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Title: The King's Men A Tale of To-morrow
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Title: The King's Men
       A Tale of To-morrow


Author: Robert Grant, John Boyle O'Reilly, J. S. Dale, and John T.
Wheelwright



Release Date: August 1, 2006  [eBook #18960]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-646-US (US-ASCII)


***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE KING'S MEN***


E-text prepared by Martin Pettit and the Project Gutenberg Online
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Note: The other authors to whom this work is attributed are
      John Boyle O'Reilly, J. S. Dale, and John T. Wheelwright.





THE KING'S MEN

A Tale of To-Morrow

ROBERT GRANT, ET AL.







Copyright, 1884, by
Robert Grant.




CONTENTS.


CHAPTER                                         PAGE
    I. RIPON HOUSE,                                1

   II. RICHARD LINCOLN,                            8

  III. MY LADY'S CHAMBER,                         19

   IV. JARLEY JAWKINS,                            32

    V. "JAWKIN'S JOLLITIES,"                      46

   VI. THE ROYALISTS,                             67

  VII. A FOUR-IN-HAND AND ONE IN THE BUSH,        85

 VIII. SPRETAE INJURIA FORMAE,                    97

   IX. "THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE,"                110

    X. KING GEORGE THE FIFTH,                    124

   XI. THE RAISING OF THE FLAG,                  147

  XII. IN THE LION'S MOUTH,                      161

 XIII. AN UNFINISHED TASK,                       174

  XIV. THE LAST ROYALIST,                        180

   XV. LOVE LAUGHS AT LOCKSMITHS,                193

  XVI. MRS. CAREY'S HUSBAND,                     215

 XVII. AT THE COURT OF ST. JAMES,                225

XVIII. TWO CARDS PLAYED,                         243

  XIX. A WOMAN'S END,                            252

   XX. "FROM CHAIN TO CHAIN,"                    258

  XXI. NULLA VESTIGA RETRORSUM,                  265


THE KING'S MEN.




CHAPTER I.

RIPON HOUSE.


There are few Americans who went to England before the late wars but
will remember Ripon House. The curious student of history--a study,
perhaps, too little in vogue with us--could find no better example of
the palace of an old feudal lord. Dating almost from the time of the
first George--and some even say it was built by the same Wren who
designed that St. Paul's Cathedral whose ruins we may still see to the
east of London--it frowned upon the miles of private park surrounding
it, a marble memorial of feudal monopoly and man's selfish greed. The
very land about it, to an extent of almost half a county, was owned by
the owners of the castle, and by them rented out upon an annual payment
to such farmers as they chose to favor with a chance to earn their
bread.

In an ancient room of a still older house which stands some two miles
from the castle, and had formerly been merely the gatekeeper's lodge
(though large enough for several families), a young man was sitting,
one late afternoon in early November. The room was warmed by a fire, in
the old fashion; and the young man was gloomily plunging the poker into
the coals, breaking them into oily flakes which sent out fierce
flickerings as they burned away. He was dressed in a rough shooting suit
of blue velveteen, and his heavy American shoes were crusted with mud.
His handsome, boyish face wore an expression of deep anxiety; and his
hands seemed to minister to the troubles of his meditation by tumbling
his hair about the contracted forehead, while his lips closed about a
short brier-wood pipe of a kind only used by men. The pipe had gone out,
unnoticed by the smoker; and he did not seem to mind the fierce heat
thrown out by the broken coals. Above the mantel was the portrait of a
gentleman in the quaint costume of the latter Victorian age; the absurd
starched collar and shirt, the insignificant cravat, the trousers
reaching to the ankles, and the coat and waistcoat of black cloth and
fantastic cut, familiar to the readers of the London _Punch_. This
antedated worthy looked out from the canvas upon the room as if he owned
it; and the mullioned windows and carved oak wainscoting justified his
claim, even to the very books in the bookcases, which showed an
antiquarian taste. Here were the strange old-fashioned satires of
Thackeray and the more modern romances of the humorist Dickens; the
crude speculations of the philosopher Spencer, and the one-sided,
aristocratic economies of Malthus and Mill; with the feeble rhymes of
Lord Tennyson d'Eyncourt, which men, in a time-serving age, called
poetry.

Geoffrey Ripon had come to his last legs. And he was one of the few
aristocrats of his generation who had ever (metaphorically speaking)
had any legs worth considering. When O'Donovan Rourke had been President
of the British Republic, that good-natured Irishman, who had been at
school with Ripon's father, had given him a position in the legation at
Paris; but when the Radicals overthrew Rourke's government, Ripon lost
his place. And Ripon could not but think it hard that he, Geoffrey
Ripon, by all right and law Earl of Brompton, Viscount Mapledurham in
the peerage of Ireland, etc., etc., should that afternoon have been
fined ten shillings and costs for poaching on what had been his own
domain.

His great-uncle looked down upon him with that exasperating equanimity
that only a canvas immortality can give--his great-uncle who fell on the
field of Tel-el-Kebir, dead as if the Arab bullet had sped from a
worthier foe, in the days when England had a foreign policy and could
spare her soldiers from the coast defence. And his grandfather, who
smirked from another coroneted frame behind him, had been a great leader
in the Liberal party under Gladstone, Lord Liverpool, the grand old man
who stole Beaconsfield's thunder to guard the Suez Canal, that road to
India which he, like another Moses, had made for their proud legions
through the Red Sea.

And now Ripon was living in his porter's lodge, all that was still his
of the great Ripon estates, with his empty title left him, minus the
robes and coronet no longer worn; and his King, George the Fifth, an
exile, wandering with his semblance of a court in foreign lands.

The world moves quickly as it grows older, with an accelerated velocity,
like that of a falling stone; and it is hard for us of the present day
to picture the England of King Albert Edward. The restlessness and
poverty of the masses; the agitations in Ireland, feebly, blindly
protesting with dynamite and other rude weapons against foreign
oppression; the shameful monopoly of land, the social haughtiness of the
titled classes, the luxury and profligacy of the court--perhaps even at
the opening of our story, poor England was hardly worse off. But then
came the change. Gradually the bone and sinew of the country sought
refuge in emigration. The titled classes, after mortgage upon mortgage
of their valueless land, were forced to break their entails to sell
their estates. And at last, when the great American Republic, in 1889,
cut down the Chinese wall of protection, which so long had surrounded
their country, even trade succumbed, and England was under-sold in the
markets of the world. Then retrenchment was the cry; universal suffrage
elected a parliament which literally cut off the royal princes with a
shilling; and the Premier Bradlaugh swamped the House of Lords by the
creation of a battalion of life peers, who abolished the hereditary
House and established an elective Senate. It was easy then to call a
constitutional convention, declare the sovereign but the servant and
figure-head of the people, confiscate the royal estates and vote King
Albert a salary of L10,000 a year.

Then Russia took advantage of the great struggle between Germany and
France to seize India, and after the terrible defeat at Cyprus and the
siege of Calcutta the old King of England abdicated in favor of his
grandson George. But the people clamored for an elective President, and
it was nigh twenty years before the opening of our story that King
George had been forced to seek his only safe refuge in America.

Thus it was that Geoffrey Ripon had come to depend on poaching and the
garden stuff his old servant managed to raise in the two-acre lot
surrounding the lodge. Almost the only modern things in his room were
the guns and fishing tackle in the corners and the electric battery for
charging the cartridges; and now he was judicially informed that he must
poach no more, the mortgage had been finally foreclosed, and he looked
out of his window upon lands no longer his even in name. It is a sad
thing to be ruined, and if ever man was ruined beyond all hope, Geoffrey
Ripon, Earl of Brompton, was the man; it is hard to feel you are the
last of your race, that you are almost an outlaw in your own land--and
Ripon's king, George the Fifth, was suffered to play out his idle play
of royal state, in Boston, Massachusetts. Ripon had never been in
America. He pushed back his chair from the fire, as it gave out a heat
too great for any man to stand. He walked to the window, and stood
looking out upon the long perspective of elms, where the avenue
stretched away in the direction of Ripon House. As his eye wandered over
the broad view of park and forest, a carriage, drawn by four horses,
insolent in the splendor of its trappings, rolled toward him from the
castle. In that moment it seemed to Ripon that he felt all the
bitterness of hatred and envy that might have rankled in the hearts of
all the poor wayfarers who had in eight hundred years peered through the
park gate and looked at those broad acres that his race so long had
held. The carriage rolled swiftly by him, with a glitter of silver
harness and liveries; on one seat were an elderly man and a young girl.
As he saw her face Ripon started in surprise. Then, after a moment, he
walked to the table and filled his pipe.

"Bah!" he said to himself, "it cannot be possible." Again he threw
himself on a chair by the fireplace, and tried to read the _Saturday
Review_. There was a long leader against Richard Lincoln; but as Lincoln
was the one member in the House for whom Geoffrey had any respect, he
threw it aside in disgust. He heard a timid knock at the door.

"Come in!" growled Geoffrey, as he turned to light his pipe.

An old family servant, the last survivor of an extinct race, entered
with a battered silver tray.

"Please, my lord, a letter from the persons at the castle; one of them
is waiting for an answer."

Reynolds made no distinction between the "persons at the castle" and
their servants; and he always called it the castle, now that Ripon House
was the gatekeeper's lodge.

"I suppose," grunted Geoffrey, as he took the letter, "they want to warn
me against poaching. So considerate, after I have been fined ten
shillings by their gamekeeper."

To his surprise the letter had a familiar look; it was addressed to him
by his title in the ancient fashion, and was in a handwriting which he
thought he should have known in Paris. Tearing open the envelope, he
read:


     "MY DEAR LORD BROMPTON: I hear that you are back to your own
     estate, and you will doubtless be surprised to learn that I am so
     near you. Papa telephoned over last week for an estate, and here we
     are, with a complete retinue of servants and a gallery of
     ancestors--yours, by the way, as I found to my surprise. I felt so
     sorry when they called you back from Paris; I had no idea I should
     see you again so soon. Papa wanted to look after his affairs in
     England; so we have come over again for the winter, and I was
     delighted to get out of the wild gayety of America for this dear
     sleepy old country.

     "If you have nothing better to do, will you dine with us to-morrow
     night? Do not stay away because we are in your old family house. We
     have no such feelings in America, you know. Richard Lincoln will be
     here, and Sir John Dacre. Do you know Sir John? I admire him
     immensely, you must know.

                            "Sincerely yours,

                                        "MARGARET WINDSOR."

     "P. S. The new minister and legation are not received in society.
     We missed you so much."


"Maggie Windsor over here," thought Ripon, "with that curious old father
of hers, taking Ripon House as if it were furnished lodgings." And he
thought of the old house and of his great-uncle who fell at
Tel-el-Kebir, and of King George over the sea in America. But he said to
himself that Maggie Windsor was a nice girl, as he put out his pipe and
went out into the park for a walk.




CHAPTER II.

RICHARD LINCOLN.


The palace of a thousand wings, that nearly two thousand years had gone
to build, had been tumbled into ruins in a day, and out of the monstrous
confusion no fair structure had yet arisen.

Rich as a crimson sunset, with traditions splendid as sunlit clouds,
English Royalty had sunk into the night, and the whole sky was
lightless, except where the glory had descended.

The government which had lifted itself like a tower in the eyes and
minds of Englishmen for a hundred generations had disappeared, and the
ideal government of the people had not yet filled its place.

The British Republic was seventeen years old. For seventeen years King
George the Fifth had been an exile in the United States, and the fifty
millions of British people had been on trial as self-governors.

Providence had smiled on the young Republic. Its first guardians had
been true to their trust; and like the fathers who laid the deep
foundations of American freedom, their souls expanded with the magnitude
of duty and responsibility.

The world looked on, sympathized, but for weeks and months almost
feared to speak. But half a year passed, and the dreadful crest of
Anarchy had not once been raised.

The French Republic, over seventy years old, strong, unenvious and
equitable, was the first to applaud.

The Commonwealths of Germany, thirty-three years old, one after another
spoke their congratulation.

The aristocratic Republic of Russia was officially silent. The noble
Nihilists, who had murdered four Czars to obtain power, were now
constitutionally terrorizing the masses; but the Russian people had
learned from their rulers, and the popular press thundered encouragement
to the English Commons.

America smiled like an elder sister, and held out her hand in loving
friendship.

From the day of the revolution, the three names which forever belong to
the history of British Republicanism were in the front--O'Donovan
Rourke, the first President, and his two famous Ministers, Jonathan
Simms and Richard Lincoln.

But the story of that first great Administration is read now in the
school-books. The sudden death of the President was the first serious
loss of the Republic. Had he lived another decade how different would
have been the later history of England!

Matthew Gower, the Vice-President, entered on the unexpired term of the
Presidency. He was a weak, well-meaning man, and he was jealous of the
extraordinary popularity and personal influence of Richard Lincoln, the
Secretary of State. When his cabinet was announced, Richard Lincoln,
released from his long service in harness, with a deep feeling of
relief, went back to his home in Nottingham.

At this time he was forty-six years of age. He had been a widower for
over twenty years. At twenty-five he had married the beautiful girl he
loved, and within the year his wife died, leaving the lonely man a
little daughter whose eyes renewed his grief and love.

This was the tall girl who flung her arms round the neck of the
dismissed minister when he entered his home at Nottingham.

"No one else, papa!" she cried, as she buried her face against his
heart, sobbing with joy. "Do not speak to any one else till I am done
with you."

The rest, the love, the peace of home were very sweet. Richard Lincoln
renewed, or tried to renew, his interest in the work of his younger
days. His daughter loved to go with him through the town, proud of the
famous man who was hers, heedful of any curious or respectful glance of
the people on the street.

He gave himself up to the new life. He began to wonder at and enjoy the
beauty, accomplishments and unceasing amiability of his daughter.

Mary Lincoln was a rare type of womanhood. She had inherited her
mother's grace and lithe beauty of form, and from her father she took a
strong and self-sustained nature. But there was added a quality that was
hers alone--a strange, silent power of enthusiasm--a fervor that did not
cry out for ideals, but filled all her blood with a deep music of
devotion. A man with such a nature had been a poet or the founder of a
creed. But the ideal of a man is an idea, while the ideal of a woman is
a man. Time alone can bring the touchstone to such a heart.

It was not strange that under such home influences public affairs should
sink into a secondary place in Richard Lincoln's mind. He hardly looked
at the newspapers, and he never expressed political opinions or
predictions. When he did speak of the government, it was with confidence
and respect. If he doubted or distrusted, no one knew.

For two years he had lived this quiet life; but, though he turned his
eyes from many signs, the astute and silent man saw danger growing like
a malarial weed beneath the waters of the social and political life of
his country.

One morning Patterson, his business partner, who was an excitable
politician, threw down his _Times_, and turned to Lincoln with an
impatient manner.

"We are going to smash, sir, with our eyes open. We are going to the
devil on two roads."

"Who is going to smash?" asked Lincoln.

"The country. See here; there are two rocks ahead, the aristocrats and
the demagogues, and which is worse no one can say. They are getting
ready for something or other, and the good sense and patriotism of
England stand by and do nothing."

"Has anything particular happened?"

"Yes; at West Derby yesterday, the Duke of Bayswater was elected to
Parliament, getting a large majority over Tyler, a sound Republican."

"Pooh! You don't take that as a specimen of all our elections? The Derby
voters are mainly farmers, and the farmers retain their old respect for
the lords of the manor."

"And that means something," rejoined Patterson; "it is not as if those
aristocrats had accepted the Republic, which they don't even pretend to
do. There are now over forty of them in the lower house."

"Well," answered the ex-Minister, "they have been elected by the
people."

"Yes; by the uninstructed people," said Patterson, warmly. "The people
are talked to by these fellows with empty titles on one hand and by the
demagogues on the other, and they think the only choice lies between the
two."

"Surely, papa," said Mary, who was interested in the conversation, "the
people will not be so easily deceived?"

"Deceived!" interrupted Mr. Patterson. "Why, Mary, here was an election
in which the people were led to vote against one of the best Republicans
in England, and for a lord who is nearly seventy, who has never done any
good for himself or the country--an old pauper, who goes to Parliament
for the salary and the chance to plot against the people."

Mary looked at her father as if she wished him to speak.

"These men," he said, "do not regain power as lords, but as commoners.
That is good, instead of bad--their withdrawal would be more dangerous.
We must remember that those who have lost by the revolution are still as
much a part of the English people as those who have gained."

"I don't know about that," said Patterson, stubbornly. "I believe those
aristocrats are actually plotting treason; and a traitor separates
himself from his people."

Richard Lincoln's silence only stirred up the old Radical. He shot home
next time.

"I believe we shall have a lord returned for Nottingham next election."

A slow flush rose in Lincoln's face, and he unconsciously raised his
head.

"For the last two years," continued Patterson, seeing the effect of his
words, "only two Englishmen have been heard of to any extent--the
demagogue leader, Bagshaw, and Sir John Dacre, the insolent young leader
of the aristocrats."

This time it was the daughter that flushed at Mr. Patterson's words.

"Mr. Dacre is not insolent," said Mary, warmly. "I have met him several
times. He is a most remarkable man."

"He couldn't well be insolent to you, Mary," the wily Patterson
answered, with a smile for his favorite, who usually agreed with his
radicalism, "but his tone to the public is a different thing."

"You extremists are at least responsible for one of these--for the
demagogue--" said Richard Lincoln.

"Yes; I admit it. The election of Bagshaw for Liverpool was a terrible
mistake. But, if we had had our way, the other evil should have lost its
head--O, I beg your pardon, Mary; I did not mean your friend, Mr. Dacre,
but the principle he represents."

Mary Lincoln had exclaimed as if shocked, which brought out the
concluding words from Mr. Patterson.

"If one were gone, would not the danger be greater?" asked Richard
Lincoln. "They keep each other in check. They are useful enemies."

"Take care they don't some day turn round and be useful friends,"
retorted Patterson. "I believe they did so in Derby yesterday. If they
were to do it in Nottingham they would sweep the city."

Mr. Patterson had scored his mark. The ex-Minister was silent and
thoughtful.

"The Republic is like an iceberg," he said presently, "a dozen years
above water, but a century below. We shall be able to handle our
difficulties--Don't you think so, Mary?" he added lightly, as they went
out.

"Papa," said Mary, as they walked across the main street, "I met Sir
John Dacre at Arundel House when I was visiting Lucy Arundel last year,
and I can assure you he is not an evil-minded man."

"Indeed!" answered the father, rather amused at the relation; "you like
him, then?"

"Very much, indeed. He is a perfect old-fashioned cavalier, and the most
distinguished-looking man I ever saw, except you."

Her father laughed at the unconscious flattery.

"And the very oldest men are constantly consulting him," continued Mary,
who was on a subject which evidently interested her.

There was something in Mary's voice that made her father glance down at
her face. But he did not pursue the subject.

The months rolled on in this unrestful peace, and day by day it grew
clear that the internal troubles of the Republic were forming a
dangerous congestion.

Richard Lincoln again became an attentive reader of the newspapers. No
man in England studied more carefully the signs of the times. Daily,
too, he listened to the denunciation of the aristocrats by his radical
old friend.

"They ought to be banished!" exclaimed Mr. Patterson, one morning. "I
said it would come to this."

He pointed to an announcement of a meeting of "gentlemen who still
retained respect for their Sacred Cause," to be held at Arundel House
the following week, the wording of which was rather vague, as if
intended to convey more than the verbal meaning. The notice was signed:
"John Dacre, Bart."

"Why, that is Mary's friend," thought Richard Lincoln. And when he met
Mary, an hour later, he said, half-jestingly:

"Is your friend, Mr. Dacre, a conspirator?"

"He is only an acquaintance, papa; and I hardly know what a conspirator
is. But Mr. Dacre is certainly nothing wrong. You should see his face,
papa."

"Oh, yes; those dreamers--"

"Papa!" said Mary, almost angrily, "Mr. Dacre is not a dreamer. He is a
leader of men--a natural leader--like you!"

The eloquence of voice and gesture surprised Richard Lincoln; but he was
too puzzled by Mary's manner to reply. Looking at her as if from a
distance, he only remembered, sadly, how little of her life he had
seen--how much there was from which he had been left out in the heart of
his motherless girl.

Mary read something in his eyes that made her run to him and fold her
arms around his neck.

"You were thinking of mamma then," she whispered, with brimming eyes.

"Your face was like hers, Mary," he said, and kissed her tenderly.

In the growing excitement of the times, father and daughter were growing
daily into closer union. The Parliamentary elections were coming on, and
Richard Lincoln took a deep interest in the preparations. He had been
asked to stand for several places, but he had firmly declined;
nevertheless he had become almost a public character during the
campaign. From all sides men looked to him for counsel. His
correspondence became burdensome, and Mary, having urged him long to let
her help, at last had her way.

In this way it was that she became familiar with the troubled issues of
the time, and learned to think with her father in all his moods. Their
house in Nottingham, with comings and goings, committees and councils,
was soon like the office of a great Minister.

"This can't last," said Mr. Patterson to Mary Lincoln, one day; "he is
needed in London again, and he will go. I believe they mean to nominate
him for President."

Two days later, Patterson, with all the rest of England, was allowed to
see the secret that had moved the political sea for years.

The National Convention was held to nominate the President. The Radical
wing (they were proud to call themselves anarchists) had developed
unlooked-for strength, chiefly from the cities and great towns, and had
put forward as their candidate the blatant demagogue, Lemuel Bagshaw,
whose name has left so deep a stain on his country's record.

On the first day of the National Convention the news of Bagshaw's
strength caused only a pained surprise throughout England. Men awaited
with some irritation the proper work of the Convention. But on the
second day, when the two strongest opposing candidates did not together
count as many votes as the demagogue, there was downright consternation.

Then the Aristocrats showed their hand: they abandoned their sham
candidate and voted solidly for the demagogue--and Lemuel Bagshaw, the
atheist and anarchist, received the nomination for the Presidency of
the British Republic!

The ship was fairly among the shoals and the horizon was ridged with
ominous clouds. The petrels of disorder were everywhere on the wing. The
Republic was driving straight into the breakers.

A few days later a great meeting was held in Nottingham, at which a
workingman proposed the name of Richard Lincoln as their representative
in Parliament.

A great shout of acclamation greeted the name and spoke for all
Nottingham. Then the meeting broke up, the crowd hurrying and pressing
toward Richard Lincoln's house.

Mary Lincoln heard the growing tumult, and looked up at her father
alarmed. She had been playing softly on an organ in the dimly-lighted
room, while her father sat thinking and half listening to the low music,
as he gazed into the fire.

He had heard the crowd gathering in the square below, but he had not
heeded, till he started at last as a voice outside addressed the
multitude, calling for three cheers for the Member of Parliament for
Nottingham. The response, ringing from thousands of hearts, made Mary
Lincoln leap to her feet.

Her father sat still, looking toward the open window beneath which was
the tumult.

"Father," said Mary, calling him so for the first time in her life;
"they have nominated you. You will not refuse?"

"No," he said, almost mournfully. "I shall accept--and leave you again."

"Never again," she cried, "my own dear father. I shall go with you to
London. Oh, I am so proud of you!"

And Richard Lincoln accepted the nomination, and was elected. His name
rallied throughout the whole country the men who had its good at heart.

But the demagogue was raised to the highest place in the Republic, and
his party would have grown drunken with exultation had they not been
deterred by the solid front and the stern character of the opposition,
the leader of which from the first meeting of the new Parliament was
Richard Lincoln.




CHAPTER III.

MY LADY'S CHAMBER.


The seashore in late November is never cheerful. The gray, downcast
skies sadden the sympathetic ocean; the winds cut to the marrow, and the
yellow grass and bare trees make the land as sad-colored as the sea. But
even at this season a walk along the cliff upon which Ripon House stands
is invigorating, if the walker's blood is young. The outlook toward the
water is bluff and bold and the descent sheer.

A neat, gravelled path conforming to the line of the coast divides the
precipice from the smooth, closely-cropped lawn which sweeps down from
the terrace of the ancient mansion. Ripon House is an imposing, spacious
pile. It bears marks of the tampering of the last century when the
resuscitated architecture of Queen Anne threatened to become ubiquitous.

A vast plantation of stately trees originally shut out the buildings on
three sides from the common gaze, but the exigencies of the lawn-tennis
court and the subsequent destitution of the late earl, who renounced his
wood fire the last of all the luxuries then appurtenant to a noble
lineage, have sadly thinned the splendid grove. Nor is the domain void
of historic interest. Here was the scene of the crowning festivity of
the pleasure-loving Victorian era when the nobility of the United
Kingdom gathered to listen to a masque by Sir William Gilbert and Sir
Arthur Sullivan in aid of a fund to erect a statue to the memory of one
John Brown, a henchman of the sovereign.

But what boots in this age of earnest activity more than a trivial
reference to the selfish splendor of a superstitious past? To-day is
to-day, and the nails on the coffin-lid of the last Hanoverian would
scarcely be of silver, so many hungry mouths are to be fed.

Geoffrey Ripon on the morning following his reflections was sauntering
along the gravel path which bordered the cliff. He was reading the
half-penny morning paper, in which he had just come upon a paragraph
describing the discovery by the police of a batch of infernal machines
supposed to have been sent over from America by friends of the
Royalists. Among the emissaries captured he read the name of Cedric
Ruskin, an old schoolfellow and great-grandson to an art critic of that
surname who flourished in former days by force of his own specific
gravity. Pained at the intelligence, he sighed heavily, and was on the
point of sitting down upon a rustic bench close at hand when a
melodious, gladsome voice hallooing his name broke in upon his
meditation. He looked up and perceived Miss Maggie Windsor skipping down
the lawn with charming unconventionality.

"Lord Brompton, Lord Brompton."

He raised his hat and stood waiting for the girl, whose motions were
marvellously graceful, especially if her large and vigorous physique be
considered. No sylph could have glided with less awkwardness, and yet a
spindle more closely resembles the bole of a giant oak than Maggie
Windsor the frail damsels who bent beneath the keen blasts of New
England a hundred years ago. Her countenance disclosed all the sprightly
intelligence which her great-grandmother may have possessed, but her
glowing cheeks and bright blue eyes told of a constitution against which
nervous prostration fulminated in vain. Nor were the bang or bangle of a
former generation visible in her composition. But here a deceptive
phrase deserves an explanation. "Composition" is an epithet which, least
of all, is applicable. Miss Windsor's perfections of whatever kind were
wholly natural.

A St. Bernard dog of superb proportions gambolled at her side.

"I thought it was you," she said. "I am very glad to see you again."

"And I, Miss Windsor, to see you." They shook hands with cordiality.
"And how do you like your new lodgings?" he inquired.

"Ah, Lord Brompton, I was afraid you would feel nettled that we
capitalists should possess your grand old homestead. My purpose in
swooping down upon you in this unceremonious style was to ask you to
make yourself quite at home in the place. Consider it your own if you
will."

"What would your father say to such an arrangement, I wonder?" he asked,
glancing at her.

"Oh," she laughed, "papa monopolizes everybody and everything else, but
I monopolize him. But you look serious, Lord Brompton, and less
complacent, if I may use the expression, than when we met last. Dear old
Paris. That was two years ago."

"Ought I to look complacent after reading in the newspaper that my old
schoolmate, Cedric Ruskin, has been arrested on a charge of high
treason?"

"Alas! poor Cedric!--no, that was Yorick. Down, Bayard, down," she cried
to her dog.

"A great many things may happen in two years, Miss Windsor. When chance
first brought us together, I was a landed proprietor, and the heir of a
noble lineage. To-day I am a beggar at the feet of fatherless wealth."

"Excuse me, Lord Brompton, I have a father."

"Did I say I was at your feet, Miss Windsor?"

"You are the same clever creature as ever," she answered. "But I am
beginning to believe you are in earnest. Is it possible that you are the
Lord Brompton who told me once that fate's quiver held no shaft to
terrify a philosopher? 'Dust to dust, and what matters it whether king
or chaos rule?' Those were your words. I warned you then, but you
laughed me to scorn--"

"And now you are deriding me."

"You are unjust. I met you with a proffer of hospitality, but you would
none of it."

"Am I not to dine with you this evening?"

"True. Then as a further instance that you are still a stoic, come now
and exhibit to me the treasures and secrets of Ripon House. I have got
no farther than the picture gallery as yet. There is an ancestor of
George the Third's time whose features are the prototype of yours--the
same dreamy eye--the same careless smile--the same look of being petted.
You remember I always said you had been spoiled by petting."

She led the way across the lawn, with Bayard bounding close at hand.

"I am sure there must be secret galleries and haunted chambers and all
sorts of dreadful places. I telephoned to Mr. Jawkins to inquire, but he
answered, 'Not as I know of, miss.' I suppose he is so fearfully
practical he wouldn't care if a real ghost met him in a remote wing."

"What a pity we didn't live in the last century when people still gave
ghosts the benefit of the doubt," said Lord Brompton, sadly. "Now we are
certain that there never were any."

"But we may still run across a skeleton in a closet," said the girl.

"Oh, yes. But who, by the way, is Mr. Jawkins?"

"Have you never heard of Mr. Jarley Jawkins, the famous country-house
agent and individual caterer?"

Lord Brompton shook his head.

"He is indeed a remarkable man," she continued. "When we decided to come
to England my father telephoned to Jawkins, who immediately sent out a
list of country-seats. We chose this and made arrangements with him to
supply us with guests at so much a head. A regular country-house
party--a duke and duchess, one or two financially embarrassed noblemen,
a disestablished bishop, a professional beauty, a poet-peer, and several
other attractions. Oh, Jawkins is wonderful. They are all coming to-day.
Won't it be fun? But it may seem rude to ask you to meet such people? I
am sorry. You will be almost the only guest not hired for the occasion.
It was very inconsiderate of me."

"That's all right," said the young lord. "Perhaps I may find an opening
here. I'm looking out for a job. Possibly you may not be aware, Miss
Windsor, that the porter's lodge, which I occupy at present, is my sole
piece of property. I will send my card to Jawkins. By the way, does he
conduct them in person?"

"Oh, yes. He comes on the first day to introduce them. Jawkins is a most
amusing man. He is enormously rich and a great _bon-vivant_. He has a
retinue of thoroughly trained servants whom he dispatches to his
customers, and everything he supplies is in the most perfect taste. He
has but one weakness: he loves a lord and is the sworn enemy of the new
_regime_. Don't you look forward with interest to the feast to-night? I
shall give you a professional beauty to take into dinner; and of course
I shall go in with the man of the highest rank. But here we are," she
said, as they reached the upper terrace in front of the house.

"What a superb dog you have, Miss Windsor. What is his name?" said Lord
Brompton, gazing with admiration at the noble creature, who stood on the
threshold, panting after his run.

"His name is Bayard."

"Ah, Miss Windsor, I perceive that you still recognize the glamour of a
lordly title in the matter of naming your pets. The Chevalier Bayard
smacks of royal prerogative."

"Pardon me; Bayard is named after an American statesman who was
contemporary with my great-grandfather. But isn't he a beauty? He cost
$1000. There is not another of his variety in the United States."

"I should like to go to America," said Lord Brompton, pensively, as he
entered the familiar library now renovated by the taste of Jawkins. "My
views have changed materially on many questions since we last met. I can
see that things here are likely to be in a chaotic state for a long
time to come, whereas your institutions have become permanent."

"But you ought to wish to remain and help your fellow-countrymen to
better things, Lord Brompton. Look at that line of ancestors," she
exclaimed. "You ought to do something worthy of them."

The ex-peer shook his head. "I have ambition, I think, thanks largely to
my friendship with you two summers ago; but the outlook is very gloomy.
England is in the hands of professional politicians. There is no chance
for gentlemen in political life."

"But the King may come to his own again," she murmured, in pity for his
mood. "Your title is unimpeached at his exiled court."

"I have doubts as to the desirability of a return to the old order of
things, even if there were hopes of success. It is useless to fight
against the spirit of the age. The King is old and fat."

"I saw the King riding in a herdic in Boston a few days before we
sailed," said Maggie. "He was stopping at the old Province House. Poor
sovereign, he looked destitute."

"He is very poor. What was saved from the wreck is in the hands of
Bugbee, the London banker. The court has since been moved to the South
End. But a monarchy is surely vastly preferable to our present
administration. President Bagshaw is a disgrace to any civilized
community, to say nothing of an ideal republic."

"There is the ancestor who looks like you," said she, pointing to the
portrait of a cavalier wearing hat and plume and long mustaches. "But is
there no hope from the opposition?" she inquired.

"I cannot yet bring myself to sympathize with the Liberals, although
their leader, Richard Lincoln, is a great and upright man. While the
King lives I can no more be disloyal to the House of Hanover than my
namesake up there could have been to his master's cause. Still, I feel
we are living in an age when opinions are no more secure from revolution
than dynasties."

"Speaking just now of the Chevalier Bayard reminds me that Jawkins
mentioned as one of the guests he had procured for the occasion--"

"Like so much plate or china," interrupted the quondam peer, bitterly.

"Sir John Dacre," continued Miss Windsor, without regard to his
petulance.

"John Dacre?" he cried, with interest.

"Yes. Do you know him?"

"Know him! He was one of my dearest college friends. He is a man of the
utmost dignity of soul and consummate breeding."

"Jawkins spoke of him with positive awe as a gentleman of the old
school. 'He is a chevalier _sans peur et sans reproche_, miss,' said he,
'and one of my choicest specimens. He is more precious than Sevres
china; but at present he declines pay.'"

"St. George and the dragon!" cried Lord Brompton, "what would Dacre say
could he hear the comparison? Jawkins's life would not be worth an
hour's purchase. We regarded John Dacre at Oxford as the ideal of a
chivalric nature."

"You interest me greatly," said she. "But what has he been doing since
you graduated?"

"We have not met, but I have heard of him as loyal and devoted to the
royal cause when the outlook was darkest. I shall find him the same
noble, ardent soul as ever, I have not a doubt. Like enough his zeal
will be the needful spur to my flagging spirit."

They had been wandering through the spacious mansion as they talked, but
so absorbed were they in the conversation that the changes in the
arrangement of the ancient heirlooms of the once illustrious house of
Ripon made but little impression upon Lord Brompton. Weary at last with
their wanderings the twain seated themselves upon a broad leather couch,
from which they could command a view of a magnificent stained-glass
mullioned window, which dated back to the days of George the First. The
half light of the apartment was perhaps a begetter of remembrances, for
they began to talk of the past, if indeed so short a period back as two
summers deserves to be so entitled. Through Lord Brompton's thoughts
floated an inquiry as to whether he was not in love with his companion,
for, if not, why this joyous sense of re-acquisition on his part? He had
never forgotten the pleasant, happy hours passed in La Belle France, and
here they were come again, and he was visiting side by side with her
whose smile had been their harbinger.

"But I am forgetting, Lord Brompton, the object of our coming here," she
exclaimed at last. "I want to know the secrets of Ripon House. Where is
the haunted chamber?"

Geoffrey smiled, and rising from his seat walked to the other side of
the room and touched a spring in the wainscot. A panel flew to one side
and revealed a narrow aperture.

"Follow me if you have a brave heart," he cried, looking back.

The apartment in which they were sitting was the library and this exit
was a curious winding staircase, which gradually grew less dark as they
proceeded. At last they found themselves in a sort of antechamber,
scarcely large enough to turn about in, formed by a bay or projection.
There was an oak seat with the Ripon arms carved on the back. Above it a
tiny window, showing the great thickness of the wall, let in a few rays
of light.

"Sit down--sh!" said Lord Brompton, and he put his finger to his lips
and nodded toward a low door which was visible a few feet beyond. "It is
there."

"Oh, this is delightful. Is it a real, genuine, ancestral ghost?"

"In that chamber the Lady Marian Ripon, an ancestress of mine, is said
to have died of a broken heart. Her husband, the great-grandson of the
Lord Brompton whose portrait you think I resemble, was killed at Teb,
and three days after her body was borne to the tomb. This was her
private chamber, and here her spirit is said still to linger. It is not
a very original ghost, but its authenticity is unquestioned."

"Have you ever crossed the threshold?" asked the girl, with mock
solemnity.

"Not since childhood, and then only in fear and trembling."

"This is beginning to be positively weird and uncanny," she murmured,
"but I propose to defy the spectre and enter."

"Have a care--have a care. But you have no key, Miss Windsor."

She was shaking the handle, which seemed loose and flimsy. "Help me. It
is not fastened," she cried.

They bent their united strength upon the door, which creaked, groaned,
and finally burst open with a crash, causing the dust to fly so that
Maggie gave a little shriek of dismay. Complete silence and darkness
followed the onslaught, and then with a whisper of "Who's afraid?" she
drew forth a lamp of diminutive proportions and Etruscan design, and
turning the crank produced a brilliant electric flame, which permeated
the damp and gloom of the ghostly chamber.

Here was, indeed, a monument to decay and mould of the past. A room rife
with the cobwebs of ages met their vision where the moth-eaten remains
of once gorgeous hangings competed for utter fustiness with the odor of
the rotting beams and the dismal aspect of the furniture, some of which
had actually fallen to pieces, as though further stability had been
incompatible with the long absence of human life. The place seemed
almost too desolate for a ghost other than a very morbid spirit in
search of penance. In the centre of the room lay in hopeless confusion a
pile of all sorts and varieties of garments, many of them of most
antiquated description. Plumed hats and velvet knee-breeches of the
cavalier period, Jersey jackets and tea-gowns, with Watteau plaits, such
as were in fashion when Victoria was queen, were mingled with articles
of a more recent date. On the top lay an open volume, the pages of which
were brown with dust. Maggie picked it up and read:


     "Howe'er it be, it seems to me
       'Tis only noble to be good;
     Kind hearts are more than coronets
       And simple faith than Norman blood."


"By whom is that, Lord Brompton? Ah! I see, Lord d'Eyncourt. His name is
on the title-page."

"An eccentric Victorian poet," said the young man, "of much account in
his own day, if I mistake not."

"I never heard of him," said Maggie, "but I am little of an antiquarian.
It is pretty, though."

"I remember," said he, "that we as children used to act theatricals here
in those old clothes, duds we ransacked from the closets."

"But where is the ghost? I want to see the ghost!" cried the girl,
tossing aside the last bit of tarnished finery. "What is this?" she
continued, seizing the end of a beam which had become loosened and
projected from the wall.

"You will have the house about our ears if you persist," he cried, as a
shower of crumbled stone and mortar followed her investigation.

"Well, it is my house, Lord Brompton; I have the right if I choose to."

"Why remind me of my misfortunes, Miss Windsor?"

"Come and help me, then."

"I wish I might be your helpmate forever," he said. She turned and
looked at him, slightly disconcerted, and then said: "I was wrong. The
women of to-day need no help from any one."

She gave the beam a strong wrench, as though to vindicate her assertion.
It yielded and disclosed a kind of box or recess set into the wall. She
plunged therein her hand, and drew forth a handsome sword of rich and
subtle workmanship and antique design. "There," she cried, "am I not
right?"

Maggie took it to the light. Around the hilt was wrapped a scroll, which
she was about to read, when, with a sudden fancy, she paused and said,
"What am I doing? These are family secrets, and meant, perhaps, only for
your eyes, Lord Brompton."

"Read it, I beg," said he. She obeyed him. In a faint, feminine hand,
which resembled a field of corn bowed by the wind, were written these
words:

"My grandfather's sword. MARIAN RIPON."

"The ghost--it is the ghost's own work," they cried together.

"And this sword," said he, "belonged to my namesake, the cavalier."

"But look--look." Maggie had been staring at the opposite side of the
paper.

Geoffrey took it from her hand.


     "Kind hearts are more than coronets
       And simple faith than Norman blood."


For a moment they looked at one another in speechless surprise.

"Kneel, Lord Brompton," she said at length. He did so, and taking a
scarf from among the pile of vestments she girded the sword about him
with fantastic grace. "Rise, Geoffrey Ripon, knight, and Earl of
Brompton."

"You are forever my sovereign." He kissed her hand. She blushed sweetly,
and turning said, "Enough of the past and its customs. We each have a
present to face, and mine for the nonce is Jawkins. He must need my
directions."

Thus it happened that when Lord Brompton next entered the porter's lodge
in which he dwelt, he was girded with the sword of his ancestors.




CHAPTER IV.

JARLEY JAWKINS.


The library of Ripon House was an apartment panelled in oak, blackened
by time and smoke. The high and richly carved mantelpiece bore the arms
of the Ripon family, three wolves on a field, or, surmounted by a wild
man from Borneo rampant, bearing a battle-axe, gules. Shelves which once
were filled with fine books were then empty, the void being covered by
old tapestries. The furniture was old and gaunt, save for a few modern
soft-cushioned chairs which seemed to have been recently deposited
there, and were, by the brilliant color of their coverings, not at all
in harmony with the faded tapestries of their high-backed and carven
predecessors. On one of the gaunt old chairs Abraham Windsor was seated,
holding in his right hand the London _Times_, which slowly issued from a
"ticker" upon the table at his side. After looking sharply at the
financial news, which just then was being recorded in the "Thunderer,"
he glanced quickly toward the door, as if he expected some one to enter.
Abraham Windsor was a man of sixty, and each year seemed to have left
its impress upon the man who had battled through it, so that he seemed
his own living history, and by close observation you might read of a
youth of scant schooling in books, not spent among folks of gentle
breeding, nor protected from the world, but left to shift for itself
against the numerous kicks and scanty half pence of the hard world; then
one might discern the period of restless scheming and speculation, and
finally the look of successful yet of unsatisfied ambition. Still his
face was not a hard and stern one, but shrewd and kindly. He seemed a
man who would drive careful bargains, but who was too large-minded and
honest to be mean or overreaching. His large head was thatched with
thick, bristling iron-gray hair, his face was swarthy and clean-shaven,
his black eyes were deep-set and keen, his nose prominent, yet
well-shaped, and his mouth firm and resolute, having a humorous curve;
he was plainly dressed in a black broadcloth suit which hung loosely
over his bony frame. He threw down the ribbons upon the floor with an
impatient gesture, and watched the news of the world, as it coiled at
his feet in the white spirals, for a moment; then he arose from his
chair and touched an electric knob. Instantly a stately footman in a
dark livery and a powdered wig entered the room.

"Mr. Jawkins has arrived?" Mr. Windsor asked.

"No, sir. Thank you, sir."

"Has Miss Windsor returned from her walk?"

"She has come into the house, sir."

"Has Mr. Jawkins sent word when we are to expect him?"

"Yes, sir; we are awaiting him every moment, sir. I think I hear wheels
now, sir."

"Very well; ask him to come to me here when he is at leisure."

The tall footman bowed and noiselessly left the room, and Mr. Windsor
picked up the _Times_ and looked at it for a moment. Presently a short,
pudgy man in travelling dress, with thin, smoothly-brushed hair,
mutton-chop whiskers and a very red face, was ushered into the room, and
Mr. Windsor stretched out his hand in welcome.

"Mr. Jawkins, I believe?"

"Yes, Mr. Windsor; I am Jarley Jawkins, very much at your service."

"Glad to see you, Jawkins," said the American; "take a cigar, won't you?
I will ring for some whiskey and water if you care for a snifter."

"I beg to be excused," replied Jawkins, deprecatingly. "You American
gentlemen must have the constitutions of horses; you seem to be able to
smoke and take 'snifters,' as you drolly call them, at all hours, but I
really cannot do it, you know. Do you find things to suit you here, Mr.
Windsor? I could have given you many finer houses; to tell you the
truth, I was rather surprised when you chose Ripon House out of my list.
There is so little furniture in it that my men have not been able to put
in all the necessary articles yet, but it will be wholly in order in a
few hours."

"Yes; your men seem very busy," replied Mr. Windsor. "The upper floors
are all ready, but I have been driven into this room on the ground floor
this morning."

"Oh! dear me, what a pity, sir," said Mr. Jawkins, looking around the
room. "It is very bare and uncomfortable; but you will not know the room
when my fellows are through with it. You will have one of the finest
collections of books here in all England in a few hours. I have
purchased the Marquis of Queensberry's collection, and ordered them sent
here. Nothing gives so good an effect of color in a room as a library of
handsome books, you know. They have turned the _Times_ on, I see," he
remarked, pointing to the ticker. "I saw in it this morning that Richard
Lincoln and his daughter were to be your guests here. Your friend, sir,
I suppose? He certainly is not down in my list; great man, sir, but not
one of us."

