmured Davis, as he read
from his note-book. “What of that box in the Isle of Wight?”

“I rather think we shall keep it on; my sister-in-law liked it, and
might wish to go there.”

“Let her buy it or take a lease of it, then,” said Grog. “You ‘ll see,
when you come to look into it, she has been left right well off.”

Beecher turned away impatiently, and made no reply.

“All that Herefordshire rubbish of model farm and farming-stock had
better be sold at once. You are not going into that humbug like the late
Lord, I suppose?”

“I have come to no determination about Lackington Court as yet,” said
Beecher, coldly.

“The sooner you do, then, the better. There’s not a more rotten piece
of expense in the world than southdowns and shorthorns, except it be
Cochin-China hens and blue tulips.”

“Let Fordyce look to my subscriptions at the clubs.”

“Pure waste of money when you are not going back there.”

“But who says that I am not?” asked Beecher, angrily.

“Not yet a bit, at all events,” replied Davis, and with a grin of
malicious meaning so significant that Beecher actually sickened with

“It will be quite time enough to make further arrangements when I confer
with the members of my family,” said Beecher, haughtily.

To this speech Davis only answered by another grin, that spoke as plain
as words could, “Even the high tone will have no effect upon _me_.”
 Luckily this penance was not long to endure, for Lizzy had drawn her
father aside, and was whispering a few last words to him. It was in a
voice so low and subdued they spoke that nothing could be heard; but
Beecher imagined or fancied he heard Grog mutter, “‘Pluck’ will do it;
‘pluck’ will do anything.” A long, affectionate embrace, and a fondly
uttered “Good-bye, girl,” followed, and then, shaking hands with
Beecher, Davis lighted his cigar and departed.

Lizzy opened the window, and, leaning over the balcony, watched
the carriage as it sped along the valley, the lights appearing and
disappearing at intervals. What thoughts were hers as she stood there?
Who knows? Did she sorrow after him, the one sole being who had cared
for her through life; did her heart sadden at the sense of desertion;
was the loneliness of her lot in life then uppermost in her mind; or
did she feel a sort of freedom in the thought that now she was to be
self-guided and self-dependent? I know not. I can only say that, though
a slight flush colored her cheek, she shed no tears; and as she closed
the window and returned into the room, her features were calm and

“Why did not papa take the route by Strasburg? It is much the shortest?”

“He couldn’t,” said Beecher, with a triumphant bitterness,--“he could
n’t. He can’t go near Paris.”

“By Verviers, then, and Belgium?” said she, reddening.

“He’d be arrested in Belgium and tried for his life. He has no road left
but down the Rhine to Rotterdam.”

“Poor fellow!” said she, rising, “it must be a real peril that turns
_him_ from his path.” There was an accent on the pronoun that almost
made the speech a sarcasm; at all events, ere Beecher could notice it,
she had left the room.

“Now, if Fortune really meant to do me a good turn,” said Beecher to
himself, “she ‘d just shove my respected father-in-law, writing-desk,
pocket-book, and all, into the ‘Rheingau,’ never to turn up again.” And
with this pious sentiment, half wish, half prayer, he went downstairs
and strolled into the street.

As the bracing night air refreshed him, he walked along briskly towards
Lindenthal, his mind more at ease than before. It was, indeed, no small
boon that the terror of Grog’s presence was removed. The man who had
seen him in all his transgressions and his shortcomings was, in reality,
little else than an open volume of conscience, ever wide spread before
him. How could he presume in such a presence to assert one single high
or honorable motive? What honest sentiment dare be enunciate? He felt in
his heart that the Viscount Lackington with ten thousand a year was not
the Honorable Annesley Beecher with three hundred. The noble Lord
could smile at the baits that to the younger son were irresistible
temptations. There was no necessity that _he_ should plot, scheme, and
contrive; or if he did, it should be for a higher prize, or in a higher
sphere and with higher antagonists. And yet Grog would not have it so.
Let him do what he would, there was the inexorable Davis ever ready
to bring down Lackington to the meridian of Beecher! Amidst all
the misfortunes of his life, the ever having known this man was the
worst,--the very worst!

And now he began to go over in his mind some of the most eventful
incidents of this companionship. It was a gloomy catalogue of debauch
and ruin. Young fellows entrapped at the very outset in life, led on to
play, swindled, “hocussed,” menaced with exposure, threatened with who
knows what perils of public scandal if they refused to sign this or
that “promise to pay.” Then all the intrigues to obtain the money; the
stealthy pursuit of the creditor to the day of his advancement or his
marriage; the menaces measured out to the exigencies of the case,--now
a prosecution, now a pistol. What a dreadful labyrinth of wickedness
was it, and how had he threaded through it undetected! He heaved a heavy
sigh as he muttered a sort of thanksgiving that it was all ended at
last,--all over! “If it were not for Grog, these memories need never
come back to me,” said he. “Nobody wants to recall them against me,
and the world will be most happy to dine with the Viscount Lackington
without a thought of the transgressions of Annesley Beecher! If it were
not for Grog,--if it were not for Grog!” and so ran the eternal refrain
at the close of each reflection. “At all events,” said he, “I ‘ll
‘put the Alps between us;’” and early on the following morning the
travelling-carriage stood ready at the door, and amidst the bowings
and reverences of the hotel functionaries, the “happy pair” set out for

Do not smile in any derision at the phrase, good reader; the words are
classic by newspaper authority; and whatever popular preachers may aver
to the contrary, we live in a most charming world, where singleness is
blessed and marriage is happy, public speaking is always eloquent, and
soldiery ever gallant. Still, even a sterner critic might have admitted
that the epithet was not misapplied; for there are worse things in life
than to be a viscount with a very beautiful wife, rolling pleasantly
along the Via Mala on Collinge’s best patent, with six smoking posters,
on a bright day of November. This for his share; as to hers, I shall not
speak of it. And yet, why should I not? Whatever may be the conflict in
the close citadel of the heart, how much of pleasure is derivable from
the mere aspect of a beautiful country as one drives rapidly along,
swift enough to bring the changes of scene agreeably before the eye,
and yet not too fast to admit of many a look at some spot especially
beautiful. And then how charming to lose oneself in that-dreamland,
where, peopling the landscape with figures of long, long ago, we too
have our part, and ride forth at daybreak from some deep-vaulted portal
in jingling mail, or gaze from some lone tower over the wide expanse
that forms our baronial realm,--visions of ambition, fancies of a lowly,
humble life, alternating as the rock-crowned castle or the sheltered cot
succeed each other! And lastly, that strange, proud sentiment we feel
as we sweep past town and village, where human life goes on in its
accustomed track,--the crowd in the market-place, the little group
around the inn, the heavy wagon unloading at the little quay, the
children hastening on to school,--all these signs of a small, small
world of its own, that we, in our greatness, are never again to gaze
on, our higher destiny bearing us ever onward to grander and more
pretentious scenes.

“And this is Italy?” said Lizzy, half aloud, as, emerging from the
mists of the Higher Alps, the carriage wound its zigzag descent from the
Splügen, little glimpses of the vast plain of Lombardy coming into
view at each turn of the way, and then the picturesque outlines of old
ruinous Chiavenna, its tumble-down houses, half hid in trellised vines,
and farther on, again, the head of the Lake of Como, with its shores of
rugged rock.

“Yes, and this miserable dog-hole here is called Campo Dolcino!” said
Beecher, as he turned over the leaves of his “John Murray.” “That’s the
most remarkable thing about these Italians; they have such high-sounding
names for everything, and we are fools enough to be taken in by the

“It is a delusion that we are rather disposed to indulge in, generally,”
 said Lizzy. “The words, ‘your Majesty’ or ‘your Highness,’ have their
own magic in them, even when the representatives respond but little to
the station.”

[Illustration: 342]

“It was your father, I fancy, taught you that lesson,” said he,

“What lesson do you mean?”

“To hold people of high rank cheaply; to imagine that they must be all
cheats and impositions.”

“No,” said she, calmly but resolutely. “If he taught me anything on this
subject, it was to attribute to persons of exalted station very lofty
qualities. What I have to fear is that my expectation will be far above
the reality. I can imagine what they might be, but I ‘m not so sure it
is what I shall find them.”

“You had better not say so to my sister-in-law,” said Beecher,

“It is not my intention,” said she, with the same calm voice.

“I make that remark,” resumed he, “because she has what some people
would call exaggerated notions about the superiority of the well-born
over all inferior classes; indeed, she is scarcely just in her estimate
of low people.”

“Low people are really to be pitied!” said she, with a slight laugh; and
Beecher stole a quick glance at her, and was silent.

He was not able long to maintain this reserve. The truth was, he felt an
invincible desire to recur to the class in life from which Lizzy came,
and to speak disparagingly of all who were humbly born. Not that
this vulgarity was really natural to him,--far from it. With all his
blemishes and defects he was innately too much a gentleman to descend to
this. The secret impulse was to be revenged of Grog Davis; to have the
one only possible vengeance on the man that had “done him;” and even
though that was only to be exacted through Davis’s daughter, it
pleased him. And so he went on to tell of the prejudices--absurd, of
course--that persons like Lady Georgina would persist in entertaining
about common people. “You ‘ll have to be so careful in all your
intercourse with her,” said he; “easy, natural, of course, but never
familiar; she would n’t stand it.”

“I will be careful,” said Lizzy, calmly.

“The chances are, she ‘ll find out some one of the name, and ask you, in
her own half-careless way, ‘Are you of the Staffordshire Davises? or do
you belong to the Davises of such a place?’”

“If she should, I can only reply that I don’t know,” said Lizzy.

“Oh! but you must n’t say that,” laughed out Beecher, who felt a sort of
triumph over what he regarded as his wife’s simplicity.

“You would not, surely, have me say that I was related to these people?”

“No, not exactly that; but, still, to say that you didn’t know whether
you were or not, would be a terrible blunder! It would amount to a
confession that you were Davises of nowhere at all.”

“Which is about the truth, perhaps,” said she, in the same tone.

“Oh! truth is a very nice thing, but not always pleasant to tell.”

“But don’t you think you could save me from an examination in which I am
so certain to acquit myself ill, by simply stating that you have married
a person without rank, station, or fortune? These facts once
understood, I feel certain that her Ladyship will never allude to them

“Then there ‘s another point,” said Beecher, evidently piqued that he
had not succeeded in irritating her,--“there ‘s another point, and you
must be especially careful about it,--never, by any chance, let out that
you were educated at a school, or a pensionnat, or whatever they call
it. If there ‘s anything she cannot abide, it is the thought of a girl
brought up at a school; mind, therefore, only say, ‘my governess.’”

She smiled and was silent.

“Then she’ll ask you if you had been ‘out,’ and when you were presented,
and who presented you. She ‘ll do it so quietly and so naturally, you ‘d
never guess that she meant any impertinence by it.”

“So much the better, for I shall not feel offended.”

“As to the drawing-room,” rejoined Beecher, “you must say that you
always lived very retiredly,--never came up to town; that your father
saw very little company.”

“Is not this Chiavenna we ‘re coming to?” asked Lizzy, a slight--but
very slight--flush rising to her cheek. And now the loud cracking of
the postilions’ whips drowned all other sounds as the horses tore along
through the narrow streets, making the frail old houses rock and shiver
as they passed. A miserable-looking vetturino carriage stood at the inn
door, and was dragged hastily out of the way to make room for the more
pretentious equipage. Scarcely had the courier got down than the whole
retinue of the inn was in motion, eagerly asking if “Milordo” would not
alight, if his “Eccellenza” would not take some refreshment.

But his “Eccellenza” would do neither; sooth to say, he was not in the
best of humors, and curtly said, “No, I want nothing but post-horses to
get out of this wretched place.”

“Is n’t that like an Englishman?” said a voice from the vetturino
carriage to some one beside him.

“But I know him,” cried the other, leaping out. “It’s the new Viscount
Lackington.” And with this he approached the carriage, and respectfully
removing his hat, said, “How d’ye do, my Lord?”

“Ah, Spicer! you here?” said Beecher, half haughtily. “Off to England, I

“No, my Lord, I ‘m bound for Rome.”

“So are we, too. Lady Lackington and myself,” added be, correcting at
once a familiar sort of a glance that Spicer found time to bestow upon
Lizzy. “Do you happen to know if Lady Georgina is there?”

“Yes, my Lord, at the Palazzo Gondi, on the Pintian;” and here Spicer
threw into his look an expression of respectful homage to her Ladyship.

“Palazzo Gondi; will you try and remember that address?” said Beecher
to his wife. And then, waving his hand to Spicer, he added,
“Good-bye,--meet you at Rome some of these days,” and was gone.


In a small and not very comfortably furnished room looking out upon
the Pintian Hill at Rome, two ladies were seated, working,--one in
deep mourning, whose freshness indicated a recent loss; the other in
a strangely fashioned robe of black silk, whose deep cape and rigid
absence of ornament recalled something of the cloister. The first was
the widowed Viscountess Lackington; the second the Lady Grace Twining,
a recent convert to Rome, and now on her way to some ecclesiastical
preferment in the Church, either as “Chanoinesse,” or something equally
desirable. Lady Lackington looked ill and harassed; there were not on
her face any traces of deep sorrow or affliction, but the painful marks
of much thought. It was the expression of one who had gone through a
season of trial wherein she had to meet events and personages all
new and strange to her. It was only during the last few days of Lord
Lackington’s illness that she learned the fact of a contested claim
to the title, but, brief as was the time, every post brought a mass of
letters bearing on this painful topic. While the lawyers, therefore,
showered their unpleasant and discouraging tidings, there was nothing
to be heard of Beecher; none knew where he was, or how a letter was
to reach him. All her own epistles to him remained unacknowledged.
Fordyce’s people could not trace him, neither could Mr. Dunn, and there
was actually the thought of asking the aid of that inquisitorial service
whose detective energies are generally directed in the pursuit of guilt.

If Annesley Beecher might be slow to acknowledge the claims of fraternal
affection, there was no one could accuse him of any lukewarmness to his
own interests, and though it was now two months and upwards since the
Viscount’s death, yet he had never come forward to assert his new rank
and station. Whatever suspicions might have weighed down the mind of the
Viscountess regarding this mysterious disappearance, the language of all
the lawyers’ letters was assuredly ill calculated to assuage. They more
than hinted that they suspected some deep game of treachery and fraud.
Beecher’s long and close intimacy with the worst characters of the
turf--men notorious for their agency in all the blackest intrigues--was
continually brought up. His life of difficulty and strait, his unceasing
struggle to meet his play engagements, driving him to the most ruinous
compacts, all were quoted to show that to a man of such habits and with
such counsellors any compromise would be acceptable that offered present
and palpable advantages in lieu of a possible and remote future.

The very last letter the Viscountess received from Fordyce contained
this startling passage: “It being perfectly clear that Mr. Beecher would
only be too ready to avail himself of his newly acquired privileges if
he could, we must direct our sole attention to those circumstances which
may explain why he could not declare himself the Viscount Lackington.
Now, the very confident tone lately assumed by the Conway party seems
to point to this mysterious clew, and everything I learn more and more
disposes me to apprehend a shameful compromise.”

It was with the letter that contained this paragraph before her Lady
Lackington now sat, affecting to be engaged in her work, but in reality
reading over, for the fiftieth time, the same gloomy passage.

“Is it not incredible that, constituted as the world now is, with
its railroads and its telegraphs, you cannot immediately discover the
whereabouts of any missing individual?” said Lady Lackington.

“I really think he must have been murdered,” said Lady Grace, with
the gentlest of accents, while she bent her head over the beautiful
altar-cloth she was embroidering.

“Nonsense,--absurdity! such a crime would soon have publicity enough.”

Lady Grace gave a smile of compassionate pity at the speech, but said

“I can’t imagine how you could believe such a thing possible,” said the
Viscountess, tartly.

“I can only say, my dear, that no later than last night Monsignore
assured me that, through M. Mazzini and the Bible societies, you can
make away with any one in Europe, and, indeed, in most parts of the
world besides. Don’t smile so contemptuously, my dear. Remember who
it is says this. Of course, as he remarks, the foolish newspapers have
their own stupid explanations always ready, at one moment calling it
a political crime, at another the act of insanity, and so on. They
affected this language about Count Rossi, and then about the dear and
sainted Archbishop of Paris; but what true believer ever accepted this?”

“Monsignore would not hold this language to me,” said Lady Lackington,

“Very probably not, dearest; he spoke in confidence when he mentioned it
to me.”

“I mean, that he would hesitate ere he forfeited any respect I entertain
for his common-sense by the utterance of such wild absurdity. What is
it, Turner?” asked she, suddenly, as her maid entered.

“Four packing-cases have just come, my Lady, with Mr. Spicer’s
respectful compliments, and that he will be here immediately,--he has
only gone to change his dress.”

“Why don’t he come at once? I don’t care for his dress.”

“No, my Lady, of course not,” said Turner, and retired.

“I must say he has made haste,” said Lady Lackington, languidly. “It was
only on the eighth or the ninth, I think, he left this, and as he had to
get all my mourning things,--I had actually nothing,--and to go down
to Lackington Court, and then to Wales, and after that to the Isle of
Wight, what with lawyers and other tiresome people to talk to, he has
really not done badly.”

“I hope he has brought the chalice,” sighed Lady Grace.

“I hope he has brought some tidings of my respectable brother-in-law,”
 said the Viscountess, in a tone that seemed to say where the really
important question lay.

“And the caviare,--I trust he has not forgotten the caviare. It is the
only thing Monsignore eats at breakfast in Advent.”

An insolent gesture of the head was all the acknowledgment Lady
Lackington vouchsafed to this speech. At last she spoke: “When he can
get horse-racing out of his head, Spicer is a very useful creature.”

“Very, indeed,” said Lady Grace.

“The absurd notion that he is a sporting character is the parent of so
many other delusions; he fancies himself affluent, and, stranger still,
imagines he’s a gentleman.” And the idea so amused her Ladyship that she
laughed aloud at it.

“Mr. Spicer, my Lady,” said a servant, flinging wide the door; and in a
most accurate morning-dress, every detail of which was faultless, that
gentleman bowed his way across the room with an amount of eagerness that
might possibly exact a shake of the hand, but, if unsuccessful, might
easily subside into a colder acceptance. Lady Lackington vouchsafed
nothing beyond a faint smile, and the words, “How d’ye do?” as with
a slight gesture she motioned to him the precise chair he was to seat
himself on. Before taking his place, Mr. Spicer made a formal bow to
Lady Grace, who, with a vacant smile, acknowledged the courtesy, and
went on with her work.

“You have made very tolerable haste, Spicer,” said Lady Lackington. “I
scarcely expected you before Saturday.”

“I have not been to bed for six nights, my Lady.”

“You ‘ll sleep all the better for it to-night, perhaps.”

“We had an awful gale of wind in crossing to Calais,--the passage took
eight hours.”

“You relished land travelling all the more for it afterwards.”

“Not so, my Lady; for at Lyons the whole country was flooded, and we
were obliged to march eleven miles afoot on a railway embankment, and
under a tremendous storm of rain; but even that was not the worst, for
in crossing the St. Bernard--”

“I really don’t care for such moving accidents; I always skip them in
the newspapers. What of my mourning,--is much crape worn?”

“A great deal of crape, my Lady, and in ‘bouffes’ down the dress.”

“With bugles or without? I see by your hesitation, sir, you have
forgotten about the bugles.”

“No, my Lady, I have them,” said he, proudly; “small acorns of Jet are
also worn on points of the flounces, and Madame Frontin suggested that,
as your Ladyship dislikes black so much--”

“But who said as much, sir?” broke she in, angrily.

“And the caviare, Mr. Spicer,--have you remembered the caviare?” lisped
out Lady Grace.

“Yes, my Lady; but Fortnum’s people are afraid some of it may prove a
failure. There was something, I don’t know what, happened to the fish in
the Baltic this year.”

“Who ventured to say black was unbecoming to me?” asked Lady Lackington,
changing her question, and speaking more angrily.

“It was Frontin, my Lady, who remarked that you once had said nothing
would ever induce you to wear that odious helmet widows sometimes put

“Oh dear; and I have such a fancy for it,” exclaimed Lady Grace.

“You mistake, my dear; you are confounding the occasion with the
costume,” said Lady Lackington; and her eyes sparkled with the malice of
her remark.

Mr. Spicer’s face exhibited as much enjoyment of the wit as he deemed
decorous to the party satirized.

“And now, sir, for the important part of your mission r have you
obtained any information about my brother-in-law?”

“Yes, my Lady, I saw him at Chiavenna. He drove up to the post-house to
change horses as we were there; he told me, in the few minutes we spoke
together, that they were on their way to Rome.”

“Whom do you mean, sir, when you say ‘they’?”

“Lord and Lady Lackington, my Lady.”

“Is he married? Did you say he was married, sir?’” exclaimed she, in a
voice discordant above all her efforts to restrain.

“Yes, my Lady; I was, in a manner, presented to her Ladyship, who was, I
must say, a very beautiful person--”

“I want no raptures, sir; are you quite certain she was his wife?”

“His Lordship told me so, my Lady; and when they reached the Hôtel
Royal, at Milan, I took occasion to question the courier! whom I knew
before, and he told me all about it.”

“Go on, sir.”

“Well, my Lady, they were just married about ten or twelve days when I
met them; the ceremony had been performed in some little out-of-the-way
spot in the Rhine country, where Mr. Beecher had been staying for the
summer, and where, as it happened, he never received any tidings of
the late Lord’s death, or the presumption is, he had never made this
unfortunate connection.”

“What do you mean by ‘unfortunate connection ‘?”

“Why, one must really call it so, my Lady; the world, at least, will say
as much.”

“Who is she, sir?”

“She’s the daughter of one of the most notorious men in England, my
Lady,--the celebrated leg, Grog Davis.”

Ah, Mr. Spicer, small and insignificant as you are, you have your sting,
and her Ladyship has felt it. These words, slowly uttered in a tone of
assumed sorrow, so overcame her they were addressed to, that she covered
her face with her handkerchief and sat thus, speechless, for several
minutes. To Spicer it was a moment of triumph,--it was a vengeance for
all the insults, all the slights she showered upon him, and he only
grieved to think how soon her proud spirit would rally from the shock.

Lady Lackington’s face, as she withdrew her handkerchief, was of ashy
paleness, and her bloodless lips trembled with emotion. “Have you heard
what this man has said, Grace?” whispered she, in a voice so distinct as
to be audible throughout the room.

“Yes, dearest; it is most distressing,” said the other, in the softest
of accents.

“Distressing! It is an infamy!” cried she. Then suddenly turning to
Spicer, with flaring eyes and flushed face, she said, “You have rather
a talent for blundering, sir, and it is just as likely this is but a
specimen of your powers. I am certain she is not his wife.”

“I can only say, my Lady, that I took pains enough to get the story
accurately; and as Kuffner, the courier, was at the marriage--”

“Marriage!” broke she in, with a sarcastic irony; “why, sir, it is not
thus a peer of England selects the person who is to share his dignity.”

“But you forget, my Lady,” interposed Spicer, “that he did n’t know he
was a peer--he had not the slightest expectation of being one--at the
time. Old Grog knew it--”

“Have a care, sir, and do not _you_ forget yourself. These familiar
epithets are for your associates in the ring, and not for _my_ ears.”

“Well, the Captain, my Lady,--he is as well known by that name as the
other,--he had all the information, and kept back the letters, and
managed the whole business so cleverly that the first Mr. Beeeher ever
knew of his. Lordship’s death was when hearing it from Mr. Twining at

“I thought Mr. Twining was in Algiers, or Australia, I forget which,”
 said Lady Grace, gently.

“Such a marriage must be a mockery,--a mere mockery. He shall break
it,--he must break it!” said Lady Lacking-ton, as she walked up and down
with the long strides and the step of a tigress in a cage.

“Oh dear! they are so difficult to break!” sighed Lady-Grace. “Mr.
Twining always promised me a divorce when the law came in and made it so
cheap, and now he says that it’s all a mistake, and until another Bill,
or an Act, or something or other, is passed, that it’s a luxury far
above persons of moderate fortune.”

