Infomotions, Inc.Count Bunker: being a bald yet veracious chronicle containing some further particulars of two gentlemen whose previous careers were touched upon in a tome entitled the Lunatic at Large / Clouston, J. Storer (Joseph Storer), 1870-1944



Author: Clouston, J. Storer (Joseph Storer), 1870-1944
Title: Count Bunker: being a bald yet veracious chronicle containing some further particulars of two gentlemen whose previous careers were touched upon in a tome entitled the Lunatic at Large
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): tulliwuddle; gallosh; lord tulliwuddle; baron; bonker; maddison; bunker; zat; count bunker; miss maddison; miss gallosh; vill; count; lord tulliwuddle's; miss wallingford
Contributor(s): Dakyns, Henry Graham, 1838-1911 [Translator]
Versions: original; local mirror; HTML (this file); printable
Services: find in a library; evaluate using concordance
Rights: GNU General Public License
Size: 58,029 words (short) Grade range: 8-11 (high school) Readability score: 62 (easy)
Identifier: etext1613
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Count Bunker

by J. Storer Clouston

January, 1999  [Etext #1613]
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COUNT BUNKER

BEING
A BALD YET VERACIOUS CHRONICLE CONTAINING
SOME FURTHER PARTICULARS OF TWO GENTLEMEN
WHOSE PREVIOUS CAREERS WERE TOUCHED UPON
IN A TOME ENTITLED "THE LUNATIC AT LARGE"

BY
J. STORER CLOUSTON




COUNT BUNKER



CHAPTER I

It is only with the politest affectation of interest,
as a rule, that English Society learns the arrival
in its midst of an ordinary Continental nobleman;
but the announcement that the Baron Rudolph
von Blitzenberg had been appointed attache to the German
embassy at the Court of St. James was unquestionably
received with a certain flutter of excitement.  That
his estates were as vast as an average English county,
and his ancestry among the noblest in Europe, would
not alone perhaps have arrested the attention of the
paragraphists, since acres and forefathers of foreign
extraction are rightly regarded as conferring at the most a
claim merely to toleration.  But in addition to these he
possessed a charming English wife, belonging to one of
the most distinguished families in the peerage (the Grillyers
of Monkton-Grillyer), and had further demonstrated
his judgment by purchasing the winner of the
last year's Derby, with a view to improving the horse-
flesh of his native land.

From a footnote attached to the engraving of the
Baron in a Homburg hat holding the head of the steed
in question, which formed the principal attraction in several
print-sellers' windows in Piccadilly, one gathered
that though his faculties had been cultivated and exercised
in every conceivable direction, yet this was his first
serious entrance into the diplomatic world.  There was
clearly, therefore, something unusual about the appointment;
so that it was rumored, and rightly, that an international
importance was to be attached to the incident,
and a delicate compliment to be perceived in the selection
of so popular a link between the Anglo-Saxon and the
Teutonic peoples.  Accordingly "Die Wacht am Rhein"
was played by the Guards' band down the entire length
of Ebury Street, photographs of the Baroness appeared
in all the leading periodicals, and Society, after its own
less demonstrative but equally sincere fashion, prepared
to welcome the distinguished visitors.

They arrived in town upon a delightful day in July,
somewhat late in the London season, to be sure, yet not
too late to be inundated with a snowstorm of cards and
invitations to all the smartest functions that remained. 
For the first few weeks, at least, you would suppose the
Baron to have no time for thought beyond official
receptions and unofficial dinners; yet as he looked from his
drawing-room windows into the gardens of Belgrave
Square upon the second afternoon since they had settled
into this great mansion, it was not upon such functions
that his fancy ran.  Nobody was more fond of gaiety,
nobody more appreciative of purple and fine linen, than
the Baron von Blitzenberg; but as he mused there he began
to recall more and more vividly, and with an ever
rising pleasure, quite different memories of life in
London.  Then by easy stages regret began to cloud this
reminiscent satisfaction, until at last he sighed--

"Ach, my dear London!  How moch should I enjoy
you if I were free!"

For the benefit of those who do not know the Baron
either personally or by repute, he may briefly be
described as an admirably typical Teuton.  When he first
visited England (some five years previously) he stood
for Bavarian manhood in the flower; now, you behold
the fruit.  As magnificently mustached, as ruddy of
skin, his eye as genial, and his impulses as hearty; he
added to-day to these two more stone of Teutonic excellences
incarnate.

In his ingenuous glance, as in the more rounded contour
of his waistcoat, you could see at once that fate
had dealt kindly with him.  Indeed, to hear him sigh was
so unwonted an occurrence that the Baroness looked up
with an air of mild surprise.

"My dear Rudolph," said she, "you should really
open the window.  You are evidently feeling the heat."

"No, not ze heat," replied the Baron.

He did not turn his head towards her, and she looked
at him more anxiously.

"What is it, then?  I have noticed a something strange
about you ever since we landed at Dover.  Tell me,
Rudolph!"

Thus adjured, he cast a troubled glance in her direction. 
He saw a face whose mild blue eyes and undetermined
mouth he still swore by as the standard by which
to try all her inferior sisters, and a figure whose growing
embonpoint yearly approached the outline of his ideal
hausfrau.  But it was either St. Anthony or one of his
fellow-martyrs who observed that an occasional holiday
from the ideal is the condiment in the sauce of sanctity;
and some such reflection perturbed the Baron at this
moment.

"It is nozing moch," he answered.

"Oh, I know what it is.  You have grown so accustomed
to seeing the same people, year after year--the
Von Greifners, and Rosenbaums, and all those.  You
miss them, don't you?  Personally, I think it a very
good thing that you should go abroad and be a diplomatist,
and not stay in Fogelschloss so much; and you'll
soon make loads of friends here.  Mother comes to us
next week, you know."

"Your mozzer is a nice old lady," said the Baron
slowly.  "I respect her, Alicia; bot it vas not mozzers
zat I missed just now."

"What was it?"

"Life!" roared the Baron, with a sudden outburst of
thundering enthusiasm that startled the Baroness completely
out of her composure.  "I did have fun for my
money vunce in London.  Himmel, it is too hot to eat
great dinners and to vear clothes like a monkey-jack."

"Like a what?" gasped the Baroness.

To hear the Baron von Blitzenberg decry the paraphernalia
and splendors of his official liveries was even
more astonishing than his remarkable denunciation of
the pleasures of the table, since to dress as well as play
the part of hereditary grandee had been till this minute
his constant and enthusiastic ambition.

"A meat-jack, I mean--or a--I know not vat you
call it.  Ach, I vant a leetle fun, Alicia."

"A little fun," repeated the Baroness in a breathless
voice.  "What kind of fun?"

"I know not," said he, turning once more to stare
out of the window.

To this dignified representative of a particularly
dignified State even the trees of Belgrave Square seemed at
that moment a trifle too conventionally perpendicular. 
If they would but dance and wave their boughs he would
have greeted their greenness more gladly.  A good-looking
nursemaid wheeled a perambulator beneath their
shade, and though she never looked his way, he took a
wicked pleasure in surreptitiously closing first one eye
and then the other in her direction.  This might not
entirely satisfy the aspirations of his soul, yet it seemed
to serve as some vent for his pent-up spirit.  He turned
to his spouse with a pleasantly meditative air.

"I should like to see old Bonker vunce more," he
observed.

"Bunker?  You mean Mr. Mandell-Essington?" said
she, with an apprehensive note in her voice.

"To me he vill alvays be Bonker."

The Baroness looked at him reproachfully.

"You promised me, Rudolph, you would see as
little as possible of Mr. Essington."

"Oh, ja, as leetle--as possible," answered the Baron,
though not with his most ingenuous air.  "Besides, it is
tree years since I promised.  For tree years I have seen
nozing.  My love Alicia, you vould not have me forget
mine friends altogezzer?"

But the Baroness had too vivid a recollection of their
last (and only) visit to England since their marriage. 
By a curious coincidence that also was three years ago.

"When you last met you remember what happened?"
she asked, with an ominous hint of emotion in her
accents .

"My love, how often have I eggsplained?  Zat night
you mean, I did schleep in mine hat because I had got a
cold in my head.  I vas not dronk, no more zan you.  Vat
you found in my pocket vas a mere joke, and ze cabman
who called next day vas jost vat I told him to his ogly
face--a blackmail."

"You gave him money to go away."

"A Blitzenberg does not bargain mit cabmen," said
the Baron loftily.

His wife's spirits began to revive.  There seemed to
speak the owner of Fogelschloss, the haughty magnate
of Bavaria.

"You have too much self-respect to wish to find yourself
in such a position again," she said.  "I know you
have, Rudolph!"

The Baron was silent.  This appeal met with distinctly
less response than she confidently counted upon.  In a
graver note she inquired--

"You know what mother thinks of Mr. Essington?"

"Your mozzer is a vise old lady, Alicia; but we do
not zink ze same on all opinions."

"She will be exceedingly displeased if you--well, if
you do anything that she THOROUGHLY disapproves of."

The Baron left the window and took his wife's plump
hand affectionately within his own broad palm.

"You can assure her, my love, zat I shall never do
vat she dislikes.  You vill say zat to her if she
inquires?"

"Can I, truthfully?"

"Ach, my own dear!"

From his enfolding arms she whispered tenderly--

"Of course I will, Rudolph!"

With a final hug the embrace abruptly ended, and the
Baron hastily glanced at his watch.

"Ach, nearly had I forgot!  I must go to ze club
for half an hour."

"Must you?"

"To meet a friend."

"What friend?" asked the Baroness quickly.

"A man whose name you vould know vell--oh, vary
vell known he is!  But in diplomacy, mine Alicia, a quiet
meeting in a club is sometimes better not to be advertised
too moch.  Great wars have come from one vord of
indiscretion.  You know ze axiom of Bismarck--
'In diplomacy it is necessary for a diplomatist to be
diplomatic.'  Good-by, my love."

He bowed as profoundly as if she were a reigning
sovereign, blew an affectionate kiss as he went through
the door, and then descended the stairs with a rapidity
that argued either that his appointment was urgent or
that diplomacy shrank from a further test within this
mansion.



CHAPTER II

For the last year or two the name of Rudolph
von Blitzenberg had appeared in the members'
list of that most exclusive of institutions,
the Regent's Club, Pall Mall; and it was
thither he drove on this fine afternoon of July.  At
no resort in London were more famous personages
to be found, diplomatic and otherwise, and nothing
would have been more natural than a meeting between the
Baron and a European celebrity beneath its roof; so that
if you had seen him bounding impetuously up the steps,
and noted the eagerness with which he inquired whether
a gentleman had called for him, you would have had
considerable excuse for supposing his appointment to be
with a dignitary of the highest importance.

"Goot!" he cried on learning that a stranger was
indeed waiting for him.  His face beamed with anticipatory
joy.  Aha! he was not to be disappointed.

"Vill he be jost the same?" he wondered.  "Ah, if he
is changed I shall veep!"

He rushed into the smoking-room, and there, instead
of any bald notability or spectacled statesman, there
advanced to meet him a merely private English gentleman,
tolerably young, undeniably good-looking, and graced
with the most debonair of smiles.

"My dear Bonker!" cried the Baron, crimsoning with
joy.  "Ach, how pleased I am!"

"Baron!" replied his visitor gaily.  "You cannot
deceive me--that waistcoat was made in Germany!  Let
me lead you to a respectable tailor!"

Yet, despite his bantering tone, it was easy to see that
he took an equal pleasure in the meeting.

"Ha, ha!" laughed the Baron, "vot a fonny zing to
say!  Droll as ever, eh?"

"Five years less droll than when we first met," said
the late Bunker and present Essington.  "You meet a
dullish dog, Baron--a sobered reveller."

"Ach, no!  Not surely?  Do not disappoint me, dear
Bonker!"

The Baron's plaintive note seemed to amuse his friend.

"You don't mean to say you actually wish a boon
companion?  You, Baron, the modern Talleyrand, the
repository of three emperors' secrets?  My dear fellow,
I nearly came in deep mourning."

"Mourning!  For vat?"

"For our lamented past:  I supposed you would have
the air of a Nonconformist beadle."

"My friend!" said the Baron eagerly, and yet with
a lowering of his voice, "I vould not like to engage a
beadle mit jost ze same feelings as me.  Come here to
zis corner and let us talk!  Vaiter! whisky--soda--
cigars--all for two.  Come, Bonker!"

Stretched in arm-chairs, in a quiet corner of the room,
the two surveyed one another with affectionate and
humorous interest.  For three years they had not seen
one another at all, and save once they had not met for
five.  In five years a man may change his religion or lose
his hair, inherit a principality or part with a reputation,
grow a beard or turn teetotaler.  Nothing so fundamental
had happened to either of our friends.  The Baron's
fullness of contour we have already noticed; in Mandell-
Essington, EX Bunker, was to be seen even less evidence
of the march of time.  But years, like wheels upon a road,
can hardly pass without leaving in their wake some faint
impress, however fair the weather, and perhaps his hair
lay a fraction of an inch higher up the temple, and in the
corners of his eyes a hint might even be discerned of
those little wrinkles that register the smiles and frowns.
Otherwise he was the same distinguished-looking, immaculately
dressed, supremely self-possessed, and charming
Francis Bunker, whom the Baron's memory stored
among its choicer possessions.

"Tell me," demanded the Baron, "vat you are doing
mit yourself, mine Bonker."

"Doing?" said Essington, lighting his cigar. 
"Well, my dear Baron, I am endeavoring to live as I
imagine a gentleman should."

"And how is zat?"

"Riding a little, shooting a little, and occasionally
telling the truth.  At other times I cock a wise eye at my
modest patrimony, now and then I deliver a lecture with
magic-lantern slides; and when I come up to town I
sometimes watch cricket-matches.  A devilish invigorating
programme, isn't it?"

"Ha, ha!" laughed the Baron again; he had come
prepared to laugh, and carried out his intention
religiously.  "But you do not feel more old and sober,
eh?"

"I don't want to, but no man can avoid his destiny. 
The natives of this island are a serious people, or if they
are frivolous, it is generally a trifle vulgarly done.  The
diversions of the professedly gay-hooting over pointless
badinage and speculating whose turn it is to get
divorced next--become in time even more sobering than
a scientific study with diagrams of how to breed pheasants
or play golf.  If some one would teach us the
simple art of being light-hearted he would deserve to
be placed along with Nelson on his monument."

"Oh, my dear vellow!" cried the Baron.  "Do I hear
zese kind of vords from you?"

"If you starved a city-full of people, wouldn't you
expect to hear the man with the biggest appetite cry
loudest?"

The Baron's face fell further and Essington laughed
aloud.

"Come, Baron, hang it!  You of all people should
be delighted to see me a fellow-member of respectable
society.  I take you to be the type of the conventional
aristocrat.  Why, a fellow who's been travelling in Germany
said to me lately, when I asked about you--'Von
Blitzenberg,' said he, 'he's used as a simile for
traditional dignity.  His very dogs have to sit up on their
hind-legs when he inspects the kennels!' "

The Baron with a solemn face gulped down his
whisky-and-soda.

"Zat is not true about my dogs," he replied, "but
I do confess my life is vary dignified.  So moch is expected
of a Blitzenberg.  Oh, ja, zere is moch state and
ceremony."

"And you seem to thrive on it."

"Vell, it does not destroy ze appetite," the Baron
admitted; "and it is my duty so to live at Fogelschloss,
and I alvays vish to do my duty.  But, ach, sometimes I
do vant to kick ze trace!"

"You mean you would want to if it were not for the
Baroness?"

Bunker smiled whimsically; but his friend continued
as simply serious as ever.

"Alicia is ze most divine woman in ze world--I respect
her, Bonker, I love her, I gonsider her my better
angel; but even in Heaven, I suppose, peoples sometimes
vould enjoy a stroll in Piccadeelly, or in some vay to
exercise ze legs and shout mit excitement.  No doubt
you zink it unaccountable and strange--pairhaps ungrateful
of me, eh?"

"On the contrary, I feel as I should if I feared this
cigar had gone out and then found it alight after all."

"You say so!  Ah, zen I will have more boldness to
confess my heart!  Bonker, ven I did land in England ze
leetle thought zat vould rise vas--'Ze land of freedom
vunce again!  Here shall I not have to be alvays ze
Baron von Blitzenberg, oldest noble in Bavaria, hereditary
carpet-beater to ze Court!  I vill disguise and go
mit old Bonker for a frolic!' "

"You touch my tenderest chord, Baron!"

"Goot, goot, my friend!" cried the Baron, warming
to his work of confession like a penitent whose absolution
is promised in advance; "you speak ze vords I love to
hear!  Of course I vould not be vicked, and I vould not
disgrace myself; but I do need a leetle exercise. Is it
possible?"

Essington sprang up and enthusiastically shook his
hand.

"Dear Baron, you come like a ray of sunshine
through a London fog--like a moulin rouge alighting
in Carlton House Terrace!  I thought my own leaves
were yellowing; I now perceive that was only an autumnal
change.  Spring has returned, and I feel like a
green bay tree!"

"Hoch, hoch!" roared the Baron, to the great
surprise of two Cabinet Ministers and a Bishop who were
taking tea at the other side of the room.  "Vat shall ve
do to show zere is no sick feeling?"

"H'm," reflected Essington, with a comical look. 
"There's a lot of scaffolding at the bottom of St.
James's Street. Should we have it down to-night?  Or
what do you say to a packet of dynamite in the two-
penny tube?"

The Baron sobered down a trifle.

"Ach, not so fast, not qvite so fast, dear Bonker. 
Remember I must not get into troble at ze embassy."

"My dear fellow, that's your pull. Foreign diplomatists
are police-proof!"

"Ah, but my wife!"

"One stormy hour--then tears and forgiveness!"

The Baron lowered his voice.

"Her mozzer vill visit us next veek.  I loff and respect
Lady Grillyer; but I should not like to have to ask her
for forgiveness."

"Yes, she has rather an uncompromising nose, so far
as I remember."

"It is a kind nose to her friends, Bonker," the Baron
explained, "but severe towards----"

"Myself, for instance," laughed Essington.  "Well,
what do you suggest?"

"First, zat you dine mit me to-night.  No, I vill take
no refusal!  Listen!  I am now meeting a distinguished
person on important international business--do you
pairceive?  Ha, ha, ha!  To-night it vill be necessary
ve most dine togezzer.  I have an engagement, but he
can be put off for soch a great person as the man I am
now meeting at ze club!  You vill gom?"

"I should have been delighted--only unluckily I have
a man dining with me.  I tell you what!  You come and
join us!  Will you?"

"If zat is ze only vay--yes, mit pleasure!  Who is
ze man?"

"Young Tulliwuddle.  Do you remember going to a
dance at Lord Tulliwuddle's, some five and a half years
ago?"

"Himmel!  Ha, ha!  Vell do I remember!"

"Well, our host of that evening died the other day,
and this fellow is his heir--a second or third cousin whose
existence was so displeasing to the old peer that he left
him absolutely nothing that wasn't entailed, and never
said 'How-do-you-do?' to him in his life.  In
consequence, he may not entertain you as much as I should
like."

"If he is your friend, I shall moch enjoy his society!"

"I am flattered, but hardly convinced.  Tulliwuddle's
intellect is scarcely of the sparkling kind.  However,
come and try."

The hour, the place, were arranged; a reminiscence or
two exchanged; fresh suggestions thrown out for the
rejuvenation of a Bavarian magnate; another baronial
laugh shook the foundations of the club; and then, as
the afternoon was wearing on, the Baron hailed a cab
and galloped for Belgrave Square, and the late Mr.
Bunker sauntered off along Pall Mall.

"Who can despair of human nature while the Baron
von Blitzenberg adorns the earth?" he reflected.  "The
discovery of champagne and the invention of summer
holidays were minor events compared with his descent
from Olympus!"

He bought a button-hole at the street corner and
cocked his hat, more airily than ever.

"A volcanic eruption may inspire one to succor
humanity, a wedding to condole with it, and a general
election to warn it of its folly; but the Baron inspires one
to amuse!"

Meanwhile that Heaven-sent nobleman, with a manner
enshrouded in mystery, was comforting his wife.

"Ah, do not grieve, mine Alicia!  No doubt ze Duke
vill be disappointed not to see us to-night, but I have
telegraphed.  Ja, I have said I had so important an
affair.  Ach, do not veep!  I did not know you wanted
so moch to dine mit ze old Duke.  I sopposed you vould
like a quiet evening at home.  But anyhow I have now
telegraphed--and my leetle dinner mit my friend--Ach,
it is so important zat I most rosh and get dressed. 
Cheer up, my loff!  Good-by!"

He paused in answer to a tearful question.

"His name?  Alas, I have promised not to say.  You
vould not have a European war by my indiscretion?"



CHAPTER III

With mirrors reflecting a myriad lights,
with the hum of voices, the rustle of
satin and lace, the hurrying steps of
waiters, the bubbling of laughter, of life,
and of wine--all these on each side of them, and a plate,
a foaming glass, and a friend in front, the Baron and
his host smiled radiantly down upon less favored mortals.

"Tulliwuddle is very late," said Essington; "but he's
a devilish casual gentleman in all matters."

"I am selfish enoff to hope he vill not gom at all!"
exclaimed the Baron.

"Unfortunately he has had the doubtful taste to
conceive a curiously high opinion of myself.  I am afraid
he won't desert us.  But I don't propose that we shall
suffer for his slackness.  Bring the fish, waiter."

The Baron was happy; and that is to say that his
laughter re-echoed from the shining mirrors, his tongue
was loosed, his heart expanded, his glass seemed ever
empty.

"Ach, how to make zis joie de vivre to last beyond to-
night!" he cried.  "May ze Teufel fly off mit of offeecial
duties and receptions and--and even mit my vife for a
few days."

"My dear Baron!"

"To Alicia!" cried the Baron hastily, draining his
glass at the toast.  "But some fun first!"

     " 'I could not love thee, dear, so well,
         Loved I not humor more!' "

misquoted his host gaily.  "Ah!" he added, "here
comes Tulliwuddle."

A young man, with his hands in his pockets and an
eyeglass in his eye, strolled up to their table.

"I'm beastly sorry for being so late," said he; "but
I'm hanged if I could make up my mind whether to
risk wearing one of these frilled shirt-fronts.  It's not
bad, I think, with one's tie tied this way.  What do you
say?"

"It suits you like a halo," Essington assured him. 
"But let me introduce you to my friend the Baron
Rudolph von Blitzenberg."

Lord Tulliwuddle bowed politely and took the empty
chair; but it was evident that his attention could not
concentrate itself upon sublunary matters till the shirt-
front had been critically inspected and appreciatively
praised by his host.  Indeed, it was quite clear that
Essington had not exaggerated his regard for himself. 
This admiration was perhaps the most pleasing feature
to be noted on a brief acquaintance with his lordship. 
He was obviously intended neither for a strong man of
action nor a great man of thought.  A tolerable appearance
and considerable amiability he might no doubt
claim; but unfortunately the effort to retain his eye-
glass had apparently the effect of forcing his mouth
chronically open, which somewhat marred his appearance;
while his natural good-humor lapsed too frequently
into the lamentations of an idle man that
Providence neglected him or that his creditors were too
attentive.

It happens, however, that it is rather his
circumstances than his person which concern this history.  And,
briefly, these were something in this sort.  Born a poor
relation and guided by no strong hand, he had gradually
seen himself, as Reverend uncles and Right Honorable
cousins died of, approach nearer and nearer to
the ancient barony of Tulliwuddle (created 1475 in the
peerage of Scotland), until this year he had actually
succeeded to it.  But after his first delight in this piece
of good fortune had subsided he began to realize in
himself two notable deficiencies very clearly, the lack of
money, and more vaguely, the want of any preparation
for filling the shoes of a stately courtier and famous
Highland chieftain.  He would often, and with considerable
feeling, declare that any ordinary peer he
could easily have become, but that being old Tulliwuddle's
heir, by Gad! he didn't half like the job.

At present he was being tolerated or befriended by a
small circle of acquaintances, and rapidly becoming a
familiar figure to three or four tailors and half a dozen
door-keepers at the stage entrances to divers Metropolitan
theatres.  In the circle of acquaintances, the humorous
sagacity of Essington struck him as the most astonishing
thing he had ever known.  He felt, in fact,
much like a village youth watching his first conjuring
performance, and while the whim lasted (a period which
Essington put down as probably six weeks) he would
have gone the length of paying a bill or ordering a
tie on his recommendation alone.

To-night the distinguished appearance and genial
conversation of Essington's friend impressed him more
than ever with the advantages of knowing so remarkable
a personage.  A second bottle succeeded the first, and a
third the second, the cordiality of the dinner growing
all the while, till at last his lordship had laid aside the
last traces of his national suspicion of even the most
charming strangers.

"I say, Essington," he said, "I had meant to tell
you about a devilish delicate dilemma I'm in.  I want
your advice."

"You have it," interrupted his host.  "Give her a
five-pound note, see that she burns your letters, and
introduce her to another fellow."

"But--er--that wasn't the thing----"

"Tell him you'll pay in six months, and order
another pair of trousers," said Essington, briskly as ever.

"But, I say, it wasn't that----"

"My dear Tulliwuddle, I never give racing tips."

"Hang it!"

"What is the matter?"

Tulliwuddle glanced at the Baron.

"I don't know whether the Baron would be interested----"

"Immensely, my goot Tollyvoddle!  Supremely!
hugely!  I could be interested to-night in a museum!"

"The Baron's past life makes him a peculiarly
catholic judge of indiscretions," said Essington.

Thus reassured, Tulliwuddle began--

"You know I've an aunt who takes an interest in me--
wants me to collar an heiress and that sort of thing. 
Well, she has more or less arranged a marriage for me."

"Fill your glasses, gentlemen!" cried Essington.

"Hoch, hoch!" roared the Baron.

"But, I say, wait a minute!  That's only the
beginning.  I don't know the girl--and she doesn't know
me."

He said the last words in a peculiarly significant tone.

"Do you wish me to introduce you?"

"Oh, hang it!  Be serious, Essington.  The point
is--will she marry me if she does know me?"

"Himmel!  Yes, certainly!" cried the Baron.

"Who is she?" asked their host, more seriously.

"Her father is Darius P. Maddison, the American
Silver King."

The other two could not withhold an exclamation.

"He has only two children, a son and a daughter, and
he wants to marry his daughter to an English peer--or
a Scotch, it's all the same.  My aunt knows 'em pretty
well, and she has recommended me."

"An excellent selection," commented his host.

"But the trouble is, they want rather a high-class
peer.  Old Maddison is deuced particular, and I believe
the girl is even worse."

"What are the qualifications desired?"

"Oh, he's got to be ambitious, and a promising young
man--and elevated tastes--and all that kind of nonsense."

"But you can be all zat if you try!" said the Baron
eagerly.  "Go to Germany and get trained.  I did vork
twelve hours a day for ten years to be vat I am."

"I'm different," replied the young peer gloomily. 
"Nobody ever trained me.  Old Tulliwuddle might have
taken me up if he had liked, but he was prejudiced
against me.  I can't become all those things now."

"And yet you do want to marry the lady?"

"My dear Essington, I can't afford to lose such a
chance!  One doesn't get a Miss Maddison every day. 
She's a deuced handsome girl too, they say."

"By Gad, it's worth a trip across the Atlantic to try
your luck," said Essington.  "Get 'em to guarantee
your expenses and you'll at least learn to play poker and
see Niagara for nothing."

"They aren't in America.  They've got a salmon
river in Scotland, and they are there now.  It's not far
from my place, Hechnahoul."

"She's practically in your arms, then?"

"Ach.  Ze affair is easy!"

"Pipe up the clan and abduct her!"

"Approach her mit a kilt!"

But even those optimistic exhortations left the peer
still melancholy.

"It sounds all very well," said he, "but my clansmen,
as you call 'em, would expect such a devil of a lot
from me too.  Old Tulliwuddle spoiled them for any ordinary
mortal.  He went about looking like an advertisement
for whisky, and called 'em all by their beastly
Gaelic names.  I have never been in Scotland in my
life, and I can't do that sort of thing.  I'd merely make
a fool of myself.  If I'd had to go to America it
wouldn't have been so bad."

At this weak-kneed confession the Baron could hardly
withhold an exclamation of contempt, but Essington,
with more sympathy, inquired--

"What do you propose to do, then?"

His lordship emptied his glass.

"I wish I had your brains and your way of carrying
things off, Essington!" he said, with a sigh.  "If
you got a chance of showing yourself off to Miss Maddison
she'd jump at you!"

A gleam, inspired and humorous, leaped into Essington's
eyes.  The Baron, whose glance happened at the
moment to fall on him, bounded gleefully from his
seat.

"Hoch!" he cried, "it is mine old Bonker zat I see
before me!  Vat have you in your mind?"

"Sit down, my dear Baron; that lady over there
thinks you are preparing to attack her.  Shall we
smoke?  Try these cigars."

Throwing the Baron a shrewd glance to calm his
somewhat alarming exhilaration, their host turned with
a graver air to his other guest.

"Tulliwuddle," said he, "I should like to help you."

"I wish to the deuce you could!"

Essington bent over the table confidentially.

"I have an idea."



CHAPTER IV

The three heads bent forward towards a common
centre--the Baron agog with suppressed
excitement, Tulliwuddle revived with curiosity
and a gleam of hope, Essington impressive
and cool.

"I take it," he began, "that if Mr. Darius P.
Maddison and his coveted daughter could see a little
of Lord Tulliwuddle--meet him at lunch, talk to
him afterwards, for instance--and carry away a
favorable impression of the nobleman, there would not
be much difficulty in subsequently arranging a marriage?"

"Oh, none," said Tulliwuddle.  "They'd be only too
keen, IF they approved of me; but that's the rub, you
know."

"So far so good.  Now it appears to me that our
modest friend here somewhat underrates his own powers
of fascination"

"Ach, Tollyvoddle, you do indeed," interjected the
Baron.

"But since this idea is so firmly established in his
mind that it may actually prevent him from displaying
himself to the greatest advantage, and since he has
been good enough to declare that he would regard with
complete confidence my own chances of success were I in
his place, I would propose--with all becoming diffidence--
that _I_ should interview the lady and her parent
instead of him."

"A vary vise idea, Bonker," observed the Baron.

"What!" said Tulliwuddle.  "Do you mean that
you would go and crack me up, and that sort of
thing?"

"No; I mean that I should enjoy a temporary loan
of your name and of your residence, and assure them
by a personal inspection that I have a sufficient assortment
of virtues for their requirements."

"Splendid!" shouted the Baron.  "Tollyvoddle,
accept zis generous offer before it is too late!"

"But," gasped the diffident nobleman, "they would
find out the next time they saw me."

"If the business is properly arranged, that would
only be when you came out of church with her.  Look
here--what fault have you to find with this scheme? 
I produce the desired impression, and either propose at
once and am accepted----"

"H'm," muttered Tulliwuddle doubtfully.

"Or I leave things in such good train that you can
propose and get accepted afterwards by letter."

"That's better," said Tulliwuddle.

"Then, by a little exercise of our wits, you find an
excuse for hurrying on the marriage--have it a private
affair for family reasons, and so on.  You will be
prevented by one excuse or another from meeting the lady
till the wedding-day.  We shall choose a darkish church,
you will have a plaster on your face--and the deed is
done!"

"Not a fault can I find," commented the Baron
sagely.  "Essington, I congratulate you."

Between his complete confidence in Essington and the
Baron's unqualified commendation, Lord Tulliwuddle
was carried away by the project.

"I say, Essington, what a good fellow you are!" he
cried.  "You really think it will work?"

"What do you say, Baron?"

"It cannot fail, I do solemnly assure you.  Be
thankful you have soch a friend, Tollyvoddle!"

"You don't think anybody will suspect that you aren't
really me?"

"Does any one up at Hechnahoul know you?"

"No."

"And no one there knows me.  They will never suspect
for an instant."

His lordship assumed a look that would have been
serious, almost impressive, had he first removed his eye-
glass.  Evidently some weighty consideration had occurred
to him.

"You are an awfully clever chap, Essington," he
said, "and deuced superior to most fellows, and--er--all
that kind of thing.  But--well--you don't mind my
saying it?"

"My morals?  My appearance?  Say anything you
like, my dear fellow."

"It's only this, that noblesse oblige, and that kind of
thing, you know."

"I am afraid I don't quite follow."

"Well, I mean that you aren't a nobleman, and do
you think you could carry things off like a--ah--like
a Tulliwuddle?"

Essington remained entirely serious.

"I shall have at my elbow an adviser whose knowledge
of the highest society in Europe is, without exaggeration,
unequalled.  Your perfectly natural doubts
will be laid at rest when I tell you that I hope to
be accompanied by the Baron Rudolph von Blitzenberg."

The Baron could no longer contain himself.

"Himmel!  Hurray!  My dear friend, I vill go mit
you to hell!"

"That's very good of you," said Essington, "but
you mistake my present destination.  I merely wish your
company as far as the Castle of Hechnahoul."

"I gom mit so moch pleasure zat I cannot eggspress! 
Tollyvoddle, be no longer afraid.  I have helped to
write a book on ze noble families of Germany--zat is to
say, I have contributed my portrait and some anecdote. 
Our dear friend shall make no mistakes!"

By this guarantee Lord Tulliwuddle's last doubts
were completely set at rest.  His spirits rose as he
perceived how happily this easy avenue would lead him
out of all his troubles.  He insisted on calling for
wine and pledging success to the adventure with the
most resolute and confident air, and nothing but a
few details remained now to be settled.  These were
chiefly with regard to the precise limits up to which
the duplicate Lord Tulliwuddle might advance his
conquering arms.

"You won't formally propose, will you?" said the
first edition of that peer.

"Certainly not, if you prefer to negotiate the
surrender yourself," the later impression assured him.

"And you mustn't--well--er----"

"I shall touch nothing."

"A girl might get carried away by you," said the
original peer a trifle doubtfully.

"The Baron is the most scrupulous of men.  He will
be by my side almost continually.  Baron, you will act
as my judge, my censor, and my chaperon?"

"Tollyvoddle, I swear to you zat I shall use an eye
like ze eagle.  He shall be so careful--ach, I shall see to
it!  Myself, I am a Bayard mit ze ladies, and Bonker he
shall not be less so!"

"Thanks, Baron, thanks awfully," said his lordship. 
"Now my mind is quite at rest!"

In the vestibule of the restaurant they bade good-
night to the confiding nobleman, and then turned to one
another with an adventurer's smile.

"You are sure you can leave your diplomatic
duties?" asked Essington.

"Zey vill be my diplomatic duties zat I go to do!  Oh,
I shall prepare a leetle story--do not fear me."

The Baron chuckled, and then burst forth

"Never was zere a man like you.  Oh, cunning Mistair
Bonker!  And you vill give me zomezing to do in ze
adventure, eh?"

"I promise you that, Baron."

As he gave this reassuring pledge, a peculiar smile
stole over Mr. Bunker's face--a smile that seemed to
suggest even happier possibilities than either of his
distinguished friends contemplated.



CHAPTER V

It is at all times pleasant to contemplate thorough
workmanship and sagacious foresight, particularly
when these are allied with disinterested purpose
and genuine enthusiasm.  For the next
few days Mr. Bunker, preparing to carry out to
the best of his ability the delicate commission with
which he had been entrusted, presented this stimulating
spectacle.

Absolutely no pains were left untaken.  By the aid of
some volumes lent him by Tulliwuddle he learned, and
digested in a pocketbook, as much information as he
thought necessary to acquire concerning the history of
the noble family he was temporarily about to enter;
together with notes of their slogan or war-cry (spelled
phonetically to avoid the possibility of a mistake), of
their acreage, gross and net rentals, the names of their
land-agents, and many other matters equally to the
point.  It was further to be observed that he spared no
pains to imprint these particulars in the Baron's Teutonic
memory--whether to support his own in case of need,
or for some more secret purpose, it were impossible to
fathom.  Disguised as unconspicuous and harmless persons,
they would meet in many quiet haunts whose unsuspected
excellences they could guarantee from their
old experience, and there mature their philanthropic
plan.

Not only had its talented originator to impress the
Tulliwuddle annals and statistics into his ally's eager
mind, but he had to exercise the nicest tact and discernment
lest the Baron's excess of zeal should trip their
enterprise at the very outset.

"To-day I have told Alicia zat my visit to Russia vill
probably be vollowed by a visit to ze Emperor of China,"
the Baron would recount with vast pride in his inventive
powers.  "And I have dropped a leetle hint zat for an
envoy to be imprisoned in China is not to be surprised. 
Zat vill prepare her in case I am avay longer zan ve
expect."

"And how did she take that intimation?" asked
Essington, with a less congratulatory air than he had
expected.

"I did leave her in tears."

"My dear Baron, fly to her to tell her you are not
going to China!  She will get so devilish alarmed if
you are gone a week that she'll go straight to the embassy
and make inquiries."

He shook his head, and added in an impressive
voice--

"Never lie for lying's sake, Blitzenberg.  Besides,
how do you propose to forge a Chinese post-mark?"

The Baron had laid the foundations of his Russian
trip on a sound basis by requesting a friend of his in
that country to post to the Baroness the bi-weekly
budgets of Muscovite gossip which he intended to compose
at Hechnahoul.  This, it seemed to him, would be a
simple feat, particularly with his friend Bunker to
assist; but he had to confess that the provision of Chinese
news would certainly be more difficult.

"Ach, vell, I shall contradict China," he agreed.

It will be readily believed that what with getting up
his brief, pruning the legends with which the Baron proposed
to satisfy his wife and his ambassador, and purchasing
an outfit suitable to the roles of peer and chieftain,
this indefatigable gentleman passed three or four
extremely busy days.

"Ve most start before my dear mozzer-in-law does
gom!" the Baron more than once impressed upon him,
so that there was no moment to be wasted.