"Mr. Lincoln is one of the men whom I most highly respect in the world,"
answered Mr. Windsor, curtly. "When do you expect the people in your
list to arrive?"

"Oh, they will come at all hours," answered Jawkins. "I must send a lot
of traps to the station to meet them. Have you been out to the stables,
sir? I have sent you one of the finest studs in all England. Do you
hunt, Mr. Windsor?"

"Never," answered Mr. Windsor.

"Since the farmers have taken to shooting the foxes," continued Mr.
Jawkins, "the noble old sport has gone all to pieces, even here; but you
drive four-in-hand, I hope. I have ordered a beautiful new break for
your use. But you will see, sir, all I have done for you. Now, if you
are at leisure for the list of the guests whom I have been able to
engage. When you have gone over it with me, Mr. Windsor, I think that
you will admit that it is a charming country-house party to have got
together on such short notice. First, you see, we have the Duke and
Duchess of Bayswater. I have engaged them for the first three days of
your stay here to give _eclat_ to your hospitality, at the price of a
diva and her accompanying tenor, I must admit. It is their very first
appearance professionally, and I think that I have done very well by
you."

Mr. Windsor gave a little groan, which Mr. Jawkins did not seem to
notice, however, as he continued:

"I fear that His Grace will not be in the best of spirits at first. He
is a grand type of a great nobleman, however, and worth double the money
which we pay him. Her Grace is of one of the few families in Great
Britain which are found in the Almanach de Gotha. She is like a
magnificent old ruin, almost feudal in fact, and as proud as Lucifer.
Her stare is said to be withering, and the poise of her head makes a
man's tongue cleave to the roof of his mouth."

"And I shall have to take her in to dinner for the next three days?"
groaned Windsor.

"Of course, my dear sir; but, believe me, you will enjoy it more than
Her Grace will," replied Jawkins. "Next comes the Archbishop of
Canterbury in point of order on my list, though he is of higher rank
than their Graces. Since the disestablishment of the Church, and the
forfeiture of the Church properties, he has, of course, been much
straitened financially. He must have a comfortable room and a warm fire,
and will conduct family prayers. There is some doubt about his coming,
though, I see, as he is far from well, but it will be easy to get a
prelate at short notice; I have dozens on my list, ready at call. Next
we have Lord Carrington, who is not very good company, but of
wonderfully fine family. His ancestors came over with William the
Conqueror, but as he has only L200 a year, he was not loath to put
himself under my charge. He is exceedingly particular as to his food and
drink, and is one of the best card-players in London. He used to make a
fine income from his cards; indeed, he does now in I. O. U.'s. By the
way, he inquired whether you played 'piquet' or 'bezique,' from which I
infer that he is looking for an antagonist with ready money."

Mr. Windsor laughed and slapped his knee with his thin, bony hand.

"Ah! the wind sets in that corner, does it?" he asked.

"I am afraid so," answered Jawkins.

"I do not mind taking chances, I admit," said Windsor; "but in the
stock-market I am in the position of the banker at the gaming-table. The
odds are in my favor. While at piquet this noble lord can get the better
of me. Who else have you, Jawkins?"

"I forgot my greatest prize, sir," said Jawkins, handing Mr. Windsor a
photograph. "What do you think of her?"

Mr. Windsor looked at the picture with a peculiar smile.

"She is a fine woman, Jawkins. We have as fine, however, in the States.
Who is she?"

"Mrs. Oswald Carey, to be sure. Have you never seen her face before, Mr.
Windsor? She is considered to be the most beautiful woman in London. Her
husband, of course, is left there; he cares only for brandy and soda and
baccarat, and would be very much in the way. I believe that he used to
have a place under government, but was ousted last year, probably for
cause, wonderful as that seems now. But she is a charming woman, and I
find that she is the most sought after of any one on my list--that is to
say, with the hosts; though the hostesses sometimes object to her,
simply from envy of her good looks, for her good name cannot be
questioned while her husband is satisfied with her."

Mr. Windsor hummed a little; he was too new to the world of society not
to have old-fashioned views on the subject of a woman's fame.

"Go on with the list, please, Jawkins; time flies, and your presence
must be required to arrange the drawing-rooms."

"Very well, Mr. Windsor. Then Sir John Dacre, one of the biggest men in
England; I never have understood, sir, how I got him on my list. He is
so proud that I should have fancied that he would have--saving your
presence, sir--have broken stones in the street rather than bread as a
hired guest. For he is a noble fellow."

"Some woman at the bottom of it?" asked Mr. Windsor, carelessly.

"Something mysterious, certainly, for he absolutely refused to take any
fee," replied Mr. Jawkins. "Next comes Colonel Charles Featherstone, a
wild, scatter-brained soldier, who lost all his fortune in speculation
in your American cotton and grain futures. He is a great friend of John
Dacre, and they joined me at the same time. I am really giving you the
gems of my whole collection."

A flush of triumph spread over the man's round face as he continued his
list. "Next, I have three of the 'artiste' class, and here I am not so
successful, though to be sure I pick them up for almost nothing. There
is Erastus Prouty, who does the satirical 'society' articles and
collects fashionable gossip for the _Saturday Review_, a sniggering,
sneering chap, with a single eye-glass and immense self-conceit. He
called me a cad in his paper once, but I am above personal feeling, and
do not cut the man off from his income. Then, you have Herr Diddlej, the
great Norwegian pianist, who will shatter your piano in half an hour;
and, finally, Sydney, the wit, who, by the way, has disappointed me
greatly, as he has not made a repartee in a twelvemonth, nor has he set
the table in a roar. I reasoned with him the other day on the subject,
and gave him fair warning that this visit should be his last chance.
Still, I pity the man; he is a great _bon vivant_, and if he should lose
his reputation as a wit I fear that he would have to go to a workhouse
or on the London _Punch_. I have finished the list. How does it please
you?"

"I never say that I have made money until the shares are sold and paid
for," answered Mr. Windsor. "Your list sounds well, but I think I like
the old-fashioned way of asking friends to stay with me better. Still,
your plan is novel."

Mr. Jawkins seemed hurt, as an author would who had looked up from
reading the finest passage in his epic only to perceive that his auditor
was asleep and not spellbound. Jawkins believed in the "_idee_" Jawkins
as Napoleon did in his destiny.

"By your leave, Mr. Windsor, I shall go to my own room to arrange my
toilet, and then I must see about the disposition of the furniture,
bibelots and pictures, and attend to the preparations for the reception
of the guests. You need not meet them until just before dinner, when I
shall be on hand to present them to you. I cannot be here after
to-night. I must start to-morrow morning for Hampshire, where Prince
Petroloff demands my services. You see, I am a hard-worked man, Mr.
Windsor."

"So you are for an Englishman, Mr. Jawkins. Then I suppose that it is
necessary that you should attend to all the details of your profession
personally. By the way, my daughter tells me that she has asked young
Geoffrey Ripon, who used to be on the British Legation at Paris, where
we were two summers ago. You must arrange for him at the dinner-table."

"Ah, the Earl of Brompton! He is not a client of mine, but I have my
eye on him. His earthly possessions consist of about five acres of land,
a tumble-down hut near by, and a double-barrelled shotgun, and he lost
his secretaryship when the new administration made its clean sweep of
the offices. They said he was going to marry a rich girl once, I
believe."

"It seems that he did not," said Mr. Windsor, rising from his seat.

Mr. Jawkins bowed and bustled from the room, and Mr. Windsor soon heard
his sharp voice ordering the army of workmen in the adjacent rooms with
the precision and authority of a field-marshal.

The situation amused and at the same time disconcerted the humorous
American, as he settled back in a chair before the great wood fire which
crackled in the chimney. Though the chair was soft and yielding he did
not look comfortable, for men with long, bony, angular figures never
seem to look at their ease.

Abraham Windsor's name twenty years before the date of this story would
not have added to the marketable value of the most modest promissory
note in the money markets of Chicago, to which city he had come fresh
from his father's farm in upper Illinois; but at this time it was a
tower of strength in financial quarters, and men counted his wealth by
tens of millions.

He was the Jupiter of the financial world, and men said that when his
iron-gray locks fell over each other, as he nodded, Wall Street trembled
and Lombard Street crashed; so that it seemed only from forbearance that
he did not sweep all the chips upon the great gaming-table of the world
into his deep pockets. His sudden trip to Europe had caused much
discussion. Some knowing ones whispered that he had bought a
controlling interest in the Bank of England from the assignees in
bankruptcy of the Brothkinders, with the object of making a panic in
trade by a sudden raise of the rate of discount to six per cent; others,
that he had come over to unload upon the British public his shares in
the Hudson Bay and Cape Horn Railroad Company.

He was amused by the wild rumors, for he had, in truth, come to England
with no deep-laid scheme or motive, but simply because his daughter had
ordered his doing so; for while Abraham Windsor ruled the shares market
and the world of speculation, a certain young woman ruled him, and the
hard-headed man of affairs, who could outwit an Israelite banker, was as
wax under her dainty fingers. At the close of the last season at
Newport, Miss Margaret had ordered her father, as she poured out his
coffee at breakfast, to engage a country house in England for the
winter. Mr. Windsor looked up from the New York _Herald_, which likened
him to his Satanic Majesty in one column and described his new steam
yacht in another, and he said, "Aye, aye, miss," to her order.

And straightway after breakfast he went to the Casino Club and
telephoned to Jarley Jawkins for his list of estates to rent in England,
for he knew full well that whether Wall Street or the heavens crashed
Miss Maggie's orders were to be obeyed. She selected Ripon House from
Jawkins's list, and her father hired it, although he had a leaning
toward Windsor Castle, which the Republic wished to lease for a term of
years, or to sell upon easy terms.

Every one in Paris two years before had said that the penniless young
Englishman, Lord Ripon, wished to make a rich marriage, and that the
capricious Miss Windsor, after having broken, cracked or temporarily
discouraged a sufficient number of hearts, was at last ready to accept a
lord and perhaps a master. But in the middle of the season the British
Legation was recalled, and Geoffrey, after a few words of farewell,
disappeared, and from the day of his leaving Paris Miss Windsor had
heard nothing of him. She did not know herself whether she cared for
him; he was good-natured and amusing, and she liked to have him talk to
her and be her slave, but when he was gone, the world was not a blank to
her.

Still, it piqued her that Lord Brompton had effaced himself so
completely from her life. "He might, at least, have written to let me
know that he lived," she kept thinking. Of course she knew the name of
his old estate, and she knew that he owned the porter's lodge and the
few acres around it, for he had told her once that he still owned a
little box in England, and that when the worst came to the worst he
intended to crawl into it and shut the lid. When Jawkins sent his list
of estates for rent, and she saw the name of Ripon House on it, her
heart gave a little jump. Mr. Windsor had, of course, known of the
affair between Lord Geoffrey and his daughter, and had neither approved
nor disapproved of it. He knew that, if she made up her mind to marry,
he would be consulted only as a matter of form. When she had informed
him on their arrival that Lord Brompton was living in the neighborhood,
and that she meant to invite him to dinner very soon, the shrewd old man
smiled grimly, and acquiesced in her plan.

As her father sat musing before the fire, the door opened suddenly, and
Maggie bounded into the room.

"Has Jawkins arrived, papa?" she asked.

"Yes; we have just been going over his list of guests together. By the
way, Maggie, is your young man to be our guest?"

"Oh, papa!" Maggie exclaimed, perching herself upon one of his knees and
stroking his chin with one of her dimpled hands, "how can you be so
ill-bred as to speak of any one as my young man? Surely I have no
proprietary rights over any man, save one very nice old fellow, who is
so loyal to his sovereign that he never thinks of complaining of the
injustice of taxation without representation."

"You reverse the ordinary process with me; subjects have been wont to
blow up their sovereigns," answered her father, with a chuckle, "and you
blow up me. You have not told me about Lord Brompton. It is a long time
since you have seen him before to-day."

"Two whole years. He seems so dispirited."

"At not having escaped you?"

"Oh, you wicked old capitalist; not at all. At having been so long
separated from me. It was very pleasant to see him again. He is such a
friend of mine. I should say that he interested me more than any of the
others."

"Ah, that unfortunate panorama of others," laughed her father.

"Yes, poor fellows," said Maggie, a little regretfully, "but then I
think that most of them had an eye to the main chance, papa. Lord
Brompton has not, I know."

Mr. Windsor smiled.

"I hope not, my dear. What is he doing here?"

"What the world has forgotten to do; what he can do more graciously than
any man I know--nothing," she answered.

"I should think that a young man with the world before him might find
something better to do than to mope in a porter's lodge, looking
mournfully at the lands which were his father's. What does he intend to
do in the world?"

"Oh, he said nothing of his plan of life," said Miss Windsor; "but he
seemed blue and restless. I think that there is something on his mind."

"These aristocrats, fallen from their high estate, are really in a
pitiable condition," said Windsor. "I feel like a cad to have made the
arrangement which I have with Jawkins. I wish that I were scot free from
the whole business. Poor people, how they must hate me in advance, and
what a vulgarian they must think me to be."

"Jawkins says that it is a recognized system, papa, you remember,"
answered Maggie. "After all, if you wish a great tenor or a
violin-player at your parties, you pay them for it. If you wish a duke
to awe or a beauty to charm your guests, why should you not hire them?
This is a commercial age. The poor people must live, and if they can
only awe or charm, there is no harm in their receiving pay for their
sole merits."

"You should have been bred to the bar, Maggie," laughed her father. "You
are an eloquent advocate."

There was a rattling of wheels up the driveway, and the great hall doors
were heard to open.

"Some of our guests have arrived," remarked Mr. Windsor. "I hope that
Jawkins has made all his arrangements for their reception."

Just then the door opened and Mr. Jawkins entered carefully dressed. His
manner was quiet and his voice subdued, as if he were whispering in a
cathedral, as he said:

"Their Graces the Duke and Duchess have done you the honor of coming
under your roof, Mr. Windsor. They are very much fatigued by their
journey, and have retired to their apartments."

"We shall meet them at Philippi before the action, shall we not?" asked
Miss Windsor.

"Yes, and meanwhile I shall do everything that I can for the comfort of
your guests and the arrangement of the house. Believe me, I deeply feel
the gravity of the situation," he continued, as he bowed himself out of
the room.

"And so do I," said Mr. Windsor to his daughter. "I would rather face an
army of irate stockholders than our guests this evening."




CHAPTER V.

"JAWKINS'S JOLLITIES."


When Geoffrey entered that evening the great drawing-rooms of his old
home he found that they had been transformed from shabby and musty
apartments into beautiful modern salons, which had the air of having
been long lived in by people of refinement. There was even a certain
feminine touch about the disposition of the bric-a-brac. The handsome
pieces of old furniture, which seemed like friends of his boyhood, were
still there, retained by the true artistic sense of Jawkins, who knew
that no modern cabinetmaker could produce their like; still everything
seemed brightened, as if the old rooms had been touched with sunshine.
The walls were hung with good modern paintings and old tapestries; the
tables and mantelpieces were covered thick with curios. To fill a great
house with the rare objects of art and luxury that are found in the
abodes of those families which have held wealth for generations is an
impossibility to the newly rich. Their brand-new mansions, left to
upholsterers, resemble great caravansaries, bare, gilded and raw with
primary colors. But Jawkins was an artist; he not only made the houses
which he arranged beautiful, but he gave them the air of having been
lived in for years, so that the strangers within the gates, who had been
taught to judge of men's characters by their dwellings and surroundings,
could not but be pleasantly impressed. Miss Windsor was standing alone,
in a corner of the room, by a little round-backed sofa, and smiled a
greeting at Geoffrey. After exchanging a few words with his host he
walked over to her, and she stretched out her pretty gloved hand in
welcome.

"Well met again, Lord Brompton; but you are not wearing your sword."

"'The Knights are dust,' I fear," he quoted with a smile. "I was loath
to wear it with modern evening dress. I crave your forgiveness, fair
lady."

"As long as you do not have it turned into a ploughshare, or a railway
share, which would be more modern," laughed Maggie, "I will forgive
you."

"Have all your guests arrived?"

"Of course; you are the last one, as usual. It has been rather an ordeal
you may believe. Papa was in a dreadful state about it. The Duke and the
Duchess of Bayswater he was especially in awe of. Dear old souls! You
see them over there, looking like Mr. and Mrs. Marius in the ruins of
Carthage."

Geoffrey, turning, saw a fine-looking old couple. The Duke still wore
the blue ribbon of the Garter across his breast. He was a mild-looking
gentleman, who seemed to be plunged in deep melancholy. His head was
bald and highly polished, his gray side-whiskers were brushed carefully
forward, and his nose was aquiline. Her Grace the Duchess surveyed the
company with a haughty stare, which seemed to be a matter of habit
rather than of present feeling.

"They were very kind to me when I was a boy," said Geoffrey, with a
sigh. "But it is so long since they have seen me that they must have
forgotten me. You have a large party."

"Oh, yes; they have been coming in all the afternoon. I think that it
will be very pleasant when we get well shaken together. You see your old
friend, Sir John Dacre, over there, do you not? away over at the end of
the other rooms. The fine-looking girl to whom he is talking is Richard
Lincoln's daughter."

Geoffrey looked in the direction, and saw the back of Sir John Dacre's
head as he bent over to speak to Miss Lincoln.

He made a little start to go over to greet his friend. Miss Windsor saw
it, and said: "You will see Sir John after dinner, Lord Brompton; you
would interrupt a pleasant conversation now by being that wretched third
who makes a 'company' a crowd; and at the same time, you would destroy
all the proportion of the party by leaving me alone. You must sit on the
sofa here by my side, and I will point out all the people to you. You
will not sit anywhere near me, you know, at dinner, as you will take in
Mrs. Oswald Carey, as I told you this morning."

Geoffrey sat down on the sofa by her and looked about the room.

"I do not see the great professional beauty in this room, Miss Windsor,"
he said, after he had finished his inspection of the people present, who
seemed plunged in the depths of that gloom which always hangs over a
party before a dinner.

Richard Lincoln, who had been touched by her Grace's melancholy, stood
talking to her. In the opposite corner of the room sat Mr. James
Sydney, the celebrated wit, his pasty face wearing an air of settled
melancholy, while he gazed vacantly at a curious old Turner, which
glowed like an American sunset against the stamped-leather hangings of
the room.

"Poor fellow, he looks like the clown before he is painted," whispered
Miss Windsor.

Mr. Prouty, the _Saturday Reviewer_, sat on a "conversazione" with Lady
Carringford, a commonplace, faded-out-looking woman of forty, with
bleached hair. She did not seem much pleased by the conversation of the
journalist, and looked furtively across the room as if to hint that she
ought to be relieved, but Herr Diddlej and Sydney did not see her
signals of distress.

Lord Carringford, her husband, a tall, keen-faced man with blue-black
side-whiskers and a furtive eye, was talking with Mr. Windsor, and
though he saw his wife's signals, of course, did not pay any attention
to them. The Archbishop of Canterbury, in rusty clerical garb, smiled
benignly at the whole company.

"Mrs. Oswald Carey is far too clever to stay in the glare of a great
room like this," said Miss Windsor to Geoffrey. "She is one of those
women who seek a corner and quiet and flourish there--not, however,
alone. She is in the smaller room beyond, with Colonel Featherstone, who
must have nearly pulled his great mustaches out by this time. You know
how he twirls and twitches them when he thinks he is being quite
irresistible, just as you are doing now, Lord Brompton."

Geoffrey dropped his hand from his mustache impatiently.

"Ah, you are always chaffing me, Miss Windsor," he pleaded.

"I knew very well what you were thinking, sir. That you could cut
Colonel Featherstone out in no time. Now, were you not?"

"Not at all. I was thinking of you. Were not my languishing glances
turned toward you?"

"Yes, but the languish was all for Mrs. Oswald, and not for me. But it
is time to go to dinner now, Lord Brompton. You are permitted to disturb
the _tete-a-tete_ and Mrs. Carey's peace of mind."

"If you send me away, I suppose that I must obey. A hostess is a despot
whom no one may defy."

Miss Windsor smiled pleasantly at the Duke of Bayswater, who just then
offered her his arm with great solemnity. Geoffrey bowed to her and the
Duke, and walked slowly into the adjoining room.

In a dimly-lighted corner he saw a tall, heavily-built man, with a long
red mustache, talking to a remarkably beautiful woman.

"Mrs. Carey and old Charlie Featherstone?" he said to himself, as he
stopped to look at them and to await a pause in their conversation
before he interrupted them.

"Why, it is Eleanor Leigh!" he exclaimed a moment later, as she turned
her head from the shadow of a great Japanese screen, behind which the
pair had sought shelter from prying eyes.

"Eleanor Leigh, my old sweetheart, to whom I bade farewell in the dark
library of my old tutor's home, seven years ago."

She did not look in his direction, and he had a few moments to observe
her carefully.

The slender girl whom he remembered had grown into a superb woman. Her
head was poised upon her shoulders like that of a Greek goddess, and
around her white throat gleamed a collar of brilliants. A
tightly-fitting black gown made by contrast her bosom and arms dazzling
in whiteness. Her hair was rolled into a large round knot at the back of
her head, and its coils shone red-brown in the soft glow of the candles.
Her face seemed cold and calm to him as he looked at her, a faint,
mocking smile played upon her full, red lips, and her delicate eyebrows
were slightly raised. All of a sudden she turned toward him, and their
eyes met in a flash of recognition. He remembered those eyes well, but
here was something in them which was not there when his brain last
thrilled with their magnetic glances--a something which he could not
understand, but which repelled him. She raised her hand and seemed to
beckon to him, and he obeyed her command.

"You remember me, then, Lord Brompton," she said coldly, as she gave him
her hand.

"Remember you!" he exclaimed, and was at a loss for words. Featherstone,
who had withdrawn a step or two, seemed to see his confusion, and after
welcoming his old friend back to England went away.

Mrs. Carey looked up at Geoffrey with a mocking smile, as if deriding
his embarrassment. "So we meet again after all these years, Geoffrey?"
He looked down at the floor, confused and shame-faced, as he thought of
the time when he had gone up to Oxford from her father's house with her
image in his heart. She, too, was thinking of those days of fresh
spring-time. "He is not much changed," she thought, "save that he looks
tired and discouraged; then his eyes were bright, looking, as they were,
into a world where everything seemed easy and full of pleasure to him."

"We are both thinking of the old days," she said to him, as she pulled a
rose from her belt, and nervously crumpled its petals between her
fingers. "Ah, how I wept when you ceased writing to me!"

"I do not imagine that you ever wept any bitter tears on my account,"
remonstrated Geoffrey. "I was a mere boy then; and a girl of eighteen
can hold her own with a man of any age, while a boy of eighteen can no
more look after himself in a love affair than a--"

"Boy of any other age," interrupted Mrs. Carey. "Ah, Geoffrey, I did
weep then more than you can imagine. But I have always remembered you as
a dear boy, who loved me a little and forgot me when he was away. Men
are deceivers ever, and I fancy that I am not the last woman whom you
have loved a little and forgotten since. But the others are going in to
dinner. It is a motley party, is it not? Just fancy Richard Lincoln's
being here, and the old Duke, and John Dacre, too. Why is he here? Do
you know?"

"I haven't seen him since I first went to Paris," answered Geoffrey, as
he offered her his arm.

The pair walked in to dinner in their proper place in the procession.

"What a beautiful old room this is!" exclaimed Mrs. Carey as they
entered the dining-hall. "Jawkins does this sort of thing so well! How
perfectly he reproduces the courtly state of the last century when he
re-establishes a house!"

Geoffrey had not been in this room since the day when he had been called
from Oxford by a telegram announcing his father's sudden death. Then the
room had been dark and there was a hush over it, and the servants had
moved stealthily over the oaken floor, and he had sat by the window
listening to the slow words of the family lawyer, which told him that he
was the heir of a ruined estate.

He winced as he seated himself by Mrs. Carey's side, a guest at the
great table at which his forebears had broken bread as almost princely
hosts. The party had entered, and sat down in silence, and, after
unfolding their napkins, looked rather gloomily at each other for a
while, but Mr. Jawkins soon broke into an easy conversational canter,
and the rest of the party by the time that the champagne appeared with
the fish found that their tongues were loosened. The old Duke, who
always loved a pretty face and brilliant eyes, got on capitally with
Miss Windsor, and seemed to forget his fallen dignity and the mournful
face of his consort, as he said pretty things to the beautiful American.

"I had a great curiosity to see Mr. Windsor before I came here,"
whispered Mrs. Carey to Geoffrey. "He has a strong face, has he not?
They say that he is so rich that he does not know how much he is worth,
and that he has made all his money himself."

"I suppose that somebody has got all the money that we people in England
have lost or spent," she continued, with a woman's idea of political
economy. "Isn't it all dreadful? I suppose that you are a--What shall I
say, a guest?"

"Why should you not say a guest, since we certainly are at Mr. Windsor's
table?" he asked, as if innocently.

"Ah, you must know what I mean; one of Mr. Jawkins's list. Just think of
the poor Duke and Duchess being on it--the proudest family in England.
Did you ever hear of such a thing?"

"The aristocrats during the French Revolution were reduced to as
desperate shifts," answered Geoffrey. "We, at least, are not banished
from our country and can earn our living, if we choose, in the
old-fashioned way, by the sweat of our brows. I have been digging in my
vegetable garden this summer; you know that I have five acres left, and
what with fishing--and don't mention it, pray--a little poaching, I have
got along pretty well. I knew Mr. Windsor in Paris, when I was on the
Legation there."

"And you were put out of the service by that old brute, Bagshaw. What an
odious thing this Republican form of government is! You know poor Oswald
was in the Stamp and Sealing-wax Office. Oswald is a Legitimist, of
course, and would not pay the assessment which was levied upon him by
the Radical party, and he was ousted last spring."

"Is your husband here?"

"Oh, dear, no! They do not wish me if I take Oswald along with me. He is
in our lodgings in London. He quite misses the office in the daytime, as
he cannot sleep nearly so well at home. Poor Oswald! Mr. Sydney," she
said, turning to that gentleman, who had sat in silence at her side, "I
thought that you always kept the table in a roar?"

"How can a man do that when he is expected to," answered Sydney,
gloomily. "I am always saddest at dinner, for I know that I have been
asked because there is a tradition in society that I am a wit. If I
speak of the gloomiest subjects people snicker; if I am eloquent or
pathetic, they roar. I am by nature rather a lyric poet than a wit--ah,
you are laughing, Mrs. Carey, you are laughing. What did I tell you?"

"But, my dear Mr. Sydney, you are funny, really you are."

"I am funny because I mean to be serious," said Mr. Sydney. "In these
days of the decadence of civilization if a man is in earnest, terribly
in earnest, people think that he is vastly amusing. I shall try to be
funny soon, to earn my wage, and people will think me dull enough then."

The poor man drank a large glass of wine and pointing at the _entree_
upon his plate asked:

"Mrs. Carey, can a man who expects daily to be gathered to his fathers
eat a _vol-au-vent_ of pigeons _a la financiere_? How can it be
expected? They should not tempt me with such dishes. I know that I ought
not to eat them, but I cannot resist. I partake of them and I do not
sleep. I have not closed my eyes for three nights."

He began to eat his _vol-au-vent_ with the appetite of a boy of
fourteen.

"Poor old fellow," whispered Mrs. Carey to Geoffrey. "He knows that he
must be amusing on this visit else Jawkins will strike him off his list.
It is lucky that I only have to look beautiful. It is no exertion
whatever. While poor old Sydney knows that something is expected of him,
and as he naturally likes to talk about statistics and his physical
ailments, and as he gained his reputation as a wit from a single
repartee made at a dinner twenty years ago, he finds it hard to fulfil
his part. He is simply funny because he isn't. It's a strange paradox."

"It must, indeed, be a hard task, making one's self a brick without
straw," answered Geoffrey. "Think of not having the luxury of being
disagreeable--to be always on the rack to perpetrate a joke, Mrs.
Carey."

"You did not call me Mrs. Carey when we last met," she said,
reproachfully.

"But you were not Mrs. Carey then, and, not being a prophet, I could not
very well call you so."

"Do not be flippant. But if we were prophets what a dreadful thing life
would be! It did not seem possible seven years ago that Eleanor Leigh
would become a professional beauty, a hired guest, who lived upon the
royalty from the sale of her photographs."

"You can congratulate yourself that yours is the only 'royalty' left in
the country, Eleanor." He lowered his voice as he spoke her name.

"I will not talk about myself," she said, in a cold, hard tone. "That's
a man's prerogative. But I wish you, when we are alone, to tell me all
about your life. The lines of our lives, which once bade fair to run
along together, have diverged; but fate is strong. We are thrown
together again. I know not whether it matters to you that we have met
again, but it does very much to me. I wish to know what you have been
doing all these years. To-morrow, surely, we shall have a chance to see
each other, and till then let us change the subject, for if the walls
have not ears, Mr. Sydney certainly has, and very large and ugly ones,
too, like a lop-eared rabbit's."

Geoffrey looked with a smile at poor Mr. Sydney's villified ears, and
said to himself that the unfortunate wit never could live in much
comfort upon the royalties from the sale of his picture. Mrs. Carey
looked around the table searchingly. Her quick wit was tickled by the
curious incongruities of the scene; by Richard Lincoln talking small
nothings to the Duchess of Bayswater across the rich American; by the
genial and smirking Jawkins, seated between Sir John Dacre and that
pink of fashion, Colonel Featherstone; by Lady Carringford, who was
between the indifferent Colonel and the Duke; by the three members of
the artiste class, Prouty, Diddlej and Sydney, whom Mr. Jawkins had
placed together with delicate discrimination. Mrs. Carey gave a little
shrug at perceiving that she, too, was put in the same neighborhood.
Lord Carringford and the Duchess seemed to be getting along uncommonly
well together. Sir John Dacre ignored his dapper neighbor, Jawkins, and
was absorbed in conversation with beautiful Mary Lincoln, who blushed
whenever she caught her father's eye looking questioningly at her. Mrs.
Carey's glance over the table was at first cursory; she had been so much
interested in meeting Geoffrey that the tide of old feelings, surging
back through her brain, had driven out all thought of the other people,
for in the heart of this woman of the world, who had lived in ball-rooms
and in the maddest whirl of that most mad and material of all things,
modern society, where love is a plaything and an excitement only, there
had lingered a fond remembrance of the ardent young lover, whose boyish
affection for her, absence had so quickly cooled. Through all his
wanderings she had managed to trace him. The world of society is small.
She had heard of his affair with Miss Windsor in Paris two years before;
so her eyes, after wandering over the table, fixed themselves upon her.
With a woman's instinct, Mrs. Carey had known that Geoffrey would not
have been so indifferent to her if he had been fancy free; when she
first saw him, before dinner, her heart throbbed with passion, and she
determined to wind around him again the chain of flowers which he had
snapped so easily when the great god of modern love, "Juxtaposition,"
deserted her. But now she saw that he had long since ceased to care for
her. He had called her "Eleanor" once, to be sure; but it was only after
she had forced his hand.

She picked up the large bouquet of roses which lay by her plate, and
raising them to her face as if to inhale their fragrance, she
attentively observed Miss Windsor, for she felt that there must be
something between her and Geoffrey; some tie stronger than the memory of
a dead flirtation. Her masked battery served her purpose well, for
Maggie, presently, after smiling faintly at some remark of Mr. Prouty's,
looked quickly over toward Lord Brompton, who was at the time listening
attentively to a political conversation between Mr. Lincoln and Mr.
Windsor. Maggie only looked at him for a moment, but Mrs. Carey saw that
she looked at him with that fondness with which a woman gazes at the man
she loves when she thinks that she is unobserved. Mrs. Carey put down
her bouquet and turned to Geoffrey.

"Miss Windsor is not a bad-looking girl, is she?" she asked.

"You put me in an awkward dilemma, Mrs. Carey," replied Geoffrey, a
little nervously, "in the alternative of criticising my hostess
unfavorably or praising the looks of one woman to another. Is that quite
fair?"

"Her features are not regular, yet she seems attractive in a way," she
continued, not waiting for his answer or answering his question. "You
knew her before, did you not?"

"Yes, slightly."

"That is to say, you had a desperate affair with her?"

"It seems to me that you jump at conclusions."

"Not at all. She is interested in you; I have eyes in my head."

"I should think that you had," laughed Geoffrey, as their glances met.

"And I have noticed that she has been continually looking over toward
us. The old Duke has not been lively, you see, and that _Saturday
Reviewer_ is a disagreeable thing. How she has longed to have you next
to her!"

"You flatter me, Mrs. Carey," answered Geoffrey, who was annoyed, as all
men are, when they are accused of being too fascinating. "Miss Windsor
and I were great friends, nothing more."

"Why, my dear boy, of course you were nothing more. To be great friends
is enough; so you own up to the serious affair? You think that she isn't
watching you--look."

Geoffrey glanced up and caught Miss Windsor's eye. She colored, turned
away, and said something to the _Saturday Reviewer,_ who had before
found his satirical remarks thrown away on his _distraite_ hostess.

"See that fine color mounting to her cheeks," said Mrs. Carey.

"She sees that we are talking about her and feels a little
self-consciousness. The Americans are not so self-possessed as we are."

"Why do you not marry her?" she continued, not heeding him. "She has
money, is not at all bad-looking. There is nothing else for you to do,
and you cannot long go on as you are now, I fancy."

Geoffrey grew red and confused. He tried to make a clever answer. She
had such an air of graceful badinage, as she asked the question, that it
did not seem to him that he had a right to be angry, and yet he did
feel so. It annoyed him very much to be chaffed about Miss Windsor; to
have this cold woman of the world suggest to him that he should marry
the young American girl for her money.

Mrs. Carey laughed slightly, and seeing that she had pressed her
advantage too far, turned to a congenial diversion with Sydney, who had
by this time dined well and thoughtfully. She clinked his glass of
Burgundy lightly with him in a quaint, old-fashioned way, and Sydney's
eyes sparkled; he drained his glass.

Sir John Dacre had seen Geoffrey when the party sat down at the table;
but it so chanced that he did not catch his eye until just now. The two
men had not met for years, and even now the conventions of society and
six feet of mahogany kept them separated more effectually than miles of
country. They smiled and nodded, however, and Dacre raised his glass of
wine, and the two pledged each other's health in some old comet claret
of 1912.

"Who is the man who just smiled at you, Mr. Dacre?" asked Miss Lincoln.

"My dear old friend, Lord Brompton--Geoffrey Ripon you would call him,
perhaps. I am downright glad to see him here to-night. Indeed, I came
down to this part of the country to see him."

Miss Lincoln seemed chagrined.

"You must be very much attached to him, then, Mr. Dacre."

"Yes, of course I am; and I have not seen him for some years. He has not
changed much."

"If he is Geoffrey Ripon, Earl of Brompton, it is to him that this
estate used to belong, then?"

"Yes, Miss Lincoln, in his father's day it was a beautiful place; there
were none of these modern gewgaws here. The old earl would have starved
to death rather than have dined in a room lighted by the electric light.
I used to stay here as a boy; indeed, I am a kinsman of the family. I
was here last some years before the old gentleman's death. He lived on
here for years without hearing from the outside world. He even gave up
the _Times_, and would not have anything in the house which was written
since the abdication. He refused to acknowledge the existence of a
country which had exiled his king."

Miss Lincoln blushed a little as she said:

"Do we not owe our allegiance to our country, Mr. Dacre, as it is? It
seems to me that it is our duty to do what we can for it."

"Ah, Miss Lincoln, I am afraid that we are treading on dangerous ground.
Your father and I respect each other as foes, whose swords have crossed,
always do; but it is not fitting that his daughter and I should discuss
this matter. Do you notice how intently Mrs. Oswald Carey watches Miss
Windsor? I wonder why?"

"I have noticed it, Mr. Dacre," answered Miss Lincoln. "Just now she
guarded her face with her bunch of roses, that Miss Windsor might not
perceive her scrutiny, and her look is not a friendly one."

"She is a beautiful tiger," said Sir John, "not a domestic cat, as many
women are; and she means mischief when her eyes fix upon any one in that
way."

Miss Lincoln looked at him in surprise, for he spoke earnestly, more
earnestly than he knew himself; for something told him that the
beautiful woman with the black gown and gleaming shoulders, sitting
opposite to him, was dangerous to him and his friends.

The dinner was over; the ladies swept from the room, Mrs. Carey
following close at Miss Windsor's side.

When the men had returned to sole possession of the dining-room the
company separated into little groups. Jawkins fastened upon the Duke,
whom Mr. Windsor relinquished with ill-concealed delight. Herr Diddlej
sat turning a lump of sugar with brandy in his coffee spoon, and smoking
cigarettes, which he rapidly rolled with his yellow-stained damp
fingers. Mr. Lincoln sat with Sydney, who forgot his hypochondria over
his cigar and became quite amusing, as the smile upon Lincoln's shrewd,
kindly face testified, for Richard Lincoln was a flint upon which all
intellectual steel struck fire.

Sir John Dacre and Geoffrey grasped each other's hand with a firm grip,
and looked into each other's eyes in silence for a moment.

"I came down here to see you, Geoffrey, because I need you.

"You know, John, that I am at your service, now and always."

"It is not my service, Geoffrey," said Dacre. "But later for this. Here
comes old Featherstone; we have come down here together. Here, let us
get on the sofa; it is the same one we used to sit on when we came here
in the hunting season in your father's day."

"I did not have a chance to say anything to you while the ladies were
present," said Featherstone, sitting down between his friends. "I am
very glad to see you. I had heard nothing about you since you left
Paris. They tell me that you are living in the neighborhood."

"Yes, just over there," indicated Geoffrey with his thumb. "You are to
stop three days, I hear. You must both come to see me. You will be my
first guests since I came back to my estate."

"You look as well as ever," said Featherstone. "But how we have made the
running the wrong way, to be sure, since I last saw you."

Featherstone made a gesture with his left hand, and looked inquiringly
at his friends; but Geoffrey, though he noticed the gesture, did not
attach any significance to it.

He raised his glass of port over a carafe of water. "The King," he said.

All three drank, and Dacre whispered, "No more of this, Featherstone. I
shall see Geoffrey this evening; he is not one of us yet."

"What an attractive woman Mrs. Oswald Carey is!" exclaimed Featherstone.
"You knew her before, did you not, Geoffrey?"

"I was her father's pupil before I went to Oxford."

"And knew the goddess when she was budding into womanhood. I can see it
all. You fell in love with her, of course, cherished a locket in your
left-hand waistcoat pocket for some weeks after you left her father's
tutelage. I don't blame you. I never saw a woman who made one's blood
course faster."

Featherstone stretched out his long legs and arms and pulled away at his
cigar, a queer smile playing over his mouth.

"She is a woman whom it is delightful to have been or be in love with,"
he continued; "but to marry--ah! I do not envy Oswald Carey. He simply
gives his name up to have a Mrs. put before it. By the way, our hostess
is an interesting girl. I like the old man, too. It is refreshing to see
a man who has opened his oyster after living among such a broken-down
lot as we all are. I wish that he could give me a point or two; they say
that he can make a million by turning over his hand. Think of it. There
are a lot of fellows who can lose one by the same simple process."

Geoffrey did not answer; he felt silent and depressed since the ladies
had left the room, and his cigar seemed to him to be altogether too
long. It is a bad sign when a man's cigar seems too long to him, and
when he tells you that he never knew until lately how offensive the odor
of tobacco was to a refined woman you may know that all is up with him.
Featherstone, on the other hand, smoked his cigar, slowly and
reverently, like a liberty-loving and untrammelled gentleman.

Geoffrey walked out to the great hall, where he found the ladies
gathered around the fireplace. Mrs. Oswald Carey sat near the Duchess,
and was talking with her. The old lady did not seem pleased with her new
companion, and smiled pleasantly at Geoffrey, when she saw him approach.
Miss Windsor was sitting in a low chair somewhat removed from the other
two. Geoffrey, after a few words of greeting to the Duchess, approached
Miss Windsor.

"You did not linger over your cigar like the rest, I see," she said to
him, as he sat down by her. "Tobacco is a woman's most formidable rival,
but the charms of Mrs. Oswald Carey are strong enough to draw you in
here! Perhaps you will have a cup of coffee to make up for your
deprivation."

"Thank you, Miss Windsor; one lump. But I did not come in to see Mrs.
Oswald Carey. I had the pleasure of sitting next her at dinner."

"We are going to-morrow on a drive to the ruins of Chichester Cathedral.
If you have nothing to prevent you, will you not join us?"

Geoffrey accepted the invitation.

"It is a pity that there are so few ladies," continued Miss Windsor; "we
can make up a coach-load, however, and you may drive, if you wish it. Of
course, you can then have Mrs. Oswald on the box-seat with you, and then
you will be sure to have a good time."

"Oh, Featherstone can drive much better than I," answered Geoffrey; "I
have not driven four-in-hand since I lived in this house. I should much
prefer to be upon one of the seats with you."

The men trailed into the hall awkwardly, bringing a fine perfume of
tobacco along with them. They stood around for a moment, getting
themselves into the position of the social soldier.

Herr Diddlej seated himself before the piano, ran his fingers through
his long hair, and was soon weeping over a sonata of his own
composition.

Dacre, who was standing apart from the others, before a picture, in a
dark recess of the hall, was approached by a footman, who made a quick
sign to him, a sign such as Featherstone had made to Geoffrey a few
moments before.

Sir John answered, and the servant, in handing him a cup of coffee,
slipped a note into his hand. The footman went on handing the coffee,
calm and unmoved.

Dacre, after glancing at the letter, thrust it into his waistcoat
pocket, and furtively glanced at Geoffrey. The latter excused himself to
Miss Windsor.

"I wish to have a long and private conversation with you," said Dacre to
him, "and when you take your leave I will walk over with you to your
house, where we can talk together."

Mrs. Carey, before the party broke up, excused herself on the grounds of
a severe headache and retired to her room. She sat there for some time
looking out upon the ocean and the moon-glade, glistening and twisting
over the waves like a great serpent. Of a sudden she threw over her
shoulders a thick cloak, and, by a dark back passage of the old house,
stole out into the moonlight. She felt a desire to walk along the cliff
and to soothe her nerves with the deep booming of the waves along its
base. And, perhaps, she might meet Geoffrey on his way home, she
thought, not forgetting the potency of moonlight and the great Love God,
"Juxtaposition."




CHAPTER VI.

THE ROYALISTS.


It was a clear, cold night as the two strangely dissimilar friends,
Dacre and Geoffrey, emerged from the shadow of Ripon Wood and stood for
a moment on the cliff path looking down at the unquiet sea, which was
still heaving and breaking from the force of the day's storm. From the
horizon before them the full moon had risen about two hand-breadths, and
the sky was all barred and broken with torn clouds moving rapidly,
behind which the moonlight filled the sky. The white light fell on the
black sea like spilled silver, and made a glittering road across the
waves.

Dacre advanced to the very edge of the cliff and stood with folded arms,
looking into the night as if it were a face or scroll to be read. But
the eye, in truth, saw not, though the thoughtless sense perceived the
shifting clouds and tossing sea. The vision was introspective wholly. It
was turned on a wide inner field, where stood arrayed, like an order of
battle, a strange array of Principles and Methods and Men.

Dacre was at work--at the work he loved and lived for. The enthusiast,
like a general, was reviewing his spiritual and mental troops--proudly
glancing along the lines before he removed the screen and called
another eye to behold. He had drawn them up, with their banners, to fill
Geoffrey, at once, with his own confidence and knowledge--for it _was_
knowledge and certitude, not opinion or fantasy, that filled him.

John Dacre was a magnificent dreamer, and he saw and lived among
magnificent visions. The spirit that had evoked Royalty and Aristocracy
and made them a potent reality for twenty centuries burned in him as
purely as in the old poet's picture of King Arthur.

No wrong that is all wrong can live for two thousand years and bind the
necks of men. Royalty was the first wave of the rising tide of humanity;
Aristocracy was the second. Both were necessary--perhaps natural. But
the waves fall back and are merged when the risen sea itself laps the
feet of the precipice.