“Break it he shall,” muttered Lady Lackington, as she continued her

“Of course, dearest, expense doesn’t signify to _you_,” sighed out Lady

“And do you mean to tell me, sir,” said Lady Lacking-ton, “that this
is the notorious Captain Davis of whose doings we have been reading in
every newspaper?”

“Yes, my Lady, he is the notorious”--he was going to say “Grog,” but
corrected himself, and added--“Captain Davis, and has been for years
back the intimate associate of the present Lord Lackington.”

Mr. Spicer was really enjoying himself on this occasion, nor was it
often his fortune to give her Ladyship so much annoyance innocuously.
His self-indulgence, however, carried him too far; for Lady Lackington,
suddenly turning round, caught the expression of gratified malice on his

“Take care, sir,--take care,” she cried, with a menacing gesture of her
finger. “There may chance to be a flaw somewhere in your narrative; and
if there should, Mr. Spicer,--if there should,--I don’t _think_ Lord
Lackington would forget it,--I am _sure I_ sha’n’t.” And with this
threatening declaration her Ladyship swept out of the room in most
haughty fashion.

“This is all what comes of being obliging,” exclaimed Spicer, unable
to control himself any longer. “It was not _I_ that threw Beecher into
Grog’s company,--it was not _I_ that made him marry Grog’s daughter. For
all that _I_ cared, he might go and be a monk at La Trappe, or marry as
many wives as Brigham Young himself.”

“I hope you brought me Lady Gertrude Oscot’s book, Mr. Spicer,--‘Rays
through Oriel Windows’?” said Lady Grace, in one of her sweetest voices.
“She is such a charming poetess.”

“I’d lay my life on’t, she’s just as wide-awake as her father,” muttered
Spicer to himself.

“As wide-awake? Dear me, what can you mean?”

“That’s she’s fly--up to trap--oh, is n’t she!” went he on, still
communing to himself.

“Lady Gertrude Oscot, sir?”

“No; but Grog Davis’s daughter,--the new Viscountess Lackington,--my
Lady. I was thinking of _her_,” said Spicer, suddenly recalled to a
sense of where he stood.

“I protest, sir, I cannot understand how two persons so totally
dissimilar could occur to any mind at the same moment.” And with this
Lady Grace gathered up the details of her embroidery, and courtesying a
deep and formal adieu, left the room.

“Haven’t I gone and done it with both of them!” said Spicer, as he took
out his cigar-case to choose a cigar; not that he had the slightest
intention of lighting it in such a place,--no profanity of the kind ever
occurred to him,--all he meant was the mock bravado to himself of an
act that seemed to imply so much coolness, such collected courage. As to
striking a light, he ‘d as soon have done it in a magazine.

And sticking his cigar in his mouth, he left the house; even in the
street he forgot to light it, and strolled along, turning his weed
between his lips, and revolving no very pleasant thoughts in his mind:
“All the way to England, down to Wales, then the Isle of Wight, seeing
no end of people,--lawyers, milliners, agents, proctors, jewellers, and
dressmakers--eternal explainings and expostulatings, begging for this,
deprecating that; asking this man to be active and the other to be
patient; and then back again over the whole breadth of Europe in
atrocious weather, sea-sick and land-sick, tossed, Jolted, and
shaken,--and all for what,--ay, for what? To be snubbed, outraged,
and insulted, treated like a lackey,--no, but ten times worse than any
lackey would bear. And why should I bear it? That’s the question. Why
should I? Does it signify a brass farthing to me whether the noble house
of Lackington quarters its arms with the cogged dice and the marked king
of the Davises? What do I care about their tarnished shield? It’s rather
cool of my lady to turn upon _me!_” Well reasoned and true, Mr. Spicer;
you have but forgotten one small item in the account, which is the
consideration accorded to you by your own set, because you were seen to
mingle with those so much above you.

We are told that when farthings are shaken up a sufficiently long time
with guineas in a bag, they acquire a sort of yellow lustre, which,
though by no means enabling them to pass for guineas, still makes them
wonderfully bright farthings, and doubtless would render them very
intolerant in the company of their equals. Such was, in a measure, what
had happened to Mr. Spicer; and though at first sight the process
would seem a gain, it is in reality the reverse, since, after this mock
gilding, the coin--whether it be man or farthing--has lost its stamp
of truthfulness, and will not “pass” for even the humble value it once

“At all events,” thought Mr. Spicer, as he went along, “her Ladyship
has not come off scot free for all her impertinence. I have given her
materials for a very miserable morning, and irritated the very sorest
spot in all her mind. It was just the very lesson she wanted; there’s
nothing will do her so much good in the world.”

It is by no means an uncommon delusion for ill-natured people to fancy
that they are great moral physicians, and that the bitters they drop
into _your_ wine-glass and _my_ teacup are admirable tonics, which our
constitutions require. The drug is not always an evil, but the doctor is

As Spicer drew nigh one of the great hotels in the Piazza di Spagna,
he recognized Beecher’s travelling-carriage just being unloaded at the
door. They had arrived at that moment, and the courier was bustling
about and giving his orders like one whose master was likely to exact
much and pay handsomely.

“The whole of the first floor, Freytag,” said the courier,
authoritatively; “every room of it. My Lord cannot bear the disturbance
of people lodged near him.”

“He used not to be so particular in the ‘Bench,’” muttered Spicer. “I
remember his sleeping one of three in a room.”

“Ah, Mr. Spicer, my Lord said, if I should meet you, to mention he
wishes to see you.”

“Do you think he’d receive me now, Kuffner?”

“Well, I ‘ll go and see.”

Mr. Kuffner came speedily back, and, beckoning to Spicer to follow, led
the way to Lord Lackington’s room. “He is dressing for dinner, but will
see you,” added he, as he introduced him.

The noble Viscount did not turn from the mirror at which he was
elaborately arranging his neckcloth as Spicer entered, but satisfied
himself with calling out, “Take a chair, Spicer; you ‘ll find one

The tone of the salutation was not more significant than the aspect
of this room itself. All the articles of a costly dressing-case of
silver-gilt were ranged on one table Essence-bottles, snuff-boxes,
pipe-heads, with rings, jewelled buttons, and such-like knick-knackeries
covered another; whatever fancy could suggest or superfluity compass of
those thousand-and-one trinkets the effeminacy of our age has introduced
into male costume, all abounded. Quantities, too, of the most
expensive clothes were there,--rich uniforms, fur-lined pelisses, and
gold-embroidered waistcoats. And as Mr. Spicer quickly made the tour of
these with his eye, his gaze rested at last on my Lord himself, whose
dressing-gown of silver brocade would have made a state robe for a
Venetian Doge.

“Everything is in confusion just now; but if you ‘ll throw down some of
those things, you ‘ll get a chair,” said Beecher, carelessly.

Spicer, however, preferred to take his place at the chimney, on which he
leaned in an attitude that might take either the appearance of respect
or familiarity, as the emergency required.

“When did you arrive?” asked my Lord.

“About two hours ago,” was the short reply.

Beecher turned to gaze at the man, who answered without more semblance
of deference, and now, for the first time, their eyes met. It was,
evidently, Spicer’s game, by a bold assertion of former intimacy, to
place their future intercourse on its old footing; and just as equally
decided was Beecher that no traditions of the past should rise up and
obtrude themselves on the present, and so he threw into this quiet,
steady stare an amount of haughty resolution, before which Spicer
quailed and struck his flag.

“Perhaps I should say three hours, my Lord,” added Spicer, flurriedly;
and Beecher turned away with a slight curl on his lip, as though to say,
“The conflict was not a very long one.” Spicer marked the expression,
and vowed vengeance for it.

“I thought you ‘d have got here two or three days before,” said Beecher,

“Vetturino travelling is not like extra-post, my Lord,” said Spicer,
fawningly. “You could cover your hundred miles between breakfast and a
late dinner, while we thought ourselves wonderful to get over forty from
sunrise to midnight.”

“That’s true,” yawned out Beecher; “vetturino work must be detestable.”

“No man could give you a better catalogue of its grievances than
your father-in-law, my Lord; he has had a long experience of them. I
remember, one winter, we started from Brussels in the deep snow,--there
was Baring, Hope, Fisk, Grog, and myself.”

“I don’t care to hear your adventures; and it would be just as agreeable
to me were you to call my relative Captain Davis, as to speak of him by
a vulgar nickname.”

“Faith, my Lord, I did n’t mean it. It slipped out quite unconsciously,
Just as it did awhile ago,--far more awkwardly, by the bye,--when I was
talking to Lady Lacking-ton. The dowager, I mean.”

“And what occasion, sir, had you to refer to Captain Davis in _her_
company?” asked Beecher, fiercely.

“She asked me plumply, my Lord, what was her Ladyship’s name, what
family she came of, who her connections were, and I told her that I
never heard of any of them, except her father, popularly known as Grog
Davis,--a man that every one on the turf was acquainted with.”

“You are a malicious scoundrel, Spicer,” said Beecher, whose pale cheek
now shook and trembled with passion.

“Well, I don’t think so, my Lord,” said the other, quietly. “It is
not, certainly, the character the world gives me. And as to what passed
between her Ladyship and myself this afternoon, I did my very best to
escape difficulties. I told her that the Brighton affair was almost
forgotten now,--it was fully eighteen years since it happened; that as
to Charles Herbert’s death, there were two stories,--some averring that
poor Charley had actually struck Grog; and then, though the York trial
was a public scandal--Well, my Lord, don’t look so angrily at me; it was
by no fault of _mine_ these transactions became notorious.”

“And what have you been all your whole life to this Davis but his cad
and errand-boy,--a fellow he has sent with a bad horse,--for he would
not have trusted you with a good one,--to run for a hack stakes in an
obscure county, a lounger about stables and the steps of club-houses,
picking up scraps of news from the jocks and selling them to the
gentlemen? Does it become you to turn out Kit Davis and run full cry
after him?”

It was but rarely that Beecher’s indignation could warm up to the
temperature of downright passion; but when it did so, it gave the man
a sort of power that few would have recognized in his weak and yielding
nature; at all events, Spicer was not the man to stem such a torrent,
and so he stared at him with mingled terror and anger.

“I tell you, Mr. Spicer,” added Beecher, more passionately still, “if
you hadn’t known Davis was a thousand miles away, you ‘d never have
trusted yourself to speak of him in this fashion; but, for your comfort
I say it, he ‘ll be here in a day or two.”

“I never said a word of him you ‘d not find in the newspapers,” said
Spicer, doggedly.

“When you come to settle accounts together, it will surprise me very
much if there won’t be matter for another paragraph in them,” said
Beecher, with a sneer.

Spicer winced; he tried to arrange his neckcloth, and then to button
his glove, but all his efforts could not conceal a tremor that shook
him from head to foot. Now, when Beecher got his “man down,” he never
thought he could trample enough upon him; and as he walked the room in
hasty strides to and fro, he jeeringly pictured to Spicer the pleasures
of his next meeting with Davis: not, indeed, but that all his eloquence
was superfluous; it needed no descriptive powers to convince any who
enjoyed Grog’s _friendship_ what his enmity might imply.

“I know him as well as _you_ do, my Lord,” said Spicer, as his patience
at last gave way; “and I know, besides, there’s more than half the
Continent where he can’t set a foot.”

“Perhaps you mentioned that, also, to my sister-in-law,” said Beecher,

“No, I said nothing about it!” muttered the other.

There was now a pause; each only waited for any, the slightest show
of concession to make advances to the other; for although without the
slightest particle of good feeling on either side, they well knew
the force of the adage that enjoins friendship among knaves. My
Lord thoroughly appreciated the utility of a Spicer; well did Spicer
understand all the value of a peer’s acquaintance.

Each ruminated long over the situation; and at last Beecher said, “Did
poor Lackington leave you anything in his will?”

“A racing snaffle and two whips, my Lord.”

“Poor fellow, he never forgot any one, I ‘m sure,” sighed Beecher.

“He had a wonderful memory, indeed, my Lord; for I had borrowed twenty
pounds of him at the Canterbury races some ten years ago, and he said
to me, just before he took to bed, ‘Never mind the trifle that’s between
us, Spicer; I shall not take it.’”

“Good-hearted, generous fellow!” muttered Beecher.

Spicer’s mouth twitched a little, but he did not speak.

“There never was a better brother, never!” said Beecher, far more intent
upon the display of his own affectionate sorrow than in commemorating
fraternal virtues. “We never had a word of disagreement in our lives.
Poor Lackington! he used to think he was doing the best by me by keeping
me so tight, and always threatening to cut me down still lower; he meant
it for the best, but you know I could n’t live upon it, the thing was
impossible. If I had n’t been one of the ‘wide-awakes,’ I ‘d have gone
to the wall at once; and let me tell you, Master Spicer, it wasn’t every
fellow would have kept his head over water where I was swimming.”

“That I ‘m convinced of,” said Spicer, gravely.

“Well, it’s a long lane has no turning, Spicer,” said he, oomplacently
looking at himself in the glass. “Even a runaway pulls up somewhere; not
but I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart for poor Lack, but it will be
our own turn one of these days; that’s a match there’s no paying forfeit
on, eh, Spicer? it must come off whether we will or not!”

“So it must, my Lord,” sighed out Spicer, sympathetically.

“Ay, by Jove! whether a man leaves twelve thousand a year or only two
hundred behind him,” sighed out Beecher, who could not help making the
application to himself.

Again did Spicer sigh, and so profoundly, it might have represented
grief for the whole peerage.

“I say, old fellow,” said Beecher, clapping him familiarly on the
shoulder, “I wish you had n’t told Georgy all that stuff about Davis;
these things do no good.”

“I assure you solemnly, my Lord, I said it with the best motives; her
Ladyship would certainly learn the whole history somewhere, and so I
thought I ‘d just sketch the thing off in a light, easy way.”

“Come, come, Spicer,--no gammon, my lad; you never tried any of your
light, easy ways with _my_ sister-in-law. At all events, it’s done,
and can’t be undone now,” sighed he, drearily. Then, after a moment, he
added, “How did she take the news?”

“Well, at first, my Lord, she wouldn’t believe it, but went on, ‘She’s
not his wife, sir; I tell you they’re not married,’ and so on.”

“Well,--and then?”

“Then, my Lord, I assured her that there could be no doubt of the
matter; that your Lordship had done me the honor of presenting me--”

“Which I never did, Master Spicer,” laughed in Beecher,--“you know well
enough that I never did; but a fib won’t choke you, old fellow.”

“At all events, I made it clear that you were really married, and to the
daughter of a man that would send you home on a shutter if you threw any
doubt on it.”

“Wouldn’t he, by Jupiter!” exclaimed Beecher, with all the sincerity of
a great fact “Well, after _that_, how did she take on?”

“She did n’t say a word, but rocked from side to side, this way,--like
one going to faint; and, indeed, her color all went, and she was pale as
a corpse; and then she took long breaths, and muttered below her voice,
‘This is worst of all!’ After that she rallied, and certainly gave it to
your Lordship in round style, but always winding it up with, ‘Break
it he shall, and must, if it was the Archbishop of Canterbury married

“Very fine talking, Master Spicer, but matrimony is a match where
you can’t scratch and pay forfeits. I wish you could,” muttered he to
himself. “I wish you had the presence of mind and the pluck to have
told her that it was _my_ affair, and not _hers_. As to the honor of the
Lackingtons and all that lot, she is n’t a Lackington any more than you
are,--she ‘s a De Tracey; good blood, no better, but she isn’t one of
us, and you ought to have told her so.”

“I own I ‘d not have had courage for that!” said Spicer, candidly.

“That’s what I’d have said in your place, Spicer. The present Viscount
Lackington is responsible to himself, and not to the late Lord’s widow;
and, what’s more, he is no flat, without knowledge of men and the world,
but a fellow with both eyes open, and who has gone through as smart a
course of education as any man in the ring. Take up the Racing Calendar,
and show me any one, since Huckaback beat Crim. Con., that ever got it
so ‘hot’ as I have. No, no, my Lady, it won’t do, preaching to me about
‘life.’ If _I_ don’t know a thing or two, who does? If you ‘d have had
your wits about you, Spicer, that’s what you ‘d have told her.”

“I’m not so ready at a pinch as you are, my Lord,” muttered Spicer, who
affected sullenness.

“Few are, Master Spicer,--very few are, I can tell you;” and in the
pleasure of commending and complimenting himself and his own great
gifts, Beecher speedily ceased to remember. What so lately had annoyed
him. “Dine here at seven, Spicer,” said he, at last, “and I’ll present
you to my Lady. She ‘ll be amused with _you_.” Though the last words
were uttered in a way that made their exact significance somewhat
doubtful, Mr. Spicer never sought to canvass them; he accepted the
invitation in good part, for he was one of those men who, though they
occasionally “quarrel with their bread-and-butter,” are wise enough
never to fall out with their truffles.


When the new Viscount had dismissed Mr. Spicer, he set out to visit his
sister-in-law. Any one who has been patient enough to follow the stages
of this history will readily imagine that he did not address himself
to the task before him with remarkable satisfaction. If it had been a
matter to be bought off by money, he would readily have paid down a good
round sum as forfeit. It was no use fortifying himself, as he tried to
do, by all the commonplaces he kept repeating to his own heart, saying,
“She ain’t my guardian. I’m no ward to be responsible to _her_. She can
exercise no control over me or my property. She ‘s the dowager, and
no more.” All the traditions of his younger brother life rose up in
rebellion against these doctrines, and he could think of her as nothing
but the haughty Viscountess, who had so often pronounced the heaviest
censures upon his associates and his mode of living. A favorite theory
of his was it, also, in olden time, to imagine that, but for Georgina,
Lackington would have done this, that, and t’other for him; that she it
was who thwarted all his brother’s generous impulses, and brought him
to look with stern disfavor on his life of debt and dissipation.
These memories rushed now fully to his mind, and, assuredly, added no
sentiment of pleasure to his expectation of the meeting. More than once
did he come to a halt, and deliberate whether, seeing how unpleasant
such an interview must prove, he need incur the pain of it. “I could
write to her, or I could send Lizzy to say that I was confined to bed,
and ill. Would n’t that be a flare up! By Jove! if I could only see the
match as it came off between them, I ‘d do _that_. Not but I know Georgy
would win; she ‘d come out so strong as ‘Grande Dame;’ the half-bred ‘un
would have no chance. Still, there would be a race, and a close one, for
Lizzy has her own turn of speed; and if she had the breeding--” And as
he got thus far in his ruminations, he had reached the Palazzo Gondi,
where his sister-in-law lived. With a sort of sullen courage he rang the
bell, and was shown in; her Ladyship was dressing, but would be down in
a moment.

Beecher had now some minutes alone, and he passed them scrutinizing the
room and its appurtenances. All was commoner and more homely than he
looked for. Not many indications of comfort; scarcely any of luxury.
What might this mean? Was her settlement so small as to exact this
economy, or was it a voluntary saving? If so, it was the very reverse
of all her former tastes, for she was essentially one who cultivated
splendor and expense. This problem was still puzzling him, when the door
opened, and she entered. He advanced rapidly to meet her, and saluted
her on each cheek. There was a strange affectation of cordiality on each
side. Prize-fighters shake hands ere they double them up into catapults
for each other’s heads; but the embrace here was rather more like the
kiss the victim on the scaffold bestows upon his executioner.

Seated side by side on the sofa, for a few minutes neither uttered a
word; at last she said, in a calm, low voice, “We had hoped to see you
before this,--_he_ looked anxiously for your coming.”

Beecher heaved a heavy sigh; in that unhappy delay was comprised all the
story of his calamities. And how to begin--how to open the narrative?

“I wrote as many as five letters,” resumed she; “some addressed to
Fordyce’s, others to the care of Mr. Davenport Dunn.”

“Not one of them ever reached me.”

“Very strange, indeed,” said she, with the smile of faintest
incredulity; “letters so seldom miscarry nowadays. Stranger, still,
that none of your other correspondents should have apprised you of your
brother’s state; there was ample time to have done it.”

“I know nothing of it I vow to Heaven I had not the slightest suspicion
of it!”

“Telegraphs, too, are active agencies in these days, and I wrote to
Fordyce to use every exertion to acquaint you.”

“I can only repeat what I have said already, that I was utterly
ignorant of everything till I arrived at Baden; there I accidentally met

“Spicer told me about it,” said she abruptly, as though it was not
necessary to discuss any point conceded on both sides. “Your coming,”
 continued she, “was all the more eagerly looked for because it was
necessary you should be, so far as possible, prepared for the suit we
are threatened with; actions at law for ejectments on title are already
announced, and great--the very greatest--inconvenience has resulted for
want of formal instructions on your part.”

“Is the thing really serious, Georgy?” asked he, with an unfeigned
anxiety of manner.

“If you only will take the trouble of reading Fordyce’s two last
letters,--they are very long, I confess, and somewhat difficult to
understand,--you will at least see that his opinion is the reverse of
favorable. In fact, he thinks the English estates are gone.”

“Oh, Georgy dearest! but _you_ don’t believe that?”

“The Irish barony and certain lands in Cork,” resumed she, calmly, “are
not included in the demand they profess to make; nor, of course, have
they any claim as to the estates purchased by Lord Lackington through
Mr. Dunn.”

“But the title?”

“The Viscounty goes with the English property.”

“Good heavens! a title we have held undisturbed, unquestioned, since
Edward the Third’s time. I cannot bring myself to conceive it!”

“Great reverses of condition can be borne with dignity when they are not
of our own incurring,” said she, with a stern and pointed significance.

“I’m afraid I cannot boast of possessing all your philosophy,” said he,

“So much the worse. You would need it, and even more, too, if all that I
have heard be true.”

There was no mistaking this inference, and Beecher only hesitated
whether he should accept battle at once, or wait for another broadside.

“Not but,” broke she in, “if you could assure me that the rumors were
untrue,--that _you_ have been calumniated, and I misinformed,--if, I
say, you were enabled to do this, the tidings would help greatly to
sustain me through this season of trouble.”

“You must speak more plainly, Georgina, if I am to understand you.”

“Are you married, Annesley?” said she, abruptly.

“Yes. I hope I am of an age to enter the holy estate without leave from
my relations.”

“It is true, then?” said she, with a deep, full voice.

“Perfectly true. And then?” There was an open defiance in this tone of
questioning which seemed actually to sting her.

“And then?” repeated she, after him,--“‘and then?’ You are right to say,
‘and then?’--if that means ‘What next?’”

Beecher turned pale and red, as fear and passion swayed him alternately;
but he never spoke.

“Is it really a marriage?” broke she in again, “or is it some mockery
enacted by a degraded priest, and through the collusion of some scheming
sharpers. Oh, Annesley! tell me frankly how you have been tricked into
this ignominious contract!” And her accents, as she spoke this, assumed
a tone of imploring affection that actually moved him. To this a sense
of offended dignity quickly succeeded with him, and he said,--

“I cannot permit you to continue in this strain; I am rightfully,
legally married, and the lady who shares my lot is as much the
Viscountess Lackington as you are.”

She covered her face with both her hands, and sat thus for several

“Perhaps it is all for the best,” muttered she, in a low but audible
accent,--“perhaps it is all for the best. Loss of rank, station, and
name will fall the more lightly on those who so little understood how to
maintain them with dignity.”

“And if I am threatened with the loss of my title and fortune,” cried
Beecher, passionately, “is it exactly the time to heap these insults on

Partly from the firmness of his manner as he uttered these words, partly
that they were not devoid of truthful meaning, she accepted the reproof
almost submissively.

“You must go over to England at once, Beecher,” said she, calmly. “You
must place yourself immediately in Fordyce’s hands, and secure the best
advice the Bar affords. I would go with you myself, but that--” The deep
flush that spread over Beecher’s face as she paused here made the moment
one of intense pain to each. “No matter,” resumed she; “there is only
one danger I would warn you against. You dropped the word ‘compromise;’
now, Annesley, let nothing induce you to descend to this. Such a
suggestion could only have come from those whose habits of life accept
expediency in lieu of principle. Maintain your rights proudly and
defiantly so long as they pertain to you; if law should at last declare
that we are only usurpers--” She tried to finish, but the words seemed
as if they would choke her, and after an effort almost convulsive she
burst into tears. Scarcely less moved, Beecher covered his face with his
hands and turned away.

