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Ilii iiiiMiii 

argtiU coition 



BOY, SHALL WE DO IT?" {Page 114) 





®be Riberitfibe piti^ CambriDge 


fublished October iqii 

H. M. S. 


GO <D."^ 

Jr^s^^^ 7 




I. Happy Families 3 

II. Wanted, A Man 23 

ni. The Wheels of Juggernaut 36 

IV. The Devil a Monk would be 55 

V. A Sabbath Day's Journey . 76 

VI. Daphne as Matchmaker . . o 94 

VII. The Match is struck 105 

VIII. Moritura te Salutat 115 



IX. A Horse to the Water 129 

X. A Day in the Life of a Social Success . . . 145 

XI. Dies Irae 165 

XII. Cilly; or the World well lost 183 





XIII. The Counterstroke 199 

XIV. Intervention 221 

XV. Jim Carthew 234 

XVI. Some One to confide in 243 

XVn. The Lighting of the Candle 250 

XVIII. Athanasius contra Mundum 263 

XIX. Laborare est orare . 276 

XX. BiACK Sunday 284 

XXI. ViEILLESSE sait 289 

XXII. Hold the Fort! 296 

XXIII. The Last to leave 808 

XXIV. Another Auas 317 


Two years elapsed between A Man's Man and A 
Safety Match. I had had my lesson against 
overproduction. This time the work proceeded 
with comparative deliberation through the whole 
of 1910, and was finished during a flying visit 
which I paid to the United States at the end of 
the year for the purpose of becoming personally 
acquainted with my publishers. The last chapter 
was written at a sitting one stormy January 
afternoon in my cabin on the Megantic, home- 
ward bound. Having run its course serially in 
Blackwood's Magazine, A Safety Match was 
published simultaneously in Britain and the 
United States, in September, 1911, — a welcome 
innovation, both for sentimental and business 

A Safety Match was written comfortably, 
published comfortably, and sold comfortably. 
In fact, those were comfortable days. The War 
was still three years off. Still, this eminently 
peaceful story "did its bit." In the Battle of 
the Somme, in July, 1916, a copy of the book, 
buttoned into the tunic of a certain British 
sergeant of my acquaintance, intercepted and 


absorbed two German machine-gun bullets. 
They failed to get through the book — which to 
me was not altogether surprising — and a man's 
life was saved. 

Ian Hay 





"Nicky, please have you got Mr. Pots the 
Painter? " 

*'No, Stiffy, but I'll trouble you for Mrs. 
Bones the Butcher's Wife. Thank you. And 
Daph, have you got Master Bones the Butcher's 
Son.f^ Thank you. Family! One to me!" 

And Nicky, triumphantly plucking from her 
hand four pink-backed cards, slaps them down 
upon the table face upwards. They are appar- 
ently family portraits. The first — that of Bones 
pere — depicts a smug gentleman, with appropri- 
ate mutton-chop whiskers, mutilating a fearsome 
joint upon a block; the second, Mrs. Bones, an 
ample matron in apple-green, proffering to an 
unseen customer a haunch of what looks like an- 
semic cab-horse; the third. Miss Bones, engaged 
in extracting nourishment from a colossal bone 
shaped like a dumb-bell; the fourth. Master 
Bones (bearing a strong family likeness to his 
papa), creeping unwillingly upon an errand, clad 


in canary trousers and a blue jacket, with a sir- 
loin of beef nestling against bis right ear. 

It was Saturday night at the Rectory, and the 
Vereker family — " those absurdly handsome 
Rectory children," as old Lady Curlew, of Hain- 
ings, invariably called them — sat round the 
dining-room table playing Happy Families. The 
rules which govern this absorbing pastime are 
simple. The families are indeed "Happy." They 
contain no widows and no orphans, and each pair 
of parents possesses one son and one daughter — 
perhaps the perfect number, for the sides of the 
house are equally balanced both for purposes of 
companionship and in the event of sex-warfare. 
As for procedure, cards are dealt round, and each 
player endeavours, by requests based upon ob- 
servation and deduction, to reunite within his 
own hand the members of an entire family, an 
enterprise which, while it fosters in those who un- 
dertake it a reverence for the unities of home life, 
offers a more material and immediate reward in 
the shape of one point for each family collected. 
We will look over the shoulders of the players as 
they sit, and a brief consideration of each hand 
and of the tactics of its owner will possibly give 
us the key to the respective dispositions of the 
Vereker family, as well as a useful lesson in the 
art of acquiring that priceless possession, *' A 
Happy Family." 


Before starting on our tour of the table we may 
note that one member of the company is other- 
wise engaged. This is Master Anthony Cuthbert 
Vereker, aged ten years — usually known as 
Tony. He is the youngest member of the family, 
and is one of those fortunate people who are never 
bored, and who rarely require either company or 
assistance in their amusements. He lives in a 
world of his own, peopled by folk of his own cre- 
ation; and with the help of this unseen host, 
which he can multiply to an indefinite extent and 
transform into anything he pleases, he organises 
and carries out schemes of recreation beside 
which all the Happy Families in the world be- 
come humdrum and suburban in tone. He has 
just taken his seat upon a chair opposite to an- 
other chair, across the arms of which he has laid 
the lid of his big box of bricks, and is feeling in 
his pocket for an imaginary key; for he is about 
to give an organ recital in the Albert Hall (which 
he has never seen) in a style modelled upon that 
of the village organist, whom he studies through 
a chink in a curtain every Sunday. 

Presently the lid is turned back, and the key- 
board — a three-manual affair ingeniously com- 
posed of tiers of wooden bricks — is exposed to 
view. The organist arranges unseen music and 
pulls out invisible stops. Then, having risen to 
set up on the mantelpiece hard by a square of 


cardbocird bearing the figure [1], lie resumes his 
seat and embarks upon a rendering of Handel's 
Largo in G which its composer, to be just, would 
have experienced no difficulty in recognising, 
though he might have expressed some surprise 
that so large an instrument as the Albert Hall 
organ should produce so small a volume of sound. 
But then Handel never played his own Largo in a 
room full of elder brothers and sisters, immersed 
in the acquisition of Happy Families and impa- 
tient of distracting noises. 

The Largo completed, its executant rises to his 
feet and bows again and again in the direction of 
the sideboard ; and then (the applause having ap- 
parently subsided) solemnly turns round the 
cardboard square on the mantelpiece so as to 
display the figure [2], and sets to work upon The 
Lost Chord. 

Meanwhile the Happy Families are being rap- 
idly united. The houses of Pots the Painter, Bun 
the Baker, and Dose the Doctor lie neatly piled 
at Nicky's right hand, and that Machiavellian 
damosel is now engaged in a businesslike quest 
for the only outstanding member of the family 
of Grits the Grocer. 

Nicky — or Veronica Elizabeth Vereker, — 
was in many respects the most remarkable of the 
Rectory children. She was thirteen years old, 
was the only dark-haired member of the family, 


and (as she was fond of explaining) was possessed 
of a devil. This remarkable circumstance was 
sometimes adduced as a distinction and some- 
times as an excuse, the former when impression- 
able and nervous children came to tea, the latter 
when all other palliatives of crime had failed. 
Certainly she could lay claim to the brooding 
spirit, the entire absence of fear, the unlimited 
low cunning, and the love of sin for its own sake 
which go to make the master-criminal. At pre- 
sent she was enjoying herself in characteristic 
fashion. Her brother Stephen, — known as 
"Stiffy" — Nicky's senior by one year, a trans- 
parently honest but somewhat limited youth, had 
for the greater part of the game been applying 
a slow-moving intellect to the acquisition of 
one complete Family. Higher he did not look. 
Nicky's habit was to allow Stiffy, with infinite 
labour, to collect the majority of the members of 
a Family in which she herself was interested, and 
then, at the eleventh hour, to swoop down and 
strip her unconscious collaborator of his hardly 
earned collection. 

Stiffy, sighing patiently, had just surrendered 
Mr., Mrs., and Miss Block (Hairdressers and 
dealers in Toilet Requisites) to the depredatory 
hands of Nicky, and was debating in his mind 
whether he should endeavour, when his next 
chance came, to complete the genealogical tree 


of Mr. Soot the Sweep, or make a corner in the 
clan of Bung the Brewer. Possessing two Bungs 
to one Soot he decided on the latter alternative. 

Presently he was asked by his elder sister Cilly 
(Monica Cecilia) for a card which he did not pos- 
sess, and this gave him the desired opening. 

**I say, Nicky," he began deferentially, *'have 
you got Master Bung.'^'* 

Nicky surveyed her hand for a moment, and 
then raised a pair of liquid blue eyes and smiled 

"No, Stiffy dear," she replied; "but I'll have 
Mr. Bung and Mrs. Bung." 

Stiffy, resigned as ever, handed over the cards. 
Suddenly Sebastian Aloysius Vereker, the eldest 
son of the family (usually addressed as "Ally"), 
put down his cards and remarked, slowly and 
without heat : — 

"Cheating again! My word, Nicky, you are 
the absolute edgeT^ 

"Who is cheating.^" enquired Veronica in a 
shocked voice. 

"You. Either you must have Master Bung, or 
else you are asking for Stiffy 's cards without hav- 
ing any Bungs at all; because I've got Miss my- 

He laid the corybantic young lady in question 
upon the table to substantiate his statement. 

Nicky remained entirely unruffled. 


"Oh — Bung!'' she exclaimed. *' Sorry! I 
thought you said 'Bun,' Stiffy. You should spit 
out your G's a bit more, my lad. Bung-gah — 
like that ! I really must speak to Dad about your 

In polite card-playing circles a lady's word is 
usually accepted as sufficient; but the ordinary 
courtesies of everyday life do not prevail in a 
family of six. 

*'Rot!" said Ally. 

"Cheat!" said Cilly. 

" Never mind ! " said loyal and peaceable Stiffy. 
"I don't care, really. Let's go on." 

"It's not fair," cried Cilly. "Poor Stiffy 
has n't got a single Family yet. Give it to him, 
Nicky, you little beast! Daph, make her!" 

Daph was the eldest of the flock, and for want 
of a mother dispensed justice and equity to the 
rest of the family from the heights of nineteen. 
For the moment she was assisting the organist, 
who had inadvertently capsized a portion of his 
keyboard. Now she returned to the table. 

"What is it, rabble.^ " she enquired maternally. 

A full-throated chorus informed her, and the 
arbitress detached the threads of the dispute 
with effortless dexterity. 

"You said you thought he was asking for Miss 
Bun and not Bung.'^" she remarked to the ac- 


"Yes — that was all," began Nicky. "You 
see,'* she continued pathetically, "they 're all so 
beastly unjust to me, and — " 

Daphne picked up her small sister's pile of 
completed Families and turned them over. 

"You couldn't have thought Stiffy wanted 
Buns,'^ she said in measured tones, "because 
they're all here. You collected them yourself. 
You've cheated again. Upstairs, and no jam till 

It is a tribute to Miss Vereker's disciplinary 
methods that the turbulent Nicky rose at once 
to her feet and, with a half -tearful, half -defiant 
reference to her satanic inhabitant, left the room 
and departed upstairs, there to meditate on a 
Bun-strewn past and a jamless future. 

Daphne Vereker was perhaps the most beauti- 
ful of an extraordinarily attractive family. Her 
full name was Daphne Margaret. Her parents, 
whether from inherent piety or on the lucus a non 
lucendo principle, had endowed their offspring 
with the names of early saints and martyrs. The 
pagan derivative Daphne was an exception. It 
had been the name of Brian Vereker's young 
bride, and had been bestowed, uncanonically 
linked with that of a saint of blameless anteced- 
ents, upon the first baby which had arrived at 
the Rectory. Mrs. Vereker had died ten years 
later, two hours after the birth of that fertile 


genius Anthony Cuthbert, and Brian Vereker, 
left to wrestle with the upbringing of six children 
on an insufficient stipend in a remote country 
parish, had come to lean more and more, in the 
instinctive but exacting fashion of lonely man, 
upon the slim shoulders of his eldest daughter. 

There are certain attributes of woman before 
which the male sex, whose sole knowledge of the 
ways of life is derived from that stern instructor 
Experience, can only stand and gape in reverend 
awe. When her mother died. Daphne Vereker 
was a tow-headed, long-legged, irresponsible 
marauder of eleven. In six months she looked 
like a rather prim little nursery governess ; in two 
years she could have taken the chair at a mo- 
thers' meeting. Circumstance is a great forcing- 
house, especially where women are concerned. 
Her dreamy, unpractical, affectionate father, ob- 
livious of the expectant presence in the offing of 
num.erous female relatives-in-law, had remarked 
in sober earnest to his little daughter, walking 
erect by his side in her short black frock on the 
way home from the funeral: — "You and I will 
have to bring up the children between us now. 
Daphne"; and the child, with an odd thrill of 
pride at being thus promoted to woman's highest 
office at the age of eleven, had responded with 
the utmost gravity : — 

"You had better stick to the parish. Dad, and 
I'll manage the kids." 


And she had done it. As she presides at the 
table this Saturday evening, with her round chin 
resting on her hands, surveying the picturesque 
crew of ragamuffins before her, we cannot but 
congratulate her on the success of her methods, 
whatever those may be. On her right lolls the 
apple of her eye, the eldest son, Ally. He is a 
handsome boy, with a ready smile and a rather 
weak mouth. He is being educated — God 
knows by what anxious economies in other direc- 
tions — at a great public school. When he leaves, 
which will be shortly, the money will go to edu- 
cate Stiffy, who is rising fourteen. 

Next to Ally sprawls Cilly, an amorphous 
schoolgirl with long rippling hair and great grey 
eyes that are alternately full of shy enquiry and 
hoydenish exuberance. Then comes the chair 
recently vacated by the Madonna-like Nicky; 
then the ruddy countenance and cheerful pre- 
sence of the sunny-tempered Stiffy, completing 
the circle. In the corner Master Anthony Cuth- 
bert, cherubic and rapturous, is engaged, with 
every finger and toe in action, upon the final 
fugue of the Hallelujah Chorus. The number [6] 
stands upon the mantelpiece, for the recital is 
drawing to a close. 

To describe Daphne herself is not easy. One 
fact is obvious, and that is that she possesses an 
instinct for dress not as yet acquired by any of 


her brothers and sisters. Her hair is of a pecul- 
iarly radiant gold, reflecting high lights at every 
turn of her head. Her eyes are brown, of the hue 
of a Highland burn on a sunny afternoon, and 
her eyebrows are very level and serene. Her col- 
ouring is perfect, and when she smiles we under- 
stand why it is that her unregenerate brothers 
and sisters occasionally address her as "Odol." 
When her face is in repose — which, to be frank, 
is not often — there is a pathetic droop at the 
corners of her mouth, which is perhaps accounted 
for by the cares of premature responsibility. She 
is dressed in brown velvet, with a lace collar, — 
evening dress does not prevail in a household 
which affects high tea, but Daphne always puts 
on her Sunday frock on Saturday evenings, — 
and, having discovered that certain colours suit 
her better than others, she has threaded a pale 
blue ribbon through her hair. 

Altogether she is a rather astonishing young 
person to find sitting contentedly resting her el- 
bows upon a dingy tablecloth in an untidy dining- 
room which smells of American leather and fried 
eggs. It is as if one had discovered the Venus de 
Milo presiding at a Dorcas Society, or Helen of 
Troy serving crumpets in an A. B. C. shop. 

The Hallelujah Chorus has just stopped dead 
at that paralysing hiatus of two bars which im- 
mediately precedes the final crash, when the door 


opens and the Reverend Brian Vereker appears. 
A glance at his clear-cut aristocratic features 
goes a long way towards deciding the question of 
the origin of the good looks of "those Rectory 

He is a tall man, — six feet two, — and al- 
though he is barely fifty his hair is specklessly 
white. He looks more like a great prelate or 
statesman than a country parson. Perhaps he 
might have been, had he been born the eldest son 
of the eldest son of a peer, instead of the youngest 
son of the youngest. And again, perhaps not. 
The lines of his face indicate brain rather than 
character, and after all it is character that brings 
us out on top in this world. There are furrows 
about his forehead that tell of much study; but 
about the corners of the mouth, where prompti- 
tude and decision usually set their seal, there is 
nothing — nothing but a smile of rare sweetness. 
His gentle blue eyes have the dreamy gaze that 
marks the saints and poets of this world: the 
steely glitter of the man of action is lacking. Al- 
together you would say that Brian Vereker would 
make a noble figurehead to any high enterprise, 
but you would add that if that enterprise was to 
succeed the figurehead would require a good deal of 
driving power behind it. And you would be right. 

The Rector paused in the doorway and sur- 
veyed the lamplit room. 


**Hath spo-o-o-ohen it!" vociferated the Al- 
bert Hall Organ with an air of triumphant 

Brian Vereker turned to his youngest son with 
the ready sympathy of one child for another 
child's games. 