Two days before their departure Mr. Bunker greeted
his ally with a peculiarly humorous smile.

"The pleasures of our visit to Hechnahoul are to be
considerably augmented," said he.  "Tulliwuddle has
only just made the discovery that his ancestral castle is
let; but his tenant, in the most handsome spirit, invites
us to be his guests so long as we are in Scotland.  A
very hospitable letter, isn't it?"

He handed him a large envelope with a more than
proportionately large crest upon it, and drawing from
this a sheet of note-paper headed by a second crest, the
Baron read this epistle:


"MY LORD,--Learning that you propose visiting
your Scottish estates, and Mr. M'Fadyen, your factor,
informing me no lodge is at present available for your
reception, it will give Mrs. Gallosh and myself great
pleasure, and we will esteem it a distinguished honor,
if you and your friend will be our guests at Hechnahoul
Castle during the duration of your visit.  Should you
do us the honor of accepting, I shall send my steam
launch to meet you at Torrydhulish pier and convey
you across the loch, if you will be kind enough to advise
me which train you are coming by.

"In conclusion, Mrs. Gallosh and myself beg to
assure you that although you find strangers in your
ancestral halls, you will receive both from your tenantry
and ourselves a very hearty welcome to your native
land.  Believe me, your obedient servant,
                         "DUNCAN JNO. GALLOSH."


"Zat is goot news!" cried the Baron.  "Ve shall have
company--perhaps ladies!  Ach, Bonker, I have ze soft
spot in mine heart: I am so constant as ze needle to ze
pole; but I do like sometimes to talk mit voman!"

"With Mrs. Gallosh, for instance?"

"But, Bonker, zere may be a Miss Gallosh."

"If you consulted the Baroness," said Bunker,
smiling, "I suspect she would prefer you to be imprisoned
in China."

The Baron laughed, and curled his martial mustache
with a dangerous air.

"Who is zis Gallosh?" he inquired.

"Scottish, I judge from his name; commercial, from
his literary style; elevated by his own exertions, from
the size of his crest; and wealthy, from the fact that he
rents Hechnahoul Castle.  His mention of Mrs. Gallosh
points to the fact that he is either married or would have
us think so; and I should be inclined to conclude that
he has probably begot a family."

"Aha!" said the Baron.  "Ve vill gom and see,
eh?"



CHAPTER VI

A carefully clothed young man, with an
eyeglass and a wavering gait, walked slowly
out of Euston Station.  He had just seen
the Scottish express depart, and this event
seemed to have filled him with dubious reflections.  In
fact, at the very last moment Lord Tulliwuddle's
confidence in his two friends had been a trifling degree
disturbed.  It occurred to him as he lingered by the door
of their reserved first-class compartment that they had
a little too much the air of gentlemen departing on their
own pleasure rather than on his business.  No sooner did
he drop a fretful hint of this opinion than their affectionate
protestations had quickly revived his spirit; but
now that they were no longer with him to counsel and
encourage, it once more drooped.

"Confound it!" he thought, "I hadn't bargained on
having to keep out of people's way till they came back. 
If Essington had mentioned that sooner, I don't know
that I'd have been so keen about the notion.  Hang it! 
I'll have to chuck the Morrells' dance.  And I can't go
with the Greys to Ranelagh.  I can't even dine with
my own aunt on Sunday.  Oh, the devil!"

The perturbed young peer waved his umbrella and
climbed into a hansom.

"Well, anyhow, I can still go on seeing Connie. 
That's some consolation," he told himself; and without
stopping to consider what would be the thoughts of his
two obliging friends had they known he was seeking
consolation in the society of one lady while they were
arranging his nuptials with another, the baptismal
Tulliwuddle drove back to the civilization of St. James's.

Within the reserved compartment was no foreboding,
no faint-hearted paling of the cheek.  As the train
clattered, hummed, and presently thundered on its way, the
two laughed cheerfully towards one another, delighted
beyond measure with the prosperous beginning of their
enterprise.  The Baron could not sufficiently express his
gratitude and admiration for the promptitude with which
his friend had purveyed so promising an adventure.

"Ve vill have fon, my Bonker.  Ach! ve vill," he
exclaimed for the third or fourth time within a dozen miles
from Euston.

His Bunker assumed an air half affectionate, half
apologetic.

"I only regret that I should have the lion's share of
the adventure, my dear Baron."

"Yes," said the Baron, with a symptom of a sigh,
"I do envy you indeed.  Yet I should not say zat----"
Bunker swiftly interrupted him.

"You would like to play a worthier part than merely
his lordship's friend?"

"Ach!  if I could."

Bunker smiled benignantly.

"Ah, Baron, you cannot suppose that I would really
do Tulliwuddle such injustice as to attempt, in my own
feeble manner, to impersonate him?"

The Baron stared.

"Vat mean you?"

"YOU shall be the lion, _I_ the humble necessary jackal. 
As our friend so aptly quoted, noblesse oblige.  Of
course, there can be no doubt about it.  You, Baron,
must play the part of peer, I of friend."

The Baron gasped.

"Impossible!"

"Quite simple, my dear fellow."

"You--you don't mean so?"

"I do indeed."

"Bot I shall not do it so vell as you."

"A hundred times better."

"Bot vy did you not say so before?"

"Tulliwuddle might not have agreed with me."

"Bot vould he like it now?"

"It is not what he likes that we should consider,
it's what is good for his interests."

"Bot if I should fail?"

"He will be no worse off than before.  Left to
himself, he certainly won't marry the lady.  You give him
his only chance."

"Bot more zan you vould, really and truthfully?"

"My dear Baron, you are admitted by all to be
an ideal German nobleman.  Therefore you will certainly
make an ideal British peer.  You have the true
Grand-Seigneur air.  No one would mistake you for
anything but a great aristocrat, if they merely saw
you in bathing pants; whereas I have something a
little different about my manner.  I'm not so impressive--
not so hall-marked, in fact."

His friend's omniscient air and candidly eloquent
tone impressed the Baron considerably.  His ingrained
conviction of his own importance accorded admirably
with these arguments.  His thirst for "life" craved
this lion's share.  His sanguine spirit leaped at the
appeal.  Yet his well-regulated conscience could not
but state one or two patent objections.

"Bot I have not read so moch of the Tollyvoddles
as you.  I do not know ze strings so vell."

"I have told you nearly everything I know.  You
will find the rest here."

Essington handed him the note-book containing his
succinct digest.  In intelligent anticipation of this
contingency it was written in his clearest handwriting.

"You should have been a German," said the Baron
admiringly.

He glanced with sparkling eyes at the note-book,
and then with a distinctly greater effort the Teutonic
conscience advanced another objection.

"Bot you have bought ze kilt, ze Highland hat, ze
brogue shoes."

"I had them made to your measurements."

The Baron impetuously embraced his thoughtful
friend.  Then again his smile died away.

"Bot, Bonker, my voice!  Zey tell me I haf nozing
zat you vould call qvite an accent; bot a foreigner--
one does regognize him, eh?"

"I shall explain that in a sentence.  The romantic
tincture of--well, not quite accent, is a pleasant little
piece of affectation adopted by the young bloods about
the Court in compliment to the German connections of
the Royal family."

The Baron raised no more objections.

"Bonker, I agree!  Tollyvoddle I shall be, by Jove
and all!"

He beamed his satisfaction, and then in an eager
voice asked--

"You haf not ze kilt in zat hat-box?"

Unfortunately, however, the kilt was in the van.

Now the journey, propitiously begun, became more
exhilarating, more exciting with each mile flung by. 
The Baron, egged on by his friend's high spirits and
his own imagination to anticipate pleasure upon pleasure,
watched with rapture the summer landscape whiz
past the windows.  Through the flat midlands of
England they sped; field after field, hedgerow after
hedgerow, trees by the dozen, by the hundred, by the
thousand, spinning by in one continuous green vista. 
Red brick towns, sluggish rivers, thatched villages and
ancient churches dark with yews, the shining web of
junctions, and a whisking glimpse of wayside stations
leaped towards them, past them, and leagues
away behind.  But swiftly as they sped, it was all
too slowly for the fresh-created Lord Tulliwuddle.

"Are we not nearly to Scotland yet?" he inquired
some fifty times.

" 'My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the
dears!' " hummed the abdicated nobleman, whose
hilarity had actually increased (if that were possible)
since his descent into the herd again.

All the travellers' familiar landmarks were hailed by
the gleeful diplomatist with encouraging comments.

"Ach, look!  Beauteeful view!  How quickly it is
gone!  Hurray!  Ve must be nearly to Scotland."

A panegyric on the rough sky-line of the north
country fells was interrupted by the entrance of the
dining-car attendant.  Learning that they would dine,
he politely inquired in what names he should engage
their seats.  Then, for an instant, a horrible confusion
nearly overcame the Baron.  He--a von Blitzenberg--
to give a false name!  His color rose, he stammered,
and only in the nick of time caught his companion's
eye.

"Ze Lord Tollyvoddle," he announced, with an
effort as heroic as any of his ancestors' most warlike
enterprises.

Too impressed to inquire how this remarkable title
should be spelled, the man turned to the other
distinguished-looking passenger.

"Bunker," said that gentleman, with smiling assurance.

The man went out.

"Now are ve named!" cried the Baron, his courage
rising the higher for the shock it had sustained. 
"And you vunce more vill be Bonker?  Goot!"

"That satisfies you?"

The Baron hesitated.

"My dear friend, I have a splendid idea!  Do you
know I did disgover zere used to be a nobleman in
Austria really called Count Bonker?  He vas a famous
man; you need not be ashamed to take his name.  Vy
should not you be Count Bonker?"

"You prefer to travel in titled company?  Well,
be hanged--why not!  When one comes to think of
it, it seems a pity that my sins should always be
attributed to the middle classes."

Accordingly this history has now the honorable task
of chronicling the exploits of no fewer than two
noblemen.



CHAPTER VII

Late that evening they reached a city which
the home-coming chieftain in an outburst of
Celtic fervor dubbed "mine own bonny
Edinburg!" and there they repaired for the
night to a hotel.  Once more the Baron (we may still
style him so since the peerage of Tulliwuddle was
of that standing also) showed a certain diffidence
when it came to answering to his new title in public;
but in the seclusion of their private sitting-room he
was careful to assure his friend that this did not arise
from any lack of nerve or qualms zof conscience, but
merely through a species of headache--the result of
railway travelling.

"Do not fear for me," he declared as he stirred
the sugar in his glass, "I have ze heart of a lion."

The liquid he was sipping being nothing less potent
than a brew of whisky punch, which he had ordered
(or rather requested Bunker to order) as the most
romantically national compound he could think of,
produced, indeed, a fervor of foolhardiness.  He insisted
upon opening the door wide, and getting Bunker
to address him as "Tollyvoddle," in a strident
voice, "so zat zey all may hear," and then answering
in a firm "Yes, Count Bonker, vat vould you say to
me?"

It is true that he instantly closed the door again,
and even bolted it, but his display seemed to make a
vast impression upon himself.

"Many men vould not dare so to go mit anozzer
name," he announced; "bot I have my nerves onder
a good gontrol."

"You astonish me," said the Count.

"I do even surprise myself," admitted the Baron.

In truth the ordeal of carelessly carrying off an
alias is said by those who have undergone it (and the
report is confirmed by an experienced class of public
officials) to require a species of hardihood which,
fortunately for society, is somewhat rare.  The most
daring Smith will sometimes stammer when it comes
to merely answering "Yes" to a cry of "Brown!"
and Count Bunker, whose knowledge of human nature
was profound and remarkably accurate, was careful to
fortify his friend by example and praise, till by the
time they went to bed the Baron could scarcely be
withheld from seeking out the manager and airing
his assurance upon him.  Or, at least, he declared he
would have done this had he been sure that the manager
was not already in bed himself.

Unfortunately at this juncture the Count committed
one of those indiscretions to which a gay spirit is
always prone, but which, to do him justice, seldom
sullied his own record as a successful adventurer.  At
an hour considerably past midnight, hearing an
excited summons from the Baron's bedroom, he laid down
his toothbrush and hastened across the passage, to
find the new peer in a crimson dressing-gown of quilted
silk gazing enthusiastically at a lithograph that hung
upon the wall.

"See!" he cried gleefully, "here is my own
ancestor.  Bonker, I feel I am Tollyvoddle indeed."

The print which had inspired this enthusiasm
depicted a historical but treasonable Lord Tulliwuddle
preparing to have his head removed.

Giving it a droll look, the Count observed--

"Well, if it inspires you, my dear Baron, that's all
right.  The omen would have struck me differently."

"Ze omen!" murmured the Baron with a start.

It required all Bunker's tact to revive his ally's
damped enthusiasm, and even at breakfast next morning
he referred in a gloomy voice to various premonitions
recorded in the history of his family, and the
horrible consequences of disregarding them.

But by the time they had started upon their journey
north, his spirits rose a trifle; and when at length
all lowland landscapes were left far behind them, and
they had come into a province of peat streams and
granite pinnacles, with the gloom of pines and the
freshness of the birch blended like a May and December
marriage, all appearance, at least, of disquietude
had passed away.

Yet the Count kept an anxious eye upon him.  He
was becoming decidedly restless.  At one moment he
would rave about the glorious scenery; the next,
plunge into a brown study of the Tulliwuddle rent-
roll; and then in an instant start humming an air and
smoking so fast that both their cases were empty while
they were yet half an hour from Torrydhulish Station. 
Now the Baron took to biting his nails, looking at his
watch, and answering questions at random--a very different
spectacle from the enthusiastic traveller of
yesterday.

"Only ten minutes more," observed Bunker in his
most cheering manner.

The Baron made no reply.

They were now running along the brink of a
glimmering loch, the piled mountains on the farther shore
perfectly mirrored; a tern or two lazily fishing; a
delicate summer sky smiling above.  All at once Count
Bunker started--

"That must be Hechnahoul!" said he.

The Baron looked and beheld, upon an eminence
across the loch, the towers and turrets of an imposing
mansion overtopping a green grove.

"And here is the station," added the Count.

The Baron's face assumed a piteous expression.

"Bonker," he stammered, "I--I am afraid!  You
be ze Tollyvoddle--I cannot do him!"

"My dear Baron!"

"Oh, I cannot!"

"Be brave--for the honor of the fatherland.  Play
the bold Blitzenberg!"

"Ach, ja; but not bold Tollyvoddle.  Zat picture--
you vere right--it vas omen!"

Never did the genius of Bunker rise more audaciously
to an occasion.

"My dear Baron," said he, assuming on the instant
a confidence-inspiring smile, "that print was a hoax; it
wasn't old Tulliwuddle at all.  I faked it myself."

"So?" gasped the Baron.  "You assure me
truly?"

Muttering (the historian sincerely hopes) a petition
for forgiveness, Bunker firmly answered--

"I do assure you!"

The train had stopped, and as they were the only
first-class passengers on board, a peculiarly magnificent
footman already had his hand upon the door. 
Before turning the handle, he touched his hat.

"Lord Tulliwuddle?" he respectfully inquired.

"Ja--zat is, yes, I am," replied the Baron.



CHAPTER VIII

From the platform down to the pier was only
some fifty yards, and before them the travellers
perceived an exceedingly smart steam-
launch, and a stout middle-aged gentleman,
in a blue serge suit and yachting cap, advancing from
it to greet them.  They had only time to observe that
he had a sanguine complexion, iron-gray whiskers, and
a wide-open eye, before he raised the cap and, in a
decidedly North British accent, thus addressed them--

"My lord--ahem!--your lordship, I should say--
I presume I've the pleasure of seeing Lord Tulliwuddle?"

The Count gently pushed his more distinguished
friend in front.  With an embarrassment equal to their
host's, his lordship bowed and gave his hand.

"I am ze Tollyvoddle--vary pleased--Mistair Gosh,
I soppose?"

"Gallosh, my lord.  Very honored to welcome you."

In the round eyes of Mr. Gallosh, Count Bunker
perceived an unmistakable stare of astonishment at the
sound of his lordship's accented voice.  The Baron,
on his part, was evidently still suffering from his
attack of stage fright; but again the Count's gifts
smoothed the creases from the situation.

"You have not introduced me to our host,
Tulliwuddle," he said, with a gay, infectious confidence.

"Ah, so!  Zis is my friend Count Bunker--gom all
ze vay from Austria," responded the Baron, with no
glimmer of his customary aplomb.

Making a mental resolution to warn his ally never
to say one word more about his fictitious past than
was wrung by cross-examination, the distinguished-
looking Austrian shook his host's hand warmly.

"From Austria via London," he explained in his
pleasantest manner.  "I object altogether to be
considered a foreigner, Mr. Gallosh; and, in fact, I often
tell Tulliwuddle that people will think me more English
than himself.  The German fashions so much in vogue
at Court are transforming the very speech of your
nobility.  Don't you sometimes notice it?"

Thus directly appealed to, Mr. Gallosh became
manifestly perplexed.

"Yes--yes, you're right in a way," he pronounced
cautiously.  "I suppose they do that.  But will ye
not take a seat?  This is my launch.  Hi!  Robert,
give his lordship a hand on board!"

Two mariners and a second tall footman assisted the
guests to embark, and presently they were cutting the
waters of the loch at a merry pace.

In the prow, like youth, the Baron insisted upon
sitting with folded arms and a gloomy aspect; and
as his nerve was so patently disturbed, the Count
decidedly approved of an arrangement which left his
host and himself alone together in the stern.  In his
present state of mind the Baron was capable of any
indiscretion were he compelled to talk; while, silent and
brooding in isolated majesty, he looked to perfection
the part of returning exile.  So, evidently, thought
Mr. Gallosh.

"His lordship is looking verra well," he confided to
the Count in a respectfully lowered voice.

"The improvement has been remarkable ever since
his foot touched his native heath."

"You don't say so," said Mr. Gallosh, with even
greater interest.  "Was he delicate before?"

"A London life, Mr. Gallosh."

"True--true, he'll have been busy seeing his
friends; it'll have been verra wearing."

"The anxiety, the business of being invested,
and so on, has upset him a trifle.  You must put
down any little--well, peculiarity to that, Mr. Gallosh."

"I understand--aye, umh'm, quite so.  He'll like
to be left to himself, perhaps?"

"That depends on his condition," said the Count
diplomatically.

"It's a great responsibility for a young man; yon's
a big property to look after," observed Mr. Gallosh
in a moment.

"You have touched the spot!" said the Count
warmly.  "That is, in fact, the chief cause of Tulliwuddle's
curious moodiness ever since he succeeded to
the title.  He feels his responsibilities a little too
acutely."

Again Mr. Gallosh ruminated, while his guest from
the corner of his eye surveyed him shrewdly.

"My forecast was wonderfully accurate," he said
to himself.

The silence was first broken by Mr. Gallosh.  As
if thinking aloud, he remarked--

"I was awful surprised to hear him speak!  It's
the Court fashion, you say?"

"Partly that; partly a prolonged residence on the
Continent in his youth.  He acquired his accent then;
he has retained it for fashion's sake," explained the
Count, who thought it as well to bolster up the weakest
part of his case a little more securely.

With this prudent purpose, he added, with a flattering
air of taking his host into his aristocratic confidence--

"You will perhaps be good enough to explain this
to the friends and dependants Lord Tulliwuddle is
about to meet?  A breath of unsympathetic criticism
would grieve him greatly if it came to his ears."

"Quite, quite," said Mr. Gallosh eagerly.  "I'll
make it all right.  I understand the sentiment pairfectly. 
It's verra natural--verra natural indeed."

At that moment the Baron started from his reverie
with an affrighted air.

"Vat is zat strange sound!" he exclaimed.

The others listened.

"That's just the pipes, my lord," said Mr. Gallosh. 
"They're tuning up to welcome you."

His lordship stared at the shore ahead of them.

"Zere are many peoples on ze coast!" he cried. 
"Vat makes it for?"

"They've come to receive you," his host explained. 
"It's just a little spontaneous demonstration, my
lord."

His lordship's composure in no way increased.

"It was Mrs. Gallosh organized a wee bit entertainment
on his lordship's landing," their host explained
confidentially to the Count.  "It's just informal, ye
understand.  She's been instructing some of the tenants--
and ma own girls will be there--but, oh, it's
nothing to speak of.  If he says a few words in
reply, that'll be all they'll be expecting."

The strains of "Tulliwuddle wha hae" grew ever
louder and, to an untrained ear, more terrific.  In
a moment they were mingled with a clapping of hands
and a Highland cheer, the launch glided alongside the
pier, and, supported on his faithful friend's arm, the
panic-stricken Tulliwuddle staggered ashore.  Before
his dazed eyes there seemed to be arrayed the vastest
and most barbaric concourse his worst nightmare had
ever imagined.  Six pipers played within ten paces
of him, each of them arrayed in the full panoply of
the clan; at least a dozen dogs yelped their exultation;
and from the surrounding throng two ancient
men in tartan and four visions in snowy white stepped
forth to greet the distinguished visitors.

The first hitch in the proceedings occurred at this
point.  According to the unofficial but carefully
considered programme, the pipers ought to have ceased
their melody; but, whether inspired by ecstatic loyalty
or because the Tulliwuddle pibroch took longer to perform
than had been anticipated, they continued to skirl
with such vigor that expostulations passed entirely
unheard.  Under the circumstances there was nothing
for it but shouting, and in a stentorian yell Mr.
Gallosh introduced his wife and three fair daughters.

Thereupon Mrs. Gallosh, a broad-beamed matron
whose complexion contrasted pleasantly with her costume,
delivered the following oration--

"Lord Tulliwuddle, in the name of the women of
Hechnahoul--I may say in the name of the women of
all the Highlands--oor ain Heelands, my lord" (this
with the most insinuating smile)--"I bid you welcome
to your ancestral estates.  Remembering the conquests
your ancestors used to make both in war and in a
gentler sphere" (Mrs. Gallosh looked archness itself),
"we ladies, I suppose, should regard your home-
coming with some misgivings; but, my lord, every
bonny Prince Charlie has his bonny Flora Macdonald,
and in this land of mountain, mist, and flood, where
'Dark Ben More frowns o'er the wave,' and where
'Ilka lassie has her laddie,' you will find a thousand
romantic maidens ready to welcome you as Ellen welcomed
Fitz-James!  For centuries your heroic race has
adorned the halls and trod the heather of Hechnahoul,
and for centuries more we hope to see the offspring
of your lordship and some winsome Celtic maid rule
these cataracts and glens!"

At this point the exertion of shouting down six
bagpipes in active eruption caused a temporary cessation
of the lady's eloquence, and the pause was filled
by the cheers of the crowd led by the "Hip-hip-hip!"
of Count Bunker, and by the broken and fortunately
inaudible protests of the embarrassed father of future
Tulliwuddles.  In a moment Mrs. Gallosh had resumed--

"Lord Tulliwuddle, though I myself am only a
stranger to your clan, your Highland heart will feel
reassured when I mention that I belong through my
grandmother to the kindred clan of the Mackays!" 
("Hear, hear!" from two or three ladies and gentlemen,
evidently guests of the Gallosh.)  "We are but
visitors at Hechnahoul, yet we assure you that no more
devoted hearts beat in all Caledonia!  Lord Tulliwuddle,
we welcome you!"

"Put your hand on your heart and bow," whispered
Bunker.  "Keep on bowing and say nothing!"

Mechanically the bewildered Baron obeyed, and for
a few moments presented a spectacle not unlike royalty
in procession.

But as some reply from him had evidently been
expected at this point, and the pipers had even ceased
playing lest any word of their chief's should be lost,
a pause ensued which might have grown embarrassing
had not the Count promptly stepped forward.

"I think," he said, indicating two other snow-white
figures who held gigantic bouquets, "that a pleasant
part of the ceremony still remains before us."

With a grateful glance at this discerning guest,
Mrs. Gallosh thereupon led forward her two youngest
daughters (aged fifteen and thirteen), who, with an
air so delightfully coy that it fell like a ray of
sunshine on the poor Baron's heart, presented him with
their flowery symbols of Hechnahoul's obeisance to its
lord.

His consternation returned with the advance of the
two ancient clansmen who, after a guttural panegyric
in Gaelic, offered him further symbols--a claymore and
target, very formidable to behold.  All these gifts
having been adroitly transferred to the arms of the
footmen by the ubiquitous Count, the Baron's emotions
swiftly passed through another phase when the
eldest Miss Gallosh, aged twenty, with burning eyes
and the most distracting tresses, dropped him a sweeping
courtesy and offered a final contribution--a fiery
cross, carved and painted by her own fair hands.

A fresh round of applause followed this, and then
a sudden silence fell upon the assembly.  All eyes were
turned upon the chieftain: not even a dog barked:
it was the moment of a lifetime.

"Can you manage a speech, old man?" whispered
Bunker.

"Ach, no, no, no!  Let me escape.  Oh, let me fly!"

"Bury your face in your hands and lean on my
shoulder," prompted the Count.

This stage direction being obeyed, the most effective
tableau conceivable was presented, and the climax was
reached when the Count, after a brief dumb-show
intended to indicate how vain were Lord Tulliwuddle's
efforts to master his emotion, spoke these words in the
most thrilling accents he could muster

"Fair ladies and brave men of Hechnahoul!  Your
chief, your friend, your father requests me to express
to you the sentiments which his over-wrought emotions
prevent him from uttering himself.  On his behalf
I tender to his kind and courteous friends, Mr.,
Mrs., and the fair maids Gallosh, the thanks of a long-
absent exile returned to his native land for the welcome
they have given him!  To his devoted clan he not
only gives his thanks, but his promise that all rents shall
be reduced by one half--so long as he dwells among
them!"  (Tumultuous applause, disturbed only by a
violent ejaculation from a large man in knickerbockers
whom Bunker justly judged to be the factor.)

"With his last breath he shall perpetually thunder:
Ahasheen--comara--mohr!"

The Tulliwuddle slogan, pronounced with the most
conscientious accuracy of which a Sassenach was capable,
proved as effective a curtain as he had anticipated;
and amid a perfect babel of cheering and bagpiping
the chieftain was led to his host's carriage.



CHAPTER IX

"Well, the worst of it is over," said Bunker
cheerfully.

The Baron groaned.  "Ze vorst is
only jost beginning to gommence."

They were sitting over a crackling fire of logs in
the sitting-room of the suite which their host had
reserved for his honored visitors.  How many heirlooms
and dusky portraits the romantic thoughtfulness
of the ladies had managed to crowd into this apartment
for the occasion were hard to compute; enough,
certainly, one would think, to inspire the most sluggish-
blooded Tulliwuddle with a martial exultation. 
Instead, the chieftain groaned again.

"Tell zem I am ill.  I cannot gom to dinner.  To-
morrow I shall take ze train back to London.  Himmel! 
Vy vas I fool enof to act soch dishonorable lies!  I
deceive all these kind peoples!"

"It isn't that which worries me," said Bunker
imperturbably.  "I am only afraid that if you display
this spirit you won't deceive them."

"I do not vish to," said the Baron sulkily.

It required half an hour of the Count's most artful
blandishments to persuade him that duty, honor, and
prudence all summoned him to the feast.  This being
accomplished, he next endeavored to convince him that
he would feel more comfortable in the airy freedom
of the Tulliwuddle tartan.  But here the Baron was
obdurate.  Now that the kilt lay ready to his hand
he could not be persuaded even to look at it.  In
gloomy silence he donned his conventional evening
dress and announced, last thing before they left their
room--

"Bonker, say no more!  To-morrow morning I depart!"

Their hostess had explained that a merely informal
dinner awaited them, since his lordship (she observed)
would no doubt prefer a quiet evening after his long
journey.  But Mrs. Gallosh was one of those good
ladies who are fond of asking their friends to take
"pot luck," and then providing them with fourteen
courses; or suggesting a "quiet little evening together,"
when they have previously removed the drawing-
room carpet.  It is an affectation of modesty apt
to disconcert the retiring guest who takes them at
their word.  In the drawing-room of Mrs. Gallosh the
startled Baron found assembled--firstly, the Gallosh
family, consisting of all those whose acquaintance we
have already made, and in addition two stalwart school-
boy sons; secondly, their house-party, who comprised
a Mr. and Mrs. Rentoul, from the same metropolis of
commerce as Mr. Gallosh, and a hatchet-faced young
man with glasses, answering to the name of Mr. Cromarty-
Gow; and, finally, one or two neighbors.  These
last included Mr. M'Fadyen, the large factor; the
Established Church, U.F., Wee Free, Episcopalian,
and Original Secession ministers, all of whom, together
with their kirks, flourished within a four-mile radius
of the Castle; the wives to three of the above; three
young men and their tutor, being some portion of a
reading-party in the village; and Mrs. Cameron-
Campbell and her five daughters, from a neighboring
dower-house upon the loch.

It was fortunate that all these people were prepared
to be impressed with Lord Tulliwuddle, whatever he
should say or do; and further, that the unique position
of such a famous hereditary magnate even led them to
anticipate some marked deviation from the ordinary
canons of conduct.  Otherwise, the gloomy brows; the
stare, apparently haughty, in reality alarmed; the
strange accent and the brief responses of the chief
guest, might have caused an unfavorable opinion of
his character.

As it was, his aloofness, however natural, would
probably have proved depressing had it not been for
the gay charm and agreeable condescension of the
other nobleman.  Seldom had more rested upon that
adventurer's shoulders, and never had he acquitted
himself with greater credit.  It was with considerable
secret concern that he found himself placed at the
opposite end of the table from his friend, but his
tongue rattled as gaily and his smiles came as readily
as ever.  With Mrs. Cameron-Campbell on one side,
and a minister's lady upon the other, his host two
places distant, and a considerable audience of silent
eaters within earshot, he successfully managed to
divert the attention of quite half the table from the
chieftain's moody humor.

"I always feel at home with a Scotsman," he
discoursed genially.  "His imagination is so quick, his
intellect so clear, his honesty so remarkable, and"
(with an irresistible glance at the minister's lady) "his
wife so charming."

"Ha, ha!" laughed Mr. Gallosh, who was mellowing
rapidly under the influence of his own champagne. 
"I'm verra glad to see you know good folks when
you meet them.  What do you think now of the
English?"

Having previously assured himself that his audience
was neat Scotch, the polished Austrian unblushingly
replied--

"The Englishman, I have observed, has a slightly
slower imagination, a denser intelligence, and is less
conspicuous for perfect honesty.  His womankind also
have less of that nameless grace and ethereal beauty
which distinguish their Scottish sisters."

It is needless to say that a more popular visitor
never was seen than this discriminating foreigner, and
if his ambitions had not risen above a merely personal
triumph, he would have been in the highest state of
satisfaction.  But with a disinterested eye he every
now and then sought the farther end of the table,
where, between his hostess and her charming eldest
daughter, and facing his factor, the Baron had to
endure his ordeal unsupported.

"I wonder how the devil he's getting on!" he more
than once said to himself.

For better or for worse, as the dinner advanced,
he began to hear the Court accent more frequently,
till his curiosity became extreme.

"His lordship seems in better spirits," remarked
Mr. Gallosh.

"I hope to Heaven he may be!" was the fervent
thought of Count Bunker.

At that moment the point was settled.  With his
old roar of exuberant gusto the Baron announced, in
a voice that drowned even the five ministers--

"Ach, yes, I vill toss ze caber to-morrow!  I vill
toss him--so high!" (his napkin flapped upwards). 
"How long shall he be?  So tall as my castle:  Mees
Gallosh, you shall help me?  Ach, yes!  Mit hands so
fair ze caber vill spring like zis!"

His pudding-spoon, in vivid illustration, skipped
across the table and struck his factor smartly on the
shirt-front.

"Sare, I beg your pardon," he beamed with a
graciousness that charmed Mrs. Gallosh even more
than his spirited conversation--"Ach, do not return it,
please!  It is from my castle silver--keep it in memory
of zis happy night!"

The royal generosity of this act almost reconciled
Mrs. Gallosh to the loss of one of her own silver spoons.

"Saved!" sighed Bunker, draining his glass with
a relish he had not felt in any item of the feast
hitherto.

Now that the Baron's courage had returned, no
heraldic lion ever pranced more bravely.  His laughter,
his jests, his compliments were showered upon the
delighted diners.  Mr. Gallosh and he drank healths
down the whole length of the table "mit no tap-heels!"
at least four times.  He peeled an orange for Miss
Gallosh, and cut the skin into the most diverting
figures, pressing her hand tenderly as he presented her
with these works of art.  He inquired of Mrs. Gallosh
the names of the clergymen, and, shouting something
distantly resembling these, toasted them each and
all with what he conceived to be appropriate comments. 
Finally he rose to his feet, and, to the surprise
and delight of all, delivered the speech they had
been disappointed of earlier in the day.

"Goot Mr. Gallosh, fair Mrs. Gallosh, divine Mees
Gallosh, and all ze ladies and gentlemans, how sorry
I vas I could not make my speech before, I cannot
eggspress.  I had a headache, and vas not vell vithin. 
Ach, soch zings vill happen in a new climate.  Bot now
I am inspired to tell you I loff you all!  I zank you
eggstremely!  How can I return zis hospitality?  I
vill tell you!  You must all go to Bavaria and stay
mit----"

"Tulliwuddle!  Tulliwuddle!" shouted Bunker
frantically, to the great amazement of the company.  "Allow
me to invite the company myself to stay with me
in Bavaria!"

The Baron turned crimson, as he realized the abyss
of error into which he had so nearly plunged.  Adroitly
the Count covered his confusion with a fit of laughter
so ingeniously hearty that in a moment he had joined
in it too.

"Ha, ha, ha!" he shouted.  "Zat was a leetle joke
at my friend's eggspense.  It is here, in my castle, you
shall visit me; some day very soon I shall live in him. 
Meanvile, dear Mrs. Gallosh, gonsider it your home! 
For me you make it heaven, and I cannot ask more
zan zat!  Now let us gom and have some fon!"

A salvo of applause greeted this conclusion.  At the
Baron's impetuous request the cigars were brought
into the hall, and ladies and gentlemen all trooped out
together.

"I cannot vait till I have seen Miss Gallosh dance
ze Highland reel," he explained to her gratified mother;
"she has promised me."

"But you must dance too, Lord Tulliwuddle," said
ravishing Miss Gallosh.  "You know you said you
would."

"A promise to a lady is a law," replied the Baron
gallantly, adding in a lower tone, "especially to so
fair a lady!"

"It's a pity his lordship hadn't on his kilt," put
in Mr. Gallosh genially.

"By ze Gad, I vill put him on!  Hoch!  Ve vill
have some fon!"

The Baron rushed from the hall, followed in a
moment by his noble friend.  Bunker found him
already wrapping many yards of tartan about his
waist.

"But, my dear fellow, you must take off your
trousers," he expostulated.

Despite his glee, the Baron answered with something
of the Blitzenberg dignity--

"Ze bare leg I cannot show to-night--not to dance
mit ze young ladies.  Ven I have practised, perhaps;
but not now, Bonker."

Accordingly the portraits of four centuries of
Tulliwuddles beheld their representative appear in the very
castle of Hechnahoul with his trouser-legs capering beneath
an ill-hung petticoat of tartan.  And, to make
matters worse in their canvas eyes, his own shameless
laugh rang loudest in the mirth that greeted his entrance.

"Ze garb of Gaul!" he announced, shaking with
hilarity.  "Gom, Bonker, dance mit me ze Highland
fling!"

The first night of Lord Tulliwuddle's visit to his
ancestral halls is still remembered among his native
hills.  The Count also, his mind now rapturously at
ease, performed prodigies.  They danced together
what they were pleased to call the latest thing in London,
sang a duet, waltzed with the younger ladies, till
hardly a head was left unturned, and, in short, sent
away the ministers and their ladies, the five Miss
Cameron-Campbells, the reading-party, and particularly
the factor, with a new conception of a Highland
chief.  As for the house-party, they felt that they
were fortunate beyond the lot of most ordinary
mortals.



CHAPTER X

The Baron sat among his heirlooms, laboriously
disengaging himself from his kilt.  Fitfully
throughout this process he would warble
snatches of an air which Miss Gallosh
had sung.

"Whae vould not dee for Sharlie?" he trolled, "Ze
yong chevalier!"

"Then you don't think of leaving to-morrow
morning?" asked Count Bunker, who was watching him
with a complacent air.

"Mein Gott, no fears!"

"We had better wait, perhaps, till the afternoon?"

"I go not for tree veeks!  Gaben sie--das ist,
gim'me zat tombler.  Vun more of mountain juice to
ze health of all Galloshes!  Partic'ly of vun!  Eh, old
Bonker?"

The Count took care to see that the mountain juice
was well diluted.  His friend had already found Scottish
hospitality difficult to enjoy in moderation.

"Baron, you gave us a marvellously lifelike
representation of a Jacobite chieftain!"

The Baron laughed a trifle vacantly.

"Ach, it is easy for me.  Himmel, a Blitzenberg
should know how!  Vollytoddle--Toddyvolly--whatsh
my name, Bonker?"

The Count informed him.

"Tollivoddlesh is nozing to vat I am at home! 
Abs'lutely nozing!  I have a house twice as big as zis,
and servants--Ach, so many I know not!  Bot, mein
Bonker, it is not soch fon as zis!  Mein Gott, I most
get to bed.  I toss ze caber to-morrow."

And upon the arm of his faithful ally he moved
cautiously towards his bedroom.

But if he had enjoyed his evening well, his pleasure
was nothing to the gratification of his hosts.  They
could not bring themselves to break up their party
for the night: there were so many delightful reminiscences
to discuss.

"Of all the evenings ever I spent," declared Mr.
Gallosh, "this fair takes the cake.  Just to think of
that aristocratic young fellow being as companionable-
like!  When first I put eyes on him, I said to myself--
'You're not for the likes of us.  All lords and ladies
is your kind.  Never a word did he say in the boat
till he heard the pipes play, and then I really thought
he was frightened!  It must just have been a kind of
home-sickness or something."