“I will do whatever you advise me, Georgina,” said he at length, as
he seated himself on the sofa at her side. “If you say I ought to go to
England, I ‘ll set off at once.”

“Yes; you must be in London; you must be where you can have daily,
hourly access to your lawyers; but you must also determine that this
contest shall be decided by law, and law alone. I cannot, will not,
believe that your rights are invalid. I feel assured that the House of
Lords will maintain the cause of an acknowledged member of their order
against the claims of an obscure pretender. This sympathy, however,
will only be with you so long as you are true to yourself. Let the
word ‘compromise’ be but uttered, and the generous sentiment will be
withdrawn; therefore, Annesley,”--here she dropped her voice, and
spoke more impressively,--“therefore, I should say, go over to England
_alone_; be free to exercise untrammelled your own calm judgment,--keep
your residence a secret from all save your law advisers,--see none

“You mean, then, that I should go without my wife?”

“Yes!” said she, coldly; “if she accompany you, her friends, her father,
with whom she will of course correspond, will know of your whereabouts,
and flock round you with their unsafe counsels; this is most to be

“But how is it to be managed, Georgina; she cannot surely stop here, at
an hotel too, while I am away in England?”

“I can see nothing against such an arrangement; not having had the
pleasure of seeing and knowing Lady Lack-ington, I am unable to guess
any valid reasons against this plan. Is she young?”

“Not twenty.”

“Handsome, of course?” said she, with a slight but supercilious curl of
the lip.

“Very handsome,--beautiful,” answered he, but in a voice that denoted no

Lady Lackington mused for a moment or two; it seemed as if she were
discussing within her own mind a problem, stating and answering
objections as they arose, for she muttered such broken words as,
“Dangerous, of course--in Rome especially--but impossible for her to go
to England--all her relations--anything better than that--must make
the best of it;” then turning to Beecher with an air of one whose
determination was taken, she said: “She must stay with me till you
return.” Before he had rallied from his surprise at this resolution, she
added, “Come over to tea this evening, and let me see her.”

Beecher pressed her hand cordially, as though to imply a gratitude above
words; but in reality he turned away to conceal all the emotions this
new position of difficulty occasioned, merely calling out, “We ‘ll come
very early,” as he departed.

Lizzy heard that Spicer was to be their guest at dinner, and they
themselves to take tea with the Viscountess. Lackington, with
equal indifference. She had scarcely _seen_ Mr. Spicer, and was not
over-pleased with her brief impression; of her Ladyship she had only
_heard_, but even that much had not inspired her to anticipate a
pleasant meeting.

There was, however, in her husband’s manner, a sort of fidgety anxiety
that showed he attached to the coming interview an amount of importance
she could by no means understand. He continued to throw out such hints
as to “Georgina’s notions” on this or that point; and, while affecting
a half ridicule, really showed how seriously he regarded them. Even to
Lizzy’s dress his cares extended; and he told her to be mindful that
nothing in her costume should attract special criticism or remark.

Beecher was far more uneasy than even his looks betrayed. He dreaded
to dwell upon the haughty demeanor his sister-in-law would so certainly
assume, and the sort of inspection to which his wife was to be
subjected. In his heart he wished that Lizzy had been less beautiful,
less attractive, or, as he ungraciously styled it to himself, “less
showy.” He well knew how damaging would all her brilliant qualities
become to the eyes of one herself a belle and a beauty in times past. He
discussed over and over with himself whether it might not be better to
acquaint Lizzy of the kind of dress parade that awaited her, or leave
wholly to chance the events of the interview. For once in his life he
took a wise resolve, and said nothing on the matter.

The dinner passed off somewhat heavily,--Beecher silent and preoccupied,
Lizzy thoughtful and indisposed to converse, and Spicer vexed, in spite
of all his resolutions to the contrary, by what he had insultingly
called to himself “the airs of Grog Davis’s daughter;” and yet nothing
could be less just than to stigmatize by such a phrase a manner quiet,
calm, and unpretentious, and totally removed from all affectation.

For a while Beecher bestowed a watchful attention on Spicer, uneasy lest
by some adroit piece of malice he might either irritate Lizzy or lead
her covertly into some imprudent disclosures; but he soon saw that
it would have required a hardier spirit than Mr. Spicer’s to have
adventured on impertinence in that quarter, and, lighting his cigar, he
sat moodily down by the window to think on the future.

Left with the field thus open, Spicer canvassed within himself how best
to profit by the opportunity. Should he declare himself an old friend
of her father’s,--his associate and his colleague? Should he dexterously
intimate that, knowing all about her family and antecedents, she could
not do better than secure his friendship? Should he not also slyly
suggest that, married to a man like Beecher, the counsels of one prudent
and wily as himself would prove invaluable? “Now or never,” thought he,
as he surveyed her pale features, and interpreted their expression as
implying timidity and fear.

“Your first visit to Rome, I believe?” said he, as he searched for a
cigar amidst the heap on the table.

A cold assent followed.

“Wonderful place; not merely for its old monuments and ruins, though
they are curious too, but its strange society,--all nations and all
ranks of each mixed and mingled together: great swells and snobs,
grand ladies, princes, cardinals and ambassadors, thrown together with
artistes, gamblers, and fast ones of either sex,--a regular fair of fine
company, with, plenty of amusement and lots of adventure.”

“Indeed!” said she, languidly.

“Just the place your father would like,” said he, dropping his voice to
a half-whisper.

“In what way, pray?” asked she, quietly.

“Why, in the way of trade, of course,” said he, laughing. “For the
fine-lady part of the matter he ‘d not care for it,--that never was
his line of country,--but for the young swells that thought themselves
sporting characters, for the soft young gents that fancied they
could play, Grog was always ready. I ask your pardon for the familiar
nickname, but we ‘ve known each other about thirty years. He always
called me Ginger. Haven’t you heard him speak of old Ginger?”

“Never, sir.”

“Strange that; but perhaps he did not speak of his pals to you?”

“No, never.”

“That was so like him. I never saw his equal to hunt over two different
kinds of country. He could get on the top of a bus and go down to St.
John’s Wood, or to Putney, after a whole night at Crawley’s, and with an
old shooting-jacket and Jim-crow on him, and a garden-rake in his hand,
you ‘d never suspect he was the fellow who had cleared out the company
and carried off every shilling at billiards and blind-hookey. Poor old
Kit, how fond I am of him!”

A stare, whose meaning Spicer could not fathom, was the only reply to
the speech.

“And he was so fond of _me!_ I was the only one of them all he could
trust. He liked Beech--I mean his Lordship there; he was always
attached to him, but whenever it was really a touch-and-go thing, a
nice operation, then he’d say, ‘Where’s Ginger? give me Ginger!’ The
adventures we’ve had together would make a book; and do you know that
more than once I thought of writing them, or getting a fellow to write
them, for it’s all the same. I’d have called it ‘Grog and Ginger.’
Wouldn’t that take?”

She made no reply; her face was, perhaps, a thought paler, but unchanged
in expression.

“And then the scenes we’ve gone through!--dangerous enough some of them;
he rather liked that, and _I_ own it never was my taste.”

“I am surprised to hear you say so, sir,” said she, in a low but very
distinct voice; “I’d have imagined exactly the reverse.”

“Indeed! and may I make so bold as to ask why?”

“Simply, sir, that a gentleman so worldly-wise as yourself must always
be supposed to calculate eventualities, and not incur, willingly at
least, those he has no mind for. To be plain, sir, I ‘m at a loss to
understand how one not fond of peril should hazard the chance of being
thrown out of a window,--don’t start, I ‘m only a woman, and cannot do
it, nor, though I have rung for the servant, am I going to order _him_.
For this time it shall be the door.” And, rising proudly, she walked
toward the window; but ere she reached it, Spicer was gone.

“What’s become of Spicer, Lizzy?” said Beecher, indolently, as his eyes
traversed the room in search of him.

“He has taken his leave,” said she, in a voice as careless.

“He’s tiresome, I think,” yawned he; “at least, I find him so.”

She made no reply, but sat down to compose her thoughts, somewhat
ruffled by the late scene.

“Ain’t it time to order the carriage? I told Georgy we’d come early,”
 added he, after a pause.

“I almost think I’ll not go to-night,” said she, in a low voice.

“Not go! You don’t mean that when my sister-in-law sends you a message
to come and see her that you ‘ll refuse!” cried he, in a mixture of
anger and astonishment.

“I’m afraid I could be guilty of so great an enormity,” said she,
smiling superciliously.

“It’s exactly the word for it, whatever you may think,” said he,
doggedly. “All I can say is, that you don’t know Georgina, or you’d
never have dreamt of it.”

“In that case it is better I _should_ know her; so I’ll get my bonnet
and shawl at once.”

She was back in the room in a moment, and they set out for the Palazzo

What would not Beecher have given, as they drove along, for courage to
counsel and advise her,--to admonish as to this, and caution as to that?
And yet he did not dare to utter a word, and she was as silent.

It would not be very easy to say exactly what sort of person Lady
Georgina expected in her sister-in-law; indeed, she had pictured her in
so many shapes to herself that there was not an incongruity omitted
in the composition, and she fancied her bold, daring, timid, awkward,
impertinent, and shy alternately, and, in this conflict of anticipation,
it was that Lizzy entered. So utterly overcome was Lady Georgina by
astonishment, that she actually advanced to meet her in some confusion,
and then, taking her hand, led her to a seat on the sofa beside her.

[Illustration: 372]

While the ordinary interchange of commonplaces went on,--and nothing
could be more ordinary or commonplace than the words of their
greeting,--each calmly surveyed the other. What thoughts passed in their
minds, what inferences were drawn, and what conclusions formed in
this moment, it is not for me to guess. To women alone pertains
that marvellous freemasonry that scans character at a glance, and
investigates the sincerity of a disposition and the value of a
lace flounce with the same practised facility. If Lady Georgina was
astonished by the striking beauty of her sister-in-law, she was amazed
still more by her manner and her tone. Where could she have learned that
graceful repose,--that simplicity, which is the very highest art? Where
and how had she caught up that gentle quietude which breathes like a
balmy odor over the well-bred world? How had she acquired that subtlety
by which wit is made to sparkle and never to startle; and what training
had told her how to weave through all she said the flattery of a wish to

Woman of the world as she was, Lady Lackington had seen no such marvel
as this. It was no detraction from its merit that it might be all
acting, for it was still “high art.” Not a fault could she detect in
look, gesture, or tone, and yet all seemed as easy and unstudied as
possible. Her Ladyship knew well that the practice of society confers
all these advantages; but here was one who had never mixed with the
world, who, by her own confession, “knew no one,” and yet was a mistress
of every art that rules society.

Lady Georgina had yet to learn that there are instincts stronger than
all experience, and that, in the common intercourse of life, Tact is

Though Lizzy was far more deeply versed in every theme on which it was
her Ladyship’s pleasure to talk than herself,--though she knew more of
painting, of music, and of literature, than the Viscountess, she still
seemed like one gleaning impressions as they conversed, and at each
moment acquiring nearer and clearer views; and yet even this flattery
was so nicely modulated that it escaped detection.

There was a mystery in the case her Ladyship determined to fathom. “No
woman of her class,” as she phrased it, could have been thus trained
without some specific object. The stage had latterly been used as a sort
of show mart where young girls display their attractive graces, at times
with immense success. Could this have been the goal for which she had
been destined? She adroitly turned the conversation to that topic, but
Lizzy’s answers soon negatived the suspicion. Governesses, too, were
all-accomplished in these days; but here there was less of acquirement
exhibited than of all the little arts and devices of society.

“Is my trial nearly over?” whispered Lizzy in Beecher’s ear as he passed
beside her chair. “I’d rather hear a verdict of Guilty at once than to
submit to further examining.”

A look of caution, most imploringly given, was all his reply.

Though Lady Lackington had neither heard question nor answer, her quick
glance had penetrated something like a meaning in them, and her lip
curled impatiently as she said to Beecher, “Have you spoke to Lady
Lackington of our plans for her,--I mean during your absence?”

He muttered a sullen “No, not yet,” and turned away.

“It was an arrangement that will, I hope, meet your approval,” said Lady
Georgina, half coldly, “since Beecher must go over to England for some
weeks; and as you could not with either comfort or propriety remain
alone in your hotel, our plan was that you should come here.”

Lizzy merely turned her eyes on Beecher, but there was that in their
expression that plainly said, “Is this _your_ resolve?” He only moved
away, and did not speak.

“Not but if any of your own family,” continued Lady Lackington, “could
come out here, and that you might prefer _their_ company,--that would be
an arrangement equally satisfactory. Is such an event likely?”

“Nothing less so, my Lady,” said Lizzy. “My father has affairs of
urgency to treat at this moment.”

“Oh, I did not exactly allude to your father,--you might have sisters.”

“I have none.”

“An aunt, perhaps?”

“I never heard of one.”

“Lizzy, you are aware, Georgina,” broke in Beecher, whose voice trembled
at every word, “was brought up abroad,--she never saw any of her

“How strange! I might even say, how unfortunate!” sighed her Ladyship,

“Stranger, and more unfortunate still, your Ladyship would perhaps say,
if I were to tell you that I never so much as heard of them.”

“I am not certainly prepared to say that the circumstance is one to be
boastful of,” said Lady Lackington, who resented the look of haughty
defiance of the other.

“I assure your Ladyship that you are mistaken in attributing to me such
a sentiment. I have nothing of which to be boastful.”

“Your present position, Lady Lackington, might inspire a very natural
degree of pride.”

“It has not done so yet, my Lady. My experience of the elevated class
to which I have been raised has been too brief to impress me; a wider
knowledge will probably supply this void.”

“And yet,” said Lady Georgina, sarcastically, “it is something,--the
change from Miss Davis to the Viscountess Lackington.”

“When that change becomes more real, more actual, my Lady,” said Lizzy,
boldly, “it will, assuredly, bear its fruits; when, in being reminded of
what I was and whence I came, I can only detect the envious malevolence
that would taunt me with what is no fault of mine, but a mere accident
of fortune,--when I hear these things with calm composure, and in my
rank as a peeress feel the equal of those who would disparage me,--then,
indeed, I may be proud.”

“Such a day may never come,” said Lady Georgina, coldly.

“Very possibly, my Lady. It has cost me no effort to win this station
you seem to prize so highly; it will not exact one to forego all its
great advantages.”

“What a young lady to be so old a philosopher! I ‘m sure Lord Lackington
never so much as suspected the wisdom he acquired in his wife. It may,
however, be a family trait.”

“My father was so far wise, my Lady, that he warned me of the reception
that awaited me in my new station; but, in his ignorance of that great
world, he gave me, rather, to believe that I should meet insinuated
slights and covert impertinences than open insults. Perhaps I owe it to
my vulgar origin that I really like the last the best; at least, they
show me that my enemies are not formidable.”

“Your remarks have convinced me that it would be quite superfluous in me
to offer my protection to a lady so conversant with life and the world.”

“They will, at least, serve to show your Ladyship that I would not have
accepted the protection.”

“But, Lizzy dearest, you don’t know what you are saying. Lady Georgina
can establish your position in society as none other can.”

“I mean to do that without aid.”

“Just as her father, Mr. Grog, would force his way into the
stand-house,” whispered Lady Lackington, but still loud enough for Lizzy
to overhear.

“Not exactly as your Ladyship would illustrate it,” said Lizzy, smiling;
“but, in seeing the amount of those gifts which have won the suffrages
of society, I own that I am not discouraged. I am told,” said she,
with a great air of artlessness, “that no one is more popular than your

Lady Lackington arose, and stared at her with a look of open insolence;
and then turning, whispered something in Beecher’s ear.

“After all,” muttered he, “_she_ did not begin it. Get your shawl,
Lizzy,” added he, aloud; “my sister keeps early hours, and we must not
break in on them.”

Lady Lackington and Lizzy courtesied to each other like ladies of high
comedy; it seemed, indeed, a sort of rivalry whose reverence should be
most formal and most deferential.

“Have n’t you gone and done it!” cried Beecher, as they gained the
street. “Georgina will never forget this so long as she lives.”

“And if she did I ‘d take care to refresh her memory,” said Lizzy,
laughing; and the mellow sounds rang out as if from a heart that never
knew a care.

“I shall require to set out for England to-morrow,” said Beecher,
moodily, so soon as they had reached the hotel. The speech was uttered
to induce a rejoinder, but she made none.

“And probably be absent for several weeks,” added he.

Still she never spoke, but seemed busily examining the embroidered
coronet on the corner of her handkerchief.

“And as circumstances require--I mean, as I shall be obliged to go
alone, and as it would be highly inconvenient, not to say unusual, for
a young married woman, more especially in the rank you occupy, to remain
in an hotel alone, without friends or relatives, we have thought--that
is, Georgy and I have considered--that you should stay with her.”

Lizzy only smiled; but what that strange smile might signify it was far
beyond Beecher’s skill to read.

“There is only one difficulty in the matter,” resumed he; “and as it is
a difficulty almost entirely created by yourself, you will naturally
be the more ready to rectify it.” He waited long enough to provoke a
question from her, but she seemed to have no curiosity on the subject,
and did not speak.

“I mean,” added he, more boldly, “that before accepting my sister’s
hospitality, you must necessarily make some _amende_ for the manner in
which you have just treated her.”

“In which _I_ treated _her!_” said Lizzy, after him, her utterance being
slow and totally passionless.

“Yes, these were my words,” said he.

“Have you forgotten how _she_ treated _me?_” asked Lizzy, in the same
calm tone.

“As to that,” said he, with a sort of fidgety confusion,--“as to
that, you ought to bear in mind who she is--what she is--and then it’s
Georgy’s way; even among her equals--those well born as herself--she has
always been permitted to exercise a certain sort of sway; in fact,
the world of fashion has decreed her a sort of eminence. You cannot
understand these things yet, though you may do so, one day or other. In
a word, _she_ can do what _you_ cannot, and must not, and the sooner you
know it the better.”

“And what is it you propose that I should do?” asked she, with seeming

“Write her a note,--brief if you like, but very civil,--full of excuses
for anything that may have given her offence; say all about your
ignorance of life, newness to the world, and so on; declare your
readiness to accept any suggestions she will kindly give you for future
conduct,--for she knows society like a book,--and conclude by assuring
her--Well!” cried he, suddenly, for she had started from him so abruptly
that he forgot his dictation.

“Go on,--go on,” said she, resuming her calm tone.

“You ‘ve put me out,” cried he; “I can’t remember where I was. Stay--I
was saying--What was it? it was something like--”

“Something like ‘I ‘ll not do it any more,’” said Lizzy, with a low
laugh; while, at the same instant, she opened her writing-desk and sat
down to write.

Now, although Beecher would have preferred seeing her accept this lesson
with more show of humility, he was, on the whole, well satisfied with
her submission. He watched her as her pen moved across the paper,
and saw that she wrote in a way that indicated calm composure and not
passion. The note was quickly finished; and as she was folding it, she
stopped, and said, “But perhaps you might like to read it?”

“Of course I ‘d like to read it,” said he, eagerly, taking it op and
reading aloud:--

     “‘The Viscountess Lackington having received Lord
     Lackington’s orders to apologize to Georgina, Viscountess
     Lackington, for certain expressions which may have offended
     her, willingly accepts the task as one likely to indicate to
     her Ladyship the propriety of excusing her own conduct to
     one who had come to claim her kindness and protection.’

“And would you presume to send her such a note as this?” cried he, as he
crushed it up and flung it into the fire.

“Not now,” said she, with a quiet smile.

“Sit down, and then write--”

“I’ll not write another,” said she, rising. She moved slowly across the
room; and as she gained the door, she turned and said, “If you don’t
want Kuffner, I ‘d be glad to have him here;” and without awaiting his
reply, she was gone.

“Haven’t I made a precious mess of it?” cried Beecher, as he buried his
head between his hands, and sat down before the fire.


In a dense fog, and under a thin cold rain, the “Tigris” steamed slowly
into the harbor of Balaklava. She had been chartered by the Government,
and sent out with some seventy thousand pair of shoes, and other like
indispensables for an army much in want, but destined to be ultimately
re-despatched to Constantinople,--some grave omissions in red tapery
having been discovered,--whereby she and the shoes remained till the
conclusion of the war, when the shoes were sold to the Russians, and the
ship returned to England.

Our concern is not, however, with the ship or the shoes, or the patent,
barley, the potted meats, or the “printed instructions” with which she
was copiously provided, but with two passengers who had come up in her
from Constantinople, and had, in a manner, struck up a sort of intimacy
by the way. They were each of them men rather advanced in life; somewhat
ordinary in appearance, of that commonplace turn in look, dress, and
bearing that rarely possesses attraction for the better-off class
of travellers, but, by the force of a grand law of compensations,
as certainly disposes them to fraternize with each other. There are,
unquestionably, some very powerful affinities which draw together men
past the prime of life, when they wear bad hats, seedy black coats very
wide in the skirt, and Berlin gloves. It is not alone that if they smoke
the tobacco is of the same coarse kind, and that brandy-and-water is a
fountain where they frequently meet, but there are mysterious points
of agreement about them which develop rapidly into close intimacy, and
would even rise to friendship if either of them was capable of such a

They had met, casually, at “Miseri’s” at Constantinople, and agreed to
go up the Black Sea together. Now, though assuredly any common observer
passing them might not readily be able to distinguish one from the other
again, both being fat, broad-shouldered, vulgar-looking men of about
fifty-four or more, yet each was a sort of puzzle to the other; and
in the curiosity thus inspired, there grew up a bond between them that
actually served to unite them.

If we forbore any attempt at mystification with our valued reader in an
early stage of this history, it is not now, that we draw to its close,
we would affect any secrecy. Let us, therefore, at once announce the
travellers by their names; one being Terry Driscoll, the other the
Reverend Paul Classon.

Driscoll had dropped hints--vague hints only--that he had come out
to look after a nephew of his, a kind of scapegrace who was always in
trouble; but in what regiment he served, or where, or whether he was yet
alive, or had been broke and sent home, were all little casualties which
he contemplated and discussed with a strange amount of composure. As
for Paul, without ever entering directly upon the personal question, he
suffered his ministerial character to ooze slowly out, and left it to
be surmised that he was a gentleman of the press, unengaged, and a
Christian minister, unattached.

Not that these personal facts were declared in the abrupt manner they
are here given to the reader. Far from it; they merely loomed through
the haze of their discourse as, walking the deck for hours, they
canvassed the war and its objects, and its probable results. Upon all
these themes they agreed wonderfully, each being fully satisfied that
the whole campaign was only a well-concerted roguery,--a scheme for the
dismemberment of Turkey, when she had been sufficiently debilitated by
the burden of an expensive contest to make all resistance impossible.
Heaven knows if either of them seriously believed this. At all events,
they said it to each other, and so often, so circumstantially, and so
energetically that it would be very rash in us to entertain a doubt of
their sincerity.

“I have been recommended to a house kept by a Mrs. Seacole,” said
Classon, as they landed on the busy quay, where soldiers and sailors
and land-transport men, with Turks, Wallachs, Tartars, and Greeks, were
performing a small Babel of their own.

“God help me!” exclaimed Terry, plaintively, “I ‘m like a new-born child
here; I know nobody, nor how to ask for anything.”

“Come along with me, then. There are worse couriers than Paul Classon.”
 And bustling his way through the crowd, his Reverence shouldered his
carpet-bag, and pushed forward.

It was, indeed, a rare good fortune for Terry to have fallen upon a
fellow-traveller so gifted and so accomplished; for not only did
Paul seem a perfect polyglot, but he possessed that peculiar bustling
activity your regular traveller acquires, by which, on his very entrance
into an inn, he assumes the position less of guest than of one
in authority and in administration. And so now Paul had speedily
investigated the resources of the establishment, and ordered an
excellent supper, while poor Driscoll was still pottering about his
room, or vainly endeavoring to uncord a portmanteau which a sailor had
fastened more ingeniously than necessary.