"That's right, Tony! That's the stuff ! Good 
old George Frederick! He knew the meaning of 
the word music — eh?" 

"Yes — George Fwederick!" echoed the organ- 
ist, "yln^ Arthur Seymour, Daddy! You've just 
missed The Lost Chord.'' 

"Ah," said the Rector in a tone of genuine re- 
gret; "that's a pity. But we had the Seventy- 
eighth Psalm to-night, and I 'm later than usual." 

"Quadruple chant.?" enquired Tony profes- 

"Rather ! But is your recital quite over, boyo.'^ " 

"Yes — bedtime!" replied the organist, with a 
reproachful glance in the direction of his eldest 

"Run along, dear!" was all the comfort he re- 
ceived from that inflexible despot. 

"All right! I must lock up, though." 

Master Tony removed the last number from 
the mantelpiece, disintegrated his keyboard and 
packed it up with the other bricks, and drawing 
aside the window curtain, remarked solemnly 
into the dark recess behind it: — 


"That will be all to-night, organ-blower. You 
can go home now." 

To which a husky and ventriloquial voice re- 
plied : — 

"Thank you kindly, Mr. Handel, sir. Good- 

"Now," concluded Mr. Handel, turning to his 
elders with the air of a martyr addressing a group 
of arena lions, "I'm ready!" 

"Take him up, Cilly dear," said Daphne. "I 
must look after Dad's supper." 

"Come on, Tony," said Cilly, uncoiling her 
long legs from under her and rising from the 

"Righto!" said Tony. "You be a cart-horse 
and I'll be a broken-down motor." 

Monica Cecilia Vereker meekly complied, and 
departed upstairs, towing the inanimate mechan- 
ism of the inventive Anthony behind her bump 
by bump, utilising her sash, which she had re- 
moved for the purpose, as a tow-rope. 

"Ally and Stiffy," commanded Daphne, turn- 
ing to the two remaining members of the family, 
"you'd better go and pump the cistern full. Sat- 
urday night, you know, and the kids' baths have 
just been filled: so look sharp before the boiler 

Stiffy, obliging as ever, rose at once; Ally, cum- 
bered by that majesty which doth hedge a sixth- 


form boy and a member of the School Fifteen 
^especially when ordered about by a female), was 
more deliberate in his acquiescence. However, 
presently both the boys were gone, and five min- 
utes later Daphne, with the assistance of the one 
little maid whom the establishment supported, 
had laid the Rector's supper. She established her 
father in his seat on one side of the table and took 
her own on the other, assisting the progress of the 
meal from time to time, but for the most part sit- 
ting with her chin resting upon her two fists and 
contemplating the tired man before her with seri- 
ous brown eyes. Twice she had to leave her seat, 
once to remove the butter from the vicinity of her 
parent's elbow, and once to frustrate an attempt 
on the part of that excellent but absent-minded 
man to sprinkle sugar over a lettuce. 

"Well, my daughter," remarked the Rector 
presently, "what of the weekly report?" 

Saturday night at the Rectory was reserved 
for a sort of domestic budget. 

"Here are the books," said Daphne. " They 're 
much as usual, except that I had to pay two bob 
on Wednesday for a bottle of embrocation for 
Ally. He is in training for the Mile in the Sports 
at the beginning of next term, and it does his 
muscles so much good." 

"When I won the Mile at Fenner's, Daphne," 
began the Reverend Brian with a sudden glow of 


reminiscence in his dreamy eyes, *'I did without 
embrocation or any other new-fashioned — " 

"Yes, dear, but they have to run so much 
faster now than they did,*' explained Daphne 
soothingly. "Then, about the kitchen chim- 

" But I only took four minutes, twenty -eight — " 
"Yes, old man; and I'm proud of you!" said 
Daphne swiftly. — "Well, the sweep is coming in 
on Wednesday, when you '11 be away at Wilf ord, 
so that '5 all right." She was anxious to get away 
from the question of the embrocation. It had been 
a rank extravagance, and she knew it : but Ally was 
ever her weak spot. "Then, I've got three-and- 
nine in hand out of current expenses just now, 
and if I take two half-crowns out of the Emer- 
gency Bag and we go without a second joint this 
week, I can get Nicky a new pair of boots, if you 
don 't mind. (Don 't cut the cheese with a spoon, 
dear: take this knife.) Of course we ought not to 
have to go to the Emergency Bag for boots at all. 
It's rather upsetting. To-day I find that a per- 
fectly ducky pair of Sunday shoes which I out- 
grew just before I stopped growing, and was 
keeping especially for that child, are too small for 
her by yards. (I had tried them on Cilly a year 
ago, but she simply could n't get her toe in.) And 
now they'll be wasted, because there are no more 
of us girls. My feet are most irritating." 



'Your mother had tiny feet," said the Rector, 
half to himself. 

He pushed away his plate and gazed absently 
before him into that land where his son Tony still 
spent so much of his time, and whither Tony's 
young and pretty mother had been borne away 
ten years before. Daphne permitted him a rev- 
erie of five minutes, while she puckered her brow 
over the account books. Then she rose and took 
down a pipe from a rack on the mantelpiece. This 
she filled from a cracked jar thirty years old, 
adorned with the coat-of-arms of one of the three 
Royal colleges of Cambridge, and laid it by her 
father's left hand. 

"Then there's another thing," she continued, 
lighting a spill at the fire. "Is n't it time to enter 
Stiffy for school.'^ Mr. Allnutt asked us to say 
definitely by April whether he was coming to fill 
Ally's place after summer or not; otherwise he 
would be obliged to give the vacancy to some one 
else. It's the end of March now." 

The Rector lit his pipe — his one luxury — in a 
meditative fashion, and then leaned back to con- 
template his daughter, with her glinting hair and 
troubled little frown. 

"Mr. Allnutt? To be sure! Of course. A ripe 
scholar, Daphne, and a long-standing personal 
friend of my own. He took the Porson and Craven 
in successive years. His Iambics — " 


All this was highly irrelevant, and exceedingly 
characteristic. Daphne waited patiently through 
a resume of Mr. Allnutt's achievements as a 
scholar and a divine, and continued : — 

"Will you enter Stiffy at once, then? It 
would be a pity not to get him into Ally's old 

Brian Vereker, suddenly recalled to business, 
laid down his pipe and sighed. 

"Boys are terribly expensive things, little 
daughter," he said. "And we are so very, very 
poor. I wonder if they are worth it.'* 

"Of course they are, the dears!" said Daphne, 
up in arms at once. 

"Of course, of course," agreed the Rector 
apologetically. "You are right, child; you are 
always right. It is ungrateful and un-Christian 
of me to give expression to such thoughts when 
God has granted me three good sons. Still, I ad- 
mit it was a disappointment to me when Ally 
failed to gain a scholarship at Cambridge. He 
may have been right in his assertion that there 
was an exceptionally strong set of candidates up 
on that occasion, but it was unfortunate that he 
should have overslept himself on the morning of 
the Greek Prose Paper, even though, as he pointed 
out, Greek Prose is his weak subject. What a 
misfortune! Strange lodgings, probably! Still, 
his disappointment must be far greater than ours, 


so it would be ungenerous to dwell further on the 
matter. But I fail to see at present how he can be 
started in life now. If only one had a little money 
to spare! I have never felt the need of such a 
thing before." 

*' Yes, we could do with a touch of it," assented 
Miss Vereker elegantly. She began to tack off the 
family requirements on her fingers. "There's 
Ally to be started in life; and Cilly ought to be 
sent somewhere and finished, — she's tragically 
gawky, and she'd be perfectly lovely if she was 
given half a chance; and Stiff y has to be sent to 
school ; and the two kiddies are growing up, and 
this house is simply tumbling down for want of 
repairs ; and it 's really time you had a curate for 
long-distance visiting — " 

"Never!" said Brian Vereker firmly. 

"All right. Never, if you like, but he '11 have to 
come some day," said Daphne serenely. (The 
question of the curate cropped up almost as regu- 
larly as that of the second joint on Wednesdays.) 
"And all we've got to run the whole show on," 
she concluded, with a pathetic little frown, 
which many a man would gladly have given his 
whole estate to smooth away, "is — two pounds 
seventeen and ninepence in the Emergency Bag! 
It's a bit thick, is n't it.^" 

Brian Vereker surveyed his daughter's trou- 
bled countenance with characteristic serenity. 


Simple faith — some called it unpractical optim- 
ism — was the main article of his creed. 

"The Lord will provide, my daughter," he 

At this moment the door opened with a flour- 
ish, and, the crimson and enraged countenance of 
Master Anthony Cuthbert Vereker having been 
thrust into the room, its owner enquired, in a 
voice rendered husky by emotion, how any one 
could be expected to impersonate a dreadnought 
going into action in the bath, when the said bath 
was encumbered with the corpses of members of 
the insect world left there to drown by a previous 
occupant. In other words, was he to be bathed in 
the same water as Nicky .^ 

It was an old grievance, arising from the insuf- 
ficient nature of the Rectory water-supply (which 
had to be pumped up by hand from the garden), 
and the smallness of the kitchen boiler; and 
Daphne had perforce to go upstairs to adjust it. 
Consequently the sitting of the Committee of 
Ways and Means, with all its immediate necessi- 
ties and problems for the future, was incontinently 



Five gentlemen sat side by side along a baize- 
covered table in a dingy room in a dingier build- 
ing not far from the principal pit-head of Mirk- 
ley Colliery. They were the representatives of 
the local Colliery Owners' Association, and they 
were assembled and met together for the purpose 
of receiving a deputation representing the united 
interests and collective wisdom of their employes. 

It should be noted that although there were 
five gentlemen present, six chairs were set along 
the table. 

Now a deputation may be defined as an instru- 
ment designed to extract from you something 
which you have not the slightest desire to give up. 
Consequently the reception of such, whether you 
be a damsel listening for the rat-a-tat of an unde- 
sired suitor who has written asking for an inter- 
view, or a dethroned Royal Family sitting in its 
deserted abode awaiting the irruption of a Com- 
mittee of Public Safety, composed of the greater 
part of its late loyal subjects armed with bill- 
hooks and asking for blood, is always an uncom- 
fortable business at the best. Our five gentlemen 


do not appear to be enjoying their present posi- 
tion any more than the two examples cited 
above. In fact, they look so exceedingly averse 
to interviews or arguments of any description 
that we will leave them for a moment and divert 
our attention to the deputation itself, which is 
delicately skirting puddles of coal-black water 
and heaps of pit refuse on its way from the boiler 
house, where its members have assembled, to the 
office buildings of the colliery. 

They are six in number, and we will describe 
them seriatim. 

Mr. Tom Winch is a professional agitator, 
though he calls himself something else. He is 
loud-voiced, and ceaseless in argument of a sort. 
His notion of a typical member of the upper 
classes is a debilitated imbecile suffering from 
chronic alcoholism and various maladies incident 
on over-indulgence, who divides his time between 
gloating over money-bags and grinding the faces 
of the poor. He privately regards Trades Unions 
as an antiquated drag upon the wheels of that 
chariot at the tail of which he hopes one day to see 
Capital led captive, gentlemen like Mr. Tom 
Winch handling the reins and plying the whip. 

Mr. Amos Entwistle is a working collier, and is 
rightly regarded by both parties as a safe man. 
He is habitually sober, scrupulously honest, and 
has worked at Cherry Hill Pit for nearly forty 


years. He looks upon Trades Unions as his father 
and mother. 

Mr. Jacob Entwistle is the Nestor of the party. 
(Amos is his son.) He is a patriarchal old gentle- 
man, with a long white beard, the manner of an 
ambassador, the deafness of an adder, and the 
obstinacy of a mule. Altogether he is just the sort 
of man to prove a valuable asset to any properly 
constituted deputation. He is the senior member 
of the local branch of the Employes ' Association. 
He regards himself as the father and mother of 
Trades Unions. 

Mr. Albert Brash is an expert in the art of what 
may be called Righteous Indignation. Never was 
there such an exploiter of grievances. Is short 
time declared.^ Mr. Brash calls for an Act of 
Parhament. Is there an explosion of fire-damp.^ 
Mr. Brash mutters darkly that one of these days a 
director must swing. Does a careless worker re- 
move a pit-top and bring down an avalanche of 
coal on himself.'^ Mr. Brash raises clenched hands 
to heaven and clamours for a revolution. So per- 
sistently and so methodically does Mr. Brash lay 
upon the shoulders of Capital the responsibility 
for all the ills to which flesh is liable, from a hard 
winter to triplets, that he has ultimately (as is the 
way in this short-sighted world of ours) achieved 
the position of Sir Oracle. His deportment is that 
of a stage conspirator, and he rarely speaks above 


a hoarse and arresting whisper. He calls himself 
an Anarchist, but he quails at the passing of the 
most benevolent policeman. He regards Trades 
Unions as well-meaning institutions with but lit- 
tle discrimination as to their choice of leaders. 

Mr. James Killick is a thoroughly honest, tho- 
roughly muddle-headed Socialist of a rather com- 
mon type. Like many a wiser and more observ- 
ant man before him, he has realised something of 
the grinding misery and suffering of this world, 
and a great and vague desire to better things is 
surging inarticulately within him. He has come 
to the conclusion, as most half-educated philoso- 
phers usually do, that the simplest remedy would 
be to take from those who have and give the pro- 
ceeds to those who have not. The fact that the 
world is divided into men to whose hands money 
sticks like glue and men through whose fingers it 
slips like water, and that consequently a Utopian 
redistribution of property would have to be re- 
peated at inconveniently frequent intervals in 
order to preserve the social balance, has not yet 
been borne in on him. He regards Trades Union- 
ism as a broken reed. 

Mr. Adam Wilkie is a Scot of the dourest and 
most sepulchral appearance. He represents 
Marbledown Colliery. Native reticence and an 
extremely cautious manner of expressing him- 
self have invested him with that halo of business 


acumen which appears to be inevitable to the 
Scot as viewed by the Sassenach, and his very si- 
lence is regarded with respectful admiration by 
his more verbose colleagues. In reality he is an 
intensely stupid, entirely placid individual. 
Still, he has kept himself by native thrift in tol- 
erable comfort all his life without extraneous 
assistance, and he consequently regards Trades 
Unions as an institution specially and mercifully 
introduced by Providence for the purpose of keep- 
ing the weak-kneed English out of the poorhouse. 

"Who's to be there?'* enquired Mr. Brash of 
Mr. Entwistle senior. 

That patriarch, who was negotiating a mount- 
ainous wasteheap, made no reply. 

*'Who are we going to meet.^^" repeated Mr. 
Brash in a louder tone. 

"Eh?" enquired Mr. Entwistle, giving his in- 
variable answer to any sudden question. 

*'Who are we going to meet?'' bawled Mr. 

Mr. Entwistle, who was never at a loss a 
second time, smiled benignantly and replied: — 

"Aye, that's so. But maybe we can manage to 
dry 'em at the fire in the office." 

"I expect there will be five of them, Mr. 
Winch," interpolated Amos, coming to the res- 
cue. "Kirkley, Thompson, Finch, Aymer, Mon- 
tague — ' 



There was a grunt of disapproval from Mr. 
Wilkie as the last name was mentioned. Mr. 
Montague was his employer. 

*'Yon felly!" he observed darkly. "Aha! 

Then he relapsed into silence. It was upon 
such safe utterances as these that Mr. Wilkie's 
reputation for profound wisdom was based. 

"Is that all.?" said Winch. "Because if it is, 
I'll undertake to learn that lot right enough. 
Kirkley, of course, is just an empty-headed aristo- 
crat: he don't count. Then that Finch — he's 
too cautious to do anything. We can talk Thomp- 
son round all right: done it half a dozen times 
meself. Aymer never knows his own mind two 
minutes together, and Moses is a coward. But is 
that all.'^ Ain't the big man going to be there? 
He's the lad that counts in that crowd." 

"He was away in London last week," said Ent- 
wistle junior. "But you never know — " 

"Wallowing in the vice and luxury of the 
metropolis!" chanted Mr. Brash suddenly, as if 
from some internal missal. " The master absent, 
squandering his tainted millions, while we stay 
here and starve! If I was a Member o' Parlia- 
ment — " 

"Talk sense," said Amos Entwistle curtly. 
"He may be back for all we know. Anyway, 
they 're certain to bring him up if they can, be- 


cause they know they can't do without him. 
Mind that tank-engine, father." 

He impelled his aged parent, who, oblivious to 
delirious whistling, was resolutely obstructing the 
progress of a diminutive locomotive hauling a 
string of trucks, on to safer ground. 

"Well, we '11 hope for the best," said Mr. Winch 
piously. '*It would be something if he were to 
come late, even. Give me twenty minutes with 
the rest before he can get his oar in, and I'll un- 
dertake to make them outvote him." 

By this time the deputation had arrived at the 
managerial offices, and five minutes later they 
were admitted to the presence of the Board. They 
did not know that they had been immediately 
preceded by an orange-coloured envelope, which 
was eagerly torn open by Lord Kirkley, the dep- 
uty chairman. 