"It'll have been the tuning up that set his teeth on
edge," Mrs. Gallosh suggested practically.

"Or perhaps his heart was stirred with thoughts of
the past!" said Miss Gallosh, her eyes brightening.

In any case, all were agreed that the development of
his hereditary instincts had been extraordinarily rapid.

"I never really properly talked with a lord before,"
sighed Mrs. Rentoul; "I hope they're all like this one."

Mrs. Gallosh, on the other hand, who boasted of
having had one tete-a-tete and joined in several general
conversations with the peerage, appraised Lord Tulliwuddle
with greater discrimination.

"Ah, he's got a soupcon!" she declared.  "That's
what I admire!"

"Do you mean his German accent?" asked Mr.
Cromarty-Gow, who was renowned for a cynical wit,
and had been seeking an occasion to air it ever since
Lord Tulliwuddle had made Miss Gallosh promise to
dance a reel with him.

But the feeling of the party was so strongly against
a breath of irreverent criticism, and their protest so
emphatic, that he presently strolled off to the smoking-
room, wishing that Miss Gallosh, at least, would exercise
more critical discrimination.

"Do you think would they like breakfast in their
own room, Duncan?" asked Mrs. Gallosh.

"Offer it them--offer it them; they can but refuse,
and it's a kind of compliment to give them the opportunity."

"His lordship will not be wanting to rise early,"
said Mr. Rentoul.  "Did you notice what an amount
he could drink, Duncan?  Man, and he carried it fine! 
But he'll be the better of a sleep-in in the morning,
him coming from a journey too."

Mr. Rentoul was a recognized authority on such
questions, having, before the days of his affluence,
travelled for a notable firm of distillers.  His praise of
Lord Tulliwuddle's capacity was loudly echoed by Mr.
Gallosh, and even the ladies could not but indulgently
agree that he had exhibited a strength of head worthy
of his race.

"And yet he was a wee thing touched too," said Mr.
Rentoul sagely.  "Maybe you were too far gone yourself,
Duncan, to notice it, and the ladies would just
think it was gallantry; but I saw it in his voice and his
legs--oh, just a wee thingie, nothing to speak of."

"Surely you are mistaken!" cried Miss Gallosh. 
"Wasn't it only excitement at finding himself at
Hechnahoul?"

"There's two kinds of excitement," answered the
oracle.  "And this was the kind I'm best acquaint
with.  Oh, but it was just a wee bittie."

"And who thinks the worse of him for it?" cried
Mr. Gallosh.

This question was answered by general acclamation
in a manner and with a spirit that proved how deeply
his lordship's gracious behavior had laid hold of all
hearts.



CHAPTER XI

Breakfast in the private parlor was laid for
two; but it was only Count Bunker, arrayed
in a becoming suit of knickerbockers, and
looking as fresh as if he had feasted last
night on aerated water, who sat down to consume it.

"Who would be his ordinary everyday self when
there are fifty more amusing parts to play," he
reflected gaily, as he sipped his coffee.  "Blitzenberg
and Essington were two conventional members of society,
ageing ingloriously, tamely approaching five-
and-thirty in bath-chairs.  Tulliwuddle and Bunker
are paladins of romance!  We thought we had grown
up--thank Heaven, we were deceived!"

Having breakfasted and lit a cigarette, he essayed
for the second time to arouse the Baron; but getting
nothing but the most somnolent responses, he set out
for a stroll, visiting the gardens, stables, kennels, and
keeper's house, and even inspecting a likely pool or two
upon the river, and making in the course of it several
useful acquaintances among the Tulliwuddle retainers.

When he returned he found the Baron stirring a
cup of strong tea and staring at an ancestral portrait
with a thoughtful frown.

"They are preparing the caber, Baron," he
remarked genially.

"Stoff and nonsense; I vill not fling her!" was the
wholly unexpected reply.  "I do not love to play ze
fool alvays!"

"My dear Baron!"

"Zat picture," said the Baron, nodding his head
solemnly towards the portrait.  "It is like ze Lord
Tollyvoddle in ze print at ze hotel.  I do believe he is ze
same."

"But I explained that he wasn't Tulliwuddle."

"He is so like," repeated the Baron moodily.  "He
most be ze same."

Bunker looked at it and shook his head.

"A different man, I assure you."

"Oh, ze devil!" replied the Baron.

"What's the matter?"

"I haff a head zat tvists and turns like my head
never did since many years."

The Count had already surmised as much.

"Hang it out of the window," he suggested.

The Baron made no reply for some minutes.  Then
with an earnest air he began--

"Bonker, I have somezing to say to you."

"You have the most sympathetic audience outside
the clan."

The Count's cheerful tone did not seem to please his
friend.

"Your heart, he is too light, Bonker; ja, too light. 
Last night you did engourage me not to be seemly."

"I!"

"I did get almost dronk.  If my head vas not so
hard I should be dronk.  Das ist not right.  If I am
to be ze Tollyvoddle, it most be as I vould be Von
Blitzenberg.  I most not forget zat I am not as ozzer
men.  I am noble, and most be so accordingly."

"What steps do you propose to take?" inquired
Bunker with perfect gravity.

The Baron stared at the picture.

"Last night I had a dream.  It vas zat man--at
least, probably it vas, for I cannot remember eggsactly. 
He did pursue me mit a kilt."

"With what did you defend yourself?"

"I know not: I jost remember zat it should be a
warning.  Ve Blitzenbergs have ze gift to dream."

The Baron rose from the table and lit a cigar. 
After three puffs he threw it from him.

"I cannot smoke," he said dismally.  "It has a
onpleasant taste."

The Count assumed a seriously thoughtful air.

"No doubt you will wish to see Miss Maddison as
soon as possible and get it over," he began.  "I have
just learned that their place is about seven miles away. 
We could borrow a trap this afternoon----"

"Nein, nein!" interrupted the Baron.   "Donnerwetter! 
Ach, no, it most not be so soon.  I most
practise a leetle first.  Not so immediately, Bonker."

Bunker looked at him with a glance of unfathomable
calm.

"I find that it will be necessary for you to observe
one or two ancient ceremonies, associated from time
immemorial with the accession of a Tulliwuddle.  You
are prepared for the ordeal?"

"I most do my duty, Bonker."

"This suggests some more inspiring vision than the
gentleman in the gold frame," thought the Count
acutely.

Aloud he remarked

"You have high ideals, Baron."

"I hope so."

Again the Baron was the unconscious object of a
humorous, perspicacious scrutiny.

"Last night I did hear zat moch was to be expected
from me," he observed at length.

"From Mrs. Gallosh?"

"I do not zink it vas from Mrs. Gallosh."

Count Bunker smiled.

"You inflamed all hearts last night," said he.

The Baron looked grave.

"I did drink too moch last night.  But I did not
say vat I should not, eh?  I vas not rude or gross to--
Mistair Gallosh?"

"Not to Mr. Gallosh."

The Baron looked a trifle perturbed at the gravity
of his tone.

"I vas not too free, too undignified in presence of
zat innocent and charming lady--Miss Gallosh?"

The air of scrutiny passed from Count Bunker's
face, and a droll smile came instead.

"Baron, I understand your ideals and I appreciate
your motives.  As you suggest, you had better rehearse
your part quietly for a few days.  Miss Maddison will
find you the more perfect suitor."

The Baron looked as though he knew not whether to
feel satisfied or not.

"By the way," said the Count in a moment, "have
you written to the Baroness yet?  Pardon me for
reminding you, but you must remember that your letters
will have to go out to Russia and back."

The Baron started.

"Teufel!" he exclaimed.  "I most indeed write."

"The post goes at twelve."

The Baron reflected gloomily, and then slowly moved
to the writing-table and toyed with his pen.  A few
minutes passed, and then in a fretful voice he asked--

"Vat shall I say?"

"Tell her about your journey across Europe--how
the crops look in Russia--what you think of St. Petersburg--
that sort of thing."

A silent quarter of an hour went by, and then the
Baron burst out

"Ach, I cannot write to-day!  I cannot invent like
you.  Ze crops--I have got zat--and zat I arrived safe
--and zat Petersburg is nice.  Vat else?"

"Anything you can remember from text-books on
Muscovy or illustrated interviews with the Czar.  Just
a word or two, don't you know, to show you've been
there; with a few comments of your own."

"Vat like comments?"

"Such as--'Somewhat annoyed with bombs this
afternoon,' or 'This caused me to reflect upon the
disadvantages of an alcoholic marine'--any little bit of
philosophy that occurs to you."

The Baron pondered.

"It is a pity zat I have not been in Rossia," he
observed.

"On the other hand, it is a blessing your wife hasn't. 
Look at the bright side of things, my dear fellow."

For a short time, from the way in which the Baron
took hasty notes in pencil and elaborated them in ink
(according to the system of Professor Virchausen), it
appeared that he was following his friend's directions. 
Later, from a sentimental look in his eye, the Count
surmised that he was composing an amorous addendum;
and at last he laid down his pen with a sigh which the
cynical (but only the cynical) might have attributed
to relief.

"Ha, my head he is getting more clear!" he
announced.  "Gom, let us present ourselves to ze ladies,
mine Bonker!"



CHAPTER XII

"It is necessary, Bonker--you are sure?"

"No Tulliwuddle has ever omitted the ceremony. 
If you shirked, I am assured on the very
best authority that it would excite the gravest
suspicions of your authenticity."

Count Bunker spoke with an air of the most resolute
conviction.  Ever since they arrived he had taken
infinite pains to discover precisely what was expected of
the chieftain, and having by great good luck made the
acquaintance of an elderly individual who claimed to
be the piper of the clan, and who proved a perfect
granary of legends, he was able to supply complete
information on every point of importance.  Once the
Baron had endeavored to corroborate these particulars
by interviewing the piper himself, but they had found
so much difficulty in understanding one another's
dialects that he had been content to trust implicitly to his
friend's information.  The Count, indeed, had rather
avoided than sought advice on the subject, and the
piper, after several confidential conversations and the
passage of a sum of silver into his sporran, displayed
an equally Delphic tendency.

The Baron, therefore, argued the present point no
longer.

"It is jost a mere ceremony," he said.  "Ach, vell,
nozing vill happen.  Zis ghost--vat is his name?"

"It is known as the Wraith of the Tulliwuddles. 
The heir must interview it within a week of coming to
the Castle."

"Vere most I see him?"

"In the armory, at midnight.  You bring one
friend, one candle, and wear a bonnet with one eagle's
feather in it.  You enter at eleven and wait for an
hour--and, by the way, neither of you must speak
above a whisper."

"Pooh!  Jost hombog!" said the Baron valiantly. 
"I do not fear soch trash."

"When the Wraith appears----"

"My goot Bonker, he vill not gom!"

"Supposing he does come--and mind you, strange
things happen in these old buildings, particularly in
the Highlands, and after dinner; if he comes, Baron,
you must ask him three questions."

The Baron laughed scornfully.

"If I see a ghost I vill ask him many interesting
questions--if he does feel cold, and sochlike, eh?  Ha,
ha!"

With an imperturbable gravity that was not without
its effect upon the other, however gaily he might talk,
Bunker continued

"The three questions are: first, 'What art thou?'
second, 'Why comest thou here, O spirit?' third,
'What instructions desirest thou to give me?'  Strictly
speaking, they ought to be asked in Gaelic, but exceptions
have been made on former occasions, and Mac-
Dui--who pipes, by the way, in the anteroom--assures
me that English will satisfy the Wraith in your
case."

The Baron sniffed and laughed, and twirled up the
ends of his mustaches till they presented a particularly
desperate appearance.  Yet there was a faint intonation
of anxiety in his voice as he inquired--

"You vill gom as my friend, of course?"

"I?  Quite out of the question, I am sorry to say. 
To bring a foreigner (as I am supposed to be) would
rouse the clan to rebellion.  No, Baron, you have a
chance of paying a graceful compliment to your host
which you must not lose.  Ask Mr. Gallosh to share
your vigil."

"Gallosh--he vould not be moch good sopposing--
Ach, but nozing vill happen!  I vill ask him."

The pride of Mr. Gallosh on being selected as his
lordship's friend on this historic occasion was pleasant
to witness.

"It's just a bit of fiddle-de-dee," he informed his
delighted family.  "Duncan Gallosh to be looking for
bogles is pretty ridiculous--but oh, I can't refuse to
disoblige his lordship."

"I should think not, when he's done you the honor
to invite you out of all his friends!" said Mrs. Gallosh
warmly.  "Eva!  do you hear the compliment
that's been paid your papa?"

Eva, their fair eldest daughter, came into the room
at a run.  She had indeed heard (since the news was
on every tongue), and impetuously she flung her arms
about her father's neck.

"Oh, papa, do him credit!" she cried; "it's like a
story come true!  What a romantic thing to happen!"

"What a spirit!" her mother reflected proudly. 
"She is just the girl for a chieftain's bride!"

That very night was chosen for the ceremony, and
eleven o'clock found them all assembled breathless in
the drawing-room: all, save Lord Tulliwuddle and his
host.

"Will they have to wait for a whole hour?" asked
Mrs. Gallosh in a low voice.

Indeed they all spoke in subdued accents.

"I am told," replied the Count, "that the apparition
never appears till after midnight has struck.  Any time
between twelve and one he may be expected."

"Think of the terrible suspense after twelve has
passed!" whispered Eva.

The Count had thought of this.

"I advised Duncan to take his flask," said Mr.
Rentoul, with a solemn wink.  "So he'll not be so
badly off."

"Papa would never do such a thing to-night!"
cried Eva.

"It's always a kind of precaution," said the sage.

Presently Count Bunker, who had been imparting
the most terrific particulars of former interviews with
the Wraith to the younger Galloshes, remarked that he
must pass the time by overtaking some pressing correspondence.

"You will forgive me, I hope, for shutting myself
up for an hour or so," he said to his hostess.  "I shall
come back in time to learn the results of the meeting."

And with the loss of his encouraging company a
greater uneasiness fell upon the party.

Meanwhile, in a vast cavern of darkness, lit only by
the solitary candle, the Baron and his host endeavored
to maintain the sceptical buoyancy with which they
had set forth upon their adventure.  But the chilliness
of the room (they had no fire, and it was a misty night
with a moaning wind), the inordinate quantity of odd-
looking shadows, and the profound silence, were
immediately destructive to buoyancy and ultimately trying
to scepticism.

"I wish ze piper vould play," whispered the Baron.

"Mebbe he'll begin nearer the time," his companion
suggested.

The Baron shivered.  For the first time he had been
persuaded to wear the full panoply of a Highland
chief, and though he had exhibited himself to the ladies
with much pride, and even in the course of dinner had
promised Eva Gallosh that he would never again don
anything less romantic, he now began to think that a
travelling-rug of the Tulliwuddle tartan would prove
a useful addition to the outfit on the occasion of a
midnight vigil.  Also the stern prohibition against
talking aloud (corroborated by the piper with many
guttural warnings) grew more and more irksome as
the night advanced.

"It's an awesome place," whispered Mr. Gallosh.

"I hardly thought it would have been as lonesome-
like."

There was a tremor in his voice that irritated the
Baron.

"Pooh!" he answered, "it is jost vun old piece of
hombog!  I do not believe in soch things myself."

"Neither do I, my lord; oh, neither do I; but--
would you fancy a dram?"

"Not for me, I zank you," said his lordship stiffly.

Blessing the foresight of Mr. Rentoul, his host
unscrewed his flask and had a generous swig.  As he was
screwing on the top again, the Baron, in a less haughty
voice, whispered

"Perhaps jost vun leetle taste."

They felt now for a few minutes more aggressively
disposed.

"Ve need not have ze curtain shut," said the Baron. 
"Soppose you do draw him?"

Through the gloom Mr. Gallosh took one or two
faltering steps.

"Man, it's awful hard to see one's way," he said
nervously.

The Baron took the candle, and with a martial stride
escorted him to the window.  They pulled aside one
corner of the heavy curtain, and then let it fall again
and hurried back.  So far north there was indeed a
gleam of daylight left, but it was such a pale and
ghostly ray, and the wreaths of mist swept so eerily
and silently across the pane, that candle-light and shadows
seemed vastly preferable.

"How much more time will there be?" whispered
Mr. Gallosh presently.

"It is twenty-five minutes to twelve."

"Your lordship!  Can we leave at twelve?"

The Baron started.

"Oh, Himmel!" he exclaimed.  "Vy did I not realize
before?  If nozing comes--and nozing vill come--ve
most stay till one, I soppose."

Mr. Gallosh emitted something like a groan.

"Oh my, and that candle will not last more than
half an hour at the most!"

"Teufel!" said the Baron.  "It vas Bonker did
give him to me.  He might have made a more proper
calculation."

The prospect was now gloomy indeed.  An hour
of candle-light had been bad, but an hour of pitch
darkness or of mist wreaths would be many times
worse.

"A wee tastie more, my lord?" Mr. Gallosh
suggested, in a voice whose vibrations he made an effort
to conceal.

"Jost a vee," said his lordship, hardly more firmly.

With a dismal disregard for their suspense the minutes
dragged infinitely slowly.  The flask was finished;
the candle guttered and flickered ominously; the very
shadows grew restless.

"There's a lot of secret doors and such like in this
part of the house--let's hope there'll be nothing coming
through one of them," said Mr. Gallosh in a breaking voice.

The Baron muttered an inaudible reply, and then
with a start their shoulders bumped together.

"Damn it, what's yon!" whispered Mr. Gallosh.

"Ze pipes!  Gallosh, how beastly he does play!"

In point of fact the air seemed to consist of only
one wailing note.

"Bong!"--they heard the first stroke of midnight
on the big clock on the Castle Tower; and so unfortunately
had Count Bunker timed the candle that on the
instant its flame expired.

"Vithdraw ze curtains!" gasped the Baron.

"I canna, my lord!  Oh, I canna!" wailed Mr.
Gallosh, breaking out into his broadest native Scotch.

This time the Baron made no movement, and in the
palpitating silence the two sat through one long dark
minute after another, till some ten of them had passed.

"I shall stand it no more!" muttered the Baron. 
"Ve vill creep for ze door."

"My lord, my lord!  For maircy's sake gie's a hold
of you!" stammered Mr. Gallosh, falling on his hands
and knees and feeling for the skirt of his lordship's
kilt.

But their flight was arrested by a portent so
remarkable that had there been only a single witness one
would suppose it to be a figment of his imagination. 
Fortunately, however, both the Baron and Mr. Gallosh
can corroborate each detail.  About the middle,
apparently, of the wall opposite, an oblong of light
appeared in the thickest of the gloom.

"Mein Gott!" cried the Baron.

"It's filled wi' reek!" gasped Mr. Gallosh.

And indeed the space seemed filled with a slowly
rising cloud of pungent blue smoke.  Then their horrified
eyes beheld the figure of an undoubted Being hazily
outlined behind the cloud, and at the same time the
piper, as if sympathetically aware of the crisis, burst
into his most dreadful discords.  A yell rang through
the gloom, followed by the sounds of a heavy body
alternately scuffling across the floor and falling
prostrate over unseen furniture.  The Baron felt for his
host, and realized that this was the escaping Gallosh.

"Tulliwuddle!  Speak!" a hollow voice muttered
out of the smoke.

The Baron has never ceased to exult over the hardihood
he displayed in this unnerving crisis.  Rising to
his feet and drawing his claymore, he actually managed
to stammer out--

"Who--who are you?"

The Being (he could now perceive dimly that it was
clad in tartan) answered in the same deep, measured
voice--

          "Your senses to confound and fuddle,
            Behold the Wraith of Tulliwuddle!"


This was sufficiently terrifying, one would think, to
excuse the Baron for following the example of his host.
But, though he found afterwards that he must have
perspired freely, he courageously stood his ground.

"Vy have you gomed here?" he demanded in a voice
nearly as hollow as the Wraith'

As solemnly as before the spirit replied--

          "From Pit that's bottomless and dark--
            Methinks I hear it shrieking--Hark!"


(The Baron certainly did hear a tumult that might
well be termed infernal; though whether it emanated
from Mr. Gallosh, fiends, or the piper, he could not at
the moment feel certain.)

          "I came o'er many leagues of heather
            To carry back the answer whether
            The noble chieftain of my clan
            Conducts him like a gentleman."


After this warning, to put the third question
required an effort of the most supreme resolution.  The
Baron was equal to it, however.

"Vat instroction do you give me?" he managed to
utter.

In the gravest accents the Wraith chanted--

          "Hang ever kilt above the knee,
            With Usquebaugh be not too free,
            When toasts and sic'like games be mooted
            See that your dram be well diluted;
            And oh, if you'd escape from Hades,
            Lord Tulliwuddle, 'ware the ladies!"


The spirit vanished as magically as he had appeared,
and with this solemn warning ringing in his ears, the
Baron found himself in inky darkness again.  This
time he did not hesitate to grope madly for the door,
but hardly had he reached it, when, with a fresh sensation
of horror, he stumbled upon a writhing form that
seemed to be pawing the panels.  He was, fortunately;
as quickly reassured by hearing the voice of Mr. Gallosh
exclaim in terrified accents--

"I canna find the haundle!  Oh, Gosh, where's the
haundle?"

Being the less frenzied of the two, the Baron did
succeed in finding the handle, and with a gasp of relief
burst into the lighted anteroom.  The piper had
already departed, and evidently in haste, since he had
left some portion of a bottle of whisky unfinished. 
This fortunate circumstance enabled them to recover
something of their color, though, even when he felt his
blood warming again, Mr. Gallosh could scarcely speak
coherently of his terrible ordeal.

"What an awfu' night! what an awfu' night!" he
murmured.  "Oh, my lord, let's get out of this!"

He was making for the door when the Baron seized
his arm.

"Vait!" he cried.  "Ze danger is past!  Ach, vas
I not brave?  Did you not hear me speak to him?  You
can bear vitness how brave I vas, eh?"

"I'll not swear I heard just exactly what passed,
my lord.  Man, I'll own I was awful feared!"

"Tuts! tuts!" said the Baron kindly.  "Ve vill say
nozing about zat.  You stood vell by me, I shall say. 
And you vill tell zem I did speak mit courage to ze
ghost."

"I will that!" said Mr. Gallosh.

By the time they reached the drawing-room he had
so far recovered his equanimity as to prove a very
creditable witness, and between them they gave such
an account of their adventure as satisfied even the
excited expectations of their friends; though the Baron
thought it both prudent and more becoming his dignity
to leave considerable mystery attaching to the precise
revelations of his ancestral spirit.

"Bot vere is Bonker?" he asked, suddenly noticing
the absence of his friend.

A moment later the Count entered and listened with
the greatest interest to a second (and even more
graphic) account of the adventure.  More intimate
particulars still were confided to him when they had
retired to their own room, and he appeared as surprised
and impressed as any wraith-seer could desire.  As
they parted for the night, the Baron started and
sniffed at him.

"Vat a strange smell you have!" he exclaimed.

"Peat smoke, probably.  This fire wouldn't draw."

"Strange!" mused the Baron.  "I did smell a leetle
smell of zat before to-night."

"Yes; one notices it all through the house with an
east wind."

This seemed to the Baron a complete explanation of
the coincidence.



CHAPTER XIII

At the house in Belgrave Square at present
tenanted by the Baron and Baroness von
Blitzenberg, an event of considerable
importance had occurred.  This was nothing
less than the arrival of the Countess of Grillyer upon
a visit both of affection and state.  So important was
she, and so great the attachment of her daughter, that
the preparations for her reception would have served
for a reigning sovereign.  But the Countess had an
eye as quick and an appetite for respect as exacting
as Queen Elizabeth, and she had no sooner embraced
the Baroness and kissed her ceremoniously upon either
cheek, than her glance appeared to seek something that
she deemed should have been there also.

"And where is Rudolph?" she demanded.  "Is he
so very busy that he cannot spare a moment even to
welcome me?"

The Baroness changed color, but with as easy an air
as she could assume she answered that Rudolph had
most unfortunately been summoned from England.

"Indeed?" observed the Countess, and the observation
was made in a tone that suggested the advisability
of a satisfactory explanation.

This paragon among mothers and peeresses was a
lady of majestic port, whose ascendant expression and
commanding voice were commonly held to typify all
that is best in the feudal system; or, in other words,
to indicate that her opinions had never been contradicted
in her life.  When one of these is a firm belief
in the holder's divine rights and semi-divine origin, the
effect is undoubtedly impressive.  And the Countess
impressed.

"My dear Alicia," said she, when they had settled
down to tea and confidential talk, "you have not yet
told me what has taken Rudolph abroad again so
soon."

On nothing had the Baron laid more stress than on
the necessity of maintaining the most profound secrecy
respecting his mission.  "No, not even to your mozzer
most you say.  My love, you vill remember?" had been
almost his very last words before departing for St.
Petersburg.  His devoted wife had promised this not
once, but many times, while his finger was being shaken
at her, and would have scorned herself had she thought
it possible to break her vows.

"That is a secret, mamma," she declared.

Her mother opened her eyes.

"A secret from me, Alicia?"

"Rudolph made me promise."

"Not to tell your friends--but that hardly was
intended to include your mother."

The Baroness looked uncomfortable.

"I--I'm afraid----" she began, and stopped in
hesitation.

"Did he specifically include me?" demanded the
Countess in an altered tone.

"I think, mamma, he did," her daughter faltered.

"Ah!"

And there was a world of meaning in that comment.

"Believe me, mamma, it is something very, very
important, or Rudolph would certainly have let me tell
you all about it."

Lady Grillyer opened her eyes still wider.

"Then I am to understand that he wishes to conceal
from me anything that he considers of importance?"

"Oh, no!  Not that!  I only mean that this thing
is very secret."

"Alicia," pronounced the Countess, "when a man
specifically conceals anything from his mother-in-law,
you may be quite certain that she ought to be informed
of it at once."

"I--I can't, mamma!"

"A trip to Germany--for it is there, I presume, he
has gone--back to the scenes of his bachelorhood,
unprotected by the influence of his wife!  Do you call
that a becoming procedure?"

"But he hasn't gone to Germany."

"He has no business anywhere else!"

"You forget his diplomatic duties."

"Ah!  He professes to have gone on diplomatic
business?"

"Professes, mamma?" exclaimed the poor Baroness. 
"How can you say such a thing!  He certainly has
gone on a diplomatic mission!"

"To Paris, no doubt?" suggested Lady Grillyer,
with an intonation that made it quite impossible not to
contradict her.

"Certainly not!  He has gone to Russia."

The more the Countess learned, the more anxious
she appeared to grow.

"To Russia, on a diplomatic mission?  This is
incredible, Alicia!"

"Why should it be incredible?" demanded Alicia,
flushing.

"Because he is a mere tyro in diplomacy.  Because
there is a German embassy at Petersburg, and they
would not send a man from London on a mission--at
least, it is most unlikely."

"It seems to me quite natural," declared the
Baroness.

She was showing more fight than her mother had
ever encountered from her before, and the opposition
seemed to inflame Lady Grillyer's resentment against
the unfilial couple.

"You know nothing about it!  What is this mission
about?"

"That certainly is a secret," said Alicia, relieved
that there was something left to keep her promise over.

"Has he gone alone?"

"I--I mustn't tell you, mamma."

Alicia's face betrayed this subterfuge.

"You do not know yourself, Alicia," said the
Countess incisively.  "And so you need no longer
pretend to be keeping a secret from me.  It now becomes
our joint business to discover the actual truth.  Do
not attempt to wrangle with me further!  This
investigation is necessary for your peace of mind, dear."

The unfortunate Baroness dropped a silent tear. 
Her peace of mind had been serenely undisturbed till
this moment, and now it was only broken by the
thought of her husband's displeasure should he ever
learn how she had disobeyed his injunctions.  Further
investigation was the very last thing to cure it, she
said to herself bitterly.  She looked piteously at her
parent, but there she only saw an expression of
concentrated purpose.

"Have you any reason, Alicia, to suspect an
attachment--an affair of any kind?"

"Mamma!"

"Do not jump in that excitable manner.  Think
quietly.  He has evidently returned to Germany for
some purpose which he wishes to conceal from us: the
natural supposition is that a woman is at the bottom
of it."

"Rudolph is incapable----"

"No man is incapable who is in the full possession
of his faculties.  I know them perfectly."

"But, mamma, I cannot bear to think of such a
thing!"

"That is a merely middle-class prejudice.  I can't
imagine where you have picked it up."

In point of fact, during Alicia's girlhood Lady
Grillyer had always been at the greatest pains to preserve
her daughter's innocent simplicity, as being preeminently
a more marketable commodity than precocious
worldliness.  But if reminded of this she would probably
have retorted that consistency was middle-class
also.

"I have no reason to suspect anything of the sort,"
the Baroness declared emphatically.

Her mother indulged her with a pitying smile and
inquired--

"What other explanation can you offer?  Among
his men friends is there anyone likely to lead him into
mischief?"

"None--at least----"

"Ah!"

"He promised me he would avoid Mr. Bunker--I
mean Mr. Essington."

The Countess started.  She had vivid and exceedingly
distasteful recollections of Mr. Bunker.

"That man!  Are they still acquainted?"

"Acquainted--oh yes; but I give Rudolph credit
for more sense and more truthfulness than to renew
their friendship."

The Countess pondered with a very grave expression
upon her face, while Alicia gently wiped her eyes and
ardently wished that her honest Rudolph was here to
defend his character and refute these baseless insinuations. 
At length her mother said with a brisker air--

"Ah! I know exactly what we must do.  I shall
make a point of seeing Sir Justin Wallingford tomorrow."

"Sir Justin Wallingford!"

"If anybody can obtain private information for us
he can.  We shall soon learn whether the Baron has
been sent to Russia."

Alicia uttered a cry of protest.  Sir Justin, ex-
diplomatist, author of a heavy volume of Victorian
reminiscences, and confidant of many public personages,
was one of her mother's oldest friends; but to
her he was only one degree less formidable than the
Countess, and quite the last person she would have
chosen for consultation upon this, or indeed upon any
other subject.

"I am not going to intrust my husband's secrets to
him!" she exclaimed.

"I am," replied the Countess.

"But I won't allow it!  Rudolph would be----"

"Rudolph has only himself to blame.  My dear
Alicia, you can trust Sir Justin implicitly.  When my
child's happiness is at stake I would consult no one
who was not discretion itself.  I am very glad I
thought of him."

The Baroness burst into tears.

"My child, my child!" said her mother compassionately. 
"The world is no Garden of Eden, however
much we may all try to make it so."

"You--you don't se--seem to be trying now,
mamma."

"May Heaven forgive you, my darling,"
pronounced the Countess piously.



CHAPTER XIV

"Sir Justin," said the Countess firmly, "please
tell my daughter exactly what you have discovered."

Sir Justin Wallingford sat in the drawing-
room at Belgrave Square with one of these ladies on
either side of him.  He was a tall, gaunt man with a
grizzled black beard, a long nose, and such a formidably
solemn expression that ambitious parents were in
the habit of wishing that their offspring might some
day be as wise as Sir Justin Wallingford looked.  His
fund of information was prodigious, while his reasoning
powers were so remarkable that he had never been
known to commit the slightest action without furnishing
a full and adequate explanation of his conduct. 
Thus the discrimination shown by the Countess in
choosing him to restore a lady's peace of mind will at
once be apparent.

"The results of my inquiries," he pronounced,
"have been on the whole of a negative nature.  If this
mission on which the Baron von Blitzenberg professes
to be employed is in fact of an unusually delicate
nature, it is just conceivable that the answer I received
from Prince Gommell-Kinchen, when I sounded him at
the Khalifa's luncheon, may have been intended merely
to throw dust in my eyes.  At the same time, his
highness appeared to speak with the candor of a man who
has partaken, not excessively, you understand, but I
may say freely, of the pleasures of the table."

He looked steadily first at one lady and then at the
other, to let this point sink in.

"And what did the Prince say?" asked the Baroness,
who, in spite of her supreme confidence in her husband,
showed a certain eager nervousness inseparable from a
judicial inquiry.

"He told me--I merely give you his word, and
not my own opinion; you perfectly understand that,
Baroness?"

"Oh yes," she answered hurriedly.

"He informed me that, in fact, the Baron had been
obliged to ask for a fortnight's leave of absence to
attend to some very pressing and private business in
connection with his Silesian estates."

"I think, Alicia, we may take that as final," said
her mother decisively.

"Indeed _I_ shan't!" cried Alicia warmly.  "That
was just an excuse, of course.  Rudolph's business is
so very delicate that--that--well, that you could only
expect Prince Gommell-Kinchen to say something of
that sort."

"What do you say to that, Sir Justin?" demanded
the Countess.

With the air of a man doing what was only his duty,
he replied--

"I say that I think it is improbable.  In fact, since
you demand to know the truth, I may inform you that
the Prince added that leave of absence was readily
given, since the Baron's diplomatic duties are merely
nominal.  To quote his own words, 'Von Blitzenberg
is a nice fellow, and it pleases the English ladies to
play with him.' "

Even Lady Grillyer was a trifle taken aback at this
description of her son-in-law, while Alicia turned scarlet
with anger.

"I don't believe he said anything of the sort!" she
cried.  "You both of you only want to hurt me and
insult Rudolph!  I won't stand it!"

She was already on her feet to leave them, when
her mother stopped her, and Sir Justin hastened to
explain.

"No reflection upon the Baron's character was
intended, I assure you.  The Prince merely meant to
imply that he represented the social rather than the
business side of the embassy.  And both are equally
necessary, I assure you--equally essential, Baroness,
believe me."

"In fact," said the Countess, "the remark comes to
this, that Rudolph would never be sent to Russia, whatever
else they might expect of him."

Even through their tears Alicia's eyes brightened
with triumph.

"But he HAS gone, mamma!  I got a letter from
him this morning--from St. Petersburg!"

The satisfaction of her two physicians on hearing
this piece of good news took the form of a start which
might well have been mistaken for mere astonishment,
or even for dismay.

"And you did not tell ME of it!" cried her mother.

"Rudolph did not wish me to.  I have only told you
now to prove how utterly wrong you both are."

"Let me see this letter!"

"Indeed, mamma, I won't!"

The two ladies looked at one another with such
animosity that Sir Justin felt called upon to interfere.

"Suppose the Baroness were to read us as much as
is necessary to convince us that there is no possibility
of a mistake," he suggested.

So profoundly did the Countess respect his advice
that she graciously waived her maternal rights so far
as actually following the text with her eyes went; while
her daughter, after a little demur, was induced to
depart this one step further from her husband's injunctions.

"You have no objections to my glancing at the
post-mark?" said Sir Justin when this point was
settled.

With a toss of her head the Baroness silently handed
him the envelope.

"It seems correct," he observed cautiously.

"But post-marks can be forged, can't they?"
inquired the Countess.

"I fear they can," he admitted, with a sorrowful air.

Scorning to answer this insinuation, the Baroness
proceeded to read aloud the following extracts

" 'I travelled with comfort through Europe, and
having by many countries passed, such as Germany
and others, I arrived, my dear Alicia, in Russia.' "

"Is that all he says about his journey?" interrupted
Lady Grillyer.

"It is certainly a curiously insufficient description
of a particularly interesting route," commented Sir
Justin.

"It almost seems as if he didn't know what other
countries lie between England and Russia," added the
Countess.

"It only means that he knows geography doesn't
interest me!" replied Alicia.  "And he does say more
about his journey--'Alone by myself, in a carriage
very quietly I travelled.'  And again--'To be observed
not wishing, and strict orders being given to me, with
no man I spoke all the way.'  There!"

"That certainly makes it more difficult to check his
statements," Sir Justin admitted.

"Ah, he evidently thought of that!" said the
Countess.  "If he had said there was anyone with him, we
could have asked him afterwards who it was.  What a
pity!  Read on, my child--we are vastly interested."

Thus encouraged, the Baroness continued

" 'In Russia the crops are good, and from my
window with pleasure I observe them.  Petersburg is a
nice town, and I have a pleasant apartment in it!' "

"What!" exclaimed the Countess.  "He is looking
at the crops from his window in St. Petersburg!"

Sir Justin grimly pursed his lips, but his silence was
more ominous than speech.  In fact, the Baron's
unfortunate effort at realism by the introduction of his
window struck the first blow at his wife's implicit trust
in him.  She was evidently a little disconcerted, though
she stoutly declared--

"He is evidently living in the suburbs, mamma."

"Will you be so kind as to read on a little farther?"
interposed Sir Justin in a grave voice.

" 'The following reflections have I made.  Russia is
very large and cold, where people in furs are to be
seen, and sledges.  Bombs are thrown sometimes, and
the marine is not good when it does drink too much.' 
Now, mamma, he must have seen these things or he
wouldn't put them in his letter."

The Baroness broke of somewhat hurriedly to make
this comment, almost indeed as though she felt it to
be necessary.  As for her two comforters, they looked
at one another with so much sorrow that their eyes
gleamed and their lips appeared to smile.

"The Baron did not write that letter in Russia,"
said Sir Justin decisively.  "Furs are not worn in
summer, nor do the inhabitants travel in sledges at this
time of the year."

"But--but he doesn't say he actually saw them,"
pleaded the Baroness.

"Then that remark, just like the rest of his reflections,
makes utter nonsense," rejoined her mother.

"Is that all?" inquired Sir Justin.

"Almost all--all that is important," faltered the
Baroness.

"Let us hear the rest," said her mother inexorably.

"There is only a postscript, and that merely says--
'The flask that you filled I thank you for; it was so
large that it was sufficient for----'  I can't read the
last word."

"Let me see it, Alicia."