It is hard to describe Dacre's face at this supreme moment, except by
saying that it was visibly lighted with an inner light. Standing in the
moonlight, with his pale features made paler, the shadows of the face
darker, and his tall form straight and moveless as a statue, from the
intensity of his thought, he almost startled the more prosaic Geoffrey,
who had lingered to light a cigar before coming out on the breezy cliff
path.

"Hey! old fellow; what do you see?" Geoffrey asked as he came up.

But he had to speak again, laying his hand on Dacre's shoulder before he
got an answer, though Dacre had noted the question, as his answer showed
when it came.

"See! I see a glorious panorama," and he turned and looked at Geoffrey,
still with arms folded. "I have seen the history of our country
stretched out like a map upon the sea. I saw thereon all those things
which have made England famous forever among the nations--the kings, the
nobles and the people, advancing like a host from the darkness to the
light."

"Yes, to the light of other days. But you know that has faded," said
Geoffrey, as he buttoned his overcoat and pulled down his hat.

"No; not the light of other days, but the light of to-morrow, which
never fades."

"Well, then, I don't understand you, old man; that is all," said
Geoffrey, contentedly, as he paced along, casting a satisfied,
thoughtless glance at the shimmering waves below, in some such natural
way as a sea-bird flying overhead might have done.

Geoffrey was of a placid and easy, perhaps lazy, disposition; but his
placidity rested like the ice of a mountain lake on deep and dangerous
water. It was hard to ruffle him or even to move him; but when moved he
was apt not to return to the position he had left, nor to be quite
natural to the new position.

"How far away is your house?" asked Dacre.

"Not far; there, you see the light over there. Old Reynolds is sitting
up for me and keeping the kettle going. He sticks by me through thick
and thin. I have tried to make him take a better place, but he will not
go."

Dacre was silent, and they walked on, descending from the cliffs and
following a path across the wide lawn-like fields, darkened by enormous
heaps of shadow from scattered chestnut trees.

An hour before the young men crossed these fields another figure, a
woman's, had travelled the same path. She was wrapped in a dark cloak,
and though she had lingered and loitered on the cliff-walk, she hurried
on the lower ground till she arrived near Geoffrey's lodge.

The speed with which she had walked proved that the woman was young, and
when the strong wind tightened the light cloak on the outline of her
tall figure, it could be seen, even in the moonlight, that she was
lissome and beautiful.

She had, on leaving the cliff path, steered straight for the light in
Geoffrey's house; but when she approached it she walked slowly, and at
last stopped in the deep shade of a tree within fifty feet of the lodge.
From this position she could look into Geoffrey's sitting-room, where a
fire burned brightly and a light stood in the window facing the cliff.

"I shall wait here," she said, speaking to herself, as if to give
herself courage by the whisper; "no one has seen me--no one but he shall
ever know."

But the next moment she almost screamed with terror at a sound behind
her. A bramble cracked, and she saw a man within a few yards of her. She
was terribly frightened, and could not speak or move.

It was old Reynolds, Geoffrey's servant, who had seen her on the cliff
walk, and had taken a night glass, with which his master often watched
the ships, to see if this were not he returning from the house. Seeing a
woman, Reynolds was surprised, for the cliff walk was lonely and not too
safe. He was still more surprised to see her turn into the path to the
lodge, and he had not lost sight of her for a moment till she stopped
under the tree.

When she turned, even in her terror, she assumed a defiant attitude, and
she held it still, facing the man.

Reynolds instinctively knew she was a lady, and with a touch of his
hat, but a doubting sternness in his voice, he said:

"Who are you, please, and what do you want here at this hour of the
night--or morning?"

She was reassured, knowing the voice to be that of a common man, and as
quickly judging him to be Geoffrey's servant.

"I am an old friend of Lord Brompton's family," she said, steadily
enough; "and as I return to London to-morrow, I have walked here
to-night just to see where the head of a grand old line is forced to
reside."

Reynolds was touched on his tender spot. The sternness left his voice,
and with bare head he said sadly:

"Ay, ma'am, in truth it is a sad sight to see the Lord of Ripon living
in the cottage that was once the home of his groom--for my father kept
the gate here for forty years."

"Lord Brompton has not yet come home?" asked Mrs. Carey, for it was she,
though she knew he had not.

"No, ma'am; he hasn't yet come out on the cliff walk. I can see him with
this glass--as I saw you," he added, explaining his presence.

Mrs. Carey gave a grim little smile in the dark.

"You would like to see the lodge, perhaps, ma'am, inside as well as
out?"

"Yes; I should like it very much; but I ought not to venture now. Lord
Brompton might return, and I should not wish him to know I had been here
for the world. I am overjoyed to know that he has at least one friend
who is faithful to him," and she held out her white hand to the old man.

She said this so graciously that old Reynolds was carried off his feet.
This fine patronage sent him back to his young manhood, when he was
whipper-in to the old Earl's foxhounds, and heard such voices and saw
such upright ladies in the hunting-field.

"Come in, my lady," he said, glancing at the cliff path; "he cannot
reach here under half an hour. You can see all there is to be seen of
the poor place in a few minutes."

The old man led, and she followed toward the lodge.

"Have a care of the steps, my lady; they are the worse for wear."

He entered before her, and threw open the door of the main room. The
place was made cheery and comfortable by a blazing wood-fire on the
great iron dogs, and a round copper kettle singing and steaming on one
side of the hearth.

The lady entered and stood by the table, glancing keenly at every
feature. In brief space she had taken an inventory of the room. Old
Reynolds passed her and opened a side door which let in a flood of cool
air from the field where she had been a few minutes before. The old man
stood at the door a moment, watching the cliff path for his master.

"We do not use this door," he said, "for the boards out there are too
old to be safe."

Mrs. Carey went to the door, the upper part of which had once contained
squares of glass, but was now vacant, and saw that it opened on a short
hall-way about four feet deep, with an outer door, also half of glass,
which was closed. Through this door-window the old man had looked toward
the cliff. Outside was an old piazza, deeply shadowed by overhanging
trees.

When Mrs. Carey returned to the table, her eye rested on a photograph on
the top of a heap of old letters. She reached her hand for it; but
hesitated, glancing at the servant.

"May I look at this?" she asked, with a sweet smile; "I know almost all
Lord Brompton's friends;" and she took up the photograph.

One glance was enough; it was a woman's face, but only some passing
woman, whom no one could remember for a month. With a slight smile, she
laid it down.

There was nothing more to be gathered, except by closer investigation of
the tempting irregularity. She beamed on the old man as she turned to
go.

"You will meet his lordship on your way to the house," he said. "He will
come by the cliff path."

"Oh, no; I shall return by the lower walk, which is safer and shorter.
What is your name?"

"Reynolds, my lady."

"Good-night, Reynolds; and please do not mention my visit to any one."

"Except to his lordship--"

"No; not even to him, Reynolds. It would only pain him to know that his
friends were observing his changed estate. You understand?"

"I do, my lady, but--"

"But, Reynolds, I ask you to do this for my sake," and again the smile
beamed, the white hand was extended, and the subtle seductiveness of
beauty had its way once more. Men are never so old, so humble, or so
ignorant as to be insensible to the charm. Faithful old Reynolds took
the lovely soft hand in both of his, and bent his white head and kissed
it.

"Even he shall not know," he said; and the next moment she was
gone--this time not across the moonlit field path to the cliff, but into
the dark shadows of the woods on the other side of the lodge.

Reynolds watched her till she was lost in the gloom, and then returned
to the lodge, closed the door, and started toward the cliff walk. The
old man was strangely excited over this first visit of his master to
"his own house," and he could not rest till he had seen the end of it.

But, before he had crossed the first field leading to the cliffs his
mysterious visitor had returned to the lodge. She had changed her mind
as she walked toward Ripon House, had resolved to see Geoffrey that
night, let old Reynolds learn what he might, and she had returned.

She called Reynolds in a low voice once or twice; then she opened the
door and entered the lodge. The place was empty. She went to the side
door of Geoffrey's sitting-room through the little hallway and stepped
out on the disused piazza, and from there she saw the old servant on his
way to the cliffs.

She was about to follow him but she checked herself suddenly.

"No! this is unexpectedly fortunate. The fates are in my favor--so far,
at least. Ah me! what will they say presently?"

Turning from the window in a softened mood, she looked at the room with
a new look. She saw across the chair, which she knew was Geoffrey's, his
old shooting-jacket, and she took it in her hands with a tender feeling,
hardly knowing what she did. Holding it within her arms she stood with
lowered head and a dreamy look in her eyes. While in this mood her
glance fell on the old sword which lay on the table, still with the
slip of paper tied to the hilt. She took it up and read the scroll.

Holding the jacket and the sword, she sat in Geoffrey's chair and stared
into the fire, with a smile, as if half enjoying her own audacity.

In a few minutes she heard a footstep, and presently the old servant
entered the outer room, which was the kitchen of the lodge. She sat
still, waiting till she saw him enter and start at her appearance, and
ready to smile his impressionable old soul into quietude.

But the ancient Reynolds unconsciously avoided the danger. He remained
in the outer room, and she heard him clatter among dishes and throw two
logs on the fire. Then he went off into another room and did not return.

Reynolds, seeing that his master had company, was busy preparing the one
"spare room" of the lodge for a possible guest.

Mrs. Carey grew tired of waiting. She went to the piazza door, opened
it, and looked out. Crossing the moonlit field she saw Geoffrey, and he
was not alone; but she did not recognize his companion. The beautiful
face was anything but beautiful just then, and the exclamation that
escaped her was as fierce as the stamp of her foot on the bare floor.

The two men were so close to the house that she could not escape by the
front door, and she did not know any other way. Could she instantly find
Reynolds she would then have asked him to conceal her till she could get
away unseen. But Reynolds did not appear.

It was a terrible moment for Mrs. Carey. Discovery in such a place and
at such a time was an appalling thought. Even with Geoffrey alone she
would hardly have known how to meet the first surprised glance; but
with another, and whom she knew not, the idea was intolerable,
impossible.

The men came on slowly; she heard their voices as they passed near the
window. Then she recognized Geoffrey's companion, and could she have
leaped from the piazza and fled, she would have done so.

Of all the men she knew, the only man she feared, or perhaps respected,
was Sir John Dacre. She did not understand him, while he seemed to read
her very soul. His presence robbed her of self-confidence, and made her
contemptibly conscious of her frivolity, or worse. He was like a
touchstone to her--and she never cared to be tested.

As the outer door opened and Geoffrey and Dacre entered the kitchen of
the lodge, Mrs. Oswald Carey stepped into the little passage opening on
the veranda. She gently lifted the latch of the outer door, but kept the
door closed. She carefully closed the inner door and crouched below the
opening. If discovered by Geoffrey she would confess that fear of
Dacre's presence had made her do this thing.

The conversation of the friends had been earnest, it was clear; and
before they had been in the room five minutes Mrs. Carey's fears had
given way to her curiosity, and instead of shrinking from the door she
raised herself to a kneeling position, so as to be near the opening, and
listened with breathless attention.

"The truth is, Dacre," said Geoffrey, "that I am not sure of myself. I
don't know that I have any political principles whatever."

"This is not a question of politics, Ripon," answered Dacre, almost
sternly; "it is a question, it is _the_ question of the reorganization
of the social life of England, which has been overturned and is in
danger of being utterly destroyed."

"Well, even for that I am not particularly enlisted. It does not trouble
me. Had you not told me about it, I should not have thought that
anything very serious was the matter with England, except that we of the
titled class have had a tumble and are as poor as the devil. But then
some other class has--"

"Stop, Ripon! It is unworthy of you to slight the dignity of England's
nobility, however poor we may be."

"_We!_ Why, hang it, Dacre, do I not count myself in? And I do not speak
slightingly. I fear I have no class, and therefore no prejudices. I was
too young to be a conscious aristocrat before the Revolution, and now I
am too old to be a thorough Communist. But go on, Dacre, I know you have
something to propose."

Even Dacre's enthusiasm cooled for a moment before the odd calmness of
Geoffrey, who was, as he himself surmised, a man almost without a class
and undisturbed by the hopes, fears or prejudices of those who have one.

Dacre walked to and fro with folded arms, while Geoffrey, slipping into
his old jacket, which he had been rather surprised to find wrapped round
his ancestor's sword, busied himself with the kettle and a bottle he had
taken from a cupboard.

"Listen, Ripon--" said Dacre.

"Hold on, hold on, mine ancient friend," said the preoccupied Geoffrey,
pouring hot water on the sugar in two glasses; "there's nothing like
Irish whiskey when you're talking treason."

"Ah, Geoffrey," said Dacre, sadly, as the friends clinked their glasses,
"men can live treason as well as talk it."

"Is that confession or reproach?"

"Reproach, Ripon. The life you live is daily treason to your country.
You sit idly by while England descends from the heights of her renown
and is clothed in the rags of the banditti who have obtained power over
her."

"Banditti--who? The Republicans?"

"Republicans or Anarchists, whatever they be called; the blind and
immoral mob that has been misled by wretches to destroy their
motherland."

"Look here, Dacre, do you really mean to say that Republicanism is
immoral and unnatural?"

"Certainly; that is just what I mean."

"But look at America--the happiest, richest, most orderly and yet the
most populous country in the world."

"I speak of Republicanism in England, not in America."

"But where is the difference?" persisted Geoffrey. "If the universal
suffrage of the people be virtue in America, how can it be vice in
England?"

"As the food of one life may be the poison of another," answered Dacre.
"Human society has many forms, and all may be good, but each must be
specially protected by its own public morality. England was reared into
greatness and flourished in greatness for twenty hundred years on one
unvarying order. America has developed under another order, a different
but not a better one."

"That may be, but in less than two hundred years America has reached a
point of wealth, order and peace that England has never approached in
two thousand."

"America," continued Dacre, "had nothing to unlearn. Her people had no
royal traditions--we have no democratic ones."

"There is something in that," said Geoffrey.

"There is everything in it. The Americans are true to their past, while
we are false to ours. We are trampling on the glorious name and fame of
our country. We are recreant to our position, intelligence, to our
fathers' memories--or we shall be if we do not--"

"Do not what?" asked Geoffrey, as Dacre paused.

"If we do not unite and have another revolution!" answered Dacre, slowly
and firmly.

There was a slight sound outside the room, which made Geoffrey raise his
eyes and glance toward the window; but Dacre, now aflame with his
subject, stood before him and arrested his look.

"Ripon, do you think that the nobles, the gentlemen of England, have
lain down like submissive creatures to this atrocious revolt? Do you
think nothing has been done?"

"In Heaven's name, what can be done?" asked Geoffrey.

"What did the Anarchists do when they wanted power?" asked Dacre
fiercely. "They banded together in secret. They swore to be true to each
other to the death. They armed and drilled and prepared their plans.
They watched every avenue, and took advantage of every mistake of ours.
They inflamed the masses against the Royal Family, the Court, the House
of Peers, the landed aristocracy, and when their hour of opportunity
came they raised the cry of revolution, and the government was changed
in a day."

"Well?"

"Well!--we have learned their lesson. What they did we shall do. We
have banded ourselves together. What is that?"

A noise like a creaking door had struck Dacre's ear, and he stopped.
Geoffrey had heard it, too, and instantly jumped up and walked into the
kitchen. Reynolds was not there; but Geoffrey heard him at work in
another room. He returned smiling.

"Either an owl or a ghost, Dacre," he said, looking out on the field.
"There is not a soul but old Reynolds within two miles of this place."

Dacre continued to pace the room, and as he walked he said in a low
voice:

"I have said too much, or not enough, Ripon. Shall I proceed?"

"By all means, proceed."

"But you understand--you see the consequence? You know enough to know
whether or not you want to hear more."

Geoffrey was silent, and sat looking at the fire. He was moved by
Dacre's words; but he was not filled with any new resolution. At last he
raised his eyes and was about to speak. Dacre was regarding him
intently, and now came and bent toward him.

"Come with us, Ripon," he said earnestly, dropping each sentence slowly.
"We want you. You are needed. It is your duty."

"I am not sure, Dacre, about that," answered Geoffrey, looking at his
friend.

Dacre drew back, with a flush on his pale face.

"I am not sure of that," continued Geoffrey, unheeding the movement;
"but I am sure of you, John Dacre, and I am ready to take your word for
it, even when you tell me what is my duty. I am sure that if the
gentlemen of England are in a league of your founding, or of your
choice, they are banded for no dishonor, but for some noble purpose; and
if you want me I am ready."

Dacre's mouth quivered as he grasped the hand his friend held out to
him. Then he took another turn across the room.

"Now, go on with your talk," said Geoffrey. "If there is any oath,
propose it."

"None for you," said Dacre.

"Thanks."

Dacre then unfolded the plan of the revolution which would restore the
House of Hanover, the House of Peers, the titles, and all the old order
of aristocratic classification which nearly twenty years before England
had put behind her. He wanted to see Geoffrey an actual leader, knowing
the qualities of the man; and to show him the position clearly he laid
the whole scheme bare. It was a terrible enterprise, but on the whole
not so formidable as a score of revolutions that have succeeded in
Europe since the end of the nineteenth century.

"You say you will begin with the army?" asked Geoffrey. "How many
regiments have you?"

"We have eleven colonels in England to-day," answered Dacre, "and six of
these will be with their regiments at Aldershot on the day of the
revolution."

"How are their men? Are the subalterns with them? and can they carry the
soldiers?"

"Many of the subalterns are not with them; but there are some
exceptions. When the Royal banner is raised and the King proclaimed,
depend on it the common people will respond."

"How many men of note will be at Aldershot on that day?" asked Geoffrey.

"Here is a rough plan of the rising and a list of the gentlemen, which
Colonel Arundel has drawn up," said Dacre, and he took from an inner
pocket a paper containing about forty names, which he handed to
Geoffrey, who glanced at it rapidly, recognizing nearly all the names,
though he knew few of their owners. Half a score of dukes and earls and
marquises headed the list, including old Bayswater and the unfortunate
Royal Duke who had chosen to remain in England in poverty rather than
share the King's exile in America. Lower down on the list were the names
of simple gentlemen like Featherstone and Sydney.

While Geoffrey was looking at the scroll, Dacre had taken up the old
sword and read the faded inscription tied to the hilt. Geoffrey saw him
and smiled, as he laid the list on the table.

"It is true, Dacre," he said, laying his hand affectionately on his
friend's shoulder. "I thought of the words of that scroll to-night when
I saw you interested in that girl with the beautiful eyes, who sat
beside you."

"Why think of these words?"

"Because she was a commoner's daughter, Dacre; but none the less a noble
English girl, fit match for any aristocrat in Europe."

"Doubtless," answered Dacre, calmly, looking at the silver hilt of the
old sword.

"You have met Miss Lincoln before to-day? Yes--Miss Windsor told me so."

"Yes; I have seen her several times at Arundel House."

"Her father is a good man, Dacre. How will he regard our revolution?"

"As we regarded his, no doubt--as a crime."

"God!" thought Geoffrey, pacing the floor, "how strange that two men so
noble as these should look upon each other as traitors and enemies!"

"Were it not for Richard Lincoln the Monarchy would have been restored
ten years ago. He is a powerful supporter of his class," said Dacre,
slowly.

"Dacre!" said Geoffrey, stopping in front of him, "it is we who are
class men. Richard Lincoln is a patriot!"

Dacre leaned his chin on the old sword, and looked silently into the
fire.

"What will you do with such men as he, should this revolution succeed?"
continued Geoffrey. "They will never submit."

"They must," said Dacre, with compressed lips, "or--" The sentence was
left unspoken.

Geoffrey saw it was no use to argue. He had cast in his lot with Dacre,
and there could be no drawing back.

"Stay with me to-night," said Geoffrey, as his friend was buttoning his
coat. "Reynolds has prepared a room for you."

"No; I must see Featherstone, who returns to London early to-morrow. I
should like to see you later in the day. I shall come here, I think."

"Yes; it is quiet here. Well, let me walk with you as far as the end of
the cliff."

And lighting their cigars the two men struck across the field, Geoffrey
having ordered old Reynolds to go to bed.

Mrs. Oswald Carey waited till the old man had left the kitchen and
retired. Then she came from her hiding-place and at one glance saw what
she wanted--the list of conspirators, which Geoffrey had laid open on
the table. Her keen sense of hearing had followed this paper as if it
were visible to her eyes, and she knew that it had not been returned to
Dacre. With a firm hand she seized the document, and the next moment she
had left the room, closing the two doors behind her. She kept close to
the wall as she circled the lodge to the lower path, and then she
started on a rapid walk for Ripon House.

As Geoffrey returned he was thinking of the list, and he looked for it,
with something of alarm at its absence. When he realized that it was
gone he walked through the kitchen and called up Reynolds.

"Were you in the room since I went out?" he asked.

"No, my lord."

"Is there any one else in the house?"

"No, my lord."

"Has there been any one else here to-night?"

The old man hesitated before he answered this time.

"No, my lord; no one has been here."

Geoffrey had not the slightest reason to doubt the faithful old man, but
had asked the questions for reassurance. As he retired for the night, or
rather morning, he said to himself that Dacre had no doubt taken the
document, which was too precious and too dangerous to be left in any
other hands.




CHAPTER VII.

A FOUR-IN-HAND AND ONE IN THE BUSH.


The four-in-hand which was drawn up in front of the great terrace of
Ripon House the next morning reflected much credit upon Mr. Jawkins's
_savoir faire_. The new harness glistened in the sunlight of the bright
November morning; the grooms, in the nattiest of coats and the whitest
and tightest of breeches, were standing at the horses' heads; and the
horses themselves, beautifully matched, clean-limbed and glossy, were
fresh from a toilet as carefully made as that of a professional beauty,
or even Mrs. Oswald Carey's own. And that lady stood on the threshold of
the Doric portal, her clinging driving-dress seeming loath to hide the
grand curves of her figure, and her violet eyes drinking in the day. As
she stood there, she seemed anything but the flower of a moribund
civilization, the last blossom of an ancient _regime_; but there is a
certain force which flourishes in anarchy, a life which feeds upon the
decay of other lives, and grows but the more beautiful for it. Geoffrey
looked upon her with a half-repelled, unwilling admiration, little
knowing how near he had been to her the night before. Then Maggie
Windsor came out, and he tried to look at her instead.

"Remarkably fine horses, those, Mr. Windsor," remarked the Duke, with a
gravely approving nod of his polished head. "Remarkably fine horses," he
repeated, as if one could not have too much of a good thing from a duke;
and this time he threw in a wave of his patrician hand, gratis. Jawkins
looked at him with admiration, and again felt that he was a prime
investment. The strawberry-colored dome of his bald head was alone worth
the money, not to mention the strawberry leaves.

"And does not your Grace admire the break?" asked Mr. Jawkins, with a
preliminary bow and smirk. "It is a new pattern; and the panels picked
out in cream color are thought to give a monstrous fine tone to the
body. And as for the horses--they're from ex-President Rourke's state
stables."

The Duke looked as if he deprecated the introduction of any such recent
personage into the company, even by the mention of his name; and at that
moment the Duchess arrived with Sir John Dacre. Sir John did not look
much like the member of a coaching party; a close observer might have
noted a slight mutual glance of intelligence passing between his eyes
and Geoffrey's. Mrs. Oswald Carey was that close observer.

"A four-in-hand is all very well for those that like it," observed Mr.
Windsor to the Duke, "but give me a box buggy and a span of long-tailed
horses. Are you off to-day, Jawkins?"

"Yes; the Prince has sent telegrams at twenty-minute intervals all
through the morning, and in the latest one he began to swear. The Prince
is a natural linguist and can swear in fifteen different languages. I
must be off to Brighton at once. I will return late at night. I have
left one of my young men, who will take good care of you, you know.
Good-by, Mr. Windsor--your Grace, I am your most obedient--" Jawkins
bowed low and jumped into his little dog-cart. By this time the break
had got fairly loaded; the horses were given their heads; the horn
sounded; and in the wake of the great equipment provided for Mr.
Jawkins's clients, Jawkins himself rattled contentedly along to the
station.

A fine show made the paint and silver and the flowers and the gay cloaks
and furs and the beautiful women among them. What is more dashing and
brilliant than a coaching-party? What more inspiring to the eye, more
light and careless; what fun more fast and furious? And many a man that
morning, who felt his hand clothed with all the might of the people,
looked curiously at the equipage of the Yankee millionaire and envied
these gay people, the haughty beauty of the women, the gentlemen with
their calm, unruffled exterior, and the light-heartedness, the
carelessness of it all.

Now, upon this coach were six people; and as they bowled along in the
crisp November morning they were thinking of many things. Let us fancy,
if we can, what some of these gay thoughts were. On the inside seat was
Mr. Sydney, the hired wit, the broken-down man-about-town; his health
gone, his future gone, with no family, no friends, no faith in a
hereafter and no joy in the present; and the day preceding, at dinner,
he had eaten a _vol-au-vent_ which had disagreed with him. Next Mr.
Sydney came the Duchess, the gaunt and dignified lady who awed even
Jawkins to repose. There was not a night of her life that she did not
cry like any schoolgirl whose lover has forgotten her, at the shame of
her life, and the bitterness and humiliation of her daily bread. She
would rail at the old Duke, who had come to it so easily, and was
willing to prostitute the honors of his race for gross creature
comforts, his claret, his cigar; and every morning, when her old eyes
opened, she hated the daylight that told her she was not yet dead.

Next the Duchess came Maggie Windsor. Come now (you might say), she, at
least, is in her place upon a four-in-hand, with her young life, her
happy lot, her pretty, pouting lips and laughing eyes? I do not know; I
marked the quiver of those pretty lips, and the flush of her fresh face,
as her eyes, no longer laughing, looked at Mrs. Carey, just in front.
Beside her sits Sir John Dacre. His lips are closed firmly above the
square blue chin, and his eyes, beneath a prematurely wrinkled brow,
look straight before him out upon the road. Perhaps you would not call
Sir John's face attractive; his expression does not change enough for
charm, and there is not light enough in those still gray eyes. As you
see it now, so his expression has been these twenty years, from his
studious youth at Oxford on. The four horses break into a furious canter
down the hill; the coach sways from side to side; and Dacre still looks
far ahead and down the road. If there is no light in the eyes, there is
no tremor of the lips; just so he looked when at the doorway, all
unconscious that Mary Lincoln was looking at his eyes and finding them
attractive. Dacre has never thought of women; his life has had but a
single thought, a single hope, and that, perhaps, a forlorn one.

In front, on the box-seat, is Geoffrey Ripon, driving, and Ripon is
miserable that Maggie Windsor is there, miserable that Eleanor Carey is
there, so miserable about either that he half forgets he has promised
his life to Dacre, and with him, so close that her full arm touches
his, and troubles him as if it had some magnetic influence, sits the
beautiful woman whose girlhood he had loved; she, now knowing this, now
conscious of the might of love, and of the power that it gave her
womanhood upon this man; and in her heart the madness of her misery, the
scorning of her world, the courage and the passion of despair.

It is a gay coaching party, and many such another rattles through this
world with the footmen and the shining trappings and the pomp of paint
and varnish. Oddly enough, no one speaks for moments, while they whirl
down the avenue beneath the stately trees. "Where shall I drive you to?"
finally says Ripon to the company.

"Where you like," says Miss Windsor, after a pause. "You must know the
prettiest place--you have known this country from your childhood."

Ripon drove them up to the highest crest of the down, where the long
main wave of the green hills stretches eastward along the coast, and the
faint blue sea sleeps glimmering in the south. Still no one spoke;
Dacre's eyes were lost over the ocean; even Miss Windsor was grave and
silent. Mrs. Carey tried to point out a sail to Geoffrey; he could not
see it, and she leaned over close to him that he might follow the
direction of her eye. Her breath seemed warm upon his face after the sea
breeze.

"Your eyes are not so good as they used to be," said she. Geoffrey
looked at her, and thought to himself that hers were deeper. He said so;
but she only laughed the more and looked at him again. "Do you remember
our rides in the pony-carriage?" she went on. "Poor Neddy!"

He did remember the rides in the pony-carriage only too well; when he
sat beside the laughing girl, and she looked up at him as they drove
through the leafy lanes when the shadows lengthened till the sunbeams
crept under the old trees and touched her hair with gold. It was in one
of these drives that he had vowed that he would always love her. He had
broken a sixpence with her in earnest of their betrothal contract. But
he did not like to have those drives recalled with Maggie Windsor
sitting just behind them. The horses were conveniently restive just
then, and perhaps Geoffrey did not put on quite so much brake going down
the hill as was necessary. The heavy vehicle went down with a rush;
Geoffrey and Mrs. Carey were not looking at the horses, the Duchess was
indifferent, Sydney looked on dyspeptically, and Dacre was looking far
ahead, as was his wont. Only Maggie Windsor gave a little scream and
grasped the rail.

"It was not so hard to drive Neddy as that four," Mrs. Carey went on.
"If I remember aright, the reins were often on the dash-board, and we
were not always absorbed in the scenery, I fear." Mrs. Carey sighed, and
looked away over the green hills and valleys.

"Poor old Neddy!" said Geoffrey, lightly. "I suppose he carries no such
happy burdens now."

"Some people are happy yet," the woman answered. "I told you yesterday I
had never blamed you for forgetting me after you went to Oxford. It was
true. But I missed you very much." There was a little tremor in her
voice as she said this. Geoffrey pricked his horses nervously.

"My heart gave a great leap when you came into the room--it should not
leap, being Oswald's," she continued, in a more worldly tone, "but it
did all the same. A woman's heart cannot forget its first possessor,
you know; even now that you have lost it--with the rest of your
estates," she added maliciously.

"With the rest of my estates," Geoffrey repeated, almost unconsciously.
They had crossed the highest hill by this time, and were upon a lower
ridge; before them a long green band of velvety turf stretched away over
the billowy downs, the chalk shining through the bare places where the
grass was worn away, like flecks of foam. Geoffrey had a sudden thought,
and, leaving the road, he cannoned the four noble horses over the close,
hard turf.

"Poor fellow!" said Mrs. Carey after a moment. "And are all your estates
really gone? Can you get none of them back? But where is this--where are
you going?"

"I say," said Sydney, "do you know where you are, Brompton? This used to
be Goodwood Race-course." Goodwood Race-course; so it was. There was the
track, stretching like a band of broad green ribbon over hill and dale;
there was the glorious oak wood to the west, above the smooth bit of
grass which used to be the lawn, where the ladies of the reign of
Victoria had their picnics and showed their dresses, and book-makers
used to jostle ministers in the betting-ring. "Ah," said Sydney, "my
father has told me of great doings here--when King George's grandfather
was the Prince of Wales."

The break rolled silently over the soft greensward, and Geoffrey feared
Miss Windsor could overhear their every word, as Mrs. Carey spoke again.

"This is a glorious day--a glorious country," she said. "Do you know, I
have not felt so happy since those old days?" She looked up again, and
Geoffrey met the magic of her eyes, and lost himself in them. Suddenly
she turned them from him. "You should be saying all this--not I," she
said.

"When were you married to Mr. Oswald Carey?" asked Geoffrey, abruptly.
He felt that he was slipping from his moral moorings and wished to lash
himself to them again.

"I have been married four years," she said, coldly. "But you really must
be careful of your driving, Lord Brompton. I distract you by talking."

"Not at all," said Geoffrey, half troubled that his parrying question
had answered his purpose so well. Mrs. Carey turned round with an
indifferent air.

"My dear Duchess, is not the view charming?"

The Duchess made so slight an inclination of her head that it was hardly
an affirmative. She did not approve of Mrs. Oswald Carey. Not that her
approval mattered anything nowadays. But she thought it bad enough to be
a professional beauty and sell one's photograph; and worse still to rent
one's face out to enliven dining-parties, and one's neck and shoulders
to adorn dinners. True, she herself rented their great name, their ducal
title; but then she never could get used to it in others.

If Mrs. Carey noticed the snub, she showed no sign in her face, but
turned to Mr. Sydney. He also had found the Duchess rather thorny; and
was ready as ever to pay the homage that one who is only a wit owes to
beauty. And we know that beauty is more queen than ever in this material
age. It is long since our grandfathers first found the folly of dreams
and banished art and poetry from England--with opium and other idle
drugs.

"Mr. Sydney, you look as fresh as a daisy. I am so glad the
_vol-au-vent_ agreed with you."

"My dear madam, you know not of what you speak. My night was terrible,
and no such aurora as yourself was in my troubled dream at dawn." Sydney
looked over at the Duchess, fancying this speech was rather nicely
turned; but her Grace was quite impassive, and evidently maintaining a
sort of conversational armed neutrality.

"Oh, Mr. Sydney, you should have more care of yourself, or I fear the
day will come when you will dine no longer, but merely sit up and take
nourishment. Now, we expect you to be so funny at luncheon."

Sydney began to be offended thinking this too flippant treatment of a
man of his position. Meantime Maggie Windsor had been asking Dacre about
the beauty. "She told me last night she was a very old friend of Lord
Brompton's?"

"Yes, I believe she was. I fancy even there may have been some childish
love affair between them." Dacre spoke bluntly, as usual. Love affairs
had found no place in Dacre's mind; his only thought was his country and
his King; and he spoke with little consciousness of the individual human
life his words might wound.

"Look there!" cried Sydney, "there is Goodwood House." Geoffrey looked
across the park (they had gone down the hill, through the wood, and were
now in the open again) and saw a great, rambling house, the central part
of white stone, with two semicircular bays. This part was evidently old,
but long brick wings were added of more modern construction. "The county
has bought it for a lunatic asylum, I hear from Jawkins," said the wit
grimly.

"Where is the Duke of Richmond?" asked Geoffrey. "Still in Russia?"

"Giving boxing lessons," said Dacre.

The rest of the ride was made in silence. They went down through a
valley naturally fertile. None of the large older houses seemed to be
occupied, but were falling into waste. Early in the afternoon they drew
up at Chichester Cathedral, among the ruins of which they were to lunch.
The grooms took the horses off to an inn in the little village near by,
and Jawkins's man proceeded to unpack the hampers.

For some reason, Miss Windsor avoided Geoffrey. The Duchess and Sir John
sat silently beside one another; Ripon was left to Mrs. Carey. It was a
pretty picnic; but the party did not seem to enjoy it very much. From
the Chichester ruin the roof has quite disappeared, but the pointed
arches of the nave still stand; and these and the flying buttresses of
the choir make a half inclosure of the place, into which the sunlight
breaks and slants like broken bars of music through the soft greensward.
Here you may lose yourself among the arches and pillars, the broken
altars, the overturned fonts, and the old tombs and marble tablets
speaking of dead worthies long forgotten. And if you lose yourself with
the right person, your loss may be (as these same epitaphs read) her
eternal gain.

Geoffrey wandered in here with Mrs. Carey. He had been trying to find
Miss Windsor; but he met the other first. He could not treat her rudely,
perhaps he did not wish to; but to his speech she answered but in
monosyllables or not at all. Finally they sat down on the grass, leaning
on an old stone pillar overthrown in a corner, half sheltered by what
had been an altar in the old days, before the church was disestablished.
Geoffrey did not speak for some time, and when he looked at her he saw
that she was crying. Great tears were in her eyes, and as he bent down
they seemed tenfold even their usual depth.

"Mrs. Carey! Eleanor!" he cried in despair, "what can be so wrong with
you! Pray tell me--please tell me--" She made no answer; her hand was
cold and unresisting as he raised it with the soft white arm from the
grass; the sleeve fell back, and the setting sunlight showed each little
vein in her transparent skin. "Pray, tell me!" Geoffrey went on, and
then, more softly, "You know I have never forgotten you!"

Her breast was rising and falling with her weeping; but only a single
sigh escaped her lips. At his words a deep sob seemed to break from a
full heart; half rising, on an elbow, she placed her hand on Geoffrey's
shoulder and drew his head in the bend of her wrist down close to her as
she lay. Her lips almost brushed his cheek as she poured into his ear a
torrent of words. "I am so miserable! so miserable!" was all he could
distinguish. Then she arose, sitting upright.

"Geoffrey Ripon, my life is a lie--a mean, unbroken lie. You know why I
married Carey--he could give me position, _eclat_, fashion--fashion,
which is all we moderns prize, who have killed our nobles and banished
honor from the dictionary. I sold myself to him and I have queened it,
there in London, among the lucky gamblers and the demagogues and the
foreign millionaires. All that this world--all that the world can give I
have had, Geoffrey Ripon. And I tell you that there is nothing but love,
love, love. It is these things that are the lie, Geoffrey--not love and
truth and honesty. Oh, forgive me, Geoffrey, but I do so crave for love
alone."

Ripon looked at her, speechless. As she spoke the glorious lips had a
curl that was above the earth, and the eyes a glory that was beyond it;
and the grand lines of her figure formed and melted and new formed again
as she leaned, restless, upon the fallen stone. She threw her arm about
his neck, and drew him down to her.

"Geoffrey, did you ever love me? You never could have loved me, when you
left me so. See, the broken sixpence you gave me. I have still got it. I
have always kept it." And she tore her collar open, and showed him the
broken silver, hanging on a ribbon of her hair about her neck. "Oh,
Geoffrey, you never knew that I loved you so! See--" and she drew out
the coin and ribbon, and placed it, still warm from her bosom, in his
hand. "Geoffrey, I care for nothing but love--this world is a wreck, a
sham, a ruin--all is gone--all is gone but love--dear love--"

She drew him closer to her breast. For a moment Geoffrey looked into her
marvellous eyes. Then a faint shadow passed across them, and looking
aside he thought he saw Miss Windsor, alone, passing one of the arches.

"Hush!" he cried; and throwing the ribbon down he rose and stepped a
pace or so aside. "Forgive me, Eleanor," he said to her, as she looked
at him, "I loved you once--God knows--but now--it is too late."




CHAPTER VIII.

SPRETAE INJURIA FORMAE.


Mrs. Oswald Carey rose the following morning before anybody was
stirring. She passed down the staircase noiselessly and opened the front
door, when, much to her annoyance, she found herself face to face with
Mr. Jawkins, who was smoking a matutinal pipe on the front steps.

"Whither away so early, Mrs. Carey?"

Her first impulse was to tell a falsehood, but the keen, clever
countenance of her interrogator convinced her of the futility of such a
plan.

"To London," she said, simply; "can I be of service to you there?"

"You know I depend upon you to sing 'My Queen' after the _dejeuner_."

"A matter of imperative importance calls me away. I shall return
to-morrow."

Jawkins looked inexorable, and declared that he could not afford to have
her go. "You are the lodestone of my organization, the influence by
which the various celebrities I chaperone are harmonized. If it is a
question of pounds, I mean dollars--this new currency is very
puzzling--dictate your own terms. I have a valuable diamond here which
once belonged to our sovereign. I shall be happy to make you a present
of it if you will give up your plan." He held up the gem as he spoke.

"What you ask is impossible. There are moments in a woman's life when
even a diamond seems lustreless as your eyes, Mr. Jawkins, if you will
pardon the simile." Her sleepless night had made her wrong burn so
grievously that she could not refrain from sententiousness, even in the
presence of this man whom she despised.

The undertaker scratched his head thoughtfully. "Has the Archbishop of
Canterbury said anything to offend your irreligious scruples?"

"No."

"I trust the prim manners of her Grace have not wounded your feelings.
She has old-fashioned notions regarding the sanctity of matrimonial
relations. She does not approve, perhaps, of your appearing in public
without your husband," said Mr. Jawkins, with an apologetic smile.

"I have no feelings. You forget I am a woman of the world. Besides I am
revenged for any coldness on the part of the Duchess by her husband's
affability. I got a guinea out of the Duke last evening."

"By what method?" asked the other, with unfeigned admiration.

"He kissed my hand. Perhaps you are now aware, Mr. Jawkins," continued
Mrs. Carey, with a captivating swirl of her swan-like neck, "that I have
established a personal tariff. My attractions are scheduled. To kiss a
thumb or any but my little fingers costs two bob. The little fingers
come at half a crown. To roam at will over my whole hand involves the
outlay of a guinea. Am I not ingenious and at the same time reasonable
in my terms, Mr. Jawkins? I will squeeze your hand for sixpence." She
laughed charmingly. Go to London she must and would, but she hoped to
accomplish her purpose by wheedling and to avoid a rupture with the
manager.

"Madam," he replied, with polite coldness, "was not my attitude toward
you what may be called fiduciary I should hasten to take advantage of
your offer. But business is business, and I have made it a rule never to
enter into social relations with any of my clients during the
continuance of a contract. Excuse me for saying, Mrs. Carey, that if you
persist in your design I shall feel obliged to withdraw your back pay."

Pitiful a menace as this may seem to well-to-do people, it affected Mrs.
Carey disagreeably. She was dependent upon her engagement with Mr.
Jawkins for her means of support. These wages and the royalty she
derived from the sale of her photographs were her sole income. She could
not afford to offend him, and she well knew he would keep his word. But
her desire for revenge would not brook considerations of policy. Rather
than abandon her plan she was resolved to break with him.

Such was the outcome of her reflections during the moment that she stood
smiling at his threat before she made a reply. She looked at him in a
fashion that would have melted the iron mood of any man but Jawkins. He
had seen beauty world-wide in its most entrancing forms, and believed
himself proof against feminine wiles.

"Is there no alternative?" she asked, beseechingly.

"Mrs. Carey, I will be frank with you. I suspect you of an intention of
going to America for the purpose of carrying on an intrigue with the
late King, one of whose cipher letters to you has chanced to come into
my possession. To have you arrested would be very disagreeable to me,
and I trust you will not force me to take that step."

Mrs. Carey's surprise was so great that she almost betrayed herself.
This suspicion of his would be an admirable cloak for her real design
could she only succeed in representing it to Mr. Jawkins in such a light
that he would suffer her to go to London. Some months previous she had
projected a journey to America, and letters had passed between her and
the King, but the scheme had been laid aside as impracticable, as she
had discovered that the royal family were in reduced circumstances. It
was now well known in London that the King's banker kept him very short.

"Well," she said, with simulated distress, "you have pried into my
secret, Mr. Jawkins. I have never injured you. What motive have you in
standing between me and fortune? Why should you begrudge me the _eclat_
of wearing the coronet of England's Queen?"

"I will be frank with you again, Mrs. Carey. I have rivals in America
who would snap you up in the twinkling of an eye. A royal crown upon the
brow of a professional beauty has not its equal on the globe as a great
moral exhibition."

"But I would give you the contract," she said.

The manager shrugged his shoulders.

"Is my word of honor of no avail?" she asked.

"I once lost L100,000 on a similar insecurity, Mrs. Carey."

"You wish to ruin my prospects in life, Mr. Jawkins."

"I am obliged to consider my own."

"You are rich and prosperous already. I have nothing but my personal
attractions, as you well know, and you seek to rob me of the prize when
just within my grasp."

"You are unjust, madam." He shuffled his feet uneasily. It was against
his grain as a man to see this peerless beauty in trouble and refuse her
petition. Her arms apparent in all their white perfection of roundness,
her exquisitely poised head and lovely face expressed the poignancy of
dismay.

"Is there no security that you will accept, Mr. Jawkins?"

Jarley Jawkins looked at her, and felt the blood surge in his veins.
Mrs. Carey had always exercised a powerful charm over him. He regarded
her as the most beautiful woman of his acquaintance. Ordinarily the
thought of suggesting anything compromising would not have occurred to
him, but her marvellous beauty presenting itself in the same scale with
her necessity, blinded him to prudence and every other consideration but
passion. It was a contest between the cunning of a luscious beauty
striving for a secret end and the self-interest of a mercenary man. The
victory was hers, though scarcely by the means she had expected.

"Yes, Mrs. Carey, there is one." He leered at her a little.

"And that?"

"Yourself." He spoke distinctly and resolutely, for he was a man who
faltered at nothing when his mind was made up, but she could see him
tremble.

His speech was so astounding that she could scarcely believe that she
heard him aright. She felt the blood rush to her cheeks in testimony to
the audacity of the insult. Coming from this man such an avowal inspired
her with rage and disgust. He, the society costermonger, sighing at her
feet! Bah! It seemed too degrading to be true. It could not be true. And
yet there he was and a response was necessary. A politic response, too,
or all was lost. If she rejected him he would have her arrested. Her
mind was made up.

"I know," he continued, as she did not speak, "that my proposition seems
at first distasteful, but there is much to be said in its favor."

"Yes?" she queried, looking at the ground.

"I love you. If we fly to America, what is there to prevent our success?
We are both clever. I am rich, and you are the most beautiful woman in
the world."