"Good egg!" observed his lordship with a sigh 
of heartfelt relief. "Juggernaut's coming — by 

A gentle murmur of satisfaction was audible. 
Evidently the Board felt the need of a little stiff- 
ening. We may as well describe them. 

The Marquis of Kirkley was more accustomed 
to exercising a kindly despotism over rustics who 
Hved contentedly on fourteen shillings a week 
than to splitting hairs with unbending mechanics 
earning four pounds, whose views on the relations 


between master and man were dictated by a cast- 
iron bureaucracy, and who regarded not the elas- 
tic laws of Give and Take. He was a handsome, 
breezy, kind-hearted patrician of thirty -four, and 
considered Trades Unions a damned interfering 

James Crisp was a solicitor, and represented 
the Dean and Chapter of Kilchester, beneath the 
very foundation of whose mighty Cathedral ran a 
very profitable little seam of coal, which was 
chiefly responsible for making the Bishopric of 
the Diocesan one of the richest ecclesiastical 
plums in England. He was a shrewd man of busi- 
ness, probably the best qualified of those present 
to take the lead in the present instance. Conse- 
quently he remained studiously in the back- 
ground. He regarded Trades Unions as inevitable, 
but by no means invulnerable. 

Sir Nigel Thompson had inherited great pos- 
sessions, including a colliery, from his father. 
There was no vice in him, but he loved coal about 
as much as a schoolboy loves irregular verbs, and 
his only passions in life were old furniture and 
chemical research. He attended under compul- 
sion, having torn himself from his comfortable 
house in Grosvenor Street at the bidding of his 
manager, in whose hands he was reported (not 
altogether unjustly) to be as wax. He was full of 
theoretical enthusiasm for Trades Unions, which 


he identified in some mysterious way with the 
liberty of the individual, but wished mildly that 
they could contrive to settle its affairs without 
dragging him north from London. Altogether a 
pleasant but entirely useless member of the 

Mr. Alfred Aymer was the owner of Cherry 
Hill Colliery. He was middle-aged, timorous, and 
precipitate. Left to himself, he would probably 
have made a kind and fair-dealing employer. But 
it was his misfortune to be so constituted that his 
opinions on any subject were invariably those of 
the last man with whom he had discussed it. 
Consequently his line of action in the affairs of 
life was something in the nature of an alternating 
electric current. After an interview with his man- 
ager he would issue a decree of unparalleled fe- 
rocity: after five minutes with a deputation of 
employes he would rescind all previous resolutions 
and promise a perfectly fabulous bonus next pay- 
day. In his present company he was an adaman- 
tine Capitalist, and regarded Trades Unions as 
the most pernicious of institutions. 

Last of all came Mr. Montague, whose surname 
at an earlier and less distinguished period in his 
history had probably rhymed with " noses." He 
too came from London, where he earned a liveli- 
hood by acquiring the controlling interest in vari- 
ous commercial ventures and making these pay 


cent per cent. He had recently become proprietor 
of Marbledown Colliery, and it was said that he 
was making a better thing out of it than his em- 
ployes. He regarded Trades Unions as an imper- 
tinent infringement of the right of the upper 
classes to keep the lower classes in their proper 
places. From which the intelligent reader will 
have no difficulty in deciding to which class Mr. 
Montague considered that he himself belonged. 

The deputation was introduced with the usual 
formalities. Its object was to effect the reinstate- 
ment of two employes at Marbledown Colliery, 
an engineman and a hewer, who had been sum- 
marily dismissed from their positions for endeav- 
ouring, in a society whose relations had never 
been of the most cordial, to heighten dissension 
between master and man. 

Mr. Tom Winch's version of the case, delivered 
with great wealth of detail and a good deal of un- 
necessary violence, was different. The men, it 
appeared, were models of what enginemen and 
hewers should be. Their sole offence consisted in 
having incurred the dislike of the mine manager, 
Mr. Walker — whether through their own sturdy 
independence as true-born Englishmen {applause 
from Mr. Brash), or the natural jealousy of an in- 
competent official towards two able and increas- 
ingly prominent subordinates, it was not for Mr. 
Winch to say. Proceeding, the orator warmed to 


his work, and mentioned that one man was as 
good as another. Indeed, but for the merest 
accident of fortune. Lord Kirkley himself might 
be delving for coal in the bowels of the earth, 
what time Messrs. Conlin and Murton, the dis- 
missed employes, sat in the House of Lords smok- 
ing cigars and drinking champagne. 

After this magnificent and conciliatory perora- 
tion, Mr. Winch fell back into line with his com- 
panions, amid the sotto voce commendations of 
Messrs. Brash and Killick. Mr. Aymer, who had 
been taking notes on a sheet of paper, tore it up 
with a resigned air of finality. The case was 
clear: these poor fellows must be reinstated. 

The Chairman conferred briefly with Mr. Crisp. 

** Would any other of you gentlemen like to say 
anything.'^" he enquired. 

The question was communicated to Mr. Ent- 
wistle senior, who stepped forward and delivered 
himself of a courtly but rambling discourse, con- 
sisting chiefly of reminiscences of something por- 
tentous but unintelligible which had happened 
forty years ago, and even to the most irrelevant 
mind presented no sort of bearing upon the case 

After this Lord Kirkley replied. His remarks 
were not convincing, for he was hampered in deal- 
ing with the question by complete inability to 
understand where the men's grievance came in, 


and said so. The owners, he explained, tried to do 
the fair thing, and most of them did considerably 
more. Sick-funds, pensions, benevolent schemes, 
and all that sort of thing, did n't they know.^^ He 
quite admitted that an employer of labour had 
grave responsibilities and duties laid upon him, 
and he for one had always tried to live up to 
them. But, hang it! surely an employer had 
the right to get rid of a couple of fellows who went 
about preaching anarchy and red revolution in 
all the public-houses in the district — what? He 
did not mind ordinary grousing. It did everybody 
good to blow off steam periodically: he did it him- 
self. But there was grousing and grousing: and 
when it came to the sort of game that Messrs. 
Conlin and Murton were playing, it was his lord- 
ship's opinion that a ne plus ultra of thickness had 
been attained. 

The Chairman concluded a somewhat collo- 
quial address amid a deathly silence, and the dep- 
utation and the Board glared uncomfortably at 
one another. An impasse had been reached, it 
was clear. 

"It's all very well, gentlemen," broke in Kil- 
lick suddenly, "for you aristocrats — " 

Lord Kirkley, who was not without a certain 
sense of proportion, glanced involuntarily at Mr. 
Montague and then at Mr. Killick. Did this om- 
niscient and self-opinionated son of toil really see 


no moral difference between a peer of the realm, 
with centuries of clean-bred ancestry behind him, 
and a man who wore diamond rings and elastic- 
sided boots? Mr. Montague looked up, and re- 
garded Mr. Killick with something akin to affec- 

There was a sudden rumble underneath the 
windows, accompanied by the hoot of a motor- 

The drama having run itself to a deadlock, the 
deus had duly arrived — in his machina. 



There was a dead silence, unbroken until Jug- 
gernaut entered the room. 

Good-morning, gentlemen," he said briskly. 

I am glad to see that the deputation has only 
just arrived." 

He turned to the clerk who had shown him in. 

"Andrews," he said, "get chairs for these gen- 
tlemen, and then we can get to business." 

Chairs were brought, and the deputation, 
which had been balancing itself on alternate legs 
for nearly half an hour, sat down, with an en- 
hanced sense of comfort and importance, to what 
they realised at once was to be the interview 

Juggernaut took the seat at the middle of the 
table vacated by Lord Kirkley, and enquired: — 

"Has any one spoken yet? " 

Progress was reported by Mr. Crisp. 

"I wonder if I might trouble the deputation 
again," said the Chairman. " Not you, Mr. Winch, 
thank you!" as that Demosthenes cleared his 
throat in a threatening manner. "In the first 
place, you don't represent the men in any sense. 


In fact, considering that you are engaged in no 
employment in this district, I think it would have 
been much wiser on the part of those responsible 
for this deputation to have left you out alto- 
gether. But I suppose you had been sent down 
here by your organisation, and they had to have 

"Gentlemen of the Board," exclaimed Mr. 
Winch indignantly, "I appeal — " 

"Don't trouble, really, Mr. Winch," broke in 
Juggernaut with inflexible cheerfulness. "You 
see, I know exactly what you are going to say. I 
have heard it so often in other places where you 
have been kind enough to come forward and 
champion the cause — er — of the oppressed mil- 
lions of this country." 

A muffled sound proceeded from the interior 
of Mr. Wilkie — his first contribution to the de- 
bate — and the Chairman proceeded. 

" I wonder if Mr. Entwistle junior would kindly 
state the facts." 

Amos Entwistle, rising from his seat, re-stated 
the case of the two men. They were competent 
and industrious workmen, he maintained, and so 
long as they gave satisfaction in their situations 
their private lives and leisure occupations were 
entirely their own concern. Possibly their views 
on the relations of Labour and Capital were ex- 
treme, but the speaker begged respectfully to 



point out that there were extremists on both sides; 
and since many employers might and did regard 
the men they paid as dirt beneath their feet, it 
seemed only natural that a section of the men 
should regard their employers as bullies and ty- 
rants of the worst type. Mr. Entwistle followed up 
this undoubted home-thrust with a request for a 
categorical list of the offences alleged against the 
two men, and solemnly but respectfully warned 
the Board against risking a serious upheaval by 
endeavouring to stifle legitimate criticism of its 
actions. With apologies for plain speaking he re- 
sumed his seat, and Mr. Aymer tore up a sheet of 
paper upon which he had commenced operations 
on the arrival of the Chairman. 

"Would any other gentleman like to say any- 
thing.^" enquired Juggernaut. *' Mr. Brash? Mr. 

No, the gentlemen addressed had nothing to 
say. Their forte was plainly that of chorus. 

*'Very well,** said Juggernaut. *'In the first 
place I am going to accede to Mr. Entwistle's 
perfectly just request that a definite reason should 
be given for the dismissal of these men. I agree 
with him that it is a foolish thing to stifle legiti- 
mate criticism. Unfortunately I don't agree with 
him that the criticisms of Messrs. Conlin and 
Murton are legitimate. I have been making en- 
quiries into the antecedents of these two. Mur- 


ton is a paid agitator. He is not a local man. He 
came here less than a year ago and has been mak- 
ing deliberate mischief ever since. He has money 
to spend: he backs his arguments with beer. I 
should n't be surprised if he drew his salary from 
the organisation which retains your services, Mr, 

Mr. Winch's small eyes began to protrude. He 
did not relish this line of argument. In dealing 
with boards and other representatives of bloated 
Capital he preferred to keep to the high moral 
and sentimental plane — the sufferings of the 
downtrodden sons of Labour, the equality of all 
men in the sight of God, and so on. Mundane 
personalities, coupled with the suggestion that he, 
a high priest of altruism, was making a good thing 
out of his exertions on behalf of his fellow toilers, 
took him below the belt, he considered. 

"Conlin," continued Juggernaut, disregarding 
the fermenting Mr. Winch, "seems to be a com- 
paratively'' sincere and honest grumbler. He has 
realised that this is an unjust world, and he wants 
to put it right by Act of Parliament. Consequently 
he goes about advocating certain special and par- 
ticular forms of legislation, which if they came into 
being would benefit about one member of the 
community in a hundred and be grossly unfair 
to the other ninety-nine. He has not yet discov- 
ered for himself that the aim of all legislation 


must be to benefit the type and not the individ- 
ual. That is the rock upon which all your friends 
split, Mr. Winch. You are always trying to legis- 
late for special cases, and it can't be done, I quite 
agree with you that the conditions of labour in 
parts of this country are deplorable. We all want 
to put them right. But there are two things we 
cannot do. We can 't cure them in a hurry, and 
we can't cure them by swallowing quack medi- 
cines. What we have to do is to set to work on 
systematic lines and go on working, with patience 
and a sense of proportion, until our whole social 
fabric develops into a sounder and more healthy 
condition. That requires time, and time requires 
patience, and patience requires common sense, 
and common sense is a thing which is deplorably 
scarce in this world, Mr. Winch. We are marching 
on to a better state of things every year, but 
every bit of unsound, panic-stricken, vote-catch- 
ing legislation — Right-to- Work Bills, Unem- 
ployment Acts, and so on — throws us back a 
step, because its tendency is to remove the symp- 
tom instead of curing the disease. Now symptoms 
are very valuable assets. They give us reliable 
and necessary information, which is more than can 
be said of most intelligence departments. If ever 
you have such a vulgar thing as a pain in your 
stomach, Mr. Winch, that is a kindly hint from 
Nature that there is something wrong with the 


works. If you drink two of whiskey hot the pain 
may cease, but it does not follow that the real 
cause of the trouble has been removed. In efiFect, 
you have merely put back the danger-signal to 
safety without removing the danger. That is just 
what all this despicable, hand-to-mouth, time- 
serving legislation that you and your friends are 
trying to force upon a weak Government is doing 
for the country to-day." 

The speaker paused. The deputation wore a 
distinctly chastened appearance. Mr. Aymer was 
engaged upon a third sheet of notes. Sir Nigel 
Thompson was working out a chemical formula 
on the back of an envelope. 

"Let us get back to the point, sir," said Amos 
Entwistle doggedly. " I agree with a great deal of 
what you say — " 

"Shame!" interpolated Mr. Killick suddenly. 

" — But we came here to ask for the reinstate- 
ment of these two men, and not to discuss social 

" Granted, all the time," said Juggernaut cheer- 
fully. "I admit that I have not made Messrs. 
Conlin and Murton my Alpha and Omega in these 
remarks of mine; but that is because I deliber- 
ately went back to jBrst principles instead of cut- 
ting into the middle of things. Now for your re- 
quest: you want an answer: here it is. The two 
men cannot be reinstated under any circum- 


stances whatsoever. I confess I am rather sorry 
for Conlin: he is in a different class from Murton. 
But he is tarred with the same brush, and he must 


*'Take care, Sir John," broke in Mr. Winch, in 

the declamatory bray which he reserved for ex- 
treme crises. "Don't push us too hard! What if 
a strike was to be proclaimed at Marbledown 
Colliery .? You would n't like that, Mr. Montague ! 
You have a bad enough name in the district as it 
is. You grind your 'eel — " 

"Mr. Winch," said Juggernaut in a voice of 
thunder, "I must ask you to address yourself to 
me. This matter has been taken out of Mr. Mon- 
tague's hands by the combined action of the 
Owners' Association, so if you have any strictures 
to offer they must be laid upon me as represent- 
ing the Association collectively. As for striking 
— well, you struck before, you know. I don't 
think any of us have forgotten that winter — 
masters or men!" 

"We nearly beat you then," said Killick hotly. 

"That," retorted Mr. Montague, suddenly 
breaking into the debate, " was because some sen- 
timental fool sent food and necessaries to your 

"It's the women and children that pay for 
strikes, you know, Mr. Winch," said Mr. Crisp, 
speaking for the first time — " not you men. You 


can do without beer and baccy at a pinch, but 
your families must have groceries and fire. If 
they had not been kept going by their unknown 
benefactor, the strike would have collapsed as 
soon as the Union funds gave out." 

"Perhaps they will be kept going again," said 
Amos Entwistle quietly. 

"They won't," said Juggernaut emphatically; 
"you can take my word for that, Mr. Entwistle. 
I have seen to it. And I may add that if you con- 
sider it advisable to proclaim a strike at any pit, 
the owners on their part might find it necessary 
to declare a lockout at all the collieries in the dis- 
trict. If men can combine, so can masters." 

There was a staggered silence. Even the Board 
were hardly prepared for this. Juggernaut had so 
dominated the situation, since his arrival, that 
one or two — Mr. Montague in particular — were 
beginning to wonder rather peevishly why they 
had been admitted to the meeting. But Mr. Crisp 
leaned back and took snuff contentedly. He ap- 
preciated strong measures, though he was averse 
to initiating them. 

Still, the temper of the meeting was rising. 
Killick broke out furiously. It was a burning 
shame, a monstrous iniquity, he declared, that 
men who had never done an honest day's work in 
their lives should be enabled, simply because they 
had money in their pockets, to force humiliating 


conditions on a majority who had no alternative 
but to submit or starve. He spoke with all the 
conviction that absolute sincerity carries, but the 
effect of his philippic was not enhanced by the 
marginal comments of his colleague, Mr. Brash, 
who kept up a running fire of sotto voce references 
to bloody-minded tyrants, champagne, ballet- 
girls, and other equally relevant topics, with a 
persistence and enthusiasm which would have 
proved embarrassing to a more self-conscious and 
less frenzied Demosthenes than Mr. Killick. 

When both solo and obbligato had subsided. 
Juggernaut spoke again. 