“I wish I knew what he was,” muttered Terry to himself. “He ‘d be the
very man to help me in this business, if I could trust him.”

Was it a strange coincidence that at the same moment Paul Classon should
be saying to himself, “That fellow’s simplicity would be invaluable if I
could only enlist him in our cause; he is a fool well worth two wise men
at this conjuncture”?

The sort of coffee-room where they supped was densely crowded by
soldiers, sailors, and civilians of every imaginable class and
condition. Bronzed, weather-beaten captains, come off duty for a good
dinner and a bottle of real wine at Mother Seacole’s, now mingled with
freshly arrived subs, who had never even seen their regiments; surgeons,
commissaries, naval lieutenants, Queen’s messengers, and army chaplains
were all there, talking away, without previous acquaintance with each
other, in all the frankness of men who felt absolved from the rule of
ordinary etiquette; and thus, amid discussions of the campaign and its
chances, were mingled personal adventures, and even private narratives,
all told without the slightest reserve or hesitation: how such a one had
got up from his sick-bed, and reported himself well and fit for duty,
and how such another had pleaded urgent private affairs to get leave to
go home; what a capital pony Watkins had bought for a sovereign, what
execrable bitter beer Jones was paying six shillings the bottle for;
sailors canvassing the slow advances of landsmen, soldiers wondering
why the blue-jackets would n’t “go in” and blow the whole mock
fortifications into the air; some boasting, some grumbling, many
ridiculing the French, and all cursing the Commissariat.

If opinions were boldly stated, and sentiments declared with very little
regard for any opposition they might create, there was, throughout, a
tone of hearty good-fellowship that could not be mistaken. The jests and
the merriment seemed to partake of the same hardy character that marked
each day’s existence; and many a story was told with a laugh, that could
not be repeated at the “Rag,” or reported at the Horse Guards. Classon
and Driscoll listened eagerly to all that went on around them. They were
under the potent spell that affects all men who feel themselves for the
first time in a scene of which they have heard much. They were actually
in the Crimea. The men around them had actually just come off duty in
the trenches: that little dark-bearded fellow had lost his arm in the
attack of the Mamelon; that blue-eyed youth, yonder, had led a party in
assault on the Cemetery; the jovial knot of fellows near the stove had
been “plotting” all night at the Russians from a rifle-pit. There was
a reality in all these things that imparted a marvellous degree of
interest to individuals that might otherwise have seemed commonplace and

Amidst the noisy narratives and noisier commentaries of the moment,
there seemed one discussion carried on with more than usual warmth. It
was as to the precise species of reward that could be accorded to one
whose military rank could not entitle him to the “Bath.”

“I tell you, Chidley,” cried one of the speakers, “if he had been a
Frenchman there would have been no end of boasting amongst our amiable
allies, and he ‘d have had Heaven knows what grade of the Legion and a
pension, besides! Show me the fellow amongst them could have done the
feat! I don’t speak of the pluck of it,--they have plenty of pluck; but
where’s the rider could have sat his horse over it?”

“What height was it?” asked another, as he leisurely puffed his cigar.

“Some say six feet,--call it five, call it four, anything you please:
it was to go at a breastwork with two nine-pounders inside, that was
the feat; and I say, again, I don’t know another fellow in the army that
would have thought of it but himself!”

[Illustration: 384]

“Dick Churchill once jumped into a square and out again!”

A hearty roar of laughter announced the amount of credit vouchsafed to
the story; but the speaker most circumstantially gave time and place,
and cited the names of those who had witnessed the fact.

“Be it all as you say,” interposed the first speaker, “Churchill did
a foolhardy thing, without any object or any result; but Conway sabred
three gunners with his own hand.”

If the story, up to this moment, had only interested our two travellers
by its heroic claims, no sooner was the name of Conway uttered than
each started with astonishment. As for Classon, he arose at once,
and, drawing near the narrator, politely begged to know if the Conway
mentioned was a one-armed man.

“The same, sir,--Charley the Smasher, as they used to call him long ago;
and, by George, he has earned some right to the title!”

“And he escaped unhurt after all this?” asked Classon.

“No, I never said that; he was almost hacked to pieces, and his horse
had four bullets in him and fell dead, after carrying him half-way back
to our lines.”

“And Conway, is he alive? Is he likely to recover?” asked Paul, eagerly.

“The doctors say it is impossible; but Charley himself declares that he
has not the slightest intention of dying, and the chances are, he ‘ll
keep his word.”

“Dear me! only think of that!” muttered Driscoll, as, with a look of
intense simplicity, he listened to this discourse. “And where is he now,
sir, if I might make so bould?”

“He’s up at the Monastery of St George, about eight miles off.”

“The Lord give him health and strength to go and fight the Russians
again!” said Terry; and the speech, uttered in a tone so natural and so
simple, was heard with a general laugh.

“Come over to this table, my old buck, and we ‘ll drink that toast in a
bumper!” cried one of the officers; and with many a bashful expression
of pleasure Mr. Driscoll accepted the invitation.

“Won’t your friend join us?” asked another, looking towards Classon.

“I must, however reluctantly, decline, gentlemen,” said Paul, blandly.
“_I_ cannot indulge like my respected friend here; _I_ stand in need of
rest and repose.”

“He doesn’t look a very delicate subject, notwithstanding,” said a
subaltern, as Classon retired.

“There ‘s no judging from appearances,” observed Driscoll. “You ‘d
think _me_ a strong man, but I ‘m weak as a child. There’s nothing left
of me since I had the ‘faver,’ and I ‘ll tell you how it happened.”


Day broke heavily and dull through the massively barred windows of the
Convent of St George, and dimly discovered a vast crowd assembled in
the great hall of waiting: officers--sailor and soldier--come to
inquire news of wounded comrades, camp-followers, sutlers, surgeons,
araba-drivers, Tartar-guides, hospital nurses, newspaper correspondents,
Jew money-changers, being only some of the varieties in that great and
motley crowd.

Two immense fireplaces threw a ruddy glare over two wide semicircles of
human faces before them; but here and there throughout the hall,
knots and groups were gathered, engaged in deep and earnest converse.
Occasionally, one speaker occupied the attention of a listening group;
but, more generally, there was a sort of discussion in which parties
suggested this or that explanation, and so supplied some piece of
omitted intelligence.

It is to this dropping and broken discourse of one of these small
gatherings that I would now draw my reader’s attention. The group
consisted of nigh a dozen persons, of whom a staff-officer and a naval
captain were the principal speakers.

“My own opinion is,” said the former, “that if the personal episodes
of this war come ever to be written, they will be found infinitely more
strange and interesting than all the great achievements of the campaign.
I ask you, for instance, where is there anything like this very case? A
wounded soldier, half cut to pieces by the enemy, is carried to the rear
to hear that his claim to a peerage has just been established, and that
he has only to get well again to enjoy fifteen thousand a year.”

“The way the tidings reach him is yet stranger,” broke in another.

“What is _your_ version of that?”

“It is the correct one, I promise you,” rejoined he; “I had it from
Colthorpe, who was present When the London lawyer--I don’t know his
name--reached Balaklava, he discovered, to his horror, that Conway was
in the front; and when the fellow summons pluck enough to move on to
head-quarters, he learns that Charley has just gone out with a party of
eight, openly declaring they mean to do something before they come back.
Up to this, the man of parchment has studiously kept his secret; in
fact, the general belief about him was that he was charged with a writ,
or some such confounded thing, against the poor Smasher, and, of course,
the impression contributed little to secure him a polite reception.
Now, however, all his calm and prudential reserve is gone, and he rushes
madly into the General’s tent, where the General is at breakfast with
all the staff and several guests, and, with the air of a man secure
of his position, he flings down upon the table a letter to the General
Commanding-in-chief from a Minister of State, saying, ‘There, sir! may I
reckon upon your assistance?’ It was some time before the General could
quite persuade himself that the man was in his senses, he talked away
so wildly and incoherently, repeatedly saying, ‘I throw it all upon you,
sir. Remember, sir, I take none of the responsibility,--none!’

“‘I wish you would kindly inform me as to the precise service you expect
at my hands, sir,’ said the General, somewhat haughtily.

“‘To have this document deposited in the hands of Lieutenant Charles
Conway, sir,’ said he, pompously, laying down a heavily sealed package;
‘to convey to him the news that his claim to the title and estates of
his family has been declared perfect; that before he can reach England
he will be Lord Viscount Cackington and Conway.’

“‘Bad news from the front, sir,9 said an aide-de-camp, breaking in.
‘After a successful attack on a small redoubt near the Cemetery; two
squadrons of the --th have been surprised, and nearly all cut up. Conway,
they say, killed.’

“‘No, not killed,’ broke in another; ‘badly wounded, and left behind.’

“There was, as you may imagine, very little thought bestowed on the
lawyer after this. Indeed, the party was scattered almost immediately,
and Colthorpe was just going out, when one of Miss Nightingale’s ladies
said to him, ‘Will you do me a great favor, Major Colthorpe,--a very
great favor? It is to let me have my saddle put on your gray charger for
half an hour.’ Colly says, if she had n’t been the very prettiest girl
he had ever seen since they left England, he ‘d have shirked it, but he
could not; and in less than ten minutes, there she was, cantering
away through the tents and heading straight for the front. It was not,
however, only the gray Arab she carried off, but the great letter of the
lawyer was gone too; and so now every one knew at once she was away to
the front.”

“And after that,--after that?” asked three or four together, as the
narrator paused.

“After that,” resumed he, “there is little to be told. Colthorpe’s Arab
galloped back with a ball in his counter, and the saddle torn to rags
with shot. The girl has not been heard of.”

“I can supply this portion of the story,” said a young fellow, with his
arm in a sling. “She had come up with Conway, whom they had placed on
a horse, and were leading him back to the lines, when a Russian
skirmishing-party swept past and carried the girl off, and she is now in
Sebastopol, under the care of the Countess Woronzoff.”

“And Conway?”

“Conway’s here; and though he has, between shot and sabre-cuts, eight
severe wounds, they say that, but for his anxiety about this girl’s
fate, his chances of recovery are not so bad. Here comes Dr. Raikes,
however, who could give us the latest tidings of him.”

The gentleman thus alluded to moved hastily down the hall, followed by
a numerous train of assistants, to whom he gave his orders as he went
He continued, at the same time, to open and run his eyes over various
letters which an assistant handed to him, one by one.

“I will not be tormented with these requests, Parkes,” said he,
peremptorily. “You are to refuse all applications to see patients who
are not in the convalescent wards. These interviews have, invariably,
one effect,--they double _our_ labor here.”

By this time the doctor was hemmed closely in by a dense crowd, eagerly
asking for news of some dear friend or kinsman. A brief “Badly,”
 “Better,” “Sinking,” “Won’t do,” were, in general, the extent of his
replies; but in no case did he ever seem at a loss as to the name or
circumstance of the individual alluded to.

And now, at last, the great hall began to thin. Wrapping themselves well
in their warm cloaks, securing the hoods tightly over their heads, men
set out in twos and threes, on foot, on horseback, or in arabas, some
for the camp, some for Balaklava, and some for the far-away quarter at
the extreme right, near the Tchernaya. A heavy snow was falling, and a
cold and cutting wind came over the Black Sea, and howled drearily along
the vaulted corridors of the old Convent.

Matter enough for story was there beneath that venerable roof! It was
the week after the memorable fight of Inkermann, and some of the best
blood of Britain was ebbing in those dimly lighted cells, whose echoes
gave back heart-sick sighs for home from lips that were soon to be mute
forever. There are unlucky days in the calendar of medicine,--days when
the convalescent makes no progress, and the sick man grows worse; when
medicaments seem mulcted of half their efficacy, and disastrous chances
abound. Doctors rarely reject the influence of this superstition, but
accept it with calm resignation.

Such, at least, seemed the spirit in which two army surgeons now
discussed the events of the day, as they walked briskly for exercise
along one of the corridors of the Convent.

“We shall have a gloomy report to send in to-morrow, Parkes,” said the
elder. “Not one of these late operation cases will recover. Hopeton is
sinking fast; Malcolm’s wound has put on a treacherous appearance; that
compound fracture shows signs of gangrene; and there’s Conway, we
all thought so well of last night, going rapidly, as though from some
internal hemorrhage.”

“Poor fellow! it’s rather hard to die just when he has arrived at so
much to live for. You know that he is to have a peerage.”

“So he told me himself. He said laughingly to me, ‘Becknell, my boy, be
careful, you are cutting up no common sort of fellow; it’s all lordly
flesh and blood here!’ We were afraid the news might over-excite him,
but he took it as easily as possible, and only said, ‘How happy it will
make my poor mother;’ and, after a moment, ‘If I only get back to tell
it to her!’”

“A civilian below,” said an hospital sergeant, “wishes to see Mr.

“Can’t be,--say so,” was the curt reply, as the doctor tore, without
reading, the piece of paper on which a name was written.

“The lawyer, I have no doubt,” said the other; “as if the poor fellow
could care to hear of title-deeds and rent-rolls now. He ‘d rather
have twenty drops of morphine than know that his estate covered half a

The sergeant waited for a second or two to see if the doctor should
reconsider his reply, and then respectfully retired. The stranger,
during the short interval of absence, had denuded himself of great-coat
and snow-shoes, and was briskly chafing his hands before the fire.

“Well, Sergeant, may I see him?” asked he, eagerly.

“No. The doctors won’t permit it.”

“You did n’t tell them who I was, then, that’s the reason. You did n’t
say I was the confidential agent of his family, charged with a most
important communication?”

“If I didn’t, it was, perhaps, because I didn’t know it,” said the man,

“Well, then, go back at once, and say that I’ve come out special,--that
I must see him,--that the ten minutes I ‘ll stay will save years
and years of law and chancery,--and that”--here he dropped his
voice--“there’s a hundred pounds here for the same minutes.”

“You’d better keep that secret to yourself, my good friend,” interposed
the sergeant, stiffly.

“Well, so I will, if you recommend it,” said the other, submissively;
“but surely, a ten-pound note would do you no harm yourself, Sergeant.”

An insolent laugh was the only answer the other vouchsafed, as he
lighted his cigar and sat down before the fire.

“They won’t let me see him for the mischief it might do him,” resumed
the other, “and little they know that what I have to tell him might be
the saving of his life.”

“How so?”

“Just that I ‘ve news for him here that would make a man a’most get out
of his coffin,--news that would do more to cure him than all the doctors
in Europe. There’s paper in that bag there that only wants his name
to them’ to be worth thousands and thousands of pounds, and if he dies
without signing them there’s nothing but ruin to come of it; and when
I said a ten-pound note awhile ago to you, it was a hundred gold
sovereigns I meant, counted into the hollow of your fist, just as you
sat there. See now, show me your hand.”

As if in a sort of Jocular pantomime, the man held out his hand, and the
other, taking a strong leather purse from his pocket, proceeded to
untie the string, fastened with many a cunning device. At length it was
opened, and, emptying out a quantity of its contents into one hand, he
began to deposit the pieces, one by one, in the other’s palm. “One, two,
three, four,” went he on, leisurely, till the last sovereign dropped
from his fingers with the words “one hundred!”

Secret and safe as the bargain seemed, a pair of keen eyes peering
through the half-snowed-up window had watched the whole negotiation,
following the sergeant’s fingers as they closed upon the gold and
deposited it within his pocket.

“Wait here, and I’ll see what can be done by and by,” said the sergeant,
as he moved away.

Scarcely was the stranger left alone than the door opened, and a man
entered, shaking the snow from his heavy boots and his long capote.

“So, my worthy friend,” cried he, in a rich, soft voice, “you stole a
march on me,--moved off without beat of drum, and took up a position
before I was stirring!”

“Ah, my reverend friend, _you_ here!” said the other, in evident
confusion. “I never so much as suspected you were coming in this

Paul Classon and Terry Driscoll stared long and significantly at each
other. Of all those silences, which are more eloquent than words, none
can equal that interval in which two consummate knaves exchange glances
of recognition, so complete an appreciation is there of each other’s
gifts, such an honest, unaffected, frank interchange of admiration.

“You are a clever fellow, Driscoll, you are!” said Paul, admiringly.

“No, no. The Lord help me, I’m a poor crayture,” said Terry, shaking his
head despondingly.

“Don’t believe it, man,--don’t believe it,” said Paul, clapping him on
the shoulder; “you have great natural gifts. Your face alone is worth a
thousand a year, and you have a shuffling, shambling way of coming into
a room that’s better than an account at Coutts’s. Joe Norris used to say
that a slight palsy he had in one hand was worth twelve hundred a year
to him at billiards alone.”

“What a droll man you are, Mr. Classon!” said Terry, wiping his eyes as
he laughed. And again they looked at each other long and curiously.

“Driscoll,” said Paul, after a considerable pause, “on which side do you
hold your brief?”

“My brief! God knows it’s little I know about brief and parchments,”
 sighed Terry, heavily.

“Come, come, man, what’s the use of fencing? I see your hand; I know
every trump in it.”

Driscoll shook his head, and muttered something about the “faver that
destroyed him entirely.”

“Ah!” sighed Classon, “I cannot well picture to my mind what you
might have been anterior to that calamity, but what remains is still
remarkable,--very remarkable. And now I ask again, on which side are you

“Dear me,--dear me!” groaned out Terry; “it’s a terrible world we live

“Truly and well observed, Driscoll. Life is nothing but a long and
harassing journey, with accidents at every stage, and mischances at
every halt; meanwhile, for whom do you act?”

The door at the end of the long gallery was slightly and noiselessly
opened at this instant, and a signal with a hand caught Driscoll’s
attention. Rapid and stealthy as was the motion, Classon turned hastily
round and detected it.

“Sit still, Driscoll,” said he, smiling, “and let us talk this matter
over like men of sense and business. It’s clear enough, my worthy
friend, that neither you nor I are rich men.”

Driscoll sighed an assent.

“That, on the contrary, we are poor, struggling, hard-toiling fellows,
mortgaging the good talents Fortune has blessed us with to men who have
been born to inferior gifts but better opportunities.”

Another sigh from Terry.

“You and I, as I have observed, have been deputed out here to play a
certain game. Let us be, therefore, not opponents, but partners. One
side only can win, let us both be at that side.”

Again Terry sighed, but more faintly than before.

“Besides,” said Classon, rising and turning his back to the fire, while
he stuck his hands in his pockets, “I’m an excellent colleague, and,
unless the world wrongs me, a most inveterate enemy.”

“Will he live, do you think?” said Terry, with a gesture of his thumb to
indicate him of whom he spoke.

“No; impossible,” said Classon, confidently; “he stands in the report
fatally wounded, and I have it confidentially that there’s not a chance
for him.”

“And his claim dies with him?”

“That’s by no means so sure; at least, we’d be all the safer if we had
his papers, Master Driscoll.”

“Ay!” said Driscoll, knowingly.

“Now, which of us is to do the job, Driscoll? That’s the question. I
have my claim to see him, as chaplain to the--I ‘m not sure of the name
of what branch of the service--we’ll say the ‘Irregular Contingent’
Legion. What are you, my respected friend?”

“A connection of the family, on the mother’s side,” said Terry, with a

“A connection of the family!” laughed out Classon. “Nothing better.”

“But, after all,” sighed Terry, despondingly, “there’s another fellow
before us both,--that chap had brought out the news to the camp, Mr.
Reggis, from the house of Swindal and Reggis.”

“He’s cared for already,” said Classon, with a grin.

“The Lord protect us! what do you mean?” exclaimed Driscoll, in terror.

“He wanted to find his way out here last night, so I bribed two
Chasseurs d’Afrique to guide him. They took him off outside the French
advance, and dropped him within five hundred yards of a Cossack picket,
so that the worthy practitioner is now snug in Sebastopol. In fact,
Driscoll, my boy, I ‘m--as I said before--an ugly antagonist!”

Terry laughed an assent, but there was little enjoyment in his mirth.

“The girl,--one of those hospital ladies,” continued Classon,--“a
certain Miss Kellett, is also a prisoner.”

“Miss Kellett!” cried Driscoll, in amazement and terror together. “I
know her well, and if she’s here she ‘ll outwit us both.”

“She’s in safe hands this time, let her be as cunning as she will. In
fact, my dear Driscoll, the game is our own if we be but true to each

“I ‘m more afraid of that girl than them all,” muttered Driscoll.

“Look over those hills yonder, Driscoll, and say if that prison-house be
not strong enough to keep her. Mr. Reggis and herself are likely to see
Moscow before they visit Cheapside. Remember, however, if the field be
our own, it is only for a very brief space of time. Conway is dying.
What is to be done must be done quickly; and as there is no time for
delay, Driscoll, tell me frankly what is it worth to you?” Terry sneezed
and wiped his eyes, and sneezed again,--all little artifices to gain
time and consider how he should act.

“My instructions are these,” said Classon, boldly: “to get Conway to
sign a bond abdicating all claim to certain rights in lieu of a good
round sum in hand; or, if he refuse--” S.

“Which he certainly would refuse,” broke in Driscoll.

“Well, then, to possess myself of his papers, deeds, letters, whatever
they were,--make away with them, or with any one holding them. Ay,
Driscoll, it is sharp practice, my boy; but we ‘re just now in a land
where sudden death dispenses with a coroner’s inquest, and the keenest
inquirer would be puzzled whether the fatal bullet came from a Russian
rifle or a Croat carbine. Lend me a helping hand here, and I ‘ll pledge
myself that you are well paid for it. Try and dodge me, and I’ll back
myself to beat you at your own game.”

“Here’s an order for one of you gentlemen,” said an hospital orderly,
“coming up to see Lieutenant Conway.”

“It is for me,” said Driscoll, eagerly; “I’m a relation of his.”

“And I am his family chaplain,” said Classon, rising; “well go
together.” And before Driscoll could interpose a word, Paul slipped his
arm within the other’s and led him away.


On a low little bed in a small chamber, once a cell of the Convent,
Charles Conway lay, pale, bloodless, and breathing heavily. The
surgeon’s report of that morning called him “mortally wounded,” and
several of his comrades had already come to bid him farewell. To
alleviate in some measure his sufferings, he was propped up with pillows
and cushions to a half-sitting posture, and so placed that his gaze
could rest upon the open sea, which lay calm and waveless beneath his
window; but even on this his eyes wandered vaguely, as though already
all fixity of thought was fled, and that the world and its scenes had
ceased to move or interest him. He was in that state of exhaustion which
follows great loss of blood, and in which the brain wanders dreamily and
incoherently, though ready at any sudden question to arouse itself to an
effort of right reason.

A faint, sad smile, a little nod, a gesture of the hand, were tokens
that one by one his comrades recorded of their last interview with him;
and now all were gone, and he was alone. A low murmur of voices at his
door bespoke several persons in earnest conversation, but the sounds
never reached the ears of the sick man.

“He spoke of making a will, then?” said Classon, in a whisper.

“Yes, sir,” replied the sergeant. “He asked several times if there was
not some one who could take down his wishes in writing, and let him sign
it before witnesses.”

“That will do admirably,” said Paul, pushing his way into the room,
closely followed by Terry Driscoll. “Ah, Driscoll,” said Paul,
unctuously, “if we were moralists instead of poor, frail, time-serving
creatures as we are, what a lesson might we not read in the fate of the
poor fellow that lies there!”

“Ay, indeed!” sighed out Terry, assentingly.

“What an empty sound ‘my Lord’ is, when a man comes to that!” said
Paul, in the same solemn tone, giving, however, to the words “my Lord” a
startling distinctness that immediately struck upon the sick man’s ear.
Conway quickly looked up and fixed his eyes on the speaker.

“Is it all true, then,--am I not dreaming?” asked the wounded soldier,

“Every word of it true, my Lord,” said Classon, sitting down beside the

“And I was the first, my Lord, to bring out the news,” interposed Terry.
“‘Twas myself found the papers in an old farm-house, and showed them to
Davenport Dunn.”