"Your offer is so abrupt that I do not know what to answer. Give me
time, Mr. Jawkins."

"No, no; now, at once. The steamer sails day after to-morrow," he
uttered hoarsely, and he seized her hand and kissed it with passion.

"A guinea," she cried banteringly, and she looked into his face with her
beautiful violet eyes, as she had into many another whose love, though
nobly born, had been no less scorned in the days gone by.

"Guineas for such as you! You shall have millions. And you will go?"

"Yes," she whispered, "I will go."

He sought to embrace her, but she eluded his grasp. "Not yet--not yet.
You must wait." So great was her disgust that she feared lest she should
break out in rage and denounce him. Following after her scene with
Geoffrey the very intensity of his passion wrought disagreeably upon her
nerves. She felt the irony of fate. Yet the reflection steeled her
purpose and gave her strength to smile and seem to accept his advances.

She placed her hand, glistening with rings, upon his sleeve. "I will
meet you in town to-morrow, anywhere you select."

"No, you must not leave me now."

"It is absolutely necessary. I have my things to get ready."

"My servants will supply all that you need."

"Ah, you do not understand women's needs," she murmured, coquettishly,
and she turned to get into the phaeton, which just then had driven up to
the door. It had been ordered for Jawkins's morning airing, but it
suited her convenience admirably.

He made a movement to follow her, but she turned and spoke to him in
French. "Do you not understand that caution is necessary? We must not be
seen together. I will meet you at noon to-morrow in South Kensington
Gardens. Adieu." She smiled upon him, and her glance had all the
sweetness of that which Vivien bent on Merlin. "To the station!" she
said to the coachman.

It took her some time to collect her thoughts and realize the situation.
The effrontery of Jawkins seemed so daring that she almost laughed
aloud. She had escaped from his clutches for a moment, but it was only a
respite, a breathing spell which would soon be over. It would be
necessary to provide for the morrow. But that reflection disturbed her
little. She was free to pursue the object of her journey and satisfy the
desire for revenge which filled her heart. As the train whirled toward
London she whetted the stiletto of vengeance upon the grindstone of her
wounded feelings. That paper exhibited by Dacre would furnish the needed
proof of conspiracy, and then good-by, Lord Brompton, to your cherished
schemes for fortune. It made her wince to think that she had been
discarded for an awkward hoyden of a girl, her equal in no particular.
So she stigmatized her rival, as she chose to consider Maggie Windsor.
"He loved me in the days of my green maidenhood," she said to herself,
"but now that I am become the most beautiful woman in England he
disdains me." Even Jawkins had spoken of her as the most beautiful woman
in the world.

The thought of Jawkins recalled the incident of the morning, which, in
the bitterness of her mood, she had forgotten. Somehow or other the idea
of quitting the country in his company seemed less repulsive to her than
at first. He was rich, and she would no longer be obliged to support
herself by a degrading occupation. After the first buzz of scandal and
excitement at her elopement the world would cease to prattle, or if it
did she would be in America and safe from its strictures. The King was
too poor in friends to refuse her recognition at his court. And, after
all, there need be no scandal. She would go to America in the role of a
professional beauty and Jawkins should be her manager. She would keep
him at a respectful distance and squeeze money out of him by dint of
promises. Once in America she would seek to fascinate the King. She was
weary of England. She had exhausted its resources, and it would be
amusing to visit the great ideal Republic, of whose magnificent
prosperity she had read until her mouth watered. Yes, let this matter of
a conspiracy be set at rest and Geoffrey lodged in prison, and she would
go. Her glorious eyes sparkled with interest. She would have done with
the platitudes and dreariness of private life. A grand career loomed up
before her across the ocean, where men lavished millions at the dictate
of imagination and put no limit upon enthusiasm. A fig for the dream of
an absorbing love, such as for an hour yesterday had flitted through her
brain. She would trample on its ashes after she had sated her vengeance.

In this mood she reached London. She took a four-wheel cab and told the
man to drive her to Buckingham Palace. Shrouding her features she sank
back from observation. Had she not preferred to screen her face she was
free to enjoy the emotions of a celebrity. Her photograph was in the
shop-window of every picture-dealer in town. Her sympathy with the
Royalists had, it is true, lessened her popularity for a time, but
supreme beauty is the one attribute which disarms prejudice and converts
ill-will.

London at this period, like the rest of England, showed marks of the
unhappy condition of its affairs. The thoroughfares, parks and public
buildings looked dirty and uncared for. An atmosphere of gloom overhung
Mayfair like a pall, as though the very fog had taken advantage of the
situation and was clamoring for spoils. It was, in truth, a system of
spoils that had been inaugurated in this former stronghold of
constitutional liberty. The present government gave every facility to
those who advocated popular principles with the aim of feathering their
own nests. Under the influence of the social craze all that tended to
promote external beauty of architecture or equipment was
discountenanced, and a sodden rule of ignorant craft and vulgarity was
settled upon the nation. Those at the helm were clever demagogues who
were prepared to humor the people, provided they had the control of the
public funds wherewith to indulge their licentious tastes. President
Bagshaw had converted Buckingham Palace into a barracks, where he sat
day in, day out, with boon companions. Entrance was forbidden to none.
The dirtiest scavenger might there at any moment shake the hand of the
people's chief representative.

Mrs. Carey alighted, and found herself exposed to the gaze of a group of
rough, groggy-looking individuals who were hanging about the entrance to
the once famous palace. All the way down Regent Street she had peeped
out from the cab windows, hoping to catch sight of familiar faces or
fascinating wares in the shopping paradise of the late nobility; but,
though the stores still stood, few passers were to be seen, and the
filthy, smoky aspect of the sidewalks told that anarchy was rampant even
here. Revolution is silent in England. The people uprising in their
might do not overturn monuments and lop the limbs from statues. They let
the dust and the smoke and the fog do the work for them. Only one face
was recognized by Mrs. Carey as the vehicle rumbled down to its
destination. She caught sight of her husband leaning out of one of the
windows of Fenton's Hotel smoking a pipe. The once famous hostelry had
become a haunt for pothouse politicians. A sudden impulse of generosity
seized her. "I will invite Oswald to dinner with me to-night," thought
she.

As she walked into the palace the men made way for her in silence. They
removed the pipes from their mouths and stared in mingled bewilderment
and admiration. Despite her veil she was too striking looking not to
fetter the attention of even the most listless, for the disgust with
which these surroundings inspired her and the tenacity of her cruel
design gave her a bearing such as Clytemnestra might have envied. She
stalked through the corridor and up the stairs, disregarding the gilded
hand and tin sign which read, "To the President's Room. Second Story.
Take the Elevator." The idlers in the lobby had recognized her, and a
whisper spread until it swelled into a buzz outside that she was the
professional beauty.

"Can I see the President?" she asked of a policeman who alone guarded
the door of the chief magistrate.

"Name, please," said the functionary, who still clung to this relic of
the formality of the past.

"Say a lady," she said, haughtily, and the man, impressed by her mien,
threw open the door.

Mrs. Carey found herself in the presence of a large, heavily built man,
with a bald head and long, coal-black beard, who was sitting at a desk.
He was smoking, and the spacious but bare room was thick with tobacco
smoke. A table, on which were empty bottles and the remains of a lunch,
stood in one corner. Several men, who also had cigars in their mouths,
were sprawling on an enamel cloth lounge in the bay-window which
commanded the street. At her entrance these latter arose, and, at a
glance from their chief at the desk, shambled out of the room by a side
door, casting, however, over their shoulders glances of curiosity and
surprise. She waited until they had closed the door, then lifted her
veil.

President Bagshaw rose and made a bow, which was an unusual act of
homage on his part, for he was a woman-hater as well as an atheist. He
even removed the cigar from his mouth.

"What can I do for you, madam?" he asked.

"I have important information for the government." She paused an
instant. "Are we quite alone?"

The President went to the side door, and carefully bolted it. Then he
resumed his seat, and, resting his ponderous, seamy jaw upon the flat of
his hand, waited for her to begin. He was used to all sorts of devices
as a prelude to requests for office or emolument, and his expression
betokened little interest or expectation. Had not the serious character
of the communication she was about to make rendered coquetry at the
moment distasteful to Mrs. Carey, she would assuredly have been tempted
to tamper with the indifference of this matter-of-fact personage, who
even already had recovered from the trifling shock to his principles
which her entrance had caused.

"I have proofs," said she in a low tone, "of a serious conspiracy among
the Royalists."

His countenance changed a little, and a contracted brow of a business
man became noticeable. "In what part of the Republic?" he asked.

"It is a widely concerted plot in which all the leading Royalists in the
country are engaged. The King himself is privy to the affair. The
outbreak is to occur at Aldershot on the 24th of November. Many of the
troops have been suborned."

"Who are the leaders of this conspiracy?"

"The prime movers are Sir John Dacre and Lord Brompton. It was at the
latter's house that I learned the particulars of the affair."

Clytemnestra never plied the sword more ruthlessly than this jealous
woman doomed to destruction the man who had spurned her love.

The President was silent a moment. "Have you proofs of what you tell
me?"

She took from her muff Colonel Arundel's letter and handed it to him.
"You will find there, sir, a list of the leading rebels and the army
officers implicated."

He scanned it eagerly. "H'm; yes, this speaks for itself. And what," he
continued presently, with a politician's quick sense, "can I do for you
in return?" The idea of being loyal for nothing would never have
occurred to President Bagshaw.

"The time may come when I shall ask a favor of the government, but not
to-day," said Mrs. Carey. "My only request is that my name shall not be
mentioned in the matter. Is that agreed upon?"

"Certainly, if you desire it. But, madam," continued the demagogue, "the
people are grateful to you for the service you have done them."

"You had better ascertain first, Mr. President, that my information is
authentic," she said, rising and drawing about her comely shoulders the
folds of her cloak, as though to silence the conflicting forces of love
and vengeance working in her soul.

The great man opened the door for her himself. She bent him a stately,
solemn courtesy, and covering her face passed slowly down the stairs.

A telegraph company had an office in the basement of the palace. Here
she wrote a message to Jarley Jawkins, which was worded:


     "Must postpone journey three weeks. Leave me alone
     until then.                C."


When she had dispatched this she bade the driver stop at Fenton's, where
she picked up her husband and took him to Greenwich for a quiet fish
dinner. Oswald asked her, in the course of the meal, what business she
had at Buckingham Palace.

"I was trying to have you reappointed to your old place in the Stamp and
Sealing-wax Office, and I expect to succeed," was her reply.




CHAPTER IX.

"THE COURSE OF TRUE LOVE."


When Geoffrey awakened on the morning after the coaching party, he lay
for some minutes dreamily revolving in his head the events of the last
two days. He felt that he had reached a crisis in his life, and as he
stretched himself on his narrow bed he groaned inwardly at the
perplexity and danger of the situation in which he found himself. After
his lonely existence he was suddenly in the vortex of the whirlpool. He
had promised his life to Sir John Dacre and to his country to be staked
upon a hazard, which he thought to be hopeless, and knew to be
desperate. He did not think of swerving from this promise, for he felt
that he must be true to his order and to high patriotism.

He winced, too, as he thought of the scene with Mrs. Carey in the ruins
of the Cathedral. He knew that he could not have averted it, for it had
broken upon him with the suddenness of a summer shower. He had entered
into a dangerous conspiracy, and had made a deadly enemy on the same
day.

He was sure that Miss Windsor had seen the affair in the ruins. He had
given the ribbons on the drive home to Dacre, and had taken his place by
Maggie's side on the back seat, but she had been cold and constrained,
and had answered his remarks with monosyllables. The party was so gloomy
that it was a positive relief when a cold drizzling rain set in, and
mackintoshes and cloaks covered up the faces of all, and made
conversation difficult. But, after thinking of the dark side of the
medal, Geoffrey gave a shrug of his shoulders, and cast off for a moment
gloomy thoughts, as a duck shakes off water from its oily plumage.

"Mrs. Carey was right," he said; "love is the great thing, after all;
and I love Maggie Windsor. I have little enough to offer her, not even
my life, for that I promised to John Dacre, and the reversion is not
worth much, I fear. My title! Ah, that is an offering indeed; a title by
courtesy, in a democracy which at the same time sneers at and cringes to
it. But I love her, and if a man comes to a woman with a sincere love he
will at least be heard."

Then the thought of his promise to Dacre filled his mind and heart, and
he groaned aloud.

"How can I speak to her of love, when I am on the verge of this emeute
at Aldershot? And yet I cannot give up life without having had the
satisfaction of its one joy, its one reality! I love Margaret Windsor,
and there is a chance, a bare chance, of her loving me. Why did she pick
out my old house, when she knew that I was living here, if she did not
wish to see me again? Conspiracy or no conspiracy, my poverty, her
riches, go hang. I shall ask for her love this very day."

He had finished a very elaborate toilet for him, and Reynolds appeared
to summon him to his breakfast, which the faithful servitor cooked and
served to him in the old sitting-room. As Geoffrey cracked his eggs and
drank his coffee, Reynolds looked wistfully at his master's handsome
face, for he saw a new expression there--a look bright with hope and the
consciousness of an awakened soul--and the old servant wondered whether
the beautiful woman, who had visited the house two nights before, had
changed his master's face so. He noticed, too, that Geoffrey was smartly
dressed, and that he had tied his neck-tie with great care, and had put
on a coat from one of the crack New York tailors, so that when the old
servitor disappeared to polish his master's boots he said to himself:

"The young earl is going courting, for a certainty, and a fine lady he
will bring home as his bride. Will she buy back his house and lands for
him, I wonder?" And Reynolds smiled to himself as he pictured the head
of his beloved family restored to his own again and Ripon House under
the faithful Reynolds, major-domo.

The dinner at Ripon House after the coaching-party had been dull indeed.
Mrs. Carey had sent her excuses to Miss Windsor, and the latter, who had
seen her head upon Geoffrey's shoulder in the Cathedral in the morning,
was relieved at hearing them.

For within Maggie's tender heart a love for Geoffrey Ripon had gained
the mastery since the interview in the secret chamber. Long had that
love haunted her gentle heart, a shade at first, which flitted away for
a while, only to return again and trouble her. But just as she had
installed her love in the innermost sanctuary, fair and godlike, she had
discovered, as she thought, that her idol had feet of clay; that the man
whose lips and tongue told her that he loved her on the one day was on
the next saying the same thing with the same lying lips to another
woman.

Mrs. Carey had been Geoffrey's first love. Sir John had told her that,
she remembered. "He loves her still and he pretends to care for me
because I am rich," she said to herself as she lay tossing sleepless
during the night, a dull pang racking her heart with a real physical
pain. In the early morning she arose and looked out of the window over
toward Geoffrey's house, down over the lawn and the cliff path and the
leafy chestnut trees.

"He is false," she said to herself, thinking of our hero who was
sleeping so soundly under the little roof in the valley. "He tried to
talk with me on the drive home as if nothing had happened. He is an
actor who plays at love, and his eyes and his tongue are under his
control as if he were the walking gentleman in the comedy, who kisses
the maid while he is waiting in the parlor for the mistress. He does not
love Margaret Windsor; he loves her father's stocks and bonds, and he
longs for riches, even with the encumbrance of a wife."

She smiled bitterly as she thought of the breaking up of her dream of
love, and she almost cursed the riches which had weighed her down and
had filled her with suspicion of all the men who had ever asked her hand
in marriage. She had thought that Geoffrey had been prevented from
asking for it two years before because he had felt that she was rich and
he was poor. When he had bade her farewell in Paris he had hesitated and
tried to say something to her, she remembered, but had compressed his
lips into a forced smile and taken his leave of her.

As she looked out the window she heard a rumble of wheels and saw the
phaeton rolling Mrs. Carey down to the station.

"What is that woman doing at this hour in the morning?" Maggie asked
herself, looking with hot, jealous eyes at the beauty as she sat back in
the phaeton. "It is dreadful to have such a person under one's roof. I
hope that she is gone and that she will not return. I suppose, though,
that she is to meet Lord Brompton somewhere."

And so it happened that at the moment that Geoffrey felt the first
pulsing strength of his love for her, and vowed that he would, despite
her riches and his entanglements, strive to gain her, Maggie was
strangling her old love for him, and her heart was filled with jealous
fears; and the woman whose wild passion had ruffled the current of their
true love was speeding to London to work their ruin.

Breakfast at Ripon House was a straggling, informal meal, and the men
came down in pink coats. They were going hunting on an anise-seed trail,
and ordered what they wished, standing by the side-board and eating.
Maggie, after the men had followed the hounds, left the other ladies
gossiping together in the library before the fire.

She walked down the cliff path which led to the shingle beach, upon
which the small craft of the fishermen in the little village were hauled
up.

Against one of the boats a fisherman, dressed in oil-skins, was leaning.
He had a paint-brush in his hand, and he was gazing out ruefully over
the bay, which was lashed into white caps by the strong breeze. When he
saw Maggie, he pulled at his forelock and set to work vigorously with
his paint-brush on the stern of his boat, daubing with the black paint
over the name of the craft. As the fisherman obliterated the name,
Maggie noticed that his hand trembled and that he turned his head away
from her that she might not see his face.

"What are you doing, my good man?" she asked, coming near him, for she
saw that he was in distress.

"Painting and caulking my old boat, miss," answered the fisherman,
blotting out the last letters with a long smear of paint.

"But you are painting out the name?" said Maggie, inquiringly.

"I have a new name for the craft, miss," he answered, in a hoarse voice:
"the 'Lone Star'; and I am painting out the old name, the Mary Mallow,
which I gave her after my wife; but, saving your presence, miss, she
desarted me these six months ago; I was too rough and common for her, I
suppose."

He put his rough hand over his eyes. "It goes against my heart to paint
her name out; but, as things are now, the 'Lone Star' is better."

Maggie could not help smiling at the unconscious poetry of the poor
fellow and at the likeness between her lot and his.

"I am sorry for you, my man," she said, and she slipped a coin into his
hand. "Put in a gilt star on the stern with this. It will be a comfort
to you to have your boat smart." The man took the coin and looked at it
vacantly. Maggie left him and kept on her way over the beach, past the
boats and the drying nets, and the great heaps of seaweed and kelp, to
the headland which jutted out into the sea beyond the village. Once
there she seated herself in a deep recess of the cliff which commanded a
view of the bay.

"And now I am alone, entirely alone, and I cannot be disturbed," she
said to herself.

Down below her the breakers rolled in over the seaweed-covered rocks,
and dashed into a deep chasm in the rocks, cleft by the attrition of
ages, breaking with a dull sough upon the farthermost end of the cleft.

Maggie could see nothing from her perch but the sea, and the opposite
cliff upon which Ripon House stood. A few wheeling sea-gulls, and a
small fishing-boat, beating out of the harbor, were the only living
objects in the view. The waves, crest over crest, hurried toward the
headland, and beat into foam at her feet. Her mind was soothed by
watching the torn waters, as each wave dashed out its life, in a
thousand swirls and white bubbles of foam.

Suddenly she was startled from her reverie by hearing Geoffrey call her
name, and she saw him on the rocks below her.

He looked more than pleased at getting so good a chance to see her
alone.

"Ah, Lord Brompton," she said, coldly, looking at him, but not inviting
him to come up by her. "What has brought you out here?"

"You. I was on my way to make a call upon you, and just as I reached the
top of the cliff I saw you on the beach, talking with a fisherman. May I
come up to you?"

Maggie glanced down at him, and saw that he was dressed with more than
ordinary care; in spite of her hard feelings toward him she could not
help smiling at the thought that he had been prinking all the morning to
look well when he came courting.

Geoffrey saw her smile, and started to climb up to her side.

"There is not room up here for two, I am afraid," she said in a
determined voice.

"I will sit on the sharpest edge of the rock," pleaded Geoffrey.

"It would make me uncomfortable to see you suffer, just as it would to
see anything in pain," she added hastily. "What did it matter to her,"
she thought, "whether Lord Brompton suffered or not?"

"I would not suffer when I am near you," said Geoffrey, a little
plaintively, wondering why he was treated so badly.

"If you came you would not be more entertaining than Heine, would you?"
asked Maggie, looking mockingly down into his gray eyes.

"Damn Heine," thought Geoffrey, as he lifted himself up over the rocks.
Miss Windsor huddled herself far into a corner of the niche. There was
plenty of room for two there after all; yet Geoffrey seated himself in a
most uncomfortable attitude, with his stick over his knees, and looked
earnestly at her.

"He has come after the stocks and bonds," said Maggie to herself, as she
steeled her heart against his winning face and his manly simplicity of
manner. She tried to say something about the sea and the view, but he
looked at her earnestly, and said, in a low, hurried voice:

"Miss Windsor, I have sought you out to-day with a definite purpose. I
sincerely hope that you were not displeased at seeing me. You know why I
wish to see you."

Maggie turned away her head; there was a sincere ring to his voice;
could it be possible that he really cared for her, loved her, Maggie
Windsor? Ah, no; she remembered Mrs. Carey, and said nothing.

"Miss Windsor--Maggie," he said, "I know that I have no right to ask you
to marry me, save that I love you with a single heart."

"Oh, Mr. Doubleface," she thought, "how fair you talk!" She still said
nothing, but tapped the stone in front of her nervously with the end of
her little boot.

"I have nothing to offer you," continued Geoffrey, "except my love and
my name; I do not even know whether I even have a life to give you."

Maggie was startled by this; she did not understand it at all. Geoffrey
waited for her to say something, and there was a depressing pause for a
moment.

She felt that she had grown pale, and her fingers twitched convulsively
at the handle of her parasol. Here was her lover saying to her all that
she had dreamed he might say, saying in an earnest, trembling voice that
he loved her; in a voice so different to his customary tone of banter,
that she for a moment almost believed in his sincerity; yet as she
averted her face and looked over the bay she could see clearly in her
mind's eye the little picture which had remained in it from
yesterday--her lover holding Mrs. Carey in his arms.

"Lord Brompton," she finally said, in a slow, deliberate voice, from
which all passion, even all affection was wanting, "I am sorry that you
have spoken to me in this way, very sorry."

Poor Geoffrey had expected a different answer, and as he sat there
looking at Maggie's pale, agitated face, he felt that there was a wall
between them, where he had always found a kindly sympathy and an
affectionate interest before. He had expected, perhaps, that she might
not care about him enough to marry him, for he was not so young or
conceited as to imagine that the priceless treasure of a woman's heart
is to be lightly won at the first asking, but he had thought that his
sweetheart would sympathize with him at his loss of her; with the
touching pity which at such times is so akin to love and often its
forerunner. Still he boldly went on with his declaration, feeling that
he did not wish to leave a word unsaid of all that had swelled his heart
with love and hope. If his love were all poured out and spurned, would
not the chambers of his heart be swept and garnished for the future?

Yet what a desolate, haunted chamber it will be, he bitterly thought.

"I could not have told you a week ago that I loved you, Maggie," he
said. "But I did, though; only I did not know it. I must have loved you
since the day I first met you at the ball. You remember it, do you not?
When you first smiled at me I felt that we had always known each other;
and that evening I was content. Will you make me so for all my life?" He
leaned over toward her and tried to take one of her hands; she edged it
away from him, and turned toward him with flashing eyes and thin,
compressed lips.

"It is not possible that I shall ever care for you, Lord Brompton, in
the way in which you pretend to care for me."

"Pretend to care for you!" he said, angrily. "What do you mean by that?
Why should I come to you with pretences? What should I gain by making a
lying love to you?"

"Everything," she answered, coldly.

"I do not care to argue this, Miss Windsor," he said, turning his face
away, pained to the heart. "I am in such a position that I may not; but
I wished, while I had a chance, to tell you that I loved you. Good-by,
Maggie, good-by. I do not wish to be melodramatic; but you may never see
me again."

He kissed one of her hands, which lay at her side, and lifting himself
from the rock, climbed down the cliff, a mist of tears before his eyes;
and Maggie sat looking over the bay silent and sad, trying to reconcile
the evident genuineness of Geoffrey's entreaty with what she knew of
him.

Late that evening Mary Lincoln was sitting in her bedroom, in an
arm-chair by the fire. Her thoughts were of Sir John Dacre.

In him she saw the hero of whom she had dreamed during her girlhood; the
young prince clad in golden armor, and in quest of adventures and
opportunities for self-sacrifice, who should awake her sleeping heart
with a kiss.

The ordinary warm-hearted but pleasure-loving and easy-going man cannot
stir the depths of a nature like Mary Lincoln's. An earnest, ardent
spirit, even if it be Quixotic, so that it see before it, like a clear
flame, some duty to be done, or some war to be waged, attracts to it the
devotion of a strong woman's heart.

Women love adventurous, single-minded men, and will die for them, if
need be, gladly and silently; but such men, intent on their object, seem
oblivious to the wealth of love that might be theirs for the asking,
were they not too absorbed to ask for it. And so it was with John Dacre
and Mary Lincoln. He was drawn to her unconsciously by her lovely
womanhood; but his great dream seemed to fill his mind, and that
fulfilled, the world had nothing in store for him. He wished no rewards,
no life for himself, but to see his King returned and Great Britain
proud among the nations; yet he liked to sit by Mary Lincoln and ponder
his cherished dream.

Of course he would not speak to her of it; he knew the danger of his
project; yet she read his heart and knew that he was deep in some
adventure which filled his life so that she had no part in it. Still,
she saw that she attracted him, even if he did not know it, and they
talked together about the glories of the past history of their country,
and lived with the great men who, with brain, and sword, and pen had
wrought for the honor and fame of their native land.

It was no courtship, no wooing, only a meeting, for a brief space, of
two human beings who had been made for each other, but whom fate
separated by a rift which could not be bridged. Mary Lincoln knew this,
John Dacre did not; but as he had bade her good-night just before, he
felt a sadness steal over his heart, and his voice had trembled as he
spoke. Even into the heart of this man of one idea, on the eve of this
dangerous conspiracy, all unawares the love god had stolen with muffled
feet, so that he did not know his presence. But Mary knew.

There was a little tap at the door, and she heard Maggie Windsor's voice
asking:

"May I come in?"

Mary arose quickly and unbolted the door, and Maggie Windsor entered.

"You will excuse me for disturbing you, will you not?" asked Maggie,
whose eyes were red with weeping, and whose hair had a dishevelled look,
as if it had been buried deep in a pillow. "But I felt so lonely and
troubled to-night that I have come to talk to you."

Mary leaned over and kissed her with tenderness. "My dear Miss Windsor,"
she said, "I am touched that you should come to me."

"Oh, please do not call me Miss Windsor, call me Maggie: I cannot tell
you anything if you call me Miss Windsor. You know I never had a
mother; and there are some things which a girl must tell to some one."

"Maggie, dear," said Mary gently, "tell me everything. It will ease your
mind, even if I cannot help you in any way."

"You cannot help me; no one can help me," sobbed Maggie, as her friend
put her arm around her waist, and gently stroked her hair. "It is only
that I love him so, and he is unworthy of it."

"Do you mean Geoffrey Ripon?" asked Mary.

"Yes, yes."

"Geoffrey Ripon unworthy of a woman's love!" exclaimed Mary. "That
cannot be. John Dacre--" She blushed and turned away her face, that
Maggie might not see her as she spoke his name. "John Dacre says that he
is the soul of honor and his life-long friend."

"Oh! men have such different ideas of honor from ours," exclaimed
Maggie. Then she told her friend in broken speech of her love for
Geoffrey; that she had supposed that he had not told her he loved her
because he felt that he had nothing to offer her; that she had come to
England to see him again; and then she told of the dreadful scene in
Chichester, and how she had coldly rejected him in the morning because
she believed he loved Eleanor Carey, and that he wished to marry for
money.

The story seemed shameful to her as she told it: her forwardness in
coming to England, and her shattered faith in her lover.

"And yet he seemed in earnest this morning, and he appeared to love me,"
she said to Mary, when she had told her story, "and when I told him,
when he asked me what he had to gain by a pretence of loving me, that he
had everything to gain, his face was deadly white and his eyes were
filled with tears. Oh, I almost believed in him then, and I should have
relented; I fear I should have been weak enough to have relented if he
had not left me; and now it is all over!"

She burst into tears, and Mary's face was full of sympathy, as she
whispered words of comfort in the unhappy girl's ear.

"I own that appearances are against him," she urged, "but they may be
explained away. Mrs. Carey is a very dangerous and bad woman; at the
moment when Geoffrey appeared to you the worst he may have loved you the
most. Have heart, dear, if he loves you, and if he is a good and true
man, as I think he must be, for John Dacre trusts him--"

Maggie raised her head, looked into her friend's eyes and read her
secret. Then two hands clasped together tightly, and they kissed and
wept together.

"You will see him again," whispered Mary, as Maggie was leaving the
room. "You will see him soon, and everything will be right."

"No, I am afraid everything will not," said Maggie; "but if I have lost
a lover, I have found a friend, have I not?"

And they did not meet soon again, for Geoffrey was dispatched by Dacre
upon most important duty--to make arrangements for the concealment of
the King when he should arrive in the country to return to his own
again. He went into the enterprise heart and soul; that is to say, with
that part of his heart which was left him. Still he feared the end of
the affair, and seemed to foresee the ruin to which the troubled waters
in which he swam were sweeping the King's men.




CHAPTER X.

KING GEORGE THE FIFTH.


England was at peace; but it was the lurid peace before the storm. All
men knew that the days were hurrying on toward an outbreak. In what
shape it should come no one knew, and the mystery deepened the sensation
of expectancy and dread.

It had been publicly spoken, in the street, the press, and even in
Parliament, that the Royalists were conspiring for a revolution; and
this certainty had sunk deep into the hearts of the people. Their
silence was ominous; the Royalists looked upon it as favorable.

But there were Englishmen who knew their countrymen better, and who
foreboded darkly, though without fear, of the end; and among these was
Richard Lincoln. His heart beat with the popular pulsation, and he knew
that there could be but one outcome to such a blind and reckless
enterprise.

Mary Lincoln alone perceived how deep was the trouble in her father's
soul as those surcharged hours went reeling past. Deep beyond even his
trouble was her own, for though she had not confessed it even to
herself, every hope of her life was bound up in the destinies of the
Royalist conspiracy.

On the afternoon of November 23d there was an early adjournment of
Parliament, and her father came home more depressed than she had ever
seen him. Her heart grew cold in the unusual silence.

Mary waited for her father to speak, but the evening wore on, and he had
only tried to lead her to every-day subjects.

"Father," she said at last, "there is depressing news. What has
happened? Will you not tell me?"

"Yes, there is sad news, dear--gloomy news for some. Those madmen will
attempt a revolution by civil war within the next twenty-four hours."

"It is known?"

"Yes, it is all known--and all prepared for."

Mary's face changed as if a white light had fallen on it; her pitiful
excitement was evident in the quivering lips and restless hands. She
would have cried out in her grief and pity had she been alone; but her
father's strength, so close to her, made her strong and patient.

"If it is known," she said, with forced calmness, "surely it will be
stopped without bloodshed? They will arrest those gentlemen before they
go too far."

Had her father looked into the eyes that spoke more than the lips he
might have read beyond the words. But his mind was preoccupied.

"Bloodshed might be avoided by their arrest," he said, sadly; "but the
evil would only be postponed, not eradicated. The conspirators have
entered the rapids: they will be allowed to go over the falls."

"Oh, father!" whispered Mary, standing beside him and holding his arm,
"can they not be warned?"

Richard Lincoln, startled from his own brooding by this astounding
question from his daughter, turned, almost sternly, to speak of the
righteous doom of traitors, but he did not say the words. At last he saw
what a less observant eye might have seen long before--the suffering and
fear in her eyes, and the lines which concealed anxiety had drawn on his
daughter's face. Without a word she came into his arms and lay upon his
breast and sobbed, and no word was needed that was not spoken in the
father's gentle hand on her dear head.

The hours of the afternoon went slowly by, and Richard Lincoln was glad
to look forward to an unusual evening as the best means of diverting
Mary's mind from the subject which filled it. At seven o'clock a great
public meeting was to be held in Cobden Square. The platform for the
speakers happened to be built beneath the windows of Mr. Windsor's city
house, and the hospitable American, who was to depart next morning for
his own country, had invited a large party to hear the speeches.

Mary was glad when her father told her that he wished her to go with
him, for Maggie Windsor was the only one who knew her secret. As she
drove with her father into the square in the evening, the place was
bright as mid-day with electric lights. The crowd was already gathering,
and the people were strangely silent.

At Mr. Windsor's there was a large party, and among the guests many of
those whom Mary had met at Ripon House.

It was almost a merry gathering. The genial American gentleman and his
charming daughter had conquered even the austerity of the Duchess of
Bayswater; and the Duke conversed with Mr. Sydney, swaying his gold
eyeglass on its string with gracious abandon.

Geoffrey Ripon and Featherstone, who were together, saw Mr. Lincoln and
Mary as soon as they entered.

"Geoffrey," said Featherstone, in a bantering whisper, "behold our
deadly enemy. Do you dare to speak to him?"

"I should rather not," answered Geoffrey, "but I suppose we must.
Heavens! How pale his daughter is!"

"Come, Ripon. Mr. Lincoln sees us. Here goes to shake hands with the man
whom we must send to prison to-morrow--if he don't send us."

Geoffrey Ripon felt more like a truant schoolboy approaching a severe
master than he cared to confess even to himself, as he moved through the
crowded room toward Richard Lincoln. But when they met there was nothing
in the manner of either to indicate any unusual feeling.

Mary Lincoln stood near a window, from which she looked over the still
silent but now dense crowd in the square. While she mentally contrasted
the two scenes, that within with that without, she turned her head with
the consciousness of being observed, and met the quiet eyes of Sir John
Dacre, who bowed without a smile.

Mary's strong impulse was to warn him of his danger, at any cost to
herself, and she had taken a step toward him, when she was intercepted
by Mrs. Oswald Carey. The Beauty was splendidly dressed, and a deep
excitement blazed in her eyes.

"We have kept places for you, Miss Windsor and I," said she, with gay
kindliness. "Is your father going to speak to-night?"

"I think not," answered Mary, her old aversion for Mrs. Carey doubled on
the instant.

"Then we shall take him too. Shall we go and find him?"

Dacre was still standing by the window, and Mary Lincoln, thinking to
bring him to her, asked him if the meeting had opened.

"Not yet," he said, from his corner; "but they are crowding the platform
with speakers."

He would have gone to Miss Lincoln, whose earnest nature, as well as her
beautiful face, had impressed the single-minded Royalist perhaps more
deeply than anything outside the King's own cause. But he did not move,
because of his dislike for Mrs. Oswald Carey, founded somewhat on an
instinctive doubt of her honesty.

Mrs. Oswald Carey, glancing from Mary's face to Dacre's, quietly
resolved to keep these two from coming together that evening if she
could prevent it. She now urged Mary to take her to her father while she
"delivered Miss Windsor's message," a word adopted on the moment; and
Mary had to go with her.

Meanwhile the meeting in the square had opened, and the voices of the
speakers were clearly heard in the drawing-room. It would have been a
scene of singularly oppressive character even to a heedless observer;
but its unexpressed and perhaps unconscious purport was deeply read by
many of those who listened from the balcony and parlors of Mr. Windsor's
house.

Now and then came from the vast field of faces in the square a rumbling
roar that swelled and died like thunder; and then came the single voice
of a speaker, stretched like a thin wire, joining roar to roar. All
through the proceedings there was never a laugh from the multitude.

"Listen!" cried Colonel Featherstone from the balcony, late in the
night; "here is a dramatic fellow."

The man then addressing the crowd was one who had from his first
sentence moved his audience to an extraordinary degree--one of those
magnetic voices of the people which flames the word that is smouldering
in every heart. He had used no cloak for his meaning, like the other
speakers; but boldly attacked the Legitimists, the Monarchy, the titles
and the privileges of the aristocracy.

"These are things of the past, and not of the future!" sounded from the
deep voice. "The England of to-morrow shall have no aristocracy but her
wisest and her best, shall have no hereditary rights but the equal right
of every Englishman!"

Here followed the thunderous approval of the multitude.

"Listen!" again cried Featherstone from his advanced place on the
balcony. "Listen!"

"Will that crime be attempted?" cried the electric voice of the orator.
"Yes! I believe it will be attempted." Then there was a low murmur among
the mass, and a changing of feet that made an ominous, scuffling sound.
"What then? Then it will be every man's duty to strike down the enemies
of the people--to destroy them, so that we and our children shall not be
destroyed. We do not appeal to the sword, but the sword is ours, and we
can use it terribly. Their blood be upon their own heads who dare to lay
their hands on the charter of the people's rights!"

In the wave of tremendous applause that followed these words Mary
Lincoln looked at Dacre, who had turned from the window. His face,
always severe, was now set in fierce sternness. Again she was on the
point of going to him to speak the warning that was burning her heart,
but she saw Dacre suddenly draw himself up proudly, as if he had been
challenged. She followed his look and saw her father meet Dacre's glance
as sword meets sword.

Every line in Richard Lincoln, from bent brow to clenched hand, seemed
filled with the meaning of the orator's ominous words.

The two men, standing almost within arm's reach, looked for one earnest
moment into each other's eyes and hearts. What might have followed, who
can say, had not the engagement been broken from without. Mary Lincoln
passed between them, and laying her hand on her father's arm spoke to
him, asking to be taken home. The father's eyes fell to the troubled
face, and without speaking he went with his daughter.

Mary and her father were hardly missed out of the bright party; but one
face became smoother when they had departed--the Beauty's. The gloom of
the public meeting brought out the brilliant elements of the gathering
with rare effect.

From group to group flashed Mrs. Carey, and her lips and eyes were less
eloquent than the clinging touch of her arm, which was almost a caress,
as she left or tried to leave her impression of sympathy and admiration
on one after another of the Royalists.

Two men she avoided, instinctively and deliberately--Geoffrey Ripon and
Sir John Dacre. Calculating, cool, unprincipled as she was, she feared
to meet the eyes of these two men, whose very lives she had undermined
and sold.

It was eleven o'clock and most of the ladies had gone, when the
beautiful woman, attended by Featherstone, drew her soft cloak round
her in her carriage and gave her hand, without a glove, to be kissed by
the big colonel, bending in the doorway.

"Your driver knows where to go?" asked Featherstone, closing the door.

"Oh, yes; straight home," answered Mrs. Carey, smiling; "good-night."

She lived in a quiet street on the south side of Regent's Park, and
thither she went. But when she reached Oxford Street she rang the
carriage bell and changed her course.

"Drive to Clapham Common," she said, curtly, "and as fast as you can."

It was a dark night, with a drizzling rain, and as the cab rattled along
the empty streets she lay back with closed eyes, evidently thinking of
no unpleasant things. It was over five miles to her destination, and
more than once on her way her thoughts brought a smile to her lips, and
once even an exultant laugh.

On the Battersea side of Clapham Common, in one of those immense old
brick houses built in the time of Queen Victoria, with trees and lawns
and lodges, lived a man whose name was known in every stock exchange and
money market in the world--Benjamin Bugbee, the banker.

From his devotion to the House of Hanover, in its glorious and its
gloomy fortunes, and from his intimate business relations with the royal
family, Bugbee had received the romantic title of "The King's Banker," a
name by which he was recognized even in other countries.

Bugbee was a small, bald-headed, narrow-chinned old man, with an air of
preternatural solemnity. From boyhood up, through all the stages of
life, he had been noted for the mysterious sobriety of demeanor which
now marked him as an angular, slow-moving, silent and unpleasant old
man.

The devotion of Bugbee to the House of Hanover was clear enough; but the
springs of it were quite unseen until some years later, when they were
laid bare by a rigid Parliamentary inquiry. The astonishing truth was
that this silent and insignificant old man, since the year of the King's
banishment, had controlled with absolute power one of the greatest, if
not the greatest, private fortunes ever accumulated in any country--that
of the royal exile, who was known to his devoted followers as King
George the Fifth.

It is true that the poverty of George, in his residence in the United
States, was of world-wide notoriety. The shifts of the "Court" in Boston
for very existence, and the extraordinary measures adopted from time to
time by royalty to make both ends meet were a scandal in the ears of
kings and courtiers everywhere.

Nevertheless, George was one of the richest men in the world--or at
least he had been while on the throne, and he would be again should he
ever become the reigning monarch of England. The enormous wealth which
had begun to accumulate in Victoria's frugal reign had grown like a
rolling snowball for over a hundred years. For the latter half century
the royal investors had, wisely enough, avoided all national bonds
except those of the two old republics, France and America; but in the
great cities of the earth, and notably in those that stood the least
chance of bombardment or earthquake, the heir of the Hanoverian line was
one of the largest owners of real property.

George's royal grandfather was a generous and almost extravagant
monarch; but his enormous private wealth was sufficient even for so
luxurious a prince. The inheritance which had made his reign stable and
pleasant he secured for his son, strictly stipulating that it was to be
enjoyed by him or his heir while reigning as monarch of England.

Fatal words these of King Edward's will, for they secured the lifelong
poverty of the grandson whose welfare he had at heart. During the few
years of George's reign the royal coffers overflowed with gold. Bugbee,
the King's banker, was exhaustless as an ocean of wealth.

But the revolution that banished the King and his noblemen, among them
those who had been executors with Bugbee of King Edward's will, left the
solemn little banker absolute master of the royal fortune--until George
or his heir came back to reign as King of England.

For twenty years Mr. Bugbee had been in possession, or rather dominion.
The poverty of the royal exile in America was well known to him; but to
the demands and petitions of George and his "Court" he turned a deaf
ear. His conscience, he answered, would not allow him to touch one penny
of the treasure, which could only be legally drawn by a reigning King of
England.

In the early years of the King's exile, Bugbee had sent considerable
sums to his royal master, which he alleged were from his own purse; but
though he had since continued these, the annual amount had been reduced
to a beggarly allowance.

Still the old banker was the most trusted agent of the Royalists; and
weak George himself regarded with a vague respect, almost like fear, the
inflexible integrity which controlled the conscience of this most
devoted subject.

Mrs. Oswald Carey did not hear the city clocks, which "clashed and
hammered" the midnight hour, as her cab rolled up the tree-lined avenue
of the pretentious house of "The King's Banker."

The driver rang the bell; and as the door almost instantly opened, Mrs.
Carey, from the cab, saw several men in the wide hall, some sitting and
others standing, like men in waiting.

A tall flunkey took the card, closed the door, and Mrs. Oswald Carey had
to wait in the cab a full minute. Then the door opened, and down the
wide steps of the porch hobbled Mr. Bugbee, with gouty, tender feet, the
top of his bald head shining under the lamp.

"I had almost given you up," was his greeting; and as he helped the
Beauty from the cab there was an unquestionable welcome in his gratified
smile. That they had met before, and intimately, was evident in the
manner of the reception. The truth was that Mrs. Oswald Carey and her
husband were old connections of the banker, the husband through monetary
difficulties and the wife through complications of her own, in which old
Bugbee had, for some reason or other, assisted her more than once. She
knew that her husband was in the old man's power, but she never
pretended to know it. On his side, old Bugbee was a foresighted worker.
For years past he had seen that the day of the King's return would come,
and for that day he meant to be prepared in more ways than one. In his
cunning old brain he had some plan laid away in which he had provided a
part for this beautiful and utterly unprincipled woman.

"Am I too late?" asked Mrs. Oswald Carey.

"Only too late for supper," was the dry answer of the old banker, but
the tone was pleasant.

Through the hall, where those in waiting stood respectfully as she
passed, the banker led her to a small, luxuriously furnished parlor on
the ground floor. As she threw aside her wraps and sank into a soft
chair, old Bugbee opened the door of an inner room, and turned to her:

"These are your apartments," said he.

The Beauty looked around, but said nothing, only nodding her head.

"You are very tired?" questioned old Bugbee.

"No; not very. But I should like some supper--and a glass of wine."

Mr. Bugbee touched a bell and gave an order.

"It is almost midnight?" she asked.

"It is after twelve--ten minutes. The morning of the great day has
come."

And the old banker looked into the eyes of the young Beauty, and almost
smiled in response to her low, derisive laugh.

"He came to-day, then?" she asked.

"Yesterday," corrected Mr. Bugbee; "at noon, he landed from my
steam-yacht, in the very heart of London. So much for the international
police."