A few minutes ago Alicia would have torn the
precious letter up rather than let another eye fall upon
it.  That her devotion was a little disturbed was proved
by her allowing her two advisers to study even a single
sentence.  Keeping her hand over the rest, she showed
it to them.  They bent their brows, and then simultaneously
exclaimed--

" 'Us both!' "

"Oh, it can't be!" cried the poor Baroness.

"It is absolutely certain," said her mother in a
terrible voice--" 'It was so large that it was sufficient
for us both!' "

"There is no doubt about it," corroborated Sir
Justin sternly.  "The unfortunate young man has
inadvertently confessed his deception."

"It cannot be!" murmured the Baroness.  "He
said at the beginning that he travelled quite alone."

"That is precisely what condemns him," said her
mother.

"Precisely," reiterated Sir Justin.

The Baroness audibly sobbed, while the two patchers
of her peace of mind gazed at her commiserately.

"What am I to do?" she asked at length.  "I can't
believe he really----  But how am I to find out?"

"I shall make further investigations," promptly
replied Sir Justin.

"And I also," added the Countess.

"Meanwhile," said Sir Justin, "we shall be
exceedingly interested to learn what further particulars of
his wanderings the Baron supplies you with."

"Yes," observed the Countess, "he can fortunately
be trusted to betray himself.  You will inform me,
Alicia, as soon as you hear from him again."

Her daughter made no reply.

Sir Justin rose and bade them a grave farewell.

"In my daughter's name I thank you cordially,"
said the Countess, as she pressed his hand.

"Anything I have done has been a pleasure to me,"
he assured them with a sincerity there was no mistaking.



CHAPTER XV

In an ancient and delightful garden, where glimpses
of the loch below gleamed through a mass of
summer foliage, and the gray castle walls looked
down on smooth, green glades, the Baron slowly
paced the shaven turf.  But he did not pace it quite
alone, for by his side moved a graceful figure in a
wide, sun-shading hat and a frock entirely irresistible. 
Beneath the hat, by bending a little down, you could
have seen the dark liquid eyes and tender lips of Eva
Gallosh.  And the Baron frequently bent down.

"I am proud of everyzing zat I find in my home,"
said the Baron gallantly.

The lady's color rose, but not apparently in anger.

"Ach, here is a pretty leetle seat!" he exclaimed in
a tone of pleased discovery, just as though he had not
been leading her insidiously towards it ever since they,
came into the garden.

It was, indeed, a most shady and secluded bench, an
ideal seat for any gallant young Baron who had left
his Baroness sufficiently far away.  He glanced down
complacently upon his brawny knees, displayed (he
could not but think) to great advantage beneath his
kilt and sporran, and then with a tenderer complacency,
turned his gaze upon his fair companion.

"You say you like me in ze tartan?" he murmured.

"I adore everything Highland!  Oh, Lord Tulliwuddle,
how fortunate you are!"

Nature had gifted Miss Gallosh with a generous
share of romantic sentiment.  It was she who had
egged on her father to rent this Highland castle for
the summer, instead of chartering a yacht as he had
done for the past few years; and ever since they had
come here that sentiment had grown, till she was
ready to don the white cockade and plot a new Jacobite
uprising.  Then, while her heart was in this
inspired condition, a noble young chief had stepped in
to complete the story.  No wonder her dark eyes
burned.

"What attachment you must feel for each stone of
the Castle!" she continued in a rapt voice.  "How
your heart must beat to remember that your great-
grandfather--wasn't his name Fergus?"

"Fergus: yes," said the Baron, blindly but
promptly.

"No, no; it was Ian, of course."

"Ach, so!  Ian he vas."

"You were thinking of his father," she smiled.

"Yes, his fazzer."

She reflected sagely.

"I am afraid I get my facts mixed up some
times.  Ian--ah, Reginald came before him--not
Fergus!"

"Reginald--oh yes, so he did!"

She looked a trifle disappointed.

"If I were you I should know them all by heart,"
said she.

"I vill learn zem.  Oh yes, I most not make soch
mistakes."

Indeed he registered a very sincere vow to study his
family history that afternoon.

"What was I saying?  Oh yes--about your brave
great-grandfather.  Do you know, Lord Tulliwuddle,
I want to ask you a strange favor?  You won't think
it very odd of me?"

"Odd?  Never!  Already it is granted."

"I want to hear from your own lips--from the lips
of an actual Lord Tulliwuddle--the story of your
ancestor Ian's exploit."

With beseeching eyes and a face flushed with a sense
of her presumption, she uttered this request in a voice
that tore the Baron with conflicting emotions.

"Vich exploit do you mean?" he asked in a kindly
voice but with a troubled eye.

"You must know!  When he defended the pass, of
course."

"Ach, so!"

The Baron looked at her, and though he boasted of
no such inventive gifts as his friend Bunker, his ardent
heart bade him rather commit himself to perdition than
refuse.

"You will tell it to me?"

"I vill!"

Making as much as possible of the raconteur's
privileges of clearing his throat, settling himself into good
position, and gazing dreamily at the tree-tops for
inspiration, he began in a slow, measured voice--

"In ze pass he stood.  Zen gomed his enemies.  He
fired his gon and shooted some dead.  Zen did zey run
avay.  Zat vas vat happened."

When he ventured to meet her candid gaze after
thus lamely libelling his forefather, he was horrified to
observe that she had already recoiled some feet away
from him, and seemed still to be in the act of recoiling.

"It would have been kinder to tell me at once that
I had asked too much!" she exclaimed in a voice
affected by several emotions.  "I only wanted to hear
you repeat his death-cry as his foes slew him, so that
it might always seem more real to me.  And you snub
me like this!"

The Baron threw himself upon one knee.

"Forgive me!  I did jost lose mine head mit your
eyes looking so at me!  I get confused, you are so
lovely!  I did not mean to snob!"

In the ardor of his penitence he discovered himself
holding her hand; she no longer seemed to be recoiling;
and Heaven knows what might have happened next if
an ostentatious sound of whistling had not come to
their rescue.

"Bot you vill forgive?" he whispered, as they
sprang up from their shady seat.

"Ye-es," she answered, just as the serene glance of
Count Bunker fell humorously upon them.

"You seem to have been plucking flowers,
Tulliwuddle," he observed.

"Flowers?  Oh, no."

The Count glanced pointedly at his soiled knee.

"Indeed!" said he.  "Don't I see traces of a
flower-bed?"

"I think I should go in," murmured Eva, and she
was gone before the Count had time to frame a compensating
speech.

His friend Tulliwuddle looked at him with marked
displeasure, yet seemed to find some difficulty in
adequately expressing it.

"I do not care for vat you said," he remarked
stiffly.  "Nor for ze look now on your face."

"Baron," said the Count imperturbably, "what did
you tell me the Wraith said to you--something about
'Beware of the ladies,' wasn't it?"

"You do not onderstand.  Ze ghost" (he found
some difficulty in pronouncing the spirit's chosen name)
"did soppose naturally zat I vas ze real Lord Tollyvoddle,
who is, as you have told me yourself, Bonker,
somezing of a fast fish.  Ze varning vas to him
obviously, so you should not turn it upon me."

Bunker opened his eyes.

"A deuced ingenious argument," he commented. 
"It wouldn't have occurred to me if you hadn't
explained.  Then you claim the privilege of wooing whom
you wish?"

"Wooing!  You forget zat I am married, Bonker."

"Oh no, I remember perfectly."

His tone disturbed the Baron.  Taking the Count's
arm, he said to him with moving earnestness--

"Have I not told you how constant I am--like ze
magnet and ze pole?"

"I have heard you employ the simile."

"Ach, bot it is true!  I am inside my heart so
constant as it is possible!  But I now represent
Tollyvoddle, and for his sake most try to do my
best."

Again Count Bunker glanced at his knee.

"And that is your best, then?"

"Listen, Bonker, and try to onderstand--not jost
to make jokes.  It appears to me zat Miss Gallosh vill
make a good vife to Tollyvoddle.  She is so fair, so
amiable, and so rich.  Could he do better?  Should I
not lay ze foundations of a happy marriage mit
her?  Soppose ve do get her instead of Miss Maddison,
eh?"

His artful eloquence seemed to impress his friend,
for he smiled thoughtfully and did not reply at once. 
More persuasively than ever the Baron continued--

"I do believe mit patience and mit--er--mit
kindness, Bonker, I might persuade Miss Gallosh to listen
to ze proposal of Tollyvoddle.  And vould it not be
better far to get him a lady of his own people, and not
a stranger from America?  Ve vill not like Miss Maddison,
I feel sure.  Vy troble mit her--eh, Bonker?"

"But don't you think, Baron, that we ought to give
Tulliwuddle his choice?  He may prefer an American
heiress to a Scottish."

"Not if he sees Eva Gallosh!"

Again the Count gently raised his eyebrows in a
way that the Baron could not help considering unsuitable
to the occasion.

"On the other hand, Baron, Miss Maddison will
probably have five or ten times as much money as Miss
Gallosh.  In arranging a marriage for another man,
one must attend to such trifles as a few million dollars
more or less."

For the moment the Baron was silenced, but
evidently not convinced.

"Supposing I were to call upon the Maddisons
as your envoy?" suggested Bunker, who, to tell the
truth, had already begun to tire of a life of luxurious
inaction.

"Pairhaps in a few days we might gonsider it."

"We have been here for a week already."

"Ven vould you call?"

"To-morrow, for instance."

The Baron frowned; but argument was difficult.

"You only jost vill go to see?"

"And report to you."

"And suppose she is ogly--or not so nice--or so
on----zen vill I not see her, eh?"

"But suppose she is tolerable?"

"Zen vill ve give him a choice, and I vill continue
to be polite to Miss Gallosh.  Ah, Bonker, she is so
nice!  He vill not like Miss Maddison so vell! 
Himmel, I do admire her!"

The Baron's eyes shone with reminiscent affection.

"To how many poles is the magnet usually
constant?" inquired the Count with a serious air.

The Baron smiled a little foolishly, and then, with
a confidential air, replied--

"Ach, Bonker, marriage is blessed and it is happy,
and it is everyzing that my heart desires; only I jost
sometimes vish it vas not qvite--qvite so uninterruptable!"



CHAPTER XVI

In a dog-cart borrowed from his obliging host,
Count Bunker approached the present residence
of Mr. Darius P. Maddison.  He saw, and--in
his client's interest--noted with approval the
efforts that were being made to convert an ordinary
fishing-lodge into a suitable retreat for a gentleman
worth so many million dollars.  "Corryvohr," as the
house was originally styled, or "Lincoln Lodge," as
the patriotic Silver King had re-named it, had already
been enlarged for his reception by the addition of four
complete suites of apartments, each suitable for a
nobleman and his retinue, an organ hall, 10,000 cubic
yards of scullery accommodation, and a billiard-room
containing three tables.  But since he had taken up
his residence there he had discovered the lack of
several other essentials for a quiet "mountain life" (as
he appropriately phrased it), and these defects were
rapidly being remedied as our friend drove up.  The
conservatory was already completed, with the exception
of the orchid and palm houses; the aviary was
practically ready, and several crates of the rarer
humming-birds were expected per goods train that
evening; while a staff of electricians could be seen
erecting the private telephone by which Mr. Maddison
proposed to keep himself in touch with the silver
market.

The Count had no sooner pressed the electric bell
than a number of men-servants appeared, sufficient to
conduct him in safety to a handsome library fitted with
polished walnut, and carpeted as softly as the moss on
a mountain-side.  Having sent in his card, he entertained
himself by gazing out of the window and wondering
what strange operation was being conducted on
a slope above the house, where a grove of pines were
apparently being rocked to and fro by a concourse of
men with poles and pulleys.  But he had not to wait
long, for with a promptitude that gave one some inkling
of the secret of Mr. Maddison's business success,
the millionaire entered.

In a rapid survey the Count perceived a tall man in
the neighborhood of sixty: gray-haired, gray-eyed,
and gray-faced.  The clean-shaved and well-cut profile
included the massive foundation of jaw which Bunker
had confidently anticipated, and though his words
sounded florid in a European ear, they were uttered
in a voice that corresponded excellently with this
predominant chin.

"I am very pleased to see you, sir, very pleased
indeed," he assured the Count not once but several times,
shaking him heartily by the hand and eyeing him with
a glance accustomed to foresee several days before his
fellows the probable fluctuations in the price of anything.

"I have taken the liberty of calling upon you in
the capacity of Lord Tulliwuddle's confidential friend,"
the Count began.  "He is at present, as you may
perhaps have learned, visiting his ancestral possessions----"

"My dear sir, for some days we have been expecting
his lordship and yourself to honor us with a visit,"
Mr. Maddison interposed.  "You need not trouble to
introduce yourself.  The name of Count Bunker is
already familiar to us."

He bowed ceremoniously as he spoke, and the Count
with no less politeness laid his hand upon his heart
and bowed also.

"I looked forward to the meeting with pleasure,"
he replied.  "But it has already exceeded my anticipations."

He would have still further elaborated these assurances,
but with his invariable tact he perceived a shrewd
look in the millionaire's eye that warned him he had to
do with a man accustomed to flowery preliminaries
from the astutest manipulators of a deal.

"I am only sorry you should find our little cottage
in such disorder," said Mr. Maddison.  "The contractor
for the conservatory undertook to erect it in
a week, and my only satisfaction is that he is now
paying me a forfeit of 500 dollars a day.  As for the
electricians in this country, sir, they are not incompetent
men, but they must be taught to hustle if they
are to work under American orders; and I don't quite
see how they are to find a job anyways else."

He turned to the window with a more satisfied air.

"Here, however, you will perceive a tolerably
satisfactory piece of work.  I guess those trees will be ready
pretty near as soon as the capercailzies are ready for
them."

Count Bunker opened his eyes.

"Do I understand that you are erecting a pine
wood?"

"You do.  That fir forest is my daughter's notion. 
She thought ordinary plane-trees looked kind of
unsuitable for our mountain home.  The land of Burns
and of the ill-fated Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee,
should have more appropriate foliage than that!  Well,
sir, it took four hundred men just three days to remove
the last traces of the last root of the last of those
plane-trees."

"And the pines, I suppose, you brought from a
neighboring wood?" said the Count, patriotically
endeavoring not to look too dumbfoundered.

"No, sir.  Lord Tulliwuddle's factor was too slow
for me--said he must consult his lordship before
removing the timber on the estate.  I cabled to Norway:
the trees arrived yesterday in Aberdeen, and I guess
half of them are as near perpendicular by now as a
theodolite can make them.  They are being erected, sir,
on scientific principles."

Restraining his emotion with a severe effort, Bunker
quietly observed

"Very good idea.  I don't know that it would have
occurred to me to land them at Aberdeen."

From the corner of his eye he saw that his composure
had produced a distinct impression, but he
found it hard to retain it through the Silver King's
next statement.

"You have taken a long lease of Lincoln Lodge, I
presume?" he inquired.

"One year," said Mr. Maddison.  "But I reckon to
be comfortable if I'm spending twenty minutes at a
railroad junction."

"Ah!" responded the Count, "in that case shifting
a forest must be child's-play."

The millionaire smiled affably at this pleasantry and
invited his guest to be seated.

"You will try something American, I hope, Count
Bunker?" he asked, touching the bell.

Count Bunker, rightly conceiving this to indicate a
cock-tail, replied that he would, and in as nearly seven
and a half seconds as he could calculate, a tray
appeared with two of these remarkable compounds. 
Following his host's example, the Count threw his down
at a gulp.

"The same," said Mr. Maddison simply.  And in an
almost equally brief space the same arrived.

"Now," said he, when they were alone again, "I
hope you will pardon me, Count, if I am discourteous
enough to tell you that my time is uncomfortably
cramped.  When I first came here I found that I was
expected to stand upon the shore of the river for two
hours on the chance of catching one salmon.  But I
have changed all that.  As soon as I step outside my
door, my ghillie brings me my rod, and if there ain't
a salmon at the end for me to land, another ghillie will
receive his salary.  Since lunch I have caught a fish,
despatched fifteen cablegrams, and dictated nine
letters.  I am only on holiday here, and if I don't get
through double that amount in the next two hours I
scarcely see my way to do much more fishing to-day. 
That being so, let us come right to the point.  You
bring some kind of proposition from Lord Tulliwuddle,
I guess?"

During his drive the Count had cogitated over a
number of judicious methods of opening the delicate
business; but his adaptability was equal to the occasion. 
In as business-like a tone as his host, he replied--

"You are quite right, Mr. Maddison.  Lord
Tulliwuddle has deputed me to open negotiations for a
certain matrimonial project."

Mr. Maddison's expression showed his appreciation
of this candor and delicacy.

"Well," said he, "to be quite frank, Count, I should
have thought all the better of his lordship if he had
been a little more prompt about the business."

"It is not through want of admiration for Miss
Maddison, I assure you----"

"No," interrupted Mr. Maddison, "it is because he
does not realize the value of time--which is considerably
more valuable than admiration, I can assure you. 
Since I discussed the matter with Lord Tulliwuddle's
aunt we have had several more buyers--I should say,
suitors--in the market--er--in the field, Count Bunker. 
But so far, fortunately for his lordship, my
Eleanor has not approved of the samples sent, and if
he still cares to come forward we shall be pleased to
consider his proposition."

The millionaire looked at him out of an impenetrable
eye; and the Count in an equally guarded tone
replied

"I greatly approve of putting things on so sound
a footing, and with equal frankness I may tell you--
in confidence, of course--that Lord Tulliwuddle also
is not without alternatives.  He would, however, prefer
to offer his title and estates to Miss Maddison,
provided that there is no personal objection to be
found on either side."

Mr. Maddison's eye brightened and his tone warmed.

"Sir," said he, "I guess there won't be much
objection to Eleanor Maddison when your friend has seen
her.  Without exaggeration, I may say that she is the
most beautiful girl in America, and that is to say,
the most beautiful girl anywhere.  The precise amount
of her fortune we can discuss, supposing the necessity
arrives: but I can assure you it will be sufficient to set
three of your mortgaged British aristocrats upon their
legs again.  No, sir, the objection will not come from
THAT side!"

With a gentle smile and a deprecatory gesture the
Count answered, "I am convinced that Miss Maddison
is all--indeed, more than all--your eloquence has
painted.  On the other hand, I trust that you will not
be disappointed in my friend Tulliwuddle."

Mr. Maddison crossed his legs and interlocked his
fingers like a man about to air his views.  This, in fact,
was what he proceeded to do.

"My opinion of aristocracies and the pampered
individuals who compose them is the opinion of an
intelligent and enlightened democrat.  I see them from
the vantage-ground of a man who has made his own
way in the world unhampered by ancestry, who has
dwelt in a country fortunately unencumbered by such
hindrances to progress, and who has no personal
knowledge of their defects.  You will admit that I
speak with unusual opportunities of forming a judgment?"

"You should have the impartiality of a missionary,"
said Bunker gravely.

"That is so, sir.  Now, in proposing to marry my
daughter to a member of this class, I am actuated
solely by a desire to take advantage of the opportunities
such an alliance would confer.  I am still perfectly
clear?"

"Perfectly," replied Bunker, with the same
profound gravity.

"In consequence," resumed the millionaire, with the
impressiveness of a logician drawing a conclusion from
two irrefutable premises--"in consequence, Count
Bunker, I demand--and my daughter demands--and
my son demands, sir, that the nobleman should possess
an unusual number of high-class, fire-proof, expert-
guaranteed qualities.  That is only fair, you must
admit?"

"I agree with you entirely."

Mr. Maddison glanced at the clock and sprang to
his feet.

"I have not the pleasure of knowing my neighbor,
Mr. Gallosh," he said, resuming his brisk business
tone; "but I beg you to convey to him and to his
wife and daughter my compliments--and my daughter's
compliments--and tell them that we hope they
will excuse ceremony and bring Lord Tulliwuddle to
luncheon to-morrow."

Count Bunker expressed his readiness to carry this
message, and the millionaire even more briskly resumed--

"I shall now give myself the pleasure of presenting
you to my son and daughter."

With his swiftest strides he escorted his
distinguished guest to another room, flung the door open,
announced, "My dears, Count Bunker!" and pressed
the Count's hand even as he was effecting this introduction.

"Very pleased to have met you, Count.  Good day,"
he ejaculated, and vanished on the instant.



CHAPTER XVII

Raising his eyes after the profound bow
which the Count considered appropriate to
his character of plenipotentiary, he beheld
at last the object of his mission; and
whether or not she was the absolutely peerless beauty
her father had vaunted, he at once decided that she
was lovely enough to grace Hechnahoul, or any other,
Castle.  Black eyes and a mass of coal-black hair, an
ivory pale skin, small well-chiselled features, and that
distinctively American plumpness of contour--these
marked her face; while as for her figure, it was the
envy of her women friends and the distraction of all
mankind who saw her.

"Fortunate Baron!" thought Bunker.

Beside her, though sufficiently in the rear to mark
the relative position of the sexes in the society they
adorned, stood Darius P. Maddison, junior--or "Ri,"
in the phrase of his relatives and friends--a broad-
shouldered, well-featured young man, with keen eyes,
a mouth compressed with the stern resolve to die richer
than Mr. Rockefeller, and a pair of perfectly ironed
trousers.

"I am very delighted to meet you," declared the
heiress.

"Very honored to have this pleasure," said the
brother.

"While I enjoy both sensations," replied the Count,
with his most agreeable smile.

A little preliminary conversation ensued, in the
course of which the two parties felt an increasing
satisfaction in one another's society; while Bunker had
the further pleasure of enjoying a survey of the room
in which they sat.  Evidently it was Miss Maddison's
peculiar sanctum, and it revealed at once her taste and
her power of gratifying it.  The tapestry that covered
two sides of the room could be seen at a glance to be
no mere modern imitation, but a priceless relic of the
earlier middle ages.  The other walls were so thickly
hung with pictures that one could scarcely see the pale-
green satin beneath; and among these paintings the
Count's educated eye recognized the work of Raphael,
Botticelli, Turner, and Gainsborough among other
masters; while beneath the cornice hung a well-chosen
selection from the gems of the modern Anglo-American
school.  The chairs and sofa were upholstered in a
figured satin of a slightly richer hue of green, and on
several priceless oriental tables lay displayed in ivory,
silver, crystal, and alabaster more articles of vertu
than were to be found in the entire house of an average
collector.

"Fortunate Tulliwuddle!" thought Bunker.

They had been conversing on general topics for a
few minutes, when Miss Maddison turned to her brother
and said, with a frankness that both pleased and
entertained the Count--

"Ri, dear, don't you think we had better come right
straight to the point?  I feel sure Count Bunker is
only waiting till he knows us a little better, and I
guess it will save him considerable embarrassment if
we begin."

"You are the best judge, Eleanor.  I guess your
notions are never far of being all right."

With a gratified smile Eleanor addressed the
Count.

"My brother and I are affinities," she said.  "You
can speak to him just as openly as you can to me. 
What is fit for me to hear is fit for him."

Assuring her that he would not hesitate to act upon
this guarantee if necessary, the Count nevertheless
diplomatically suggested that he would sooner leave it
to the lady to open the discussion.

"Well," she said, "I suppose we may presume you
have called here as Lord Tulliwuddle's friend?"

"You may, Miss Maddison."

"And no doubt he has something pretty definite to
suggest?"

"Matrimony," smiled the Count.

Her brother threw him a stern smile of approval.

"That's right slick THERE!" he exclaimed.

"Lord Tulliwuddle has made a very happy selection
in his ambassador," said Eleanor, with equal cordiality. 
"People who are afraid to come to facts tire me.  No
doubt you will think it strange and forward of me to
talk in this spirit, Count, but if you'd had to go
through the worry of being an American heiress in a
European state you would sympathize.  Why, I'm
hardly ever left in peace for twenty-four hours--am
I, Ri?"

"That is so," quoth Ri.

"What would you guess my age to be, Count
Bunker?"

"Twenty-one," suggested Bunker, subtracting two
or three years on general principles.

"Well, you're nearer it than most people.  Nineteen
on my last birthday, Count!"

The Count murmured his surprise and pleasure, and
Ri again declared, "That is so."

"And it isn't the American climate that ages one,
but the terrible persecutions of the British aristocracy! 
I can be as romantic as any girl, Count Bunker; why,
Ri, you remember poor Abe Sellar and the stolen
shoe-lace?"

"Guess I do!" said Ri.

"That was a romance if ever there was one!  But
I tell you, Count, sentiment gets rubbed off pretty
quick when you come to a bankrupt Marquis writing
three ill-spelled sheets to assure me of the disinterested
affection inspired by my photograph, or a divorced
Duke offering to read Tennyson to me if I'll hire a
punt!"

"I can well believe it," said the Count
sympathetically.

"Well, now," the heiress resumed, with a candid
smile that made her cynicism become her charmingly,
"you see how it is.  I want a man one can RESPECT,
even if he is a peer.  He may have as many titles as
dad has dollars, but he must be a MAN!"

"That is so," said Ri, with additional emphasis.

"I can guarantee Lord Tulliwuddle as a model for
a sculptor and an eligible candidate for canonization,"
declared the Count.

"I guess we want something grittier than that,"
said Ri.

"And what there is of it sounds almost too good
news to be true," added his sister.  "I don't want a
man like a stained-glass window, Count; because for
one thing I couldn't get him."

"If you specify your requirements we shall do
our best to satisfy you," replied the Count imperturbably.

"Well, now," said Eleanor thoughtfully, "I may
just as well tell you that if I'm going to take a peer--
and I must own peers are rather my fancy at present
--it was Mohammedan pashas last year, wasn't it,
Ri?" ("That is so," from Ri.)--"If I AM going to
take a peer, I must have a man that LOOKS a peer.  I've
been plagued with so many undersized and round-
shouldered noblemen that I'm beginning to wonder
whether the aristocracy gets proper nourishment. 
How tall is Lord Tulliwuddle?"

"Six feet and half an inch."

"That's something more like!" said Ri; and his
sister smiled her acquiescence.

"And does he weigh up to it?" she inquired.

"Fourteen, twelve, and three-quarters."

"What's that in pounds, Ri?  We don't count people
in stones in America."

A tense frown, a nervous twitching of the lip,
and in an instant the young financier produced the
answer

"Two hundred and nine pounds all but four ounces."

"Well," said Eleanor, "it all depends on how he
holds himself.  That's a lot to carry for a young
man."

"He holds himself like one of his native pine-trees,
Miss Maddison!"

She clapped her hands.

"Now I call that just a lovely metaphor, Count
Bunker!" she cried.  "Oh, if he's going to look like
a pine, and walk like the pipers at the Torrydhulish
gathering, and really be a chief like Fergus MacIvor
or Roderick Dhu, I do believe I'll actually fall in love
with him!"

"Say, Count," interposed Ri, "I guess we've heard
he's half German."

"It was indeed in Germany that he learned his
thorough grasp of politics, statesmanship, business,
and finance, and acquired his lofty ambitions and
indomitable perseverance."

"He'll do, Eleanor," said the young man.  "That's
to say, if he is anything like the prospectus."

His sister made no immediate reply.  She seemed to
be musing--and not unpleasantly.

At that moment a motor car passed the window.

"My!" exclaimed Eleanor, "I'd quite forgot! 
That will be to take the Honorable Stanley to the
station.  We must say good-by to him, I suppose"

She turned to the Count and added in explanation--

"The last to apply was the Honorable Stanley
Pilkington--Lord Didcott's heir, you know.  Oh, if you
could see him, you'd realize what I've had to go
through!"

Even as she spoke he was given the opportunity, for
the door somewhat diffidently opened and an unhappy-
looking young man came slowly into the room.  He
was clearly to be classified among the round-shouldered
ineligibles; being otherwise a tall and slender youth,
with an amiable expression and a smoothly well-bred
voice.

"I've come to say good-by, Miss Maddison," he said,
with a mournful air.  "I--I've enjoyed my visit very
much," he added, as he timidly shook her hand.

"So glad you have, Mr. Pilkington," she replied
cordially.  "It has been a very great pleasure to
entertain you.  Our friend Count Bunker--Mr. Pilkington."

The young man bowed with a look in his eye that
clearly said--

"The nest candidate, I perceive."

Then having said good-by to Ri, the Count heard
him murmur to Eleanor--

"Couldn't you--er--couldn't you just manage to
see me of?"

"With very great pleasure!" she replied in a hearty
voice that seemed curiously enough rather to damp
than cheer his drooping spirits.

No sooner had they left the room together than
Darius, junior, turned energetically to his guest, and
said in a voice ringing with pride--

"You may not believe me, Count, but I assure you
that is the third fellow she has seen to the door inside
a fortnight!  One Duke, one Viscount--who will expand
into something more considerable some day--and
this Honorable Pilkington!  Your friend, sir, will be
a fortunate man if he is able to please my sister."

"She seems, indeed, a charming girl."

"Charming!  She is an angel in human form!  And
I, sir, her brother, will see to it that she is not deceived
in the man she chooses--not if I can help it!"

The young man said this with such an air as Bunker
supposed his forefathers to have worn when they
hurled the tea into Boston harbor.

"I trust that Lord Tulliwuddle, at least, will not
fall under your displeasure, sir," he replied with an air
of sincere conviction that exactly echoed his thoughts.

"Oh, Ri!" cried Eleanor, running back into the
room, "he was so sweet as he said good-by in the hall
that I nearly kissed him!  I would have, only it might
have made him foolish again.  But did you see his
shoulders, Count!  And oh, to think of marrying a
gentle thing like that!  Is Lord Tulliwuddle a firm
man, Count Bunker?"

"Adamant--when in the right," the Count assured
her.

A renewed air of happy musing in her eyes warned
him that he had probably said exactly enough, and with
the happiest mean betwixt deference and dignity he
bade them farewell.

"Then, Count, we shall see you all to-morrow," said
Eleanor as they parted.  "Please tell your hosts that
I am very greatly looking forward to the pleasure of
knowing them.  There is a Miss Gallosh, isn't there?"

The Count informed her that there was in fact such
a lady.

"That is very good news for me!  I need a girl
friend very badly, Count; these proposals lose half
their fun with only Ri to tell them to.  I intend to
make a confidante of Miss Gallosh on the spot!"

"H'm," thought the Count, as he drove away, "I
wonder whether she will."



CHAPTER XVIII

As the plenipotentiary approached the Castle he
was somewhat surprised to pass a dog-cart
containing not only his fellow-guest, Mr.
Cromarty-Gow, but Mr. Gow's luggage also,
and although he had hitherto taken no particular
interest in that gentleman, yet being gifted with the true
adventurer's instinct for promptly investigating any
unusual circumstance, he sought his host as soon as he
reached the house, with a view to putting a careless
question or two.  For no one, he felt sure, had been
expected to leave for a few days to come.

"Yes," said Mr. Gallosh, "the young spark's off
verra suddenly.  We didn't expect him to be leaving
before Tuesday.  But--well, the fact is--umh'm--oh,
it's nothing to speak off."

This reticence, however, was easily cajoled away by
the insidious Count, and at last Mr. Gallosh frankly
confided to him--

"Well, Count, between you and me he seems to have
had a kind of fancy for my daughter Eva, and then his
lordship coming--well, you'll see for yourself how it
was."

"He considered his chances lessened?"

"He told Rentoul they were clean gone."

Count Bunker looked decidedly serious.

"The devil!" he reflected.  "The Baron is exceeding
his commission.  Tulliwuddle is a brisk young fellow,
but to commit him to two marriages is neither Christian
nor kind.  And, without possessing the Baron's remarkable
enthusiasm for the sex, I feel sorry for whichever
lady is not chosen to cut the cake."

He inquired for his friend, and was somewhat relieved
to learn that though he had gone out on the loch with
Miss Gallosh, they had been accompanied by her brothers
and sisters.

"We still have half an hour before dressing," he
said.  "I shall stroll down and meet them."

His creditable anxiety returned when, upon the path
to the loch shore, he met the two Masters and the two
younger Misses Gallosh returning without their sister.

"Been in different boats, have you?" said he, after
they had explained this curious circumstance; "well, I
hope you all had a good sail."

To himself he uttered a less philosophical comment,
and quickened his stride perceptibly.  He reached the
shore, but far or near was never a sign of boat upon
the waters.

"Have they gone down!" he thought.

Just then he became aware of a sound arising from
beneath the wooded bank a short distance away.  It was
evidently intended to be muffled, but the Baron's lungs
were powerful, and there was no mistaking his deep
voice as he sang--

          " 'My loff she's like a red, red rose
               Zat's newly sprong in June!
          My loff she's like a melody
               Zat's sveetly blayed in tune!

Ach, how does he end?"

Before his charmer had time to prompt him, the Count
raised his own tolerably musical voice and replied--

          " 'And fare thee weel, my second string!
               And fare thee weel awhile!
          I won t come back again, my love,
               For tis ower mony mile!


For an instant there followed a profound silence, and
then the voice of the Baron replied, with somewhat
forced mirth--

"Vary goot, Bonker!  Ha, ha!  Vary goot!"

Meanwhile Bunker, without further delay, was pushing
his way through a tangle of shrubbery till in a moment
he spied the boat moored beneath the leafy bank,
and although it was a capacious craft he observed that
its two occupants were both crowded into one end.

"I am sent to escort you back to dinner," he said
blandly.

"Tell zem ve shall be back in three minutes," replied
the Baron, making a prodigious show of preparation
for coming ashore.

"I am sorry to say that my orders were strictly to
escort, not to herald you," said the Count apologetically.

Fortifying himself against unpopularity by the
consciousness that he was doing his duty, this well-
principled, even if spurious, nobleman paced back towards
the house with the lady between him and the indignant
Baron.

"Well, Tulliwuddle," he discoursed, in as friendly
a tone as ever, "I left your cards with our American
neighbors."

"So?" muttered the Baron stolidly.

"They received me with open arms, and I have taken
the liberty of accepting on behalf of Mr., Mrs., and
Miss Gallosh, and of our two selves, a very cordial
invitation to lunch with them to-morrow."

"Impossible!" cried the Baron gruffly.

Eva turned a reproachful eye upon him.

"Oh, Lord Tulliwuddle!  I should so like to go."

The Baron looked at her blankly.

"You vould!"

"I have heard they are such nice people, and have
such a beautiful place!"

"I can confirm both statements," said the Count
heartily.

"Besides, papa and mamma would be very disappointed
if we didn't go."

"Make it as you please," said the Baron gloomily.

His unsuspicious hosts heard of the invitation with
such outspoken pleasure that their honored guest could
not well renew his protest.  He had to suffer the
arrangement to be made; but that night when he and
Bunker withdrew to their own room, the Count perceived
the makings of an argumentative evening.

"Sometimes you interfere too moch," the Baron
began without preamble.

"Do you mind being a little more specific?" replied
the Count with smiling composure.

"Zere vas no hurry to lonch mit Maddison."

"I didn't name the date."

"You might have said next veek."

"By next week Miss Maddison may be snapped up
by some one else."

"Zen vould Tollyvoddle be more lucky!  I have nearly
got for him ze most charming girl, mit as moch money
as he vants.  Ach, you do interfere!  You should gonsider
ze happiness of Tollyvoddle."

"That is the only consideration that affects yourself,
Baron?"

"Of course!  I cannot marry more zan vonce."
(Bunker thought he perceived a symptom of a sigh.) 
"And I most be faithful to Alicia.  I most!  Ach, yes,
Bonker, do not fear for me!  I am so constant as--ach,
I most keep faithful!"

As he supplied this remarkable testimony to his own
fidelity, the Baron paced the floor with an agitation
that clearly showed how firmly his constancy was based.

Nevertheless the Count was smiling oddly at something
he espied upon the mantelpiece, and stepping up
to it he observed--

"Here is a singular phenomenon--a bunch of white
heather that has got itself tied together with ribbon!"

The Baron started, and took the tiny bouquet from
his hand, his eyes sparkling with delight.

"It must be a gift from----" he began, and then laid
it down again, though his gaze continued fixed upon
it.  "How did it gom in?" he mused.  "Ach! she most
have brought it herself.  How vary nice!"

He turned suddenly and met his friend's humorous
eyes.

"I shall be faithful, Bonker!  You can trust me!"
he exclaimed; "I shall put it in my letter to Alicia, and
send it mit my love!  See, Bonker!"

He took a letter from his desk--its envelope still
open--hurriedly slipped in the white heather, and licked
the gum while his resolution was hot.  Then, having
exhibited this somewhat singular evidence of his constancy,
he sighed again.

"It vas ze only safe vay," he said dolefully.  "Vas
I not right, Bonker?"

"Quite, my dear Baron," replied the Count sympathetically. 
"Believe me, I appreciate your self-sacrifice. 
In fact, it was to relieve the strain upon your too
generous heart that I immediately accepted Mr. Maddison's
invitation for to-morrow."

"How so?" demanded the Baron with perhaps excusable
surprise.

"You will be able to decide at once which is the most
suitable bride for Tulliwuddle, and then, if you like,
we can leave in a day or two."

"Bot I do not vish to leave so soon!"

"Well then, while you stay, you can at least make
sure that you are engaging the affections of the right
girl."

Though Bunker spoke with an air of desiring merely
to assist his friend, the speech seemed to arouse some
furious thinking in the Baron's mind.

For some moments he made no reply, and then at
last, in a troubled voice, he said--

"I have already a leetle gommitted Tollyvoddle to
Eva.  Ach, bot not moch!  Still it vas a leetle.  Miss
Maddison--vat is she like?"

To the best of his ability the Count sketched the
charms of Eleanor Maddison--her enthusiasm for large
and manly noblemen, and the probable effects of the
Baron's stalwart form set off by the tartan which (in
deference, he declared, to the Wraith's injunctions) he
now invariably wore.  Also, he touched upon her father's
colossal fortune, and the genuine Tulliwuddle's necessities.

The Baron listened with growing interest.