“Hush, don’t you see that you only confuse him?” whispered Classon,

“Dunn, Dunn,” muttered Conway, trying to recollect. “Yes, we met at poor
Kellett’s funeral,--poor Kellett! the last of the Albueras!”

“A gallant soldier, I have heard,” chimed in Classon, merely to lead him

“Not a whit more so than his son Jack. Where is he?--where is Jack?”

None could answer him, and there was a silence of some minutes.

“Jack Kellett would never have deserted me in this way if he were alive
and well,” muttered Conway, painfully. “Can no one give me any tidings
of him?”

Another silence ensued.

“And I intended he should have been my heir,” said Conway, dreamily.
“How strangely it sounds, to be sure, the notion of inheriting anything
from Charley Conway! How little chance there was a month or two back
that my best legacy might not have been a shabrack or a pair of pistols;
and now I’m the Lord Viscount--what is it?--Viscount--”

A wild gust of wind--one of those swooping blasts for which the Euxine
is famous--now struck the strong old walls, and made the massive
casements rattle. The sick man started at the noise, which recalled at
once the crash of the battle-field, and he cried out vigorously,
“Move up, men,--move up; keep together, and charge! Charge!” and with
bent-down head and compressed lips he seemed like one prepared to meet
a murderous onslaught. A sudden faintness succeeded to this excitement,
and he lay back weak and exhausted. As he fell back, a letter dropped
from his hand to the ground. Classon speedily caught it up, and opened
it. He had, however, but time to read the opening line, which ran
thus--“My dearest Charley, our cause is all but won--”

“From his mother,” interposed Driscoll, leaning over his shoulder.

“Ay, my mother,” murmured Conway, whose ear, preternaturally acute from
fever, caught the word; “she will see that my wishes are carried out,
and that all I leave behind me goes to poor Jack.”

“We’ll take care of that, sir,” said Classon, blandly; “only let us know
what it is you desire. We have no other object here than to learn your

With all the alacrity of one accustomed to such emergencies, Paul drew a
small portfolio from his pocket provided with all materials for writing,
and arrayed them neatly before him; but already the sick man had dropped
off into a sleep, and was breathing heavily.

“That box must contain all the papers,” said Classon, rising stealthily
and crossing the room; “and see, the key is in the lock!” In a moment
they were both on the spot, busily ransacking the contents. One glance
showed their suspicions to be correct: there were heaps of legal
documents, copies of deeds, extracts of registries, with innumerable
letters of explanation. They had no time for more than the most hurried
look at these; in fact, they turned in terror at every movement, to see
if the sick man had recovered from his swoon.

“This is all; better than I ever looked for,” said Classon. “Fill your
pockets with them: we must divide the spoil between us, and be off
before he rallies.”

Driscoll obeyed with readiness. His eager eye scrutinized hastily so
much as he could catch of the import of each document; but he did not
venture, by any attempt at selection, to excite Classon’s suspicions.

“If we cannot make our own terms after this night’s work, Driscoll,
my name is not Paul Classon. The poor fellow here will soon be past
tale-telling, even if he were able to see us. There you have dropped a
large parchment.”

“I’ ll put it in the pocket of my cloak,” said the other, in a whisper;
while he added, still more stealthily, “would n’t you swear that he was
looking at us this minute?”

Classon started. The sick man’s eyes were open, and their gaze directed
towards them; while his lips, slightly parted, seemed to indicate a
powerless attempt to speak.

“No,” said Classon, in a scarcely audible whisper; “that is death.”

“I declare I think he sees us,” muttered Driscoll.

“And if he does, man, what signifies it? He’s going where the knowledge
will little benefit him. Have you everything safe and sure now? There,
button your coat well up; we must start at once.”

“May I never! if I can take my eyes off him,” said Driscoll, trembling.

“You had better take yourself off bodily, my worthy friend; there’s
no saying who might chance to come in upon us here. Is not that a
signet-ring on his finger? It would only be a proper attention to carry
it to his mother, Driscoll.” There was a half-sarcasm about the tone of
this speech that made it sound strangely ambiguous, as, stooping down,
he proceeded to take off the ring.

“Leave it there,--leave it there! it will bring bad luck upon us,”
 murmured Driscoll, in terror.

“There is no such bad luck as not to profit by an opportunity,”
 whispered Classon, as he tried, but in vain, to withdraw the ring.
A sharp, half-suppressed cry suddenly escaped him, and Driscoll

“What is it? What’s the matter?”

“Look, and see if he has n’t got hold of me, and tightly too.”

The affected jocularity of his tone accorded but ill with the expression
of pain and fright so written upon his features, for the dying man had
grasped him by the wrist, and held him with a grip of iron.

“That’s what they call a dead man’s grip, I suppose?” said Classon, in
assumed mockery. “Just try if you cannot unclasp his fingers.”

“I wouldn’t touch him if you offered me a thousand guineas for it,” said
Driscoll, shuddering.

“Nonsense, man. We cannot stand fooling here, and I shall only hurt him
if I try it with one hand. Come, open his fingers gently. Be quick. I
hear voices without, and the tramp of horses’ feet in the court below.
Where are you going? You’re not about to leave me here?”

“May I never! if I know what to do,” muttered Driscoll, in a voice of
despair. “And did n’t I tell you from the first it would bring bad luck
upon us?”

“The worst of all luck is to be associated with a fool and a coward,”
 said Classon, savagely. “Open these fingers at once, or give me a knife
and I ‘ll do it myself.”

“The Lord forgive you, but you ‘re a terrible man!” cried Driscoll,
moving stealthily towards the door.

“So you _are_ going?” muttered Paul, with a voice of intense passion.
“You would leave me here to take the consequences, whatever they might

Driscoll made no reply, but stepped hastily out of the room, and closed
the door.

For a moment Classon stood still and motionless; then bending down his
head, he tried to listen to what was passing outside, for there was
a sound of voices in the corridor, and Driscoll’s one of them. “The
scoundrel is betraying me!” muttered Paul to himself. “At all events,
these must not be found upon me.” And with this, and by the aid of his
one disengaged hand, he proceeded to strew the floor of the room with
the various papers he had abstracted from the box. Again, too, he
listened; but now all was still without. What could it mean? Had
Driscoll got clear away, without even alluding to him? And now he turned
his gaze upon the sick man, who lay there calm and motionless as
before. “This will end badly if I cannot make my escape,” muttered he
to himself; and he once more strove with all his might to unclasp the
knotted fingers; but such was the rigid tenacity of their grasp, they
felt as though they must sooner be broken than yield. “Open your hand,
sir. Let me free,” whispered he, in Conway’s ear. “That fellow has
robbed you, and I must follow him. There, my poor man, unclasp your
fingers,” said he, caressingly, “or it will be too late!”

[Illustration: 402]

Was it a delusion, that he thought a faint flickering of a smile passed
over that death-like countenance? And now, in whispered entreaty,
Classon begged and implored the other to set him free.

“There is nothing for it, then, but this,” said Paul, with a muttered
curse, “and your own fault is it that I am driven to it!” And, so
saying, he drew a powerful clasp-knife from his pocket, and tried to
open it with his teeth; but the resistance of the spring still defied
all his efforts for some time, and it was only after a long struggle
that he succeeded. “He’s insensible; he’ll never feel it,” muttered Paul
below his breath; “and even if he should, self-preservation is the first
of all cares.” And with this he grasped the knife vigorously in his
strong hand, and gazed at the sick man, who seemed to return his
stare as fixedly. There was in Conway’s look even a something of bold
defiance, that seemed to say, “I dare and defy you!” so at least did
Classon read it, and quailed before its haughty meaning. “What wretched
cowardice is over me, and at a time when minutes are worth days!”
 muttered Classon. “Here goes!” But now a confused noise of many voices,
and the steps of advancing feet were heard in the corridor; and Classon
sank down beside the bed, a cold sweat covering his forehead and face,
while he trembled in every limb.

The room was speedily filled with staff officers and surgeons, in the
midst of whom was a civilian, travel-stained and tired-looking, who
pressed eagerly forward, saying, as he beheld Classon, “Who is this
man,--what is he doing here?”

“An humble missionary,--a weak vessel,” said Paul, whiningly. “In a
paroxysm of his pain he caught me thus, and has held me ever since.
There--at last I am free!” And as he said these words, the sick man’s
fingers unclasped and liberated him.

“There has been foul play here,” said Mr. Reggie, the stranger in
civilian dress. “See! that box has been rifled; the floor is covered
with papers. This man must be detained.”

“In bonds or in a dungeon, it matters not,” said Paul, holding up his
hands as if about to open a lengthy discourse; but he was hurried away
ere he could continue.

“He is certainly no worse,” said one of the surgeons, as he felt
Conway’s pulse and examined the action of his heart; “but I am far from
saying that he will recover!”

“If I do not greatly mistake,” said Reggis, “our friend the missionary
is the man through whose kind offices I was betrayed within the Russian
lines; but I’ ll look to this later. As it was, I have had little to
complain of my treatment in Sebastopol, and my detention was of the

“And Miss Kellett,--is she free also?” asked one of the bystanders.

“Yes; we came back together. She is up at headquarters, giving Lord
Raglan an account of her capture.”

“What is it, Conway?” asked one of the surgeons, suddenly startled by
the intensity of the anxiety in his face. “Are you in pain?”

He shook his head in dissent.

“You are thirsty, perhaps? Will you have something to drink?”

“No,” said he, with the faintest possible utterance.

“What is it, then, my poor fellow?” said he, affectionately.

“So it was not a dream!” gasped out Conway.

“What was it you fancied to be a dream?”

“All,--everything but this!” And he pointed to a deep wound from a
sabre-cut in his shoulder.

“Ay, and that, too, will be as a dream some years hence!” said the
other, cheeringly.

It was evident, now, that the excitement of talking and seeing so many
persons about him was injurious, and the surgeons silently motioned to
the bystanders to retire.

“May I remain with him?” asked the lawyer. “If he could give his consent
to certain measures, sign one or two papers, years of litigation might
be saved.”

Conway had meanwhile beckoned to the surgeon to approach him; and then,
as the other leaned over the bed, he whispered,--

“Was it true what I have just heard,--was she really here?”

“Miss Kellett, do you mean? Yes; she carried up the news to you herself?
It was she that tied the handkerchief on your wounded artery, too, and
saved your life.”

“Here,--in the Crimea? It cannot--cannot be!” sighed Conway.

“She is not the only noble-hearted woman who has left home and friends
to brave perils and face hardships, though, I own, she stands alone for
heroism and daring.”

“So, then, it was not a delusion,--I did actually see her in the
trenches?” said Conway, eagerly.

“She was in the advanced parallel the night the Russians surprised the
5th. She was the first to give the alarm of the attack.”

“Only think, doctor, of what happened to me that night! I was sent up
at speed to say that reinforcements were coming up. Two companies of the
Royals were already in march. My horse had twice fallen with me, and,
being one-armed, I was a good deal shaken, and so faint when I arrived
that I could scarcely deliver my message. It was just then a woman--I
could only perceive, in the darkness, that she seemed young--gave me her
brandy-flask; after drinking, I turned to give it back to her, but she
was gone. There was no time to search for her at such a moment, and
I was about to ride away, when a ‘carcasse,’ exploding on one of the
redoubts, lit up the whole scene for a considerable space around,
and whom should I see but Jack Kellett’s sister, cheering the men and
encouraging them to hold their ground?

[Illustration: 406]

I could have sworn to her features, as I could now to yours; but that
she could really be there seemed so utterly impossible that I fancied
it was a delusion. Nay,” added he, after a pause, “let me tell the whole
truth. I thought it was a warning! Ay, doctor, the weight is off my
heart now that I have confessed this weakness.” As Conway spoke, he
seemed, indeed, as though he had relieved himself of some mighty care;
for already his eye had regained its lustre, and his bold features
recovered their wonted expression. “Now,” cried he, with a renovated
vigor, “I have done with false terrors about second sight, and the rest
of it I am myself again.”

“You can listen to my tidings, then,” said Reggis, seating himself at
the bedside, and at once beginning a narrative, to which I am obliged to
own Conway did not always pay a becoming attention, his thoughts still
reverting to very different scenes and incidents from those which the
lawyer recounted. Indeed, more than once was the narrator’s patience
sorely tried and tested. “I am doing my very best to be brief, sir. I
am limiting myself strictly to a mere outline of the case,” said he, in
something of piqué: “It _might_ interest you,--it _ought_ to interest

“If the doctor yonder will promise me health and years to enjoy all this
same good fortune, so it will interest me,” cried Conway. “What does the
income amount to?”

“If we only recover the English estates, it will be something under
twelve thousand a year. If we succeed with, the Irish, it will be about
three more.”

“And how far are we on the road to this success?” “One verdict is
already won. The first action for ejectment on title has been brought,
and we are the victors. Upon this, all your counsel are agreed, your
claim to the Viscounty rests.”

“I can scarcely credit--scarcely picture it to myself,” said Conway,
half aloud. “My mind is confused by the thought of all the things I wish
to do, if this be true. First of all, I want to purchase Jack Kellett’s

“If you mean Miss Kellett’s brother, he is already gazetted an ensign,
and on his way to join his regiment in India.”

“And how do you know this?”

“She told me so herself.”

“She! When and where have you seen her?”

“Here, at headquarters; in Sebastopol, where we were prisoners together;
at the camp yesterday, where we parted.”

“My poor head cannot bear this,” said Conway, painfully; “I am
struggling between the delight of all these good tidings and a terrible
dread that I am to awake and find them but a dream. You said that she
was here in the camp?”

“That she is. If you but heard the cheer that greeted her arrival! It
began at the advanced pickets, and swelled loader and louder, till, like
the roar of the sea, it seemed to make the very air tremble. There, hear
that! As I live, it is the same shout again.”

“Here comes the General and his staff into the court below,” said the
doctor, hurrying away to receive them.

As the sounds of a distant cheer died away, the noise of horses’ feet
resounded through the courtyard, and the clank of musketry in salute
announced the arrival of an officer of rank.

“I declare they are coming this way,” cried Mr. Reggis, rising in some
confusion, “and I heard your name spoken. Coming, I have no doubt, to
see _you_.”

“The General of your division, Conway, come to ask after you,” said
an aide-de-camp, entering, and then standing aside to make place for a
venerable, soldier-like man, whose snow-white hair would have graced a

“I have come to shake your hand, Conway,” said he, “and to tell you we
are all proud of you. There is nothing else talked of through our own
or the French camp than that daring feat of yours; and England will soon
hear of it.”

A deep blush of manly shame covered Conway’s face as he listened to
these words; but he could not speak.

“I have been talking the matter over with the General
Commanding-in-chief,” resumed he, “who agrees with me that the Horse
Guards might, possibly, recognizing your former rank of Captain, make
you now a Brevet-major, and thus qualify you for the Bath.”

“Time enough, General, for that,” said Conway. “I have a very long
arrear of folly and absurdity to wipe out ere I have any pretension to
claim high rewards.”

“Well, but if all that I hear be true, we are likely to lose your
services here; they have a story abroad about a peerage and a vast
fortune to which you have succeeded. Indeed, I heard this moment from
Miss Kellett--”

“Is she here, sir?--can I see her?” cried Conway, eagerly.

“Yes. She has come over to say good-bye; for, I regret to say, she too
is about to leave us to join her brother at Calcutta.”

A sickly paleness spread itself over Conway’s cheeks, and he muttered,
“I must see her--I must speak with her at once.”

“So you shall, my poor fellow,” said the other, affectionately; “and I
know of no such recompense for wounds and suffering as to see her gentle
smile and hear her soft voice. She shall come to you immediately.”

Conway covered his face with his hand, to conceal the emotion that
stirred him, and heard no more. Nor was he conscious that, one by one,
the persons around him slipped noiselessly from the room, while into the
seat beside his bed glided a young girl’s figure, dressed in deep black,
and veiled.

“Such a fate!” muttered he, half aloud. “All this, that they call my
good fortune, comes exactly when I do not care for it.”

“And why so?” asked a low, soft voice, almost in his very ear.

“Is this, indeed, you?” cried he, eagerly. “Was it _your_ hand I felt on
my temples as I lay wounded outside the trenches? Was it your voice that
cheered me as they carried me to the rear?”

She slightly bent her head in assent, and murmured, “Your old comrade’s
sister could not do less.”

“And now you are about to leave me,” said he, with an overwhelming
sorrow in the tone.

She turned away her head slightly, and made no answer.

“I, who am utterly alone here,” said he, in a broken voice. “Is this,
too, like my old comrade’s sister?” There was a peevishness in the way
he spoke this of which he seemed himself to be ashamed the moment the
words were uttered; and he quickly added, “What a fellow I am to say
this to you!--you, who have done so much for me,--you, who promised to
be a daughter to my poor mother when I am gone!”

“But you are not to take this gloomy view,” said she, hastily; “the
surgeons all pronounce you better; they agree that your wounds
progress favorably, and that, in a week or two, you may be removed to
Constantinople, and thence to England.”

He gave a faint, sickly smile of most melancholy meaning.

“And what will not the cheery, bracing air of those Welsh mountains do,
aided by the kind care of that best of nurses, a fond mother?”

“And where will you be by that time?” asked he, eagerly.

“Journeying away eastward to some far-away land, still more friendless!”
 said she, sadly.

“This, then, is the sum of all my good fortune, that when life opens
fairly for me, it shall be bereft of all that I care for!” cried he,

Terrified by the excited tone in which he spoke, as well as by the
feverish lustre of his eyes, Sybella tried to calm and soothe him, but
he listened--if, indeed, he heard her--with utter apathy.

“Come!” cried he, at last, “if your resolve be taken, so is mine. If you
leave for India, I shall never quit the Crimea.”

“It is not thus I expected one to speak who loves his mother as you do,”
 said she, reproachfully.

“Ah, Sybella, it would indeed have been a happy day for me when I should
have returned to her in honor, could I but have said, ‘You have not
alone a son beneath your roof, but a dear daughter also.’ If all that
they call my great luck had brought this fortune, then had I been indeed
a fellow to be envied. Without that hope there is not another that I
want to cling to.”

She tried gently to withdraw her hand from his, but he held it in his
grasp, and continued,--

“You, who never heard of me till the first day we met, know little
of the stored-up happiness your very name has afforded me for many a
day,--how, days long, Jack talked of you to me as we rambled together,
how the long nights of the trenches were beguiled by telling of
you,--till at length I scarcely knew whether I had not myself known
and loved you for years. I used to fancy, too, how every trait of poor
Jack--his noble ardor, his generous devotion--might be displayed amidst
the softer and more graceful virtues of womanhood; and at last I came to
know you, far and away above all I have ever dreamed of.”

“Let me go,--let me say good-bye,” said she, in a faint whisper.

“Bear with me a few moments longer, Sybella,” cried he, passionately.
“With all their misery, they are the happiest of my life.”

“This is unfair,--it is almost ungenerous of you,” said she, with
scarcely stifled emotion, and still endeavoring to withdraw her hand.

“So it is!” cried he, suddenly; “it is unmanly and ignoble both, and it
is only a poor, selfish sick man could stoop to plead so abjectly.” He
relinquished her hand as he spoke, and then, grasping it suddenly, he
pressed it to his lips, and burst into tears. “A soldier should be
made of better stuff, Sybella,” said he, trying to smile.

“It is too late to say so now,” said she, faintly; “I will not go.”

“Not go,--not leave me, Sybella?” cried he. “Oh that I may have heard
you aright! Did you say you would remain with me, and for how long?”

“Forever!” said she, stooping down and kissing his forehead. The next
moment she was gone.

“Come, Conway,” said the doctor, “cheer up, my good fellow; you ‘ll be
all right in a week or so. You ‘ve got something worth living for, too,
if all accounts be true.”

“More than you think for, doctor,” said Conway, heartily,--“far more
than you think for.”

“The lawyer talks of a peerage and a fine estate.”

“Far more than that,” cried Conway; “a million times better.”

The surgeon turned a look of half apprehension on the sick man, and,
gently closing the shutters, he withdrew.

Dark as was that room, and silent as it was, what blissful hopes and
blessed anticipations crowded and clustered around that low “sick-bed”!
What years of happiness unfolded themselves before that poor brain,
which no longer felt a pang, save in the confusion of its bright
imaginings! How were wounds forgotten and sufferings unminded in those
hours wherein a whole future was revealed!

At last he fell off to sleep, and to dream of a fair white hand that
parted the hair upon his forehead, and then gently touched his feverish
cheek. Nor was it all a dream; she was at his bedside.


“What dreary little streets are those that lead from the Strand towards
the Thames! Pinched, frail, semi-genteel, and many-lodgered are the
houses, mysteriously indicative of a variously occupied population, and
painfully suggesting, by the surging conflict of busy life at one end,
and the dark flowing river at the other, an existence maintained between
struggle and suicide.” This, most valued reader, if no reflection of
mine, but was the thought that occupied the mind of one who, in not
the very best of humors, and of a wet and dreary night, knocked,
in succession, at half the doors in the street in search after an

“Yes, sir, the second back,” said a sleepy maid-servant at last; “he is
just come in.”

“All right,” said the stranger. “Take that carpet-bag and writing-desk
upstairs to his room, and say that Captain Davis is coming after them.’”

“You owe me a tip, Captain,” said the cabman, catching the name as he
was about to mount his box. “Do you remember the morning I drove you
down to Blackwall to catch the Antwerp boat, I went over Mr. Moss, the
sheriff’s officer, and smashed his ankle, and may I never taste bitters
again if I got a farthing for it.”

“I remember,” said Davis, curtly. “Here’s a crown. I ‘d have made it a
sovereign if it had been his neck you ‘d gone over.”

“Better luck next time, sir, and thank you,” said the man, as he drove

The maid was yet knocking for admission when Grog arrived at the door.
“Captain Fisk, sir,--Captain Fisk, there ‘s a gent as says--”

“That will do,” said Davis, taking the key from her hand and opening the
door for himself.

“Old Grog himself, as I’m a living man!” cried a tall, much whiskered
and moustached fellow, who was reading a “Bell’s Life” at the fire.

“Ay, Master Fisk,--no other,” said Davis, as he shook his friend
cordially by the hand. “I ‘ve had precious work to find you out I was
up at Duke Street, then they sent me to the Adelphi; after that I tried
Ling’s, in the Hay-market, and it was a waiter there--”

“Joe,” broke in the other.

“Exactly. Joe told me that I might chance upon you here.”

“Well, I ‘m glad to see you, old fellow, and have a chat about long
ago,” said Fisk, as he placed a square green bottle and some glasses on
the table. How well you ‘re looking, too; not an hour older than when I
saw you four years ago!”

“Ain’t I, though!” muttered Grog. “Ay, and like the racers, I ‘ve got
weight for age, besides. I’m a stone and a half heavier than I ought to
be, and there’s nothing worse than that to a fellow that wants to work
with his head and sleep with one eye open.”

“You can’t complain much on that score, Kit; you never made so grand a
stroke in your life as that last one,--the marriage, I mean.”

“It was n’t bad,” said Davis, as he mixed his liquor; “nor was it,
exactly, the kind of hazard that every man could make. Beecher was a
troublesome one,--a rare troublesome one; nobody could ever say when he
‘d run straight.”

“I always thought him rotten,” said the other, angrily.

“Well, he is and he isn’t,” said Grog, deliberately.

“He has got no pluck,” said Fisk, indignantly.

“He has quite enough.”

“Enough--enough for what?”

“Enough for a lord. Look here, Master Fisk, so long as you have not to
gain your living by anything, it is quite sufficient if you can do it
moderately well. Many a first-rate amateur there is, who wouldn’t be
thought a tenth-rate artist.”

“I ‘d like to know where you had been to-day if it was n’t for your
pluck,” said Fisk, doggedly.