"Do they know?" said Mrs. Oswald Carey. "Does Sir John Dacre know?"

"Sir John Dacre helped the King into his carriage when he landed. He
knows that he is here, and expects to meet him at Aldershot to-morrow."

While pretending to move and speak as if quite at ease, Mr. Bugbee was
obviously nervous and unsettled. Mrs. Carey observed this, but without
appearing to do so.

"Where is your husband?" Mr. Bugbee asked quietly, with his face turned
from Mrs. Carey, whose side view he had before him in a low mirror. He
saw her move in her chair, and slowly look him all over, and then glance
down as if considering her answer.

"He is on the Continent--at Nice, I think."

She had dined with him that day, but did not know that from the dinner
Oswald Carey had come straight to Mr. Bugbee's house to keep an
appointment with the wily "King's Banker," who wished to know how the
Beauty had spent the day, and whom she had seen.

"What a liar she is!" muttered old Bugbee, but he smiled at himself in
the mirror, as if approving his superior astuteness.

"Then there is no danger of his making a noise about your absence from
home to-night. Some husbands would be alarmed, and might apply to the
police."

Mrs. Carey looked up to see if Bugbee were serious; and then she laughed
heartily and rather loudly, while he held up his hands with an alarmed
expression.

"Hush!" and the frown of the old man was something to remember. "They
observe as much formality as if he were in Windsor Palace."

"Well--he will be there to-day, will he not?" and Mrs. Carey looked
innocently at the banker.

He came closer and bent his broad, bare poll to her as he spoke:

"No! He will never see Windsor again."

"But the Royalists--will they not raise the King's flag to-day?" Still
the guileless surprise in her face, which had its effect on old Bugbee.

"Yes; they will strike to-day at Aldershot--and they will be defeated."

"How do you know? Have they not plenty of men?"

"Men? Men are only in the way. They have no money."

"And the King? Will he be taken?"

"He will not be there," and Mr. Bugbee drew close to the Beauty again.

"Where will he be?" she asked.

"Here--with you! You will save him by detaining him."

She sat still, and looked at him with a steady stare. She knew quite
well what purpose the old banker had in mind, and what she had come
there for. But she meant to play her own game, not Bugbee's.

Her own game was to get the old King under her own influence, whether he
went to reign in Windsor or to rust in America. She knew his character
well, and she had little doubt of her power if she could only get the
reins. From that position she knew enough, too, to overcome all scruples
of conscience in the King's conscientious banker.

Bugbee was playing against two possible results--the success of the King
or his death. Either was ruin for him. Investigation would follow,
whether George were a king or a corpse. So long as he remained in exile
the Republicans would never attempt to confiscate the private fortune of
the banished monarch; while, on the other hand, the royal exile would
not venture to appeal to the courts against his banker, thereby exposing
his enormous wealth to the cupidity of the Republicans.

"You have gone too far," said Mrs. Carey, steadily looking at the
banker; "I shall do nothing of the kind. My reputation--"

"Shall be quite safe--your husband being at Nice," and old Bugbee's was
the guileless face now.

"Humph!"

"No one else will miss you for two days."

"Ah! for two days. And then?"

"Then you go home; you have been visiting your American friends, or any
other friends out of London."

"Yes; that is all very well," Mrs. Carey said quietly. "And he--the
King?"

"He will return to America at once, leaving this house in two days, when
all is quiet, to go on board the steam-yacht which brought him over."

Mrs. Carey said nothing more for nearly a minute.

"Where is that yacht now?" she asked at length.

"In London;" and the old banker dovetailed his fingers and stood with a
smile as if ready for all questions.

"And for my services--my assistance in this game of yours--"

"Pardon me," interrupted Bugbee, sententiously, "it is not a game of
mine. It is my plan to save the King from certain destruction."

"Well, whatever it is," said Mrs. Oswald Carey, impatiently, "for my
part of it I shall have--what?"

"Ten thousand pounds," answered old Bugbee, dropping the words slowly.

"When?"

"When the King is safe--when he is gone. In two days' time."

"That will not do!" and there was a ring of purpose in the Beauty's
voice that made the old banker's heart beat quicker, and made him keenly
attentive. She repeated: "That will not do! He may not go to America, or
he may not remain here. He may be captured, or he may be killed. He may
go to Aldershot to-morrow, despite all your plans. You know he intends
to go. But I--I shall have risked everything, whether you win or lose,
and at your bidding. Oh, no, my dear Mr. Bugbee, it will not do at all."

"What do you want, then?" asked the old man.

"I want the money now, and I want just double the sum you have named."

"You cannot have--"

"Then I shall go home;" and Mrs. Carey rose and began to arrange her
cloak, but keeping her eyes on old Bugbee's face. Both were playing for
the same stake, though only one knew it. Mrs. Carey read the old
banker's purpose, but Bugbee had no idea that she had any outlook beyond
the purchase money--twenty instead of ten thousand pounds. He was
secretly not displeased at the demand, which seemed an indication of her
sincerity.

"You shall have the money," he said, having pretended to consider. "I
shall write a check now."

"I want the money; I do not want a check." And she remained standing.

Old Bugbee smiled as he went out. In a few minutes he returned, and
finding her still prepared to go, took the cloak from her, and placed in
her hand twenty crisp Bank of England notes.

The entrance of the tall flunkey prevented Mrs. Carey from speaking her
pleasure, but she looked it at the banker.

"You are wanted, sir," said the erect flunkey.

Old Bugbee hurriedly left the room, and as soon as the door had closed,
Mrs. Oswald Carey ran to a large mirror, where she smiled at herself,
and concealed her treasure in her dress.

Then she went into the rooms which the old banker had said were hers;
and some minutes later, when the banker returned and she came toward
him, he smiled approval at the few supreme touches that had made her
beauty positively radiant. Her dress was cut low and square, and a soft
gauze of exquisite texture covered her bosom. This had been concealed
throughout the evening by a skilful arrangement of rich lace. There was
a single red rose in her hair.

"You are to present a petition," old Bugbee said, as if giving
instructions. "Have you thought of it?"

"Trust me," she said, smilingly. "I am ready."

Leaning on the arm of the King's banker, Mrs. Carey ascended the wide
stairs and on the first floor entered a small parlor. Through an open
door she saw, in a great room beyond, three men, two of whom were bowing
obsequiously, as if taking their leave.

The third person was the King.

Mrs. Oswald Carey smiled inwardly as she took in the points of this
extraordinary figure, which was so like, yet so absurdly unlike, the
prints with which all the world was familiar.

King George the Fifth was dressed in a splendid court suit, his breast
blazing with orders, and his coat and waistcoat literally covered with
gold embroidery. He was a short, heavy man, about fifty years of age,
with a large, oval head, made still more large and oval by a great
double chin, and by the soft fatness of his cheeks. His hair had been
red, but was almost gray, and he was bald on top. He was closely shaven,
showing a heavy, sensual mouth, out of all proportion to a small and
rather fine nose. But his eyes gave the expression, or want of
expression, to his face; they were set very far apart, and they were
small, round and prominent, with white eyelashes.

Had his legs been proportionate to his body he would have been a large
man; but they were very short. As he stood, in laced coat, breeches and
buckled shoes, he was laughably like a figure on a playing-card--the
figure in profile.

When the two men had backed out, the banker led Mrs. Carey into the
presence. Then both intruders bowed reverentially. The King had sat down
and he remained seated, paying not the least heed to the courtesies, but
closely regarding the lady, whose extraordinary attractions had struck
him at first sight.

Mrs. Carey advanced timidly and sank kneeling at his feet; and still the
royal eye graciously scanned the beautiful petitioner. Once she raised
her face to speak, but meeting the gaze of the King her suffused eyes
sank again.

"She is quite overcome, Bugbee," said the King in a husky voice, as odd
as his appearance.

"The sight of her King has overpowered her, your Majesty," answered old
Bugbee, in a low tone of solemn awe.

"Come now," said George, encouragingly, and he touched the soft chin in
raising her face: "Speak! What may we do for so fair a subject?"

"Oh, my King!" exclaimed the Beauty, clasping her hands, "I come with
words only for your own ear."

An unquestionable frown shadowed Bugbee's face at the audacity of the
woman. George's little eyes rested on the face of the speaker, as if he
had not comprehended. The old banker remained standing in his place.

"I am bound, your Majesty, only to speak my message to you alone." She
was so evidently excited and her pleading was so eloquent that the King
was at once deeply interested.

George had raised her by taking her hand, and now he looked vaguely from
her to old Bugbee.

"It is a message. You said a petition," said the King, dubiously, to his
banker.

"Your Majesty, I thought--"

"Leave us, Bugbee," interrupted George, with a wave of his hand, not
looking at the banker. "Let us hear this fair messenger."

Old Bugbee bowed and backed till he reached the door, hardly knowing
whether to be pleased or indignant. He ought to have made the woman
explain her plan to him before she entered the King's presence. Now he
must wait, while she was free to act as she chose.

When the door closed on the banker Mrs. Carey's whole manner changed.
She drew near the King and excitedly laid her hand on his arm.

"Oh, your Majesty! I have come to save you! You are betrayed!"

"Betrayed!" repeated George, trying to grasp the idea, while his little
eyes were quite expressionless.

"Betrayed!" sobbed Mrs. Carey, "and all is lost except your Majesty's
life and liberty."

"How do you know this? Why does not he know?" and the alarmed George
nodded at the door.

"I do not know, your Majesty. I only know that I know it, and that I
have come here to save you at the risk of my life; but what is my life
to the precious life of my King?"

"Betrayed!" repeated George, as if the meaning of the word were slowly
coming to him out of a fog. "But to-morrow--to-day--my men will proclaim
the restoration."

"Oh, my King! to-morrow--"

"To-morrow I shall be King!" re-echoed George, while his glance wandered
round the room, as if seeking to escape from the bore of excitement.
"Betrayed! No, no; my men--"

"Your men, Sire, to-night will be dead or in prison," said Mrs. Carey,
with increased firmness, reading the puerile nature and seeing the value
of emphasis.

"I am to join my gentlemen at Aldershot at noon," muttered the King.

"No, no!" cried Mrs. Carey, and her beautiful hands clasped his arm
beseechingly. "Your Majesty will be lost if you attempt to go--all who
go there will be lost."

There was a depth in her voice at these words that carried conviction.

"Your Majesty must escape from England to-night!"

"Impossible!" cried George, with some dignity, but more irritation.

"Oh, listen to me, Sire!" she sobbed, "and do not despise my words
because I am only a weak woman."

Here the small eyes of the King rested on her again, and the royal hand
soothed her back to calmness by stroking her beautiful hair.

"Everything is known," she continued, "except that your Majesty has
landed. If that were known all were lost. President Bagshaw has
surrounded Aldershot with soldiers. There are twenty to one against the
Royalists."

"But the King's name will change them;" and as he spoke George seemed
really to believe his words. "When Colonel Arundel proclaims me King,
as Dacre says he will--"

"Oh, Sire! Sire!" sobbed Mrs. Carey, now really touched by the vivid
picture that appeared of her own treachery; "even that is known to the
President--and all the soldiers who are to kill Colonel Arundel have
already received his instructions!"

This precise and terrible statement staggered George, and a look of
simple alarm came into his eyes.

"Then what is to be done?" he cried, in a bewildered way.

"Your Majesty must escape this night--this hour. You are not safe one
moment in London; you know not who might betray you. The steam-yacht
which brought you to England lies ready this moment to receive you."

George tried to think; but he could not. He walked about nervously.

"Let us have Bugbee here!" he exclaimed, with a burst of relief.

"No! I implore your Majesty! Do not trust any one--even him. He may be
true as steel--I do not doubt it. If he be true he will not object to
your escape. But not knowing all, he may advise delay--and delay is
destruction."

"What shall I do, then? Tell me, tell me, child. What shall I do?"

There was a pitiful confession of weakness in the words and manner of
George as he spoke. He had come to a woman, unmanned, and set her mind
above his--had placed himself in her hands. And never were woman's hands
readier for such a gift. He felt their caressing care before she spoke;
already the renunciation was beginning to bear fruit for the weak one.

"You will call Mr. Bugbee here, Sire, in a few moments, and tell him
without a word of explanation that you are going on board the yacht
to-night."

"But it is so strange--"

"Kings have a right to strange fancies," she said smiling, but speaking
with a firm tone. "You will simply tell him, Sire, that you wish to go
directly to the yacht--now."

"Yes, I will do that," said George; and with royal brusqueness he said,
"call him here!"

"I will send him, Sire--for I am going now," and she spoke slowly and
sadly.

"You are going? No! You are not going until I am quite safe--until I
have gone on board the steamer." George's tone was deeply earnest, and
there was actually a kind of wail in his petition.

"I came to save my King; and now he is safe, my duty is done."

Still he urged his deliverer not to leave him till he had left the land;
and after much entreaty she consented to ride with the King to the
vessel, and thence to be driven to her home. It was half an hour later
when she descended to her parlor, and found Mr. Bugbee impatiently
awaiting her, as she had expected. With lightning words she explained
the situation, and bade Bugbee order his private carriage.

"But this false alarm will be known to-morrow," cried Bugbee, wrung with
wrath and perplexity. "He will learn that it is all a lie, and then--"

"There is no false alarm, man!" hissed the Beauty in the banker's ear.
"It is all true--every word!"

"How did you learn it? Who is your informant?"

"President Bagshaw. Is that sufficient?"

The old banker gazed on Mrs. Carey with a dazed look, which gradually
faded into one of intelligent admiration.

"I begin to understand," he said, slowly. "But why not have told me?"

"Because _I_ wanted to save the King this time," answered Mrs. Carey.
"You don't object, do you? I assure you it does not interfere with any
plan of yours."

Mr. Bugbee could not see that it did, nor, even if it did, could he see
how he could help it now. He had not gauged this woman rightly. She had
outwitted him, and he saw it.

"You will order the carriage at once, won't you?" said Mrs. Carey,
taking up her cloak.

"Yes, at once," and Bugbee rang the bell. "But he returns at once to
America?" he asked in a low voice.

"That is his purpose--and mine," said the Beauty.

In less than half an hour Bugbee departed in a fly in hot haste to
prepare the yacht for the royal guest; and some minutes later George the
Fifth handed Mrs. Oswald Carey into the banker's closed carriage, and
the pair were driven off to London.




CHAPTER XI.

THE RAISING OF THE FLAG.


Mr. Windsor's guests had all departed, the lights were out in the rooms
so lately filled with the pleasant discord of animated voices, and the
kindly old American host had gone to his rest with the satisfaction of
believing that his last night in England would be enjoyably remembered
by his new friends when he and his daughter were far on their voyage
home.

But Mr. Windsor knew, a few weeks later, that beneath the smooth surface
of his farewell party, as he had seen it, ran a secret current of fatal
force and purpose. He had entertained unaware on that night nearly all
the Royalist leaders, who had taken advantage of his invitation to meet
in a place where suspicion of their movements could not follow.

The gentlemen left Mr. Windsor's house not in groups or even pairs, but
singly. It was remarkable that none of them had a carriage, and that
after leaving the house every one turned and walked in the same
direction.

About an hour after the last guest had gone, in a large house belonging
to a banished earl, where Featherstone had resided for the past two
weeks, there was a full meeting of the Royalist chiefs, including those
who had been at Mr. Windsor's, and many more. They had come singly from
many quarters, but all on foot, and they had entered by a door on a
quiet side street. There were perhaps forty men in all.

Here were old and dignified noblemen, more than one of whom wore
threadbare coats and other signs of actual poverty; and here were young
spirits aflame with the hope of action. Here a lot of antiquated
baronet-squires flock together, and yonder stands a knot of grizzled
colonels with the professional air of men awaiting orders. Here is the
old Duke of Bayswater, listening through his eyeglasses, while Geoffrey
Ripon and Featherstone have a quiet jest with Mr. Sydney.

Shortly after midnight--at about the same moment that Mrs. Oswald Carey
received the bank-notes from Mr. Bugbee--the hum of conversation ceased
in this meeting of the Royalists, and all eyes were turned toward a
table in the centre of the long drawing-room, where stood John Dacre,
who had just entered the room, his hands filled with papers.

Dacre was in the uniform of a staff officer, and on his breast he wore
the battle-cross he had won in his first campaign, and also some gaudier
honors awarded him for loyalty and devotion to the cause of the King.

The strong light of the chandelier showed the tense lines of his
finely-cut face, which was white with excitement, and his eyes burned
beneath his brows with a flame too strong to be subdued by any outer
light.

Before he had uttered a word he had in some way imparted to many of
those around him something of his own exaltation and intensity of
spirit. He laid on the table the papers he had carried, and looked
round the room with his face proudly raised.

"Gentlemen!" he said, holding his voice from an exulting cry, "our
campaign has begun. We are no longer without a leader. Our monarch has
come to claim his throne, and, if necessary, to win it by the sword.
This night King George sleeps in London. To-morrow he will sit upon the
throne of England. GOD SAVE THE KING!"

But, though death might be the consequence, a brave cheer burst from the
hearts of some of those who heard--some, but only a few, and among these
were Geoffrey, Featherstone, and the grizzled colonels.

To many others that cheer seemed as deadly an outburst as the roar of
artillery. For a moment all stood as before; then they broke and
mingled, talking excitedly, and a goodly number edged toward the door,
and soon made their way out of the house.

But at least twenty men remained, while Dacre issued orders, handed
instructions already written, or verbally repeated important words to
the officers who should the next day head the revolution.

"Colonel Arundel," said Dacre, addressing a white-haired but erect man
of sixty years, "to you belongs the first word of the restoration."

The old colonel walked to the table opposite Dacre and bowed, as if
awaiting instructions.

"At the hour of noon to-morrow," continued Dacre, speaking to Colonel
Arundel, "the King's banner will be raised at Aldershot, and at that
hour you will proclaim to the brigade under your command the restoration
of the Monarchy and his Majesty's presence in the camp." The veteran
withdrew with a proud smile.

"Colonel Featherstone, Sir James Singleton, Lord Arthur Towneley, Mr.
Blaney Balfour;" as Dacre read from a list, the gentlemen named drew
near the table. "You are of the royal escort; you will await the arrival
of the King at Aldershot and accompany him to the camp."

When Dacre had issued all the prepared orders for the outbreak, the
meeting broke up.

As Geoffrey walked with Dacre to their quarters, the streets of London
were deserted and quiet, as if no danger lay hid in the clouds of the
morrow. Dacre was filled, body and soul, with the assurance of a
glorious success; but cool-headed Geoffrey felt none of his enthusiasm,
though his step was light and his voice as full of cheer as his friend's
mood required. But when they met a burly, quiet policeman on his beat,
who placidly wished them, "Good-morning, gentlemen," Geoffrey could not
restrain a burst of hearty laughter--which, however, he did not explain
to Dacre.

Geoffrey slept soundly for a few hours, and was up early to keep his
appointment with Dacre. He could scarcely credit his senses to find
himself on such an errand, as he strode through the already busy
streets, meeting the quiet folk at their early occupations, while he was
bent on civil war in two hours' time, with his overcoat pockets heavy
with loaded pistols!

Dacre and he breakfasted in a private room at the old Army and Navy Club
almost in silence. They had met at the door, coming from opposite
directions, and greeted each other with a firm grip of the hand. Under a
large overcoat Dacre wore his old staff uniform, and he smiled proudly
as Geoffrey took off his outer coat and showed his ancestors'
silver-hilted sword buckled high round his body, so that it should not
strike the ground or be seen below the coat.

As they drove to the railway station it was a dull, drizzling morning.
At the station they saw many of those who had attended the meeting the
previous night; but, by arrangement, the conspirators did not recognize
each other, even by a sign. When they arrived at the Aldershot Station
there was no indication of anything unusual. A few orderlies from the
camp came and went, but this was an every-day sight.

The Royalists dispersed at once, some walking, some in the common camp
omnibuses, and some in cabs. The point of assembly was in the officers'
lines of the infantry camp, where Colonel Arundel, who was acting
brigadier, had provided a large mess tent for their reception--and on
this morning, by his arrangement and for their guidance, no other tent
but this in the camp was marked by a flag.

On arriving at the tent, Dacre and Geoffrey found only two of their
fellow-conspirators, both youths, awaiting them. But it was very early,
not 9.30, and the hour of meeting was 11. The next man to arrive was Mr.
Sydney, who, fearing a shot from his old enemy, the gout, more than a
bullet from a Republican rifle, stepped gingerly from the omnibus that
dropped him near the lines. As Geoffrey shook his hand, a pang went
through his conscience for ever having made a jest of so simple and
brave a heart.

By ones and twos, as the hours passed, the Royalists came to the
rendezvous. Not once had they met with question or opposition. The
sentries, as they passed, stood to "attention," evidently regarding them
as officers belonging to the camp.

The mess tent was well removed from the regular roads of the camp, and
only a few soldiers passed near it all the morning.

Once, while Geoffrey stood at the open door, a mounted artillery officer
rode past. He was a young man, with a strongly-marked, stern face, and
as he passed the tent it seemed to Geoffrey that he cast a sudden, keen
glance within. At first, Geoffrey was so convinced of this that he
turned to speak to Dacre; but glancing after the officer, he saw him
stop and speak to a man who was coming toward the tent, and whom
Geoffrey recognized as one of the military men of the previous night's
meeting. After a few words they saluted like friends and separated.

"You know that officer, sir?" asked Geoffrey, as the old soldier came to
the tent door. "I thought he looked this way in an odd manner as he
passed."

"Oh, yes," answered the other; "that is young Devereux, the clever
fellow who has invented the tremendous gun, you know, and revolutionized
the old tactics. An able fellow, sir--and a colonel at thirty-six. I
knew his father forty years ago at Woolwich, when we were cadets."

"You think I was mistaken, then, in fancying that he looked this way?"
asked Geoffrey.

"I should say so--bless my soul! I should hope so, too. That's the
cleverest fellow in the whole service; and we don't want to meet him at
the very start."

"Perhaps he may be with us?" suggested Geoffrey.

"No; it isn't likely. Devereux is with nothing but science and
discipline. But if he were with us he would be better than twenty
regiments."

"And against us?"

"Ah! there are circumstances that alter cases. With us he would be free
to act on his own devising, for we should make him commander of the
forces. Against us he is only a subordinate, controlled by some stupid
major-general."

Eleven o'clock came, and there were twenty-seven men in the tent.
Besides these were the several officers of the regiment in camp, who
were in their quarters ready for the signal.

At the door of the mess tent rose a tall flag-pole, with halyards
attached, which entered the tent. To these, by the hands of Dacre, was
fastened the Royal Standard of England, to be given to the breeze at the
sound of the noonday gun.

At half-past eleven the bugles of the infantry regiments were heard
sounding for a general parade; and in a few minutes the scarlet lines
were seen on the parade ground, forming, wheeling, and marching into
brigade formation.

The commanding officer and the colonels of six out of seven regiments
would call on the troops to cheer for King George when they saw the
royal banner at the mast. Inside the mess tent there was a scene of
quiet preparation, which had its ludicrous as well as pathetic features.
Many of the Royalists had come in military uniforms of various kinds and
countries. As the hour drew near they laid aside their overcoats, and
composed an odd group for a military critic. The Duke of Bayswater wore
an old red tunic of the yeomanry cavalry, which he had commanded in his
county half a century before; Mr. Sydney a lancer's fatigue jacket,
which he had worn as a lieutenant in King Edward's time; there was one
in the tunic of a captain of French artillery, and several others wore
continental uniforms. Every one was armed in some way or other.

As the infantry brigade wheeled into line on the parade-ground a distant
trumpet sounded far in the rear.

"Dacre, what is that trumpet?" asked Geoffrey, in a low tone.

Dacre looked at his watch as he listened. He did not reply, but shook
his head and smiled at Geoffrey.

"That is an artillery trumpet," said the old officer to whom Geoffrey
had spoken before, and who now came quietly to Dacre. "It came from the
direction of Colonel Devereux's battery--though I remember distinctly he
told me that this was not a field day."

It was clear to Geoffrey's eye that Dacre was suffering under some heavy
fear or despondency that quelled his excitement. There was a look in his
face of tense expectancy that was pitiful to his friend.

"The King was to have been here at eleven," said Geoffrey to him at
last. "It is now twenty minutes to twelve. Can anything have happened,
Dacre?"

Dacre looked at him reproachfully; but only shook his head, without a
smile. Geoffrey walked to the door, and turned suddenly, almost with a
shout.

"Here's Featherstone!" he cried. "He was in the King's escort; he has
news."

The Royalists crowded around Featherstone as he entered, but their eager
eyes found no reassurance in his face, which was pale, and, still more
unlike Featherstone, full of anger and gloom.

He did not reply to the hail of questions which met him, but looked
around for Dacre, and went to him.

"The King?" asked Dacre, sternly.

"The King has disappeared," answered Featherstone, "and no one knows
where he has gone."

There was a dead silence in the tent; not a man moved. Dacre looked at
his watch. It was ten minutes to twelve.

"He may be on the way here by another route," suggested the old Duke.

"What have you done to obtain information?" asked Dacre.

"At eleven o'clock the escort waiting at the station in London
telephoned us that the train had gone and the King had not arrived. We
waited ten minutes and then I telephoned direct to the house of the
King's banker and received in answer these words: 'The King left here at
two o'clock this morning to go on board his steam-yacht. He has sailed
for America.' In reply to my questions, no reason was given for his
going, as no one there knew, and Bugbee had not returned since the
King's departure."

Featherstone folded his arms and looked at Dacre, on whom again all eyes
turned. He held in one hand the royal banner, fast to the halyards, and
in the other hand his watch.

At this moment the artillery trumpet heard before sounded much nearer,
and it was answered, apparently, by other trumpets at different points
of the camp.

"Gentlemen," said Dacre, drawing up his tall figure with superb pride,
and looking calmly round the tent, "in two minutes it will be noon--the
hour of our movement. Yonder rides the brave man who will proclaim the
Monarchy, and it is too late now to warn him or his fellow-officers and
patriots. We may draw back; but they will go on. The world will be the
witness. If the King has been false to us--and we do not know that he
has--we shall be true to our cause and to ourselves."

There was a pause. Dacre's eyes were on the dial in his hand.

"Gentlemen!" he cried, as he placed the watch in his pocket, "it is
twelve o'clock! Shall I raise the King's flag?"

"Ay! Up with it!" rang out the brave shout.

At that instant the noonday gun boomed, and had the Royalists listened
they might have heard the rumble of artillery and the rattling of
cavalry surrounding them in a vast circle. But had they heard it they
would not have been stayed. To withdraw now, to sneak away from the very
brink of danger, would be worse than death. They must go on to the end.
The world's eyes were on them, or would be to-morrow; the world is
always looking at yesterday.

Like bees from a hive they swarmed, a handful of men, from the door of
the mess-tent, drawing their swords to conquer a kingdom for a king who
had run away. There was a noble despair in their hearts.

"Up with the King's banner!" shouted Featherstone, and Dacre went to the
mast and drew up the flag.

"God save the King!" shouted every throat, as the heavy folds went
upward.

But there was a hitch in the halyards, and Dacre's excitement did not
allow him to remove it quickly. The royal banner stopped on its way
aloft--stopped at the half mast--and there ominously remained for a full
half minute before the lines were cleared and it soared to the masthead.

On the parade-ground seven regiments of infantry had wheeled into line,
and presented arms as the commander rode to the front of the brigade.
When the noonday gun boomed, a thrill went through the scarlet ranks,
for even the linesmen knew that a tragedy was about to be enacted. The
word had been passed through the camp that the Royalist traitors would
at that hour declare themselves.

Never was drama seen upon the stage in which the actors approached the
tragic ending so fatuously, so deliberately.

Colonel Arundel, riding in front of the staff, halted and faced the
brigade. The troops presented arms; the band played the national anthem,
"God Save the People!" When the music had ceased the eyes of Colonel
Arundel were turned to the flag-pole at the mess-tent. His heart leaped
within him when he saw the lines shake, and then, true to the moment of
time, up went the flag of the King.

"Soldiers!" shouted the old commander, baring his white head and
pointing to the royal banner; "behold the flag of your King and country!
King George has come to claim his own again, and he is now in personal
command of this camp. God save the King!"

The whole brigade stared at the flagstaff where the big banner of King
George had stopped at the half-mast like a mourning emblem. A round of
suppressed laughter came from the troops--a sound that sent a shudder
through the old colonel's heart, which no violent outcry could have
done.

The vibration of the commander's voice was still in the air when a
horseman dashed down to the head of the brigade, a man with a face of
terrible power and purpose. It was Colonel Devereux. He faced the
brigade like a man cast in iron, so still he sat for half a minute. He
was an electric centre, reaching the eyes and nerves of every man in the
brigade.

"Present--arms!" and the brigade sprang into motion beneath his
thrilling voice.

"Men!" he said slowly, but with a force that sent his voice to both
flanks of the brigade, "the command of this camp has this day been given
to me by the only power on earth able to give it--the President of the
British Republic."

"And I, sir--what am I?" indignantly demanded Colonel Arundel, but in a
voice too low to reach the soldiers' ears. Insulted as he was he would
have no altercation in front of the troops.

"You, sir!" answered Colonel Devereux, and his voice rang like a
trumpet, "you are a traitor to the people!"

While this scene was in action, an insignificant movement took place on
the inner flank of one regiment in the brigade. A sergeant and six men
were detached, and the squad marched at a quick step along the rear till
they came to the centre, when they wheeled to the front, passed through
the formation, and halted directly in front of Colonel Arundel. The
grounding of their arms completed the terrible charge of the new
commander.

"Soldiers," cried Colonel Devereux, turning to the brigade, "behold the
death of a traitor!"

The sergeant gave the word to his men in a low voice, and seven rifles
were levelled at Colonel Arundel, who sat still in his saddle, hat in
hand, as he had saluted the King's flag. One swift turn of his head now
and he saw the great emblazoned banner in the air; the next moment his
breast was torn to pieces, and the old man fell forward as his horse
swerved, and then the body tumbled from the saddle and lay in front of
the brigade.

"Colonel Gardener, take command here," said Devereux to an officer in
the horror-struck staff; "and you, gentlemen," designating three or four
of the staff by a motion of his hand, "follow me." He wheeled his horse
and rode straight for the mess-tent, where the royal banner was flying.

A young artillery officer, with one Gatling gun and a dozen troopers,
were galloping toward the place from another direction. They reached the
tent at the same moment as Colonel Devereux.

"Halt!" he shouted to the gunners, and the mounted party stopped as if
turned to stone.

"Haul down that flag!" he ordered Dacre, pointing with his naked sword.

"Never!" answered Dacre, standing at the foot of the mast.

Colonel Devereux gave a stern command to the officer of the gun; the
piece was trained on the flagstaff, and next instant, with a hellish
roar, its sixty bullets tore the flag-pole into shreds, and the enormous
banner cumbered the wet earth.

Before the discharge Geoffrey had bodily seized Dacre and dragged him
out of range. Better, perhaps, had he left him to his fate, for death at
that moment, with his duty done, his sword in hand and his flag above
him, would have saved him the deeper agony of shame and disappointment,
which walked with him like shadows henceforward to the grave.

The officer in charge of the gun ordered his troopers and drivers to
ride across the fallen banner; and the hoofs and muddy wheels rent it to
pieces and befouled it in the mire.

"You are a coward!" cried Dacre, and rushing to the front he crossed
swords with the mounted officer, wounding him in the arm. Next moment he
was stretched senseless on the ill-fated flag, a gunner having struck
him down with the stock of his carbine.

The others yielded without a word. The artillery officer, his hand
dripping blood, took their swords one by one and flung them
contemptuously on the flag, beside John Dacre's senseless body.

As they were marched off, surrounded by a cavalry guard, to be taken to
London, Mr. Sydney, seeing that the Duke of Bayswater could hardly keep
up, gave his arm to the infirm old man.

"This is a grim joke," said Sydney; "I wonder what they will do with our
friend Dacre."

"Thanks," said the poor old fellow, leaning heavily on Sydney, and
putting up his collar to keep out the rain. Then he turned a last look
at Dacre, still lying as he had fallen. "If he is dead, I suppose they
will bury him like a Christian gentleman, as he was." And, raising his
hat, the courtly old man saluted the fallen soldier.

Featherstone handed Geoffrey a cigar, and lighted one himself as the
procession started.

"I wonder where King George the Fifth is about this time," he said, with
a forlorn smile.

"No matter where he is," answered Geoffrey, in a voice of settled
belief; "one thing is certain: Monarchy is dead forever in England--and
it is time!"




CHAPTER XII.

IN THE LION'S MOUTH.


The news of the suppression of the conspiracy and the arrest of the
ringleaders caused great excitement over England. Enormous crowds
paraded the streets of London demanding the exile of all persons who had
formerly borne titles. The King was hung in effigy and his lay figure
cremated in the public kiln at Lincoln's Inn Fields. Socialism became
rampant. A rabble of the lowest orders of the people invaded Hyde Park
and the other public gardens, making day and night hideous with their
orgies. The famous Albert memorial statue was blown to shivers by
dynamite at high noon, and unbridled license became the watchword of the
masses. Such anarchy had never been known in England. Even the
government, who at first were inclined to suffer the demonstration
against the Royalists to gather head, grew alarmed. Absolute revolution
was imminent, and resolute measures had to be taken. Nor did the public
temper cool until threescore of the most wretched of those who live in
the foul dens of the great city lay dead along the streets of Kensington
and Belgravia. The military were forced to shoot them down to stem the
tumult.

Comparative quiet was restored at the end of ten days, and then the
government ventured to bring the prisoners to London under a strong
guard and lodge them in the Tower. Twenty thousand people, it is
estimated, dogged the footsteps of the troops who escorted them, and it
was only the points of bayonets and the muskets ready to deal death at a
word that secured their safety. The conspirators marched two and two
with lancers carrying loaded carbines on each flank. There were sixteen
in all. John Dacre and Geoffrey Ripon were side by side. Neither of them
had much hope of escaping the fury of the mob. The Duke of Bayswater and
Colonel Featherstone rode a little in advance. The poor old duke's hat
had fallen off, and his bald head was a shining mark for missiles. An
egg had struck his pate and made an offensive daub.

The streets through which the procession passed were lined with
spectators. From Government House, President Bagshaw and the leading
members of the party in power looked down upon their victims, and the
windows of Whitehall across the way afforded a view to the friends of
the opposition, among whom sat Richard Lincoln and his daughter. The
great commoner would have preferred to avoid the spectacle, but Mary had
expressed a desire to see the prisoners on their way through the
streets. She looked pale and stony-eyed as she sat watching for them,
and her father sighed as he observed her, for he knew her secret. His
brow was anxious. These were troublesome times and a source of concern
to all who loved their country. He knew the government to be composed of
men who thought only of their own interests. This semblance of authority
was the sole bar that prevented the insubordinate masses from overriding
law and decency. How long would President Bagshaw be able to withstand
the popular clamor for a liberty that was akin to pillage? This foolish
conspiracy had biassed thousands of order-loving citizens against
conservative measures. His own party were reduced to a pitiful minority,
and the conduct of the Royalists had caused a reaction which threatened
to engulf the constitution and the laws. And, as if that were not enough
to sadden the soul of an honest man, his only daughter loved the traitor
whose mad enthusiasm had precipitated these ills upon the country.

It was Mary's voice that interrupted his revery.

"They are coming, father."

Lincoln looked out, and as far as the eye could reach the streets were
black with a sea of heads. The glistening of bayonets, the waving flags,
the uniforms, the mad shouts and derisive groans, and above the tumult
the drums beating in full rhythm, made an exciting scene. But all was
lost upon Mary. Her eye had singled out John Dacre, and she was gazing
down at him in speechless agony. He appeared to her wan and sick. His
clothes were torn and covered with mud. But he bore himself as ever,
erect and dignified.

As though by instinct, he looked up to the window, and their eyes met.
He raised his hat with the courtly grace of a gentleman, forgetting for
an instant the situation and the consequences that may accrue to her he
saluted. The glance of the crowd followed his gesture, and many caught
sight of the pale girl and beheld her throw a rose to the handsome
prisoner. It fell wide of him for whom it was meant; indeed, he did not
see the flower fall. It dropped among the crowd, and would have been
trampled in the mud beneath the feet of those who hated her lover had
not Geoffrey Ripon darted from the ranks and snatched it up to his
infinite peril, for the trooper at his side struck him with the butt of
his carbine. "See," he said to Dacre, who was stalking on in unconscious
revery; "see, she has thrown you a rose. Be of good cheer, man." And
Geoffrey could not help thinking that if the one he loved had dropped a
rose at his feet, how slight a thing his present plight would seem.

But Richard Lincoln saw her action, and, with a start of anger, he said,
"That man is a traitor, Mary. And yet you are my daughter."

Those of his friends standing near had failed to notice her throw the
rose, nor did they now heed the blush which mantled her face as she
looked up at their leader.

"I know it, father; but I love him," she whispered, and she would have
fainted had not Lincoln supported her with his strong arms and led her
from the room.

There was another also who watched the prisoners with eyes of
recognition. Mrs. Oswald Carey had left her lodgings early in the
morning so as to secure a good position from which to view the
procession, and from a coign of vantage close by the houses of
Parliament was feasting her gaze upon the victims of her treachery. A
long cloak covered her figure, and her face was muffled. Only her
beautiful eyes were visible. Owing to the bitter feeling prevalent
against the Royalists, she feared to show herself, for she had been so
intimately associated with the dissipations of the nobility, the people
would have stoned her. She felt proof against discovery in her present
garb, and had waited for hours, hedged about by the rabble, for a
glimpse of Geoffrey Ripon.

Her revenge had been swift and equal to her expectation. Its sequel was
yet to follow. As she gazed at the face of the young man, which
exposure had rather ennobled and made more handsome, strange feelings
were awakened within her. She scarcely knew whether she were sorry to
see him there in peril of his life, or that she would be pleased to know
that he had paid the penalty of treason with his head. Her love and hate
were so intermingled that she could not distinguish which had the upper
hand. He passed close to where she was standing. But even had he been
able to recognize her, he could not have suspected that her perfidy was
the occasion of his misfortune. She had guarded her secret carefully.
President Bagshaw had been true to his word. No rumor of the means by
which the conspiracy was unearthed had reached the public ear.

As she made her way home through the crowded street after the procession
had passed, reflection as to what would be Geoffrey's fate absorbed her
thoughts. In the present state of the public temper it was not likely
that he would escape death. To be shot for high treason seemed the
logical sequel to his escapade. Well, if it must be so, she preferred to
see him on the scaffold rather than in the arms of another. She would
wait until all was over, and then find in America solace for her
disappointment. She had played her cards well. The King was madly in
love with her, and she had no fear of his sailing away without her. If
so, there was Jawkins still. She had lulled the manager into such a
feeling of security that he had run up to Scotland to undertake an
important contract. An American billionaire, having rented the Trossachs
for the season, had engaged him to superintend his arrangements. Titled
people were at a premium since the discovery of the conspiracy, and
Jawkins could command his own prices. His reply to this patron, "I will
provide you with a pair of peers if I have to filch them from prison,
but they come high," was illustrative alike of the energy and the
business sagacity of the man. The poor old Archbishop of Canterbury, who
had escaped from Aldershot scot free, was being hurried from one corner
of England to the other to supply dinner requirements. Jawkins had
caused her some trouble at first, it is true. Upon the receipt of her
telegram at Ripon House he had hurried up to London, and ferreting out
her lodgings accused her of wishing to give him the slip. She had
assuaged his feelings by lunching with him at a public restaurant and
permitting him to engage their passages to America for a fortnight
later. Had it not been for the King's arrival she would have kept faith
with him.

The trial of the prisoners was set down for one week after their
consignment to the Tower. It was to take place in the House of
Parliament, and the indictment against all was for high treason. The
attorney-general, James McPherson, was to conduct the case for the
government, and the accused retained the services of Calhoun Benjamin, a
great-grandson of the Benjamin for some time a famous lawyer in the
reign of Victoria. It was not permissible for any member of either house
to appear as counsel. The constitution required that the joint bodies
should adjudge the cause. Still, after the formal arguments any member
was at liberty to rise to a question of privilege and address the
assembly. Such was indeed the usual custom.

Mary Lincoln doubtless had this in mind when she whispered to her father
the evening before the trial, "You will speak for him, will you not,
father?"

"I cannot tell," said Richard Lincoln. "Why should I, Mary? His desert
is death, and I should not know what to say in his behalf."

"But if all of us were treated according to our deserts, how few of us
would escape scathing. Only you, father; I know of no one beside."

The patriot looked down at the pale girl sitting at his feet and stroked
her hair. Her eyes were filled with tears, and she gazed at him
imploringly. He knew her secret to the uttermost now. She had told him,
all the evening of that dreadful day when London saw her throw down a
rose to her country's traitor. Still, if it were to do again, would she
not do it? Her love was stronger than her sense of shame.

Richard Lincoln sat and gazed into the fire. These were indeed
troublesome times, but a light seemed breaking just below where the
clouds lowered darkest. A week had seen a great change in public
sentiment. Debate in Parliament had been fierce and bitter. At the head
of his party he had striven to show that those who held the reins of
power abused and deceived the masses, and that true liberty lay not in
ignorant usurpation of right, but intelligent recognition of a lawfully
constituted authority which regarded all alike. At first his purpose had
been misinterpreted, but as by degrees the true significance of his
words were grasped by the popular mind, groans gave place to silence,
and sullenness to cheers. He had not hesitated to wield the axe of
reform with a yeoman's hand, and the flying chips told of the havoc he
was making among the dead wood of ignorance and craft. It was his aim to
demonstrate that a demagogue in the seat of power is no less a menace to
the happiness of the people than an aristocrat.

Yet in the face of his triumph arose the shadow of this strange,
unnatural love; for it seemed unnatural to him that his only child
should have given her heart to one whose ambition it was to destroy that
which he had helped to establish and bring back the frippery of an
unhallowed past. He had found it difficult at first to conceive it as
possible, but her confession, and more eloquently still her pallid
cheeks, left no room to question the truth of this misfortune. And
to-morrow he would be called upon to doom to the scaffold the man whose
being had become so much a part of hers as to have led her to play the
traitor also. As thus he pondered the breaking light seemed to fade from
the sky, and the clouds lowered gloomy and impenetrable.

"Father," said Mary again, "I am sure you can save him."

Lincoln shook his head. "Not even if I would, girl," he replied,
sternly.

"You, too, desert me," she murmured. She covered her face with her hands
for a moment, then with a sudden impulse she stood, tall and resolute.
Her eyes flashed fire. "If it is wrong to love a traitor, let it be so.
I cannot help loving John Dacre, and I should like to die with him."

Richard Lincoln gazed at her in amazement. There was pride, too, in his
glance. He saw in her transfigured face a repetition of his own youth
when the spirit soared impatient of restraint and knew not yet the curbs
that check the extravagance oL ardent natures. In those early days he
had struck out for the ideal right, even as her heart in the fulness of
its love poured out its tide of passion. He held out his hands to her,
and his lips trembled.

"My child, my child! would to God I could save your lover. You are
dearer to me than all the world beside. Do not spurn your father's arms.
His breast is your rightful place for comfort now."

She suffered him to clasp her in his embrace. "I will be brave," she
whispered, looking up into his eyes. "Kiss me; I will be brave, and--and
when he dies let me die, too."

"My child!" murmured Lincoln again, and there was terror as well as pity
in his tone. He held her close, and her head rested on his shoulder.
"All may yet be well, my dear one," he said tenderly.

Before daybreak the next morning a stream of people was pouring up from
the city and winding its way through Cheapside and Fleet Street and the
Strand to the judgment hall in the Houses of Parliament. By the time the
guard from the Tower reached Westminster, vast multitudes lined the
sidewalks and formed so dense a mass in the square in front of the gates
that progress was well-nigh impossible. The populace was orderly,
however, and fell back before the horses of a troop of cavalry, with no
further demonstration than a sullen murmur.

The prisoners were brought before the bar of the Commons, and the Upper
House entered immediately after to take their seats. It was an
impressive scene. One might have heard a pin drop as the officer of the
Crown rose to read the indictment, and again when, as he sat down, the
hoarse voice of the clerk called out the names of the accused, shorn of
all titles, to rise and answer to the charge of high treason against the
Republic of Great Britain and Ireland.