"Vell," he said, "I soppose I most make a goot
impression for ze sake of Tollyvoddle.  For instance, ven
we drive up----"

"Drive? my dear Baron, we shall march!  Leave it
to me; I have a very pretty design shaping in my head."

"Aha!" smiled the Baron; "my showman again,
eh?"

His expression sobered, and he added as a final
contribution to the debate--

"But I may tell you, Bonker, I do not eggspect to
like Miss Maddison.  Ah, my instinct he is vonderful! 
It vas my instinct vich said.  'Chose Miss Gallosh for
Tollyvoddle!' "



CHAPTER XIX

While the Baron was thus loyally doing
his duty, his Baroness, being ignorant
of the excellence of his purpose, and
knowing only that he had deceived her
in one matter, and that the descent to Avernus is easy,
passed a number of very miserable days.  That heart-
breaking "us both" kept her awake at nights and
distraught throughout the day, and when for a little she
managed to explain the phrase away, and tried to
anchor her trust in Rudolph once more, the vision of the
St. Petersburg window overlooking the crops would
come to shatter her confidence.  She wrote a number of
passionate replies, but as the Baron in making his
arrangements with his Russian friend had forgotten to
provide him with his Scotch address, these letters only
reached him after the events of this chronicle had passed
into history.  Strange to say, her only consolation was
that neither her mother nor Sir Justin was able to supply
any further evidence of any kind whatsoever.  One
would naturally suppose that the assistance they had
gratuitously given would have made her feel eternally
indebted to them; but, on the contrary, she was actually
inconsistent enough to resent their head-shakings nearly
as much as her Rudolph's presumptive infidelity.  So
that her lot was indeed to be deplored.

At last a second letter came, and with trembling
fingers, locked in her room, the forsaken lady tore the
curiously bulky envelope apart.  Then, at the sight of
the enclosure that had given it this shape, her heart
lightened once more.

"A sprig of white heather!" she cried.  "Ah, he
loves me still!"

With eager eyes she next devoured the writing
accompanying this token; and as the Baron's head happened
to be clearer when he composed this second epistle, and
his friend's hints peculiarly judicious, it conveyed so
plausible an account of his proceedings, and contained
so many expressions of his unaltered esteem, that his
character was completely reinstated in her regard.

Having read every affectionate sentence thrice over,
and given his exceedingly interesting statements of fact
the attention they deserved, she once more took up the
little bouquet and examined it more curiously and
intently.  She even untied the ribbon, when, lo and
behold! there fell a tiny and tightly folded twist of paper
upon the floor.  Preparing herself for a delicious bit
of sentiment, she tenderly unfolded and smoothed it out.

"Verses!" she exclaimed rapturously; but the next
instant her pleasure gave place to a look of the extremest
mystification.

"What does this mean?" she gasped.

There was, in fact, some excuse for her perplexity,
since the precise text of the enclosure ran thus:

          "TO LORD TULLIWUDDLE.

     "O Chieftain, trample on this heath
     Which lies thy springing foot beneath!
     It can recover from thy tread,
     And once again uplift its head!
     But spare, O Chief, the tenderer plant,
     Because when trampled on, it can't!
                              "EVA."


Too confounded for coherent speculation, the Baroness
continued to stare at this baffling effusion.  Who
Lord Tulliwuddle and Eva were; why this glimpse into
their drama (for such it appeared to be) should be
forwarded to her; and where the Baron von Blitzenberg
came into the story--these, among a dozen other questions,
flickered chaotically through her mind for some
minutes.  Again and again she studied the cryptogram,
till at last a few definite conclusions began to crystallize
out of the confusion.  That the "tenderer plant"
symbolized the lady herself, that she was a person to
be regarded with extreme suspicion, and that emphatically
the bouquet was never originally intended for the
Baroness von Blitzenberg, all became settled convictions. 
The fact that she knew Tulliwuddle to be an
existing peerage afforded her some relief; yet the longer
she pondered on the problem of Rudolph's part in the
episode, the more uneasy grew her mind.

Composing her face before the mirror till it resumed
its normal round-eyed placidity, she locked the letter
and its contents in a safe place, and sought out her
mother.

"Did you get any letter, dear, by the last post?"
inquired the Countess as soon as she had entered the
room.

"Nothing of importance, mamma."

That so sweet and docile a daughter should stoop to
deceit was inconceivable.  The Countess merely frowned
her disappointment and resumed the novel which she
was beguiling the hours between eating and eating
again.

"Mamma," said the Baroness presently, "can you
tell me whether heather is found in many other European
countries?"

The Countess raised her firmly penciled eyebrows.

"In some, I believe.  What a remarkable question,
Alicia."

"I was thinking about Russia," said Alicia with an
innocent air.  "Do you suppose heather grows there?"

The Countess remembered the floral symptoms displayed
by Ophelia, and grew a trifle nervous.

"My child, what is the matter?"

"Oh, nothing," replied Alicia hastily.

A short silence followed, during which she was conscious
of undergoing a curious scrutiny.

"By the way, mamma," she found courage to ask at
length, "do you know anything about Lord Tulliwuddle?"

Lady Grillyer continued uneasy.  These irrelevant
questions undoubtedly indicated a mind unhinged.

"I was acquainted with the late Lord Tulliwuddle."

"Oh, he is dead, then?"

"Certainly."

Alicia's face clouded for a moment, and then a ray
of hope lit it again.

"Is there a present Lord Tulliwuddle?"

"I believe so.  Why do you ask?"

"I heard some one speak of him the other day."

She spoke so naturally that her mother began to feel
relieved.

"Sir Justin Wallingford can tell you all about the
family, if you are curious," she remarked.

"Sir Justin!"

Alicia recoiled from the thought of him.  But presently
her curiosity prevailed, and she inquired--

"Does he know them well?"

"He inherited a place in Scotland a number of years
ago, you remember.  It is somewhere near Lord
Tulliwuddle's place--Hech--Hech--Hech-something-or-
other Castle.  He was very well acquainted with the
last Tulliwuddle."

"Oh," said Alicia indifferently, "I am not really
interested.  It was mere idle curiosity."

For the greater part of twenty-four hours she kept
this mystery locked within her heart, till at last she
could contain it no longer.  The resolution she came
to was both desperate and abruptly taken.  At five
minutes to three she was resolved to die rather than
mention that sprig of heather to a soul; at five minutes
past she was on her way to Sir Justin Wallingford's
house.

"It may be going behind mamma's back," she said
to herself; "but she went behind mine when SHE consulted
Sir Justin."

It was probably in consequence of her urgent voice
and agitated manner that she came to be shown straight
into Sir Justin's library, without warning on either
side, and thus surprised her counsellor in the act of
softly singing a well-known hymn to the accompaniment
of a small harmonium.  He seemed for a moment to be
a trifle embarrassed, and the glance he threw at his
footman appeared to indicate an early vacancy in his
establishment; but as soon as he had recovered his customary
solemnity his explanation reflected nothing but
credit upon his character.

"The fact is," said he, "that I am shortly going to
rejoin my daughter in Scotland.  You are aware of her
disposition, Baroness?"

"I have heard that she is inclined to be devotional."

"She is devotional," answered this excellent man. 
"I have taken considerable pains to see to it.  As your
mother and I have often agreed, there is no such safeguard
for a young girl as a hobby or mania of this
sort."

"A hobby or mania?" exclaimed the Baroness in a
pained voice.

Sir Justin looked annoyed.  He was evidently
surprised to find that the principles inculcated by his old
friend and himself appeared to outlive the occasion for
which they were intended--to wit, the protection of
virgin hearts from undesirable aspirations till calm
reason and a husband should render them unnecessary.

"I use the terms employed by the philosophical," he
hastened to explain; "but my own opinion is inclined
to coincide with yours, my dear Alicia."

This paternal use of her Christian name, coupled
with the kindly tone of his justification, encouraged
the Baroness to open her business.

"Sir Justin," she began, "can I trust you--may I
ask you not to tell my mother that I have visited you?"

"If you can show me an adequate reason, you may
rely upon my discretion," said the ex-diplomatist
cautiously, yet with an encouraging smile.

"In some things one would sooner confide in a man
than a woman, Sir Justin."

"That is undoubtedly true," he agreed cordially. 
"You may confide in me, Baroness."

"I have heard from my husband again.  I need not
show you the letter; it is quite satisfactory--oh, quite,
I assure you!  Only I found this enclosed with it."

In breathless silence she watched him examine
critically first the heather and then the verses.

"Lord Tulliwuddle!" he exclaimed.  "Is there
anything in the Baron's letter to throw any light upon
this?"

"Not one word--not the slightest hint."

Again he studied the paper.

"Oh, what does it mean?" she cried.  "I came to
you because you know all about the Tulliwuddles. 
Where is Lord Tulliwuddle now?"

"I am not acquainted with the present peer," he
ansevered meditatively.  "In fact, I know singularly little
about him.  I did hear--yes, I heard from my daughter
some rumor that he was shortly expected to visit his
place in Scotland; but whether he went there or not I
cannot say."

"You can find out for me?"

"I shall lose no time in ascertaining."

The Baroness thanked him effusively, and rose to
depart with a mind a little comforted.

"And you won't tell mamma?"

"I never tell a woman anything that is of any importance."

The Baroness was confirmed in her opinion that Sir
Justin was not a very nice man, but she felt an increased
confidence in his judgment.



CHAPTER XX

From the gargoyled keep which the cultured
enthusiasm of Eleanor and the purse of her
father had recently erected at Lincoln Lodge,
the brother and sister looked over a bend of
the river, half a mile of valley road, a wave of forest
country, and the greater billows of the bare hillsides
towering beyond.  But out of all this prospect it was
only upon the stretch of road that their eyes were bent.

"Surely one should see their carriage soon!"
exclaimed Eleanor.

"Seems to me," said her brother, "that you're sitting
something like a cat on the pounce for this Tulliwuddle
fellow.  Why, Eleanor, I never saw you so excited since
the first duke came along.  I thought that had passed
right off."

"Oh, Ri, I was reading 'Waverley' again last night,
and somehow I felt the top of the keep was the only
place to watch for a chief!"

"Why, you don't expect him to be different from
other people?"

"Ri!  I tell you I'll cry if he looks like any one I've
ever seen before!  Don't you remember the Count said
he moved like a pine in his native forests?"

"He won't make much headway like that," said Ri
incisively.  "I'd sooner he moved like something more
spry than a tree.  I guess that Count was talking
through his hat."

But his sister was not to be argued out of her exalted
mood by such prosaic reasoning.  She exclaimed at his
sluggish imagination, reiterated her faith in the
insinuating count's assurances, and was only withheld
from sending her brother down for a spy-glass by the
reflection that she could not remember reading of its
employment by any maiden in analogous circumstances.

It was at this auspicious moment, when the heart of
the expectant heiress was inflamed with romantic fancies
and excited with the suspense of waiting, and before
it had time to cool through any undue delay, that a
little cloud of dust first caught her straining eyes.

"He comes at last!" she cried.

At the same instant the faint strains of the pibroch
were gently wafted to her embattled tower.

"He is bringing his piper!  Oh, what a duck he is!"

"Seems to me he is bringing a dozen of them,"
observed Ri.

"And look, Ri!  The sun is glinting upon steel! 
Claymores, Ri! oh, how heavenly!  There must be fifty
men!  And they are still coming!  I do believe he has
brought the whole clan!"

Too petrified with delight to utter another exclamation,
she watched in breathless silence the approach of
a procession more formidable than had ever escorted
a Tulliwuddle since the year of Culloden.  As they drew
nearer, her ardent gaze easily distinguished a stalwart
figure in plaid and kilt, armed to the teeth with target
and claymore, marching with a stately stride fully ten
paces before his retinue.

"The chief!" she murmured.

Now indeed she saw there was no cause to mourn, for
any one at all resembling the Baron von Blitzenberg
as he appeared at that moment she had certainly never
met before.  Intoxicated with his finery and with the
terrific peals of melody behind him, he pranced rather
than walked up to the portals of Lincoln Lodge, and
there, to the amazement and admiration alike of his
clansmen and his expectant host, he burst forth into
the following Celtic fragment, translated into English
for the occasion by his assiduous friend from a hitherto
undiscovered manuscript of Ossian:

     "I am ze chieftain,
       Nursed in ze mountains,
       Behold me, Mac--ig--ig--ig ish!

(Yet the Count had written this word very distinctly.)

     "Oich for ze claymore!
       Hoch for ze philabeg!
       Sons of ze red deers,
       Children of eagles,
       I will supply you
       Mit Sassenach carcases!"

At this point came a momentary lull, the chieftain's
eyes rolling bloodthirstily, but the rhapsody having
apparently become congested within his fiery heart.
His audience, however, were not given time to recover
their senses, before a striking-looking individual,
adorned with tartan trews and a feathered hat, in whom
all were pleased to recognize Count Bunker, whispered
briefly in his lordship's ear, and like a river in spate
he foamed on:

     "Donald and Ronald
       Avake from your slumbers!
       Maiden so lovely,
       Smile mit your bright eyes!
       Ze heather is blooming!
       Ze vild cat is growling!
       Hech Dummeldirroch!
       Behold Tollyvoddle,
       Ze Lord of ze Mountains!"
 

Hardly had the reverberations of the chieftain's voice
died away, when the Count, uttering a series of presumably
Gaelic cries, advanced with the most dramatic
air, and threw his broad-sword upon the ground. 
The Baron laid his across it, the pipes struck up a
less formidable, but if anything more exciting air, and
the two noblemen, springing simultaneously from the
ground, began what the Count confidently trusted their
American hosts would accept as the national sworddance.

This lasted for some considerable time, and gave the
Count an opportunity of testifying his remarkable
agility and the Baron of displaying the greater part
of his generously proportioned limbs, while the lung
power of both became from that moment proverbial in
the glen.

At the conclusion of this ceremony the chieftain,
crimson, breathless, and radiant, a sight for gods and
ladies, advanced to greet his host.

"Very happy to see you, Lord Tulliwuddle," said
Mr. Maddison.  "Allow me to offer you my very sincere
congratulations on your exceedingly interesting
exhibition.  Welcome to Lincoln Lodge, your lordship! 
My daughter--my son."

Eleanor, almost as flushed as the Baron by her headlong
rush from the keep at the conclusion of the sword-
dance, threw him such a smile as none of her admirers
had ever enjoyed before; while he, incapable of speech
beyond a gasped "Ach!" bowed so low that the Count
had gently to adjust his kilt.  Then followed the
approach of the Gallosh family, attired in costumes of
Harris tweed and tartan selected and arranged under
the artistic eye of Count Bunker, and escorted, to their
huge delight, by six picked clansmen.  Their formal
presentation having been completed by a last skirl on
the bagpipes, the whole party moved in procession to
the banqueting-hall.

"A complete success, I flatter myself," thought
Count Bunker, with excusable complacency.

To the banquet itself it is scarcely possible for a
mere mortal historian to pay a fitting tribute.  Every
rarity known to the gourmet that telegraph could summon
to the table in time was served in course upon
course.  Even the sweetmeats in the little gold dishes
cost on an average a dollar a bon-bon, while the wine
was hardly less valuable than liquid radium.  Or at
least such was the sworn information subsequently supplied
by Count Bunker to the reporter of "The Torrydhulish Herald."

Eleanor was in her highest spirits.  She sat between
the Baron and Mr. Gallosh, delighted with the honest
pleasure and admiration of the merchant, and all the
time becoming more satisfied with the demeanor and
conversation of the chief.  In fact, the only disappointment
she felt was connected with the appearance of
Miss Gallosh.  Much as she had desired a confidante,
she had never demanded one so remarkably beautiful,
and she could not but feel that a very much plainer
friend would have served her purpose quite as well--
and indeed better.  Once or twice she intercepted a
glance passing between this superfluously handsome
lady and the principal guest, until at last it occurred
to her as a strange and unseemly thing that Lord Tulliwuddle
should be paying so long a visit to his shooting
tenants.  Eva, on her part, felt a curiously similar
sensation.  These American gentlemen were as pleasant
as report had painted them, but she now discovered an
odd antipathy to American women, or at least to their
unabashed method of making themselves agreeable to
noblemen.  It confirmed, indeed, the worst reports she
had heard concerning the way in which they raided the
British marriage market.

Being placed beside one of these lovely girls and
opposite the other, the Baron, one would think, would
be in the highest state of contentment; but though still
flushed with his triumphant caperings over the broadswords,
and exhibiting a graciousness that charmed his
hosts, he struck his observant friend as looking a trifle
disturbed at soul.  He would furtively glance across the
table and then as furtively throw a sidelong look at
his neighbor, and each time he appeared to grow more
thoughtful.  And yet he did not look precisely unhappy
either.  In fact, there was a gleam in his eye during
each of these glances which suggested that both fell
upon something he approved of.

The after-luncheon procedure had been carefully
arranged between the two adventurers.  The Count was
to keep by the Baron's side, and, thus supported,
negotiations were to be delicately opened.  Accordingly,
when the party rose, the Count whispered a word in
Mr. Maddison's ear.  The millionaire answered with a
grave, shrewd look, and his daughter, as if perfectly
grasping the situation, led the Galloshes out to inspect
the new fir forest.  And then the two noblemen and the
two Dariuses faced one another over their cigars.



CHAPTER XXI

"Well, gentlemen," said Mr. Maddison,
"pleasure is pleasure, and business is
business.  I guess we mean to do a little
of both to-day, if you are perfectly
disposed.  What do you say, Count?"

"I consider that an occasion selected by you, Mr.
Maddison, is not to be neglected."

The millionaire bowed his acknowledgment of the
compliment, and turned to the Baron, who, it may be
remarked, was wearing an expression of thoughtful
gravity not frequently to be noted at Hechnahoul.

"You desire to say a few words to me, Lord
Tulliwuddle, I understand.  I shall be pleased to hear them."

With this both father and son bent such earnest
brows on the Baron and waited for his answer in such
intense silence, that he began to regret the absence of
his inspiring pipers.

"I vould like ze honor to address mine--mine----"

He threw an imploring glance at his friend, who,
without hesitation, threw himself into the breach.

"Lord Tulliwuddle feels the natural diffidence of a
lover in adequately expressing his sentiments.  I understand
that he craves your permission to lay a certain
case before a certain lady.  I am right, Tulliwuddle?"

"Pairfectly," said the Baron, much relieved; "to
lay a certain case before a certain lady.  Zat is so, yes,
exactly."

Father and son glanced at one another.

"Your delicacy does you honor, very great honor,"
said Mr. Maddison; "but business is business, Lord
Tulliwuddle, and I should like to hear your proposition
more precisely stated.  In fact, sir, I like to know just
where I am."

"That's just about right," assented Ri.

"I vould perhaps vish to marry her."

"Perhaps!" exclaimed the two together.

Again the Count adroitly interposed--

"You mean that you do not intend to thrust your
attentions upon an unwilling lady?"

"Yes, yes; zat is vat I mean."

"I see," said Mr. Maddison slowly.  "H'm, yes."

"Sounds what you Scotch call 'canny,' " commented
Ri shrewdly.

"Well," resumed the millionaire, "I have nothing
to say against that; provided--provided, I say, that
you stipulate to marry the lady so long as she has no
objections to you.  No fooling around--that's all we
want to see to.  Our time, sir, is too valuable."

"That is so," said Ri.

The Baron's color rose, and a look of displeasure
came into his eyes, but before he had time to make a
retort that might have wrecked his original's hopes,
Bunker said quickly--

"Tulliwuddle places himself in your hands, with the
implicit confidence that one gentleman reposes in another."

Gulping down his annoyance, the Baron assented--

"Yes, I vill do zat."

Again father and son looked at one another, and this
time exchanged a nod.

"That, sir, will satisfy us," said Mr. Maddison. 
"Ri, you may turn off the phonograph."

And thereupon the cessation of a loud buzzing sound,
which the visitors had hitherto attributed to flies, showed
that their host now considered he had received a sufficient
guarantee of his lordship's honorable intentions.

"So far, so good," resumed Mr. Maddison.  "I may
now inform you, Lord Tulliwuddle, that the reports
about you which I have been able to gather read kind
of mixed, and before consenting to your reception
within my daughter's boudoir we should feel obliged
if you would satisfy us that the worst of them are not
true--or, at least, sir, exaggerated."

This time the Baron could not restrain an exclamation
of displeasure.

"Vat, sir!" he cried, addressing the millionaire. 
"Do you examine me on my life!"

"No, sir," said Ri, frowning his most determined
frown.  "It is to ME you will be kind enough to give any
explanation you have to offer!  Dad may be the spokesman,
but I am the inspirer of these interrogations. 
My sister, sir, the purest girl in America, the most
beautiful creature beneath the star-spangled banner of
Columbia, is not going to be the companion of dissolute
idleness and gilded dishonor--not, sir, if _I_ know it."

Too confounded by this unusual warning to think
of any adequate retort, the Baron could only stare his
sensations; while Mr. Maddison, taking up the conversation
the instant his son had ceased, proceeded in a
deliberate and impressive voice to say--

"Yes, sir, my son--and I associate myself with him
--my son and I, sir, would be happy to learn that it
is NOT the case as here stated" (he glanced at a paper
in his hand), "namely, Item 1, that you sup rather too
frequently with ladies--I beg your pardon, Count
Bunker, for introducing the theme--with ladies of the
theatrical profession."

"I!" gasped the Baron.  "I do only vish I sometimes
had ze cha----"

"Tulliwuddle!" interrupted the Count.  "Don't let
your natural indignation carry you away!  Mr. Maddison,
that statement is not true.  I can vouch for it."

"Ach, of course it is not true," said the Baron more
calmly, as he began to realize that it was not his own
character that was being aspersed.

"I am very glad to hear it," continued Mr. Maddison,
who apparently did not share the full austerity of
his son's views, since without further question he hurried
on to the next point.

"Item 2, sir, states that at least two West End firms
are threatening you with proceedings if you do not
discharge their accounts within a reasonable time."

"A lie!" declared the Baron emphatically.

"Will you be so kind as to favor us with the name
of the individual who is thus libelling his lordship?"
demanded the Count with a serious air.

Mr. Maddison hastily put the paper back in his
pocket, and with a glance checked his son's gesture of
protest.

"Guess we'd better pass on to the next thing, Ri. 
I told you it wasn't any darned use just asking.  But
you boys always think you know better than your
Poppas," said he; and then, turning to the Count, "It
isn't worth while troubling, Count; I'll see that these
reports get contradicted, if I have to buy up a daily
paper and issue it at a halfpenny.  Yes, sir, you can
leave it to me."

The Count glanced at his friend, and they exchanged
a grave look.

"Again we place ourselves in your hands," said
Bunker.

Though considerably impressed with these repeated
evidences of confidence on the part of two such
important personages, their host nevertheless maintained
something of his inquisitorial air as he proceeded--

"For my own satisfaction, Lord Tulliwuddle, and
meaning to convey no aspersion whatsoever upon your
character, I would venture to inquire what are your
views upon some of the current topics.  Take any one
you like, sir, so long as it's good and solid, and let me
hear what you have to say about it.  What you favor
us with will not be repeated beyond this room, but
merely regarded by my son and myself as proving that
we are getting no dunder-headed dandy for our Eleanor,
but an article of real substantial value--the kind of
thing they might make into a Lord-lieutenant or a
Viceroy in a bad year."

Tempting in every way as this suggestion sounded,
his lordship nevertheless appeared to find a little initial
difficulty in choosing a topic.

"Speak out, sir," said Mr. Maddison in an encouraging
tone.  "Our standard for noblemen isn't anything
remarkably high.  With a duke I'd be content
with just a few dates and something about model
cottages, and, though a baron ought to know a little more
than that, still we'll count these feudal bagpipers and
that ancestral hop-scotch performance as a kind of set-
off to your credit.  Suppose you just say a few words
on the future of the Anglo-Saxon race.  What you've
learned from the papers will do, so long as you seem
to understand it."

Perceiving that his Teutonic friend looked a trifle
dismayed at this selection, Count Bunker suggested the
Triple Alliance as an alternative.

"That needs more facts, I guess," said the millionaire;
"but it will be all the more creditable if you can
manage it."

The Baron cleared his throat to begin, and as he
happened (as the Count was well aware) to have the
greatest enthusiasm for this policy, and to have recently
read the thirteen volumes of Professor Bungstrumpher
on the subject, he delivered a peroration so remarkable
alike for its fervor, its facts, and its phenomenal length,
that when, upon a gentle hint from the Count, he at
last paused, all traces of objection had vanished from
the minds of Darius P. Maddison, senior and junior.

"I need no longer detain you, Lord Tulliwuddle,"
said the millionaire respectfully.  "Ri, fetch your sister
into her room.  Your lordship, I have received an
intellectual treat.  I am very deeply gratified, sir.  Allow
me to conduct you to my daughter's boudoir."

Flushed with his exertions and his triumph though
the Baron was, he yet remembered so vividly the ordeal
preceding the oration that as they went he whispered
in his friend's ear

"Ah, Bonker, stay mit me, I pray you!  If she should
ask more questions!

"Mr. Maddison, ze Count will stay mit me."

Though a little surprised at this arrangement, which
scarcely accorded with his lordship's virile appearance
and dashing air, Mr. Maddison was by this time too
favorably disposed to question the wisdom of any
suggestion he might make, and accordingly the two friends
found themselves closeted together in Miss Maddison's
sanctum awaiting the appearance of the heiress.

"Shall I remain through the entire interview?"
asked the Count.

"Oh yes, mine Bonker, you most!  Or--vell, soppose
it gets unnecessary zen vill I cry 'By ze Gad!' and you
vill know to go."

" 'By the Gad'?  I see."

"Or--vell, not ze first time, but if I say it tree times,
zen vill you make an excuse."

"Three times?  I understand, Baron."



CHAPTER XXII

In the eye of the heiress, as in her father's, might
be noted a shade of surprise at finding two
gentlemen instead of one.  But though the Count
instantly perceived his superfluity, and though
it had been his greatest ambition throughout his life
to add no shade to the dullness with which he frequently
complained that life was overburdened, yet his sense of
obligation to his friend was so strong that he preferred
to bore rather than desert.  As the only compensation
he could offer, he assumed the most retiring look of
which his mobile features were capable, and pretended
to examine one of the tables of curios.

"Lord Tulliwuddle, I congratulate you on the very
happy impression you have made!" began Eleanor with
the most delightful frankness.

But his lordship had learned to fear the Americans,
even bearing compliments.

"So?" he answered stolidly.

"Indeed you have!  Ri is just wild about your
cleverness."

"Zat is kind of him."

"He declares you are quite an authority on European
politics.  Now you will be able to tell me----"

"Ach, no!  I shall not to-day, please!" interrupted
the Baron hurriedly.

The heiress seemed disconcerted.

"Oh, not if you'd rather not, Lord Tulliwuddle."

"Not to-day."

"Well!"

She turned with a shrug and cast her eyes upon the
wall.

"How do you like this picture?  It's my latest toy. 
I call it just sweet!"

He cautiously examined the painting.

"It is vary pretty."

"Do you know Romney's work?"

The Baron shrank back.

"Not again to-day, please!"

Miss Maddison opened her handsome eyes to their
widest.

"My word!" she cried.  "If these are Highland
manners, Lord Tulliwuddle!"

In extreme confusion the Baron stammered--

"I beg your pardon!  Forgif me--but--ach, not
zose questions, please!"

Relenting a little, she inquired

"What may I ask you, then?  Do tell me!  You
see I want just to know all about you."

With an affrighted gesture the Baron turned to his
friend.

"Bonker," said he, "she does vant to know yet
more about me!  Vill you please to tell her."

The Count looked up from the curios with an
expression so bland that the air began to clear even
before he spoke.

"Miss Maddison, I must explain that my friend's
proud Highland spirit has been a little disturbed by
some inquiries, made in all good faith by your father. 
No offence, I am certain, was intended; erroneous
information--a little hastiness in jumping to conclusions
--a sensitive nature wounded by the least insinuation--
such were the unfortunate causes of Tulliwuddle's
excusable reticence.  Believe me, if you knew
all, your opinion of him would alter very, very
considerably!"

The perfectly accurate peroration to this statement
produced an immediate effect.

"What a shame!" cried Eleanor, her eyes sparkling
brightly.  "Lord Tulliwuddle, I am so sorry!"

The Baron looked into these eyes, and his own mien
altered perceptibly.  For an instant he gazed, and then
in a low voice remarked--

"By ze Gad!"

"Once!" counted the conscientious Bunker.

"Lord Tulliwuddle," she continued, "I declare I
feel so ashamed of those stupid men, I could just wring
their necks!  Now, just to make us quits, you ask me
anything in the world you like!"

Over his shoulder the Baron threw a stealthy glance
at his friend, but this time he did not invoke his
assistance.  Instead, he again murmured very distinctly--

"By ze Gad!"

"Twice!" counted Bunker.

"Miss Maddison," said the Baron to the flushed and
eager girl, "am I to onderstand zat you now are satisfied
zat I am not too vicked, too suspeecious, too unvorthy
of your charming society?  I do not say I am
yet vorthy--bot jost not too bad!"

Had the Baroness at that moment heard merely the
intonation of his voice, she would undoubtedly have
preferred a Chinese prison.

"Indeed, Lord Tulliwuddle, you may."

"By ze Gad!" announced the Baron, in a voice
braced with resolution.

"May I take the liberty of inspecting the aviary?"
said the Count.

"With the very greatest pleasure," replied the
heiress kindly.

His last distinct impression as he withdrew was of
the Baron giving his mustache a more formidable
twirl.

"A very pretty little scene," he reflected, as he
strolled out in search of others.  "Though, hang me,
I'm not sure if it ended in the right man leaving the
stage!"

This "second-fiddle feeling," as he styled it
humorously to himself, was further increased by the demeanor
of Miss Gallosh, to whom he now endeavored to make
himself agreeable.  Though sharing the universal respect
felt for the character and talents of the Count,
she was evidently too perturbed at seeing him appear
alone to appreciate his society as it deserved.  Ever
since luncheon poor Eva's heart had been sinking. 
The beauty, the assurance, the cleverness, and the
charm of the fabulously wealthy American heiress had
filled her with vague misgivings even while the gentlemen
were safely absent; but when Miss Maddison was
summoned away, and her father and brother took her
place, her uneasiness vastly increased.  Now here was
the last buffer removed between the chieftain and her
audacious rival (so she already counted her).  What
drama could these mysterious movements have been
leading to?

In vain did Count Bunker exercise his unique
powers of conversation.  In vain did he discourse on the
beauties of nature as displayed in the wooded valley
and the towering hills, and the beauties of art as
exhibited in the aviary and the new fir forest.  Eva's
thoughts were too much engrossed with the beauties
of woman, and their dreadful consequences if improperly
used.

"Is--is Miss Maddison still in the house?" she
inquired, with an effort to put the question carelessly.

"I believe so," said the Count in his kindest voice.

"And--and--that isn't Lord Tulliwuddle with my
father, is it?"

"I believe not," said the Count, still more sympathetically.

She could no longer withhold a sigh, and the Count
tactfully turned the conversation to the symbolical
eagle arrived that morning from Mr. Maddison's native
State.

They had passed from the aviary to the flower
garden, when at last they saw the Baron and Eleanor
appear.  She joined the rest of the party, while he,
walking thoughtfully in search of his friend, advanced
in their direction.  He raised his eyes, and then, to
complete Eva's concern, he started in evident
embarrassment at discovering her there also.  To do him
justice, he quickly recovered his usual politeness.  Yet
she noticed that he detained the Count beside him and
showed a curious tendency to discourse solely on the
fine quality of the gravel and the advantages of having
a brick facing to a garden wall.

"My lord," said Mr. Gallosh, approaching them,
"would you be thinking of going soon?  I've noticed
Mr. Maddison's been taking out his watch verra frequently."

"Certainly, certainly!" cried my lord.  "Oh, ve
have finished all ve have come for."

Eva started, and even Mr. Gallosh looked a trifle
perturbed.

"Yes," added the Count quickly, "we have a very
good idea of the heating system employed.  I quite
agree with you: we can leave the rest to your engineer."

But even his readiness failed to efface the effects of
his friend's unfortunate admission.

Farewells were said, the procession reformed, the
pipers struck up, and amidst the heartiest expressions
of pleasure from all, the chieftain and his friends
marched off to the spot where (out of sight of Lincoln
Lodge) the forethought of their manager had
arranged that the carriages should be waiting.

"Well," said Bunker, when they found themselves
in their room again, "what do you think of Miss
Maddison?"

The Baron lit a cigar, gazed thoughtfully and with
evident satisfaction at the daily deepening shade of
tan upon his knees, and then answered slowly--

"Vell, Bonker, she is not so bad."

"Ah," commented Bunker.

"Bot, Bonker, it is not vat I do think of her.  Ach,
no!  It is not for mein own pleasure.  Ach, nein! 
How shall I do my duty to Tollyvoddle?  Zat is vat
I ask myself."

"And what answer do you generally return?"

"Ze answer I make is," said the Baron gravely and
with the deliberation the point deserved--"Ze answer
is zat I shall vait and gonsider vich lady is ze best for
him."

"The means you employ will no doubt include a
further short personal interview with each of them?"

"Vun short!  Ach, Bonker, I most investigate
mit carefulness.  No, no; I most see zem more zan zat."

"How long do you expect the process will take
you?"

For the first time the Baron noticed with surprise a
shade of impatience in his friend's voice.

"Are you in a horry, Bonker?"

"My dear Baron, I grudge no man his sport--
particularly if he is careful to label it his duty.  But, to
tell the truth, I have never played gamekeeper for so
long before, and I begin to find that picking up your
victims and carrying them after you in a bag is less
exhilarating to-day than it was a week ago.  I wouldn't
curtail your pleasure for the world, my dear fellow! 
But I do ask you to remember the poor keeper."

"My dear friend," said the Baron cordially, "I shall
remember!  It shall take bot two or tree days to do
my duty.  I shall not be long."

          "A day or two of sober duty,
            Then, Hoch! for London, home, and beauty!"

trolled the Count pleasantly.

The Baron did not echo the "Hoch"; but after
retaining his thoughtful expression for a few moments,
a smile stole over his face, and he remarked in an
absent voice--

"Vun does not alvays need to go home to find
beauty."

"Yes," said the Count, "I have always held it to
be one of the advantages of travel that one learns to
tolerate the inhabitants of other lands."



CHAPTER XXIII

"Ach, you are onfair," exclaimed the Baron. 
"Really?" said Eva, with a sarcastic
intonation he had not believed possible in so
sweet a voice.

It was the day following the luncheon at Lincoln
Lodge, and they were once more seated in the shady
arbor: this time the Count had guaranteed not only to
leave them uninterrupted by his own presence, but to
protect the garden from all other intruders.  Everything,
in fact, had presaged the pleasantest of tete-a-
tetes.  But, alas! the Baron was learning that if
Amaryllis pouts, the shadiest corner may prove too
warm.  Why, he was asking himself, should she exhibit
this incomprehensible annoyance?  What had he done? 
How to awake her smiles again?

"I do not forget my old friends so quickly," he
protested.  "No, I do assure you!  I do not onderstand
vy you should say so."

"Oh, we don't profess to be old FRIENDS, Lord
Tulliwuddle!  After all, there is no reason why you
shouldn't turn your back on us as soon as you see a
newer--and more amusing--ACQUAINTANCE."

"But I have not turned my back!"

"We saw nothing else all yesterday."

"Ah, Mees Gallosh, zat is not true!  Often did I
look at you!"

"Did you?  I had forgotten.  One doesn't treasure
every glance, you know."

The Baron tugged at his mustache and frowned.

"She vill not do for Tollyvoddle," he said to himself.

But the next instant a glance from Eva's brilliant
eyes--a glance so reproachful, so appealing, and so
stimulating, that there was no resisting it--diverted
his reflections into quite another channel.

"Vat can I do to prove zat I am so friendly as
ever?" he exclaimed.

"So FRIENDLY?" she repeated, with an innocently
meditative air.

"So vary parteecularly friendly!"

Her air relented a little--just enough, in fact, to
make him ardently desire to see it relent still further.

"You promise things to me, and then do them for
other people's benefit."

The Baron eagerly demanded a fuller statement of
this abominable charge.

"Well," she said, "you told me twenty times you
would show me something really Highland--that you'd
kill a deer by torchlight, or hold a gathering of the
clans upon the castle lawn.  All sorts of things you
offered to do for me, and the only thing you have done
has been for the sake of your NEW friends!  You gave
THEM a procession and a dance."

"But you did see it too!" he interrupted eagerly.

"As part of your procession," she retorted scornfully. 
"We felt much obliged to you--especially as
you were so attentive to us afterwards!"

"I did not mean to leave you," exclaimed the Baron
weakly.  "It was jost zat Miss Maddison----"

"I am not interested in Miss Maddison.  No doubt
she is very charming; but, really, she doesn't interest
me at all.  You were unavoidably prevented from talking
to us--that is quite sufficient for me.  I excuse
you, Lord Tulliwuddle.  Only, please, don't make me
any more promises."

"Eva!  Ach, I most say 'Eva' jost vunce more! 
I am going to leave my castle, to leave you, and say
good-by."

She started and looked quickly at him.

"Bot before I go I shall keep my promise!  Ve shall
have ze pipers, and ze kilts, and ze dancing, and toss
ze caber, and fling ze hammer, and it shall be on ze
castle lawn, and all for your sake!  Vill you not forgive
me and be friends?"

"Will it really be all for my sake?"

She spoke incredulously, yet looked as if she were
willing to be convinced.

"I swear it vill!"