“In a merchant’s office in the City, belike, on a hundred and twenty
pounds a year; a land steward down in Dorsetshire, at half the salary;
skipper of a collier from North Shields, or an overseer in Jamaica.
These are the high prizes for such as you and me; and the droll part of
the matter is, they _will_ talk of us as ‘such lucky dogs,’ whenever
we attain to one of these brilliant successes. Gazette my son-in-law
as Ambassador to Moscow, and nobody thinks it strange; announce, in the
same paper, that Kit Davis has been made a gauger, and five hundred open
mouths exclaim, ‘How did he obtain that? Who the deuce got it for him?
Does n’t he fall on his legs!’ and so on.”

“I suppose we shall have our turn one of these days,” muttered the
other, sulkily.

 “I hope not.   I ‘d rather have things as they are,” said Grog, gravely.

“Things as they are! And why so, I ‘d wish to ask?”

“Look at it this way, Tom Fisk,” said Grog, squaring his arms on the
table and talking with slow deliberation; “if you were going to cut into
a round game, wouldn’t you rather take a hand where the players were all
soft ones, with plenty of cash, or would you prefer sitting down with a
set of downy coves, all up to every dodge, and not a copper farthing
in the company? Well, that’s exactly what the world would be if the
Manchester fellows had their way; that’s exactly what it is, this very
hour we ‘re sitting here, in America. There’s nobody on the square
there. President, judges, editors, Congressmen, governors, are all
rogues; and they’ve come to that pass, that any fellow with a dash of
spirit about him must come over to Europe to gain his livelihood. I have
it from their own lips what I ‘m telling you, for I was a-thinking about
going over there myself; but they said, ‘Don’t go, sir,’--they always
say ‘sir,’--‘don’t go, sir. Our Western fellows are very wide awake; for
every trump _you_ ‘d have up your _sleeve_, _they_ ‘d have two in their

“For my own part,” said Fisk, “I ‘d not go live amongst them if you ‘d
make me Minister at Washington, and so I told Simmy Hankes this morning,
when he came in such high feather about his appointment as consul--I
forget where to.”

“Hankes--Hankes! The same fellow that used to be with Robins?”

“Just so; and for some years back Davenport Dunn managing man.”

Grog gave a very slight start, and then asked, carelessly, why he was
leaving Dunn’s employment.

“Dunn’s going to shut up shop. Dunn is to be a peer, next week, and
retires from business. He is to be in Tuesday’s ‘Gazette,’ so Hankes
tells me.”

“He has done the thing well, I suppose?” said Davis, coolly.

“Hankes says something like two millions sterling. Pretty well for a
fellow that started without a sixpence.”

“I wonder he could n’t have done something better for Hankes than that
paltry place.”

“So he might, and so he would; but you see, Simmy did n’t like waiting.
He’s a close fellow, and one can’t get much out of him; but I can
perceive that he was anxious to get off the coach.”

“Did n’t like the pace,--didn’t trust the tackle overmuch,” said Grog,

“Something of that kind, I ‘ve no doubt,” rejoined Fisk.

“Have you any pull over this same Hankes, Tom?” said Grog,

“Well, I can’t say I have. We were pals together long ago; we did a
little in the racing line,--in a very small way, of course. Then he used
to have a roulette-table at Doncaster; but somehow there was no ‘go’
in him: he was over-cautious, and always saying, ‘I ‘d rather take to
“business;”’ and as I hated business, we separated.”

“It’s odd enough that I can’t remember the fellow. I thought I knew
every one that was on the ‘lay’ these five-and-thirty years.”

“He wasn’t Hankes at the time I speak of; he was a Jew at that period,
and went by the name of Simeon.”

“Simeon, Simeon,--not the fellow that used to come down to Windsor, with
the Hexquite Habannar cigars?”

And Grog mimicked not alone the voice, but the face of the individual
alluded to, till Fisk burst into a roar of laughter.

“That’s Simmy,--that’s the man,” cried Fisk, as he dried his eyes.

“Don’t I know him! I had a class at that time,--young fellows in the
Blues. I used to give them lessons in billiards; and Simmy, as you call
him, discounted for the mess on a sliding scale,--ten per cent for the
Major, and sixty for cornets the first year they joined. He was good
fun, Simmy; he fancied he would have been a first-rate actor, and used
to give scenes out of ‘Othello,’ in Kean’s manner: that was the only
soft thing about him, and many a fellow got a bill done by applauding
‘Now is the winter of our discontent’!” And Grog gave a low growling
sort of a laugh at his reminiscences.

“You ‘ll see him to-morrow; he’s to breakfast here,” said Fisk, rather
amused at the prospect of a recognition between such men.

“He would never play ‘Shylock,’” continued Grog, following out his
reminiscences, “though we all told him he ‘d make a great hit in the
part. The Jew, you see,--the Jew couldn’t stand _that_. And so Mr. Simmy
Hankes is no other than Simeon! It was an old theory of mine, whenever I
saw a fellow doing wonderfully well in the world, without any help from
friends or family, to fancy that one time or other he must have belonged
to what they are so fond of calling ‘the Hebrew persuasion’!”

“I wouldn’t rake up old memories with him, Grog, if I were you,” said
Fisk, coaxingly.

“It ain’t my way, Tom Fisk,” said Davis, curtly.

“He ‘ll be at his ease at once when he perceives that you don’t intend
to rip up old scores; and he ‘ll be just as delicate with _you_.”

“Delicate with me?” cried Grog, bursting out into a fit of immoderate
laughter. “Well, if that ain’t a good one! I wonder what he is! Do you
imagine Fitzroy Kelly is ashamed of being thought a lawyer, or Brodie
of being a surgeon? You must be precious soft, my worthy friend, if you
suppose that I don’t know what the world thinks and says of _me_. No,
no, there’s no need of what you call delicacy at all. You used to be
made of other stuff than this, Tom Fisk. It’s keeping company with
them snobs of half-pay officers, clerks in the Treasury, and Press
reporters-has spoiled you; the demi-gents of the ‘Garottaman Club’ have
ruined hundreds.”

“The Garottaman is one of the first clubs in town,” broke in Fisk.

“You ‘re too much like sailors on a raft for my fancy,” said Grog,

“What do you mean by that?”

“Just that you are hungry and have got nothing to eat,--you ‘re
eternally casting lots who is to be devoured next! But we ‘ll not fall
out about that. I ‘ve been turning over in my head about this Simmy
Hankes, and I ‘d like to have an hour in his company, all alone. Could
you manage to be out of the way to-morrow morning and leave me to
entertain him at breakfast?”

“It will suit my book to a trivet, for I want to go over to Barnes to
look after a yearling I ‘ve got there, and you can tell Hankes that the
colt was taken suddenly ill.”

“He ‘ll not be very curious about the cause of your absence,” said Grog,
dryly. “The pleasure of seeing me so unexpectedly will put everything
else out of his head.” A grim smile showed the spirit in which he spoke
these words.

It was now very late, and Davis threw himself on a sofa, with his
great-coat over him, and, wishing his friend a goodnight, was soon sound
asleep; nor did he awake till aroused by the maid-servant getting the
room into readiness and arranging the table for breakfast. Then, indeed,
Grog arose and made his toilet for the day,--not a very elaborate nor
a very elegant one, but still a disguise such as the most practised
detective could not have penetrated, and yet removable in a moment,
so that he might, by merely taking off eyebrows and moustaches, become
himself at once.

Having given orders that the gentleman he expected should be shown in on
his arrival, Grog solaced himself at the fire with a morning paper, in
all the ease of slippers and an arm-chair. Almost the first thing that
struck his eye was a paragraph informing the world that the marriage of
a distinguished individual--whose approaching elevation to the peerage
had been already announced--with one of the most beautiful daughters of
the aristocracy would take place early in the ensuing week. And then,
like a codicil to a will, followed a brilliant description of the gold
dressing-case ordered by Mr. Davenport Dunn, at Storr’s, for his bride.
He was yet occupied with the paragraph when Mr. Hankes entered the room.

“I am afraid I have made a mistake,” said that bland gentleman. “I
thought this was Captain Fisk’s apartment.”

“You’re all right,” said Grog, leisurely surveying the visitor, whose
“get up” was really splendid. Amethyst studs glittered on his shirt;
his ample chest seemed a shrine in its display of amulets and charmed
offerings, while a massive chain crossed and recrossed him so frequently
that he appeared to be held together by its coils. Fur and velvet, too,
abounded in his costume; and even to the immense “gland” that depended
from his cane, there was an amount of costliness that bespoke affluence.

“I regret, sir,” began Hankes, pompously, “that I have not the honor--”

“Yes, yes; you _have_ the honor,” broke in Grog. “You’ve had it this
many a year. Sit down here. I don’t wear exactly so well as you, but you
‘ll remember me presently. I ‘m Kit Davis, man. You don’t require me to
say who you are.”

“Davis,--Grog Davis,” muttered Hankes to himself, while an ashy paleness
spread over his face.

“You don’t look overjoyed to meet with an old friend,” said Grog, with
a peculiar grin; “but you ought, man. There’s no friendships like early
ones. The fellows who knew us in our first scrapes are always more
lenient to our last wickednesses.”

“Captain Davis,--Captain Davis!” stammered out Hankes, “this is indeed
an unexpected pleasure!”

“So much so that you can hardly get accustomed to it,” said Grog, with
another grin. “Fisk received a hasty message that called him away to the
country this morning, and left me to fill his place; and I, as you may
guess, was little loath to have a cosey chat with an old friend that I
have not seen--how many years is it?”

“It must be nigh ten, or even twelve!”

“Say, seven or eight and twenty, man, and you ‘ll be nigher the mark.
Let me see,” said he, trying to remember, “the last time I saw you was
at Exeter. You were waiting for your trial about those bills of George
Colborne. Don’t look so frightened; there’s no one to hear us here.
It was as narrow an escape there as ever man had. It was after that, I
suppose, you took the name of Hankes?”

“Yes,” said the other, in a faint whisper.

“Well, I must say Christianity does n’t seem to have disagreed with you.
You ‘re in capital case,--a little pluffy for work, but in rare health,
and sleek as a beaver.”

“Always the same. He will have his joke,” muttered Hankes, as though
addressing some third party to the colloquy.

“I can’t say that I have committed any excesses in that line of late,”
 said Grog, dryly. “I ‘ve had rather a tough fight with the world!”

“But you’ve fought it well, and successfully,” Davis said the other, with
confidence. “Have n’t you married your daughter to a Viscount?”

“Who told _you_ that? Who knows it here?” cried Grog, hurriedly.

“I heard it from Fordyce’s people a fortnight ago. It was I myself
brought the first news of it to Davenport Dunn.”

“And what did _he_ say?”

“Well, he didn’t say much; he wondered a little how it came about;
hinted that you must be an uncommon clever fellow, for it was a great
stroke, if all should come right.”

“You mean about the disputed claim to the title?”


“He has his doubts about that, then, has he?”

“He has n’t much doubt on the subject, for it lies with himself to
decide the matter either way. If he likes to produce certain papers,
Conway’s claim is as good as established. You are aware that they have
already gained two of their actions on ejectment; but Dunn could save
them a world of time and labor, and that’s why he’s coming up to-morrow.
Fordyce is to meet him at Calvert’s Hotel, and they ‘re to go into the
entire question.”

“What are his terms? How much does he ask?” said Grog, bluntly.

“I can’t possibly say; I can only suspect.”

“What do you suspect, then?”

“Well,” said Hankes, drawing a long breath, “my impression is that if he
decide for the present Viscount, he ‘ll insist upon an assignment of the
whole Irish property in his favor.”

“Two thousand a year, landed property!” exclaimed Grog.

“Two thousand eight hundred, and well paid,” said Hankes, coolly; “but
that is not all.”

“Not all! what do you mean?”

“Why, there’s another hitch. But what am I saying?” cried he, in terror.
“I don’t believe that I’d speak of these things on my death-bed.”

“Be frank and open with me, Simeon. I am a true pal to the man that
trusts me, and the very devil to him that plays me false.”

“I know it,” said the other, gloomily.

“Well, now for that other hitch, as you called it What is it?”

“It’s about an estate that was sold under the ‘Encumbered Court,’ and
bought by the late Lord Lackington--at least in his name--and then
resold at a profit--” Here he stopped, and seemed as though he had
already gone too far.

“I understand,” broke in Grog; “the purchase-money was never placed to
the Viscount’s credit, and your friend Dunn wants an acquittance in full
of the claim.”

“You’ve hit it!”

“What’s the figure,--how much?”

“Thirty-seven thousand six hundred pounds.”

“He ‘s no retail-dealer, this same Davenport Dunn,” said Grog, with a
grin; “that much I _will_ say of him.”

“He has a wonderful head,” said Hankes, admiringly.

“I ‘ll agree with you, if it save his neck!” said Davis-, and then
added, after a moment, “He’s bringing up all these documents and papers
with him, you said?”

“Yes; he intends to make some settlement or other of the matter before
he marries. After that he bids farewell to business forever.”

“He’ll go abroad, I suppose?” said Davis, not attaching any strong
signification to his remark; but suddenly perceiving an expression of
anxiety in Hankes’s face, he said, “Mayhap it were all as well; he’d be
out of the way for a year or so!”

The other nodded an assent.

“He has ‘realized’ largely, I take it?”

Another nod.

“Foreign funds and railways, eh?”

“Not railways,--no, scrip!” said Hankes, curtly.

“Won’t there be a Jolly smash!” said Davis, with a bitter laugh. “I take
it there’s not been any one has ‘done the trick’ these fifty years like
this fellow.”

“I suspect you ‘re right there,” murmured Hankes.

“I have never seen him but once, and then only for a few minutes, but
I read him like a printed book. He had put on the grand integrity and
British-mercantile-honesty frown to scowl me down, to remind Davis, ‘the
leg,’ that he was in the presence of Dunn, the Unimpeachable, but I put
one eye a little aslant, this way, and I just said, ‘Round the corner,
old fellow,--round the corner!’ Oh, didn’t he look what the Yankees call
‘mean ugly’!”

“He ‘ll never forget it to you, that’s certain.”

“If he did, I ‘d try and brush up his memory a bit,” said Davis, curtly.
“He must be a rare sharp one,” added he, after a pause.

“The cleverest man in England, I don’t care who the other is,” cried
Hankes, with enthusiasm. “When the crash comes,--it will be in less than
a month from this day,--the world will discover that they’re done to the
tune of between three and four millions sterling, and I defy the
best accountant that ever stepped to trace out where the frauds
originated,--whether it was the Railways smashed the Mines, the Mines
that ruined the Great Ossory, the Great Ossory that dipped the Drainage,
or the Drainage that swamped the Glengariff, not to speak of all the
incidental confusion about estates never paid for, and sums advanced
on mock mortgage, together, with cancelled scrip reissued, preference
shares circulated before the current ones, and dock warrants for goods
that never existed. And that ain’t all” continued Hankes, to whom
the attentive eagerness of Grog’s manner vouched for the interest
his narrative excited,--“that ain’t all; but there isn’t a class nor
condition in life, from the peer to the poorest laboring-man, that he
has n’t in some way involved in his rogueries, and made him almost
a partner in the success. Each speculation being dependent for its
solvency on the ruin of some other, Ossory will hate Glengariff,
Drainage detest Mines, Railways curse Patent Fuel, and so on. I ‘ll give
the Equity Court and the Bankrupt Commissioners fifty years and they’ll
not wind up the concern.”

Grog rubbed his hands gleefully, and laughed aloud.

“Then all the people that will be compromised!” said Hankes; “Glumthal
himself is not too clean-handed; lords and fine ladies that lent their
names to this or that company, chairmen of committees in the House that
did n’t disdain to accept five hundred or a thousand shares as a mark of
grateful recognition for pushing a bill through its second reading;
ay, and great mercantile houses that discounted freely on forged
acceptances, owning that they thought the best of all security was the
sight of a convict-hulk and a felon’s jacket, and that no man was
such prompt pay as he that took a loan of a friend’s signature. What a
knockdown blow for all that lath-and-plaster edifice we dignify by the
name of Credit, when the world sees that it is a loaf the rogue can take
a slice out of as well as the honest man!”

“Won’t we have stunning leaders in the ‘Times’ about it!” cried Grog.
“It will go deuced hard with the Ministry that have made this fellow a

“Yes, they’ll have to go out,” said Hanked, gravely; “a cabinet may
defend a bad measure,--they ‘ll never fight for a bad man.”

“And they can’t hang this fellow?” said Grog, after a pause.

“Hang! I should think not, indeed.”

“Nor even transport him?”

“No, not touch a hair of his head. He’ll have to live abroad for a year
or two,--in Paris or Rome,--no great hardship if it were Naples; he
‘ll make a surrender of his property,--an old house somewhere and some
brick-fields, a mine of Daryamon coal, and a flax-mill on a river that
has scarcely any water, together with a sheaf of bad bills and Guatemala
bonds. They ‘ll want to examine him before the Court, and he’ll send
them a sick-certificate, showing how agitation and his recent losses
have almost made him imbecile; and even Mr. Linklater will talk
feelingly about his great reverse of condition.”

“It’s as good as a play to hear about this,” said Grog; “it beats
Newmarket all to sticks.”

“If it’s a play, it won’t be a benefit to a good many folk,” said
Hankes, grinning.

“Well, he _is_ a clever fellow,--far and away cleverer than I ever
thought him,” said Grog. “Any man--I don’t care who he is--can do the
world to a short extent, but to go in at them on this scale a fellow
must be a genius.”

“He _is_ a genius,” said Hankes, in a tone of decision. “Just think for
a moment what a head it must have been that kept all that machinery at
work for years back without a flaw or a crack to be detected, started
companies, opened banks, worked mines, railroads, and telegraphs, built
refuge harbors, drained whole counties, brought vast tracts of waste
land into cultivation, equalizing the chances of all enterprises by
making the success of this come to the aid of the failure of that: the
grand secret of the whole being the dexterous application of what is
called ‘Credit.’”

“All that wouldn’t do at Doncaster,” said Grog; “puff your horse as much
as you like, back him up how you will in the betting-ring, if he has n’t
the speed in him it won’t do. It’s only on ‘Change you can ‘brag out of
a bad hand.’ Dunn would never cut any figure on the turf.”

“There you are all wrong; there never yet was the place, or the station,
where that man would n’t have distinguished himself. Why, it was that
marvellous power of his kept me with him for years back. I knew all that
was going on. I knew that we hadn’t--so to say--coals for one boiler
while we had forty engines in full stroke; but I could n’t get away. It
was a sort of fascination; and when he ‘d strike out a new scheme, and
say carelessly, ‘Call the capital one million, Hankes,’ he spoke like
a man that had only to put his hand in a bag and produce the money.
Nothing daunted, nothing deterred him. He’d smash a rival company as
coolly as you ‘d crush a shell under your heel, and he ‘d turn out a
Government with the same indifference he ‘d discharge a footman.”

“Well,” grumbled out Grog, at last, for he was getting irritable at the
exaggerated estimate Hankes formed of his chief, “what has it all come
to? Ain’t he smashed at last?”

“_He_ smashed!” cried Hankes, in derision. “_He_ smashed! _You_ are
smashed! I am smashed! any one else you like is smashed, but _he_ is
not! Mind my words, Davis, Davenport Dunn will be back here, in London,
before two years are over, with the grandest house and the finest
retinue in town. His dinners will be the best, and his balls the most
splendid of the season. No club will rival his cook, no equipage beat
his in the Park. When he rises in the Lords,--which he ‘ll do only
seldom,--there will be a most courteous attention to his words; and,
above all, you’ll never read one disparaging word about him in the
papers. I give him two years, but it’s just as likely he ‘ll do it in

“It may be all as you say,” said Grog, sullenly, “though I won’t say I
believe it myself; but, at all events, it does n’t help _me_ on my way
to my own business with him. I want these papers of Lackington’s out of
his hands! He may ‘walk into’ the whole world, for all that I care:
but I want to secure _my_ daughter as the Viscountess,--that’s how it

“How much ready money can you command? What sum can you lay your hand

Grog drew his much-worn pocket-book from his breast, and, opening the
leaves, began to count to himself.

“Something like fifty-seven pounds odd shillings,” said he, with a grin.

“If you could have said twelve or fourteen thousand down, it might be
nearer the mark. Conway’s people are ready with about ten thousand.”

“How do you know?” asked Grog, savagely.

“Dunn told me as much. But he does n’t like to treat with them, because
the difficulty about the Irish estate would still remain unsettled.”

“Then what am I to do? How shall I act?” asked Grog.

“It’s not an easy matter to advise upon,” said Hankes, thoughtfully,
“for Dunn holds to one maxim with invariable tenacity, which is never
to open any negotiation with a stranger which cannot be completed in
one interview. If you couldn’t begin by showing the bank-notes, he’d not
discuss the question at all.”

Grog arose and walked the room with hasty steps: he tried to seem calm,
but in the impatient gesture with which he threw his cigar into the fire
might be read the agitation he could not conquer nor conceal.

“What could you yourself do with him, Hankes?” said he, at last.

“Nothing,--absolutely nothing,” said the other. “He never in his life
permitted a subordinate to treat, except on his own behalf; that was a
fixed law with him.”

“Curse the fellow!” burst out Davis, “he made rules and laws as if the
world was all his own.”

“Well, he managed to have it pretty much his own way, it must be
confessed,” said Hankes, with a half-smile.

“He is to be in town to-morrow, you said,” muttered Grog, half aloud.
“Where does he stop?”

“This time it will be at Calvert’s, Upper Brook Street. His house in
Piccadilly is ready, but he ‘ll not go there at present.”

“He makes a mystery of everything, so far as I can see,” said Grog,
angrily. “He comes up by the express-train, does n’t he?” grumbled he,
after a pause.

“If he has n’t a special engine,” said Hankes. “He always, however, has
his own _coupé_ furnished and fitted up for himself and never, by any
chance, given to any one else. There ‘s a capital bed in it, and a
desk, where he writes generally the whole night through, and a small
cooking-apparatus, where he makes his coffee, so that no servant ever
interrupts him at his work. Indeed, except from some interruption, or
accident on the line, the guard would not dare to open his door. Of
course _his_ orders are very strictly obeyed. I remember one night Lord
Jedburg sent in his name, and Dunn returned for answer, ‘I can’t see

“And did the Prime Minister put up with that?” asked Davis.

“What could he do?” said the other, with a shrug of the shoulder.

“If I were Lord Jedburg, I’d have unkennelled him, I promise you _that_,
Simmy. But here, it’s nigh twelve o’clock, and I have a mass of things
to do. I say, Hankes, could you contrive to look in here to-morrow
evening, after nightfall? I may have something to tell you.”

“We were strictly confidential,--all on honor, this morning, Kit,” said
the other, whispering.

“I think you know _me_, Mister Simmy,” was all Grog’s reply. “I don’t
think my worst enemy could say that I ever ‘split’ on the fellow that
trusted me.”

A hearty shake-hands followed, and they parted.


The up-train from Holyhead was a few minutes behind time at Chester,
and the travellers who awaited its arrival manifested that mixture of
impatience and anxiety which in our railroad age is inseparable from all
delay. One stranger, however, displayed a more than ordinary eagerness
for its coming, and compared the time of his watch repeatedly with the
clock of the station.

At length from the far-away distance the wild scream of the engine was
heard, and with many a cranking clash and many a heavy sob the vast
machine swept smoothly in beneath the vaulted roof. As the stranger
moved forward to take his place, he stopped to hear a few words that met
his ear. It was a railroad official said: “Mr. Davenport Dunn delayed
us about a quarter of an hour; he wanted to give a look at the new
pier, but we have nearly made it up already.” “All right!” replied the
station-master. The stranger now moved on till he came in front of a
coupé carriage, whose window-blinds rigidly drawn down excluded all
view from without. For an instant he seemed to fumble at the door, in
an endeavor to open it, but was speedily interrupted by a guard calling
out, “Not there, sir,--that’s a private carriage;” and thus warned,
the traveller entered another lower down the line. There were two other
travellers in the same compartment, apparently strangers to each other.
As the stranger with whom we are immediately concerned took his place,
he slipped into his pocket a small latch-key, of which, in the
very brief attempt to try the door of the private carriage, he had
successfully proved the utility, and, drawing his rug across his knees,
lay calmly back.