"What say you, John Dacre--guilty or not guilty?"

"Not guilty."

Dacre's glance moved gravely around the vast hall and met the gaze of a
thousand eyes without flinching. Fate willed that it should distinguish
a pale, lovely face amid the press that lined the galleries, and linger
thereon a moment as though loath to turn aside; but even while he gazed,
the drapery and shoulder of another woman were interposed between his
sight and the delicate features of Mary Lincoln, and shut her from his
view. "What say you, Geoffrey Ripon? Are you guilty or not guilty?"

It was these words that had caused the stranger to lean forward and
crane her neck--a beautiful neck that, muffled as she was, did not
wholly escape the admiration of her neighbors. Her eyes sparkled with a
light cold and malicious as the gleam which emanates from a blade of
steel. As the lips of young Geoffrey Ripon flung back a clear denial of
the charge, a hope was in his heart that the sweet maiden of his fancy
might be among the hundreds looking down. She was not there, but her
rival, Mrs. Oswald Carey, sat and watched each shade of his expression.

And now the witnesses were summoned and confronted the prisoners. The
proofs were ample and overwhelming. It almost seemed mistrusting the
intelligence of the judges to dwell upon the evidence, to quote the
opening words of the attorney-general, and as a consequence the argument
of that official was a model of conciseness. Then the time was come for
the defendants' counsel. Mr. Benjamin arose and spoke for an hour. His
speech was painstaking, but not particularly impressive. In conclusion
he said that rebellion had often been punished before without the
shedding of blood. He instanced Jefferson Davis, the great Secessionist,
and the clemency of the American people. Mr. McPherson in reply adduced
the Irish rebels executed by the government of Victoria, and thereat a
shout arose which shook the walls of Parliament and was echoed by the
crowd outside. Even the prisoners glanced at each other with downcast
looks. The perspiration stood out in beads on the bald head of the Duke
of Bayswater.

"It is all up with us," whispered Ripon to Dacre.

"My God and my King! It is a noble cause to die for," answered the
cavalier, and his proud face looked beatified.

There was a dread and awful silence as the attorney-general finished his
last words. The hour for judgment had arrived, unless it were that some
senator or commoner wished to speak for or against the prisoners. A
bitter and illiterate friend of the government saw fit to spring to his
feet and enter upon a violent harangue. Clemency would be misplaced in
the present juncture, he said. Death for one and all was the proper
measure to be meted out to Royalists and traitors. His truculent words
seemed to please the audience, and he sat down amid a tempest of
applause. For an instant there was no movement on either side of the
house, and then Richard Lincoln, the leader of the opposition, arose and
stepped out into the aisle, so as to command his hearers. A flutter of
expectation, a murmur of surprise, spread through the assembly, and as
he opened his mouth to speak, every ear was alert to catch his words.

"I rise," he said, "to speak for the people, the great, true-souled
people. They have, it seems to me, no representative here, or I have
failed to interpret aright the language of my predecessor. Are the
people merciless? Have they no heart? I know that the contrary is true.
It is no argument with them that others have preferred cruelty to mercy,
and vengeance to justice. I stand here to-day, for the people and for
justice."

He paused, and as no sound expressed one way or the other the feelings
of his auditors, he spoke once more:

"Let these men live. Fine or imprisonment will accomplish all that you
desire, save the satisfaction of revenge. Capital punishment in this age
of the world is an ugly smear upon the escutcheon of constitutional
liberty. Let these men live, and your children's children will write you
down in their books as worthy of remembrance. They are guilty, but blood
will not atone for wrong-doing. Let them live, I say, in the name of
justice and the people."

He finished and sat down. Not much of a speech in the way of argument,
some will say. It is the manner more than the matter of words that sways
men's hearts. No cheers were heard, it is true, but his hearers sat upon
the benches thoughtful and silent. The Speaker of the House glanced
about him, but no one rose to contradict the testimony that had fallen
from the lips of Richard Lincoln.

And now the judges arose and left the hall. For four hours the assembly
and the crowds in the streets waited in patience. Before the fifth had
elapsed the usher's rod announced that a verdict had been reached. The
silence was breathless. The Speaker took the scroll from the hands of
William Peters, the leader of the House, and read aloud that John Dacre,
as the master spirit of the late rebellion at Aldershot, was sentenced
to be shot to death at noon of the next day, and that all the other
leaders were to be imprisoned for the term of fifteen years.

There was a roar and a rush as the people rose to escape from the
galleries, and few observed a slender girl slip from her seat to the
floor. A woman with beautiful eyes, whose face was otherwise veiled from
view, stooped to her succor, then gave a shrill cry. Mary Lincoln lay
lifeless. Mrs. Oswald Carey, whose shriek it was that made this known,
was not one to believe that a woman can die of a broken heart. But if
even such a result of her treachery had been foreshadowed to her, she
would not have faltered.




CHAPTER XIII.

AN UNFINISHED TASK.


Immediately after the sentence was pronounced the prisoners were led
back to the Tower. They were chained together by twos, and Sir John
walked with Geoffrey. During the entire walk from St. Stephen's, along
the river embankment, neither of them spoke to the other. For Geoffrey,
at least, it was a subject of life-long regret that he had not done so.

It was part of the policy of Bagshaw's government thus to march them
through the streets, a spectacle, like a caravan of caged beasts, for
the populace. Geoffrey thought to himself, curiously, of the old
triumphs of the Roman emperors he had read about as a schoolboy. Then,
as now, the people needed bread and loved a show. But the people, even
then, had caught something of the dignity of power. Silently they
pressed upon the sidewalks and thronged the gardens by the river. Not a
voice was raised in mockery of these few men; there is something in the
last extremity of misfortune which commands respect, even from the
multitude. And, perhaps, even then the first-fruits of freedom might
have been marked in their manner, and magnanimity, the first virtue of
liberty, kept the London rabble hushed.

Geoffrey's eyes were turned within as he walked, as if he were thinking,
but of thoughts far distant, far back in the past. Dacre held his glance
still high and forward, fixed and straight upon the road before him.
Only once, when they passed the Temple gardens, did Geoffrey's eyes
stray outward; it was when he marked the windows of his old study in the
Inner Temple, where he had studied to be a barrister in days gone by;
then his look grew introspective as before.

When they came to the gate of the Tower the soldiers divided and drew
apart in two lines, between which the prisoners passed into the great
courtyard. A squad of the Tower garrison--no longer in the gay livery of
the King, but in the plain black coat and helmet of policemen--stood
before the door. The banner of the British Republic--the red and white
stripes, with the green union and the harp--floated over the loftiest
tower of all. The prisoners were then separated, and each was led to a
different cell. Then for the first time Geoffrey thought of Dacre; but
he was already under a special escort and being led away; it was too
late. The last that Geoffrey saw of him he was walking erect, with his
silent lips still closed, steady like the course of some strong stream
above the fall. As he watched him, Geoffrey heard the distant murmur of
the people beyond the gates.

Geoffrey well remembered the room that was his prison. He had been taken
there as a sightseer when a child. It was in the Beauchamp Tower;
and--strange coincidence--there was the bear and ragged staff of
Warwick, still visible, cut deep into the old stone walls.

So, thought he, it had all ended. History repeats itself, but in strange
new forms that seem as if they half mock, half follow, the old. Then,
the King was wrong; was now the people in the right? They brought him
some food; and after eating he threw himself on the ground and tried to
sleep. But his sleep was troubled with his dreams of waking: now he
heard Margaret Windsor's broken words again; now he was in the great
hall of St. Stephen's speaking; then he heard again the echo of the gun
that shot down the royal flag, and then the silence of the people,
forever estranged, more dread, more terrible than any words of enemies
or noise of battle. Again he thought of Dacre and his look when all was
lost: a look unchanged, unmoved; a look less of despair than the majesty
of certain fate--a fate not new nor sudden, but chosen of his own calm
will. A man of stone, thought Geoffrey; the incarnation of one thought;
hardly human in his conscious strength. And yet, as Geoffrey saw him in
the darkness of the night, his heart went out to him, and he felt that
he loved this man as he had never loved a friend before.

The dawn came, and its gray damp breath broke through the iron bars. It
seemed all unreal in the daylight. Old stones of escape passed through
his mind: how men, in childish stories of history or romance, with some
rude instrument of iron, had carved their will and way through walls as
thick as these. But how idle they seemed! How futile, how vain to make
with his two hands a way through stone, or burrow like a mole into the
earth! And yet those legends seemed no less a dream than this of his.

There was a strange silence as the morning grew on; he wondered if the
world outside were all asleep. He had foreseen it; and yet he had not
quite foreseen this; some glorious end, in a battle, perhaps, fighting
out in the free country, beneath the sun. Again his thoughts turned to
his friend, and he felt a strange assurance that Dacre had foreseen it
all along, but not held back his steps one whit for that. And there was
Maggie--in America--could she, and her life, be in the same world with
this? Yet it was natural enough, and such things had always been, only
he had never truly pictured them. The day seemed endless. If he could
only hear something of the others, and not be so terribly alone. If he
could but learn where they were--where Dacre was. He heard a dull sound
like the noise of distant firing, but more like thunder, coming heavily
through the ground. Geoffrey ran to the window, drew himself up, and
looked out through the bars. There was a sea of upturned faces, all pale
and with one fixed look, a myriad times repeated, pointed to the base of
the Tower below his window where he could not see. Then he fell back
upon the ground, burying his face in his hands.

Dacre himself had slept that night a dreamless sleep, as he had slept
any night before in the years since he had seen his path and chosen it.
At noon the people came to his cell and led him out. Numbers of men were
standing in the corridor and on the stairs; he looked on between the
lines and walked to the door. Then he begged that his handcuffs might be
removed. As he paused a moment, Richard Lincoln stepped forward and
ordered that it should be done. Then he fell back, bowing once to Dacre.
Richard Lincoln had come there from the death-bed of his daughter to do
this last service to the man that she loved. Then Dacre passed on, out
of the great door into the full light of the noon. There in front of him
was a great concourse of people, the multitude Geoffrey had seen from
his window. Dacre looked out from the prison gate with his fixed, clear
eyes, but the road was growing very short before him now, and still his
glance went on beyond--beyond the company of soldiers standing thirty
yards in front, the butts of their rifles resting on the ground.

"John Dacre, you are found guilty of high treason to the people. Have
you anything to say?" It was Bagshaw, the President, who spoke, in his
capacity as general of the army.

Dacre made no reply. He was thinking of the treason of his King, and not
of his own. And there in front of him were the people--the people, in
might of numbers, in the majesty of strength, ten thousand to his one.
But as he looked upon them their ten thousand faces were turned on his,
their hearts within their eyes; and Dacre might have noted that in all
of them there was not one but spoke pity--pity, in their silence, for
himself. Then he turned aside from the door, with his back to the prison
wall. "I am ready."

"John Dacre--you have nothing to say?" said the President again. "You
may yet save yourself. Where is the King?" Dacre turned his glance upon
him, slowly.

"I am ready," said he again. He seemed to overlook the President as he
spoke, and he never looked at him again.

"Give the order to make ready!" said Bagshaw, angrily, to the officer in
command, and the slight click of the rifles followed his words.

The narrow courtyard was as still as if deserted, though it seemed you
could almost hear the breathing of the multitude that thronged the
streets. But to die thus, penned in a narrow courtyard, passively,
vainly, shot like a dog. A low murmur began to come from the people,
indeterminate, inarticulate; it came to Dacre's ears like the hum of
distant battle, and perhaps he saw the battle, and the royal standard,
and that last unworthy King for whom this thing was done. Then came
Bagshaw's voice again: "Where is the King?"

"Silence, sir!" thundered Richard Lincoln, and Bagshaw slunk back a pace
or two, like a chidden dog.

"The King is dead," said Dacre, so clearly that all the people in the
street heard him, but no one made a sound. Then he threw back his coat,
as if to bare his breast to the levelled muskets; and as he did so the
withered rose dropped out and fell into his hand. It was Mary Lincoln's
rose that he had thrust there on the day before. And as he looked at it
the false bonds of his faith fell from him like the fetters of a dream,
and he looked upon the multitude and saw that theirs was the right, and
he knew that his life was thrown away; then first he remembered she had
loved him, and he saw what might have been. He saw the poor image of a
king--the King who had deserted his own cause and left him in his
loyalty alone; he saw the throng of humanity standing silent there
before him, and the sweetness and the virtue of the life which he had
put behind. Then for the first time his firm lips trembled, as he lifted
the poor rose to his lips, and kissed it once, in memory of her whom he
was leaving, as he thought. But Mary Lincoln was dead; and as he turned
his face upward, he seemed to see some vision in the sky, and they say
that a great glory shone into his face.

"Fire!" came the word, and the sheet of flame leaped out toward him, and
he fell; and the rose-leaves, scattered by a bullet, lay about him on
the stones.




CHAPTER XIV.

THE LAST ROYALIST.


Geoffrey's jailers were lenient to him after that first day. He was
removed to a room with carpet and furniture; his table was well served;
he was allowed to walk about in the courtyards; books and pen and ink
were given him--everything but newspapers. The fact was that Bagshaw
felt he had gone too far. The vindictiveness, the cruelty of the
populace, was already a thing of the past--of that past when they had
not yet learned their power. The people were good-natured,
impressionable, forgiving; and that low murmur from the street on the
day of Dacre's execution, the third time the President had sought to
make his prisoner betray the King, had well-nigh driven Bagshaw from his
office. It was Richard Lincoln who had saved the government that day, by
his stern rebuke to the President; the latter liked him none the better
for that.

Geoffrey felt this change of sentiment in the manner of his keepers; and
when he remembered that first terrible day, it was but to hope that his
fears had been exaggerated. Undoubtedly John's sentence would be
commuted to imprisonment like his own.

But the more convinced Geoffrey became of this, the more his mind turned
to the other persons of those eventful days. The King had not
come--that was the grim fact--the King had not come to claim his own;
had left his honest gentlemen to fight or fall without him; and no one,
even now, could tell how different the event might have been that day
had George the Fifth but proved his own cause worth defending. Geoffrey,
Dacre, none of them had had news of the King since the day of Aldershot.
Up to the very stroke of noon, as Geoffrey remembered, Dacre had
expected him. But they had waited in vain. And now the White Horse of
Hanover, and with that the Norman Leopard, was a thing of the past. From
his window Geoffrey could see the red, white, and green tricolor in the
Tower yard. He inclined to think the King was dead.

Geoffrey had never been by conviction a Legitimist; hardly even had he
been one by affection. Dacre's magnetism, Dacre's nobility of purpose
had overcome his earlier judgment; for the one effort he had lent his
life to his friend, to stake on a cast of the die. Now that they had
fairly thrown and lost, he returned to his former judgment. But with the
cause that they had lost had gone his own future.

He did not care so much for this, since that last scene with Margaret
Windsor. What future was there for him now? Stone walls do not a prison
make; he might as well be here as penned up, useless, in his four acres
about the lodge at Ripon House. His friends--what friends had he? Dacre,
Sydney, Featherstone--they were walled up with him. And Geoffrey,
walking in the Tower yard, would look up to the scattered windows, and
wonder which of them was his friend's; and if he noticed a dull red
stain on the stones at the base of the wall, he thought it was some old
mark, dating from Cromwell or the Roses. Still, Geoffrey was a young
man, too young to have wholly learned to be a fatalist; but the more he
thought of escape, the more hopeless it seemed. With a confederate, a
friend outside, it might perhaps be possible. But what friend had he
left in the wide world? Geoffrey racked his memory to think of one.
There were some two hundred men he knew at his club in the West End--but
which one of these, who had not been at Aldershot, would leave his snug
rubber at whist for the Tower? There was Jawkins--if Jawkins could be
brought to think it worth his while. Mr. Windsor--the shrewd American
was with his daughter in America; and the daughter deemed him false, and
had forgotten him. False! There was Eleanor Carey; she had loved him;
would she not seek to save him? The woman whose maidenhood he had loved?
He had not heard of her since the night before Aldershot; but this was
rather a hopeful sign than otherwise. The more Geoffrey thought, the
more he felt assured that here was the one person in the world that
might be trusted to remember him.

So, when Geoffrey had been in prison some three weeks, and one day the
turnkey came and said that some one wished to see him, Geoffrey thought
of Mrs. Carey at once. His heart beat high with hope as he followed his
guide through a labyrinth of stairs and passages. He even forgot to look
closely at each door, as he was used to do, to find some sign of Dacre
or his friends. Eleanor! was on his lips to cry as the jailer opened the
door of a distant room and bade him enter.

In the centre, by a table, was standing an old man, dressed in black,
with a white head bent well forward upon his shoulders. It was
Reynolds, no longer dressed like a servant, but disguised in a suit of
broadcloth, such as was worn until recently by the oldest gentlemen. The
old man bent still lower, took Geoffrey's hand and kissed it.

"Thank God!" said he, in a whisper, "dear young master, you are alive,
at all events." Reynolds still used old-fashioned forms of speech.

It was a strange thing to Geoffrey to be still called young. He felt as
if he had seen a century at least--the twentieth. He looked at Reynolds
with a slight but decided feeling of disappointment. He had hoped for
Mrs. Carey.

"Yes, Reynolds, I am alive, and glad to see you," he added, as he saw
the tears in the old man's eyes. "Sit down." Geoffrey pushed a chair
toward him; but the old man would as soon have thought of sitting down
in the presence of the King. "And how is Ripon House?"

"Ripon House, your lordship, is much the same. I think I may succeed in
letting it to one of your lordship's old tenants." Geoffrey looked up,
surprised; then he remembered that by Ripon House Reynolds meant the
lodge. "With your lordship's permission I can get thirty guineas a year
for it," Reynolds added.

"By all means, Reynolds," said Geoffrey. "But, Reynolds, I must have no
'your lordship' any more. That is done forever. I was foolish ever to
have consented to it."

"Yes, your lordship," replied Reynolds, simply. "I knew your lordship
would consent, so I have brought the first quarter's rent in advance."
And the old man laid eight five-dollar gold pieces on the table.
Geoffrey grasped his hand.

"Thank you, Reynolds," said he. The old man was more embarrassed than if
he had kissed him.

"Your lordship--your lordship is--" Reynolds stammered, and Geoffrey
interrupted him.

"None of that, remember;" he lifted a finger pleasantly. "But I asked
you about Ripon House."

"The old castle (it was not half so old as the lodge) is shut up, earl,"
said he. "The American is in his own country."

"Reynolds, do you know what became of the King?"

"No, your lord--Earl Brompton."

"Or who it was that betrayed us? Some one must have carried all the
particulars of the plan to Bagshaw."

The old man did not answer for a moment.

"Reynolds, have you seen Dacre?"

The question was sudden. "Does--does not your lordship know--" he
faltered. Geoffrey sprang from his chair.

"They shot him."

Geoffrey sank back to his seat. The old servant walked to the window,
pulling out his handkerchief. Outside was heard the measured step of the
turnkey pacing to and fro.

"Reynolds, will you carry a letter for me?" said Geoffrey at last.
"Think before you answer. You are no longer in my service, you know. I
can no longer pay you."

"I am always in the earl's service," Reynolds interrupted.

"Thank you, Reynolds. The letter is to Mrs. Oswald Carey. You remember
her?"

Reynolds started. "Forgive me, earl--but does your--your honor know--"
The old man spoke in much trouble; Geoffrey looked up in amazement.

"Oh, forgive me, Earl Brompton--but--I once told a lie to you. That
night--you remember that night when Sir John met your lordship in his
room, and I said afterward there had been no one there?"

"Yes," said Geoffrey. "What then?"

"There was some one there. A lady was there. Mrs. Carey."

A terrible light broke upon Geoffrey. It was she that had taken the
paper; it was she that was the traitor who had been the cause of Dacre's
death. And his old love for her had killed his friend.

"There is no one left"--the words broke from his lips with a sob--"no
one but you, Reynolds." He groaned aloud with rage and sorrow as he saw
the part this woman had played. She had come between him and the girl he
loved; she had betrayed the loyal cause; she had struck down Dacre, with
her lying lips, her lovely eyes. And he had almost loved her.

"I have a message for your honor." Reynolds spoke humbly, timidly, as if
his master blamed him. "The young American lady--Miss Windsor--before
they went away, she desired me to write to her."

Geoffrey looked up, as if a ray of light had entered the prison window.
"Wait," he said, simply. The old man stood at the window, while Geoffrey
drew a chair to the table, sat down, and tried to write. Many a letter
was begun, half finished, and then torn into fragments. When at last a
note was done and sealed, Geoffrey turned to Reynolds.

"You will send it to her?"

"I will take it to her in America," said the old man; and he hastily
thrust the note into the breast of his coat, as the turnkey entered.
Geoffrey thrust one of the gold pieces into the jailer's hand as he led
him away.

"You will be taken to Dartmoor Prison to-morrow," said the jailer, as if
in reply. Geoffrey looked over his shoulder to see if Reynolds heard;
but the old man was busy in buttoning up his coat, and did not look his
way.

The day after these occurrences the French mail steamer, putting in at
Cork Harbor, took on board several passengers. Among them was old
Reynolds. It was Christmas week, and the ship was full of Americans,
running home for the holidays, with the usual retinue of English and
French servants, among whom Reynolds passed unnoticed. There were but
two people in all the West that Reynolds cared to see; in Maggie Windsor
and her father the old man had a strange confidence; but as for these
people, their evident prosperity made him sorrowful, their wealth
offended him.

As he sat upon the deck that evening, his old cloak drawn about his
shoulders, a lady passed up and down before him, arm-in-arm with a
gentleman whom he had never seen. There was a grace, a certain sinuous
strength about the woman's figure that was strangely familiar to him. He
tried to think where he had seen such a form before; and, do what he
would, his memory would not stray from the library in the old lodge at
Ripon House. The man with her was middle-aged, or perhaps a little
older; he had a red beard of some three weeks' growth, not long enough
to hide the contour of his fat double chin. His small eyes had a way of
turning rapidly about, but not resting anywhere, as if he feared a
steady glance might lead some one to recognize him. Reynolds wondered
who he was.

The night was mild for the season, and there was a bright moon. All the
other passengers were below in the cabins, the sea was calm, and the
strains of an orchestra were heard from the great saloon, where the
passengers were dancing. There was an electric light behind where
Reynolds sat, and pulling the evening paper from his pocket he tried to
read. He had his own reasons for not caring to go below; apparently so
had the other two, for they still walked the deck in front of him. Once,
as they passed him, they stopped for a moment, and the light fell full
upon the woman's face. It was Mrs. Carey.

The paper fell from the old man's hands. Their eyes met for a moment,
then the woman turned away.

Reynolds was thunderstruck. Could that be Mr. Carey with her? he
thought. He had never seen Carey, but he fancied not. Her husband must
be a younger man. Reynolds hoped she had not recognized him. He hated
the woman now; he felt a fear of her, well grounded, after all that had
happened.

For several days after this the weather was bad, and Mrs. Carey came on
deck without her companion. Reynolds avoided her, and she did not seem
to notice him. Yet she had a fascination for him, and he would slyly
watch her from the corners of his eyes, as one looks upon some brilliant
serpent. This was the woman who had wrecked his master's life--who had
betrayed the King. Reynolds wondered where the King was then. He
fancied, with Geoffrey, that he must be dead.

On the fourth day they made the lightship anchored off the Banks, and
stopped for news and letters. Reynolds bought a paper; Mrs. Carey had a
telegram, which he saw her reading with evident interest. His newspaper,
which was a mere resume of the telegrams received in the ocean station,
had a long despatch about the so-called meeting at Aldershot. It said
that George of Hanover was believed to have fled to America, but that it
was not the policy of the government to pursue him.

"You seem interested in your paper, Mr. Reynolds," said a voice at his
shoulder. The old servant stood up, and touched his hat, from habit. It
was Mrs. Carey. She was dressed coquettishly in a sea-green travelling
dress that showed her beautiful figure at its best; her hair was coiled
above her fair neck in two glossy red-brown bands. Reynolds looked into
her deep eyes and hated her. He cared more for his master than for any
woman's eyes. "How did you leave poor Ripon?" she asked.

"My master is in Dartmoor Prison," said Reynolds, sadly.

"Your master is a crazy fool," said the beautiful woman, spitefully.
Reynolds made as if to go, but she detained him. "Why are you going to
America?"

"I have a message from Lord Brompton to the King," said Reynolds.

For fear that she might in some way thwart him, he did not tell her his
real errand.

Mrs. Carey laughed scornfully. "No need to go so far," said she, and she
beckoned with her hand. The stout man with the reddish beard came up,
like some huge, dull animal called by its mistress. His sensuous, fat
face was pallid with seasickness, and as he looked at Mrs. Carey there
was a senile leer in his eye.

"King George," said she, "this is a servant of Lord Brompton's."

The decks were almost deserted, and no one was near enough to overhear
them.

The old man's mouth opened; but he could only stare vacantly. He
stammered some incoherent syllables, and tried to bend his knees, but
they knocked together, trembling. He doffed his hat, and, with the
sea-breeze blowing his thin white hair about his temples, stood looking
at the King.

"I am sorry for your master," said the man with the beard. "But--it was
useless. Was it not useless, my dear?" he added, turning to Mrs. Carey.

She laughed contemptuously, but made no reply, and the two resumed their
promenade upon the deck. Reynolds watched them a long time sadly. She
seemed to have complete control over the man, and Reynolds noticed that
he even brought her a footstool, when she sat upon her sea-chair upon
the deck. No one among the passengers seemed to know him or notice him;
but many an admiring glance was turned upon Mrs. Carey. "Curse the
jade!" said Reynolds to himself. Now, indeed, he saw that it was all
true, and felt for the first time that his master would never come back
to Ripon House. But he could not understand it. To say that the sun fell
from the heavens would be but a poor simile to describe the effect this
interview produced on the old man's mind. He sat like one dazed through
the rest of the voyage. And King George, passing him, saw the old man
sitting there, and felt ashamed, abased, before the look of the old
servant. Only Mrs. Carey had a proud sparkle in her evil eyes, and
gloated in spirit at the message that the man would take to his master
back in England. And when, on the fifth day, they landed in Boston, she
got into a carriage and drove off with the King, and Reynolds saw her
wave her jewelled hand at him from the window.

He himself asked for the house of Mr. Abraham Windsor. Mr. Windsor, like
most rich Americans, had a winter house in Boston, a plantation in
Florida, a palace in Mexico, a shooting-box in the mountains of Montana,
and other arrangements for circumventing the American climate; and
Reynolds was driven to a great stone house, with court and gardens,
fronting on a park. He asked for Miss Windsor; the servant looked at him
curiously, but bade him wait.

Reynolds was tired with the voyage and the bustle and hurry of arriving;
and this great city, this great America, so fine, so bright, so rich,
made him sad and depressed. What likelihood was there, he thought, that
this gay, luxurious American would think or care for his poor master
over in Dartmoor Jail? But, as he looked up, he started with
astonishment. Hung upon the wall was a water-color, beautifully done, of
the great avenue leading up to Ripon House. He heard a rustle at the
door, and, turning hastily around, he saw Miss Windsor. She was more
beautiful than the other, was his first thought; and making a step
forward, he bowed humbly, not daring to take the hand she frankly
extended to him.

"Mr. Reynolds!" she said, sweetly. "I am so glad to see you!" This was
well--she remembered him, at all events; and, therefore, his master.

"My lady," said he respectfully, "I have made bold to bring you a
letter--from England."

"From England?" she said, feigning surprise; but a quick blush mantled
her cheek.

"From the Tower of London," said Reynolds, gravely.

"From the Tower?" she cried; "is--is your master in prison?"

"My master is now in Dartmoor Prison, if it please you, my lady," said
Reynolds. "He was sentenced for fifteen years--for trying to serve the
King."

He drew forth the letter, carefully wrapped in a double envelope. She
took it from him quickly, and tore the covering open. This is what she
read:


     "MY DEAR MISS WINDSOR: When I see you again--as I hope, if the
     fates so will, I may--you, I hope, will be married, and I shall be
     getting to be an old man. Fifteen years is much to take from the
     sunny part of a man's life; and I can hardly look for much but
     shadow after that. I have thought much of you, since I have been
     here, and of our last meeting. And I have but one thing to tell
     you--what, perhaps, it would have been better for me to have told
     you long since--and to ask for your forgiveness for myself. I
     should not like to think that you were thinking ill of me, all
     these years that I am to stay within these walls.

     "Eleanor Carey--at whose feet, as I now know, you must have seen me
     that day at Chichester--was the woman I loved when she was a young
     girl, beautiful, as you know; lovely, as I then thought. She was
     Eleanor Leigh then. Eleanor Carey pretended on that day that she
     had never ceased to love me. My noble friend John Dacre had formed
     a plot to restore the King of England, and this woman was one of
     us. It was she who made a breach between us that day. It was she
     who went the morning before to my house, and, overhearing Dacre's
     talk to me, stole a paper containing the names and plan of our
     conspiracy. It was she who of all our friends was the only traitor.
     She murdered my dear friend as truly as if it had been her hand
     that dealt the blow. He was shot in the Tower court below here,
     with his back to the wall, by a company of soldiers. And, as I now
     believe, it was Eleanor Carey who in some way met the King, and
     kept him from us on that day.

     "I tell you all this that you may believe, in spite of all you may
     have seen that day at Chichester, Eleanor Carey is not the woman I
     love. You did not believe this at Ripon House. Margaret, will you
     believe it now?

                             "Yours, forever,

                                       "GEOFFREY RIPON."


"Fifteen years!" said Maggie, meditatively, after she had read the
letter, with varying waves of white and red in her face, not unremarked
by Reynolds, as he stood with his hat in his two hands.

"Fifteen years! Papa!"

The door of an adjoining room opened, and Mr. Windsor appeared.

"Yes, my dear."

"Papa, this is Mr. Reynolds."

"Mr. Reynolds, I am very happy to make your acquaintance."

"Mr. Reynolds was Lord Brompton's servant--at Ripon, you remember?"

"Oh! Reynolds, I am glad to see you."

"That will do, Reynolds; you can go."

"Papa, I have a commission for you in England."

Reynolds's face fell. "Any--any message for my master, my lady?"

"No. Oh--stop--yes. You may tell him," said Maggie, with a heightened
color, smiling, "you may tell him I am about to be married."




CHAPTER XV.

LOVE LAUGHS AT LOCKSMITHS.


In the centre of its wide waste of barren hills, huge granite
outcroppings and swampy valleys, the gloomy prison of Dartmoor stood
wrapped in mist one dismal morning in the March following the Royalist
outbreak. Its two centuries of unloved existence in the midst of a wild
land and fitful climate had seared every wall-tower and gateway with
lines and patches of decay and discoloration. Originally built of brown
stone, the years had deepened the tint almost to blackness in the larger
stretches of outer wall and unwindowed gable.

On this morning the dark walls dripped with the weeping atmosphere, and
the voice of the huge prison bell in the main yard sounded distant and
strange like a storm-bell in a fog at sea.

Through the thick drizzle of the early morning the convicts were marched
in gangs to their daily tasks, some to build new walls within the prison
precincts, some to break stone in the round yard, encircled by enormous
iron railings fifteen feet high, some to the great kitchen of the prison
and to the different workshops. About one third of the prisoners marched
outside the walls by the lower entrance, for the prison stands on a
hill, at the foot of which stretches the most forsaken and grisly waste
in all Dartmoor.

The task of the convicts for two hundred years had been the reclamation
of this wide waste, which was called "The Farm." The French prisoners of
war taken in the Napoleonic wars that ended with Waterloo had dug
trenches to drain the waste. The American prisoners of the War of 1812
had laid roadways through the marsh. The Irish rebels of six generations
had toiled in the tear-scalded footsteps of the French and American
captives. And all the time the main or "stock" supply of English
criminals, numbering usually about four hundred men, had spent their
weary years in toiling and broiling at "The Farm."

Standing at the lower gate of the prison, from which a steep road
descended to the marsh looking over "The Farm," it was hard to see
anything like a fair return for such continued and patient labor. Deep
trenches filled with claret-colored water drained innumerable patches of
sickly vegetation. About a hundred stunted fruit trees and as many
bedraggled haystacks were all that broke the surface line.

As the gangs of convicts, numbering about twenty each, marched out of
the lower gate on this dull morning, they turned their eyes, each gang
in the same surprised way as that which preceded, on a small group of
men who were working just outside the prison wall.

To the left of the gate, on the sloping side of the hill, was a
quadrangular space of about thirty by twenty yards, round which was
built a low wall of evidently great antiquity. The few courses of stones
were huge granite boulders and slabs torn and rolled from the hillside.
There was no gateway or break in the square; to enter the inclosure one
must climb over the wall, which was easy enough to do.

Inside the square was a rough heap of granite, a cairn, gray with
lichens, in the centre of which stood, or rather leaned, a tall square
block of granite, like a dolmen. So great was the age of this strange
obelisk that the lichens had encrusted it to the top. The stone had once
stood upright; but it now leaned toward the marsh, the cairn having
slowly yielded on the lower side.

Around this ancient monument were working four men in the gray and black
tweed of the convicts; and it was at their presence that the gangs had
stared as they passed.

One of these four men was young, one middle-aged, and two well down the
hill of life, the oldest being a tall and emaciated old man of at least
seventy years. They were four political prisoners--namely, Geoffrey
Ripon, Featherstone, Sydney, and the old Duke of Bayswater. There was a
warder in charge, who addressed them by numbers instead of names. He
called Geoffrey "406;" Featherstone, "28;" Sydney, "No. 5," and the old
Duke, "16." The prisoners recognized their numbers as quickly as free
workmen would have answered to their names.

"No. 5," said the Warder, sharply, a bearded man, with the bearing of an
old infantry soldier, "you must put more life into your work. You have
been fooling around that stone for the last ten minutes."

"No. 5" raised himself from the bending posture in which he had been,
and looked at the officer with a gentle reproach.

"It is a heavy stone, and I have been thinking how it can be moved,"
said "No. 5," and he smiled at the officer. He was not the Sydney of
old, but a woe-begone creature, obviously sixty years of age, on whose
thin frame the gray clothes hung in loose folds.

The officer thought "No. 5" was making fun of him, and he became angry.

"No use thinking," he shouted; "move the stone."

"No. 5" tried again, but his starveling strength could not shake a tenth
of its weight.

"Here, you, 16," cried the officer to the old Duke; "bear a hand here.
Your mate says he can't move that stone."

"No. 16" and "No. 5" applied their united force to the stone, but it
remained as before. The two poor old fellows regarded it with perplexity
while furtively watching the officer. It was pitiful to see the
expression of simulated mortification on their faces, which was meant to
placate the Warder.

"Let me assist them," said Geoffrey to the officer, and he got a good
"purchase" on the block and easily heaved it from its bed.

"No. 16," the old Duke, bowed his thanks, and "No. 5" pressed Geoffrey's
hand. The officer, more rough than cruel, turned away to hide a smile at
the courtesies of his charge. Soon after, he gave them instructions
about the work, and left them, going down to "The Farm" to superintend
the making of a new drain.

"This is heavy work, Duke," said Geoffrey to the old man; "but we ought
to be thankful for the sentiment which sends us to do it instead of the
criminals."

"I suppose so," said the Duke, in a desponding tone; "but it is not
pleasant to think that after a century and a half the tomb of political
prisoners in Dartmoor should be repaired by the hands of political
prisoners."

"Not pleasant, but natural, Duke," said Mr. Sydney; "so long as there
are principles, there must be men to suffer for them."

"Whose monument is this?" asked Featherstone; "I am all in the
dark--tell me."

Geoffrey, who had been employed in the office of the Governor of the
prison, and who had, on hearing this old monument was to be repaired,
volunteered on behalf of the three others to do the work, now told the
story of the old monument as he had learned it from the prison records
which he had been transcribing.

"In the wars of the Great Napoleon," Geoffrey said, "the French
prisoners captured by England were confined in hulks on the seacoast
till the hulks overflowed. Then this prison was built, and filled with
unfortunate Frenchmen. In 1812 the young Republic of America went to war
with England, and hundreds of American captives were added to the
Frenchmen. During the years of their confinement scores of these poor
fellows died, and one day the Americans mutinied, and then other scores
were shot down in the main yard. This field was the graveyard of those
prisoners, and here the strangers slept for over half a century, till
their bones were washed out of the hillside by the rain-storms. There
happened to be in Dartmoor at that time a party of Irish rebels, and
they asked permission to collect the bones and bury them securely. The
Irishmen raised this cairn and obelisk to the Americans and Frenchmen,
and now, after another hundred years, we are sent to repair their loving
testimonial."

"It is an interesting story," said Featherstone.

"A sad story for old men," said the Duke.

"A brave story for boys," said Mr. Sydney; "I could lift this obelisk
itself for sympathy."

They went on, working and chatting in low tones, till an exclamation
from Sydney made them look up. Sydney was on top of the cairn, scraping
the lichens from the obelisk. The moss was hard to cut, and had formed a
crust, layer on layer, half an inch in thickness.

"What is it, my dear Sydney?" asked the Duke.

"An inscription!" cried Sydney, scraping away. "An inscription nearly a
hundred years old. I have uncovered the year--see, 1867."

"Ay," said Geoffrey, "that was the year the Irish were here."

Featherstone had gone to Sydney's assistance, and with the aid of a
sharp flint soon uncovered the whole inscription. It ran thus:

          ____________________________________________
          |      SACRED TO THE MEMORY OF THE         |
          |                                          |
          |     FRENCH AND AMERICAN PRISONERS        |
          |               OF WAR,                    |
          |                                          |
          | Who Died in Dartmoor Prison during the   |
          |            Years 1811-16.                |
          |                                          |
          | _Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori._  |
          --------------------------------------------

Underneath were the words, "Erected 1867."

Very tender and true was the touch of nature that made these four
prisoners, now looking at the ancient letters, akin with those who slept
below, and with those who had so lovingly preserved their memory. The
sudden uncovering of the inscription seemed to give a talismanic value
to the words. The centuries cleared away like the mist from the moor,
and the four Royalist prisoners saw the brave Americans carry their dead
comrades to their English grave; they saw their set faces as they faced
the armed guards and invited their own destruction; they saw the
Frenchmen who had followed Napoleon from Egypt to Waterloo laid here by
their younger fellows who still dreamt of future glory under their
world-conquering Emperor. And when all this phastasma cleared away came
another picture of the Celtic patriots raising the cairn and cutting the
sweet old Roman words on the monolith.

"May they rest in peace!" said the old Duke, taking off his convict's
cap.

"Amen!" said Sydney.

"How this day's work would have suited John Dacre," said Featherstone
with a deep sigh; and the name brought tears to the eyes of the four
prisoners, who went on with their labor in silence.

But interesting as was this employment to the Royalists, it was on quite
another account that Geoffrey had, while acting as clerk in the
Governor's office, secured this work for them. The truth was that he
expected to hear from friends outside who might help them to escape. A
letter which he had received from his old servant Reynolds had puzzled
him exceedingly with its repeated regrets for the difficulty of getting
admission to the prison. But at last the idea struck Geoffrey that
Reynolds was hinting that he should seek employment outside the walls.
The restoration of the old monument soon gave the opportunity, and
Geoffrey had seized it.

He had said nothing of all this to the others; for he might have quite
misinterpreted Reynolds's letter, and he did not wish to raise vain
hopes. There was not the least sign as yet that he had been right. The
old high-road across Dartmoor, it is true, passed the spot at which they
were working, skirting the very prison wall; but it was an empty and
desolate path.

That day and the next they labored at the cairn, until at last the
stones were sufficiently removed to allow the monolith to be raised by a
derrick into an upright position. They had just rigged the derrick and
the old Duke and Mr. Sydney were standing at the wheel ready to turn,
while Geoffrey and Featherstone mounted the cairn to arrange the rope.
The Warder sat on the low wall with his back to the road and the prison.

As they stood on the cairn, Featherstone saw an old man on the road
driving a donkey-cart. The harness had given way, and the old man was
busy repairing it, standing behind the Warder. Something in the old
man's attitude rather than appearance induced Featherstone to look at
him again. His raised hand seemed to purposely arrest attention.

Featherstone looked too long and too sharply, for the Warder observed
him, and turned to see what he looked at. The old man on the road saw
the motion, and, instantly dropping his hand, went on with his mending,
meanwhile addressing the donkey with reproving words.

The Warder looked for a moment, then turned his attention to the workers
at the cairn.

"Heave on that handle, you, No. 5; don't let your mate do all the work.
Come, now--heave!"

And the two decrepit old men "heaved," as he called turning the handle
of the windlass, until their old joints cracked.

"That'll do; slack away!" and they rested panting, while the rope was
fixed for another grip.

"Geoffrey," whispered Featherstone, with his head bent beside the stone,
"look at that old fellow on the road. I am sure he made a signal to me,
and stopped when he saw the Warder looking."

When Geoffrey had arranged the rope he looked toward the road, and
almost shouted with joy and surprise to see faithful old Reynolds, with
both hands raised in recognition and a wide smile on his honest face.
Fortunately the Warder was at the moment encouraging the Duke and Sydney
to "heave" on the wheel.

Geoffrey quickly recovered, and turned his attention to the rope.

"Try and find what he wants," he whispered to Featherstone. "It is my
old Reynolds. Careful!"

While he whispered there was a crash on the road that made the whole
group start. The harness had wholly given way and the shafts had come to
the ground.

The old driver was in a sad plight, and he looked helplessly at the
wreck of his team. He turned wistfully to the Warder and asked him to
send one of the prisoners to his aid.

"Here, you, No. 16," shouted the Warder to the Duke; "lend a hand here
on the road; look alive, now." The old man went toward the wall, as if
nothing could surprise him, no indignity arouse a spark of resentment.
He tried to hurry to win the Warder's approbation; but in doing so he
stumbled in climbing the low wall, upon which he turned to the officer
with a look of apology.

Geoffrey took advantage of this moment to offer his services. He leaped
from the cairn, and asked the Warder to let him take the place of the
old man.

"All right--go along. Here, you, No. 16, scramble back to your work. If
you don't look out you'll lose your good-conduct marks."

Mr. Sydney gave the Duke a look of sympathy and a smile of cheer as he
took his place on the windlass again, and Featherstone looked down from
the cairn at both his old friends with actual tears in his eyes.

Meanwhile Geoffrey had gone out to Reynolds, and in bending to the shaft
gave the old man's hand a grip of welcome and gratitude. Reynolds moved
to the other side of the cart, and stooping out of sight of the Warder
took a letter from his pocket and showed it to Geoffrey. Featherstone,
from the top of the cairn, saw the movement and made a brilliant stroke.

"Look out, down there!" he shouted to the old men, "my hand is caught in
the bight!"

There was a brief excitement in which the Warder joined, while
Featherstone played his part to the life. When it had passed the cart
was raised, and Geoffrey had the letter in his stocking.

Reynolds gave Geoffrey a look that was better than words, and then he
thanked the Warder and went off with his donkey.

"Bravo!" whispered Featherstone as Geoffrey joined him; "that was done
in a way to make the professionals envious."

For the rest of the day Geoffrey felt like a man made of India rubber.
He leaped up and down the cairn like a boy, and he whispered all kinds
of encouraging words to the old men at the wheel. He felt the letter in
his stocking all the time, and wondered why he could not read it by very
insight. He turned a hundred times in alarm to see if the Warder's eyes
were on its hiding-place. Who had written it? Was it a plan of escape?
Perhaps it was only a word of empty sympathy; but no, Reynolds was a
practical man.

Oh, how long the hours were, till at last the prison-bell rang at six
o'clock, and the gangs all over the farm formed into little squads and
marched toward the prison, the warders drawing after them the light iron
bridges of the canals, which were locked on one side every night. By
this means "The Farm," which was intersected by a score of these wide
and deep trenches, was impassable; and as it hemmed in one side of the
hill on which the prison stood, with a guard tower on either end, it was
a greater safeguard even than the wall of the prison.

The four political prisoners marched into the yard. The Warder, before
locking them up, made each one raise his arms and stand to be searched.
He then ran his hands lengthwise over the whole man, mainly to see that
no weapons or tools were concealed. As his hand passed over the letter
in the stocking Geoffrey closed his eyes in the tense pain of anxiety.
He did not breathe till he stood in his narrow cell and had closed the
self-locking door with a bang. Then he sat down on his hammock and
hugged himself with joy.