The latter part of this interview was so much more
agreeable than the beginning that when the distant
rumble of the luncheon gong brought it to an end at
last they sighed, and for fully half a minute lingered
still in silence.  If one may dare to express in crude
language a maiden's unspoken, formless thought, Eva's
might be read--"There is yet a moment left for him
to say the three short words that seem to hang upon
his tongue!"  While on his part he was reflecting that
he had another duologue arranged for that very afternoon,
and that, for the simultaneous suitor of two
ladies, an open mind was almost indispensable.

"Then you are going for a drive with the Count
Bunker this afternoon?" she asked, as they strolled
slowly towards the house.

"For a leetle tour in my estate," he answered easily.

"On business, I suppose?"

"Yes, vorse luck!"

He knew not whether to feel more relieved or
embarrassed to find that he evidently rose in her
estimation as a conscientious landlord.

 .   .    .    .    .    .

"You are having a capital day's sport, Baron," said
the Count gaily, as they drew near Lincoln Lodge.

During their drive the Baron had remained unusually
silent.  He now roused himself and said in a
guarded whisper--

"Bonker, vill you please to give ze coachman some
money not to say jost vere he did drive us."

"I have done so," smiled the Count.

His friend gratefully grasped his hand and curled
his mustache with an emboldened air.

A similar display of address on the part of Count
Bunker resulted in the Baron's finding himself some ten
minutes later alone with Miss Maddison in her sanctuary. 
But, to his great surprise, he was greeted with
none of the encouraging cordiality that had so charmed
him yesterday.  The lady was brief in her responses,
critical in her tone, and evidently disposed to quarrel
with her admirer on some ground at present entirely
mysterious.  Indeed, so discouraging was she that at
length he exclaimed--

"Tell me, Miss Maddison--I should not have gom
to-day?  You did not vish to see me.  Eh?"

"I certainly was perfectly comfortable without you,
Lord Tulliwuddle," said the heiress tartly.

"Shall I go avay?"

"You have come here entirely for your own pleasure;
and the moment you begin to feel tired there is
nothing to hinder you going home again."

"You vere more kind to me yesterday," said the
Baron sadly.

"I did not learn till after you had gone how much
I was to blame for keeping you so long away from
your friends.  Please do not think I shall repeat the
offence."

There was an accent on the word "friends" that
enlightened the bewildered nobleman, even though quickness
in taking a hint was not his most conspicuous
attribute.  That the voice of gossip had reached the
fair American was only too evident; but though
considerably annoyed, he could not help feeling at the
same time flattered to see the concern he was able to
inspire.

"My friends!" said he with amorous artfulness.

"Do you mean Count Bunker?  He is ze only FRIEND
I have here mit me."

"The ONLY friend?  Indeed!"

"Zat is since I see you vill not treat me as soch."

Upon these lines a pretty little passage-of-arms
ensued, the Baron employing with considerable effect the
various blandishments of which he was admitted a past
master; the heiress modifying her resentment by degrees
under their insidious influence.  Still she would
not entirely quit her troublesome position, till at last
a happy inspiration came to reinforce his assaults. 
Why, he reflected, should an entertainment that would
require a considerable outlay of money and trouble
serve to win the affections of only one girl?  With the
same espenditure of ammunition it might be possible
to double the bag.

"Miss Maddison," he said with a regretful air, "I
did come here to-day in ze hope----But ach!"

So happily had he succeeded in whetting her curiosity
that she begged--nay, insisted--that he should
finish his sentence.

"If you had been kind I did hope zat you vould
allow me to give in your honor an entertainment at
my castle."

"An entertainment!" she cried, with a marked
increase of interest.

"Jost a leetle EXPOSITION of ze Highland sport, mit
bagpipes and caber and so forth; unvorthy of your
notice perhaps, bot ze best I can do."

Eleanor clapped her hands enthusiastically.

"I should just love it!"

The triumphant diplomatist smiled complacently.

"Bonker vill arrange it all nicely," he said to
himself.

And there rose in his fancy such a pleasing and
gorgeous picture of himself in the panoply of the
North, hurling a hammer skywards amidst the plaudits
of his clan and the ravished murmurs of the ladies,
that he could not but congratulate himself upon this
last master-stroke of policy.  For if instead of ladies
there were only one lady, exactly half the pleasure
would be lacking.  So generous were this nobleman's
instincts!

During their drive to Lincoln Lodge the Baron had
hesitated to broach his new project to his friend for
the very reason that, after the glow of his first enthusiastic
proposal to Eva was over, it seemed to him a
vast undertaking for a limited object; but driving
home he lost no time in confiding his scheme to the
Count.

"The deuce!" cried Bunker.  "That will mean
three more days here at least!"

"Vat is tree days, mine Bonker?"

"My dear Baron, I am the last man in the world to
drop an unpleasant hint; yet I can't help thinking we
have been so unconscionably lucky up till now that it
would be wise to retire before an accident befalls us."

"Vat kind of accident?"

"The kind that may happen to the best regulated
adventurer."

The Baron pondered.  When Bunker suggested caution
it indeed seemed time to beat a retreat; yet--
those two charming ladies, and that alluring tartan
tableau!

"Ach, let ze devil take ze man zat is afraid!" he
exclaimed at last.  "Bonker, it vill be soch fun!"

"Watching you complete two conquests?"

"Be not impatient, good Bonker!"

"My dear fellow, if you could find me one girl--
even one would content me--who would condescend to
turn her eyes from the dazzling spectacle of Baron
Tulliwuddle, and cast them for so much as half an hour
a day upon his obscure companion, I might see some
fun in it too."

The Baron, with an air of patronizing kindness that
made his fellow-adventurer's lot none the easier to bear,
answered reassuringly--

"Bot I shall leave all ze preparations to be made by
you; you vill not have time zen to feel lonely."

"Thank you, Baron; you have the knack of conferring
the most princely favors."

"Ach, I am used to do so," said the Baron simply,
and then burst out eagerly, "Some feat you must
design for me at ze sports so zat I can show zem my
strength, eh?"

"With the caber, for instance?"

The Baron had seen the caber tossed, and he shook
his head.

"He is too big."

"I might fit a strong spring in one end."

But the Baron still seemed disinclined.  His friend
reflected, and then suddenly exclaimed--

"The village doctor keeps some chemical apparatus,
I believe!  You'll throw the hammer, Baron.  I can
manage it."

The Baron appeared mystified by the juxtaposition
of ideas, but serenely expressed himself as ready to
entrust this and all other arrangements for the Hechnahoul
Gathering to the ingenious Count, as some small
compensation for so conspicuously outshining him.



CHAPTER XXIV

The day of the Gathering broke gray and still,
and the Baron, who was no weather prophet,
declared gloomily--

"It vill rain.  Donnerwetter!"

A couple of hours later the sun was out, and the
distant hills shimmering in the heat haze.

"Himmel!  Ve are alvays lucky, Bonker!" he cried,
and with gleeful energy brandished his dumb-bells in
final preparation for his muscular exploits.

"We certainly have escaped hanging so far," said
the Count, as he drew on the trews which became his
well-turned leg so happily.

His arrangements were admirable and complete, and
by twelve o'clock the castle lawn looked as barbarically
gay as the colored supplement to an illustrated paper. 
Pipes were skirling, skirts fluttering, flags flapping;
and as invitations had been issued to various magnates
in the district, whether acquainted with the present
peer or not, there were to be seen quite a number of
dignified personages in divers shades of tartan, and
parasols of all the hues in the rainbow.  The Baron
was in his element.  He judged the bagpipe competition
himself, and held one end of the tape that measured
the jumps, besides delighting the whole assembled
company by his affability and good spirits.

"Your performance comes next, I see," said Eleanor
Maddison, throwing him her brightest smile.  "I can't
tell you how I am looking forward to seeing you do it!"

The Baron started and looked at the programme in
her hand.  He had been too excited to study it carefully
before, and now for the first time he saw the
announcement (in large type)--

"7. Lord Tulliwuddle throws the 85-lb. hammer."

The sixth event was nearly through, and there--
there evidently was the hammer in question being carried
into the ring by no fewer than three stalwart
Highlanders!  The Baron had learned enough of the
pastimes of his adopted country to be aware that this
gigantic weapon was something like four times as
heavy as any hammer hitherto thrown by the hardiest
Caledonian.

"Teufel!  Bonker vill make a fool of me," he
muttered, and hastily bursting from the circle of
spectators, hurried towards the Count, who appeared to be
busied in keeping the curious away from the Chieftain's
hammer.

"Bonker, vat means zis?" he demanded.

"Your hammer," smiled the Count.

"A hammer zat takes tree men----"

"Hush!" whispered the Count.  "They are only
holding it down!"

The Baron laid his hand upon the round enormous
head, and started.

"It is not iron!" he gasped.  "It is of rubber."

"Filled with hydrogen," breathed the Count in his
ear.  "Just swing it once and let go--and, I say, mind
it doesn't carry you away with it."

The chief bared his arms and seized the handle; his
three clansmen let go; and then, with what seemed to
the breathless spectators to be a merely trifling effort
of strength, he dismissed the projectile upon the most
astounding journey ever seen even in that land of
brawny hammer-hurlers.  Up, up, up it soared, over
the trees; high above the topmost turret of the castle,
and still on and on and ever upwards till it became a
mere speck in the zenith, and at last faded utterly from
sight.

Then, and not till then, did the pent-up applause
break out into such a roar of cheering as Hechnahoul
had never heard before in all its long history.

"Eighty-five pounds of pig-iron gone straight to
heaven!" gasped the Silver King.  "Guess that beats
all records!"

"America must wake up!" frowned Ri.

Meanwhile the Baron, after bowing in turn towards
all points of the compass, turned confidentially to his
friend.

"Vill not ze men that carried it----?"

"I've told 'em you'd give 'em a couple of sovereigns
apiece."

The Baron came from an economical nation.

"Two to each!"

"My dear fellow, wasn't it worth it?"

The Baron grasped his hand.

"Ja, mine Bonker, it vas!  I vill pay zem."

Radiant and smiling, he returned to receive the
congratulations of his guests, dreaming that his triumph
was complete, and that nothing more arduous remained
than pleasant dalliance alternately with his Eleanor
and his Eva.  But he speedily discovered that hurling
an inflated hammer heavenwards was child's play as
compared with the simultaneous negotiation of a double
wooing.  The first person to address him was the millionaire,
and he could not but feel a shiver of apprehension
to note that he was evidently in the midst of a
conversation with Mr. Gallosh.

"I must congratulate you, Lord Tulliwuddle," said
Mr. Maddison, "and I must further congratulate my
daughter upon the almost miraculous feat you have
performed for her benefit.  You know, I dare say"
--here he turned to Mr. Gallosh--"that this very
delightful entertainment was given primarily in my
Eleanor's honor?"

"Whut!" exclaimed the merchant.  "That's--eh--
that's scarcely the fac's as we've learned them.  But
his lordship will be able to tell you best himself."

His lordship smiled affably upon both, murmured
something incoherent, and passed on hastily towards
the scarlet parasol of Eleanor.  But he had no sooner
reached it than he paused and would have turned had
she not seen him, for under a blue parasol beside her
he espied, too late, the fair face of Eva, and too clearly
perceived that the happy maidens had been comparing
notes, with the result that neither looked very happy
now.

"I hope you do enjoy ze sports," he began, endeavoring
to distribute this wish as equally as possible.

"Miss Gallosh has been remarkably fortunate in her
weather," said Eleanor, and therewith gave him an
uninterrupted view of her sunshade.

"Miss Maddison has seen you to great advantage,
Lord Tulliwuddle," said Eva, affording him the next
instant a similar prospect of silk.

The unfortunate chief recoiled from this ungrateful
reception of his kindness.  Only one refuge, one mediator,
he instinctively looked for; but where could the
Count have gone?

"Himmel!  Has he deserted me?" he muttered,
frantically elbowing his way in search of him.

But this once it happened that the Count was
engaged upon business of his own.  Strolling outside the
ring of spectators, with a view to enjoying a cigar and
a little relaxation from the anxieties of stage-management,
his attention had been arrested in a singular and
flattering way.  At that place where he happened to be
passing stood an open carriage containing a girl and
an older lady, evidently guests from the neighborhood
personally unknown to his lordship, and just as he went
by he heard pronounced in a thrilling whisper--"THAT
must be Count Bunker!"

The Count was too well-bred to turn at once, but
it is hardly necessary to say that a few moments later
he casually repassed the carriage; nor will it astonish
any who have been kind enough to follow his previous
career with some degree of attention to learn that when
opposite the ladies he paused, looked from them to the
enclosure and back again, and presently raising his
feathered bonnet, said in the most ingratiating tones--

"Pardon me, but I am requested by Lord Tulliwuddle
to show any attention I can to the comfort of
his guests.  Can you see well from where you are?"

The younger lady with an eager air assured him that
they saw perfectly, and even in the course of the three
or four sentences she spoke he was able to come to
several conclusions regarding her: that her companion
was in a subsidiary and doubtless salaried position; that
she herself was decidedly attractive to look upon;
that her voice had spoken the whispered words; and
that her present animated air might safely be attributed
rather to the fact that she addressed Count Bunker
than to the subject-matter of her reply.

No one possessed in a higher degree than the Count
the nice art of erecting a whole conversation upon the
foundation of the lightest phrase.  He contrived a
reply to the lady's answer, was able to put the most
natural question next, to follow that with a happy
stroke of wit, and within three minutes to make it
seem the most obvious thing in the world that he should
be saying

"I am sure that Lord Tulliwuddle will never forgive
me if I fail to learn the names of any visitors who have
honored him to-day."

"Mine," said the girl, her color rising slightly, but
her glance as kind as ever, "is Julia Wallingford. 
This is my friend Miss Minchell."

The Count bowed.

"And may I introduce myself as a friend of Tulliwuddle's,
answering to the name of Count Bunker."

Again Miss Wallingford's color rose.  In a low and
ardent voice she began

"I am so glad to meet you!  Your name is
already----"

But at that instant, when the Count was bending
forward to catch the words and the lady bending down
to utter them, a hand grasped him by the sleeve, and
the Baron's voice exclaimed

"Come, Bonker, quickly here to help me!"

He would fain have presented his lordship to the
ladies, but the Baron was too hurried to pause, and
with a parting bow he was reluctantly borne off to
assist his friend out of his latest dilemma.

"Pooh, my dear Baron!" he cried, when the
situation was explained to him; "you couldn't have done
more damage to their hearts if you had hurled your
hammer at them!  A touch of jealousy was all that
was needed to complete your conquests.  But for me
you have spoiled the most promising affair imaginable. 
There goes their carriage trotting down the drive! 
And I shall probably never know whether my name
was already in her heart or in her prayers.  Those are
the two chief receptacles for gentlemen's names, I
believe--aren't they, Baron?"

On his advice the rival families were left to the
soothing influences of a good dinner and a night's
sleep, and he found himself free to ponder over his
interrupted adventure.

"Undoubtedly one feels all the better for a little
appreciation," he reflected complacently.  "I wonder
if it was my trews that bowled her over?"



CHAPTER XXV

The Count next morning consumed a solitary
breakfast, his noble friend having risen some
hours previously and gone for an early walk
upon the hill.  But he was far from feeling
any trace of boredom, since an open letter beside his
plate appeared to provide him with an ample fund of
pleasant and entertaining reflections.

"I have not withered yet," he said to himself. 
"Here is proof positive that some blossom, some aroma
remains!"

The precise terms of this encouraging epistle were
these:

                         "THE LASH, near NETHERBRIG.
                              "Tuesday night.


"DEAR COUNT BUNKER,--Forgive what must seem to
you INCREDIBLE boldness (!), and do not think worse of
me than I deserve.  It seems such a pity that you should
be so near and yet that I should lose this chance of
gratifying my great desire.  If you knew how I prized
the name of Bunker you would understand; but no doubt
I am only one among many, and you do understand
better than I can explain.

"My father is away from home, and the WORLD dictates
prudence; but I know your views on conventionality
are those I too have learned to share, so will you
come and see me before you leave Scotland?

"With kindest regards and in great haste because
I want you to get this to-morrow morning.  Believe me,
yours very sincerely,
                         "JULIA WALLINGFORD."


"P.S.--If it would upset your arrangements to come
only for the day, Miss Minchell agrees with me that
we could easily put you up.--J. W."


"By Jingo!" mused the Count, "that's what I call
a sporting offer.  Her father away from home, and
Count Bunker understanding better than she can explain! 
Gad, it's my duty to go!"

But besides the engaging cordiality of Miss Wallingford's
invitation, there was something about the letter
that puzzled almost as much as it cheered him.

"She prizes the name of Bunker, does she?  Never
struck me it was very ornamental; and in any case the
compliment seems a trifle stretched.  But, hang it! this
is looking a gift-horse in the mouth.  Such ardor deserves
to be embraced, not dissected."

He swiftly debated how best to gratify the lady. 
Last night it had been his own counsel, and likewise the
Baron's desire, to leave by the night mail that very
evening, with their laurels still unfaded and blessings
heaped upon their heads.  Why not make his next stage
The Lash?

"Hang it, the Baron has had such a good innings
that he can scarcely grudge me a short knock," he said
to himself.  "He can wait for me at Perth or
somewhere."

And, ringing the bell, he wrote and promptly
despatched this brief telegram:

"Delighted.  Shall spend to-night in passing.  Bunker."

Hardly was this point settled when the footman re-
entered to inform him that Mr. Maddison's motor car
was at the door waiting to convey him without delay
to Lincoln Lodge.  Accompanying this announcement
came the Silver King's card bearing the words, "Please
come and see me at once."

The Count stroked his chin, and lit a cigarette.

"There is something fresh in the wind," thought he.

In the course of his forty-miles-an-hour rush through
the odors of pine woods, he had time to come to a pretty
correct conclusion regarding the business before him,
and was thus enabled to adopt the mien most suitable
to the contingency when he found himself ushered into
the presence of the millionaire and his son.  The set
look upon their faces, the ceremonious manner of their
greeting, and the low buzzing of the phonograph, audible
above the tinkle of a musical box ingeniously
intended to drown it, confirmed his guess even before a
word had passed.

"Be seated, Count," said the Silver King; and the
Count sat.

"Now, sir," he continued, "I have sent for you,
owing, sir, to the high opinion I have formed of your
intelligence and business capabilities."

The Count bowed profoundly.

"Yes, sir, I believe, and my son believes, you to be a
white man, even though you are a Count."

"That is so," said Ri.

"Now, sir, you must be aware--in fact, you ARE
aware--of the matrimonial project once entertained
between my daughter and Lord Tulliwuddle."

"Once!" exclaimed the Count in protest.

"ONCE!" echoed Ri in his deepest voice.

"Hish, Ri!  Let your poppa do the talking this
time," said the millionaire sternly, though with an
indulgent eye.

"But--er--ONCE?" repeated the Count, as if bewildered
by the past tense implied; though to himself he
murmured--"I knew it!"

"When I gave my sanction to Lord Tulliwuddle's
proposition, I did so under the impression that I was
doing a deal with a man, sir, of integrity and honor. 
But what do I find?"

"Yes, what?" thundered Ri.

"I find, sir, that his darned my-lordship--and be
damned to his titles----"

"Mr. Maddison!" expostulated the Count gently.

"I find, Count, I find that Lord Tulliwuddle, under
pretext of paying my Eleanor a compliment, has provided
an entertainment--a musical and athletic entertainment--
for another woman!"

The Count sprang to his feet.

"Impossible!" he cried.

"It is true!"

"Name her!"

"She answers, sir, to the plebeian cognomen of Gallosh."

"A nobody!" sneered Ri.

"In trade!" added his father scornfully.

Had the occasion been more propitious, the Count
could scarcely have refrained from commenting upon
this remarkably republican criticism; but, as it was, he
deemed it more advisable to hunt with the hounds.

"That canaille!" he shouted.  "Ha, ha!  Lord
Tulliwuddle would never so far demean himself!"

"I have it from old Gallosh himself," declared Mr.
Maddison.

"And that girl Gallosh told Eleanor the same,"
added Ri.

"Pooh!" cried the Count.  "A mere invention."

"You are certain, sir, that Lord Tulliwuddle gave
them no grounds whatever for supposing such a thing?"

"I pledge my reputation as Count of the Austrian
Empire, that if my friend be indeed a Tulliwuddle he
is faithful to your charming daughter!"

Father and son looked at him shrewdly.

"Being a Tulliwuddle, or any other sort of pampered
aristocrat, doesn't altogether guarantee faithfulness,"
observed the Silver King.

"If he has deceived you, he shall answer to ME!"
declared the Count.  "And between ourselves, as nature's
gentleman to nature's gentleman, you may assure Miss
Maddison that there is not the remotest likelihood of
this scheming Miss Gallosh ever becoming my friend's
bride!"

The two Dariuses were sensibly affected by this
assurance.

"As nature's gentleman to nature's gentleman!"
repeated the elder with unction, wringing his hand.

His son displayed an equal enthusiasm, and the Count
departed with an enhanced reputation and the lingering
fragrance of a cocktail upon his tongue.

"Now I think we are in comparatively smooth water,"
he said to himself as he whizzed back to the castle.

At the door he was received by the butler.

"Mr. Gallosh is waiting for you in the library, my
lord," said he, adding confidentially (since the Count
had endeared himself to all), "He's terrible impatient
for to see your lordship."



CHAPTER XXVI

Evidently Mr. Gallosh, while waiting for the
Count's return, had so worked up his wrath
that it was ready to explode on a hair-trigger
touch; and, as evidently, his guest's extreme
urbanity made it exceedingly difficult to carry out his
threatening intentions.

"I want a word with you, Count.  I've been wanting
a word with you all morning," he began.

"Believe me, Mr. Gallosh, I appreciate the compliment."

"Where were you? I mean it was verra annoying
not to find you when I wanted you."

The merchant was so evidently divided between anxiety
to blurt out his mind while it was yet hot from the
making up, and desire not to affront a guest and a man
of rank, that the Count could scarcely restrain a smile.

"It is equally annoying to myself.  I should have
enjoyed a conversation with you at any hour since breakfast."

"Umph," replied his host.

"What can I do for you now?"

Mr. Gallosh looked at him steadfastly.

"Count Bunker," said he, "I am only a plain
man----"

"The ladies, I assure you, are not of that opinion,"
interposed the Count politely.

Mr. Gallosh seemed to him to receive this compliment
with more suspicion than pleasure.

"I'm saying," he repeated, "that I'm only a plain
man of business, and you and your friend are what
you'd call swells."

"God forbid that I should!" the Count interjected
fervently.  " 'Toffs,' possibly--but no matter, please
continue."

"Well, now, so long as his lordship likes to treat me
and my family as kind of belonging to a different sphere,
I'm well enough content.  I make no pretensions, Count,
to be better than what I am."

"I also, Mr. Gallosh, endeavor to affect a similar
modesty.  It's rather becoming, I think, to a fine-looking
man."

"It's becoming to any kind of man that he should
know his place.  But I was saying, I'd have been content
if his lordship had been distant and polite and that
kind of thing.  But was he?  You know yourself, Count,
how he's behaved!"

"Perfectly politely, I trust."

"But he's not been what you'd call distant, Count
Bunker.  In fac', the long and the short of it is just
this--what's his intentions towards my Eva?"

"Is it Mrs. Gallosh who desires this information?"

"It is.  And myself too; oh, I'm not behindhand
where the reputation of my daughters is concerned!"

"Mrs. G. has screwed him up to this," said the
Count to himself.  Aloud, he asked with his blandest
air--

"Was not Lord Tulliwuddle available himself?"

"No; he's gone out."

"Alone?"

"No, not alone."

"In brief, with Miss Gallosh?"

"Quite so; and what'll he be saying to her?"

"He is a man of such varied information that it's
hard to guess."

"From all I hear, there's not been much variety so
far," said Mr. Gallosh drily.

"Dear me!" observed the Count.

His host looked at him for a few moments.

"Well?" he demanded at length.

"Pardon me if I am stupid, but what comment do
you expect me to make?"

"Well, you see, we all know quite well you're more
in his lordship's confidence than any one else in the
house, and I'd take it as a favor if you'd just give me
your honest opinion.  Is he just playing himself--or
what?"

The worthy Mr. Gallosh was so evidently sincere, and
looked at him with such an appealing eye, that the Count
found the framing of a suitable reply the hardest task
that had yet been set him.

"Mr. Gallosh, if I were in Tulliwuddle's shoes I can
only say that I should consider myself a highly fortunate
individual; and I do sincerely believe that that is
his own conviction also."

"You think so?"

"I do indeed."

Though sensibly relieved, Mr. Gallosh still felt vaguely
conscious that if he attempted to repeat this statement
for the satisfaction of his wife, he would find it
hard to make it sound altogether as reassuring as when
accompanied by the Count's sympathetic voice.  He
ruminated for a minute, and then suddenly recalled
what the Count's evasive answers and sympathetic
assurances had driven from his mind.  Yet it was, in fact,
the chief occasion of concern.

"Do you know, Count Bunker, what his lordship has
gone and done?"

"Should one inquire too specifically?" smiled the
Count; but Mr. Gallosh remained unmoved.

"You can bear me witness that he told us he was
giving this gathering in my Eva's honor?"

"Undoubtedly."

"Well, he went and told Miss Maddison it was for
her sake?"

"Incredible!"

"It's a fact!"

"I refuse to believe my friend guilty of such perfidy! 
Who told you this?"

"The Maddisons themselves."

"Ha, ha!" laughed the Count, as heartily as he had
laughed at Lincoln Lodge; "don't you know these
Americans sometimes draw the long bow?"

"You mean to say you don't believe they told the
truth?"

"My dear Mr. Gallosh, I would answer you in
the oft-quoted words of Horace--'Arma virumque
cano.'  The philosophy of a solar system is some
times compressed within an eggshell.  Say nothing
and see!"

He shook his host heartily by the hand as he spoke,
and Mr. Gallosh, to his subsequent perplexity, found
the interview apparently at a satisfactory conclusion.

"And now," said the Count to himself, " 'Bolt!' is
the word."

As he set about his packing in the half-hour that yet
remained before luncheon, he was surprised to note that
his friend had evidently left no orders yet concerning
any preparations for his departure.

"Confound him!  I thought he had made up his
mind last night!  Ah, there he comes--and singing, too,
by Jingo!  If he wants another day's dalliance----"

At this point his reflections were interrupted by the
entrance of the jovial Baron himself.  He stopped and
stared at his friend.

"Vat for do you pack up?"

"Because we leave this afternoon."

"Ach, Bonker, absurd!  To-morrow--yes, to-morrow
ve vill leave."

Bunker folded his arms and looked at him seriously.

"I have had two interviews this morning--one with
Mr. Maddison, the other with Mr. Gallosh.  They were
neither of them pleased with you, Baron."

"Not pleased?  Vat did zey say?"

Depicting the ire of these gentlemen in the most vivid
terms, the Count gave him a summary of his morning's
labors.

"Pooh, pooh!  Tuts, tuts!" exclaimed the Baron. 
"I vill make zat all right; never do you fear.  Eva, she
does smile on me already.  Eleanor, she vill also ven I
see her.  Leave it to me."

"You won't go to-day?"

"To-morrow, Bonker, I swear I vill for certain!"

Bonker pondered.

"Hang it!" he exclaimed.  "The worst of it is, I've
pledged myself to go upon a visit."

The Baron listened to the tale of his incipient romance
with the greatest relish.

"Bot go, my friend!  Bot go!" he cried, "and
zen come back here to-morrow and ve vill leave togezzer."

"Leave you alone, with the barometer falling and the
storm-cone hoisted?  I don't like to, Baron."

"Bot to leave zat leetle girl--eh, Bonker?  How is
zat?"

"Was ever a man so torn between two duties!"
exclaimed the conscientious Count.

"Ladies come first!" quoth the Baron.

Bunker was obviously strongly tending to this opinion
also.

"Can I trust you to guide your own destinies without me?"

The Baron drew himself up with a touch of indignation.

"Am I a child or a fool?  I have guided mine destiny
vary vell so far, and I zink I can still so do.  Ven vill
you go to see Miss Wallingford?"

"I'll hire a trap from the village after lunch and be
off about four," said the Count.  "Long live the ladies! 
Learn wisdom by my example!  Will this tie conquer
her, do you think?"

In this befitting spirit he drove off that afternoon,
and the Baron, after waving his adieus from the door,
strode brimful of confidence towards the drawing-room. 
His thoughts must have gone astray, for he turned by
accident into the wrong room--a small apartment hardly
used at all; and before he had time to turn back he
stopped petrified at the sight of a picture on the wall. 
There could be no mistake--it was the original of that
ill-omened print he had seen in the Edinburgh hotel,
"The Execution of Lord Tulliwuddle." The actual
title was there plain to see.

"Zen it vas not a hoax!" he gasped.

His first impulse was to look for a bicycle and tear
after the dog-cart.

"But can I ride him in a kilt?" he reflected.

By the time he had fully debated this knotty point
his friend was miles upon his way, and the Baron was
left ruefully to lament his rashness in parting with such
an ally.



CHAPTER XXVII

During the horrid period of suspense that
followed her visit to Sir Justin, the Baroness
von Blitzenberg naturally enough felt
disinclined to go much into society, and in
fact rarely went out at all during the Baron's absence,
except to the houses of one or two of her mother's
particular friends.  Even then she felt much more inclined
to stay at home.

"Need we go to Mrs. Jerwin-Speedy's to-night?"
she said one afternoon.

"Certainly," replied the Countess decisively.

Alicia sighed submissively; but this attitude was
abruptly changed into one of readiness, nay, even of alacrity,
when her mother remarked--

"By the way, she is an aunt of the present
Tulliwuddle.  I believe it was you who were asking about him
the other day."

"Was I?" said the Baroness carelessly; but she
offered no further objections to attending Mrs. Jerwin-
Speedy's reception.

She found there a large number of people compressed
into a couple of small rooms, and she soon felt so lost in
the crush of strangers, and the chances of obtaining
any information about Lord Tulliwuddle or his Eva
seemed so remote, that she soon began to wish herself
comfortably at home again, even though it were only to
fret.  But fortune, which had so long been unkind to
her and indulgent to her erring spouse, chose that night
as the turning-point in her tide of favors.  Little
dreaming how much hung on a mere introduction, Mrs.
Jerwin-Speedy led up to the Baroness an apparently
nervous and diffident young man.

"Let me introduce my nephew, Lord Tulliwuddle--
the Baroness von Blitzenberg," said she; and having
innocently hurled this bomb, retired from further
participation in the drama.

With young and diffident men Alicia had a pleasant
instinct for conducting herself as smilingly as though
they were the greatest wits about the town.  The envious
of her sex declared that it was because she scarcely
recognized the difference; but be that as it may, it
served her on this occasion in the most admirable stead. 
She detached the agitated peer from the thickest of the
throng, propped him beside her against the wall, and by
her kindness at length unloosed his tongue.  Then it
was she began to suspect that his nervous manner must
surely be due to some peculiar circumstance rather than
mere constitutional shyness.  Made observant by her
keen curiosity, she noticed at first a worried, almost
hunted, look in his eyes and an extreme impatience of
scrutiny by his fellow-guests; but as he gained
confidence in her kindness and discretion these passed away,
and he appeared simply a garrulous young man, with
a tolerably good opinion of himself.

"Poor fellow!  He is in trouble of some kind. 
Something to do with Eva, of course!" she said to
her sympathetically.

The genuine Tulliwuddle had indeed some cause for
perturbation.  After keeping himself out of the way
of all his friends and most of his acquaintances ever
since the departure of his substitute, hearing nothing
of what was happening at Hechnahoul, and living in
daily dread of the ignominious exposure of their plot,
he had stumbled by accident against his aunt, explained
his prolonged absence from her house with the utmost
difficulty, and found himself forced to appease her
wounded feelings by appearing where he least wished
to be seen--in a crowded London reception-room. 
No wonder the unfortunate young man seemed nervous
and ill at ease.

As for Alicia, she was consumed with anxiety to know
why he was here and not in Scotland, as Sir Justin had
supposed; and, indeed, to learn a number of things. 
And now they were rapidly getting on sufficiently
familiar terms for her to put a tactful question or two. 
Encouraged by her sympathy, he began to touch upon
his own anxieties.

"A young man ought to get married, I suppose," he
remarked confidentially.

The Baroness smiled.

"That depends on whether he likes any one well
enough to marry her, doesn't it?"

He sighed.

"Do you think--honestly now," he said solemnly,
"that one should marry for love or marry for money?"

"For love, certainly!"

"You really think so?  You'd advise--er--advise
a fellow to blow the prejudices of his friends, and
that sort of thing?"

"I should have to know a little more about the case."

He was evidently longing for a confidant.

"Suppose er--one girl was ripping, but--well--
on the stage, for instance."

"On the stage!" exclaimed the Baroness.  "Yes,
please go on.  What about the other girl?"

"Suppose she had simply pots of money, but the
fellow didn't know much more about her?"

"I certainly shouldn't marry a girl I didn't know
a good deal about," said the Baroness with conviction.

Lord Tulliwuddle seemed impressed with this opinion.

"That's just what I have begun to think," said he,
and gazed down at his pumps with a meditative air.

The Baroness thought the moment had come when
she could effect a pretty little surprise.

"Which of them is called Eva?" she asked archly.

To her intense disappointment he merely stared.

"Don't you really know any girl called Eva?"

He shook his head.

"Can't think of any one."

Suspicion, fear, bewilderment, made her reckless.

"Have you been in Scotland--at your castle, as I
heard you were going?"

A mighty change came over the young man.  He
backed away from her, stammering hurriedly

"No--yes--I--er--why do you ask me that?"

"Is there any other Lord Tulliwuddle?" she
demanded breathlessly.

He gave her one wild look, and then without so
much as a farewell had turned and elbowed his way
out of the room.

"It's all up!" he said to himself.  "There's no use
trying to play that game any longer--Essington has
muddled it somehow.  Well, I'm free to do what I
like now!"

In this state of mind he found himself in the street,
hailed the first hansom, and drove headlong from the
dangerous regions of Belgravia.

 .   .    .    .    .    .

Till the middle of the next day the Baroness still
managed to keep her own counsel, though she was now
so alarmed that she was twenty times on the point of
telling everything to her mother.  But the arrival of
a note from Sir Justin ended her irresolution.  It
ran thus:


"MY DEAR ALICIA,--I have just learned for certain
that Lord T. is at his place in Scotland.  Singularly
enough, he is described as apparently of foreign
extraction, and I hear that he is accompanied by a
friend of the name of Count Bunker.  I am just setting
out for the North myself, and trust that I may
be able to elucidate the mystery.  Yours very truly,
                    "JUSTIN WALLINGFORD."


"Foreign extraction!  Count Bunker!" gasped the
Baroness; and without stopping to debate the matter
again, she rushed into her mother's arms, and there
sobbed out the strange story of her second letter and
the two Lord Tulliwuddles.

It were difficult to say whether anger at her daughter's
deceit, indignation with the treacherous Baron,
or a stern pleasure in finding her worst prognostications
in a fair way to being proved, was the uppermost
emotion in Lady Grillyer's mind when she had
listened to this relation.  Certainly poor Alicia could
not but think that sympathy for her troubles formed
no ingredient in the mixture.

"To think of your concealing this from me for so
long!" she cried: "and Sir Justin abetting you!  I
shall tell him very plainly what I think of him!  But
if my daughter sets an example in treachery, what can
one expect of one's friends?"

"After all, mamma, it was my own and Rudolph's
concern more than your's!" exclaimed Alicia, flaring
up for an instant.

"Don't answer me, child!" thundered the Countess. 
"Fetch me a railway time-table, and say nothing that
may add to your sin!"

"A time-table, mamma?  What for?"

"I am going to Scotland," pronounced the Countess.

"Then I shall go too!"

"Indeed you shall not.  You will wait here till I
have brought Rudolph back to you."

The Baroness said nothing aloud, but within her
wounded heart she thought bitterly

"Mamma seems to forget that even worms will turn
sometimes!"



CHAPTER XXVIII

"A decidedly delectable residence," said
Count Bunker to himself as his dog-cart
approached the lodge gates of The Lash. 
"And a very proper setting for the pleasant
scenes so shortly to be enacted.  Lodge, avenue,
a bogus turret or two, and a flagstaff on top of 'em--
by Gad, I think one may safely assume a tolerable
cellar in such a mansion."

As he drove up the avenue between a double line of
ancient elms and sycamores, his satisfaction increased
and his spirits rose ever higher.

"I wonder if I can forecast the evening: a game of
three-handed bridge, in which I trust I'll be lucky
enough to lose a little silver, that'll put 'em in good-
humor and make old Miss What-d'ye-may-call-her the
more willing to go to bed early; then the departure
of the chaperon; and then the tete-a-tete!  I hope
to Heaven I haven't got rusty!"

With considerable satisfaction he ran over the outfit
he had brought, deeming it even on second thoughts
a singularly happy selection: the dining coat with pale-
blue lapels, the white tie of a new material and cut
borrowed from the Baron's finery, the socks so ravishingly
embroidered that he had more than once caught
the ladies at Hechnahoul casting affectionate glances
upon them.

"A first-class turn-out," he thought.  "And what a
lucky thing I thought of borrowing a banjo from
young Gallosh!  A coon song in the twilight will break
the ground prettily."

By this time they had stopped before the door, and
an elderly man-servant, instead of waiting for the
Count, came down the steps to meet him.  In his
manner there was something remarkably sheepish and
constrained, and, to the Count's surprise, he thrust
forth his hand almost as if he expected it to be shaken. 
Bunker, though a trifle puzzled, promptly handed him
the banjo case, remarking pleasantly--

"My banjo; take care of it, please."

The man started so violently that he all but dropped
it upon the steps.

"What the deuce did he think I said?" wondered
the Count.  " 'Banjo' can't have sounded 'dynamite.' "

He entered the house, and found himself in a pleasant
hall, where his momentary uneasiness was at once
forgotten in the charming welcome of his hostess. 
Not only she, but her chaperon, received him with a
flattering warmth that realized his utmost expectations.