“Here we are, detained again,” grumbled out one of the travellers. “I
say, guard, what is it now?”

“Waiting for a telegram for Mr. Davenport Dunn, sir. There it comes! all
right” A low bell rings out, a wild screech following, and with many a
clank and shock the dusky monster sets out once more.

“Public convenience should scarcely be sacrificed in this manner,”
 grumbled out the former speaker. “What is this Mr. Dunn to you or to me
that we should be delayed for his good pleasure?”

“I am afraid, sir,” replied the other, whose dress and manner bespoke a
clergyman, “that we live in an age when wealth is all-powerful, and its
possessors dictate the law to all poorer than themselves.”

“And can you tell me of any age when it was otherwise?” broke in the
last arrival, with a half-rude chuckle. “It’s all very fine to lay the
whole blame of this, that, and t’ other to the peculiar degeneracy
of our own time; but my notion is, the world grows neither worse nor
better.” There was that amount of defiance in the tone of the speaker
that seemed to warn his companions, for they each of them maintained
a strict silence. Not so with him; he talked away glibly about the
influence of money, pretty plainly intimating that, as nobody ever met
the man who was indifferent to its possession, the abuse showered upon
riches was nothing but cant and humbug. “Look at the parsons,” said he;
“they tell you it is all dross and rubbish, and yet they make it the
test of your sincerity whenever they preach a charity sermon. Look at
the lawyers, and they own that it is the only measure they know by which
to recompense an injury; then take the doctors, and you ‘ll see that
their humanity has its price, and the good Samaritan charges a guinea a

The individuals to whom these words were addressed made no reply;
indeed, there was a tone of confident assumption in the speaker that was
far from inviting converse, and now a silence ensued on all sides.

“Do either of you gentlemen object to tobacco?” said the last speaker,
after a pause of some duration; and at the same time, without waiting
for the reply, he produced a cigar-case from his pocket, and began
deliberately to strike a light.

“I am sorry to say, sir,” responded the clergyman, “that smoking
disagrees with me, and I cannot accustom myself to endure the smell of

“All habit,” rejoined the other, as he lighted his cigar. “I was that
way myself for years, and might have remained so, too, but that I saw
the distress and inconvenience I occasioned to many jolly fellows who
loved their pipe; and so I overcame my foolish prejudices, and even took
to the weed myself.”

The other travellers muttered some low words of dissatisfaction; and the
clergyman, opening the window, looked out, apparently in search of the

“It’s only a cheroot, and a prime one,” said the smoker, coolly; “and as
you object, I ‘ll not light another.”

“A vast condescension on your part, sir, seeing that we have already
signified our dislike to tobacco,” said the lay traveller.

“I did not remark that _you_ gave any opinion at all,” said the smoker;
“and my vast condescension, as you term it, is entirely in favor of this

There was no mistaking the provocation of this speech, rendered actually
insulting by the mode in which it was delivered; and the traveller to
whom it was addressed, enveloping himself in his cloak, sat moodily
back, without a word. The train soon halted for a few seconds; and,
brief as was the interval, this traveller employed it to spring from his
place and seek a refuge elsewhere,--a dexterous manouvre which seemed
to excite the envy of the parson, now left alone with his uncongenial
companion. The man of peace, however, made the best of it, and, drawing
his travelling-cap over his eyes, resolved himself to sleep. For a
considerable while the other sat still, calmly watching him; and at
last, when perfectly assured that the slumber was not counterfeited, he
gently arose, and drew the curtain across the lamp in the roof of the
carriage. A dim, half-lurid light succeeded, and by this uncertain glare
the stranger proceeded to make various changes in his appearance. A
large bushy wig of black hair was first discarded, with heavy eyebrows,
and whiskers to match; an immense overcoat was taken off, so heavily
padded and stuffed that when denuded of it the wearer seemed half his
size; large heels were unscrewed from his boots, reducing his height
by full a couple of inches; till, at length, in place of a large,
unwieldy-looking man of sixty, lumbering and beetle-browed, there came
forth a short, thick-set figure, with red hair and beard, twinkling eyes
of a fierce gray, and a mouth the very type of unflinching resolution.
Producing a small looking-glass, he combed and arranged his whiskers
carefully, re-tied his cravat, and bestowed a most minute scrutiny on
his appearance, muttering, as he finished, to himself, “Ay, Kit, you ‘re
more like yourself now!” It is, perhaps, unnecessary to say this speech
was addressed to our acquaintance Grog Davis, nor was it altogether what
is called a “French compliment;” he _did_ look terribly like himself.
There was in his hard, stern face, his pinched-up eyes, and his puckered
mouth, an amount of resolute vigor that showed he was on the eve of some
hazardous enterprise. His toilet completed, he felt in his breastpocket,
to assure himself that something there was not missing; and then, taking
out his watch, he consulted the time. He had scarcely time to replace
it in his pocket, when the train entered a deep cutting between two high
banks of clay. It was, apparently, the spot he had waited for; and in
an instant he had unfastened the door by his latch-key, and stood on the
ledge outside. One more look within to assure himself that the other was
still asleep, and he closed the door, and locked it.

The night was dark as pitch, and a thin soft rain was falling, as Davis,
with a rapidity that showed this was no first essay in such a walk,
glided along from carriage to carriage, till he reached a heavy luggage
van, immediately beyond which was the _coupé_ of Mr. Davenport Dunn.

The brief prayer that good men utter ere they rush upon an enterprise
of deadly peril must have its representative in some shape or other with
those whose hearts are callous. Nature will have her due; and in that
short interval--the bridge between two worlds--the worst must surely
experience intense emotion. Whatever those of Davis, they were of the
briefest. In another second he was at the door of Dunn’s carriage, his
eyes glaring beneath the drawn-down blind, where, by a narrow slip of
light, he could detect a figure busily employed in writing. So bent was
he on mastering every portion and detail of the arrangement within, that
he actually crept around till he reached the front windows, and could
plainly see the whole _coupé_ lighted up brilliantly with wax candles.

Surrounded with papers and letters and despatch-boxes, the man of
business labored away as though in his office, every appliance for
refreshment beside him. These Davis noted well, remarking the pistols
that hung between the windows, and a bell-pull quite close to the
writing-table. This latter passed through the roof of the carriage,
and was evidently intended to signalize the guard when wanted. Before
another minute had elapsed Davis had cut off this communication, and,
knotting the string outside, still suffered it to hang down within as

All that _precaution_ could demand was now done; the remainder must be
decided by _action_. Noiselessly introducing the latch-key, Davis turned
the lock, and, opening the door, stepped inside. Dunn started as the
door banged, and there beheld him. To ring and summon the guard was the
quick impulse of his ready wit; but when the bell-rope came down as
he pulled it, the whole truth flashed across him that all had been
concerted and plotted carefully.

“Never mind your pistols. I’m armed too,” said Davis, coolly. “If it was
your life I wanted, I could have taken it easily enough at any minute
during the last ten or twelve.”

“What do you mean, then, sir, by this violence? By what right do you
dare to enter here?” cried Dunn, passionately.

“There has been no great violence up to this,” said Davis, with a grin.
“As to my right to be here, we’ll talk about that presently. You know
_me_, I believe?”

“I want to know why you are here,” cried Dunn, again.

“And so you shall; but, first of all, no treachery. Deal fairly, and a
very few minutes will settle all business between us.”

“There is no business to be settled between us,” said Dunn, haughtily,
“except the insolence of your intrusion here, and for that you shall pay

“Don’t try bluster with me, man,” said Grog, contemptuously. “If you
just stood as high in integrity as I know you to stand low in knavery,
it would n’t serve you. I’ve braved pluckier fellows than ever you

With a sudden jerk Dunn let down the window; but Grog’s iron grip held
him down in his place, as he said sternly, “I ‘ll not stand nonsense.
I have come here for a purpose, and I ‘ll not leave it till it’s
accomplished. You know _me_.”

“I do know you,” said Dunn, with an insolent irony.

“And I know _you_. Hankes--Simmy Hankes--has told me a thing or two; but
the world will soon be as wise as either of us.”

Dunn’s face became deadly pale, and, in a voice broken And faint, he
said, “What do you mean? What has Hankes said?”

“All,--everything. Why, bless your heart, man, it was no secret to me
that you were cheating, the only mystery was _how_ you did the trick;
now Hankes has shown me that. I know it all now. You had n’t so many
trumps in your hand, but you played them twice over,--that was the
way you won the game. But that’s no affair of mine. ‘Rook’ them all
round,--only don’t ‘try it on’ with Kit Davis! What brought me here is
this: _my_ daughter is married to Annesley Beecher that was, the now
Viscount Lackington; there’s another fellow about to contest the title
and the estates. _You_ know all about his claim and his chances, and you
can, they tell me, make it all ‘snag’ to either party. Now, I ‘m here to
treat with you. How much shall it be? There’s no use in going about the
bush,--how much shall it be?”

“I can be of no use to you in this business,” said Dunn, hesitatingly;
“the papers are not in my keeping. Conway’s suit is in the hands of the
first men at the bar--”

“I know all that, and I know, besides, you have an appointment with
Fordyce at Calvert’s Hotel, to arrange the whole matter; so go in at
once, and be on the square with me. Who has these papers? Where are

Dunn started at the sudden tone of the question, and then his eyes
turned as quickly towards a brass-bound despatch-box at the bottom of
the carriage. If the glance was of the speediest, it yet had not escaped
the intense watchfulness of Davis, who now reiterated his question of
“Where are they?”

“If you ‘d come to me after my interview with Fordyce,” said Dunn, with
a slow deliberation, as though giving the matter a full reflection, “I
think we might hit upon something together.”

“To be sure, we might,” said Grog, laughing; “there ‘s only one obstacle
to that pleasant arrangement,--that I should find an inspector and two
constables of the police ready waiting for my visit. No, Master Dunn,
what we ‘re to do we ‘ll do _here_ and _now_.”

“You appear to measure all men by your own standard, sir,” said Dunn,
indignantly; “and let me tell you that in point of honor it is a scant

“We’re neither of us fit for a grenadier-company of integrity, that’s a
fact, Dunn; but, upon my solemn oath, I believe I ‘m the best man of the
two. But what’s the use of this ‘chaff’? I have heard from Hankes how it
stands about that Irish estate you pretended to buy for the late
Lord, and never paid for. Now you want to stand all square upon that,
naturally enough; it is a pot of money,--seven-and-thirty thousand
pounds. Don’t you see, old fellow, I have the whole story all correct
and clear; so once more, do be business-like, and say what’s your
figure,--how much?”

Again did Dunn’s eyes revert to the box at his feet, but it was
difficult to say whether intentionally or not Davis, however, never
ceased to watch their gaze; and when Dunn, becoming suddenly conscious
of the scrutiny, grew slightly red, Grog chuckled to himself and
muttered, “You’re no match for Kit Davis, deep as you are.”

“Until we learn to repose some trust in each other, sir,” said Dunn,
whose confusion still continued, “all dealing together is useless.”

“Well, if you mean by that,” retorted Davis, “that you and I are going
to start for a ten years’ friendship, I declare off, and say it’s no
match. I told you what brought me here, and now I want _you_ to say how
I ‘m to go back again. Where are these same papers?--answer me that.”

“Some are in the hands of Conway’s lawyers; some are in the Crimea,
carded away surreptitiously by a person who was once in my confidence;
some are, I suspect, in the keeping of Conway’s mother, in Wales--”

“And some are locked up in that red box there,” said Grog, with a
defiant look.

“Not one. I can swear by all that is most solemn and awful there’s not a
document there that concerns the cause.” As Dunn spoke these words, his
voice trembled with intense agitation, and he grew sickly pale.

“What if I wouldn’t believe you on your oath?” broke in Grog, whose keen
eyes seemed actually to pierce the other’s secret thoughts. “It was n’t
to-day, or yesterday, that you and _I_ learned how to dodge an oath.
Open that box there; I ‘ll have a look through it for myself.”

“That you never shall,” said Dunn, fiercely, as he grasped the bundle of
keys that lay before him and placed them in his breast-pocket.

“Come, I like your pluck, Dunn, though it won’t serve your turn this
time. I ‘ll either see that box opened before me now, or I’ll carry it
off with me,--which shall it be?”

“Neither, by Heaven!” cried Dunn, whose passion was now roused

“We ‘ll, first of all, get these out of the way; they’re ugly
playthings,” said Davis, as with a spring he seized the pistols
and hurled them through the open window; in doing so, however, he
necessarily leaned forward, and partly turned his back towards Dunn.
With a gesture quick as lightning, Dunn drew a loaded pistol from his
breast, and, placing the muzzle almost close to the other’s head, drew
the trigger. A quick motion of the neck made the ball glance from the
bone of the skull, and passing down amongst the muscles of the neck,
settle above the shoulder. Terrible as the wound was, Davis sprang upon
him with the ferocity of a tiger. Not a word nor a cry escaped his lips,
as, in all the agony of his suffering, he seized Dunn by the throat
with one hand, while, drawing from his breast a heavy life-preserver, he
struck him on the head with the other. A wild scream,--a cry for help,
half smothered in the groan that followed, rang out, and Dunn reeled
from his seat and fell dead on the floor! Two fearful fractures had rent
the skull open, and life was extinguished at once. Davis bent down, and
gazed long and eagerly at the ghastly wounds; but it was not till he
had laid his hand over the heart that he knew them to be fatal. A
short shudder, more like the sense of sudden cold than any sentiment of
horror, passed over him as he stood for a few seconds motionless; then,
opening the dead man’s coat, he drew forth his keys and searched for
that one which pertained to the red box. He carefully placed the box
upon the table and unlocked it The contents were title-deeds of the
Glengariff family, but all in duplicate, and so artfully imitated that
it would have been scarcely possible to distinguish original from copy.
Of the Lackingtons there was nothing but a release of all claims against
Davenport Dunn, purporting to have been the act of the late Lord, but of
which the signature was only indicated in pencil.

“The discovery was n’t worth the price,” muttered Davis, as he turned a
half-sickly look upon the lifeless mass at his feet. “I ‘m not the first
who found out that the swag did n’t pay for the smash; not,” added he,
after a moment, “that I was to blame here: it was he began it!”

With some strange mysterious blending of reverence for the dead, with
a vague sense of how the sight would strike the first beholders, Davis
raised the corpse from the floor and placed it on the seat He then
wiped the clotted gore from the forehead, and dried the hair. It was a
gruesome sight, and even he was not insensible to its terrors; for, as
he turned away, he heaved a short, thick sigh. How long he stood
thus, half stunned and bewildered, he knew not; but he was, at length,
recalled to thought and activity by the loud whistle that announced the
train was approaching a station. The next minute they glided softly in
beside a platform, densely crowded with travellers. Davis did not wait
for the guard, but opened the door himself, and slowly, for he was in
pain, descended from the carriage.

“Call the station-master here,” said he to the first official he met
“Let some one, too, fetch a doctor, for I am badly wounded, and a
policeman, for I want to surrender myself.” He then added, after a
pause, “There’s a dead man in that carriage yonder!”

The terrible tidings soon spread abroad, and crowds pressed eagerly
forward to gaze upon the horrible spectacle. No sooner was it announced
that the murdered man was the celebrated Davenport Dunn, than the
interest increased tenfold, and, with that marvellous ingenuity
falsehood would seem ever to have at her disposal, a dozen artfully
conceived versions of the late event were already in circulation. It
was the act of a maniac,--a poor creature driven mad by injustice and
persecution. It was the vengeance of a man whose fortune had been ruined
by Dunn. It was the father of a girl he had seduced and abandoned.
It was a beggared speculator,--a ruined trustee,--and so on; each
narrative, strangely enough, inferring that the fatal catastrophe was an
expiation! How ready is the world to accept this explanation of the sad
reverses that befall those it once has stooped to adulate,--how greedily
does it seek to repay itself for its own degrading homage, by maligning
the idol of its former worship! Up to this hour no man had ever dared to
whisper a suspicion of Dunn’s integrity; and now, ere his lifeless clay
was cold, many were floundering away in this pseudo-morality about the
little benefit all his wealth was to him, and wondering if his fate
would not be a lesson! And so the train went on its way, the _coupé_
with the dead body detached and left for the inspection of the inquest,
And Davis on a sick-bed and in custody of the police.

His wound was far more serious than at first was apprehended; the
direction the ball had taken could not be ascertained, and the pain was
intense. Grog, however, would not condescend to speak of his suffering,
but addressed himself vigorously to all the cares of his situation.

“Let me have some strong cavendish tobacco and a pint of British gin,
pen, ink, and paper, and no visitors.”

The remonstrances of the doctor he treated with scorn.

“I’m not one of your West-end swells,” said he, “that’s afraid of a
little pain, nor one of your Guy’s Hospital wretches that’s frightened
by the surgeon’s tools; only no tinkering, no probing. If you leave me
alone, I have a constitution that will soon pull me through.”

His first care was to dictate a telegraphic despatch to a well-known
lawyer, whose skill in criminal cases had made him a wide celebrity. He
requested him to come down at once and confer with him. His next was to
write to his daughter, and in this latter task he passed nearly half the
night. Written as it was in great bodily pain and no small suffering of
mind, the letter was marvellously indicative of the man who penned it.
He narrated the whole incident to its fatal termination exactly as it
occurred; not the slightest effort did he make at exculpation for his
own share in it; and he only deplored the misfortune in its effect upon
the object he had in view.

“If Dunn,” said he, “hadn’t been so ready with his pistol, I believe we
might have come to terms; but there’s no guarding against accidents. As
matters stand, Annesley must make his own fight, for, of course, I can
be of little use to him or to any one else till the assizes are over.
So far as I can see, the case is a bad one, and Conway most likely to
succeed; but there’s yet time for a compromise. I wish you ‘d take the
whole affair into your own hands.”

To enable her to enter clearly upon a question of such complication,
he gave a full narrative, so far as he could, of the contested claim,
showing each step he had himself taken in defence, and with what object
he had despatched Paul Classon to the Crimea. Three entire pages were
filled with this theme; of himself, and his own precarious fortunes, he
said very little indeed.

“Don’t be alarmed, Lizzy,” wrote he; “if the coroner’s inquest should
find a verdict of ‘Wilful Murder’ against me, such a decision does not
signify a rush; and as I mean to reserve all my defence for the trial,
such a verdict is likely enough. There will be, besides this, the
regular hue and cry people get up against the gambler, the leg, and who
knows what else they ‘ll call me. Don’t mind that, either, girl. Let the
moralists wag their charitable tongues; we can afford to make a
waiting race, and, if I don’t mistake much, before the trial comes off,
Davenport Dunn himself will be more ill thought of than Kit Davis. Above
all, however, don’t show in public; get away from Rome, and stay for a
month or two in some quiet, out-of-the-way place, where people cannot
make remarks upon your manner, and either say, ‘See how this disgraceful
affair has cut her up,’ or, ‘Did you ever see any one so brazen under an
open shame?’

“I have sent for Ewin Jones, the lawyer, and expect him by the down
train; if he should say anything worth repeating to you, I ‘ll add it
ere I seal this.”

A little lower down the page were scrawled, half illegibly, the
following few words:--

“Another search for the ball, and no better luck; it has got down
amongst some nerves, where they ‘re afraid to follow it,--a sort of
Chancery Court Jones is here, and thinks ‘we ‘ll do,’ particularly if
‘the Press’ blackguards Dunn well in the mean time. Remember me to A.
B., and keep him from talking nonsense about the business,--for a while,
at least,--that is, if you can, and

“Believe me, yours, as ever,

“C. Davis.”


Scarcely had the town been struck by the large placards announcing the
dreadful murder of Davenport Dunn, which paraded the streets in all
directions, when a second edition of the morning papers brought the
first tidings of the ruin that was to follow that event; and now, in
quick succession, came news that the treasurer of the grand Glengariff
Company had gone off with some fifty thousand pounds; that the great
Ossory Bank had stopped payment; companies on every hand smashing’;
misfortune and calamity everywhere. Terrible as was the detail which the
inquest revealed, the whole interest of the world was turned to the less
striking but scarcely less astounding news that society had for years
back been the dupe of the most crafty and unprincipled knave of all
Europe, that the great idol of its worship, the venerated and respected
in all enterprises of industry, the man of large philanthropy and wide
benevolence, was a schemer and a swindler, unprincipled and unfeeling.
The fatal machinery of deception and falsehood which his life maintained
crumbled to ruin at the very moment of his death; he was himself the
mainspring of all fraud, and when he ceased to dictate, the game of
roguery was over. While, therefore, many deplored the awful crime which
had just been committed, and sorrowed over the stain cast upon our age
and our civilization, there arose amidst their grief the wilder and more
heartrending cry of thousands brought to destitution and beggary by this
bold, bad man.

Of the vast numbers who had dealings with him, scarcely any escaped:
false title-deeds, counterfeited shares, forged scrip abounded. The
securities intrusted to his keeping in all the trustfulness of an
unlimited confidence had been pledged for loans of money; vast sums
alleged to have been advanced on mortgage were embezzled without a
shadow of security. From the highest in the peerage to the poorest
peasant, all were involved in the same scheme of ruin, and the great
fortunes of the rich and the hardly saved pittance of the poor alike
engulfed. So suddenly did the news break upon the world that it actually
seemed incredible. It was not alone a shock given to mercantile credit
and commercial honesty, but it seemed an outrage against whatever
assumed to be high-principled and honorable. It could not be denied that
this man had been the world’s choicest favorite. Upon _him_ had been
lavished all the honors and rewards usually reserved for the greatest
benefactors of their kind. The favors of the Crown, the friendship and
intimacy with the highest in station, immense influence with the members
of the Government, power and patronage to any extent, and, greater
than all these, because more wide-spread and far-reaching, a sort
of acceptance that all he said and did and planned and projected was
certain to be for the best, and that they who opposed his views or
disparaged his conceptions were sure to be mean-minded and envious
men, jealous of the noble ascendancy of his great nature. And all this
because he was rich and could enrich others! Had the insane estimate of
this man been formed by those fighting the hard battle of fortune, and
so crushed by poverty that even a glimpse of affluence was a gleam of
Paradise, it might have been more pardonable; but far from it. Davenport
Dunn’s chief adherents and his primest flatterers were themselves great
in station and rolling in wealth; they were many of them the princes of
the land. The richest banker of all Europe--he whose influence has often
decided the fate of contending nations--was Dunn’s tried and trusted
friend. The great Minister, whose opening speech of a session was the
_mot d’ordre_ for half the globe, had taken counsel with him, stooping
to ask his advice, and condescending to indorse his opinions. A proud
old noble, as haughty a member of his order as the peerage possessed,
did not disdain to accept him for a son-in-law; and now the great banker
was to find himself defrauded, the great minister disgraced, and
the noble Lord who had stooped to his alliance was to see his estate
dissipated and his fortune lost!

What a moral strain did not the great monitors of our age pour forth;
what noble words of reproof fell from Pulpit and Press upon the lust
of wealth, the base pursuit of gold; what touching contrasts were drawn
between the hard-won competence of the poor man and the ill-gotten
abundance of the gambler! How impressively was the lesson proclaimed,
that patient industry was a nobler characteristic of a people than
successful enterprise, and that it was not to lucky chances and
accidental success, but to the virtues of truthfulness, order, untiring
labor, and economy, that England owed the high place she occupied
amongst the nations of the earth. All this was, perhaps, true; the only
pity was that the pæan over our greatness should be also a funeral wail
over thousands reduced to beggary and want! For weeks the newspapers had
no other themes than the misery of this man’s cruel frauds. Magistrates
were besieged by appeals from people reduced to the last destitution;
public offices crowded with applicants, pressing to know if the titles
or securities they held as the sole guarantees of a livelihood, were
true or false. All confidence seemed gone. Men trembled at every letter
they opened; and none knew whether the tidings of each moment might not
be the announcement of utter ruin.