When all was quiet on the long corridor and the prisoners were eating
their meagre supper Geoffrey drew out his letter and broke the outer
cover. It was addressed in a hand he had never seen before--a plain,
business-like hand:

"To Mr. Geoffrey Ripon, or any of the Royalist prisoners."

"No more titles," mused Geoffrey with a smile; "there is something
American in the 'Mr.'"

This thought naturally led him to think of one in America whose
handwriting he had blindly and unreasonably hoped to see in this letter.
Now, with a sigh, he saw that it was not for him alone, but for "any of
the Royalist prisoners" as well.

The letter was written on small sheets, joined at the top by a thin
brass holder. From the first word it was a plan to escape from Dartmoor
and from England. It showed that everything had been carefully examined
and considered by those outside before they had attempted to communicate
with the prisoners; and all that remained must be done by those within
the prison. The letter ran thus:


     "We have arranged everything but your actual getting out of the
     prison and crossing the marsh at the foot of the hill. ['The Farm'
     was here meant.] This marsh extends between two guard towers, and
     is nine hundred yards long. It cannot be crossed at night, for the
     warders withdraw and lock on the prison side the swinging bridges
     of the numerous canals. These canals are seven feet deep and
     fourteen wide, and the banks are soft peat. It would be dangerous
     to try to swim them. You must procure a long plank or beam, and
     carry it from trench to trench. You can get such a plank, which two
     men can carry easily, at the new tool-shed which the convicts are
     building against the outer wall of the prison to the right of the
     lower gate.

     "We cannot do anything to help you out of the prison till we hear
     from you. You must escape by the lower side of the prison and cross
     the marsh, for the town and warders' quarters extend on the other
     three sides. In the old tool-shed against the outer lower wall,
     where you leave your tools every evening, there is a small portable
     steam-engine. Place your answer inside the furnace door, to the
     right, and search there every morning for our messages. You need
     not grope around. Put your hand to the right corner of the furnace,
     and our parcel will be there. In case you can get out without our
     help, here are complete instructions:

     "When you have crossed the marsh, keep straight on across the hill,
     at the foot of which, a mile from the prison, there is a narrow
     lane. Keep to the right on this lane till you come to the high
     road. Half a mile down this road to the left stands a cottage with
     a ploughed field behind. Go boldly into this house day or night;
     the door will be left open, though latched. Once inside the
     cottage, unseen by the guards, you are safe. Trust implicitly on us
     for anything else."


Geoffrey read the letter many times before he turned to his miserable
supper of dry bread and cocoa. He impressed every detail on his mind so
that the writing might be destroyed. Then he began to eat and think
together, and it was nearly morning before the thinking ceased. In his
mind he must settle every difficulty, foresee and circumvent every
danger before he made a move. Were it only his own peril he were
considering he would have had small anxiety. But now he felt on himself
the burden of the lives of his three friends, who would undoubtedly
attempt to carry out his arrangements. At last he fell asleep, and it
seemed that the vile roar of the waking bell began a few minutes later.

In the morning Geoffrey sat face to face with the first and least of his
difficulties: he had no means of writing to his unknown friends. But the
mind springs to experiment when it is left alone. In a minute he had
paper, pen, and ink, and, stretched on the floor, with his only book,
the prison Bible, for a desk, he was writing his answer.

The ink was on the floor, composed of the asphalt dust of which the
floor was made. He had swept it into a little heap with his hard
floor-brush, and mixed it with water from his washing basin. His pen was
the wire-twisted end of his leathern boot-lace; and his paper, whole
leaves carefully torn from the Bible, across the small type of which he
wrote in heavy letters as follows:


     "We cannot possibly escape from within the prison. Our cells are on
     the third tier, opening into the prison, and two of our friends are
     old and infirm. We must escape from the guards while employed
     outside the walls, conceal ourselves till night, and then follow
     your instructions. To-day we shall begin our preparations. We
     cannot tell how soon we may make the attempt, or how long we shall
     have to wait. Wednesdays and Saturdays are the only days on which
     it can be done; and we must wait for a very rainy or foggy evening
     on one of those days. The present weather is in our favor, so do
     not leave the cottage empty day or night for a few weeks."


Geoffrey concealed his letter, ate his breakfast when the six o'clock
bell rang, and the bolts of five hundred cells shot back by one mighty
stroke of a steam piston-rod, he paraded with his companions, and the
four were marched off to their work at the monument.

Sydney and the Duke walked together in rear of Geoffrey and
Featherstone. The Duke, in order to keep up with the regulation pace,
secretly clung to Sydney's arm, which he dropped when the officer looked
round and took again when the danger had passed.

When they came to the tool-shed, the prisoners went in one by one for
their tools, which were piled up and taken away day after day, by the
same men in the same order. The portable steam-engine was to the left of
the door. Geoffrey went straight to it, opened the furnace door, and
left his letter.

A few minutes later, when they were on the cairn, Featherstone's
anxiety spoke in his eyes, and Geoffrey told him the whole story, in a
whisper, as they walked.

"Can it be done?" asked Featherstone.

"Yes, I think so. At any rate, we must try."

"What is your plan?"

"We must escape from the guards outside the prison," said Geoffrey,
looking down at Sydney and the Duke, who were doing cyclopean work under
the eye of the Warder. "Those two could never escape from the cells, nor
climb the walls if they did."

"True," answered Featherstone, with a despondent manner; "but we are no
nearer freedom than ever, if we have no definite plan."

"I have a definite plan," said Geoffrey, "and I think a good one. We
must remain outside some evening when the convicts march in. On every
evening but Wednesday and Saturday we go straight to our cells when we
go in from work, and we close our own doors, so that if we remained
outside on any evening but those two we should be instantly missed. On
Wednesday and Saturday evenings the prisoners are taken off work one
hour earlier and are sent to school. We want at least an hour's start
for the sake of those two; you and I could do with half the time.
Therefore we must remain behind on one of those two days."

"But how?" asked Featherstone, impatiently. "The Warder walks beside
us."

"We must manage to send him off or have him called away," answered
Geoffrey. "Can it be done?"

Featherstone did not answer. He went on working; he even spoke about
other things, as if he had not heard Geoffrey's question. In about half
an hour he said:

"I think it cannot be done. What do you think?"

"I think so too," said Geoffrey.

"So that, even with our friends waiting for us, we are tied hand and
foot."

"No," said Geoffrey, with a smile at his friend's gloom; "but that is
just what the Warder must say."

"What! Seize him and tie him up?" asked Featherstone, with a flash in
his eyes that made the shaven prisoner a soldier again. "Bravo, Ripon!
It can be done. What a mole I am."

"Do you think it can be managed without hurting the poor devil? With all
his loud talk he has been kind to those two old friends. Just look at
them now, pretending to turn that wheel, with no rope on the windlass,
and he looking on! I don't want to harm him, Featherstone."

"No, nor I. But we can take him gently and swiftly and gag him. That
won't hurt him, will it?"

"No; but should he make a noise?"

"Trust me, Ripon; I could strangle him with one hand. I shall simply
hold him by the throat while Sydney gags him, you tie his hands, and the
Duke his feet. We shall do it any day or hour that you give the word."

The friends' hands met as they bent over the monolith, and Featherstone,
perhaps to show Geoffrey what he could do, almost crushed his hand in a
giant grip.

"Now, tell Sydney and the Duke as soon as you can. To-morrow is our
first day of opportunity, and we must be ready. Should it rain heavily
or should the mist hang, we shall take our chance. All we have to do is
to secure the Warder just as the five o'clock bell rings, and lie down
over there inside the wall of this little yard. No one ever looks over.
They will think as they pass from the farm that we have marched in as
usual."

Before night Featherstone had told the Duke and Sydney, and the manner
of those convicts changed mysteriously from that moment. Their gloom
vanished. They smiled at Geoffrey every time he met their eyes. They
were constantly whispering to each other and smiling, and often they
looked long at the Warder and measured him as a foeman.

The next day was Wednesday. It rained in the morning, and the hearts of
the four political prisoners went up at the steady down-pour. But the
sun burnt through the clouds at noon, and the moor glistened under his
beams all the rest of the day.

"Don't fret, Duke," whispered Featherstone. "Our day is coming; we are
young yet."

The Duke bowed at the kind words, and he and Sydney smiled broadly at
Geoffrey to show him that they were strong-hearted, just as they looked
serious to make the Warder think they were working very hard indeed.

The next two days were fine, and the Saturday opened with a smile that
fell like a pall on the hearts that pined for freedom. But about three
o'clock in the afternoon, as the two toilers on the windlass "heaved"
laboriously, the Duke gave a little cry of joy, so low that only Sydney
heard him. A large drop of rain had fallen on his hand, which he held
toward Sydney. Five minutes later Geoffrey, who had been watching the
clouds, bent his head to Featherstone, who was working in a cavity they
had made in the cairn.

"To-night, I think," he said. "It promises splendidly."

Featherstone, who was quite concealed in his hole, laughed quietly, and
pointed to his biceps.

Geoffrey glanced at the two below and found them watching his eye with a
question. He gave a little nod, and they both smiled, and soon after
turned their gaze on the Warder, who, to escape the rain, had crouched
down in lee of the low wall.

When Featherstone saw him he said to Geoffrey, "Just look! The Duke
alone could capture that fellow now."

Had the Warder looked closely at his prisoners he might have noticed
something odd about their proceedings. Though it rained hard none of
them had donned the heavy striped linen blouse furnished to Dartmoor
prisoners for use in wet weather. The truth was that the blouses of all
four were at that time being cut into strips, and twisted into stout
cords by the big Colonel in his hole in the cairn.

At 4.30 the rain fell with sober steadiness, and there was no longer a
doubt. In half an hour the bell would ring. The Warder still crouched
under the wall.

Another quarter of an hour passed, and the machinery of escape began to
move.

"Hold on!" shouted Geoffrey to the two on the windlass. They stopped and
stood as if surprised at the tone. Geoffrey meanwhile spoke rapidly and
excitedly to Featherstone, who was unseen in the hole.

"What's the matter there?" grumbled the Warder.

"I don't know. He says he has discovered something."

"Discovered something!" repeated the Warder, rising and coming toward
the cairn, up the sides of which the Duke and Sydney had scrambled,
regardless of rules. "What has he discovered?"

"What is it?" Geoffrey cried to Featherstone.

"Tell the Warder there is something buried here which I can't lift. He
had better come up here and see for himself."

The Warder heard the words, and climbed the cairn. He knelt on the brink
of the hole and leaned over to see the discovery. A quick, strong push
from Geoffrey sent him headlong into Featherstone's arms, and before he
knew what had happened the Duke had gagged him with his own woollen
gloves and handkerchief, and Sydney had tied his hands and feet.

"Good-by," said Featherstone, as he left him securely fastened at the
foot of the monolith in the hole. "If you had not been kind to our old
friends you might have been hurt. You will be discovered before
morning."

The Duke and Sydney also said "good-by" to the helpless officer, and
then, as the bell rang, the four adventurers lay down in the lee of the
wall just where the Warder had sat.

They heard the gangs march past on the other side of the wall. The sound
of the warders locking the iron bridges on the canals came up to them
clearly. In a few minutes the whole orderly closing of the day's work
was over. They heard the lower gate of the prison slam heavily into
place and the key turn in the lock, not twenty-five yards from where
they lay.

As soon as the gate was closed, Geoffrey rose and cautiously looked all
round. Not a living thing was in sight. He knew that they had a clear
hour's start, and he gave the word:

"Now, friends, follow me."

They crossed the wall, and ran straight for the new tool-shed. Geoffrey
forgot that his speed was much greater than that of the older men.
Featherstone kept up; but the Duke lagged, and Mr. Sydney, who ran
lamely, was left far behind.

When the two latter came up to the tool-house they met Geoffrey and
Featherstone shouldering a long new plank, and making for the first
canal at the foot of the hill.

"Follow us," they said; and, though awkwardly burdened, they far
outstripped the Duke, while poor Sydney's pace grew slower and slower.

The plank was down and waiting for them when they came to the canal.
They crossed, and Geoffrey and Featherstone pulled in the plank and set
off for the next. There were nine canals to be bridged in this way.

The slowness of Sydney caused the loss of many precious minutes. At
every trench they had to wait for the poor old fellow. When they came to
the seventh canal, he stood on the prison side when all had crossed, and
refused to move.

"God speed you, my dear friends," he said, with quivering voice. "I
cannot go any farther. You will all be lost if I attempt it. I cannot
run any more--nor could I even walk the distance you have to go."

"Oh, Sydney, come!" cried Geoffrey, with painful impatience.

"Dear Sydney, do not leave us," pleaded the Duke.

But Sydney did not move; he only waved a good-by with his hand. He could
not speak.

Without a word, Featherstone recrossed, seized Sydney in his arms, and
carried him bodily over. Geoffrey pulled in the plank alone, and started
for the eighth canal.

Mr. Sydney did not speak; and now he seemed even to gain new strength
and speed. He kept up bravely, and even crossed the next canal ahead of
the Duke. There now remained but one more.

"Fifty minutes gone," said Geoffrey in a low voice as Featherstone ran
over the plank. "That bell rings at ten minutes to six."

"Bravo, Duke!" cried Featherstone, as the old man stepped from the
plank. "Come, Sydney."

But Sydney did not come. Instead, when he came up to the canal, he bent
down, seized the plank, and pitched it into the deep trench which ran
rapidly and carried it off toward the marsh.

"Now go; and God bless you all!" cried Sydney, and he turned back and
went toward the prison.

There was no possibility of undoing Sydney's sacrificial work.

"No use waiting," cried Geoffrey. "In seven minutes we shall be missed.
God bless you, dear Sydney!"

The brave old fellow heard their loving words, but he would not turn or
speak, fearing they might delay. He walked on to the canal before him,
and then he turned and saw them drawing toward the top of the hill. Then
he broke down and sobbed. But his tears were not of grief, but of joy.

Next moment the fugitives heard the alarm bell clanging at the prison.
They did not look behind, but Sydney looked, and saw the lower gates
open and a crowd of warders rushing down the hill shouting. They had
seen the escaped prisoners just as they reached the top of the hill.

Sydney's heart failed him when he saw the speed with which the pursuit
crossed the marsh. The light bridges of the canals were easily opened
and swung round, and in as many minutes half the canals were crossed.

Just then a light of genius entered Sydney's brain, and he turned and
ran and shouted in his excitement as loudly as any officer of them all.
The gout was forgotten. The years fell from him like cobwebs. He was a
youth of twenty rushing for a football.

Straight toward the ninth and last canal he dashed, where his friends
had crossed beside the locked bridge. He was panting like a hunted wolf
when he reached the spot and sank down where the bridge was locked to
the bank.

By this time the warders were at the eighth canal, howling like demons
at sight of Sydney. They howled louder when they overtook him and found
what he had done.

Mr. Sydney had filled the padlock of the bridge with small stones, and
he stood aside with a grave face, looking at the warders as they tried
to open it. When they understood the daring trick, one brutal fellow
rushed at Sydney and struck him heavily on the face.

The old man reeled from the blow, and then recovering himself, turned
from the ruffian and looked with disgust and surprise, not at him but at
his crowd of fellow-warders.

"Stop that!" shouted one of them to Sydney's assailant. "That's no
criminal; and this is no criminal's trick."

There was no crossing this last canal without a bridge or a plank, for
the further side was a brick wall considerably higher than the nearer,
designed to prevent escape.

By the time the warders had cleared the lock from Sydney's obstructions,
his three friends in Mr. Windsor's carriage, driven by Reynolds, were
miles on their way toward that gentleman's steam yacht, which awaited
them in the harbor of Torquay.




CHAPTER XVI.

MRS. CAREY'S HUSBAND.


Oswald Carey's father had just died and left him a great fortune made
upon the Stock Exchange when the son met his wife for the first time at
the country-house of his father's old partner and his then
executor--Benjamin Bugbee. "Young Croesus," as he was then familiarly
called, fell head over heels in love with the beautiful daughter of the
penniless and disestablished clergyman, and during the short space of
his courtship and honeymoon he forgot the one thing which had previously
absorbed his life--the gaming-table. If his wife had been a good woman,
or if she had loved him, he might have stayed his hand from baccarat.
But Eleanor had married him simply because he was rich and good-natured
and she was ambitious and poor; and after their marriage she plunged
into the gayest of fashionable society.

At first Carey yawned in the anterooms of balls, waiting for his
beautiful wife, but after a while he tired of this; and, letting her go
into the world alone, he betook himself to the Turf and Jockey Club,
where the play ran very high, for there adventurers and gamesters of all
nations congregated--the rich Russian met his great rival wheat-grower
of America, and the price of great farms changed hands at poker or at
baccarat. The hawks who infested the club, eager for the quarry,
speedily settled upon such a plump pigeon as Carey, and while his wife
wore his diamonds at gay balls, night after night, he sat over the green
cloth, throwing away his youth and his fortune to the harpies. It began
to be whispered in a few years that "Young Croesus," the beauty's
husband, was cleaned out. The hawks found his I. O. U.'s were
unredeemed, and his gorgeous establishment in Mayfair was closed. By
some influence Carey succeeded in getting an appointment as a clerk in
the Stamp and Sealing Wax Office, while his wife went on in her career
as a "beauty."

At the office Carey matched for half-crowns with his fellow-clerks, read
the sporting news, and busied himself in computations, in connection
with his "system" by which he should infallibly win at cards. Little by
little his system absorbed the wrecks left to him of his fortune; and he
had nothing to live upon but his salary and the money which his wife
allowed him.

At last his habits lost him his place under government.

He had borrowed money from every man in the office, and was in the habit
of drinking brandy and soda during hours, and of smoking upon the big
leather sofa until the janitor, at dark, shook him to his senses. After
this he spent all his time at the Turf and Jockey, for he still kept his
name at this unsavory institution; he led much the same life there as at
the government office, save that the club servants let him sleep on the
sofa until morning if he chose, and he earned no pay while he slumbered.
As a counterbalance, the brandy and soda was cheaper and better than
that which had been sent to him from the public house opposite to the
Stamp and Sealing Wax, and he had all his time to devote to his system,
while in the office he had occasionally a little writing to do.

Mrs. Carey had been living in her husband's lodging for three weeks
after her interview with the King, in the night before Aldershot. All
the world was wild over the attempted revolution, the trial of the state
prisoners and the escape of the King to France--all the world but Oswald
Carey, who gave no thought to what passed on around him; he made deep
calculations upon his "system" at the club between his draughts of "B.
and S.," and played with other wrecked gamesters, until he lost his
ready money, for his "system" worked to a charm conversely--his
opponents infallibly won. Early in the morning he would stumble home to
his lodgings cursing his luck.

On the morning of his wife's departure to join the King in France, she
had informed him, as he sat at the breakfast-table, holding his aching
head in one hand, that she was going to Paris to buy some new gowns, and
that she would not be back for some time, but that during her absence
her bankers would pay him $100 every week. He begged for more money, but
his request was refused, and his wife coldly shook hands with him, and
retired to her room to superintend her maid's packing. Oswald believed
her story, and, finding that he could eat no breakfast, put on his top
coat and crawled to the Turf and Jockey for a "pick-me-up." Fortified by
this, he made up his mind that, since his "system" had failed because he
had had always too small a capital to work with, he would allow his
allowance to roll up at the bank for three weeks before he began play
again.

Meanwhile he resolved to keep sober, and he spent his time trying to
perfect his "system" and watching the other players at the club. His
burning ambition was to win back his fortune from the sharpers who had
fleeced him. He cursed himself all the while for his folly in playing
before he had learned the game. He knew the game now well enough, he
flattered himself; all day long he pondered on the combinations, and at
night myriads of cards floated through his head. He dreamed that he held
the bank, and that his old adversaries sat with pale faces opposite to
him aghast at their losses.

One evening in April he appeared at the club and changed his accumulated
dollars into chips. Fortune favored him that evening; his perfected
"system" worked the right way. He walked home early the next morning,
exhilarated and happy, with his pockets stuffed with bank-notes. He
smoothed out and counted the crumpled bills when he arrived at his
lodgings, and found that his pile had grown to $10,000, and for some
days his dreams of success were fulfilled, and he was "cock of the walk"
at the Turf and Jockey. He ordered champagne recklessly at dinner for
the other men, though he drank little himself.

He even wrote a little note to his wife in Paris, inclosing a
thousand-dollar bank-note to buy some bonnets and a gown.

"Nell will be surprised," he had said to himself, as he slipped the
notes into the envelope. "By gad, when I get all my money back, I shall
cut all this, and we will go to America on a ranch. Poor Nell! I haven't
treated her right. I fear I have made a dreadful mess of it all."

He went to the gaming-table that evening with a light heart, and with
other thoughts than his "system" in his mind--thoughts which had not
been his for years.

It happened that a young Oxford undergraduate was at the table, and the
young fellow had drank freely and had consumed a great deal of the
"Golden Boy," as he affectionately termed the club champagne. As a
consequence of these libations and of his utter ignorance of the game,
he played recklessly, and won from the beginning, although he was
surrounded by the most astute players in England. Poor Carey's cherished
"system" was powerless against the boy's absurd play and tremendous run
of luck, and his pile of chips melted away like snow in April, until he
had not a dollar left. He rushed down to the office of the club to get
the letter to his wife which he had put in the box, but the mail had
been sent away. He succeeded in borrowing $50 upon his watch from the
club steward, and returned to the table. But it was of no use; this soon
followed the rest of his money. There were but two rules at the Turf and
Jockey--"no I. O. U.'s were allowed at the card-table, and no one was
permitted, under pain of expulsion from the club, to borrow or lend
money." Carey had no alternative but to sit by the gaming-table and
watch the play. He slept at the club on the sofa that night, and looked
on at the play all the next day, drinking brandy all the while. The
Oxford boy had left the club late in the night before, carrying most of
the ready money of the establishment with him, and the broken gamblers
played for but small stakes. The excitement of his losses and the
constant draughts of brandy had made Carey wild and nervous. He paced to
and fro in the billiard-room, racking his fuddled brain to find out a
way for getting at ready money. His friends had long since ceased
lending to him; his wife had repeatedly told him that she would not
supply him with money to gamble with. Finally he remembered that she
had told him that she had called upon the President to induce that wise
ruler to restore him to his place in the Stamp and Sealing Wax. If he
could only get that task, he would in a few weeks, with his hundred
dollars' allowance a week and his salary, have a considerable sum to
give his system another chance, taking care to avoid tipsy greenhorns
this time. He felt too rickety to face the President until he had drank
several more glasses of brandy. This done, he hailed a cab and drove
straight to Buckingham Palace. Immediately he sent in his name by the
policeman; he was shown into the President's private room, where the
ruler of England was seated at a large desk looking over a heap of
official papers. The President looked sharply and inquiringly at him.

"Mr. Oswald Carey?" he inquired, looking at the card which he held
between his thumb and forefinger.

"Yes, sir," stammered Carey, who felt his hand shaking violently as he
leaned against the President's desk. "I have come to shee about my
reshtoration to Samp and Stealing-Wax Office--I beg pardon, I mean Steal
and Sampling-Wax Office." He twirled the waxed end of his mustache with
a trembling hand, and looked uneasily at the President, feeling that he
had taken more brandy than was necessary to settle his nerves.

The President said nothing, but smiled a little scornfully. Nothing gave
Bagshaw such keen delight as to see a gentleman, even such a wreck of a
gentleman as Carey, in a base position.

"Mrs. Carey spoke to you about it some t-time ago, I be-believe,"
stammered Carey, who was sorry that he had come there by this time. "I
was a useful public servant."

The President smiled grimly.

"We are under great obligations to Mrs. Oswald Carey," he said, "and I
shall see that you are restored to your position, only you must not be
so obstinate about your assessments in the future, as there is no
Legitimate party now, thanks to your beautiful wife."

"Thanks to my beautiful wife! What do you mean, sir?" blurted Carey,
staggering over toward the President and resting upon his two hands on
the desk. "Thanks to my beautiful wife!"

"Come, come, sir," said the President, "be seated. You, of course, know
what I mean. Your wife never spoke to me about restoring you to your
office. She said that she would some time ask a favor of me in return
for the information which she gave me. You have come to claim that
return. I will keep my promise to her. However, if you do not leave
brandy alone, the office will not do you much good."

"Damn your office," cried Carey, who had been a gentleman and a man of
honor before the passion for gambling had seized upon him. Once he had
dreamed of a home, of children who should be proud to own him as their
father, and he still loved his wife. "What information did Mrs. Carey
give you?"

Carey's hands nervously clutched a heavy bronze inkstand, which lay on
the table in front of the President.

"The information which led to the suppression of the Royalist outbreak
at Aldershot. Mrs. Carey is a government spy and informer," answered
Bagshaw brutally. Then he tried to rise from his chair, for he saw a
threatening look in Carey's eye.

He was too late, for Carey, crying, "You lie, you hound!" lifted up the
heavy inkstand which his hands had been mechanically clutching, and
hurled it at the President's bald head.

The missile stunned the President and cut a great gash in his head, and
he fell senseless forward on the desk, a stream of mingled ink and blood
dripping from his forehead upon the papers.

Carey looked at him disdainfully for a moment, and laughed derisively.

The policeman at the door said nothing to him as he went out; there had
been no noise from the private room.

Then he walked a little hurriedly to his cab and told the cabman to
drive to the club.

On the way there he trembled violently with rage as he thought of what
the President had said to him of his wife, but chuckled when he thought
of the revenge which he had taken.

"He will wake up with a cursed headache," Carey said to himself, "and if
he wishes to arrest me, he can do it. Even the President cannot slander
a man's wife."

He was quite sober now, and had forgotten all about his "system." He
thought of his wife, and wondered if she was pleased at the little
present which he had sent to her in Paris; he thought of the days of his
early love for her, when she had seemed to him a goddess; and this
scoundrel had called her, his Eleanor, a spy, and asserted that he had
come to claim the reward of her treachery. At the club he noticed that
all the men whispered to each other and smiled. When he entered the
smoking-room a group were eagerly reading the latest news, which rolled
in over the "ticker" in the corner. He supposed that the other fellows
were making merry over his losses, and, with a hard laugh, he settled
into an easy-chair and lighted a cigar. It pleased him to think of the
President's bald head smeared with blood and ink. He felt himself more
of a man than he had for years. Just then a waiter brought him a letter
upon a tray. It was his letter to his wife in Paris, into which he had
slipped the bank-notes. Her bankers had returned it to him, and it was
marked "Not found." He thrust it into his pocket, and wondered where
Eleanor might be, and why he had not heard from her all this time. He
remembered now that she had been gone a long time; he had been so
absorbed in his play that he had not thought much about it before.
Looking up, he saw that the other men were all clustered around the
"ticker," and that one of them was reading a despatch, and the others
listened attentively, every now and then glancing over to him. He could
not imagine at first what they were after; then it occurred to him that
they were sending the news of his assault upon the President.

"What is it all about, you fellows?" he asked, walking over to them; "it
must be damned amusing!" The men scattered as he approached, and left
the "ticker" for his use, looking uneasily at him as he lifted the white
tape in his hand and read the despatch which had so much interested
them.

It was from Boston, U. S. A., telling of the arrival of the steamer with
King George the Fifth and Mrs. Oswald Carey on board. The despatch
darkly hinted that she had been the cause of the King's failure to meet
his adherents at Aldershot.

The room grew dark to Carey, and seemed to whir around him; the other
men saw his face grow deadly white and his lips close firmly. He did
not seem to notice them, but he pulled his hat over his eyes and
staggered from the room.

"God!" said one of the men. "I believe that Carey was the only man in
England who didn't know what a woman his wife was. What do you suppose
he will do?"

"Heaven knows," said a second. "But, I say, boys, let's have a drink."

Carey found in the office that there was time to catch the next mail
steamer from Liverpool for Boston if he rushed to the next train.

"The cursed scoundrel spoke the truth," he said to himself, "but I hope
that I have crushed his head, just the same; and now I shall be in
America in five days--and then--" He looked out at the landscape
whirling by the windows of the railway carriage and set his teeth.




CHAPTER XVII.

AT THE COURT OF ST. JAMES.


The news of the arrival of Mrs. Oswald Carey in Boston caused some
flutter in social circles. Her precise relations to the exiled King
became at once a subject for speculation. Men of the world, with a taste
for scandal, shrugged their shoulders and laughed knowingly. Charitably
disposed people, who did not believe in bothering their heads about
their neighbors' affairs, preferred to give her the benefit of the
doubt. The serious question was whether society ought to open its doors
to her. Her reputation as a beauty had preceded her. The American public
had long been familiar with her fascinating face. Should she be welcomed
as a sister or treated to the cold shoulder, which the world regards as
the due of Mary Magdalene?

Girls settle everything in America. Two married women and a maiden met
to discuss the propriety of inviting Mrs. Oswald Carey to five o'clock
tea. One of them brought the particulars of her life vouched for by the
most charming attaches of the court. Her career had been peculiarly sad.
She was the victim of a most affecting romance. The man whom she loved
with all the passion of which woman is capable had discarded her for
another. She had been left poor and friendless. She had supported
herself by painting china and by the pittance derived from the sale of
her photographs, the last not of course quite the thing, but pardonable
under the circumstances. Then, and not until then, she might have been
somewhat unconventional.

"Girls," exclaimed the maiden, "even if she has been a little indiscreet
in the past, a grand, superb woman such as she ought not to be judged by
ordinary standards."

"Besides, the King is old enough to be her father," said another. "I
don't believe there is anything in these stories."

"It would be a pity to offend the dear old King," said the third.

And so it was settled. Mrs. Carey accepted their invitation. She came,
saw, and conquered. Her charms were sufficient to deafen all but a few
of the _jeunesse doree_ to the unsavory rumors still in circulation,
notwithstanding the denial of their truth by the maiden and her
associates. This trio took to themselves the credit of having overcome
the squeamishness of society, and as a reward for their perspicuity they
considered themselves entitled to intimacy with their idol. Very
speedily, as may be imagined, the clever woman took advantage of these
proffers of friendship. Before a fortnight had elapsed she had drawn
tears from her three auditors by a narration of the story of her life.
"How sad! how pathetic! how you must have suffered!" they exclaimed
together, and Eleanor Carey, weeping with them, murmured in the
intervals of her sobs, "It is almost worth suffering to have such
friends as you."

The dear old King! In the early days of his exile there had been much to
flatter the pride of the deposed sovereign. On his first appearance at
the theatre the orchestra had played "God Save the King," and a buzz of
sympathetic interest spread through the audience. He had risen and
bowed. For the next few days the Old Province House was beset with
callers. The fashion and intelligence of the city paid their respects to
royalty in misfortune. The Princess Henrietta, the King's only child, a
stout, hearty-looking girl of eighteen, without beauty, made her _debut_
into society under these auspices. The first year, despite the change in
their circumstances, had been passed happily and with comparative
content by the exiles.

But time, in its craving for novelties, does not spare even potentates.
King George the Fifth soon ceased to occupy the public attention, except
in a minor degree. After their curiosity had been satisfied people began
to laugh a little at the ceremonies and liveries of a court which
existed only by courtesy. When the King went to the theatre the stage
box was no longer at his disposal unless he paid for it, and on the
opening night at the opera the claims of the family of ex-Senator
Baggely, of Idaho, were regarded by the manager as superior to his. His
exchequer, too, was low. He was said to be wholly dependent on what
Bugbee allowed him. Rumors began to spread regarding the crown jewels.
One of the best known hotel-keepers in the city was said to have a
mortgage on them. The royal carriage was presently dragged by only one
horse. The other, a magnificent bay gelding, was reported to have the
distemper, a trifling ailment, which would last but a few days. The
animal did not reappear, however, until a reporter discovered it months
after among the blooded stock of a New York banker. So it went from bad
to worse. Soon the King and his daughter walked upon ordinary
occasions, and when they did drive made use of the public stable. A
groom in livery on the box beside the driver alone distinguished the
equipage. At last one day the King took the Princess Henrietta aside and
said:

"My child, we must leave this place. I cannot afford to remain at the
Old Province House any longer."

"What! leave the Old Province House, the residence of the colonial
governors?" cried the Princess, who had picturesque and sentimental
notions despite her portly appearance. "It is renouncing the last
prestige of royalty. Oh, I hope your Majesty will not persevere in this
determination."

The King shook his head mournfully. "Our present apartments are too
expensive. Besides, I have--eh--eh--advantageous proposals from the
proprietor of a South End establishment, who desires to improve the tone
of his hotel and neighborhood. I think if I accede to them we may be
able to have our carriage again."

"Oh, father, it is better to be poor and preserve our self-respect."

King George took a pinch of snuff and sighed meditatively. "It will be
only for a little while. My party will soon restore me to the throne of
England." He paused, and his voice trembled. He took out his
handkerchief and wiped his watery eyes, which were blinking worse than
usual. "If we do not move, Henrietta, I cannot see how we shall be able
to pay the rent. You know I only have what Bugbee allows me."

"Oh, my poor father," cried the Princess, and she flung her arms
lovingly about his neck, "has it come to this? I cannot bear to see you
in such distress. Let me earn something for our support. I have been
idle long enough. I could be a good governess, I think, with my
knowledge of modern languages. Very possibly, the Waitstill C. Hancocks
would engage me to teach their children. They have been very friendly,
you know."

"No, no, Henrietta, I will hear nothing of the kind. What! a Princess of
the House of Hanover go out to service! This is the final stroke!" He
repulsed her with indignation.

"But, your Majesty, consider. If I do not do something we shall starve."

"Not if we accept the terms to which I have alluded," said the King,
mysteriously.

"Do you mean, your Majesty, that you have sold yourself?" asked the
Princess. For an instant a suspicion passed through her mind, which she
dismissed straightway. There were those about the court who declared the
monarch was a miser and had a fortune hidden away in his strong box.

"It is merely a case of fair exchange," replied King George, doggedly.
"The fellow wants to raise the character of his house. He will give me
lodging in return for my patronage. I do not see anything out of the way
in that."

"Oh, father! I will not be a party to such a degradation," burst out
Henrietta, and she began to cry.

In the end, however, the royal exodus to the South End took place, and a
new era of prosperity dawned upon the House of Hanover. By his
arrangement with his new landlord, the King was enabled to keep up a
more imposing state. He bought fresh liveries for his retainers and
refitted his carriage. There was a report that he had made money in a
grain corner. His anxious expression wore away, and he gained flesh.
The public took little interest in him, to be sure; but among
fashionable people he was a great favorite. The coupes of the rich
trundled over the pavements to his retreat at the St. James Hotel. The
Court of St. James, it was called, with an obvious but happy pertinency.
The King passed his day at the whist-table in the swell West End Club.
He dined out frequently, and was a familiar figure at large
entertainments. The Honorable Waitstill C. Hancock always treated him at
his receptions (which were among the most elegant of their kind) with
marked deference. It must have been very gratifying to the exiled
monarch to note the courtly tone in which his host remarked, "Your
Majesty, will you take Mrs. Hancock in to supper?"

Time passed, and one day the city awoke to hear that the King had gone
off on a fishing trip to Florida. A splendidly furnished steam yacht,
large enough, if needs were, for ocean travel, had come into the harbor
in the evening, and sailed away the following morning with the royal
exile on board. The Princess Henrietta had remained behind. There were
rumors in circulation which tended to discredit the truth of the alleged
destination of the yacht. Mariners from the docks declared her to be
equipped for fighting. People remembered, too, that the King during the
past few weeks had been seen to handle larger sums of money than was his
wont. He had made purchases of army apparel and several silver-mounted
revolvers.

A few weeks later the news of the insurrection at Aldershot and its
suppression were flashed over the cable. The King, so the subsequent
despatches said, was supposed to be concealed in London, and a large
reward had been offered for his apprehension. The good people of Boston
were somewhat surprised, therefore, one morning to hear that the
incoming steamer from England had a royal freight. When the King was
asked what luck he had had in fishing, he blinked his watery eyes and
answered, mysteriously, "You will know presently." This was his reply to
the friends who met him as he walked down the plank of the vessel. A
moment after all eyes were directed to the beautiful woman who emerged
from the cabin and entered the carriage with the ex-sovereign. All doubt
of her identity was removed when the Court Circular of the following
morning announced the arrival of Mrs. Oswald Carey. Apartments had been
engaged for her contiguous to those occupied by his Majesty.

One evening, about four weeks subsequent to the return of the royal
party, the King was disturbed by the entrance of the Princess Henrietta
into his _cabinet de travail_. He was engaged in footing up his gains
and losses at whist during the week, and the interruption caused him to
glower slightly at his daughter. But she was far too excited to observe
his manner.

"Father," she said abruptly, "I can endure it no longer."

"Endure what, your Royal Highness?"

"The presence of that woman. Either she must leave the court or I will."
The eyes of the Princess flashed angrily.

"I am at a loss as to your meaning, Henrietta. Do you refer to the Lady
Muriel Howard?"

"You know that I do not. There can be only one to whom such language is
applicable. Mrs. Carey is not a proper person to remain at court."

The King scratched his chin thoughtfully. "What has she done?"

"Done, father? Is not her reputation in the past evil enough to
disqualify her for the society of your daughter?"

"You have been misinformed, Princess. Mrs. Carey is a long-suffering and
much-abused woman. I do not speak at random. I know her intimately."

"So I am given to understand," replied the daughter, with bitterness.
"Lady Constance Percy inquired this morning if her Majesty was well."

"You do not choose your ladies in waiting with discretion. Mrs. Oswald
Carey has a husband whose existence shows at once the absurdity of your
disagreeable and unfilial suspicion. I have no purpose, Henrietta, to
take another consort." The King wiped his eyes with a gentle melancholy.

"And you will send her away, will you not, father? I do not wish to be
disrespectful, but I cannot endure her presence."

"Send who away?"

"Mrs. Oswald Carey."

"She amuses me, child. Her great beauty is delightful to gaze at." King
George put a lozenge into his mouth and sighed reflectively. He was a
victim to asthma. The east winds of Boston cut him to the bone.

"Do not compel me, your Majesty, to be more explicit. I repeat, either
this woman or I must leave your court."

The late ruler of England wrung his hands. "I see you are resolved to
drive me to distraction. This is the final stroke. My daughter wishes to
desert me. Lear," he added, piteously, "was only a touch to me. You are
Goneril and Regan combined in one."

He scowled angrily at her. Just then the door was opened, and a
gentleman of the bedchamber announced that dinner was served.

"Is the court in waiting?"

"Yes, your Majesty."

"This is my birthday," observed the King, moodily.

"So it is," cried Henrietta; "how remiss of me not to have spoken of
it."

But her father paid no attention to her words. He was fumbling in his
pocket. "How many will there be at table?" he inquired of the equerry.

"Fourteen, Sire."

"Humph! Lady Constance Percy and Lady Rosamond Temple do not drink
champagne. Neither does Paran Paget. Lord Gladstone Churchill swore off
yesterday." He spoke as if soliloquizing, and went through a process of
calculation on the fingers of one hand. He handed a key to his retainer.

"Tell the Lord Chamberlain to have two quarts and one pint," he said.
"And Lady Muriel Howard is on no consideration to have more than a
single glass. Come, Henrietta."

Dinner was always served for the royal party in the main dining-hall of
the hotel. The large table in the middle of the room was reserved for
them. First appeared the master of the household bearing the wand of
office. The King came next, followed by the Princess and her three Maids
of Honor, Lady Constance Percy, Lady Rosamond Temple, and Lady Muriel
Howard, all alike duennas of a certain age. The first named were sober,
prim-looking persons, but Lady Muriel Howard, who wore low-neck,
corkscrew curls, and carried an enormous fan, ogled the various
occupants of the dining-room through her eyeglass as she advanced. The
remainder of the retinue included the Duke of Wellington, an old
nobleman of threescore and ten, and a half-dozen lesser peers, nearly
all of whom were on the shady side of sixty. Lord Gladstone Churchill,
Paran Paget, and Sir Humphry Davy, who were always in attendance on the
person of the sovereign, were the only youthful spirits. It was the
former of these who had furnished the romantic story of Mrs. Carey's
early life to the society lady. As the royal party walked to their table
a few guests of the hotel rose and remained standing until the King had
signified by a glance that all should be seated.

The royal bill of fare was distinct from the _table d'hote._ The
proprietor of the house allowed under his contract with the King a
certain sum daily for the cuisine. The King was entitled to save
anything he could on that amount. To-day there was a boiled dinner.
Boiled chickens at one end of the table and boiled corned beef at the
other followed the soup.

"How good an _entree_ would taste," whispered Lord Cecil Manners to the
Earl of Kildare, casting a glance at a neighboring table, where a
_vol-au-vent_ of sweetbreads was being passed by the servant.

"What was that you said, Lord Cecil?" asked the King, sharply.

"I was calling his lordship's attention to the champagne glasses,"
answered the peer, with a silly giggle.

"It is my birthday," explained the King. "You shall drink my health
later on in the repast."

There was a flutter of congratulation around the table.

"How indecorous of me not to have remembered," said the Duke of
Wellington, with old-fashioned courtesy.

"Many happy returns of the day," said Lady Muriel Howard, and she
whisked her handkerchief coquettishly at her sovereign.

King George presided at one end of the table, and the Princess Henrietta
at the other. The nobility were seated according to their rank. Lady
Muriel Howard being the eldest daughter of the Duke of Norfolk, the
first peer of the realm, sat on the King's right, and the Duke of
Wellington in the seat of honor by the Princess. Midway down the table
was a vacant chair, and it was noticed that the King glanced frequently
with an air of impatience toward the door in the intervals of the
carving. He preferred to carve the dinner himself. Two servants waited
upon the company.

"His Majesty is out of sorts to day. He has given me only drumsticks,"
murmured Lady Muriel to the companion on her other side.

"Where is Mrs. Oswald Carey?" asked the monarch at last.

"Here she comes, your Majesty," said Lady Constance Percy, nodding
toward the entrance.

Mrs. Carey, in a superb black velvet costume, cut square in front, with
a Maltese cross of brilliants resting upon her bosom, swept grandly
across the dining hall. She held a small bunch of flowers in her hand.
The head waiter of the hotel, bowing almost to the ground, waved her
toward the royal table. Everybody in the room paused to gaze at the
superb beauty. The master of the household drew back her chair, but she
did not stop until she reached the King.

"Sire," she said, with a profound courtesy, "pardon my tardiness, and
accept, if you will, these roses in commemoration of your birthday."

The King looked delighted. "Yes, it is my birthday," he answered. "I was
afraid you would come too late for the champagne."

Mrs. Carey was about to retire to her seat when the King exclaimed,
"Lady Muriel, if it's all the same, I'll get you to change seats with
Mrs. Carey. Am I not your sovereign?" he inquired, noticing the glum
looks of the outraged maid of honor.

All through the rest of the meal Mrs. Carey and the King whispered
together. "I have taken a great liberty," said she at last.

"And what is that? The only liberty that I should object to your taking
would be taking yourself away."

"I have invited a party of friends to your drawing-room to-night. I had
promised a sweet girl, who seems to have taken an interest in me, to
chaperone a theatre party, and she is going to bring her guests here
instead. Does this inconvenience your Majesty?"

"Nothing that you could do would inconvenience me," and he gurgled as he
drank his champagne.

"She plays her cards well, _n'est-ce pas_," said Lady Muriel to her new
neighbor, Lord Gladstone Churchill.

King George caught her saturnine expression. He turned to the master of
the household at his elbow. "Did I not order that Lady Muriel Howard
should have only one glass of wine?"

"She insisted on more, your Majesty," groaned the major-domo.

"Am I not King?" said the monarch, and he pounded on the table so that
the glasses rang.

This incident attracted every one's attention. Conversation flagged, and
presently the Princess gave the signal for rising from the table. The
ladies went out in advance, each turning as she left her seat and making
a low courtesy to the King. Mrs. Carey was the last in the procession.
As she passed through the door, her glance fell full on a man standing a
little to one side, and gazing at her intently. She faltered, but only
for an instant.

"Why, Mr. Jawkins, when did you arrive? Welcome to court," she cried in
a cordial, conciliatory tone, holding out her hand.

Jawkins bowed stiffly, not seeming to see Mrs. Carey's hand. "Yes, I am
come," he answered, "but small thanks to you, madam."