"It was so good of you to come!" cried Miss Wallingford.

"So very kind," murmured Miss Minchell.

"I knew you wouldn't think it too unorthodox!"
added Julia.

"I'm afraid orthodoxy is a crime I shall never swing
for," said the Count, with his most charming smile.

"I am sure my father wouldn't REALLY mind," said
Julia.

"Not if Sir Justin shared your enthusiasm, dear,"
added Miss Minchell.

"I must teach him to!"

"Good Lord!" thought the Count.  "This is
friendly indeed."

A few minutes passed in the exchange of these
preliminaries, and then his hostess said, with a pretty
little air of discipleship that both charmed and slightly
puzzled him

"You do still think that nobody should dine later
than six, don't you?  I have ordered dinner for six
to-night."

"Six!" exclaimed the Count, but recovering himself,
added, "An ideal hour--and it is half-past five now. 
Perhaps I had better think of dressing."

"What YOU call dressing!" smiled Julia, to his
justifiable amazement.  "Let me show you to your
room."

She led him upstairs, and finally stopped before an
open door.

"There!" she said, with an air of pride.  "It is
really my father's bedroom when he is at home, but
I've had it specially prepared for YOU!  Is it just as
you would like?"

Bunker was incapable of observing anything very
particularly beyond the fact that the floor was
uncarpeted, and as nearly free from furniture as a
bedroom floor could well be.

"It is ravishing!" he murmured, and dismissed her
with a well-feigned smile.

Bereft even of expletives, he gazed round the apartment
prepared for him.  It was a few moments before
he could bring himself to make a tour of its vast
bleakness.

"I suppose that's what they call a truckle-bed,"
he mused.  "Oh, there is one chair--nothing but cold
water-towels made of vegetable fibre apparently. 
The devil take me, is this a reformatory for bogus
noblemen!"

He next gazed at the bare whitewashed wall.  On it
hung one picture--the portrait of a strangely attired
man.

"What n shocking-looking fellow!" he exclaimed,
and went up to examine it more closely.

Then, with a stupefying shock, he read this legend
beneath it

"Count Bunker.  Philosopher, teacher, and martyr."

For a minute he stared in rapt amazement, and then
sharply rang the bell.

"Hang it," he said to himself, "I must throw a
little light on this somehow!"

Presently the elderly man-servant appeared, this
time in a state of still more obvious confusion.  For
a moment he stared at the Count--who was too discomposed
by his manner to open his lips--and then,
once more stretching out his hand, exclaimed in a
choked voice and a strong Scotch accent--

"How are ye, Bunker!"

"What the deuce!" shouted the Count, evading the
proffered hand-shake with an agile leap.

The poor fellow turned scarlet, and in an humble
voice blurted out--

"She told me to do it!  Miss Julia said ye'd like me
to shake hands and just ca' ye plain Bunker.  I beg
your pardon, sir; oh, I beg your pardon humbly!"

The Count looked at him keenly.

"He is evidently telling the truth," he thought.

Thereupon he took from his pocket half a sovereign.

"My good fellow," he began.  "By the way, what's
your name?"

"Mackenzie, sir."

"Mackenzie, my honest friend, I clearly perceive
that Miss Wallingford, in her very kind efforts to
gratify my unconventional tastes, has put herself to
quite unnecessary trouble.  She has even succeeded in
surprising me, and I should be greatly obliged if you
would kindly explain to me the reasons for her conduct,
so far as you can."

At this point the half-sovereign changed hands.

"In the first place," resumed the Count, "what is
the meaning of this remarkably villainous portrait
labelled with my name?"

"That, sir," stammered Mackenzie, greatly taken
aback by the inquiry.  "Why, sir, that's the famous
Count Bunker--your uncle, sir, is he no'?"

Bunker began to see a glimmer of light, though the
vista it illumined was scarcely a much pleasanter
prospect than the previous bank of fog.  He remembered
now, for the first time since his journey north,
that the Baron, in dubbing him Count Bunker, had
encouraged him to take the title on the ground that
it was a real dignity once borne by a famous personage;
and in a flash he realized the pitfalls that awaited
a solitary false step.

"THAT my uncle!" he exclaimed with an air of
pleased surprise, examining the portrait more attentively;
"by Gad, I suppose it is!  But I can't say it
is a flattering likeness.  'Philosopher, teacher, and
martyr'--how apt a description!  I hadn't noticed
that before, or I should have known at once who it
was."

Still Mackenzie was looking at him with a perplexed
and uneasy air.

"Miss Wallingford, sir, seems under the impression
that you would be wanting jist the same kind of things
as he likit," he remarked diffidently.

The Count laughed.

"Hence the condemned cell she's put me in?  I see! 
Ha, ha!  No, Mackenzie, I have moved with the times. 
In fact, my uncle's philosophy and teachings always
struck me as hardly suitable for a gentleman."

"I was thinking that mysel'," observed Mackenzie.

"Well, you understand now how things are, don't
you?  By the way, you haven't put out my evening
clothes, I notice."

"You werena to dress, sir, Miss Julia said."

"Not to dress!  What the deuce does she expect me
to dine in?"

With a sheepish grin Mackenzie pointed to something
upon the bed which the Count had hitherto taken to be
a rough species of quilt.

"She said you might like to wear that, sir."

The Count took it up.

"It appears to be a dressing-gown!" said he.

"She said, sir, your uncle was wont to dine in
it."

"Ah!  It's one of my poor uncle's eccentricities,
is it?  Very nice of Miss Wallingford; but all the same
I think you can put out my evening clothes for me; and,
I say, get me some hot water and a couple of towels
that feel a little less like sandpaper, will you?  By the
way--one moment, Mackenzie!--you needn't mention
anything of this to Miss Wallingford.  I'll explain it
all to her myself."

It is remarkable how the presence or absence of a
few of the very minor accessories of life will affect the
humor even of a man so essentially philosophical as
Count Bunker.  His equanimity was most marvelously
restored by a single jugful of hot water, and by the
time he came to survey his blue lapels in the mirror the
completest confidence shone in his humorous eyes.

"How deuced pleased she'll be to find I'm a white
man after all," he reflected.  "Supposing I'd really
turned out a replica of that unshaved heathen on the
wall--poor girl, what a dull evening she'd have spent! 
Perhaps I'd better break the news gently for the
chaperon's sake, but once we get her of to bed I rather
fancy the fair Julia and I will smile together over my
dear uncle's dressing-gown!"

And in this humor he strode forth to conquer.



CHAPTER XXIX

Count Bunker could not but observe that
Miss Wallingford's eyes expressed more surprise
than pleasure when he entered the drawing-
room, and he was confirmed in his resolution
to let his true character appear but gradually. 
Afterwards he could not congratulate himself too
heartily on this prudent decision.

"I fear," he said, "that I am late." (It was in
fact half-past six by now.)  "I have been searching
through my wardrobe to find some nether garments at
all appropriate to the overall--if I may so term it--
which you were kind enough to lay out for me.  But I
found mustard of that particular shade so hard to
match that I finally decided in favor of this more
conventional habit.  I trust you don't mind?"

Both the ladies, though evidently disappointed,
excused him with much kindness, and Miss Minchell
alluded directly to his blue lapels as evidence that even
now he held himself somewhat aloof from strict orthodoxy.

"May we see any allusion to your uncle, the late
Count Bunker, in his choice of color?" she asked in a
reverently hushed voice.

"Yes," replied the Count readily; "my aunt's stockings
were of that hue."

From the startled glances of the two ladies it became
plain that the late Count Bunker had died a bachelor.

"My other aunt," he exclaimed unabashed; yet
nevertheless it was with decided pleasure that he heard
dinner announced immediately afterwards.

"They seem to know something about my uncle,"
he said to himself.  "I must glean a few particulars
too."

A horrible fear lest his namesake might have dined
solely upon herbs, and himself be expected to follow his
example, was pleasantly dissipated by a glance at the
menu; but he confessed to a sinking of his heart when
he observed merely a tumbler beside his own plate and
a large brown jug before him.

"Good heavens!" he thought, "do they imagine an
Austrian count is necessarily a beer drinker?"

With a sigh he could not quite smother, he began to
pour the contents into his glass, and then set it down
abruptly, emitting a startled exclamation.

"What is the matter?" cried Julia sympathetically.

Her eyes (he was embarrassed to note) followed his
every movement like a dog's, and her apprehension
clearly was extreme.

"This seems to be water," smiled the Count, with an
effort to carry off their error as pleasantly for them as
possible.

"Isn't it good water?" asked Julia with an air of
concern.

It was the Count's turn to open his eyes.

"You have concluded then that I am a teetotaler?"

"Of course, we know you are!"

"If we may judge by your prefaces," smiled Miss
Minchell.

The Count began to realize the hazards that beset
him; but his spirit stoutly rose to meet the shock of the
occasion.

"There is no use in attempting to conceal my
idiosyncrasies, I see," he answered.  "But to-night, will
you forgive me if I break through the cardinal rule
of my life and ask you for a little stimulant?  My
doctor----"

"I see!" cried Miss Wallingford compassionately. 
"Of course, one can't dispute a doctor's orders.  What
would you like?"

"Oh, anything you have.  He did recommend champagne--
if it was good; but anything will do."

"A bottle of the VERY best champagne, Mackenzie!"

The dinner now became an entirely satisfactory meal. 
Inspired by his champagne and by the success of his
audacity in so easily surmounting all difficulties, the
Count delighted his hostesses by the vivacity and originality
of his conversation.  On the one hand, he chose
topics not too flippant in themselves and treated them
with a becomingly serious air; on the other, he carefully
steered the talk away from the neighborhood of his
uncle.

"By the time I fetch out my banjo they'll have
forgotten all about him," he said to himself complacently.

Knowing well the importance of the individual factor
in all the contingencies of life, he set himself, in the
meanwhile, to study with some attention the two ladies
beside him.  Miss Minchell he had already summarized
as an agreeable nonentity, and this impression was only
confirmed on better acquaintance.  It was quite evident,
he perceived, that she was dragged practically
unresisting in Miss Wallingford's wake--even to the
length of abetting the visit of an unknown bachelor in
the absence of Miss Wallingford's parent.

As for Julia, he decided that she was even better-
looking and more agreeable than he had at first
imagined; though, having the gayest of hearts himself,
he was a trifle disconcerted to observe the uniform
seriousness of her ideas.  How one could reconcile her
ecstatic enthusiasm for the ideal with her evident
devotion to himself he was at a loss to conceive.

"However, we will investigate that later," he
thought.

But first came a more urgent question:  Had his
uncle and his "prefaces" committed him to forswear
tobacco?  He resolved to take the bull by the horns.

"I hope you will not be scandalized to learn that I
have acquired the pernicious habit of smoking?" he said
as they rose from the table.

"I told you he was smoking a cigar at Hechnahoul!"
cried Miss Minchell with an air of triumph.

"I thought you were mistaken," said Julia, and the
Count could see that he had slipped a little from his
pedestal.

This must not be permitted; yet he must smoke.

"Of course I don't smoke REAL tobacco!" he exclaimed.

"Oh, in that case," cried Julia, "certainly then you
may smoke in the drawing-room.  What is it you use?"

"A kind of herb that subdues the appetites, Miss
Wallingford."

He could see at a glance that he was more firmly on
his pedestal than ever.



CHAPTER XXX

"I have been longing for this moment!" said
Julia softly.

The Count and she were seated over the
drawing-room fire, Bunker in an easy-chair,
smoking one of the excellent cigars which he had so
grievously slandered, Julia upon a stool by his knees,
her face suffused with the most intense expression of
rapture.  Miss Minchell was in the background,
shrouded in shadow, purporting to be enjoying a nap;
yet the Count could not but think that in so large a
house a separate apartment might well have been provided
for her.  Her presence, he felt, circumscribed
his actions uncomfortably.

"So have I!" he murmured, deeming this the most
appropriate answer.

"Now we can talk about HIM!"

He started, but preserved his composure.

"Couldn't we keep HIM till morning?" he suggested.

"But that is why you are here!"

She spoke as if this were self-evident; while the
Count read himself a thousand lessons upon the errors
vanity is apt to lead one into.  Yet his politeness
remained unruffled.

"Of course," he answered.  "Of course!  But you
see my knowledge of him----"

He was about to say that it was very slight, when,
fortunately for him, she interrupted with an eager--

"I know!  I know!  You were more than a son to
him!"

"The deuce and all!" thought the Count.  "That
was a narrow squeak!"

"Do you know," she continued in the same tone,
"I have actually had the audacity to translate one of
his books--your preface and all."

"I understand the allusion now," thought Bunker.

Aloud he had the presence of mind to inquire--

"Which was it?"

" 'Existence Seriously Reviewed.' "

"You couldn't have made a better choice," he assured
her.

"And now, what can you tell me about him?" she
cried.

"Suppose we talk about the book instead,"
suggested Bunker, choosing what seemed the lesser of two
evils.

"Oh, do!"

She rose impetuously, brought with a reverent air a
beautifully written and neatly tied-up manuscript, and
sat again by his knee.  Looking over his shoulder he
could see that the chaperon was wide awake and prepared
to listen rapturously also.

"I have so often longed to have some one with me who
could explain things--the very deep things, you know. 
But to think of having you--the Editor and nephew! 
It's too good to be true."

"Only eight o'clock," he said to himself, glancing at
the clock.  "I'm in for a night of it."

The vision of a game of bridge and a coon song on
the banjo from that moment faded quite away, and the
Count even tucked his feet as far out of sight as possible,
since those entrancing socks served to remind him
too poignantly of what might have been.

"What exactly did he mean by this?" began Julia,
" 'Let Potentates fear!  Let Dives tremble!  The
horny hand of the poor Man in the Street is stretched
forth to grasp his birthright!' "

"For 'birthright' read 'pocket-book.'  There's a
mistake in the translation," he answered promptly. 
"It appears to be an indirect argument for an increase
in the Metropolitan police."

"Are you sure?  I thought--surely it alludes to
Socialism!"

"Of course; and the best advertisement for Socialism
is a collision with the bobbies.  My uncle was a remarkably
subtle man, I assure you."

"How very ingenious!" exclaimed Miss Minchell
from the background.

Julia did her best to feel convinced; but it was in a
distinctly less ecstatic voice that she read her next extract.

" 'Alcohol, riches, and starched linen are the moths
and worms of society.'  I suppose he means that they
eat away its foundations?"

"On the contrary, he was an enthusiastic entomologist. 
He merely meant to imply that it isn't every
one who can appreciate a glass of port and a clean
shirt."

"But he didn't appreciate those things himself!"

"No; poor fellow.  He often wished he could,
though."

"Did he really?"

"Oh, you've no idea how tired he grew of flannel and
ginger-beer!  Many a time he's said to me, 'My boy,
learn to take what's set before you, even at an alderman's
table.'  Ah, his was a generous creed, Miss
Wallingford!"

"Yes, I suppose it was," said Julia submissively.

His advantage in being able to claim an intimate personal
knowledge of the late philosopher's tastes encouraged
the Count greatly.  Realizing that a nephew
could not well be contradicted, he was emboldened to
ask whether there were any more points on which his
authority could be of assistance.

"Oh yes," said she, "only--only somehow you seem
to throw a different light on everything."

"Naturally, dear," chimed in Miss Minchell, "a
personal explanation always makes things seem different."

Julia sighed, but summed up her courage to read
out--

" 'When woman is prized according to her intellect
and man according to his virtue; oh, then mankind will
return to Eden!' "

"That," said he, "is one of the rare instances of
my uncle's pessimism."

"Of his pessimism!  How can you say that?"

"He meant to imply that mankind would have to wait
for some considerable time.  But do not feel dismayed. 
My own opinion is that so long as woman is fair and
man has the wit to appreciate her, we ARE in Eden."

The gracious tone in which he delivered this dictum,
and the moving smile that accompanied it, appeared to
atone completely for his relative's cynical philosophy. 
With a smile and a sigh Julia murmured--

"Do you really think so?"

"I do," said the Count fervently; "and now suppose
we were to have a little music?"

"Oh yes!" cried Miss Minchell; "do you perform,
Count Bunker?"

"I sometimes sing a little to the guitar."

"To the guitar!" said Julia.  "How delicious! 
Have you brought it?"

"I have been so bold," he smiled, and promptly went
to fetch this instrument.

In a few minutes he returned with an apologetic air.

"I find that by some error they have sent me away
with a banjo instead," he exclaimed.  "But I dare say
I could manage an accompaniment on that if you
would condescend to listen to me."

He felt so exceedingly disinclined for expounding a
philosophy any longer that he gave them no time to
dissent, even had they wished to, but on the instant
struck up that pathetic ditty--

          "Down by whar de beans grow blue."


And no sooner had he finished it than (barely waiting
for his meed of applause) he further regaled them
with--

          "Twould make a fellow
            Turn green and yellow!


Finally, as a tit-bit, he contributed--

          "When hubby s gone to Brighton,
            And I ve sent the cook to bed,
            Oh who's that a-knocking on the window!"


At the conclusion of this concert he knew not whether
to feel more relieved or chagrined to observe that his
fair hostess had her eyes fixed upon the clock.  Thanking
him with a slightly embarrassed air, she threw a
pointed glance at Miss Minchell, and the two ladies rose.

"I am afraid you will think we keep very early
hours," she began.

"It is one of the best rules in my uncle's philosophy,"
he interposed.

Yet though glad enough to have come so triumphantly
to the end of his ordeal, he could not bring himself
to let his charming disciple leave him in a wounded
or even disappointed mood.  As soon as Miss Minchell
had passed through the door he quietly laid his hand
upon Julia's arm, and with a gesture beckoned her back
into the room.

"Pardon my seeming levity, Miss Wallingford,"
he said in a grave and gentle voice, "but you know not
what emotions I had to contend with!  I thank you for
your charming sympathy, and I beg you to accept
in my uncle's name that salute by which his followers
distinguish the faithful."

And he thereupon kissed the blushing girl with a
heartiness that restored her confidence in him completely.

"Well," he said to himself as he retired with his
candle, "I've managed to get a fair penn'orth out of
it after all."



CHAPTER XXXI

In spite of the Spartan transformation which Sir
Justin's bedroom had undergone, our adventurer
enjoyed an excellent night's rest.  So fast
asleep was he at the hour of eight next morning
that it took him a few seconds to awake to the full
possession of his faculties, even when disturbed by a loud
exclamation at his bedside.  He then became aware of
the presence of an entire stranger in his room--a tall
and elderly man, with a long nose and a grizzled beard. 
This intruder had apparently just drawn up the blind,
and was now looking about him with an expression of
the greatest concern.

"Mackenzie!" he cried, in the voice of one accustomed
to be heard with submission, "What have you
been doing to my room?"

The butler, too confused for coherent speech, was
in the act of bringing in a small portmanteau.

"I--I mentioned, Sir Justin, your room was hardly
ready for ye, sir.  Perhaps, sir, if ye'd come into the
pink room----"

"What the deuce, there's hardly a stick of furniture
left!  And whose clothes are these?"

"Mine," answered the Count suavely.

The stranger started violently, and turned upon the
bed an eye at first alarmed, then rapidly becoming lit
with indignation.

"Who--who is this?" he shouted.

"That, sir--that----" stammered Mackenzie.

"Is Count Bunker," said the Count, who remained
entirely courteous in spite of the inconvenience of this
intrusion.  "Have I the pleasure of addressing Sir
Justin Wallingford?"

"You have, sir."

"In that case, Mackenzie will be able to give you a
satisfactory account of my presence; and in half an
hour or so I shall have the pleasure of joining you
downstairs."

The Count, with a polite smile, turned over in bed, as
though to indicate that the interview was now at an
end.  But his visitor apparently had other views.

"I should be obliged by some explanation from
yourself of your entry into my house," said he, steadily
keeping his eye upon the Count.

"Now how the deuce shall I get out of this hole
without letting Julia into another?" wondered Bunker;
but before he could speak, Mackenzie had blurted out--

"Miss Wallingford, sir--the gentleman is a friend
of hers, sir."

"What!" thundered Sir Justin.

"I assure you that Miss Wallingford was actuated
by the highest motives in honoring me with an
invitation to The Lash," said Bunker earnestly.

He had already dismissed an ingenious account of
himself as a belated wanderer, detained by stress of
weather, as certain to be contradicted by Julia herself,
and decided Instead on risking all upon his supposed
uncle's saintly reputation.

"How came she to invite you, sir?" demanded Sir
Justin.

"As my uncle's nephew, merely."

Sir Justin stared at him in silence, while he brought
the full force of his capacious mind to bear upon the
situation.

"Your name, you say, is Bunker?" he observed at
length.

"Count Bunker," corrected that nobleman.

"Ah!  Doubtless, then, you are the same gentleman
who has been residing with Lord Tulliwuddle?"

"I am unaware of a duplicate."

"And the uncle you allude to----?"

By a wave of his hand the Count referred him to the
portrait upon the wall.  Sir Justin now stared at it.

"Bunker--Count Bunker," he repeated in a musing
tone, and then turned to the present holder of that dignity
with a look in his eye which the adventurer disliked
exceedingly.

"I will confer with you later," he observed. 
"Mackenzie, remove my portmanteau."

In a voice inaudible to the Count he gave another
order, which was followed by Mackenzie also removing
the Count's clothes from their chair.

"I say, Mackenzie!" expostulated Bunker, now
beginning to feel seriously uneasy; but heedless of his
protest the butler hastened with them from the room.

Then, with a grim smile and a surprising alacrity
of movement, Sir Justin changed the key into the outside
of the lock, passed through the door, and shut and
locked it behind him.

"The devil!" ejaculated Count Bunker.

Here was a pretty predicament!  And the most
ominous feature about it appeared to him to be the
deliberation with which his captor had acted.  It seemed
that he had got himself into a worse scrape than he
could estimate.

He wasted no time in examining his prison with an
eye to the possibility of an escape, but it became very
quickly evident that he was securely trapped.  From
the windows he could not see even a water-pipe within
hail, and the door was unburstably ponderous.  Besides,
a gentleman attired either in pajamas or evening
dress will naturally shrink from flight across country
at nine o'clock in the morning.  It seemed to the Count
that he was as well in bed as anywhere else, and upon
this opinion he acted.

In about an hour's time the door was cautiously
unlocked, and a tray, containing some breakfast, laid upon
the floor; but at the same time he was permitted to see
that a cordon of grooms and keepers guarded against
his flight.  He showed a wonderful appetite, all
circumstances considered, smoked a couple of cigars, and
at last decided upon getting up and donning his evening
clothes.  Thereafter nothing occurred, beyond the
arrival of a luncheon tray, till the afternoon was well
advanced; by which time even his good spirits had
become a trifle damped, and his apprehensions
considerably increased.

At last his prison door was again thrown open, this
time by Sir Justin himself.

"Come in, my dear," he said in a grave voice; and
with a downcast eye and scarlet cheek the fair Julia
met her guest again.

Her father closed the door, and they seated
themselves before their prisoner, who, after a profound
obeisance to the lady, faced them from the edge of his
bed with an air of more composure than he felt.

"I await your explanation, Sir Justin," he began,
striking at once the note which seemed to him (so far
as he could guess) most likely to be characteristic of an
innocent and much-injured man.

"You shall have it," said Sir Justin grimly.  "Julia,
you asked this person to my house under the impression
that he was the nephew of that particularly obnoxious
fanatic, Count Herbrand Bunker, and still engaged
upon furthering his relative's philanthropic and other
visionary schemes."

"But isn't he----" began Julia with startled eyes.

"I am Count Bunker," said our hero firmly.

"The nephew in question?" inquired Sir Justin.

"Certainly, sir."

Again Sir Justin turned to his daughter.

"I have already told you what I think of your
conduct under any circumstances.  What your feelings
will be I can only surmise when I inform you that I
have detained this adventurer here until I had time to
despatch a wire and receive an answer from Scotland
Yard."

Both Count and Julia started.

"What, sir!" exclaimed Bunker.

Quite unmoved by his protest, his captor continued,
this time addressing him--

"My memory, fortunately, is unusually excellent,
and when you told me this morning who you were
related to, I recalled at once something I had heard of
your past career.  It is now confirmed by the reply I
received to my telegram."

"And what, Sir Justin, does Scotland Yard have to
say about me?"

"Julia," said her parent, "this unhappy young man
did indeed profess for some time a regard for his
uncle's teachings, and even, I believe, advocated them
in writing.  In this way he obtained the disposal of
considerable funds contributed by unsuspicious persons
for ostensibly philanthropic purposes.  About two
years ago these funds and Count Bunker simultaneously
disappeared, and your estimable guest was last heard
of under an assumed name in the republic of Uruguay."

Uncomfortable as his predicament was, this picture
of himself as the fraudulent philanthropist was too
much for Bunker's sense of humor, and to the extreme
astonishment of his visitors he went off into a fit of
laughter so hearty and prolonged that it was some time
before he recovered his gravity.

"My dear friends," he exclaimed at last, "I am not
that Bunker at all!  In fact I was only created a few
weeks ago.  Bring me back my clothes, and in return
I'll tell you a deuced sight funnier story even than
that."

Sir Justin rose and led his daughter to the door.

"You will have an opportunity to-morrow," he
replied stiffly.  "In the meantime I shall leave you to the
enjoyment of the joke."

"But, my dear sir----"

Sir Justin turned his back, and the door closed upon
him again.

Count Bunker's position was now less supportable
than ever.

"Escape I must," he thought.

And hardly had he breathed the word when a gleam of
his old luck seemed to return.  He was standing by the
window, and presently he observed a groom ride up on
a bicycle, dismount, and push it through an outhouse
door.  Then the man strolled off, and he said to himself,
with an uprising of his spirits--

"There's my steed--if I could once get to it!"

Then again he thought the situation over, and
gradually the prospect of a midnight ride on a bicycle over
a road he had only once traversed, clad in his emblazoned
socks and blue-lapelled coat, appeared rather less
entertaining than another night's confinement.  So he lit his
last cigar, threw himself on the bed, and resigned himself
to the consolations of an innocent heart and a
practical philosophy.



CHAPTER XXXII

The clearness of the Count's conscience may be
gauged when it is narrated that no sooner
had he dismissed the stump of his cigar toward
the grate than he dropped into a peaceful
doze and remained placidly unconscious of his perils
for the space of an hour or more.  He was then awakened
by the sound of a key being gently turned, and
his opening eyes rested upon a charming vision of Julia
Wallingford framed in the outline of the door.

"Hush!" she whispered; "I--I have brought a note
for you!"

Smoothing his hair as he met her, the Count thanked
her with an air of considerable feeling, and took from
her hand a twisted slip of paper.

"It was brought by a messenger--a man in a kilt,
who came in a motor car.  I didn't know whether father
would let you have it, so I brought it up myself."

"Is the messenger waiting?"

"No; he went straight off again."

Unrolling the scrap he read this brief message
scrawled in pencil and evidently in dire haste--


"All is lost!  I am prisoner!  Go straightway to
London for help from my Embassy.
                         "R. VON B."


"Good heavens!" he exclaimed aloud.

"Is it bad news?" asked Julia, with a solicitude that
instantly suggested possibilities to his fertile brain.

"Horribly!" he said.  "It tells of a calamity that
has befallen a very dear friend of mine!  Oh, Rudolph,
Rudolph!  And I a helpless prisoner!"

As he anticipated, this outburst of emotion was not
without its effect.

"I am so sorry!" she said.  "I--I don't believe,
Count Bunker, you are as guilty as father says!"

"I swear to you I am not!"

"Can I--help you?"

He thought swiftly.

"Is there any one about the house just now?"

"Oh yes; the keeper is stationed in the hall!"

"Miss Wallingford, if you would atone for a deep
injury which you have inadvertently done an innocent
man, bring me fifty feet of stout rope!  And, I say,
see that the door of the bicycle house is left unlocked. 
Will you do this?"

"I--I'll try."

A sound on the stairs alarmed her, and with a fleeting
smile of sympathy she was gone and the door locked
upon him again.

Again the time passed slowly by, and he was left to
ponder over the critical nature of the situation as revealed
by the luckless Baron's intelligence.  Clearly he
must escape to-night, at all hazards.

"What's that?  My rope?" he wondered.

But it was only the arrival of his dinner, brought as
before upon a tray and set just within the door, as
though they feared for the bearer's life should he venture
within reach of this desperate adventurer from
Uruguay.

"A very large dish for a very small appetite," he
thought, as he bore his meal over to the bed and drew
his chair up before it.

It looked indeed as though a roasted goose must be
beneath the cover.  He raised it, and there, behold!  lay
a large coil of excellent new rope.  The Count chuckled.

"Commend me to the heart and the wit of women! 
What man would ever have provided so dainty a dish
as this?  Unless, indeed" (he had the breadth of mind
to add) "it happened to be a charming adventuress
who was in trouble."

Drinking the half pint of moderate claret which they
had allowed him to the happiness and prosperity of all
true-hearted women, he could not help regretting that
his imprisoned confederate should be so unlikely to enjoy
similar good fortune.

"He went too far with those two dear girls.  A
woman deceived as he has deceived them will never forgive
him.  They'd stand sentry at his cell-door sooner
than let the poor Baron escape," he reflected
commiserately, and sighed to think of the disastrous effect
this mishap might have both upon his friend's diplomatic
career and domestic felicity.

While waiting for the dusk to deepen, and endeavoring
to console himself for the lack of cigars with the
poor remedy of cigarettes, he employed his time profitably
in tying a series of double knots upon the line of
rope.  Then at last, when he could see the stars bright
above the trees and hear no sound in the house, he
pulled his bed softly to the open window, and to it
fastened one end of his rope securely.  The other he
quietly let drop, and losing not an instant followed it
hand under hand, murmuring anathemas on the rough
wall that so scraped his evening trousers.

On tiptoe he stole to the door through which the
bicycle had gone.  It yielded to a push, and once inside
he ventured to strike a match.

"By Gad!  I've a choice of half a dozen," he exclaimed.

It need scarcely be said that he selected the best;
and after slitting with his pocket-knife the tires of all
the others, he mounted and pedalled quietly down the
drive.  The lodge gates stood open; the road, a trifle
muddy but clear of all traffic, stretched visible for a
long way in the starlight; the breeze blew fair behind
him.

"May Providence guide me to the station," he
prayed, and rode off into the night.



CHAPTER XXXIII

Suppose the clock be set back four-and-twenty
hours, and behold now the Baron von Blitzenberg,
the diplomatist and premier baron of
Bavaria, engaged in unhappy argument with
himself.  Unhappy, because his reason, though so
carefully trained from the kindergarten upward, proved
unable to combat the dismal onsets of superstition.

"Pooh! who cares for an old picture?"  Reason
would reiterate.

"It is an omen," said Superstition simply; and Reason
stood convicted as an empty braggart.

But if Time be the great healer, Dinner is at least a
clever quack, and when he and old Mr. Rentoul had
consumed well-nigh a bottle and a half of their host's
port between them, the outlook became much less
gloomy.  A particularly hilarious evening in the drawing-
room completed the triumph of mind over what he
was now able to term "jost nonsense," and he slept
that night as soundly as the Count was simultaneously
slumbering in Sir Justin's bed-room.  And there was
no unpleasant awakening in the Baron's case.  On the
contrary, all nature seemed in a conspiracy to make
the last day of his adventure pleasant.  The sun shone
brightly, his razors had an excellent edge, sausages
were served for breakfast, and when he joined the
family afterwards he found them as affectionately
kind as a circle of relations.  In fact, the Baron had
dropped more than one hint the night before of such a
nature that they had some reason for supposing
relationship imminent.  It is true Eva was a little
disappointed that the actual words were not yet said, and
when he made an airy reference to paying a farewell
call that morning upon their neighbors at Lincoln
Lodge, she exhibited so much disapproval in her air
that he said at once--

"Ach, vell, I shall jost go after lonch and be back
in an hour and a half.  I jost vish to say good-bye,
zat is all."

Little guessing how much was to hang upon this
postponement, he drove over after luncheon with a
mind entirely reassured.  With only an afternoon to
be safely passed, no mishap, he was sure, could possibly
happen now.  If indeed the Maddisons chose to be
offended with him, why, then, his call would merely be
the briefer and he would recommend Eva for the post
of Lady Tulliwuddle without qualification.  It was his
critics who had reason to fear, not he.

Miss Maddison was at home, the staff of footmen
assured him, and, holding his head as high as a chieftain
should, he strode into her sanctuary.

"Do I disturb you?"

He asked this with a quicker beating heart.  Not
Eleanor alone, but her father and Ri confronted him,
and it was very plain to see that a tempest was in the
brewing.  Her eyes were bright with tears and
indignation; their brows heavy with formidable frowns. 
At the first moment of his entering, extreme astonishment
at seeing him was clearly their dominant emotion,
and as evidently it rapidly developed into a sentiment
even less hospitable.

"Why, this beats the devil!" ejaculated Mr. Maddison;
and for a moment this was the sole response to
his inquiry.

The next to speak was Ri--

"Show it him, Poppa!  Confront him with the
evidence!"

With ominous deliberation the millionaire picked up
a newspaper from the floor, where apparently it had
been crumpled and flung, smoothed out the creases, and
approached the Baron till their noses were in danger
of collision.  While executing this manoeuvre the silence
was only broken by the suppressed sobbing of his
daughter.  Then at last he spoke.

"Our mails, sir, have just arrived.  This, sir, is
'The Times' newspaper, published in the city of London
yesterday morning."

He shook it in the Baron's face with a sudden
vehemence that caused that nobleman to execute an
abrupt movement backward.

"Take it," continued the millionaire--"take it, sir,
and explain this if you can!"

So confused had the Baron's mind become already
that it was with difficulty he could decipher the following
petrifying announcement--

"Tulliwuddle--Herringay.--In London, privately,
Lord Tulliwuddle to Constance, daughter of Robert
Herringay."

The Baron's brain reeled.

"Here is another paragraph that may interest you,"
pursued Mr. Maddison, turning the paper outside in
with an alarmingly vigorous movement, and presenting
a short paragraph for the Baron's inspection.  This
ran--

               "PEER AND ACTRESS.


"As announced in our marriage column, the wedding
took place yesterday, privately, of Lord Tulliwuddle,
kinsman and heir of the late peer of that name, so well
known in London and Scottish society, and Miss Constance
Herringay, better known as 'Connie Fitz Aubyn,'
of the Gaiety Theatre.  It is understood that the
young couple have departed for the Mediterranean."

In a few seconds given him to prepare his mind, the
Baron desperately endeavored to imagine what the
resourceful Bunker would say or do under these awful
circumstances.

"Well, sir?" said Mr. Maddison.  

"It is a lie!"

"A lie?"

Ri laughed scornfully.

"Mean to say no such marriage took place?"

"It vas not me."

"Who was it, then?"

"Anozzer man, perhaps."

"Another Lord Tulliwuddle?" inquired the millionaire.

"Zey have made a mistake mit ze name.  Yes, zat is
how."

"Can it be possible?" cried Eleanor eagerly, her
grief for the moment forgotten.

"No," said her father; "it is not possible.  The
announcement is confirmed by the paragraph.  A mistake
is inconceivable."

The Baron thought he perceived a brilliant idea.

"Ach, it is ze ozzer Tollvoddle!" he exclaimed.
"So! zat is it, of course."

"You mean to say there is another peerage of Tulliwuddle?"

"Oh, yes."

"Fetch Debrett, Ri!"

But Ri had already not only fetched Debrett, but
found the place.

"A darned lie.  Thought so," he observed succinctly.

The luckless diplomatist was now committed to perdition.

"It is not in ze books," he exclaimed.  "It is bot a
baronetcy."

"A baronetcy!"

"And illegitimate also."

"Sir," burst forth Ri, "you are a thundering liar! 
Is this your marriage notice?"

The Baron changed his tactics.

"Yes!" he declared.

Eleanor screamed.

"Don't fuss, Eleanor," said her father kindly. 
"That ain't true, anyhow.  Why, the day before yesterday
he was throwing that darned hammer."

"Which came down last night in our yard with the
head burst!" added Ri contemptuously.  "Found you
out there too!"

"Is that so!" exclaimed his father.

"That is so, sir!"

The three looked at him, and it was hard to say
whether indignation or contempt was more prominent
in their faces.  This was more than he could endure.

"I vill not be so looked at!" he cried; "I vill leave
you!"

"No you won't!" said Ri.

And the Baron saw his retreat cut of by the athletic
and determined young man.

"Before you leave, we have one or two questions to
ask you," said Mr. Maddison.  "Are you Lord Tulliwuddle,
or are you not?"

"Yes!--No!" replied the Baron.

"Which, sir?"

Expanding his chest, he made the awe-inspiring
announcement--

"I am moch greater zan Tollyvoddle!  I am ze
Baron Rudolph von Blitzenberg!"

"Another darned lie!" commented Ri.

Mr. Maddison laughed sardonically; while Eleanor,
with flashing eyes, now joined in the attack upon the
hapless nobleman.

"You wretched creature!  Isn't it enough to have
shammed to be one peer without shamming to be another?"

"Bot I am!  Ja, I swear to you!  Can you not see
zat I am noble?"

"Curiously enough we can't," replied Mr. Maddison.

But his daughter's scepticism was a little shaken by
the fervor of his assurances.

"But, Poppa, perhaps he may be a German peer."

"German waiter, more likely!" sneered Ri.  "What
shall we do with him?  Tar and feathers, I guess, would
just about suit his complaint."

"No, Ri, no," said his father cautiously.  "Remember
we are no longer beneath the banner of freedom. 
In this benighted country it might lead into trouble. 
Guess we can find him accommodation, though, in that
bit of genuine antique above the harness-room.  It's
fitted with a very substantial lock.  We'll make Dugald
M'Culloch responsible for this BARON till the police
take him over."