Until the event had actually occurred, it was not easy to conceive how
the dishonesty of one man could so effectually derange the whole complex
machinery of a vast society; but so it really proved. So intensely had
the money-getting passion taken possession of the national mind, so
associated had national prosperity seemed to be with individual wealth,
that nothing appeared great, noble, or desirable but gold, and the
standard of material value was constituted to be the standard of all
moral excellence: intending to honor Industry, the nation had paid its
homage to Money!

Of all the victims to Dunn’s perfidy, there was one who never could be
brought to believe in his guilt This was the old Earl of Glengariff. So
stunned was he by the first news of the murder that his faculties never
rightly recovered the shock, and his mind balanced between a nervous
impatience for Dunn’s arrival and a dreary despondency as to his coming;
and in this way he lived for years, his daughter watching over him with
every care and devotion, hiding with many an artifice the painful signs
of their reduced fortune, and feeding with many a false hope the old
man’s yearnings for wealth and riches. The quiet old town of Bruges was
their resting-place; and there, amidst deserted streets and grass-grown
pavements, they lived, pitied and unknown.

The “Dunn Frauds,” as by journalist phrase they were now recognized,
formed for months long a daily portion of the public reading, and only
at length yielded their interest to a case before the “Lords,”--the
claim preferred by a Crimean hero to the title of Viscount Lackington,
and of which some successful trials at Bar gave speedy promise of good
result. Indeed, had the question been one to be decided by popular
suffrage, the issue would not have been very doubtful. Through the
brilliant records of “our own correspondent” and the illustrated columns
of a distinguished “weekly,” Charles Conway had now become a celebrity,
and meetings were held and councils consulted how best to honor his
arrival on his return to England. As though glad to turn from the
disparaging stories of fraud, baseness, and deception which Dunn’s fall
disclosed, to nobler and more spirit-stirring themes, the nation seemed
to hail with a sort of enthusiasm the character of this brave soldier!

His whole military career was narrated at length, and national pride
deeply flattered by a record which proved that in an age stigmatized by
late disclosures, chivalry and heroism had not died out, but survived in
all their most brilliant and ennobling features. While municipal bodies
voted their freedom and swords of honor, and public journals discussed
the probable rewards of the Crown, another turn was given to popular
interest by the announcement that, on a certain day, Christopher Davis
was to be tried at the Old Bailey for the murder of Davenport Dunn. Had
the hand which took away his life been that of some one brought down
to beggary by his machinations, a certain amount of sympathy would
certainly have been wrung from national feeling. Here, however, if any
such plea existed, no token was given. Davis had maintained, at the
coroner’s inquest, a dogged, unbroken silence, simply declaring that he
reserved whatever he meant to say for the time of his trial. He did not
scruple, besides, to exhibit an insolent contempt for a verdict which he
felt could exercise little influence on the future, while to his
lawyer he explained that he was not going to give “Conway’s people” the
information that he had so totally failed in securing the documents
he sought for, and his presumed possession of which might induce a
compromise with Beecher.

In vain was he assured that his obstinate refusal to answer the
questions of the jury would seriously endanger his safety by arming
the public mind against him; he sternly resisted every argument on this
score, and curtly said, “There are higher interests at stake than mine
here,--it is my daughter, the Viscountess, is to be thought of, not me.”
 Nor did his reserve end there. Through the long interval which preceded
his trial, he confided very sparingly in his lawyer, his interviews with
him being mainly occupied in discussing points of law, what was and what
was not evidence, and asking for a history of such cases--if any there
were--as resembled his own. In fact, it soon appeared that, having
mastered certain details, Davis was determined to conduct his own
defence, and address the jury in his own behalf.

The interest the public takes in a criminal trial is often mainly
dependent on the rank of the persons implicated; not only is sympathy
more naturally attracted to those whose condition in life would seem to
have removed them from the casualties of crime, but, in such cases,
the whole circumstances are sure to be surrounded with features of more
dramatic interest. Now, although Davis by no means occupied that station
which could conciliate such sympathy, he was widely known, and to men of
the first rank in England. The habits of the turf and the ring establish
a sort of acquaintanceship, and even intimacy, between men who have no
other neutral territory in life; and, through these, Davis was on the
most familiar terms with noble lords and honorable gentlemen, who took
his bets and pocketed his money as freely as from their equals.

With these, his indomitable resolution, his “pluck” had made him almost
a favorite. They well knew, too, how they could count upon these same
faculties in any hour of need, and “Old Grog” was the resource in many a
difficulty that none but himself could have confronted.

If his present condition excited no very warm anxiety for his fate, it
at least created the liveliest curiosity to see the man, to watch how he
would comport himself in such a terrible exigency, to hear the sort
of defence he would make, and to mark how far his noted courage would
sustain him in an ordeal so novel and so appalling. The newspapers also
contributed to increase this interest, by daily publishing some curious
story or other illustrating Davis’s early life, and, as may be
surmised, not always to his advantage on the score of probity and
honor. Photographers were equally active; so that when, on the eventful
morning, the clerk of the arraigns demanded of the prisoner whether he
pleaded guilty or not guilty, the face and features of the respondent
were familiar to every one in the Court. Some expected to see him
downcast and crestfallen, some looked for a manner of insolent swagger
and pretension. He was equally free from either, and in his calm
but resolute bearing, as he surveyed bench and jury-box, there was
unmistakable dignity and power. If he did not seek the recognitions
of his acquaintances throughout the Court, he never avoided them,
returning the salutations of the “swells,” as he called them, with the
easy indifference he would have accorded them at Newmarket.

I have no pretension to delay my reader by any details of the trial
itself. It was a case where all the evidence was purely circumstantial,
but wherein the most deliberate and deep-laid scheme could be distinctly
traced. With all the force of that consummate skill in narrative which a
criminal lawyer possesses, Davis was tracked from his leaving London
to his arrival at Chester. Of his two hours spent there the most exact
account was given, and although some difficulty existed in proving the
identity of the traveller who had taken his place at that station with
the prisoner, there was the strongest presumption to believe they were
one and the same. As to the dreadful events of the crime itself, all
must be inferred from the condition in which the murdered man was found
and the nature of the wounds that caused his death. Of these, none could
entertain a doubt; the medical witnesses agreed in declaring that life
must have been immediately extinguished. Lastly, as to the motive of
the crime,--although not essential in a legal point of view,--the
prosecutor, in suggesting some possible cause, took occasion to dwell
upon the character of the prisoner, and even allude to some early
events in his life. Davis abruptly stopped this train of argument, by
exclaiming, “None of these are in the indictment, sir. I am here on a
charge of murder, and not for having horsewhipped _you_ at Ascot, the
year Comas won the Queen’s Cup.”

An interruption so insulting, uttered in a voice that resounded
throughout the Court, now led to a passionate appeal from the counsel
to the bench, and a rebuke from the Judge to Davis, who reminded him
how unbecoming such an outrage was, from one standing in the solemn
situation that he did.

“Solemn enough if guilty, my Lord, but only irksome and unpleasant to a
man with as easy a conscience as mine,” was the quick reply of Grog,
who now eyed the Court in every part with an expression of insolent

The evidence for the prosecution having closed, Davis arose, and with a
calm self-possession addressed the Court:--

“I believe,” said he, “that if I followed the approved method in cases
like the present, I’d begin by expressing the great confidence and
satisfaction I feel in being tried by a Judge so just and a jury so
intelligent as that before me; and then, after a slight diversion as
to the blessings of a good conscience, I ‘d give you fifteen or twenty
minutes of pathetic lamentation for the good and great man whose
untimely death is the cause of this trial. Now, I’m not about to do any
of these. Judges are generally upright; juries are, for the most part,
painstaking and fair. I conclude, therefore, that I’m as safe with his
Lordship and yourselves as with any others; and as to Mr. Davenport Dunn
and his virtues, why, gentlemen, like the character of him who addresses
you, the least said the better! Not,” added he, sternly, “that I fear
comparison with him,--far from it; we were both adventurers, each of us
traded upon the weakness of his fellows; the only difference was, that
he played a game that could not but win, while I took my risks like a
man, and as often suffered as I succeeded. _My_ victims--if that’s
the phrase in vogue for them--were young fellows starting in life with
plenty of cash and small experience: _his_ were widows, with a miserable
pittance, scarcely enough for support; orphan children, with a thousand
or two trust money; or, as you might see in the papers, poor governesses
eagerly seizing the occasion to provide for the last years of a toilsome
life. But my opinion is you have no concern with _his_ character or with
_mine_; you are there to know how he came by his death, and I ‘ll tell
you that.”

In a narrative told calmly, without stop or impediment, and utterly free
from a word of exaggeration or a sentiment of passion, he narrated how,
by an appointment, the nature of which he refused to enter upon, he
had met Davenport Dunn on the eventful night in question. The business
matter between them, he said,--and of this, too, he declined to give any
particular information,--had led to much and angry recrimination, till
at length, carried beyond the bounds of all temper and reserve, Davis
rashly avowed that he was in the possession of the secret history of all
Dunn’s frauds; he showed, by details the most exact, that he knew how
for years and years this man had been a swindler and a cheat, and he
declared that the time for unmasking him had arrived, and that the world
should soon know the stuff he was made of. “There was, I suspected,”
 continued he, “in the red box at my feet a document whose production in
a trial would have saved a friend of my own from ruin, and which Dunn
was then carrying up to London to dispose of to the opponent in the
suit. I affected to be certain that it was there, and I quickly saw by
his confusion that I guessed aright. I proposed terms for it as liberal
as he could wish, equal to any he could obtain elsewhere. He refused my
offers. I asked then to see and read it, to assure myself that it was
the paper I suspected. This, too, he refused. The altercation grew warm;
time pressed, for we were not far from the station where I meant to
stop, and, driven to half desperation, I declared that I ‘d smash the
box, if he would not consent to unlock it. I stooped as I said this, and
as my head was bent he drew a pistol and shot me. The ball glanced from
my skull and entered my neck. This is the wound,” said he, baring his
throat, “and here is the bullet. I was scarcely stunned, and I sprang to
my legs and killed him!”.

The sensation of horror the last words created was felt throughout
the Court, and manifested by a low murmur of terror and disgust. Davis
looked around him with a cold, resolute stare, as if he did not shrink
in the least from this show of disapprobation.

“I am well aware,” said he, calmly, “there are many here at this moment
would have acted differently. That lady with the lace veil yonder, for
instance, would have fainted; the noble Lord next the Bench, there,
would have dropped on his knees and begged his life. I see one of the
jury, and if I can read a human countenance, his tells me he ‘d have
screamed out for the guard. Well, I have nothing to say against any of
these ways of treating the matter. None of them occurred to _me_, and I
killed him! The Crown lawyer has told you the rest; that I surrendered
myself at once to the police, and never attempted an escape. A legal
friend has mentioned to me that witnesses to character are occasionally
called in cases like the present, and that I might derive benefit from
such testimony. Nothing would be easier for me than this. There is
a noble lord, a member of the Cabinet, knows me long and intimately;
there’s a venerable bishop now in town could also speak for me. He
taught me chicken hazard thirty years ago, and I have never ceased to
think affectionately of him. There ‘s a Judge in the adjoining Court who
was my chum and companion for two years--Well, my Lord, I have done. I
shall call none of them; nor have I anything more to observe.”

The Jury, after a short address from the Judge, retired; and Davis’s
lawyer, rising, approached the dock and whispered something to the

“What’s the betting?” murmured Grog.

“Even as to the first charge. Two to one for a verdict of manslaughter.”

“Take all you can get for me on the first,” said Grog, “and I’ll take
the odds on the other in hundreds. It’s a sort of a hedge for me. There,
let’s lose no time; they ‘ll be back soon.”

In a few minutes after this brief conversation, the jury returned into
Court. Their finding was Not Guilty of murder, Guilty of manslaughter

Davis listened to the decision calmly, and then, having pencilled down
a few figures in his note-book, he muttered, “Not so bad, neither; seven
hundred on the double event!” So occupied was he in his calculations,
that he had not heard a recommendation to mercy, which the jury had
appended, though somewhat informally, to their verdict.

“What a pot of money one might have had against that!” said Davis. “Is
n’t it strange none of us should ever have thought of it!”

The Judge reserved sentence till he had thought over the recommendation,
and the trial was over.


From the day of Davenport Dunn’s death to the trial of Kit Davis three
whole months elapsed,--a short period in the term of human life, but
often sufficient to include great events. It only took three months,
once on a time, for a certain great Emperor to break up his camp at
Boulogne-sur-Mer and lay Austria at his feet! In the same short space
the self-same Emperor regained and lost his own great empire. What
wonder, then, if three months brought great and important changes to the
fortunes of some of the individuals in this story!

I have not any pretension to try to interest my reader for the
circumstances by which Charles Conway recovered the ancient title and
the estates that rightfully belonged to him, nor to ask his company
through the long and intricate course of law proceedings by which this
claim was established. Enough to say that amidst the documents which
contributed to this success, none possessed the same conclusive force
as that discovered so accidentally by Sybella Kellett. It formed the
connecting link in a most important chain of evidence, and was in a
great measure the cause of ultimate success. It rarely happens that the
great mass of the public feels any strong interest in the issue of cases
like this; the very rank of the litigants removing them, by reason of
their elevation, from so much of common-place sympathy, as well as the
fact that the investigation so frequently involves the very driest of
details, the general public regards these suits with a sentiment of
almost indifference.

Far different was it on the present occasion. Every trial at Bar was
watched with deep interest, the newspapers commenting largely on the
evidence, and prognosticating in unmistakable terms the result. Crimean
Conway was the national favorite, and even the lawyers engaged against
him were exposed to a certain unpopularity. At length came the hearing
before the Privilege Committee of the Lords, and the decision by which
the claim was fully established and Charles Conway declared to be the
Viscount Lackington. The announcement created a sort of jubilee. Whether
the good public thought that the honors of the Crown were bestowed upon
their favorite with a somewhat niggard hand, or whether the romance of
the case--the elevation of one who had served in the ranks and was now a
peer of the realm--had captivated their imaginations, certain it is they
had adopted his cause as their own, and made of his success a popular

Few people of Europe indulge in such hearty bursts of enthusiasm as our
own, and there is no more genuine holiday than that when they can honor
one who has conferred credit upon his nation. Conway, whose name but
a short time back was unknown, had now become a celebrity, and every
paragraph about him was read with the liveliest interest. To learn that
he had arrived safely at Constantinople, that he was perfectly recovered
from his wounds, that he had dined on a certain day with the Ambassador,
and that at a special audience from the Sultan he had been decorated
with the first class of the Medjidié, were details that men interchanged
when they met as great and gratifying tidings, when suddenly there burst
upon the world the more joyful announcement of his marriage: “At the
Embassy chapel at Pera, this morning, the Viscount Lackington, better
known to our readers as Crimean Conway, was married to Miss Kellett,
only daughter of the late Captain Kellett, of Kellett’s Court. A novel
feature of the ceremony consisted in the presence of Rifaz Bey, sent by
order of the Sultan to compliment the distinguished bridegroom, and
to be the bearer of some very magnificent ornaments for the bride. The
happy couple are to leave this in H.M.S. ‘Daedalus’ to-morrow for Malta;
but, intending to visit Italy before their return, will not probably
reach England for two or three months.”

Within a few weeks after, a passage in the “Gazette” announced
that Viscount Lackington had been honored with the Bath, and named
Aide-de-camp to the Queen. It is not for poor chroniclers like ourselves
to obtrude upon good fortune like this, and destroy, by attempted
description, all that constitutes its real happiness. The impertinence
that presses itself in personal visits on those who seek seclusion is
only equalled by that which would endeavor to make history of moments
too sacred for recording.

Our story opened of a lovely morning in autumn,--it closes of an evening
in the same mellow season, and in the self-same spot, too, the Lake
of Como. Long motionless shadows stretched across the calm lake as,
many-colored, from the tints of the surrounding woods, it lay bathed
in the last rays of a rich sunset. It was the hour when, loaded with
perfume, the air moves languidly through the leaves and the grass, and
a sense of tender sadness seems to pervade nature. Was it to watch the
last changes of the rich coloring, as from a rose pink the mountain
summits grew a deep crimson, then faded again to violet, and, after a
few minutes of deepest blue, darkened into night, that a small group was
gathered silently on the lake terrace of the Villa d’Este? They were but
three,--a lady and two gentlemen. _She_, seated a little apart from the
others, appeared to watch the scene before her with intense interest,
bending down her head at moments as if to listen, and then resuming her
former attitude.

The younger of the men seemed to participate in her anxiety,--if such it
could be called,--and peered no less eagerly through the gathering gloom
that now spread over the lake. The elder, a short, thick-set figure,
displayed his impatience in many a hurried walk of a few paces, and a
glance, quick and short, over the water. None of them spoke a word. At
last the short man asked, in a gruff, coarse tone, “Are you quite sure
she said it was this evening they were to arrive?”

“Quite sure; she read the letter over for me. Besides, my sister
Georgina makes no mistakes of this kind, and she ‘d not have moved off
to Lugano so suddenly if she was not convinced that they would be here

“Well, I will say your grand folk have their own notions of gratitude as
they have of everything else. She owes these people the enjoyment of a
capital income, which, out of delicacy, they have left her for her life,
and the mode she takes to acknowledge the favor is by avoiding to meet

“And what more natural!” broke in the lady’s voice. “Can she possibly
forget that they have despoiled her of her title, her station, her very
name? In her place, I feel I should have done exactly the same.”

“That’s true,” burst out the younger man. “Lizzy is right. But for them,
Georgina had still been the Viscountess Lackington.”

“_You_ have a right to feel it that way,” laughed out the short man,
scornfully. “You are both in the same boat as herself, only that they
have n’t left _you_ twelve hundred per annum!”

“I hear a boat now; yes, I can mark the sound of the oars,” said the

“What a jolly change would a good squall now make in your fortunes!”
 said the short man. “A puff of wind and a few gallons of water are small
things to stand between a man and twelve thousand a year!”

The suggestion did not seem to find favor with the others, for they made
no reply.

“You never sent off your letter, I think?” resumed he, addressing the
younger man.

“Of course not, father,” broke in the female voice. “It was an indignity
I could not stoop to.”

“Not stoop to?” cried out Grog, for it is needless to say that it was
himself, with his daughter and son-in-law, who formed the group. “I like
that,--I like our not stooping when it’s crawling we ‘re come to!”

“Ay, by Jove!” muttered Beecher, ruefully, “that it is, and over a rough
road too!”

“Well, I’d have sent the letter,” resumed Grog. “I’d have put it this
way: ‘You did n’t deal harshly with the Dowager; don’t treat _us_ worse
than _her_.’”

“Father, father!” cried Lizzy, imploringly, “how unlike you all this

“I know it is, girl,--I know it well enough. Since that six months I
passed in Newgate I don’t know myself. I ‘m not the man I was, nor
I never shall be again. That same dull life and its dreary diet have
broken up old Grog.” A heavy sigh closed these words, and for some
minutes the silence was unbroken.

“There comes a boat up to the landing-place,” cried Beecher, suddenly.

“I must see them, and I will,” said Lizzy, rising, and drawing her shawl
around her. “I have more than a mere curiosity to see this Crimean hero
and his heroic wife.” It was hard to say in what spirit the words were
uttered, so blended was the ardor and the sarcasm in their tone. “Are
you coming, father?”

“I--no. Not a bit of it,” said Grog, rudely. “I’d rather see a promising
two-year-old than all the heroes and all the beauties in Europe.”

“And you, Beecher?” asked she, with a half-smile.

“Well, I’ve no great wish on the subject. They have both of them cost me
rather too heavily to inspire any warm interest in their behalf.”

The words were scarcely uttered, when the large window of the room
adjoining the terrace was flung open, and a great flood of light
extended to where they stood: at the same moment a gentleman with a lady
on his arm advanced towards them.

“Mr. Annesley Beecher is here, I believe?” said the stranger.

“Yes; that is my name, sir,” was the answer.

“Let me claim a cousin’s privilege to shake your hand, then,” said the
other. “You knew me once as Charles Conway, and my wife claims you as a
still older friend.”

“My father bore you the warmest affection,” said Sybella, eagerly.

Beecher could but mutter some half-inarticulate words.

“I have done you what you must feel a cruel injury,” said Conway, “but
I believe the game was never yet found out where all could rise winners.
There is, however, a slight reparation yet in my power. The lawyers tell
me that a separate suit will be required to establish our claim to the
Irish estates. Take them, therefore;, you shall never be disturbed in
their possession by me or mine. All I ask is, let there be no bad blood
between us. Let us be friends.”

“You may count upon me, at all events,” said Lizzy, extending her hand
to him. “I am, indeed, proud to know you.”

“Nor would I be forgotten in this pleasant compact,” said Sybella,
advancing towards Lizzy. “We have less to forgive, my dear cousin, and
we can be friends without even an explanation.”

The acquaintance thus happily opened, they continued to walk the terrace
together for hours, till at length the chill night air warned Conway
that he was still an invalid.

“Till to-morrow, then,” said Sybella, as she kissed Lizzy’s cheek

“Till to-morrow!” replied the other, as a heavy tear rolled down her
cheek, for _hers_ was a sad heart, as she followed with her eyes their
retreating figures.

“Ain’t he a trump!” cried Beecher, as he drew his wife’s arm within his
own, and led her along at his side. “He doesn’t believe one syllable
about our sending those fellows over to the Crimea to crib the papers;
he fancies we were all ‘on the square’--Oh, I forgot,” broke he in,
suddenly, “you were never in the secret yourself. At all events, he’s a
splendid fellow, and he’s going to leave the Irish estates with us, and
that old house at Kellett’s Court. But where’s your father? I ‘m dying
to tell him this piece of news.”

“Here I am,” said Grog, gruffly, as he came forth from a little arbor,
where he had been hiding.

“We’re all right, old boy,” burst in Beecher, joyfully. “I tried the
cousin dodge with Conway, rubbed him down smoothly, and the upshot is,
he has offered us the Irish property.”

Grog gave a short grunt and fixed his eyes steadfastly on his daughter,
who, pale and trembling all over, caught her father’s arm for support.

“He felt, naturally enough,” resumed Beecher, “that ours was a deuced
hard case.”

“I want to hear what _your_ answer was,--what reply _you_ made him!”
 gasped out Lizzy, painfully.

“Could there be much doubt about that?” cried Beecher. “I booked the bet
at once.”

“No, no, I will not believe it,” said she, in a voice of deep emotion:
“you never did so. It was but last night, as we walked here on this very
spot, I told you how, in some far-away colony of England, we could not
fail to earn an honorable living; that I was well content to bear my
share of labor, and you agreed with me that such a life was far better
than one of dependence or mere emergency. You surely could not have
forgotten this!”

“I did n’t exactly forget it, but I own I fancied twelve hundred a year
and a snug old house a better thing than road-making at Victoria or
keeping a grammar-school at Auckland.”

“And you had the courage to reason thus to the man who had descended
to the ranks as a common soldier to vindicate a name to which nothing
graver attached than a life of waste and extravagance! No, no, tell me
that you are only jesting with me, Annesley. You never said this!”

“Lizzy’s right--by Heaven, she’s right!” broke in Grog, resolutely.

“If you mean that I refused him, you’re both much mistaken; and to
clinch the compact, I even said I ‘d set out for Ireland to-morrow.”

“I ‘m for New Orleans,” said Grog, with a rough shake, as though
throwing a weight from his shoulders.

“Will you have a travelling-companion, father?” asked Lizzy, in a low

“Who is it to be, girl?”

“Lizzy,--your own Lizzy!”

“That will I, girl,” cried he, as he threw his arms about her, and
kissed her in sincere affection.

“Good-bye, sir,” said she, holding out her hand to Beecher. “Our compact
was a hollow one from the first. It would be but a miserable deception
to maintain it.”

“I knew luck was going to turn with me!” muttered Beecher, as he watched
her leaving the terrace, “but I ‘d never have believed any one if he ‘d
told me that I ‘d have booked an estate and scratched my marriage all on
the same evening!”


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