*'It is one of the most common delusions of 
men of your way of thinking, Mr. Killick, to im- 
agine that the only kind of work worthy of the 
name is manual labour. Personally, I have tried 
both. For two years after I came dow^n from the 
University, I worked for experience's sake in a 
pit not far from here. I went down with my shift 
daily and worked full time; but I assure you that 
those two years were far from being the most la- 
borious of my life." 

*' Your case was different, sir," said Amos Ent- 
wistle, with a practical man's quick perception of 
his opponent's weak points. "You were doing it 
for pleasure, to acquire experience — not to earn 
your bread. You could look forward to some- 
thing better later on." 


"And so can every man!" replied Juggernaut. 
"Each one of us is able if he likes to work his way 
up and up and up; and the lower he starts the 
greater is his range of opportunity. He has the 
whole ladder to climb instead of a few paltry 
rungs, as is the case of a man born near the top. 
Let him think of that, and be thankful!" 

The Chairman's sombre eyes glowed. His tone 
of raillery was gone: he was in sober earnest now. 
To him poverty and riches were mere labels : the 
salt of life lay in the overcoming of its difficulties. 

But Amos Entwistle was a man of tough fibre 
— by far the strongest man, next to the Chair- 
man, in that assemblage. 

"You can't deny, sir," he persisted doggedly, 
"that it is very difficult for a poor man to rise. 
His employers don't help him much. They are 
best satisfied with a man who keeps his proper 
station, as they call it." 

"Tyrants ! " interpolated Mr. Winch hastily. 

"Star Chamber!" added Mr. Brash, a propos 
de holies. 

"Tyrants? Star Chamber?" Juggernaut sur- 
veyed the interrupter quizzically. "Here is a 
question for you, Mr. Brash. Which is the worse, 
the tyranny of the harsh employer who gathers 
where he has not strawed, or the tyranny of a 
Trades Union which a man is forced to join, which 
compels the best worker to slow down his pace to 


that of the worst, and frequently compels him to 
come out on strike over some question upon which 
he is perfectly satisfied? I won't attempt to place 
them in order of merit, but I should feel inclined 
to bracket — '* 

"Trades Unionism," interrupted Mr. Winch, 
who was beginning to feel himself unduly ex- 
cluded from the present symposium, "is the first 
step towards the complete emancipation of La- 
bour" — he smacked his lips, as over a savoury 
bakemeat — "from the degrading shackles of 
Capital. Every man his own master!" 

Juggernaut nodded his head slowly. 

"Ye-es," he said. "That sounds admirable. 
But what does it mean, exactly .^^ As far as I can 
see, it means that every one who is at present a la- 
bourer is ultimately going to become a capitalist. 
In that case it rather looks as if there would be a 
shortage of hands if there was work to be done. 
Your Utopia, Mr. Winch, appears to me to resem- 
ble the Grand Army of Hayti, which consists of 
five hundred privates and eleven hundred gener- 
als. No, no, you must bear in mind this fact, that 
ever since the world began, mankind has been di- 
vided up into masters and men, and will continue 
to be so divided until the end of time. What we 
— you and I — have to do is to adjust the rela- 
tions between the two in such a fashion as to make 
the conditions fair to both. I don 't say that em- 


ployers are n't frequently most high-handed and 
tyrannical, but I also say that employes are ex- 
traordinarily touchy and thinskinned. I think it 
chiefly arises from a sort of distorted notion that 
there is something degrading and undignified in 
obeying an order. Why, man, obedience and dis- 
cipline are the very lifeblood of every institution 
worthy of the name. They are no class affair, 
either. I have seen the Captain of a Company 
stand at attention without winking for ten min- 
utes, and receive a damning from his Colonel that 
no non-commissioned Officer in the Service would 
have dreamed of administering to a private of the 
line. Master and man each hold equally honour- 
able positions ; and what you must drum into the 
minds of your associates, gentlemen, — I 'm 
speaking to the Board as much as to the Deputa- 
tion, — is the fact that the interests of both are 
identical, instead of being as far apart as the poles, 
which appears to be your present impression. 
Neither can exist without the other. So far you 
have imbibed only half that truth. You reiterate 
with distressing frequency, Mr. Winch, the fact 
that Capital cannot exist without Labour. Per- 
fectly true. Now try to absorb into your system 
the fact — equally important, to a hair's breadth 
— that Labour cannot exist without Capital. 
Each depends upon the other for existence, and 
what we have to do is to balance and balance and 


balance, employing a sense of proportion, propor- 
tion, proportion!'^ 

Juggernaut's fist descended with a crash upon 
the table, and for a minute he was silent — free- 
wheeling, so to speak, over the pulverised re- 
mains of Mr. Winch. Presently he continued, 
with one of his rare smiles : — 

"A Frenchman once said that an Englishman 
begins by making a speech and ends by preaching 
a sermon. I am afraid I have justified the gibe, 
but it's a good thing to thrash these matters out. 
I don't deny that the average employer is in the 
habit of giving his employes their bare pound of 
flesh in the way of wages and no more. But I 
think the employe only has himself to blame for 
that. If you invoke the assistance of the law 
against your neighbour, that neighbour will give 
you precisely as much as the law compels him to 
give. Well, that is what Organised Labour has 
done. It has its Trades Union, its Workmen's 
Compensation and Employers' Liability, and so 
on; and lately it has gouged out of a myopic Gov- 
ernment a scheme of old-age pensions, to be eligi- 
ble for which a man must on no account have 
exercised any kind of thrift throughout his work- 
ing life. If he has, he is disqualified. All this 
legislation enables you to get the half-nelson on 
your employer. Under the circumstances you 
can hardly expect him to throw in benevolences 


as well. You can't have your cake and eat it. The 
old personal relations between master and man 
are dead, — dead as Queen Anne, — and with them 
has died the master's sense of moral responsibil- 
ity for the welfare of those dependent on him." 

"Time, too! Degradation! Feudal System!" 
observed the ever ready Mr. Killick. 

"Well, perhaps; but the Feudal System had its 
points, Mr. Killick. It fostered one or two homely 
and healthy virtues like benevolence and loyalty 
and pride of race; and I don't think a man-at- 
arms ever lost his self-respect or felt degraded 
because he lived in time of peace under the pro- 
tection of the Lord of the Manor whom he fol- 
lowed in time of war. Yes, I for one rather regret 
the passing of the old order. Listen, and I will tell 
you a story. Forty years ago Cherry Hill Pit was 
flooded — flooded for nearly three months during 
a bitter hard winter. Sir Nigel Thompson's 
father, the late baronet — " 

Sir Nigel, who was puzzling out a specially com- 
plicated formula, suddenly looked up. He had an 
idea that his name had been mentioned; but as 
every one present appeared to be listening most 
intently to the Chairman, he resumed his en- 
grossing occupation with a sigh of relief. 

" — Paid full wages during the whole of that 
time; and as coal was, naturally, unobtainable in 
the village, he imported sufficient to supply the 


needs of the whole community. Not a house in 
all Cherry Hill lacked its kitchen fire or its Sun- 
day dinner during all those weeks. That was be- 
fore the days of Employers' Liability, gentlemen ! 
If a similar disaster were to occur to-day I doubt 
if Sir Nigel here would feel morally bound to do 
anything for such an independent and self-suffi- 
cient community. The present state of things 
may safeguard you against the ungenerous em- 
ployer, but it eliminates the milk of human kind- 
ness from our mutual transactions, and that is 
always a regrettable state of affairs. That is all, 
gentlemen. You have our last word in this mat- 
ter. These two men must go. If you would like to 
withdraw to the next room for a few minutes and 
consider whether you have anything further to 
say, we shall be glad to wait your convenience 

The deputation rose and filed solemnly from 
the room, and the Board were left alone. 

Presently Mr. Aymer observed timidly : — 

"Mr. Chairman, don't you think we might let 
Conlin stay, and content ourselves with dismiss- 
ing Murton.'^" 

"Afraid not," said Juggernaut. "It's a bit 
hard on Conlin, but we have to consider the great- 
est good of the greatest number. He's a plague- 
spot, and if we don't eradicate him he'll spread. 
Do you agree, Kirkley?" 


"Bad luck on the poor devil, but I think you 
are right," assented his lordship. 


Mr. Crisp nodded. 


Sir Nigel Thompson looked up from his seventh 
envelope with a contented sigh. 

"I have it at last," he said. "It's a perfectly 
simple solution, really, but the obvious often es- 
capes one's notice owing to its very proximity. 
The eye is looking further afield. — Eh — what? 
My decision? I agree implicitly with you, Jack 
— that is, gentlemen, I support the Chairman in 
his view of the case." 

And this vigilant counsellor collected his en- 
velopes and stuffed them into his pocket. 

The Chairman continued. 


"Before I answer that question," began Mr. 
Montague, "I should like to protetht — protest, 
I mean — against the very arbitrary fashion in 
which you have conducted this meeting, Mr. 
Chairman. You have taken the case out of our 
hands in a manner which I consider most unwar- 
rantable; and, speaking as the actual employer of 
the two men — " 

Juggernaut swung rather deliberately round in 
his chair. 

"Mr. Montague," he said, "you got yourself 


into a hole, and you called — no, howled — for a 
meeting of directors to come and pull you out. 
These agitators settled down in your district be- 
cause they knew that it was the most fertile dis- 
trict to work in. You are considered, rightly, the 
worst employer of labour here. You are greedy, 
unscrupulous, and tyrannical. It is men like you 
who discredit Capital in the eyes of Labour, and 
make conciliatory dealings between master and 
man almost an impossibility. We have bolstered 
you up through a very difficult crisis, sitting here 
and putting those poor fellows, five of whom are 
infinitely more honest than you are, quite unde- 
servedly in the wrong, and imperilling our immor- 
tal souls by whitewashing such employers as you. 
Accept the situation and be thankful!" 

It is said that hard words break no bones. 
Still, if you happen to be a member of a race 
which has endured hard words (to say nothing of 
broken bones) for twenty centuries; and where 
the hard words on this particular occasion are de- 
livered by a large man with angry blue eyes and a 
tongue like a whiplash, you may be forgiven for 
losing your nerve a little. Mr. Montague lost his. 
He flapped his ringed hands feebly, mumbled in- 
coherently, and was understood to withdraw his 
objections unconditionally. 

"Mr. Amos Entwistle," announced a clerk at 
the door. 


Entwistle junior reentered the room. 

**I am commissioned to inform you, Mr. Chair- 
man," he said, "that we acquiesce in your deci- 
sion; but under protest. I should like to add, gen- 
tlemen," he continued less formally but none the 
less earnestly, "that the Committee are very 
much dissatisfied with the result of the interview. 
I am afraid you have n't heard the last of this 
trouble. Good-day, and thank you, gentlemen ! " 

"What does it all mean.^ Strike — eh.'^" en- 
quired Lord Kirkley, as he and Juggernaut de- 
scended the stairs together five minutes later. 

"Perhaps. If so, we'll fight." 

"Righto — I'm on ! I say, it was pretty smart 
of you finding out where those private stores came 
from last time. We shall be able to put the lid on 
that sort of thing in future — what?" 

Juggernaut nodded, but said no more. 

Mr. Crisp, Sir Nigel Thompson, and Mr. 
Aymer walked across to the latter's offices for 
luncheon. Mr. Montague had gone home to 
lunch by himself. He usually did so. 

"The Chairman arrived at the meeting in the 
nick of time," said the lawyer. "Kirkley would 
have been no match for Winch." 

"The Chairman was very inflexible," sighed 
Mr. Aymer, with all a weak man's passion for 
compromise. "He has a way of brushing aside 
obstacles which can only be described as Napo- 


Iconic. Is he always within his rights from a legal 
point of view?" 

" From a legal point of view, practically never," 
said the lawyer simply. "From a common-sense 
point of view, practically always." 

"He is a hard man — as hard as flint," mused 
Mr. Aymer. "I wonder if he has a soft side to him 
anywhere. I wonder, for instance, how he would 
treat a woman." 

"I wonder," said Mr. Crisp. 




The first member of the Rectory household 
whose eyes opened on Sunday morning was a cer- 
tain Mr. Dawks, who has not previously been 
mentioned in this narrative. He was a dog. The 
term may include almost anything, which is per- 
haps fortunate for Mr. Dawks; otherwise it might 
have been necessary to class him under some more 
elastic heading. Of his ancestry nothing was 
known, though many conjectures could have 
been made, and most of them would have been 
correct. He had been found lying half-dead in 
a country lane by Daphne six years ago, and, 
though mistaken at the time for a derelict monkey 
jettisoned from some migratory hurdy-gurdy, 
had subsequently proved to be a mongrel puppy 
of a few months old. Regular meals and ripen- 
ing years had developed him into a sort of general 
epitome of all the dogs that ever existed. He pos- 
sessed points which, exhibited individually, 
would have gained many marks at Cruft's Dog 
Show. His tail would have increased the market 
value of a Chow fourfold; his shoulders and fore- 
legs would have done credit to a prize bull terrier; 
his ears would have inflated the self-esteem of the 


silkiest spaniel in existence; and his lower jaw 
would have been regarded as an asset by an alli- 
gator. His manners were without reproach, but 
were derived rather from mental vacuity than 
nobility of character; for with the deportment of 
an hidalgo he combined the intelligence of a 

His name, as already mentioned, was Mr. 
Dawks, but he responded with equal amiability 
to "Angel Child" or *' Beautiful one" (Daphne) ; 
"Flea-Club" (Ally); "Puss, puss!" (Nicky); 
and "Tank-Engine" (Stiffy), to whose mechan- 
ical mind bandy legs and laboured breathing 
suggested a short wheel base and leaky outside 

Mr. Dawks, having arisen from his nightly 
resting-place outside Daphne Vereker's bedroom 
door, strolled downstairs to the study. The Rec- 
tor was frequently to be found there early in the 
morning, and were he not too deeply absorbed in 
some dusty volume, there might be biscuits. But 
the room was empty. Mr. Dawks laboriously re- 
mounted the staircase and scratched delicately 
at his mistress's door. 

He was admitted, and found Daphne, in dress- 
ing-gown and slippers, preparing for her Sunday 
morning round, in which she doubled the parts of 
what is known in the North of England as a 
"knocker-up" and mistress of the wardrobe; for 


the week's clean garments were always distrib- 
uted on these occasions. The pair set forth to- 

After a tap at her father's door, answered by a 
melodious "Good-morning, daughter!" Daphne 
proceeded to the regions above. Here upon the 
landing she encountered her youngest sister, who 
ought properly to have been dressing in the bed- 
room which she shared with Cilly, but was now 
sitting resignedly outside the door upon a bundle 
composed of her Sabbath garments. As she was 
obviously posing for the excitation of sympathy, 
Daphne ignored her and passed into the bedroom, 
where the window blind was flapping in the 
breeze and Cilly lay in a condition of almost total 
eclipse (if we except a long tawny pigtail) under 
the bedclothes. 

"Cilly," enquired Daphne, "what's Nicky 
doing outside.'^" 

"I kicked her out," replied a muffled voice. 


"Well" — Cilly poked her head, tortoise- 
fashion, from under its covering — "she cheeked 
me — about" — the head retired again — 

"Bobby Gill, I suppose," remarked Daphne 

Cilly's countenance reappeared, rosily flushed 
with healthy sleep and maiden modesty. 



"Well, you must take her in again," said 
Daphne. "She's only playing up for a cold, sit- 
ting out there, and it will be a score for her if she 
can sniff the house down to-morrow." 

"All right," said Cilly resignedly. "I suppose 
I can pay her out some other way." 

"I would n't, if I were you," advised the elder 
sister. "She'll only wait till she gets you and 
Bobby together, and then say something awful. 
It 's your own fault, dear. You do ask for it, you 

Cilly, whose flirtations were more numerous 
than discreet, sighed deeply, and rolled a pair of 
large and dreamy eyes upon her sister. 

"Daph, don't you ever fall in love with men? 
Well — boys, if you like!" she continued, parry- 
ing an unspoken comment. " I know I do overdo 
it a bit; but you — well, you never do it at all. 
Don't you love to feel them edging up to you, 
and getting pink in the face, and trying to think of 
things to say to you, and offering to take you — '* 

"No," said Daphne decidedly; "they bore 
me. Barring Dad and Mr. Dawks and the boys, 
I have no use for males. Besides, I 'm always too 
busy to bother with them. They waste so much 
of your time. Now, my child, if you want any 
breakfast, you had better get up. I must go and 
see the boys." 


She departed, and, with a passing admonition 
to Nicky to abandon her eleemosynary vigil and 
be sure to wash her neck, continued on her way, 
still accompanied by the faithful Dawks, to the 
chamber occupied by her two youngest brothers. 