Vain were the Baron's protests; and upon the
appearance of Dugald M'Culloch, fisherman and facto-
tum to the millionaire, accompanied by three burly
satellites, vain, he perceived, would be the most
desperate resistance.  He plead the privileges of a foreign
diplomatist, threatened a descent of the German army
upon Lincoln Lodge, guaranteed an intimate acquaintance
with the American ambassador--"Who vill make
you sorry for zis!" but all without moving Mr.
Maddison's resolution.  Even Eleanor whispered a word for
him and was repulsed, for he overheard her father
replying to her--

"No, no, Eleanor; no more a diplomatist than you
would have been Lady Tulliwuddle.  Guess I know
what I'm doing."

Whereupon the late Lord Tulliwuddle, kilt and all,
was conveyed by a guard of six tall men and deposited
in the bit of genuine antique above the harness-room. 
This proved to be a small chamber in a thick-walled
wing of the original house, now part of the back premises;
and there, with his face buried in his hands, the
poor prisoner moaned aloud--

"Oh, my life, she is geblasted!  I am undone!  Oh,
I am lost!"

"Will it be so bad as that, indeed?"

He looked up with a start, and perceived Dugald,
his jailor, gazing upon him with an expression of
indescribable sagacity.

"The master will be sending me with his car to tell
the folks at Hechnahoul," added Dugald.

Still the Baron failed to comprehend the exchange
of favors suggested by his jailor's sympathetic
voice.

"Go, zen!" he muttered, and bent his head.

"You will not be wishing to send no messages to
your friends?"

At last the prisoner understood.  For a sovereign
Dugald promised to convey a note to the Count; for
five he undertook to bribe the chauffeur to convey him
to The Lash, when he learned where that gentleman
was to be found.  And he further decided to be faithful
to his trust, since, as he prudently reflected--

"If he will be a real chentleman after all it shall not
be well to be hard with him.  And if he will not be,
nobody shall know."

The Baron felt a trifle less hopeless now, yet so black
did the prospect remain that he firmly believed he
should never be able to raise his head again and meet
the gaze of his fellow-men; not at least if he stayed in
that room till the police arrived.



CHAPTER XXXIV

Not even the news of Flodden brought direr
dismay to Hechnahoul than Mr. Maddison's
brief note.  Lord Tulliwuddle an impostor? 
That magnificent young man a fraud?  So
much geniality, brawn, and taste for the bagpipes
merely the sheep's clothing that hid a wandering wolf? 
Incredible!  Yet, on second thoughts, how very much
more thrilling than if he had really been an ordinary
peer!  And what a judgment on the presumption of
Mr. and Mrs. Gallosh!  Hard luck on Eva, of course
--but, then, girls who aspire to marry out of their
own station must expect this kind of thing.

The latter part of this commentary was naturally
not that of the pretender's host and hostess.  In the
throes of their anger and chagrin their one consoling
reflection was that no friends less tried than Mr. and
Mrs. Rentoul happened to be there to witness their
confusion.  Yet other sufferers since Job have found
that the oldest friends do not necessarily of er the most
acceptable consolation.

"Oh, oh! I feel like to die of grief!" wailed poor
Mrs. Gallosh.

"Aye; it's an awful smack in the eye for you," said
Mr. Rentoul sagely.

"Smack in the eye!" thundered his host.  "It's a
criminal offence--that's what it is!  It's a damned
swindle!  It's a----"

"Oh, hush, hush!" interrupted Mrs. Rentoul in a
shocked voice.  "What words for a lady to hear! 
After all, you must remember you never made any
inquiries."

"Inquiries!  What for should I be making inquiries
about my guests?  YOU never dropped a word of such
a thing!  Who'd have listened if I had?  It was just
Lord Tulliwuddle this and Lord Tulliwuddle that from
morning to night since ever he came to the Castle."

"Duncan's so simple-minded," groaned Mrs. Gallosh.

"And what were you, I'd like to know?  What were
you?" retorted her justly incensed spouse.  "Never
a word did I hear, but just that he was such an aristocratic
young man, and any one could see he had blue
blood in his veins, and stuff of that kind!"

"I more than once had my own doubts about that,"
said the alcohol expert with a knowing wink.  "There
was something about him----  Ah, well, he was not
exactly my own idea of a lord."

"YOUR idea?" scoffed his oldest and best of friends. 
"What do YOU know of lords, I'd like to know?"

"Well, well," answered the sage peaceably, "maybe
we've neither of us had much opportunity of judging
of the nobility.  It's just more bad luck than anything
else that you should have gone to the expense of setting
up in style in a lord's castle and then having
this downcome.  If I'd had similar ambeetions it might
have been me."

This soft answer was so far from turning away
wrath, that Mrs. Rentoul again felt compelled to stem
the tide of her host's eloquence.

"Oh, hush!" she exclaimed; "I'd have fancied you'd
be having no thoughts beyond your daughter's affliction."

"My Eva! my poor Eva!  Where is the suffering
child?" cried Mrs. Gallosh.  "Duncan, what'll she be
doing?"

"Making a to-do like the rest of the women-folk,"
replied her husband, with rather less sympathy than
the occasion seemed to demand.

In point of fact Eva had disappeared from the
company immediately after hearing the contents of Mr.
Maddison's letter, and whatever she had been doing,
it had not been weeping alone, for at that moment she
ran into the room, her face agitated, but rather, it
seemed, with excitement than grief.

"Papa, lend me five pounds," she panted.

"Lend you--five pounds!  And what for, I'd like
to know?"

"Don't ask me now.  I--I promise to tell you later
--some time later."

"I'll see myself----!  I mean, you're talking nonsense."

Eva's lip trembled.

"Hi, hist! Eva, my dear," said Mr. Rentoul; "if
you're wanting the money badly, and your papa doesn't
see his way----"

He concluded his sentence with a wink and a dive
into his trousers-pocket, and a minute later Eva had
fled from the room again.

This action of the sage, being at total variance to
his ordinary habits (which indeed erred on the economical
side), was attributed by his irate host--with a
certain show of reason--to the mere intention of annoying
him; and the conversation took a more acrimonious
turn than ever.  In fact, when Eva returned
a few minutes later she was just in time to hear her
father thunder in an infuriated voice--

"A German waiter, is he?  Aye, that's verra probable,
verra probable indeed.  In fact I might have
known it when I saw you and him swilling a bottle and
a half of my best port together!  Birds of a feather
--aye, aye, exactly!"

The crushing retort which the sage evidently had
ready to heap upon the fire of this controversy was
anticipated by Miss Gallosh.

"He isn't a German waiter, papa!  He is a German
BARON--and an ambassador, too!"

The four started and stared at her.

"Where did you learn that?" demanded her father.

"I've been talking to the man who brought the
letter, and he says that Lord Tulli--I mean the Baron
--declares positively that he is a German nobleman!"

"Tuts, fiddlesticks!" scoffed her father.

"Verra like a whale," pronounced the sage.

"I wouldn't believe what HE said," declared Mrs.
Gallosh.

"One can SEE he isn't," said Mrs. Rentoul.

"The kind of Baron that plays in a German band,
perhaps," added her husband, with a whole series of
winks to give point to this mot.

"He's just a scoundrelly adventurer!" shouted Mr.
Gallosh.

"I hope he'll get penal servitude, that's what I
hope," said his wife with a sob.

"And, judging from his appearance, that'll be no
new experience for him," commented the sage.

So remarkably had their judgment of the late Lord
Tulliwuddle waxed in discrimination.  And, strange to
say, his only defender was the lady he had injured
most.

"I still believe him a gentleman!" she cried, and
swept tearfully from the room.



CHAPTER XXXV

While his late worshippers were trampling
his memory in the mire, the Baron von
Blitzenberg, deserted and dejected, his
face still buried in his hands, endured
the slow passage of the doleful afternoon.  Unlike the
prisoner at The Lash, who, by a coincidence that happily
illustrates the dispensations of Providence, was
undergoing at the same moment an identical ordeal,
the Baron had no optimistic, whimsical philosophy to
fall back upon.  Instead, he had a most tender sense
of personal dignity that had been egregiously outraged--
and also a wife.  Indeed, the thought of Alicia
and of Alicia's parent was alone enough to keep his
head bowed down.

"Ach, zey most not know," he muttered.  "I shall
give moch money--hondreds of pound--not to let zem
find out.  Oh, what for fool have I been!"

So deeply was he plunged in these sorrowful meditations,
and so constantly were they concerned with the
two ladies whose feelings he wished to spare, that when
a hum of voices reached his ear, one of them strangely
--even ominously--familiar, he only thought at first
that his imagination had grown morbidly vivid.  To
dispel the unpleasant fancies suggested by this imagined
voice, he raised his head, and then the next
instant bounded from his chair.

"Mein Gott!" he muttered, "it is she."

Too thunderstruck to move, he saw his prison door
open, and there, behold! stood the Countess of Grillyer,
a terrible look upon her high-born features, a Darius
at either shoulder.  In silence they surveyed one another,
and it was Mr. Maddison who spoke first.

"Guess this is a friend of yours," he observed.

One thought and one only filled the prisoner's mind
--she must leave him, and immediately.

"No, no; I do not know her!" he cried.

"You do not know me?" repeated the Countess in
a voice rich in promise.

"Certainly I do not."

"She knows you all right," said the millionaire.

"Says she does," put in Ri in a lower voice; "but
I wouldn't lay much money on her word either."

"Rudolph!  You pretend you do not know me?"
cried the Countess between wrath and bewilderment.

"I never did ever see sochlike a voman before,"
reiterated the Baron.

"What do you say to that, ma'am?" inquired Mr.
Maddison.

"I say--I blush to say--that this wretched young
man is my son-in-law," declared the Countess.

As she had come to the house inquiring merely for
Lord Tulliwuddle, and been conducted straight to the
prisoner's cell, the stupefying effect of this announcement
may readily be conceived.

"What!" ejaculated the Dariuses.

"It is not true!  She is mad!  Take her avay,
please!" shouted the Baron, now desperate in his
resolution to say or do anything, so long as he got rid of
his formidable relative.

The Countess staggered back.

"Is he demented?" she inquired.

"Say, ma'am," put in Ri, "are you the mother of
Miss Constance Herringay?"

"Of----?  I am Lady Grillyer!"

"See here, my good lady, that's going a little
too far," said the millionaire not unkindly.  "This
friend of yours here first calls himself Lord
Tulliwuddle, and then the Baron von something or other. 
Well, now, that's two of the aristocracy in this under-
sized apartment already.  There's hardly room for
a third--see?  Can't you be plain Mrs. Smith for a
change?"

The Countess tottered.

"Fellow!" she said in a faint voice, "I--I do not
understand you."

"Thought that would fetch her down," commented
Ri.

"Lead her back to ze train and make her go to
London!" pleaded the Baron earnestly.

"You stick to it, you don't know her?" asked Mr.
Maddison shrewdly.

"No, no, I do not!"

"Is her name Lady Grillyer?"

"Not more zan it is mine!"

"Rudolph!" gasped the Countess inarticulately.
"He is--he WAS my son!"

"Stoff and nonsense!" roared the Baron.  "Remove
her!--I am tired."

"Well," said Mr. Maddison, "I guess I don't much
believe either of you; but whether you know each other
or not, you make such a remarkably fine couple that
I reckon you'd better get acquainted now.  Come, Ri."

And before either Countess or Baron could interpose,
their captors had slipped out, the key was turned,
and they were left to the dual enjoyment of the antique
apartment.

"Teufel!" shouted the Baron, kicking the door
frantically.  "Open him, open him!  I vill pay you a
hondred pound!  Goddam!  Open!"

But only the gasps of the Countess answered him.

It is generally conceded that if you want to see the
full depths of brutality latent in man, you must
thoroughly frighten him first.  This condition the Countess
of Grillyer had exactly succeeded in fulfilling, with the
consequence that the Baron, hitherto the most complacent
and amiable of sons-in-law, seemed ambitious
of rivalling the Turk.  When he perceived that no
answer to his appeals was forthcoming, dark despair
for a moment overcame him.  Then the fiendishly
ingenious idea struck him--might not a woman's screams
accomplish what his own lungs were unable to effect? 
Turning an inflamed and frowning countenance upon
the lady who had intrusted her daughter's happiness
to his hands, he addressed her in a deep hissing voice--

"Shcream, shcream, voman!  Shcream loudly, or I
vill knock you!"

But the Countess was made of stern stuff.  Outraged
and frightened though she was, she yet retorted
huskily--

"I will not scream, Rudolph!  I--I demand an
explanation first!"

Executing a step of the sword-dance within a yard
of her, he reiterated

"Shcream so zat zey may come back!"

She blinked, but held her ground.

"I insist upon knowing what you mean, Rudolph! 
I insist upon your telling me!  What are you doing
here in that preposterous kilt?"

The Baron's wits brightened with the acuteness of
the emergency.

"Ha!" he cried, "I vill take my kilt off--take him
off before your eyes this instant if you do not
shcream!"

But she merely closed her eyes.

"If you dare!  If you dare, Rudolph, I shall inform
your Emperor!  And I will not look!  I cannot see
you!"

Whether in deference to imperial prejudices, or
because a kiltless man would be thrown away upon a lady
who refused to look at him, the Baron regretfully
desisted from this project.  At his wits' end, he besought
her--

"Make zem take you avay, so zat you vill be safe
from my rage!  I do not trost myself mit you.  I am
so violent as a bull!  Better zat you should go; far
better--do you not see?"

"No, Rudolph, no!" replied the adamant lady.  "I
have come to guard you against your own abandoned
nature, and I shall only leave this room when you do!"

She sat down and faced him, palpitating, but immovable;
and against such obstinacy the unhappy Rudolph
gave up the contest in despair.

"But I shall not talk mit her; oh, Himmel, nein!"
he said to himself; and in pursuance of this policy sat
with his back turned to her while the shadows of evening
gradually filled the room.  In vain did she address
him: he neither answered nor moved.  Indeed, to
discourage her still further, he even summoned up a
forced gaiety of demeanor, and in a low rumble of
discords sang to himself the least respectable songs he
knew.

"His mind is certainly deranged," thought the
Countess.  "I must not let him out of my sight.  Ah,
poor Alicia!"

But in time, when the dusk was thickening so fast
that her son-in-law's broad back had already grown
indistinct of outline, and no voice or footstep had come
near their prison, her thoughts began to wander from
his case to her own.  The outrageous conduct of those
Americans in discrediting her word and incarcerating
her person, though overshadowed at the time by the
yet greater atrocity of the Baron's behavior, now
loomed up in formidable proportions.  And the gravity
of their offence was emphasized by an unpleasant
sensation she now began to experience with considerable
acuteness.

"Do they mean to starve us as well as insult us?"
she wondered.

The Baron's thoughts also seemed to have drifted
into a different channel.  He no longer sang; he
fidgeted in his chair; he even softly groaned; and at
last he actually changed his attitude so far as to survey
the dim form of his mother-in-law over one
shoulder.

"Oh, ze devil!" he exclaimed aloud.  "I am so
hongry!"

"That is no reason why you should also be profane,"
said the Countess severely.

"I did not speak to you," retorted the Baron, and
again a constrained silence fell on the room.

The Baron was the first to break it.

"Ha!" he cried.  "I hear a step."

"Thank God!" exclaimed the Countess devoutly.

In the blaze of a stable lantern there entered to them
Dugald M'Culloch, jailor.

"Will you be for any supper?" he inquired, with a
politeness he felt due to prisoners with purses.

"I do starve!" replied the Baron.

"And I am nearly fainting!" cried the Countess.

Both rose with an alacrity astonishing in people so
nearly exhausted, and made as though they would pass
out.  With a deprecatory gesture Dugald arrested
them.

"I will bring your supper fery soon," said he.

"Here?" gasped the Countess.

"It is the master's orders."

"Tell him I vill have him ponished mit ze law, if he
does not let me come out!" roared the Baron.

Their jailor was courtesy itself; but it was in their
prison that they supped--a silent meal, and very plain. 
And, bitterest pill of all, they were further informed
that in their prison they must pass the night.

"In ze same room!" cried the Baron frantically. 
"Impossible!  Improper!"

Even his mother-in-law's solicitude shrank from this
vigil; but with unruffled consideration for their comfort
their guardian and his assistants made up two
beds forthwith.  The Baron, subdued to a fierce and
snarling moodiness, watched their preparations with a
lurid eye.

"Put not zat bed so near ze door," he snapped.

In his ear his jailor whispered, "That one's for you,
sir, and dinna put off your clothes!"

The Baron started, and from that moment his air
of resignation began to affront the Countess as deeply
as his previous violence.  When they were again alone,
stretched in black darkness each upon their couch, she
lifted up her voice in a last word of protest--

"Rudolph! have you no single feeling for me left? 
Why didn't you stab that man?"

But the Baron merely retorted with a lifelike
affectation of snoring.



CHAPTER XXXVI

For a long time the Baron lay wide awake,
every sense alert, listening for the creak of
a footstep on the wooden stair that led up
from the harness-room to his prison.  What
else could the strange words of Dugald have meant,
save that some friend proposed to climb those stairs
and gently open that stubborn door?  And in this
opinion he had been confirmed when he observed that on
Dugald's departure the key turned with a silence
suggesting a recently oiled lock.  His bed lay along the
wall, with the head so close to the door that any one
opening it and stretching forth a hand could tweak
him by the nose without an effort (supposing that
were the object of their visit).  Clearly, he thought,
it was not thus arranged without some very special
purpose.  Yet when hour after hour passed and nothing
happened, he began to sleep fitfully, and at last,
worn out with fruitless waiting, dropped into a
profound slumber.

He was in the midst of a harassing dream or drama,
wherein Bunker and Eva played an incoherent part
and he himself passed wearily from peril to peril, when
the stage suddenly was cleared, his eyes started open,
and he became wakefully conscious of a little ray of
light that fell upon his face.  Before he could raise
his head a soft voice whispered urgently,

"Don't move!"

With admirable self-control he obeyed implicitly.

"Who is zere?" he whispered back.

The voice seemed for a moment to hesitate, and then
answered--

"Eleanor Maddison!"

He started so audibly that again she breathed peremptorily--

"Hush!  Lie still till I come back.  You--you
don't deserve it, but I want to save you from the disgrace
of arrest."

"Ach, zank you--mine better angel!" he murmured,
with a fervor that seemed not unpleasing to his rescuer.

"You really are a nobleman in trouble?"

"I swear I am!"

"And didn't mean anything really wrong?"

"Never--oh, never!"

More kindly than before she murmured--

"Well, I guess I'll take you out, then.  I've bribed
Dugald, so that's all right.  When my car's ready
I'll send him up for you.  You just lie still till he
comes."

From which it appears that Count Bunker's appreciation
of the sex fell short of their meed.

Hardly daring to breathe for fear of awakening
his fellow-prisoner, trembling with agitation, and
consumed by a mad impatience for action, the Baron
passed five of the longest minutes he had ever endured. 
At the end of that time he heard a stealthy step upon
the stairs, and with infinite precautions threw off his
bedclothes and sat upright, ready for instant departure. 
But how slowly and with what a superfluity of
precaution his jailor moved!  When the door at length
opened he wondered that no ray of light fell this
time.

"Dugald!" he whispered eagerly.

"Hush!" replied a softer voice than Dugald's; as
soft, indeed, as Eleanor's, yet clearly different.

"Who is zat?" he gasped.

"Eva Gallosh!" said the silken voice.  "Oh, is that
you?"

"Yes--yes--it is me."

"And are you really a Baron and an ambassador?"

"Oh yes--yes--certainly I am."

"Then--then I've come to help you to escape!  I've
bribed Dugald--and I've got a dog-cart here.  Come
quickly--but oh, be very quiet!"

For a moment the Baron actually hesitated to flee
from that loathed apartment.  It seemed to him that
if Fortune desired to provide him with opportunities
of escape she might have had the sense to offer these
one at a time.  For how could he tell which of these
overtures to close with?  A wrong decision might be
fatal; yet time unquestionably pressed.

"Mein Gott!" he muttered irresolutely, "vich shall
I do?"

At that moment the other bed creaked, and, to his
infinite horror, he heard a suspicious voice demand--

"Is that you talking, Rudolph?"

Poor Eva, who was quite unaware of the presence
of another prisoner, uttered a stifled shriek; with a cry
of "Fly, quickly!" the Baron leaped from his bed,
and headlong down the wooden stairs they clattered
for freedom.

A dim vision of the thrice-bribed Dugald, screeching,
"The car's ready for ye, sir!" but increased their
speed.

Outside, a motor car stood panting by the door, and
in the youthful driver, turning a pale face toward
them in the lamp's radiance, the Baron had just time
to recognize his first fair deliverer.

"Good-bye!" he whispered to his second, and flung
himself in.

Some one followed him; the door was slammed, and
with a mighty throbbing they began to move.

"Rudolph!  Rudolph!" wailed a voice behind them.

"Zank ze goodness SHE is not here!" exclaimed the
Baron.

"Whisht! whisht!" he could hear Dugald expostulate.

With a violent start he turned to the fellow-passenger
who had followed him in.

"Are you not Dugald?" he demanded hoarsely.

"No--it's--it's me!  I dursn't wait for my dog-
cart!"

"Eva!" he murmured.  "Oh, Himmel!  Vat shall
I do?"

Only a screen of glass separated his two rescuers,
and the one had but to turn her head and look inside,
or the other to study with any attention the roll of
hair beneath their driver's cap, in order to lead to most
embarrassing consequences.  Not that it was his fault
he should receive such universal sympathy: but would
these charming ladies admit his innocence?

"How thoughtful of Dugald to have this car----"
began Eva.

"Hush!" he muttered hoarsely.  "Yes, it was
thoughtful, but you most not speak too loudly."

"For fear----?" she smiled, and turned her eyes
instinctively toward their driver.

"Excuse me," he muttered, sweeping her as gently
as possible from her seat and placing her upon the
floor.

"It vill not do for zem to see you," he explained in
a whisper.

"How awful a position," he reflected.  "Oh, I hope
it may still be dark ven we get to ze station."

But with rising concern he presently perceived that
the telegraph posts along the roadside were certainly
grown plainer already; he could even see the two thin
wires against a paling sky; the road behind was visible
for half a mile; the hill-tops might no longer be
confounded with the clouds-day indubitably was breaking. 
Also he recollected that to go from Lincoln
Lodge to Torrydhulish Station one had to make a vast
detour round half the loch; and, further, began to
suspect that though Miss Maddison's driving was beyond
reproach her knowledge of topography was
scarcely so dependable.  In point of fact she increased
the distance by at least a third, and all the while day
was breaking more fatally clear.

To discourage Miss Gallosh's efforts at conversation,
yet keep her sitting contentedly upon the floor;
to appear asleep whenever Miss Maddison turned her
head and threw a glance inside, and to devise some
adequate explanation against the inevitable discovery
at the end of their drive, provided him with employment
worthy of a diplomatist's steel.  But now, at last,
they were within sight of railway signals and a long
embankment; and over a pine wood a stream of smoke
moved with a swelling roar.  Then into plain view
broke the engine and carriage after carriage racing
behind.  Regardless of risk, he leaped from his seat
and flung up the window, crying--

"Ach, look!  Ve shall be late!"

"That train is going north," said Eleanor.  "Guess
we've half an hour good before yours comes in."

So little can mortals read the stars that he heaved
a sigh of relief, and even murmured--

"Ve have timed him very luckily!"

Ten minutes later they descended the hill to Torrydhulish
Station.  The north-going train had paid its
brief call and vanished nearly from sight again; no
one seemed to be moving about the station, and the
Baron told himself that nothing worse remained than
the exercise of a little tact in parting with his deliverers.

"Ach! I shall carry it off gaily," he thought, and leaping
lightly to the ground, exclaimed with a genial
air, as he gave his hand to Eva.

"Vell!  Now have I a leetle surprise for you,
ladies!"

Nor did he at all exaggerate their sensation.

"Miss Maddison!"

Alas, that it should be so far beyond the power of
mere inky words to express all that was implied in
Eva's accents!

"Miss Gallosh!"

Nor is it less impossible to supply the significance
of Eleanor's intonation.

"Ladies, ladies!" he implored, "do not, I pray you,
misunderstand!  I vas not responsible--I could not
help it.  You both VOULD come mit me!  No, no, do
not look so at me!  I mean not zat--I mean I could not
do vizout both of you.  Ach, Himmel!  Vat do I say? 
I should say zat--zat----"

He broke off with a start of apprehension.

"Look!  Zere comes a man mit a bicycle!  Zis is
too public!  Come mit me into ze station and I shall
eggsplain!  He waves his fist!  Come! you vould not
be seen here?"

He offered one arm to Eva, the other to Eleanor;
and so alarming were the gesticulations of the
approaching cyclist, and so beseeching the Baron's tones,
that without more ado they clung to him and hurried
on to the platform.

"Come to ze vaiting-room!" he whispered.  "Zere
shall ve be safe!"

Alack for the luck of the Baron von Blitzenberg! 
Out of the very door they were approaching stepped
a solitary lady, sole passenger from the south train,
and at the sight of those three, linked arm in arm, she
staggered back and uttered a cry more piercing than
the engine's distant whistle.

"Rudolph!" cried this lady.

"Alicia!" gasped the Baron.

His rescuers said nothing, but clung to him the more
tightly, while in the Baroness's startled eyes a harder
light began to blaze.

"Who are these, Rudolph?"

He cleared his throat, but the process seemed to take
some time, and in the meanwhile he felt the grip of his
deliverers relax.

"Who is that lady?" demanded Eleanor.

"His wife," replied the Baroness.

The Baron felt his arms freed now; but still his
Alicia waited an answer.  It came at last, but not from
the Baron's lips.

"Well, here you all are!" said a cheerful voice
behind them.



CHAPTER XXXVII

They turned as though they expected to see
an apparition.  Nor was the appearance of
the speaker calculated to disappoint such
expectations.  Their startled eyes beheld
indeed the most remarkable figure that had ever wheeled
a bicycle down the platform of Torrydhulish Station. 
Hatless, in evening clothes with blue lapels upon the
coat, splashed liberally with mud, his feet equipped
only with embroidered socks and saturated pumps, his
shirt-front bestarred with souvenirs of all the soils for
thirty miles, Count Bunker made a picture that lived
long in their memories.  Yet no foolish consciousness
of his plight disturbed him as he addressed the Baron.

"Thank you, Baron, for escorting my fair friends
so far.  I shall now take them off your hands."

He smiled with pleasant familiarity upon the two
astonished girls, and then started as though for the
first time he recognized the Baroness.

"Baroness!" he cried, bowing profoundly, "this is
a very unexpected pleasure!  You came by the early
train, I presume?  A tiresome journey, isn't it?"

But bewilderment and suspicion were all that he
could read in reply.

"What--what are YOU doing here?"

He was not in the least disconcerted.

"Meeting my cousins" (he indicated the Misses
Gallosh and Maddison with an amiable glance), "whom
the Baron has been kind enough to look after till my
arrival."

Audaciously approaching more closely, he added, in
a voice intended for her ear and the Baron's alone--

"I must throw myself, I see, upon your mercy, and
ask you not to tell any tales out of school.  Cousins,
you know, don't always want their meetings advertised--
do they, Baron?"

Alicia's eyes softened a little.

"Then, they are really your----"

"Call 'em cousins, please!  I have your pledge that
you won't tell?  Ah, Baron, your charming wife and
I understand one another."

Then raising his voice for the benefit of the company
generally--

"Well, you two will want to have a little talk in the
waiting-room, I've no doubt.  We shall pace the platform. 
Very fit Rudolph's looking, isn't he, Baroness? 
You've no idea how his lungs have strengthened."

"His lungs!" exclaimed the Baroness in a changed
voice.

Giving the Baron a wink to indicate that there lay
the ace of trumps, he answered reassuringly--

"When you learn how he has improved you'll forgive
me, I'm sure, for taking him on this little trip. 
Well, see you somewhere down the line, no doubt--I'm
going by the same train."

He watched them pass into the waiting-room, and
then turned an altered face to the two dumbfounded
girls.  It was expressive now solely of sympathy and
contrition.

"Let us walk a little this way," he began, and thus
having removed them safely from earshot of the waiting-
room door, he addressed himself to the severest
part of his task.

"My dear girls, I owe you I don't know how many
apologies for presuming to claim you as my friends. 
The acuteness of the emergency is my only excuse, and
I throw myself most contritely upon your mercy!"

This second projection of himself upon a lady's
mercy proved as successful as the first.

"Well," said Eleanor slowly, "I guess maybe we
can forgive you for that; but what I want to know
is--what's happened?--who's who?--and where just
exactly are we?"

"That's just what I want to know too," added Eva
sadly.

Indeed, they both had a hint of tears in their eyes,
and in their voices.

"What has happened," replied the Count, "is that a
couple of thoughtless masqueraders came up here to
play a little joke, and succeeded in getting themselves
into a scrape.  For your share in getting us out of it
we cannot feel too grateful."

"But, who is----?" the girls began together, and
then stopped, with a rise of color and a suspicion of
displeasure in their interchange of eyes.

"Who is who?  Well, my friend is the Baron von
Blitzenberg; and the lady is, as she stated, his wife."

"Then all this time----" began Eva.

"He was married!" Eleanor finished for her.  "Oh,
the heartless scoundrel!  To think that I rescued him!"

"I wouldn't have either!" said Eva; "I mean if--
if I had known he treated you so badly."

"Treated ME!  I was only thinking of YOU, Miss
Gallosh!"

"Dear ladies!" interposed the Count with his ready
tact, "remember his excuse."

"His excuse?"

"The beauty, the charm, the wit of the lady who
took by storm a heart not easily captured!  He himself,
poor fellow, thought it love-proof; but he had not
then met HER.  Think mercifully of him!"

He was so careful to give no indication which of the
rival belles was "her," that each was able to take to
herself a certain mournful consolation.

"That wasn't MUCH excuse," said Eleanor, yet with
a less vindictive air.

"Certainly not VERY much," murmured Eva.

"He ought to have thought of the pain he was giving
HER," added Eleanor.

"Yes," said Eva.  "Indeed he ought!"

"Yes, that is true," allowed the Count; "but
remember his punishment!  To be married already now
proves to be less his fault than his misfortune."

By this time he had insidiously led them back to
their car.

"And must you return at once?" he exclaimed.

"We had better," said Eleanor, with a suspicion of
a sigh.  "Miss Gallosh, I'll drive you home first."

"You're too kind, Miss Maddison."

"Oh, no!"

The Count assisted them in, greatly pleased to see
this amicable spirit.  Then shaking hands heartily with
each, he said--

"I can speak for my friend with conviction, because
my own regard for the lady in question is as deep
and as sincere as his.  Believe me, I shall never forget
her!"

He was rewarded with two of the kindest smiles ever
bestowed upon him, and as they drove away each secretly
wondered why she had previously preferred the
Baron to the Count.  It seemed a singular folly.

"Two deuced nice girls," mused he; "I do believe
I told 'em the truth in every particular!"

He watched their car dwindle to a scurrying speck,
and then strolled back thoughtfully to purchase his
ticket.

He found the signals down, and the far-off clatter
of the train distinctly audible through the early morning
air.  A few minutes more and he was stepping into
a first-class compartment, his remarkable costume earning
(he could not but observe) the pronounced attention
of the guard.  The Baron and Alicia, with an air
of mutual affection, entered another; both the doors
were closed, everything seemed ready, yet the train
lingered.

"Start ze train!  Start ze train!  I vill give you a
pound--two pound--tree pound, to start him!"

The Count leaped up and thrust his head through
the window.

"What the dickens----!" thought he.

Hanging out of the other window he beheld the
clamant Baron urging the guard with frenzied entreaty.

"But they're wanting to go by the train, sir," said
the guard.

"No, no.  Zey do not!  It is a mistake!  Start
him!"

Following their gaze he saw, racing toward them,
the cause of their delay.  It was a motor car, yet not
the same that had so lately departed.  In this were
seated a young man and an elderly lady, both waving
to hold back the train; and to his vast amazement he
recognized in the man Darius Maddison, junior, in the
lady the Countess of Grillyer.

The car stopped, the occupants alighted, and the
Countess, supported on the strong arm of Ri, scuttled
down the platform.

"Bonker, take her in mit you!" groaned the Baron,
and his head vanished from the Count's sight.

Even this ordeal was not too much for Bunker's
fidelity.

"Madam, there is room here!" he announced
politely, as they swept past; but with set faces they
panted toward the doomed von Blitzenberg.

All of the tragedy that the Count, with strained
neck, could see or overhear, was a vision of the Countess
being pushed by the guard and her escort into that
first-class compartment whence so lately the Baron's
crimson visage had protruded, and the voice of Ri
stridently declaring--

"Guess you'll recognize your momma this time,
Baron!"

A whistle from the guard, another from the engine,
and they were off, clattering southward in the first
of the morning sunshine.

Inadequately attired, damp, hungry, and divorced
from tobacco as the Count was, he yet could say to himself
with the sincerest honesty

"I wouldn't change carriages with the Baron von
Blitzenberg--not even for a pair of dry socks and a
cigar!  Alas, poor Rudolph!  May this teach all young
men a lesson in sobriety of conduct!"

For which moral reflection the historian feels it
incumbent upon him, as a philosopher and serious
psychologist, to express his conscientious admiration.



EPILOGUE

IT was an evening in early August, luminous and
warm; the scene, a certain club now emptied of
all but a sprinkling of its members; the festival,
dinner; and the persons of the play, that gentleman
lately known as Count Bunker and his friend the
Baron von Blitzenberg.  The Count was habited in
tweeds; the Baron in evening dress.

"It vas good of you to come up to town jost to see
me," said the Baron.

"I'd have crossed Europe, Baron!"

The Baron smiled faintly.  Evidently he was scarcely
in his most florid humor.

"I vish I could have asked you to my club, Bonker."

"Are you dissatisfied with mine?"

"Oh, no, no!  But---- vell, ze fact is, it vould be
reported by some one if I took you to ze Regents. 
Bonker, she does have me watched!"

"The Baroness?"

"Her mozzer."

"The deuce, Baron!"

The diplomatist gloomily sipped his wine.

"You did hush it all up, eh?" he inquired presently.

"Completely."

"Zank you.  I vas so afraid of some scandal!"

"So were they; that's where I had 'em."

"Did zey write in moch anger?"

"No--not very much; rather nice letters, in fact."

The Baron began to cheer up.

"Ach, so!  Vas zere any news of--ze Galloshes?"

"Yes, they seem very well.  Old Rentoul has caught
a salmon.  Gallosh hopes to get a fair bag----"

"Bot did zey say nozing about--about Miss Eva?"

"The letter was written by her, you see."

"SHE wrote to YOU!  Strange!"

"Very odd, isn't it?"

The Baron meditated for a minute and then inquired--

"Vat of ze Maddisons?"

"Well, I gather that Mr. Maddison is erecting an
ibis house in connection with the aviary.  Ri has gone
to Kamchatka, but hopes to be back by the 12th----"

"And Eleanor--no vord of her?"

"It was she who wrote, don't you know."

"Eleanor--and also to you!  Bot vy should she?"

"Can't imagine; can you?"

The Baron shook his head solemnly.  "No, Bonker,
I cannot."

For some moments he pondered over the remarkable
conduct of these ladies; and then--

"Did you also hear of ze Wallingfords?" he
asked.

"I had a short note from them."

"From him, or----"

"Her."

"So!  Humph, zey all seem fond of writing letters."

"Why--have you had any too?"

"No; and I do not vant zem."

Yet his immunity did not appear to exhilarate the
diplomatist.

"Another bottle of the same," said Bunker aside to
the waiter.

 .   .    .    .    .    .


It was an hour later; the scene and the personages
the same, but the atmosphere marvellously altered.

"To ze ladies, Bonker!"

"To HER, Baron!"

"To zem both!"

The genial heart, the magnanimous soul of Rudolph
von Blitzenberg had asserted their dominion again. 
Depression, jealousy, repentance, qualms, and all other
shackles of the spirit whatsoever, had fled discomfited. 
Now at last he saw his late exploits in their true heroic
proportions, and realized his marvellous good fortune
in satisfying his aspirations so gloriously.  Raising
his glass once more, he cried--

"Dear Bonker, my heart he does go out to you! 
Ach, you have given me soch a treat.  Vunce more I
schmell ze mountain dew--I hear ze pipes--I gaze into
loffly eyes--I am ze noblest part of mineself!  Bonker,
I vill defy ze mozzer of my wife!  I drink to you, my
friend, mit hip--hip--hip--hooray!"

"You have more than repaid me," replied the Count,
"by the spectacle you have provided.  Dear Baron,
it was a panorama calculated to convert a continent!"

"To vat should it convert him?" inquired the Baron
with interest.

"To a creed even merrier than Socialism, more
convivial than Total Abstinence, and more perfectly
designed for human needs than Esperanto--the gospel
of 'Cheer up.' "

"Sheerup?" repeated the Baron, whose acquaintance
with the English words used in commerce and war
was singularly intimate, but who was occasionally at
fault with terms of less portentous import.

"A name given to the bridge that crosses the Slough
of Despond," explained the Count.

The Baron still seemed puzzled.  "I am not any
wiser," said he.

"Never cease thanking Heaven for that!" cried
Bunker fervently.  "The man who once dubs himself
wise is the jest of gods and the plague of mortals."

With this handsome tribute to the character and
attainments of one of these heroes, and the Baronial
roar that congratulated the other, our chronicle may
fittingly leave them; since the mutual admiration of
two such catholic critics is surely more significant
than the colder approval of a mere historian.





End of Project Gutenberg's Etext of Count Bunker by J. Storer Clouston


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