Dissimulation was not one of Jawkins's accomplishments.

"This is no place for a scene," she said, in a low tone. "If you wish an
interview with me there will be an opportunity later. The drawing-room
begins at ten. You will see me there." She smiled and showed her teeth
ravishingly, despite the serious purport of her words.

"It is the King I wish to see, Mrs. Carey, not you," Jawkins replied
significantly.

"Ah, indeed?" said the beauty, and she followed the Princess up the
staircase.

The rest of the royal party remained only a few minutes in the
dining-room. The King enjoyed a stroll through the corridor after
dinner. He liked to chat with the habitues of the hotel and watch the
billiard-players. To-night the Duke of Wellington and young Paget were
in special attendance.

The King stepped up to the cigar counter. "Something mild and not too
expensive," said he.

The attendant indicated several brands for his selection.

"Three for a quarter?" asked the ex-ruler, as he picked up three
ten-cent cigars.

The man nodded, and the King, having presented a cigar to each of his
companions, lit his own. His eye presently fell upon a pile of trunks,
all of the latest and most improved manufacture, and marked with the
letters "J. J." "A new arrival, I see," he said to a denizen of the
hotel who knew everybody, and who derived pleasure from the prestige of
conversing with royalty.

"Yes, your Majesty. A--a--a subject of yours, if I mistake not. He signs
himself 'Jarley Jawkins, London.' Will your Majesty honor me with a
light?"

"Jarley Jawkins!" cried the King. "It must be the individual caterer of
whose wealth we have heard so much. His attentions to my friends during
the interregnum deserve recognition. Several of them have been saved
from absolute want by his generosity."

"That is the gentleman," whispered the other, indicating Jawkins, who
was smoking in apparent unconsciousness and watching a game of pool. "I
saw him just now talking with the famous beauty, Mrs. Oswald Carey."

"With Mrs. Carey?" exclaimed the King. "I have never heard her speak of
him." The incident disturbed him little. He was too much absorbed by the
idea of Jawkins's wealth. He hoped to be able to borrow some money from
him. He turned to Paget and charged him to see that Jawkins was invited
to the drawing-room that evening.

Meanwhile Mrs. Carey had retired to her own chamber, which she was
pacing in some perturbation of spirit. The presence of Jawkins was a
veritable spectre at the feast. The expression of his face haunted her.
She felt certain that he meant mischief. What was it he purposed to do?
He had asked to see the King. Probably he had discovered that it was she
who betrayed the conspiracy to the government, and was determined to
revenge himself by exposing her. She smiled at the thought, and the
picture rose before her of the monarch pouring out protestations of love
at her feet on the night when that band of gallant gentlemen were laying
down their lives at Aldershot to restore his throne. If this was all
that Jawkins had wherewith to prejudice her with the King, she need not
fear the astute manager. But she could not feel wholly free from dread.
She was aware that Jarley Jawkins was not a man to be trifled with.

She went down to the parlor where the royal reception was to be held, so
as to be in time to receive her own guests. It was early, and no one had
yet arrived. The windows were open in order to cool the atmosphere. The
floor had been covered with white linen drugget. At one end of the room,
on a dais, stood a throne. A grand piano was in a corner. A colored
waiter put his head inside the door, and, announcing that the musicians
had arrived, inquired if they were to tune up at once.

"You must see the Lord Chamberlain," answered Mrs. Carey. She felt sad
this evening, and the tawdry character of this entertainment was
contrasted in her mind with the traditions of drawing-rooms at
Buckingham Palace.

A cornet-player, a fiddler, and a female pianist entered, and the squeak
of their instruments in process of reconstruction soon jarred upon her
nerves. She started to leave the room, but encountered the Princess
Henrietta and her maids of honor at the door, who each regarded her
with a haughty look. One or two peers were loitering in the corridor
putting on their gloves. At its further end a group of chambermaids were
ensconced to view the arrivals. The musicians struck up "Rule
Britannia," and Mrs. Carey, looking back, saw that the ladies had seated
themselves. The reception was about to begin. She joined the others, and
the nobility speedily arrived. Before many minutes the King appeared,
attended by the Lord Chamberlain, a fuzzy little man in red stockings
and pumps, and mounted the throne.

"God save George the Fifth, King of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor
of India, Sultan of Egypt, and Defender of the Faith," cried the Lord
Chamberlain, and the drawing-room began. It was the Chamberlain's duty
to present to the sovereign each person who had never been at court
before. Invitations had been sent to all Englishmen in the city and to
certain carefully selected Americans. The guests began to arrive
rapidly, and in half an hour the apartment was filled. All the English
people wore regular court costume, but the strangers were permitted, as
a special favor, to appear in ordinary evening dress. The duty of
introducing the Americans devolved upon the proprietor of the hotel.

Mrs. Carey kept on the lookout for her friends. About 10.30 and an
instant, among the names announced, she heard "Mr. Abraham Windsor, Miss
Windsor." It was as if she had received an electric shock. She had
neglected to inquire who were to compose the party. For an instant she
was too surprised to think, then she looked and saw the King talking
with evident admiration to her pretty rival. Her hate returned, and with
it the wound of her despised love bled afresh. Stepping forward, she
said in her most congratulatory tones, "How charming! we meet again,
Miss Windsor, but under different circumstances." There was a suppressed
triumph in her tone. The young girl had to take the proffered hand, but
it was plain enough to Mrs. Carey that if Maggie had known whom she was
to encounter at court the meeting would never have taken place. Their
eyes met, and in those of the American there was scorn and pride. "How
do you do, Mrs. Carey," was all she said.

Her father came to Maggie's rescue. "Why, Mrs. Carey, your most
obedient! This is like old times," and he proceeded to monopolize the
beauty.

"Isn't she entrancing!" whispered the aesthetic maiden, Mrs. Carey's
friend, in Miss Windsor's ear.

"I have met her before," she said, quietly.

"Have you! Oh, in England, of course."

But Maggie did not heed her words. The noise of voices at the door
attracted her attention. The crowd was giving way before the wand of the
Lord Chamberlain, and it was evident from the commotion that something
unusual was about to take place. She looked and saw two men advance with
eager step and fall on bended knee at the foot of the throne amid a buzz
of excitement.

"My Sovereign and my King," they cried together.

"Rise, Duke, rise," said George the Fifth, wiping with genuine emotion
his watery eyes, and he stepped down to clasp the hands of an old man
with a bald head, whom Maggie recognized to be the Duke of Bayswater.

"Rise, Featherstone, rise," said the King to the other.

"Most Gracious Sovereign, I kiss your hand." Featherstone it was, and he
pressed his lips against the knuckles of the sometime King; but the
words were spoken coldly, like words of duty. Lost in amazement at this
unusual scene, Miss Windsor had failed to observe a young man follow
soberly and even sadly in the footsteps of the other two and stand
aloof, though expectantly. Her eyes and those of the King must have
fallen upon him almost at the same moment. The heart in her bosom leapt
wildly. Pale and worn as he was, she recognized Geoffrey Ripon.

"Lord Brompton!" exclaimed the King, and he grew confused, for the peer
did not kneel as the others had done. "Lord Brompton, I am glad to see
you," and he remounted the throne.

"Sire, I have come to bring you a legacy from John Dacre," said Ripon,
and he drew from his breast as he spoke a smoke-stained and tattered
piece of the royal banner and laid it at the foot of the throne. "This
is from Aldershot, sir."

A murmur spread through the room, and the color mounted to the King's
face. "Sirrah, I do not understand you. I am your King."

"As for myself," said Geoffrey, without regarding the monarch's frown,
"I return this, which my ancestor more than a century ago first
unsheathed in fealty to the House of Hanover." He took from its scabbard
the sword with which Maggie had girded him that day when he courted her
in the haunted chamber of Ripon House, and snapped the blade in twain.
He flung the pieces on the ground and turned to leave the room. At the
first step he encountered the glance of the woman he loved bent upon him
with an expression in which pride and tenderness were strangely
intermingled. He bowed low to her, and was gone.




CHAPTER XVIII.

TWO CARDS PLAYED.


The morning following the scene with Ripon, his Majesty was in an
ill-temper. The events of the evening were not pleasant to remember;
then the King had lost largely at poker, and had passed a sleepless
night. Mrs. Carey had sent word that she had not recovered from her
fainting fit, and was not yet visible. Old Bugbee's promised remittance
had not arrived. And the entire court joined in what seemed a deliberate
effort to make things generally disagreeable. The pages who were on duty
at the royal toilet came in for some bad moments; and young Lord
Gladstone Churchill privately confided to Paran Paget that he had never
seen the old man in such a devil of a wax.

It seemed to the King that times had sadly changed from the regency of
his grandfather. Nobody had ever ventured to argue with him about the
desirability of the company he chose to keep. But now Wellington, the
Lord Chamberlain, and the Archbishop of Canterbury had as much as told
King George that he must break with Mrs. Carey. It was hard if he
couldn't have his own way even in the little court at the South End.
True, the papers had been full of Mrs. Carey these three months--the
last _Sunday Globe_ had contained a grand plan of her own and the royal
apartments, and the _Advertiser_ of the following day had printed,
without apparent reason, an editorial upon Mademoiselle de la Valliere.
But the King considered it highly impertinent of American journals to
make any personal comment whatever upon majesty, and had almost burst a
blood-vessel when approached soon after his arrival by an interviewer
from the New York _Herald_.

Still, there was one ugly fact remaining--Mrs. Carey's fainting fit.
What could have frightened her into that? Not Lord Brompton, with all
his rhodomontade--the King liked to call it rhodomontade; it soothed a
certain uneasy feeling he had had at times about his own part in the
affair. Brompton was ardent enough, but he was not well balanced; he was
impracticable; he did not properly sense the feeling of the times, but
was eager to force an opportunity. Well, well--where was Mrs. Carey? It
was audience time, and he meant to have her receive, with the ladies in
waiting. He rang the bell, and a page entered with a card. The King
looked at it, surprised; the card was something between an ordinary
visiting card and a tradesman's circular:

               ___________________________________
               |                                 |
               |         [COAT OF ARMS.]         |
               |                                 |
               |         JARLEY JAWKINS,         |
               |                                 |
               |   MASTER OF SOCIAL CEREMONIES   |
               |                                 |
               |               and               |
               |                                 |
               |       PURVEYOR OF GUESTS        |
               |                                 |
               |    TO HIS MAJESTY THE KING.     |
               |                                 |
               -----------------------------------

The King threw himself upon the throne--it was a fine old carved oak
chair, one which had come over in the Mayflower--and waited.

Jawkins entered, bowing low. It was the first time he had ever met his
Majesty face to face. As he slowly approached the throne his knees bent
at their hinges, until with the last step they touched the floor with a
heavy thud (Jawkins was a portly little man) as he kissed the royal hand
that was kindly extended. When he rose, which was with considerable
difficulty, he backed slowly away. As he saw no chair and did not dare
to turn around, there was nothing for it but to continue backing; which
he did, until he brought up with a crash against a large photograph of
Niagara that was hanging on the wall of the chamber. Here he stood
looking at the King, but hardly within speaking distance.

"Mr. Jawkins, I believe?"

"Sir, yes," said Jawkins, who did not like to say "Yes, sir," as being
too colloquial.

"We have often heard of you, Jawkins, and favorably," the monarch went
on. "I understand that several of our poorer gentlemen are indebted to
your exertions for their--ahem--pocket money."

Jawkins smiled. "Well, sir, I flatter myself I have been the discoverer
of retiring talent to some extent. But the money obligation is mutual,
sir--mutual." And Jawkins so far forgot himself as to slap his pockets.

"Dear me," said George the Fifth, "dear me. You must be very rich.
Is--is there anything I can do for you, Mr. Jawkins?"

Jawkins's manner suddenly changed, and he became again the serious man
of affairs. "Yes, your Majesty--there is something I wish to--to
suggest--merely suggest to your Majesty." The King was silent, and
Jawkins wiped his bald head with a handkerchief. His small head,
ordinarily of the shape and color of a ripe cherry, took a still deeper
red as he stammered for words with which to proceed. Finally he spoke;
humbly, in a manner almost servile, but fixed and cool.

"I have--to beg your Majesty--to consider--the propriety--of keeping
Mrs. Oswald Carey at court."

The King stared stonily at Jawkins, who cowered close to the wall, but
went on.

"After what happened at Aldershot?"

"Aldershot!"

Jawkins saw that he had arrested the King's attention, and went on,
hurriedly. "The day was lost at Aldershot almost without a blow. It was
because the enemy were prepared on all sides. They had known of the
planned rising for days. They were armed and ready at all points. All
the disaffected regiments were marched away, and with them many of the
officers who were in the plot. The whole force of the government was at
or around Aldershot that day. The fleet was in the river. Worst of all,
the secret of the conspiracy was carefully circulated among all the
officers on whom they could rely, with instructions to prepare their
men, even to sound them in advance. And it was Mrs. Carey herself who
carried the information to the government."

"Impossible." The King made as if to rise.

"One moment more, your Majesty--just a moment. I knew all this almost at
the time. Mrs. Carey was staying at a country house in one of my parties
when she met the leaders of the noble attempt. It was she who bore to
Bagshaw the written evidence upon which Sir John Dacre was shot, and the
others condemned to prison. Think but for one moment, your Majesty, the
day might still perhaps have been gained at Aldershot, but for one
thing--the King did not appear. Consider, sir. Who was it who prevented
your Majesty from going to Aldershot that day?"

Jawkins heard the King mutter a curse to himself. He hastened to
complete his victory, and pulling out a sealed document, unrolled it,
and handed it to the King. It was the reappointment, signed by Bagshaw,
of Oswald Carey to the Stamp and Sealing-Wax Office.

"This, your Majesty, was handed to me by President Bagshaw himself, to
give to Mrs. Carey, as his private agent."

King George looked over it hastily, and then rising, paced nervously up
and down the room. Jawkins kept silence.

After some minutes the King stopped in his walk. "Well--if this be
true--Mrs. Carey is an agreeable woman. Suppose I chose, without
trusting her, to permit her company--"

The King interrupted himself for a moment, as he caught Jawkins's eye.
Then he resumed his walk hastily. "Yes, yes," he concluded, "I suppose
you are right."

Jawkins looked carefully around the room, and then continued in a lower
voice, "Does your Majesty know--what they say at court--that Mrs. Carey
wishes to be the King's--" George stopped him with a look.

"Yes, yes--I know all that."

"The American divorce laws are very lax, they say," Jawkins went on,
"and if the King were to marry her--"

"Marry her!" thundered the King; "God, man, what do you mean?"

"If I proved to your Majesty that such was her aim?"

"She should leave the court this instant."

"Will your Majesty permit me to send for her?"

Jawkins rang the bell for a messenger.

While this scene was going on between Jawkins and the King, the fair
subject of their discussion was differently engaged. She, too, had
passed a sleepless night. The sight of Geoffrey Ripon again had won upon
her strangely, and his unworldly speech had struck some chord in the
depths of her own heart now long unused. There is no greater error than
to suppose the evil beings of this world all one consistent evil--that
would be to be perfect, as Lucifer, the father of lies, alone is
perfect. Every life is but a sum of actions, and in every action the
good and evil motives are most nicely balanced at the best. A slight
preponderance of evil or even some exaggerated habit of mind--a little
over-development of pride, of ambition, of passion, a too accented doubt
and an overcold analysis--suffices to throw the decision on the wrong
side of every case, so that the outward life appears, perhaps, one
consistent darkness and wrong. But no one knows how near at every step
the noble impulse came to winning.

As Eleanor Carey strained her beautiful eyes in wakeful memories that
night, the one memory that remained to her was Geoffrey Ripon. When she
forced herself to close them, and tried to dream, the one dream was the
dream of Geoffrey dying for his friend and laying his broken sword at
the feet of his King. When she tried to think of his picture, the one
picture she could bear to look upon was Geoffrey Ripon. It had come to
this. All the scheming and the passion of the world, and the hard
ambition, the cold, worldly will that lifted her almost to a seat upon
the throne--they brought her so far and left her at the feet of her old
lover. This was all.

When Mrs. Carey rose her mind was made up--this time shall we call it
for good or evil? Evil, yes; but not the same evil as yesterday's, nor
the evil of to-morrow. Her headache was feigned. Leaving this answer
with her maid to any inquiries, she stepped out in the early morning
into the streets. It was not hard for her to find out Geoffrey's hotel.
It was a lovely morning in April, before the east wind had sprung up
from the sea, and as she passed through the gardens the crocuses and the
little blue flowers looked up to her as if they smiled--as if they, too,
remembered other days. Mrs. Carey drew her veil about her face and
walked the faster.

Geoffrey had got up that morning as one who arises in a world that is
void. His mission to see the King was ended; now there was nothing left.
He owed to Margaret Windsor his liberty; with that gift she had richly
given all that his friendship could claim. And at the time she had nobly
told him, frankly, kindly, like a true American woman, that here it all
must end. She was to be married; and he, Geoffrey Ripon, was left--free.
But he loved her still; he loved her, and there was no hope in it. What,
then, was left to him? As he bitterly asked the question aloud, some one
opened the door of his room. Mrs. Oswald Carey entered.

"Mrs. Carey!"

"Geoffrey!"

Both were silent, and each stood looking at the other. Never had she
been more beautiful than then. Her old self-possession had gone; there
was a feminine weakness in her attitude, or quiver of the limbs, a
heaving of the breast that made her seem different from the Mrs. Carey
of late years, and beneath the long, trembling lashes he saw her eyes
glorious with the glamour as of youth, tenfold more potent. For a long
time, it seemed, he stood looking at her. At last her strength seemed to
give way, and sinking into a chair she took his hand and kissed it. Then
Geoffrey broke from her.

"This is no place for you," he said, coldly.

"Geoffrey, I have come to tell you again how I loved you. I ought never
to have left you. You will not cast me off from you now?" She spoke
pleadingly, and stretched out one white arm as if to draw him to her.
"The American girl whom you thought you loved is married. We have only
each other, Geoffrey, now. You know you loved me once." She rose to her
full height, and looked deep into his eyes, her own on a level with his.
"See," she faltered, "I leave a king for you." And she drew forth a
little miniature of George the Fifth and flung it on the floor at his
feet.

If Geoffrey had ever hesitated, it was not now, though Maggie Windsor
was lost to him, and then she had loved him. That was in the old, weak
days of his, before Dacre's death. "If Maggie Windsor is married, God
bless her!" he replied, simply. Then, walking to the door, he rang the
bell.

Mrs. Carey fell back upon the chair crying. Geoffrey left the room. A
minute after he had gone she rose, and drying her tears, went to the
entrance of the hotel, where she called a carriage and drove back to the
Court of St. James. She went directly into the King's anterooms. No one
was there but Jawkins.

"Ah, Mrs. Carey--just in time to remind you of our little compact," said
he. As she looked at him, he stood, smiling grossly, vulgar, sensual,
mean. All the years of her debasement came to her memory with a new
sting to her wounded pride, and she swept on, ignoring him.

"Come, come, Eleanor--among old friends, this won't do, you know. Give
me your hand. Let's see--what's the price to kiss it now? It used to
cost five shillings." And Jawkins imprinted an attempted kiss, clumsily,
upon the palm of the hand. "When do you leave the court? They don't like
you here overmuch, I fancy. But you've been well advertised."

Mrs. Carey lost control of herself for the first time that day.

"How dare you speak thus to me? I, who was--who am your--"

"Oswald Carey's wife," Jawkins spoke contemptuously.

"Your King's wife!" cried Mrs. Carey. Jawkins laughed and threw back a
curtain. Behind it stood the King. He did not look at her, but waved her
from him with his hand. She looked at him a minute or two, but then left
the room. As the door closed behind her the King looked up.

"Well, Jawkins, it's done."

"Yes, your Majesty."

"She was a devilish fine woman." Jawkins started to go.

"Stay, Jawkins, a moment. Ah! you told me you had made a good mint out
of--Are you in funds over here?"

"Quite, your Majesty."

"Jawkins, my bankers are devilish slow. I wish you could manage to
advance me a few thousands or so."




CHAPTER XIX.

A WOMAN'S END.


The great cafe of the Trimountain Hotel is one of those interiors which
can only be seen in America. Lit at night by a single electric glow,
softened and unified in passing through the ground-glass ceiling, it is
brilliant with mirrors and cut-glass and china. At one end of the room
is the long bar, glittering with all that can make a bar attractive,
served by a score or more of the prettiest of bar-maids; along the sides
of the room are rows of little tables in carved oak and cherry, each
unlike the other, each a work of art; in the corners and upon the walls
is a collection of paintings and statuary hardly rivalled in any of the
private mansions of Boston. The centre of the room, save for a fountain
playing in a jungle of flowering vines, violets, and rare orchids, is a
polished expanse of inlaid floor, where one may walk and smoke.

As Geoffrey walked in he passed the news-stand by the door. Here are
shown the photographs of the favorites or celebrities of the day,
etchings of the latest pictures, play-bills of the theatres and operas,
pictures of women and horses. Everywhere about that day he was met by
the semblance of the woman he had just seen; photographs in every size
and attitude, in every dress, colored, plain; taken in street dress, in
house dress, in dinner dress, in _robe de chambre_, full length and
half length, high-necked, low-necked, very low-necked; on the
handkerchief boxes and the perfumery cases were still gaudier pictures,
with the Carey collar, the Carey perfume, the King's favorite cigarette,
and whatever else had any use or service for a pretty woman. Geoffrey
noticed all these things as he passed on, but was struck a moment later
by the appearance of a man he thought he knew.

The man wore the dress of a gentleman, but travel-stained and untidy; he
was sitting alone at one of the little tables, with head bowed down upon
his breast; before him stood glasses and a crystal decanter half filled
with brandy. Geoffrey started with surprise, and would have turned back,
but the man saw him and recognized him. It was Oswald Carey.

The two men looked at each other a minute without speaking. Finally
Carey spoke, in a hoarse voice, not his own of older days:

"Have you seen my wife?"

Geoffrey started, less at the question than at the manner in which it
was asked.

"Yes," he said.

"Where is she? At the palace--at the court?"

"Yes."

"Damn her," said Carey.

Geoffrey was silent.

"Where did you see her last?" muttered the other.

"Here--in this hotel."

"In this hotel?"

"This morning."

"Is she--is she not with the King?"

"I believe--I do not know," answered Geoffrey. He turned to go. As he
looked at the other, standing there, white-faced, worn, with the glitter
in his reddened eyes, this man whom he had scorned, there was something
in him like the ruin of a man after all. Geoffrey, too, was alone, and
his heart warmed to him. It was he who had married Eleanor Leigh, not
Geoffrey. "Carey," said he, "you can do nothing here. I am going to the
West. Come with me."

Carey looked at Ripon, puzzled; then, with a broken sob, he grasped his
hand and staggered to his seat. Ripon noticed for the first time that
the man was crazy with drink.

"Thank you," said he. "I must stay. I have something to do here first.
You know that she betrayed you? that it was her treason condemned you
and Dacre?"

Geoffrey nodded.

"And you, Ripon"--Carey pulled the other close to his lips and spoke
almost in a whisper--"you are the only man that woman ever loved. I know
it."

Geoffrey could make no answer. Again he rose to go.

"Where are you going?"

Geoffrey smiled and waved his hand vaguely. "To the West."

"Why?--I thought--you came over in Windsor's yacht--" The other stopped,
embarrassed. Geoffrey was touched by his interest.

"Carey, will you give me a glass of your brandy?"

Geoffrey poured it out. "Miss Windsor is married."

"Who told you so?"

"Your wife."

Carey brought his fist down shivering on the table. "And you believe
her?"

"Miss Windsor told me almost as much herself."

"Almost!" Carey burst into a wild laugh. "Here's to her!" he cried,
holding up his glass. "Ripon, you are the last gentleman who will ever
drink with me. I suspect you are the only one who would now. And here's
my last toast: Long life to your wife--and death to mine. Damn her!
Can't you see she lied?"

Carey rose from the table and staggered out of the room. It was already
the afternoon of a garish, shadeless day, and people stopped to look at
Carey's terrible pace as he strode along the sidewalk. As Ripon had
seen, he was insane with drink, or would have been but for one dominant
thought in his mind.

As Carey walked along the busy street, hardly a shop window, not a
bookstore, not an ignoble news-stand, but had displayed his wife's
picture. It was _Mrs. Carey_, _Mrs. Oswald Carey_, _Mrs. Carey and the
ex-King_, everywhere. One infamous pictorial publication had a
bare-necked portrait of the "notorious Eleanor Carey" side by side with
that of "Jim Dingan, the Lynn pugilist." As he entered Washington
Street, the newsboys were crying, "Horrible crime in New York! Scandal
in high life! Mrs. Carey leaves the court!" and Carey read the caption
outlined on the bulletin boards.

He felt in his coat pocket, where he carried a small revolver he had
purchased, and hurried along more rapidly. His gait was quick and firm
as an athlete's on the course. No trace of intoxication now.

He reached the St. James and asked a page to be directed to Mrs. Carey's
apartment. The boy grinned at first, but was silent at a word from Carey
and led him the way. When they reached her door, at the end of a long
series of corridors and stairs, the page wished to announce him, but
Carey pushed him aside roughly and opened the door. His fingers were
clinched upon the pistol in his pocket; his plan was to ask her one
question, and then, while she was hesitating about her answer, to kill
her.

The drawing-room was a large apartment, vulgarly furnished in a style
gone by. A marble clock was on the mantel, and a photograph of the King.
Carey pressed through into the bedroom. No one was there. Bits of lace
and muslin were scattered about the floor, and one or two garments lying
on the chairs as if hastily thrown aside. Carey thoroughly examined the
rooms and then turned back to the page.

"Where is Mrs. Carey? Do you know?"

"I do not. I heard that she was about to leave the court."

Carey turned away, and, leaving the hotel, took a carriage and drove to
the railway station. A train had just left for New York. At the
news-stand was the usual collection of her pictures on sale. Carey spoke
to the boy in charge, pointing to a photograph.

"Have you seen that woman go by here to-day?"

"Yes, sir; I see that woman go by here not twenty minutes ago. That's
the beauty, Mrs. Carey, that is. There was another woman with her, and a
man."

Her maid, probably. But who could the man be? Carey found the next train
for New York did not leave till evening. He waited in the station for
it, and arrived in that city at midnight. It was too late to get any
trace of his wife that night.

Early in the morning he began the search, but it was all of no avail.
His wife had apparently stopped at none of the hotels. A certain lady
looking like her had been seen at a small hotel on the Fifth Avenue,
but she had been with a gentleman, and their names were registered as
Mr. and Mrs. Copley Hutchinson, of Boston.

Carey wondered whether she could have left the city. Several European
steamers had sailed or were to sail that day, and he spent an hour or
two at the docks searching them. All the papers, all the shops, were
full of his wife and her movements; he alone knew nothing of them.

As he walked back, up Broadway, he looked at the bulletin boards. He had
a habit of doing this now. In front of the _Herald_ office they were
changing the bulletin, and he waited a moment to see. The first line on
the new broadside he read aloud:

"_Mrs. Oswald Carey sails for Brazil._"

Carey went in and bought a copy of the newspaper. In it he found the
sailing-list of the City of Rio, and there the first name was "Mrs.
Oswald Carey and maid," and then, just below, "Jarley Jawkins."

Carey stood on the sidewalk several minutes, like a statue. Then, slowly
crumpling up the newspaper in his hand, he threw it in the gutter. That
night he was a passenger in the emigrant train for the North-west.




CHAPTER XX.

"FROM CHAIN TO CHAIN."


"Mr. Windsor," said the Duke of Bayswater to his host, as the two were
sitting in the library of the latter's house in Boston, "I have received
to-day a letter from our poor friend Sydney from my late residence,
Dartmoor Prison. It is exceedingly interesting to me."

"Poor fellow," answered Mr. Windsor. "What a pity it was that we could
not effect his escape with the rest of you. How does he bear up?"

"Ah! pretty well, pretty well," answered the Duke, rubbing his
gold-bowed spectacles with a white silk handkerchief. "But still, I must
say that the poor fellow seems very down-hearted. Shall I read you his
letter?"

Mr. Windsor bowed assent, and the Duke adjusted his spectacles to his
sharp aquiline nose, and read, in faltering tones:


                                                "DARTMOOR PRISON, 198-.

     "DEAR DUKE: I was delighted that you all made good escape on that
     eventful night of the fog. It is foolish to complain of fate, or
     rather of the life of free living, which made me have a tendency to
     rheumatic gout. As I sat on the edge of the canal and watched you
     then, as you suddenly disappeared over the hill, I cursed all
     French cooks and vintages, and my roystering old grandfather to
     boot. But I led the guard, who were hot on your scent, a devil's
     own dance when they found that the lock of the last bridge was
     filled with pebbles. But I am delighted that you others escaped; I
     could not bear to imagine you, dear Duke, whose magnificent
     hospitality I had enjoyed in days gone by, cramped in a narrow
     cell, or mopping up the corridors of this jail."


The Duke broke down completely as he remembered his life at Dartmoor,
and Mr. Windsor looked out of the window to conceal the smile which this
picture of his venerable old friend brought to his mind. The Duke, after
vigorously rubbing his spectacles and clearing his throat, remarked:

"Excuse my stopping, Mr. Windsor, but poor Sydney's handwriting never
was good. I remember I used to tell him, when he answered my
invitations, that I should have imagined that a fly dipped in ink had
crawled over the paper." He laughed for a moment at his former
moss-encrusted and ducal witticism, and continued reading Sydney's
letter:


     "However, I have become resigned. I was born under an unlucky star,
     and the uninvited bad fairy at my christening, after the others had
     given me beauty, riches, and wit, hopped in malevolently upon her
     crutch and shouted in a disagreeable falsetto: 'He shall have all
     these, to be sure, but he shall have a poor digestion and the
     gout!' and whirled away on the evening wind astride her
     broomstick."


Mr. Windsor laughed out loud; the Duke seemed annoyed at this, and,
begging not to be interrupted again, continued his reading in a rather
offended tone:


     "Since your escape I have been under the strictest surveillance,
     and as I have recovered from my gout I have been set to work upon
     the ignoble task of breaking stone into small bits with a hammer. I
     am known as No. 5, and am called by no other name. Imagine me, who
     found it so difficult to look out for Number One, having to care
     for No. 5. Indeed, I should find it well-nigh impossible were it
     not for the assistance which I have from the warders and turnkeys,
     who look after me with a touching solicitude. No physician could
     have kept me to a regimen so suitable for my health as strictly as
     they. You remember how I used to enjoy lying abed in the morning.
     What a pleasure it was to wake up, to feel that the busy world was
     astir around you, and lie half awake, half asleep, stretching your
     toes into cool recesses of a soft, luxurious bed. But it made me
     idle, very idle. But now I must be off my hard cot, be dressed and
     have my cot made up by half-past five; then I breakfast off a piece
     of bread, washed down with a pint of unsweetened rye coffee
     innocent of milk, drunk _au naturel_ out of a tin pail. And how I
     miss my after-breakfast cigar and the _Times_, as I put my hands
     upon a fellow-convict's shoulder and march in slow procession to my
     task. The work of breaking a large piece of stone into smaller bits
     with a hammer is not an intellectual one; but it has got me into
     tolerable training; I have lost twenty pounds already, and am, as
     we used to say at the university, as 'hard as nails.' I am afraid
     that my old trousers, which my tailor used to let out year by year,
     would be a world too large for my shrunk shanks now. I dine at
     noon, as you remember, and for the first time in my life I do not
     dress for dinner; indeed, a white cravat and a dress coat would be
     inappropriate, when one sits down to bean porridge and boiled beef
     served in the same tin plate. But I have a good appetite after my
     pulverizing of the morning, and I am not compelled to set the table
     in a roar under duress. I am surprised what good things I think of
     now that I am not expected to and have no one to whom to say them.
     Jawkins would double my salary could he get me out. Rye coffee is a
     poor substitute for Chambertin, but it does not aggravate my gout.
     After dinner I return to my stone-breaking, and feel with delight
     my growing biceps muscle, and after my supper, which is
     monotonously like my breakfast, I tackle the tracts, which are left
     with me by kindly souls. They are of a class of literature which I
     have neglected since childhood, having, as you may remember, a
     leaning toward 'facetiae.' In fact, since my great-aunt's withdrawal
     to another world, where it may be hoped that the stones are more
     brittle and the coffee better, I have seen none. I cannot say that
     I have been comforted by the tracts, but I have been interested by
     them, and I spend the brief hours of leisure which are vouchsafed
     to me in annotating my editions. And yet, my dear Duke, unfortunate
     as my situation is, I would not exchange places with my old self, a
     hired jester at rich men's tables, selling myself for a dinner
     which I could not digest, nor with that wretched monarch, in whose
     cause we all suffered, who left his gallant gentleman to die for
     his cause while he pursued his selfish pleasures. If it were chance
     that I get out of here, I shall strive to earn my bread, in the
     appointed way, by the sweat of my brow, and to work with my
     fellow-men. Present my kindest regards to our good friend Mr.
     Windsor, who has dared so much for our sake, and believe me, my
     dear old friend,

                        "Yours faithfully,

                                 "No. 5 (_ne_ JAMES SYDNEY)."


The Duke, when he had finished reading the letter, folded it carefully,
and returned it into his pocket. His eyes were full of tears, and his
voice broke as he read the quaint, pathetic words.

Mr. Windsor slapped his bony knee energetically, and arose from his
chair.

"I must try to set the poor fellow free," he said energetically. "I do
not believe that a forcible prison delivery would be successful again,
when our former attempt is so fresh in the mind of the prison governor;
but the presidential election in Great Britain and Ireland is
approaching, and if I judge the signs of the times aright, the Radicals
under Bagshaw will enter the campaign heavily weighted. If the
Liberal-Conservatives put up such a man as Richard Lincoln they will
re-elect him, and if the administration is changed, diplomacy and
entreaty may accomplish a general release of political prisoners. The
cause of the House of Hanover is so dead that, as Mother Goose says:


     "'All the king's horses and all the king's men,
     Couldn't set Humpty Dumpty up again.'


By the way, I believe they call George King Humpty Dumpty in the comic
papers."

The Duke smiled ruefully; in his heart he despised the King, and faintly
saw that his class had lost their privileges, but he could not get used
to it. He knew that he was a broken old man, an exile from home, and
dependent upon the kindness of Mr. Windsor; and he sighed deeply,
wishing that he had died before the deluge which had gulfed all that was
holy and precious to him.

Mr. Windsor saw that his thoughts were too sad and solemn for an alien
intrusion, and left the old gentleman, still motionless, looking
vacantly at the wall. The old Duke saw no Mount Ararat rising from the
troubled waters; all that made life worth living for him had passed
away, and he lagged superfluous on the stage; a supernumerary with a
pasteboard coronet; laughed at and ranted about in the pantomime at
which the world had laughed, "King Humpty Dumpty."

That afternoon Maggie Windsor had gone for her usual walk upon the
Charles River embankment, a fine esplanade stretching for seven miles
along the river-side. It was a beautiful day--one of those rare days
which gladden the drear northern spring and remind dwellers in Boston
that they live under the same latitude under which Naples idles. A turn
of the Gulf Stream and the descendants of the Puritans would lose the
last vestige of their inherited consciences and bask in the sun like
happy animals. But though the sky was violet, the bright sunlight was
cold.

Maggie walked briskly along, by the water park, out by the great houses
in Longwood, to the light bridge which swept over the river to
Cambridge. There were but few people walking on the embankment this cold
day; a stream of carriages bright with glistening harness rolled by. A
barge, filled with a merry party, and drawn by four horses, aroused
Maggie from her thoughts, which had been of Geoffrey. She had not seen
him since the evening of the King's drawing-room, when he had broken his
sword before the monarch, and had returned his empty title to the dry
fountain of honor. Her suspicions of him had died away long before she
had received his letter by Reynolds's hand. She had heard of the
_emeute_ with an aching heart, and from her distant home in America she
had watched the proceedings of the trial eagerly. Her life had died away
within her when she read of the sentence of the prisoners, and knew that
the man she loved was shut up from the world for fifteen years, like a
common felon. And he owed his liberty to her, and yet he did not know
it. He should have known it, by instinct, she thought. She had fancied
that she knew the moment when he had made good his escape. Of a sudden,
one day, during her father's absence in the yacht, the load from her
soul had rolled away. She felt that he was free, and speeding over the
sea to meet her. Now that he was arrived in America, she had seen him
but once, and he had not spoken to her; he had bowed, with a stern, set
face, and left the apartment. Had her cruel words there on the cliff by
Ripon village cut away his love for her? Then the message which she had
sent to him by his servant: "Tell your master that I am to be married."
She had almost forgotten that. But his heart should have told him what
she meant by that, she argued. "She was to be married, if only he wished
it." Why did he not come to her? Could it be possible that he thought
she was to marry another?

Such thoughts the rush and jingle of the great barge had interrupted.
The barge rushed by, and looking up the strait she saw coming toward
her, his form dark against the red sunset, Geoffrey Ripon.

He saw her at the same moment, and he took off his hat. She walked up to
him and offered him her hand.

"Miss Windsor, Maggie," he said as he grasped it.

"You received my message?" she asked, looking into his eyes.

"I did. Is it true?"

"I do not know," she answered, looking down at the river, which gleamed
below rosy with the sunset; a happy omen. "It depends--"

"Upon what?" asked Geoffrey, eagerly.

"Upon you, Geoffrey," she answered. "Did you not know it?" And the sun,
which just then disappeared over the Brookline hills, did not in his
circuit of the world look upon a happier pair than these two lovers,
clasped in each other's arms.




CHAPTER XXI.

NULLA VESTIGIA RETRORSUM.


So they were married, and the alliance between simple hearts and Norman
blood was complete. It came to pass before many months that the
millionaire, pleased, it may be, to find his homely patronymic
transmitted to his grand-child, bought back Ripon House from the
mortgagees and gave it to his son-in-law. Mr. Windsor knew it was the
secret desire of his daughter that Geoffrey should return to England and
devote himself to aiding his countrymen in their struggle for liberty.
But Geoffrey was too content with his own happiness and too appalled by
the confusion which still overspread his native land to evince much
enthusiasm in this regard. "Wait a little, Maggie," he said, and Maggie
was shrewd enough to understand that this was the better way to attain
her purpose. She remembered how her husband had broken his sword and
renounced fealty to the perjured King. Give Geoffrey time, and he would
work out his own salvation.

But while individuals wedded and were happy and begat children, and
while patient women tarried for God's word to awaken in their lovers'
hearts, the great world, which is never happy and which never waits,
rolled on remorselessly. England still knew perilous days, but the hope
of better things to come glimmered through the mists of evil rule.

The bulwark of the nation's safety in that hazardous time, as history
well knows, was Richard Lincoln; and though we who have faith that God
is ever working for man's good, know that human nature must in the end
evolve into higher grades of truth and power, and that even the
sublimest soul is but a cipher in the eternal scale; yet England had
need of a rare spirit in that time of her sore distress to save her from
the rocks of revolution and anarchy. She found this in Richard Lincoln,
whose name will be ever famous in the gratitude of his countrymen.

In strange contrast to the career of which we have just been speaking
stands out the final pageant of the once splendid court of Britain.
George the Fifth died, leaving no son to inherit his foibles and his
title. The House of Hanover was shorn of male heirs in the nick of time,
for it is doubtful if the populace would have permitted exiled royalty
to indulge in the mimicry of another dynasty. But for the purposes of
our story the King is still alive, since his death took place, as many
of us know, in his eightieth year. There were but few of those whose
vicissitudes we have followed able to tell the tale when the last
Hanoverian, tenacious of vital breath as he had been of everything else,
descended to his fathers. _Le roi est mort_, but the old world cry,
"Long live the king," is silent forever.

Perhaps one of the keenest strokes at the self-esteem of the unfortunate
monarch was the matrimonial apostasy of his daughter. The Princess
Henrietta, contrary to the long-cherished traditions of her race, wedded
in her thirteenth year a commoner, as it was described at court. She
became the wife of L. Pierson Dana, a prominent dealer in hides and
leather, and a man of culture and standing in the community. King
George, with a senile confusing of terms, always insisted on speaking of
the marriage as morganatic.

Concerning those who composed his court little remains to be said. The
Duke of Bayswater was joined by his wife shortly after his escape to
America. They never returned to their native country, but lived very
exclusively in apartments near to the royal suite.

Colonel Featherstone, lured by hopes of fortune, organized a successful
corner in lard, and invested the proceeds in a vineyard in California.
The famous blue seal dry Hanover, which is even to-day regarded by
connoisseurs as a grand _vin_, is a monument to his reverence for
royalty as well as to his talent as a vine-dresser.

One day in late November, when little Abraham was about five years old,
signs of great activity were noticeable about Ripon House. For a week
past the environs had been rife with rumors concerning the return of
Geoffrey to the house of his ancestors and the wealth which had accrued
to him through his marriage with the daughter of the rich American who
had once rented the manor-house. London mechanics had been repairing and
furnishing the old-fashioned pile, striving withal to retain the flavor
of antiquity which hung about its towers. There had been employment,
too, for the artisans of the neighborhood, and even to-day, when the
guests were to arrive before sunset, a bevy of the people were running
hither and thither at the bidding of an old man with white hair and bent
figure. He was evidently merely an upper servant, but the expression of
his face betokened one whose joy and sorrow are an echo of his master's
fortune.

A few hours later a carriage drew up before the threshold. A young man
leaped to the ground and grasped with both of his the hand of the aged
servitor.

"How are you, Reynolds?"

"God bless you, Mr. Ripon; God bless you."

"And here is my wife, Reynolds. You remember her."

The old man doffed his hat with a respectful formality. It was still a
little against his grain to see an American his master's bride. "Welcome
to Ripon House."

Maggie shook him by the hand, and her father's bantering voice now
startled his dignified mood.

"So this is where you have been hiding all these years, Reynolds? You
look like the wandering Arab, with your gray beard!"

Mr. Windsor doubtless referred to the Wandering Jew, but he was no
scholar, as he would himself have been the first to acknowledge. All
laughed at the mistake, and none louder than the fourth member of the
party, a tall, middle-aged man, with a noble but genial countenance.

It was Richard Lincoln, to whom time had been generous during the six
years which had flown since he was last at Ripon House. Despite the
cares which had weighed upon his spirit, his brow was scarcely furrowed.
He had come to be Geoffrey's guest for a few days and enjoy the
tranquillity of the country. There were business matters also to be
talked over with his friend, for Geoffrey had promised to take an active
part in the public service of the country.

The friends sat long that evening around the dinner-table. There was
much pleasant talk, but every face wore a thoughtful look. The
intervening time since last they had gathered here was too full of
incident to be passed over lightly. Recollection stood beside the
hearth, and yet with a finger on the lips, as though loath to jar the
atmosphere of revery with a word. And yet there were references made to
the past. Lincoln asked what had become of that strange man Jawkins. But
no one knew further than that he had fled with the splendid beauty.

"Is that woman's husband still living?" inquired Maggie.

All shook their heads in doubt.

"And dear old Sydney, do you know anything of him, Richard?" said Ripon.

"Yes. Only a few weeks since he married an attractive little widow with
a snug property. I had him pardoned, you may remember, among my first
acts as Prime Minister. Prison life seemed to have agreed with him. He
had lost his dyspeptic air."

"That old scoundrel Bugbee had a curious end," observed Mr. Windsor. "To
think of being bitten to death by a tarantula. Ugh! It seems he used to
keep spiders under glass in his apartments, and this was one that
escaped. And what an enormous fortune he left!"

So the conversation proceeded, and by and by they all adjourned to the
library, where a wood-fire lighted up the huge fireplace. Richard
Lincoln seated himself in a deep arm-chair beside the hearth, and rather
avoiding talk gazed at the sizzling logs. His own thoughts sufficed him.
Maggie, whose seat was next to his, watched his expression, where a
shade of sadness lingered when his attention was not engrossed by
others. At a moment that Geoffrey and her father were out of the room
she leaned forward and said:

"Where is she buried?"

"They sleep side by side," was the quiet response. "Their love to-day
laughs alike at peasant and at noble. I try to think of it as a symbol
of what is to be," he continued. "Theirs is the first alliance in that
reconciliation between the few and the many on which the hopes of
posterity depend."



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