Here peace reigned. Stiffy,one of whose chief 
joys in life was the study of the British Railway 
System, from Automatic Couplings to Newspaper 
Specials, was sitting up in bed with an old Brad- 
shaw, laboriously ascertaining by how many 
routes and with how few changes the ordinary 
railway maniac might travel from Merthyr Tyd- 
vil to Stockton-on-Tees. At the other end of the 
room the ever occupied Anthony, with his night- 
shirt for a surplice and a stocking for a stole, was 
standing by an open grave (the hearthrug) re- 
hearsing the Service for the Burial of the Dead — 
an exercise to which, in common with various 
other ecclesiastical offices, he was much addicted. 

Daphne, having kissed Stiffy and gravely given 
her verdict upon a knotty point which was exer- 
cising that scrupulous youth's mind, namely, 
whether it was permissible by the rules of the 
game to include in his schedule of connections a 
train which ran on Thursdays only, handed him 
his weekly dole of clean linen, and turned to the 
youngest member of the family. 

*' Good-morning, Tony dear," she said cheer- 


The celebrant, who, true artist that he was, 
disliked unnecessary abruptness in his transi- 
tions, stopped short in the Ninetieth Psalm. 

"Dearly beloved brethren," he gabbled in an 
apologetic undertone, "I am called for a moment 
from the side of this the last resting-place of our 
beloved sister" — apparently he was interring a 
lady friend — "by other business; but I shall be 
back in a minute." — Then, unwinding the stock- 
ing from about his neck: "Daphne, those new 
vests are beastly scratchy. Must I wear them?" 

"I know, old man," responded his sister sym- 
pathetically. "But they've been bought and 
paid for, — horribly dear, too, — so you must 
lump it. Try wearing them inside out for a time. 
That takes the edge off a bit." 

And thus, with sage counsel and practical sug- 
gestion (together with a brief whistle to Mr. 
Dawks, who was moistening his internal clay at 
the water-jug), out young Minerva passed on to 
the sleeping-place of her beloved Ally. 

Rather to her surprise, Mr. Aloysius Vereker 
was awake and out of bed. The reason was plain. 
Before him upon the dressing-table lay a pot of 
shaving-soap of a widely advertised brand, a new 
shaving-brush, a sixpenny bottle of bay rum, and 
a lather dish of red india-rubber — youthful 
extravagances to which the hardened shaver of 
twenty years' standing, who smears himself with 


ordinary Brown Windsor out of the soap-dish and 
wipes his razor on a piece of newspaper or the 
window-curtain, looks back with mingled amuse- 
ment and regret. In his hand gleamed a new 

"Careful!" he gasped through a sea of lather. 
** Don't shake the room, kid ! '* 

Daphne sat cautiously down upon the bed, and 
surveyed the operator with unfeigned pride and 
enthusiasm. She clasped her hands. 

"Ally, how splendid! When did you begin 
doing it?" 

Ally, weathering a hairless and slippery corner, 
replied : — 

"Third time. I*m doing it chiefly to make 
something grow. A man simply has to shave after 
he gets into the Fifteen : you look such a fool on 
Saturday nights if you don't. A chap in our house 
called Mallock, who has had his colours four years, 
has a beard about half an inch long by Friday. 
He's a gorgeous sight." 

Daphne shuddered slightly. 

Ally continued. 

"I don't expect to rival him, of course, but I 
should like to have something to scrape off in the 
dormitory. My fag always grins so when he brings 
me my shaving-water — little tick!" 

Daphne was too well versed in the eccentrici- 
ties of the young of the male species to experience 


the slightest feeling of surprise at her brother's 
singular ambition. She merely wrapped a blan- 
ket round her shoulders and settled herself against 
the head of the bed, anxiously contemplating the 
progress of a sanguinary campaign in the region 
surrounding Ally's jugular vein. 

Presently operations came to a conclusion ; the 
traces of battle were obliterated with much spong- 
ing and spraying; and the pair sat and gossiped 
amicably while Ally stropped his razor and put 
studs in his Sunday shirt. 

It was a full quarter of an hour before Daphne 
returned to her room, for her Sunday morning 
call upon Ally was always a protracted affair. 
But before she left she had, after the usual bland- 
ishments, exacted from him a promise that he 
would come to church. Their father never exer- 
cised compulsion in this matter; but if any mem- 
ber of the family did stay at home on Sunday 
morning, the Rector's mute distress was such as 
to blight the spirits of the household for the rest 
of the day; and Daphne always exerted herself 
to the full to round up her entire flock in the Rec- 
tory pew at the appointed hour. The most recal- 
citrant members thereof were Ally and Nicky, 
but the former could usually be cajoled and the 
latter coerced. 

After breakfast the Rector retired to his study 
to continue his sermon, and not long afterwards 


was to be seen, key in hand, passing through the 
wicket gate which led from the garden into the 
churchyard. Having tolled the church bell for 
five minutes he busied himself at the altar, and 
then turned up the Lessons at the lectern, mark- 
ing these same in plain figures; for the Squire, 
who fulfilled the office of reader, required careful 
guidance in this respect. (He had been known 
to read the same Lesson twice; also the Second 
Lesson before the First; and once he had turned 
over two pages together towards the end of a 
long chapter, and embarked with growing huski- 
ness and visible indignation upon a supplement- 
ary voyage of forty-seven verses.) 

Presently the Rector returned to the house for 
his surplice, and ten minutes later, a tall and 
saintly figure, followed his hob-nailed and bullet- 
headed choristers into the chancel. 

Snayling Church, though a diminutive building, 
was one of the oldest of its kind in England. The 
tower was square and stumpy, and had served as 
a haven of refuge more than once. A later gener- 
ation, following the pious but unnecessary fashion 
of the day, had erected upon its summit a steeple 
of homely design, which indicated the route to 
heaven in an officious and altogether gratuitous 
manner. Inside the building itself the roof was 
supported by massive stone pillars and Norman 
arches. Beneath the floor lay folk long dead, their 


names, virtues, and destination set forth in many 
curious inscriptions in stone and brass upon the 
flat tombstones, the latter the prey of the tourist 
with his tracing-paper and heel-ball. The chancel 
contained a real Crusader, who reclined, sword in 
hand and feet crossed, upon a massive sarcopha- 
gus, his good lady by his side. Tony Vereker had 
woven many a legend about him, you may be 

Each of the tiny transepts contained two 
square pews, decently veiled from the public gaze 
by red curtains. Those on the north side belonged 
respectively to the Squire, whose arrival in church 
with his wife and four daughters always served 
as an intimation to the organist — Mr. Pack, the 
schoolmaster — that it was eleven o'clock and 
time to wind up the voluntary; and old Lady 
Curlew, of Hainings, who invariably arrived five 
minutes before the hour, accompanied by her 
maid, who, having packed her mistress into a 
corner of the pew with cushions and hassocks, 
returned discreetly to the free seats by the 

Of the pews in the south transept one was the 
property of the Lord of the Manor, the Marquis of 
Kirkley. It was seldom occupied, for his lordship 
suffered from the misfortune (which modern 
legislation is doing so much to alleviate) of pos- 
sessing more residences than he could comfortably 



live in. His adjacent seat, Kirkley Abbey, was 
seldom open except for a few weeks during the 
pheasant season; and even the recurrence of that 
momentous period did not postulate undue con- 
gestion in the family pew. 

The other pew was the Rector's, and here 
Daphne succeeded on this particular Sabbath 
morning in corralling the full strength of her 

Non sine pulvere, however. Ally, as already re- 
lated, had proved fairly tractable, but Nicky 
(who just at present stood badly in need of the 
services of a competent exorcist) had almost 
evaded ecclesiastical conscription by a new and 
ingenious device. At ten-fifteen precisely she had 
fallen heavily down a flight of two steps and 
sprained her ankle. Unsympathetic Daphne, ex- 
perienced in the detection of every form of ma- 
lingering, had despatched her upstairs with a 
bottle of Mr. Elliman's strongest embrocation — 
the property of Ally — with instructions to anoint 
the injured member and report herself for duty 
at ten-forty-five prompt. At the appointed hour 
Nicky, limping painfully and smiling heroically, 
had joined the rest of the family in the hall. 

Presently Ally remarked casually: — 

*' Rotten stink here. Furniture polish, or some- 

"Yes — filthy reek!" agreed Stiffy. 


*' It 's turpentine,'* cried Cilly , crinkling her nose. 

*'It's EUinian," said Ton/. 

"It's youy Nicky!" said everybody at once. 

Daphne, who was drawing on her gloves, peeled 
them off again with some deliberation, and took 
her youngest sister by the shoulders. 

"Nicky," she enquired, "how much Elliman 
did you put on your ankle .^" 

That infant martyr, wincing ostentatiously, 
delicately protruded a foot, and exhibited a long 
black leg heavily swathed from knee to instep 
under her stocking with a bandage of colossal 

"Not more than I could help, Daph," she said. 
" I found one or two other bruises on my — all 
over me, in fact — so I — I just put a little Elli- 
man on each. I did n't want to be a trouble to 
any one, so — " 

"Run upstairs, Stiffy," Daphne interpolated 
swiftly, "and see how much Elliman is left in the 

By this time Cilly had thrown open the front 
door and staircase windows, and the remainder 
of the Vereker family were fanning themselves 
with their Sunday hats and ostentatiously fight- 
ing for breath — an exercise in which they perse- 
vered until Stiffy reappeared carrying an empty 

"Two bobs' worth!" shouted Ally. "And I 


meant it to last for months! Nicky, you little 
sweep r* 

Daphne glanced at the hall clock. 

"Fourteen minutes!" she calculated frantic- 
ally. "Yes, it can just be done. Nicky, my 
cherub, you shall come to church this morning if 
I have to scrape you. Go on, you others ! I '11 fol- 
low myself as quickly as I can." 

The last sentence was delivered far up the stair- 
case, which Miss Vereker was ascending with 
flying feet, a tearful and unwilling appendage 
trailing behind her. Next moment the bathroom 
door banged, and the departing worshippers 
heard both taps turned on. 

At two minutes past eleven precisely. Daphne 
and Nicky, the former cool, collected, and as 
prettily dressed as any woman in the congrega- 
tion, the latter scarlet as if from recent parboil- 
ing, walked demurely down the aisle, just as the 
choir entered the chancel lustily bellowing a 
hymn which drew attention to the advantages 
accruing in the next world to that Servant of the 
Lord who should be found Waiting in his office, 
in a Posture not specified, — Tony used often to 
wonder what would happen if the Day of Judg- 
ment should fall upon a Bank Holiday or Satur- 
day afternoon, — and joined the rest of the family 
in the Rectory pew. 


A sermon, we all know, offers unique facilities 
for quiet reflection. As their father's silvery voice 
rose and fell in the cadences of his discourse — he 
had soared far above the heads of his bucolic au- 
dience, and was now disporting himself in a de- 
lectable but quite inaccessible aether of his own, 
the worshippers (such of them as had not yielded 
to slothful repose), following his evolutions with 
mystified and respectful awe, much as a crowd of 
citizens in a busy street gape upwards at the gam- 
bols of an aeroplane — the Rectory children 
wedged themselves into their own particular 
nooks of the pew and prepared to get through the 
next twenty minutes in characteristic fashion. 

Ally closed his eyes and assumed an attitude of 
slumber, as befitted his years and dignity. But he 
was not asleep. He did not look comfortable. Per- 
haps his breakfast had disagreed with him, or 
possibly he was contemplating within himself the 
vision of a receding University and an all-too-ad- 
jacent office stool. Daphne, with her eyes fixed on 
the wall opposite and her brow puckered, was 
pondering some domestic problem — her own 
extravagantly small feet, mayhap, or Wednes- 
day's hypothetical leg of mutton. Despite her 
burden of care, her face looked absurdly round 
and childish under her big beaver hat. One hand 
supported her chin in a characteristic pose, the 
other controlled the movements of the restless 


Anthony, who was impersonating something of a 
vibratory nature. Cilly, with glowing eyes and 
parted lips, was reading the Marriage Service in 
her prayer-book. Nicky, whose recent ablutions 
had apparently purged her of outward sin only, 
had pulled forward two long wisps of black hair 
from behind her ears, and by crossing these under 
her nose had provided herself with a very realistic 
and terrifying pair of moustaches, by portentous 
twistings of which, assisted by the rolling of a 
frenzied eye, she was endeavouring to make poor 
Stiffy laugh. That right-minded youth, though 
hard-pressed, had so far withstood temptation 
by resolutely reciting to himself a favourite ex- 
cerpt from Bradshaw's Railway Guide, beginning 
*' Brighton (Central), Preston Park, Burgess Hill, 
Hassocks," and ending with "Grosvenor Road, 
Victoria" — a sedative exercise to which he was 
much addicted at moments of bodily anguish or 
mental stress; but it was plain that his defence 
was weakening. Fortunately the approaching 
explosion, which would have been of a cataclys- 
mal nature, — Stiffy was not a boy to do things 
by halves, — was averted by a change of demean- 
our on the part of the temptress. Her quick ear 
had caught some unaccustomed sound behind 
her. Letting go of her moustache, which imme- 
diately assumed a more usual position, she 
squirmed round in her seat and gently parted the 


red rep curtains which separated the Rectory 
pew from that of Kirkley Abbey. An excited 
gurgle apprised her fellow worshippers of the fact 
that some unusual sight had met her eyes. 

What Nicky saw was this. 

Immediately opposite to her improvised peep- 
hole sat a man — a large man with square shoul- 
ders and an immobile face. He was clean-shaven, 
with two strong lines running from his nostrils to 
the corners of his mouth — a mouth which even 
in repose looked determined and grim. He pos- 
sessed a square jaw and rather craggy brows. It 
was difficult to decide if he were sleeping or no, 
for though his eyes were closed there was none of 
the abandon of slumber about his pose. His most 
noticeable feature was the set of his eyebrows, 
which, instead of being arched or level, ran up- 
wards and outwards in a diagonal direction, and 
gave him a distinctly satanic appearance — a 
circumstance which Nicky noted with sympa- 
thetic approval. He was dressed in the somewhat 
degage Sabbath attire affected by Englishmen 
spending the week-end in the country, and his 
feet were perched upon the seat opposite to him. 

Presently, for some cause unknown — possi- 
bly Nicky's hard breathing — he opened his 
eyes. , 

Immediately in front of him the stranger be- 
held a small excited face, a pair of saucer-like blue 


eyes, and a wide but attractive mouth — the 
whole vision framed in dusty red rep. The face 
was flushed, the eyes glowed, and the mouth was 
wide open. 

The picture, suddenly surprised in its inspection 
by a pair of the shrewdest and most penetrating 
eyes it had ever beheld, dropped hurriedly out of 
its frame and disappeared. If Nicky had waited 
a moment longer she would have received a less 
one-sided impression of the stranger, for almost 
simultaneously with the discovery of the appari- 
tion in the peep-hole the man smiled. Instantly 
his whole face changed. The outer corners of his 
eyebrows descended, the crease between them 
disappeared, and magnificent teeth gleamed for 
a moment in the dim religious light of the pew. 

Nicky leaned across to her eldest sister, and 
whispered huskily. 

"There's somebody in the other pew. I think 
it's the Devil. Look yourself ! " 

But Daphne, deep in domestic mental arith- 
metic, smiled and shook her head ; and Nicky re- 
ceived little more encouragement from the rest of 
the family. The profession of scaremonger and 
exploiter of mare's nests, though enjoyable on the 
whole, has its drawbacks; if you get hold of a 
genuine scare or an authentic mare's nest, nobody 
believes you. 

The sermon began to draw to a close, and a few 


minutes later the Rector descended from the 
clouds and gave out the final hymn, prefacing his 
announcement by an intimation that the offertory 
that day would be devoted to the needs of the 
Children's Cottage Hospital in the neighbouring 
County Town. His appeal was characteristic. 

*' Money, " he mused, *'is the most hampering 
and perplexing thing in this life. It is so artificial 
and unnecessary. I often sigh for a world where 
all commerce would be in kind — where a cheque 
on the Bank of Gratitude would settle the weekly 
bills, and ' I thank you ! ' be regarded as legal ten- 
der up to any amount. But there is no give and 
take in these days. Everything, from Life and 
Love down to the raiment we wear, is duly ap- 
praised and ticketed, and if we stand in need of 
these things we must render a material tale of 
pounds and pence or go without. No wonder men 
call this the Iron Age! But, though money as a 
rule brings nothing in its train but disappoint- 
ment and regret (and therefore it is better to have 
too little than too much) , there are times and sea- 
sons when it is permitted to us to purchase happi- 
ness with it. To-day gives us one of these oppor- 
tunities. Do not let that opportunity slip. Post est 
occasio calva.'' (Respectful intake of breath on 
the part of the congregation.) "I do not urge you 
to give on the plea put forward in a hymn that 
you will find in your books, — a hymn written by 


a man who should have known better, — a hymn 
which shall never, so long as I am Rector of this 
parish, emerge from the obscurity of the printed 
page, — advocating generosity in almsgiving on 
the ground that contributions to the offertory on 
earth will be refunded at the rate of a hundred 
thousand per cent in heaven. I do not ask you to 
give either much or little. Very few of us here are 
overburdened with this world's goods. Still, we 
can each afford to buy some happiness to-day, at 
a very low rate. And it will not be transitory or 
temporary happiness either; for every time here- 
after that your daily task or a country walk takes 
you past the Children's Hospital at Tilney, that 
happiness will blossom again with ever-reviving 
fragrance in your hearts. Let us sing hymn num- 
ber three hundred and sixty-nine. 

Thine arm, O Lord, in days of old 
Was strong to heal and save. . . ," 

There was a general upheaval of the congrega- 
tion and a clatter of rustic boots ; the little organ 
gave a premonitory rumble, and the hymn began. 

The hymn after the sermon is not as a rule an 
impressive canticle. Imprimis, it is of abnormal 
length and little coherence, having apparently 
been composed for the sole purpose of lasting out 
the collection of the offertory; item, the congre- 
gation is furtively engaged in retrieving umbrellas 
from under seats and gliding into overcoats. 


Hence it was always a pleasant diversion to the 
Rectory children to follow the movements of the 
two churchwardens as they ran their godly race 
up the aisle in the pursuit of alms and oblations. 
They even risked small sums on the result. When 
the Squire and Mr. Murgatroyd (Stationer and 
Dealer in Fancy Goods) stepped majestically 
from their respective pews and set to work on this 
particular morning, Daphne produced five six- 
pences and handed them to her brothers and sis- 
ters. Nicky, in her anxiety to see what sum the 
stranger in the Kirkley Abbey pew would con- 
tribute to the total, received her own contribu- 
tion with such nonchalance that the coin slipped 
from her hand and was being hunted for among 
hassocks upon the floor when Mr. Murgatroyd 
reached the stranger's pew. 

Nicky found her sixpence and resumed an up- 
right attitude just in time to hear (in a pause be- 
tween two verses) a faint papery rustle on the 
other side of the curtain. 

A moment later Mr. Murgatroyd opened the 
door of the Rectory pew, with his usual friendly 
air of dropping in for a cup of tea, and presented 
the bag. The children put in their sixpences one 
by one. Nicky's turn came last. She peered into 
the bag, and her sharp eyes caught sight of some- 
thing white protruding from amid the silver and 


Taking the bag from Mr. Murgatroyd's hands 
— she controlled that indulgent bachelor as she 
willed : he counted it a pleasure to turn his stock 
inside out on Saturday afternoons whenever Miss 
Veronica came in with a penny to spend — and 
deliberately drew out a piece of folded crinkly 
white paper. This, laying the offertory bag upon 
the baize-covered table in the middle of the pew, 
she carefully unfolded, and perused the staring 
black legend inscribed upon the flimsy white 
background. When she raised her eyes they were 
those of an owlet suffering from mental shock. 

" Golly ! " she observed in bell-like tones. " The 
Devil has put in a ten-pound note!" 



The Rectory children, washed and combed for 
Sunday dinner, sat at ease in the old nursery — 
promoted to schoolroom since Tony went into 
knickerbockers — and discussed the munificent 
stranger of the morning. 

Their interest in his movements and identity 
had been heightened by the fact that after service 
was over he had proceeded to the right instead of 
the left on leaving the Kirkley Abbey pew, and, 
turning his broad back upon an undisguisedly in- 
terested congregation, had stalked up the chancel 
and disappeared through the door leading to the 

"I wonder what he went for," said Cilly for the 
third time. 

" Perhaps he was going to give Dad more bank- 
notes," suggested the optimistic Stiffy. 

" More likely going to ask for change out of the 
first one," rejoined Ally. 

"I expect he was going to complain about you 
making faces at him through the curtains, Nicky," 
coldly observed Cilly, who had not yet forgiven 



her small sister's innuendoes on the subject of Mr. 
Robert Gill. 

" Rats ! " demurred Nicky uneasily. "I did n't 
make faces. I expect he's only some tourist who 
wants to rub brasses, or sniff a vault, or some- 

*'He must be a friend of Lord Kirkley's," said 
Ally, "because — " 

"/'// show you who he is," shrilled a voice from 
the depth of a cupboard under the window. 

Tony, who had been grubbing among a heap of 
tattered and dusty literature in the bottom shelf, 
now rose to his feet and staggered across the room 
carrying an ancient but valuable copy of the Pil- 
grim*s Progress, embellished with steel engrav- 

Having deposited the volume upon the hearth- 
rug he proceeded to hunt through its pages. 
Presently, with a squeal of delight, he placed a 
stumpy forefinger upon a full-page illustration, 
and announced triumphantly : — 

"That's him!" 

The picture represented Christian's battle with 
Apollyon. Christian, hard-pressed, had been 
beaten to his knees, and over him towered the 
figure of his satanic opponent, brandishing a 
sword and (in the most unsportsmanlike manner) 
emitting metallic-looking flames from his stom- 
ach. The children gathered round. 


"You are right, Tony," said Cilly at length; 
*'it is Hke him." 

Certainly Apollyon bore a sort of far-away re- 
semblance to the late occupant of the Kirkley 
Abbey pew. 

"Look at his eyebrows," said Nicky, "they go 
straight up — " 

The churchyard gate clicked, and voices were 
heard in conversation outside. Daphne sped to 
the window. 

"Heavens!" she exclaimed in an agonised whis- 
per, *'Dad is bringing him in to lunch ! Ally, take 
your boots off the mantelpiece! Nicky, pull up 
your stockings ! Cilly, knock Dawks off the sofa ! 
I must fly. I wonder if there's enough cream to 
make a trifle. Anyhow, the beef — " 

And she sped away kitchen wards, like an agi- 
tated butterfly. 

A few minutes later the Rector appeared in the 
schoolroom, smiling joyously, with his hand rest- 
ing lightly on the shoulder of the recently identi- 
fied Apollyon. Tony was restoring the Pilgrim's 
Progress to its shelf with the complacency of a 
second Bertillon. 

"These are my flock, Jack," said Brian Vere- 
ker. "I wonder if any of you can guess who this 
gentleman is. Would you think that he and I 
were at school together.'^ Tony, I have often told 
you of little Jack Carr, who used to light my fire 


and cook my breakfast. And a shocking mess he 
used to make of it — eh? Did n't you, Jack? Do 
you remember the day you fried sausages in mar- 
malade, because the label on the pot said marma- 
lade would be found an excellent substitute for 
butter? Well, here he is, Tony. We have run to- 
gether again after twenty-five years. Come and 
shake hands. These are my two younger girls. 
Jack, and these are my two other boys. Where is 
Daphne, children?'* 

The Vereker family, drawn up in a self-con- 
scious row, were understood to intimate that 
Daphne was downstairs. A move was therefore 
made in the direction of the dining-room, where 
Keziah, the little maid, was heatedly laying an 
extra place. Daphne joined the party a moment 
later, and welcomed Sir John Carr — such was 
his full title, it appeared — with prettiness and 
composure. Cilly and Nicky noted that their sis- 
ter had found time to rearrange her hair in honour 
of the occasion, and adorn herself with most of 
her slender stock of jewellery — two bangles and 
a thin gold chain. 

Sunday dinner was something of a function at 
the Rectory. For one thing there was hot roast 
beef, which counts for much when you see the like 
only once in the week. The Rector carved and 
Stiffy handed round the plates, Keziah, whose 
Sunday afternoon-out commenced technically 


the moment the sirloin was dished, being excused 
from further attendance. Daphne presided over 
the vegetable dishes and Ally cut bread at the 
sideboard. The office of butler was in abeyance, 
for the Vereker family drank only water from 
their highly polished christening-mugs. Nicky 
was responsible for the table napkins, and Cilly 
mixed salads in season. All these domestic de- 
tails Daphne explained, with captivating friend- 
liness and a freedom from self-consciousness that 
many a more matured hostess might have en- 
vied, to the silent man beside her. 

"Sorry to have all the family pouring things 
over you," she said, as Stiffy with a plate of beef, 
Ally with a lump of bread impaled upon a fork, 
and Cilly with a bowl of lettuce, egg, and beet- 
root cunningly intermingled, converged simul- 
taneously upon the guest; " but we have only one 
servant, and — " 

Stephen Blasius Vereker, poised upon his toes 
and holding his breath, was leaning heavily over 
the guest's right shoulder, proffering a platter 
upon the edge of which a billow of gravy, piling 
itself up into a tidal w ave, strove to overcome the 
restraining influence of surface tension. Apollyon, 
his features unrelaxed, gravely took the plate, 
and, restoring it to a horizontal position, turned 
deferentially to resume his conversation with his 
young hostess. 


" — And I like poor Keziah to have as long a 
Sunday out as possible," continued Daphne, en- 
tirely unruffled. 

*' Her young man waits for her at the stile down 
by Preston's farm," supplemented Nicky. "They 
go for a walk down Tinkler's Den, and never 
speak a word to each other." 

"So we wait on ourselves at this meal," con- 
cluded Daphne. "What will you drink, Sir 
John? Father is a teetotaller, and so are all of us; 
but if you are not, I 've got some brandy upstairs 
in the nursery medicine cupboard." 

*' Thank you, I will drink water," said Sir 
John gravely. 

By this time the Vereker family had settled 
down to their own portions, and were babbling as 
cheerfully and unrestrainedly as usual. Shyness 
in the presence of strangers was not one of their 
weaknesses, and presently, taking advantage of 
Daphne's departure to the kitchen in quest of 
the second course, they engaged their guest in 
conversation, inviting his opinions on such widely 
different subjects as the quality of the salad 
(Cilly), the merits of the Automatic Vacuum 
railway brake as compared with those of the 
Westinghouse (Stiffy) , and the prospects of Cam- 
bridge in the coming Boat Race (Ally). All of 
which queries were answered in a fashion which, 
while lacking in geniality and erring a little on the 


side of terseness, showed that the respondent 
knew what he was talking about. 

The Rector, at the head of the table, smiled 
benignantly. To him this reticent man of over 
forty, with the deep-set eyes and square jaw, was 
the sturdy chubby boy who had cooked his break- 
fast and worshipped him from afar in the dim but 
joyous days when Brian Vereker was a giant of 
nineteen, with side whiskers, and Jacky Carr a 
humble fag of twelve. It was almost a shock to 
hear him offered spirits to drink. 

Presently Daphne returned, and another gen- 
eral post ensued, at the end of which the beef and 
vegetables had disappeared, and a suet pudding 
(the standing Sabbath sweet at the Rectory), 
flanked by a dish of trifle of diminutive propor- 
tions, lay before the hostess. The Rector was 
confronted by a melon. 

Taking advantage of a covering conversation 
between the guest and her eldest brother. Miss 
Vereker made a mysterious pass over the surface 
of the trifle with a spoon, while she murmured to 
such of the family as were within earshot the 
mystic formula: *'F. H. B!" 

Then she enquired aloud : — 

"Cilly dear, which pudding will you have?" 

*'Baby Maud, please," replied Miss Cecilia 
promptly, indicating the stiff, pallid, and corpse- 
like cylinder of suet. 


She was helped, and Nicky's choice was ascer- 

"I don't thinky** that damsel replied sedately, 
"that I'll have anything, thank you, Daphne. 
I'm not very hungry to-day." 

Daphne, with a slight twitch at the corners of 
her mouth, — she appreciated Nicky's crooked 
little ways, despite herself, — turned to the guest. 

"Will you have pudding or trifle. Sir John.'^ 
Let me recommend the trifle." 

"Thank you, I never eat sweets," was the 

An audible sigh of relief rose from the Messrs. 

"Daph, dear," said Nicky, before any one else 
could speak, "I think I'll change my mind and 
have some trifle." 

And thus, by prompt generalship, Miss Veron- 
ica Vereker, while obeying to the letter the laws 
of hospitality and precedence, stole a march upon 
her slow-moving brethren and sisters and re- 
ceived the lion's share of the trifle, the balance 
going to Tony by virtue of juniority. 

As Daphne handed her triumphant little sister 
her portion, she distinctly heard a muffled sound 
on her right. 

"I like this man!" she said to herself. 

"If you don't take sweets. Jack," observed the 
Rector from the other end of the table, "allow 


me to introduce you to this melon — a present 
from the Squire. Take the melon round to Sir 
John, Stiff y, and he shall cut in where he pleases; 
though, strictly speaking," he added, with simple 
enjoyment of his own joke, "it is hardly etiquette 
to cut anything you have been introduced to!" 

There was a momentary stoppage in the gen- 
eral mastication of "Baby Maud," and the right 
hand of each Vereker present performed the 
same evolution. Next moment the repast was re- 
sumed, but the guest observed, not without sur- 
prise, that every christening-mug — even Daph- 
ne's — had a knife lying across its top. 

"That is one of our customs," explained Cilly 
politely. "We do it whenever any one makes a 
stale joke." 

''Alice through the Looking-Glass,^' corrobo- 
rated Nicky, scooping up trifle with an air of se- 
vere reproof — "page two hundred and seven." 

"You see my servile and dependent position in 
this house, Jack! " said the Rector, not altogether 

"I perceive that I have dropped into a Repub- 
lic," said Sir John Carr. 

"Republic.'^ A more absolute despotism never 
existed. Wait until you have transgressed one of 
the Laws of the Medes and Persians and been 
brought up for judgment before my eldest daugh- 
ter! We know, don't we — eh, Nicky?" 


Brian Vereker projected the furtive smile of a 
fellow conspirator upon his youngest daughter, 
and then turned to gaze with unconcealed fond- 
ness and pride upon his eldest. 

"I trust that when I transgress," said Sir John, 
"I shall get off under the First Offender's Act." 

"You have broken that already," said Daphne 
swiftly; "but it's Dad's fault. It is twenty min- 
utes to three, and you two ought to have been 
smoking in the study ten minutes ago instead of 
talking here. I want to get this room cleared for 
the children to learn their Catechism in." 

At half -past three Brian Vereker summoned his 
eldest daughter to the study, and announced with 
frank delight that Sir John Carr had agreed to 
vacate the Kirkley Arms and accept the hospi- 
tality of the Rectory. 

"I am going to walk down to the inn now," 
said Apollyon to Daphne, "to see about my lug- 
gage. Perhaps you will keep me company?" 

"All right," said Daphne, "I'll bring Mr. 
Dawks too. He wants a walk, I know." 

Sir John made no comment, but gave no active 
support to the inclusion of Mr. Dawks in the 
party. It may be noted, however, that when 
Daphne had at length achieved that feat which 
encroaches so heavily upon a woman's share of 
eternity — the putting-on of her hat — and 


joined her guest in the garden accompanied by 
Mr. Dawks in person, Apollyon greeted the owner 
of the name with far more cordiality than he had 
greeted the name itself. It is sometimes mis- 
leading to bestow Christian titles upon dumb 

Once away from the rest of the family, Daph- 
ne's maternal solemnity fell from her like a school- 
master's cap and gown in holiday time. She chat- 
tered like a magpie, pointing out such objects of 
local interest as : — 

(1) Farmer Preston's prize bull; 

(2) The residence of a reputed witch; 

(3) A spinney, where a dog-fox had once gone 
to ground at one end of an earth, and a laughing 
hyena (subsequently ascertained to be the lost 
property of that peripatetic nobleman Lord 
George Sanger) had emerged from the other, to 
the entire and instantaneous disintegration of a 
non-abstaining local Hunt. 

*'I say, where do you live.'^" she enquired sud- 
denly, breaking off in the middle of a detailed his- 
tory of Kirkley Abbey, whose fagade could be 
descried through the trees on their right. "Lon- 


"All the year round?" 

"No. I spend a good deal of my time in the 


"Oh! What do you do there? What are you, 
by the way?" 

Daphne looked up at her companion with bird- 
like inquisitiveness. She moved in a society fa- 
miliar with the age, ancestry, profession, ward- 
robe, ailments, love-affairs, and income of every 
one within a radius of five miles. Consequently 
she considered a new acquaintanceship incom- 
plete in the last degree until she had acquired 
sufficient information on the subject in hand to 
supply, say, a tolerably intimate obituary notice. 

"I suppose you are something," she continued. 
*'I hope so, anyhow. An idle man is always so 

"What would you put me down as?" asked 

Daphne scrutinised him without fear or em- 

"I'm not much of a judge," she said. "You 
see, we don't come across many men here, and we 
are so poor that we don't get away much." 

"Don't you go up to London occasionally, to 
buy a new dress? " said Sir John, covertly regard- 
ing the trim figure by his side. 

"Me — London? Not much. Dad has a lot of 
grand relations there, but I don't think he both- 
ered much about them, or they about him, after 
he married. He was too much wrapped up in 
mother. So we never hear anything of them now. 


No, I have hardly ever been away from Snayling, 
and I 'm a great deal too busy here to worry about 
London or any other such place. So I don't know 
about men," she concluded simply — "except 
my own, of course." 

"Your own?" 

"Yes — Dad and the boys. Of course I know 
all about the sort of man one meets round here. 
I can tell a ditcher from a ploughman; and if I 
meet a man in a dogcart with cases at the back I 
know he 's a commercial traveller, and if he has a 
red face I know he's a farmer, and if he has n't I 
know he 's a doctor; but I have n't had much other 

"Still, what am If reiterated Apollyon. 

"Well — I suppose you are not a soldier, or 
you would have a moustache." 


"You might be a lawyer, being clean-shaven. 
Are you?" 


"Oh! That 's rather disappointing. You would 
make a ripping judge, with a big wig on. Well, 
perhaps you write things. I know — you are an 
author, or an editor!" 


" Foiled again ! " said Daphne cheerfully. "Let 
me see, what other professions are there? Are 
you a Don, by any chance? A Fellow, or lecturer, 


or anything? We had a Fellow of All Souls down 
here once. He was a dear." 


"You are a 'Varsity man, I suppose." 


"Oxford or Cambridge?" 


"I am glad. Dark blue is so dull, isn't it? 
Besides, Dad is a Cambridge man. He is an old 
Running Blue. He won — but of course you 
know all about that. It seems queer to think you 
knew him before I did ! — Well, I give you up. 
What c^o you do?" 

Apollyon reflected. 

"I sell coals," he replied at last, rather unex- 

This announcement, and the manner in which 
it was made, momentarily deprived Miss Vereker 
of speech — a somewhat rare occurrence. 

"I see," she said presently. "We get ours 
from the station-master," she added. 

"I was not proposing to apply for your cus- 
tom," said Apollyon meekly. 

At this point they reached the Kirkley Arms, 
and in the effort involved in rousing that somno- 
lent hostelry from its Sabbath coma and making 
arrangements for the sending-up of Sir John Carr's 
luggage to the Rectory, the question of why he 
sold coals, and whether he hawked the same 


round in a barrow or delivered his wares through 
the medium of the Parcels Post, was lost sight of. 

On the homeward walk conversation was main- 
tained on much the same terms. Daphne held 
forth unwearyingly , and Apollyon contented him- 
self for the most part with answering her point- 
blank questions and putting a few — a very few 
— of his own. Certainly the man was a born lis- 
tener, and amazingly magnetic. Tacitus himself 
could not have said less, and the greatest cross- 
examiner in the legal profession could not have 
extracted more. As they strolled side by side 
through the Kirkley woods, where the last of the 
daffodils were reluctantly making way for the 
first of the primroses. Daphne found herself re- 
citing, as to a discreet and dependable father- 
confessor, a confidential but whole-hearted sum- 
mary of the present state of domestic politics. 

Ally's failure to secure a scholarship at the 
University was mentioned and commented on. 

"It was disgusting of him to miss the Greek 
Prose paper," Daphne thought. *' He did n't over- 
sleep at all, of course, I soon found that out. The 
real reason was that he had gone to some man's 
rooms the night before, and the silly brat must go 
and drink a whiskey-and-soda and smoke a 
cigar. That did it ! It was no use telling Dad, be- 
cause he simply would n't believe such a story; 
and if he did, it would make him unhappy for 


weeks. Besides, who can blame the poor dear? 
You can't be surprised if a schoolboy kicks over 
the traces a bit the first time he finds himself out 
on his own — can you?" 

"I thought," replied Sir John, finding that 
some answer was expected of him, " that you said 
you knew nothing of men." 

"I said I did n't know many men," corrected 
Daphne. "But those I do know I know pretty 
thoroughly. They're very easy to understand, 
dear things! You always know where you are 
with them. Now, girls are different. Did you no- 
tice that boy whom we passed just now, who 
went pink and took off his hat? That's Bobby 
Gill — a flame of Cilly's. I'm going to have a lot 
of trouble with Cilly's love-affairs, I can see. 
She falls down and worships every second man 
she meets. I believe she would start mooning 
round the place after you if you were n't so 
old," she added. "Cilly's a darling, but what 
she wants — " 

She plunged, with puckered brow and tireless 
tongue, into a further tale of hopes and fears. 
Stiffy's schooling, Nicky's boots, the curate who 
had to come — all were laid upon the table. Even 
the Emergency Bag and Wednesday's joint 
crept in somehow. 

They were almost home when she concluded. 

Suddenly Apollyon enquired : — 


"Do you know the name of that little hollow 
on our right? Is it Tinkler's Den?" 

"Yes, we often have picnics there. How did 
you know? " 

"It is part of Lord Kirkley's estate, as you are 
probably aware; and his lordship, finding like 
most of us that he has not sufficient money for 
his needs, has asked me to come and have a look 
at the ground round Tinkler's Den on the off- 
chance of our finding coal there.** 

Daphne turned upon him, wide-eyed and hor- 

"You mean to say," she gasped, "that you are 
going to dig for coals in Tinkler's Den?" 

"I can't tell you until — " 

Apollyon paused. A small hand was resting on 
his sleeve, and a very small voice said beseech- 

''Don't — please!'' 

"Very well, then: I won't,*' he said in a 
matter-of-fact fashion; and they resumed their 

" I hope you have n't been bored," said Daphne, 
the hostess in her rising to the surface as the 
shadows of the Rectory fell upon her once more. 
" Your ears must be simply aching, but it 's such 
a treat to talk to any one who knows about 
things. I never get a chance to ask advice. I 


usually have to give it. Dad and the boys are so 
helpless, poor dears!" 

They were passing through the wicket gate. 
Daphne suddenly paused, and looked up at her 
guest with more mischief in her eyes than her 
brothers and sisters would have given her credit 

"It's queer," she mused, "that you should sell 
coals. We thought you shovelled them! " 

"Explain, please!" said Sir John. 

Daphne did so. "We had to call you some- 
thing," she concluded apologetically. "Do you 

"Not at all. I have been called a good many 
names in my time," said Sir John grimly. 

"What do your friends call you.^^" asked 
Daphne — "your intimate friends." 

"I am not sure that I have any." 

Daphne surveyed him shrewdly, with her head 
a little on one side. 

"No — I should think you were that sort," she 
said gravely. "Well, what do your — do other 
people call you?" 

"Most of them, I believe," said Sir John, "call 
me * Juggernaut Carr. ' " 



Juggernaut's stay at the Rectory had been 
prolonged for more than three weeks, the busi- 
ness upon which he was engaged being as easily 
directed, so he said, from Brian Vereker's study 
as from his own London offices. An unprejudiced 
observer might have been forgiven for remarking 
that to all appearance it could have been directed 
with equal facility from the Twopenny Tube or 
the North Pole; for if we except a prolonged in- 
terview with Lord Kirkley's land agent on the 
second day after his arrival. Juggernaut's activi- 
ties had been limited to meditative contemplation 
of the Rector's spring flowers and some rather 
silent country walks in company with the lady to 
whom the Rector was wont to refer in his play- 
ful moments as "my elderly ugly daughter." 

Whether Daphne's impulsive protest against 
the desecration of her beloved Tinkler's Den 
carried weight, or whether that sylvan spot was 
found wanting in combustible properties, will 
never be known; but it may be noted here that 
Lord Kirkley was advised that there was no 


money in his scheme, and Snayhng remains an 
agriculture centre to this day. 

However, if it be a fact that no fresh experience 
can be altogether valueless. Juggernaut's time 
was certainly not wasted. He was absorbed into 
the primitive civilisation of Snayling Rectory. 
He was initiated into tribal custom and usage, 
and became versed in tribal language consisting 
chiefly of abbreviations and portmanteau words. 
He was instructed in the principles which under- 
lie such things as precedence in the use of the 
bath and helpings at dinner. He also studied with 
interest the fundamental laws governing the in- 
heritance of outgrown garments. Having been 
born without brothers and sisters, he found him- 
self confronted for the first time with some of 
those stern realities and unavoidable hardships 
which prevail when domestic supply falls short 
of domestic demand. The mystic phrase *'F. H. 
B.!" for instance, with which Daphne had laid 
inviolable taboo upon the trifle on the day of his 
arrival, he soon learned stood for "Family, Hold 

Again, if Master Stephen Blasius Vereker sug- 
gested to Miss Veronica Elizabeth Vereker that a 
B. O. at the T. S. would be an L. B. of A. R.; to 
which the lady replied gently but insistently, 
"Is it E. P.?" — Juggernaut was soon able to 
understand that in response to an intimation on 


the part of her brother that a Blow Out at the 
Tuck Shop would be a Little Bit of All Right, the 
cautious and mercenary damsel was enquiring 
whether her Expenses would be Paid at the forth- 
coming orgy. If Stiffy continued, "Up to % D.," 
and Nicky replied, "If you can't make it a tan- 
ner, Stiffy darling, je pense ne!" the visitor gath- 
ered without much difficulty that in the opinion 
of Miss Veronica no gentleman worthy of the 
name should presume to undertake the enter- 
tainment of a lady under a minimum outlay of 

Juggernaut soon settled down to the ways of 
the establishment. He said little, but it was ob- 
vious, even to the boys, that he was taking a good 
deal in. He seldom asked questions, but he pos- 
sessed an uncanny knack of interpreting for him- 
self the most secret signs and cryptic expressions of 
the community. This established for him a claim 
to the family's respect, and in acknowledgment 
of the good impression he had created he was in- 
formally raised from the status of honoured guest 
to that of familiar friend. What the Associated 
Body of Colliery Owners would have thought if 
they could have seen their Chairman meekly 
taking his seat at the breakfast-table, what time 
the family, accompanying themselves with tea- 
spoons against teacups, chanted a brief but 
pointed ditty consisting entirely of the phrase 


"pom-pom!" repeated con amore and sforzando 
until breathlessness intervened, — an ordeal 
known at the Rectory as "pom-pomming," and 
inflicted daily upon the last to appear at break- 
fast, — is hard to say. Mr. Montague for one 
would have enjoyed it. 

Only once did this silent and saturnine man 
exhibit any flash of feeling. One morning before 
breakfast, Daphne, busy in the knife-and-boot- 
shed at the back of the house, heard a step on the 
gravel outside, and Juggernaut stood before her. 

*' Good-morning!" she said cheerfully. "Ex- 
cuse my get-up. I expect I look rather a ticket." 

Juggernaut surveyed her. She wore a large 
green baize apron. Her skirt was short and busi- 
nesslike, and her sleeves were rolled up above the 
elbow. Her hair was twisted into a knot at the 
back of her head. Plainly her toilet had only 
reached the stage of the petit lever. She was en- 
gaged in the healthful but unfashionable occupa- 
tion of blacking boots; per contra, what Jugger- 
naut chiefly noted was the whiteness of her arms. 
Finally his eye wandered to the boot in which her 
left hand was engulfed. 

"Whose boot is that.'^" he asked. 

"Yours, I should say. Dad's are square in the 

Next moment a large and sinewy hand gripped 
her by the wrist, and the boot was taken from her. 


"Understand," said Apollyon, looking very 
like Apollyon indeed, "this must never occur 
again. I am angry with you." 

He spoke quite quietly, but there was a vibrant 
note in his voice which Daphne had never heard 
before. Mr. Tom Winch and Mr. Montague would 
have recognised it. She looked up at him fear- 
lessly, rather interested than otherwise in this 
new side of his character. 

"I can't quite grasp why you should be angry," 
she said, "though I can see you are. Not being 
millionaires, we all clean our own boots — ex- 
cepting Dad, of course. I always do his. You 
being a visitor, I threw yours in as a make-weight. 
It's all in the day's work." 

But Juggernaut's fit had passed. 
"I beg your pardon," he said, "I have no right 
to be angry with any one but myself. I am 
ashamed. I should have thought about this 
sooner, but I accepted your assurance that my 
visit would throw no extra burden upon the house- 
hold rather too readily. Now, for the rest of the 
time I am here, I propose, with your permission, 
to black my own boots. And as a sort of compen- 
sation for the trouble I have caused, I am going 
to black my hostess's as well. 

"Do you know ho7V to?" enquired the hostess, 
rather apprehensively. 

For answer Juggernaut picked up a laced shoe 
from off the bench and set to work upon it. 


"I once blacked my own boots every day for 
two years,*' he said, breathing heavily upon the 
shoe. *' Now if you want to go in and superintend 
the preparation of breakfast, you may leave me 
here, and I will undertake to produce the requisite 
standard of brilliancy.*' His face lit up with one 
of his rare and illuminating smiles, and he set 
grimly to work again. 

Daphne hesitated for a moment, and surveyed 
her guest doubtfully. He was burnishing her shoe 
in a manner only to be expected of an intensely 
active man who has been utterly idle for a fort- 
night. His face was set in the lines which usually 
appeared when he was driving business through a 
refractory meeting. Daphne turned and left the 
boot-house, unpinning her apron and whistling 

Juggernaut finished off her shoes with meticu- 
lous care, and putting them back upon the bench, 
turned his attention to his own boots. But his 
energy was plainly flagging. Several times his 
hand was stayed, and his eye wandered in the di- 
rection of his hostess's shoes. They were a re- 
markably neat pair. Daphne was proud of her 
feet, — they were her only real vanity, — and she 
spent more upon her boots and shoes than the ex- 
tremely limited sum voted for the purpose by her 
conscience. More than once Juggernaut laid aside 
his own property and returned to the highly un- 


necessary task of painting the lily — if such a 
phrase can be applied to the efficient blacking of a 
lady's shoe. Finally he picked up his boots and 
departed, to endure a ''pom-pomming" of the 
most whole-hearted description on his appear- 
ance at the breakfast table. 

But henceforth he appeared in the boot-house 
every morning at seven-thirty, where, despite his 
hostess's protests, he grimly carried out his ex- 
pressed intention. 

This was the only occasion, however, on which 
he asserted his will with Daphne. In all else she 
found him perfectly amenable. He permitted 
her without protest to overhaul his wardrobe, 
and endured meekly a scathing lecture upon the 
negligence apparent in the perforated condition 
of some of his garments and the extravagance 
evinced by the multiplicity of others. In short. 
Daphne adopted Juggernaut, as only a young and 
heart-whole girl can whose experience of men so 
far has been purely domestic. She felt like his 
mother. To her he was a child of the largest pos- 
sible growth, who, not having enjoyed such ad- 
vantages as she had all her life bestowed upon the 
rest of the flock, must needs be treated with two- 
fold energy and special consideration. He was 
her Benjamin, she felt. 

Juggernaut was to depart to-morrow. His 


socks were darned. Items of his wardrobe, hither- 
to anonymous, were neatly marked with his in- 
itials. His very pocket-handkerchiefs were num- 

*' You are sending me back to work thoroughly 
overhauled and refitted," he said to Daphne, as 
she displayed, not without pride, his renovated 
garments laid out upon the spare bed. "I feel 
like a cruiser coming out of dry dock." 

"Well, don't get your things in that state 
again," said Daphne severely — " that 's all ! Who 
looks after them.'^" 
My man." 

'He ought to be ashamed of himself, then. By 
the way, there is a dress-waistcoat of yours with 
two buttons off. Can I trust you, now, to get them 
put on again, or had I better keep the waistcoat 
until I can get buttons to match.^" 

*' You are very good," said Juggernaut, bowing 
before the storm. 

"That's settled, then. Where shall I send it 

Juggernaut thought, and finally gave the ad- 
dress of a club in Pall Mall. 

"Club — do you live in a club?" enquired 
Daphne, with a woman's instinctive dislike for 
such a monastic and impregnable type of domi- 

"Sometimes. It saves trouble, you see," said 


Juggernaut apologetically. "My house in town 
is shut at present. I spend a good deal of time in 
the North." 

"Where do you live when you are in the 
North?" enquired Daphne, with the healthy 
curiosity of her age and sex. 

"I have another house there," admitted Jug- 
gernaut reluctantly; "it is called — " 

"How many houses have you got altogether?" 
asked Daphne, in the persuasive tones of a school- 
master urging a reticent culprit to make a clean 
breast of it and get it over like a man. 

"I have a little place in the Highlands," said 
Juggernaut, humbly — 

Daphne rolled her brown eyes up to the ceiling. 

" — But it is the merest shooting-box," he 
added, as if pleading for a light sentence. 

"Is that all?" 

"Yes — on my honour." 

"And — you live in a club !'* 

Then came the verdict — the inevitable ver- 
dict when we consider the sex of the judge. 

"What you want," said Daphne, regarding the 
impassive features of the prisoner at the bar, "is 
a wife. It's not too late, really," she added, smil- 
ing kindly upon him. "Of course you think now 
at your age that you could never get used to it, 
but you could." 

"Do you think any girl would marry a man 


practically in his dotage?" enquired Juggernaut 

"Not a girl, perhaps,*' admitted Daphne, "but 
somebody sensible and good. I '11 tell you what — 
don't you know any nice widows ? A widow would 
suit you top-hole. She would be used to men al- 
ready, which would help her a lot, poor thing! 
Then, she would probably let you down more 
easily than an old maid. She would know, for 
instance, that it 's perfectly hopeless to get a man 
to keep his room tidy, or to stop leaving his slip- 
pers about on the dining-room hearthrug, or 
dropping matches and ash on the floor. Do marry 
a widow. Sir John! Don't you know of any?" ^ 

Sir John smiled grimly. 

"I will consult my visiting-list," he said, "but 
I won't promise anything. In spite of the appar- 
ent docility of my character there are just one or 
two things which I prefer to do in my own way.'* 

"Still, I don't despair of you," said Daphne. 
"Old Martin down in the village married only the 
other day, and he was seventy -two. Nearly bed- 
ridden, in fact," she added encouragingly. 

That evening after supper the Rectory children 
sat round the table engaged in card-games of a 
heating and complicated nature, Miss Vereker as 
usual doubling the parts of croupier and referee. 
The guest and the Rector were smoking in the 


Suddenly the door of the dining-room opened, 
and Brian Vereker appeared. 

*' Daphne, my daughter," he said, "can you 1 
leave these desperadoes for a while and join us in 
the study?" 

"All right, Dad. Ally, you had better be dealer. 
Nicky, if you cheat while I am away, you know 
the penalty! Come with me, Dawks. So long, 
everybody. Back directly!" 

But she was wrong. Game succeeded game: 
the time slipped by unheeded by all except Nicky 
and Tony, who, because it was past their hour for 
going to bed, noted its flight with special and per- 
sonal relish ; and it was not until the almost tear- 
ful Cilly had been rendered an old maid for the 
fourth consecutive time that the family realised 
that it was nearly half -past ten and Daphne had 
not returned. 

"Of course,*' said Nicky, wagging her small 
head triumphantly, "we all know what that 

And for once in her small, scheming, prying 
life, she was right. 




Daphne sat rather dizzily by her father's side, 
holding his hand tightly and gazing straight be- 
fore her. A sudden turn, and lo ! before her lay a 
great break in the road. She had arrived at one of 
life's jumping-off places. No wonder she gripped 
her father's hand. 

Now, for a young girl to consent to a marriage 
with a man considerably older than herself, a man 
whom she hardly knows and does not love, is 
rightly regarded as a most unromantic proceed- 
ing; and since romance is the sugar of this rather 
acrid existence of ours, we are almost unanimous 
in discouraging such alliances. And yet there are 
two sides to the question. A loveless marriage 
may lead to the ruin of two lives: on the other 
hand, it introduces into the proceedings an ele- 
ment of business and common sense all too rare 
in such enterprises. It is true that the newly 
united pair dream no dreams and see no visions. 
Each comes to the other devoid of glamour or 
false pretences. But if a couple find marriage 
feasible under such circumstances, the chances 
are that they are of a type which stands in no 


need of that highly intoxicating stimulant, Pas- 
sion. They are simply people who realise at the 
outset, instead of later on, that life is a campaign 
and not a picnic; and each sees in the other not so 
much an idol or a plaything as a trusty ally. For 
such, mutual respect cannot but spring into being, 
and will in all likelihood grow into mutual love; 
and mutual love which matures from such begin- 
nings as these is ten thousand times more to be 
desired than the frothy headachy stuff which we 
quaff in such reckless magnums in our thirsty 

On the other hand, marriages made on earth 
(as opposed to what are popularly regarded as the 
celestial variety) can and often do lead to ship- 
wreck. Granted. Still, marriage is a leap in the 
dark in any case, and humdrum philosophers 
must at least be excused for suggesting that one 
may as well endeavour to illuminate this hazard- 
ous feat of agility by the help of the Torch of 
Reason as not. But of course no one ever agrees 
with such suggestions. Romance and Sentiment 
cry, "Never! Shame! Monstrous!" and most of 
us very humanly, naturally, and rightly associate 
ourselves in the most cordial manner with the 
opinions of this old-established and orthodox firm. 

We left Daphne gazing into the study fire, with 
a silent man on either side of her and Mr. Dawks 's 
head upon her knee. She looked perfectly com- 


posed, but something was rocking and trembling 
within her. 

It is certainly disconcerting, even for the most 
self-possessed of maidens, to realise, suddenly 
and without warning, that there are deeper 
things than the domestic affections. It is still 
more disconcerting when an individual whom 
Nature might with perfect propriety have ap- 
pointed your father, and whom you with femi- 
nine perversity have adopted as a son, suddenly 
kicks over the traces and suggests as a compro- 
mise that he should occupy the intermediate po- 
sition of husband. 

Brian Vereker sat smiling, happy and con- 
fident. The fact that Sir John Carr was forty- 
two and Daphne barely twenty had not occurred 
to him. All he realised was that the little boy 
who had been his fag at school, who had lit his 
fire and made his toast in return for occasional 
help with caesuras and quadratic equations, had 
grown up into a man, and desired to marry his 
daughter. The whole thing seemed so natural, so 
appropriate. He glowed with humble pride that 
Providence should so interest itself in his little 
household. He smiled upon the young people. 

Suddenly Daphne turned to him, and released 
her hold on his hand. 

"Dad, will you leave us for a little?" she said. 
*'I want to talk to Sir John." 


The Rector rose. 

"By all means," he said. *'Now I come to 
think of it, the presence of a third party is not es- 
sential to a proposal of marriage. I am de trop! I 
shall be upstairs." 

He laughed boyishly, and left them. 

When the door closed. Daphne turned to her 

*'So you want me for your wife?" she said, 
with the air of one opening a debate. 

"I do," said Juggernaut. It was the first time 
he had spoken since she entered the room. 

*'And you went and saw Dad about it!" went 
on Daphne rather unexpectedly. 

"Yes. As I understood you are not of age, I 
asked his permission to speak to you. He rather 
took the words out of my mouth by calling you in 
and telling you himself." 

"I'm glad to hear you say that," said Daphne. 
"I thought at first the thing was being arranged 
over my head, and that I was n't to be consulted 
at all. But you were going to ask me properly, 
were n't j^ou.^^ We prefer that, you know." She 
spoke for her sex. 

Juggernaut nodded. 

"Only Dad rushed in and spoiled it — eh?" 

"That is correct," said Juggernaut. 

"Well, begin now," said Daphne calmly. "A 
girl does n't like to be done out of a proposal. It 


would be something to tell the kids about after- 
wards, anyhow." 

Juggernaut became conscious of a distinctly 
more lenient attitude towards the Rector's pre- 

"Now that you Jcnou\^' he began, "a formal 
proposal would sound rather dull and superfluous, 
would n't it?" 

"Perhaps you are right," said Daphne half- 
regretf ully . " Dad has spoiled it for me, after all ! " 

Presently, — 

"I wonder why you want to marry me," she 
mused, fondling Mr. Dawks's ears. "I suppose 
you have come to the conclusion that it is time 
you had some one to look after all those houses 
and servants of yours. Is that it.^*'* 

Juggernaut regarded her curiously. 

"Perhaps," he said. 

"You are not in love with me, of course," con- 
tinued the practical Miss Vereker, ticking off the 
unassailable features of the case. "At least, I 
suppose not — I don't see how you possibly could 
be. It's rather hard for me to tell, though, be- 
cause I don't quite know the meaning of the word. 
I love Dad and the boys and Cilly and Nicky and 
Mr. Dawks — donH I, Dawks, dear.^^ — and I 
would do anything to save them pain or unhappi- 
ness. But I suppose that's not the sort of love 
that people call love. It seems to have been left 


out of my composition, or perhaps it has n 't 
cropped up yet. Now, Cilly — I am her exact 
opposite — Cilly is always in love with some man 
or other. By the way, she told me last night when 
I went to brush her hair that she had just fallen 
in love with you, so evidently you are n't too old, 
after all! Would it do as well if you married 
Cilly.'*" Daphne enquired tentatively. 

*'I'm afraid not," said Juggernaut. 

"Well, perhaps you are right. Cilly 's a darling, 
but she is very young yet," agreed the time-worn 
Miss Vereker. "But" — she broke off short — 
"it seems to me that I am doing most of the talk- 
ing. Would you care to address the meeting — 
say a few words ? I think I should like to hear a bit 
of that proposal, after all. So far, all I know is 
that you want to marry me. And that I got from 
Dad. Now — I 'm listening ! " 

Daphne leaned back in her big chair and smiled 
upon her suitor quite maternally. There was 
something slightly pathetic in her childish free- 
dom from embarrassment or constraint under 
circumstances which usually test the sang froid 
of man and maid alike. Perhaps Sir John was 
struck by this, for his eyes suddenly softened and 
the lines about his mouth relaxed. 

"You need n't say you love me, or anything 
like that, if you don't," supplemented Daphne. 
"I shall understand." 


Sir John's eyes resumed their normal appear- 

"As you seem to prefer to keep matters on a 
strictly business footing," he said, "I will come 
to the point at once. If you will marry me, I 
think I can make you tolerably happy and com- 
fortable. I am a prosperous man, I suppose, and 
as my wife you would find a certain social posi- 
tion awaiting you. Any desires of yours in the 
way of houses, clothes, jewels, and so on, you 
could always gratify, within limits, at will. I 
mention these things, not because I think they 
will influence your decision, — I should not want 
you for a wife if I thought they would, — but 
because I feel that every woman is entitled to a 
plain statement of fact about the man who wishes 
to marry her. Too often, under the delusion that 
the sheer romance of a love-affair wipes all mun- 
dane considerations off the slate, she puts up 
with the wildest of fictions. However, I may 
point out to you that acceptance of my worldly 
goods would enable you to carry out certain 
schemes that I know lie very near your heart. 
You could send Ally to the University. You 
could have Cilly finished, or whatever the ex- 
pression is, and bring her out yourself. And you 
could pay for a curate for your father. You can 
have all the money you want for these enterprises 
by asking for it ; or if you prefer something more 


definite I would settle an annual sum upon you — ■ 
say a thousand a year — " 

A thousand a year! Daphne closed her eyes 
giddily. Before her arose a vision of a renovated 
Rectory — a sort of dimity Palace Beautiful — 
with an enlarged kitchen-boiler, new carpets, 
and an extra servant. She saw her father bend- 
ing happily over his sermon while a muscular 
young Christian tramped round the parish. 
She saw Ally winning First Classes at Cam- 
bridge and Cilly taking London drawing-rooms 
by storm. But Juggernaut was still speaking. 

"On the other hand, I ought to warn you that 
I am a hard man — at least, I believe that is my 
reputation — with somewhat rigid notions on 
the subject of quid and quo. I would endeavour to 
supply my wife with every adjunct to her happi- 
ness; but — I should expect her in return to stand 
by my side and do her duty as my wife so long as 
we both lived. They say of me that I never make 
a mistake in choosing a lieutenant. Well, the in- 
stinct which has served me so often in that respect 
is prompting me now; and it is because I see in 
you a woman who would stand by her husband 
as a matter of duty alone, quite apart from " — 
he hesitated — "from inclination, that I ask you 
to marry me." 

Daphne gazed at him. Her heart was bumping 
gently. There was something rather fine about 


this proposed bargain — a compact between a man 
and a woman to stand by one another through 
thick and thin, not because they Hked doing so, 
but because it was playing the game. Daphne 
felt proud, too, that this master of men should 
have adjudged her — a woman — to be of the 
true metal. But she was honest to the end. 

** You would give all that to have me for your 
wife?" she said. 

Sir John bowed his head with grave courtesy. 

"I would," he said simply. 

"I'm not worth it," said Daphne earnestly. 
*'I am only accustomed to looking after our little 
Rectory and the family. I might make a fearful 
mess of all your grand houses. Supposing I did.'* 
What if I was n't up to your mark.^ How if your 
friends did n't like me.^ It would be too late to 
send me back," she pointed out, rather piteously. 

Sir John's features did not relax. 

*'I am willing to take the risk," was all he said. 

There was a long pause. 

"Let me think," said Daphne suddenly and 

She slipped out of her chair on to the hearth- 
rug, and lay before the twinkling fire with her 
arms clasped round the neck of the ever-faithful 
Mr. Dawks, and her face buried in his rough coat. 
There was a tense silence, accentuated by the ami- 
able thumping of Dawks's tail. Sir John Carr sat 


in his chair like a graven image, looking down 
upon the slim lithe figure at his feet. Daphne just 
then was a sight to quicken the blood in a man's 
veins, but Juggernaut never moved. Perhaps 
he realised, for all his lack of lover's graces and 
his harsh methods of wooing, something of the 
solemnity of the moment. A child, without ex- 
perience, with nothing but her own untutored 
instincts to guide her, was standing at her cross- 
roads. Would she go forward with the man 
whose path through life had so suddenly con- 
verged on hers, or fare on alone? And the man — 
what were his feelings.'^ None could have told by 
outward view. He simply waited — sitting very 

At last Daphne sat up, and shook back her hair 
from her eyes. 

We'll leave it to Mr. Dawks," she said. 
Dawks, old boy, shall we do it?" 

The house waited in breathless silence for Mr. 
Dawks's casting vote. That affectionate and re- 
sponsive arbitrator, hearing himself addressed, 
raised his head, licked his mistress's hand, and 
belaboured the floor with his tail in a perfect ec- 
stasy of cordiality. 

Daphne turned to the man in the chair. 

"All right!" she said; "it's a bargain. I'll 
marry you.'* 




On a bright spring afternoon three weeks later, 
the Rectory children sat, huddled together like 
a cluster of disconsolate starlings, upon a five- 
barred gate leading into Farmer Preston's big 

It was the eve of Daphne's wedding-day. 

To those readers of this narrative who feel in- 
clined to dilate upon the impropriety of marrying 
in haste, it may be pointed out that the bride 
possessed no money and the bridegroom no rela- 
tives. Consequently there would be no presents. 
The principal incentives to what Miss Veronica 
Vereker pithily described as a "circus wedding" 
being thus eliminated, the pair were to be mar- 
ried quietly next day in the little church where 
Daphne had been christened and confirmed, and 
under the shadow of which she had lived all her 
short life. 

The bride had no trousseau, for her father could 
not afford one, and she flatly declined to take a 
penny from her fiance until he became her hus- 
band. The little village dressmaker had turned 
out a wedding-dress over which Cilly hourly 


gloated, divided between ecstasy and envy; and 
this, together with an old lace veil in which her 
mother had been married, would serve Daphne's 

In truth, she had little time to think of herself. 
She was relinquishing a throne which she had oc- 
cupied since she was eleven years old, and the in- 
struction and admonition of her successor had 
occupied her attention ever since the date of her 
wedding had been fixed. Keys had to be handed 
over, recipes confided, and the mysteries of femi- 
nine bookkeeping unfolded. There were good- 
byes to be said to bedridden old women and tear- 
ful cottage children. The bridegroom, too, she 
felt, had a certain claim upon her attention. He 
had departed the morning after Daphne had ac- 
cepted him, and was now very busy preparing his 
house in London for the reception of the future 
Lady Carr. But he had spent a good deal of time 
at the Rectory, for all that, coming down for 
week-ends and the like, and Daphne, mindful of 
the duties of a fiancee^ devoted herself conscien- 
tiously to his entertainment whenever he ap- 

But now the end of all things was imminent. 
To-morrow the management of the Rectory 
would pass into the hands of the dubious and 
inexperienced Cilly. 

Meanwhile the Rectory children continued to 


sit disconsolately upon the gate. They were wait- 
ing for Daphne, who had promised to spend her 
last afternoon with them. Sir John, who was 
now staying at Kirkley Abbey, — to the mingled 
apprehension and exhilaration of the chief brides- 
maid, Lord Kirkley had offered to act as best 
man, — was to come over that afternoon, but 
only to see the Rector on matters connected with 
settlements and other unromantic adjuncts to the 
married state. 

The gate proving unsuitable for prolonged 
session, the family abandoned their gregarious 
attitude and disposed of themselves in more com- 
fortable fashion. Ally, home on three days' 
special leave from school, lay basking in the sun. 
Cilly sprawled on the grass with her back against 
a tree-trunk, her brow puckered with the gradual 
realisation of coming responsibility. Stiffy , simple 
soul, with his knees clasped beneath his chin, sor- 
rowfully contemplated to-morrow's bereavement. 
Master Anthony Cuthbert, perched on a log with 
a switch in his hand, was conducting an unseen 
orchestra. Nicky, soulless and flippant as ever, 
speculated at large upon her sister's future. 

*'It'll be pretty hot for Daph living down 
there at first," she mused. A joke lasted Nicky a 
long time: the humorous fiction that the bride- 
elect would to-morrow be carried off to reside 
permanently in the infernal regions was still as 


a savoury bakemeat to her palate. *'0f course, 
Polly" — this was her abbreviation for Apollyon, 
adopted as soon as that gentleman had ascended 
from the grade of familiar friend to that of pro- 
spective relative — "will be glad to get back to 
his own fireside, but Daph will feel it a bit, I 
should think. Perhaps he will let her use a big 
fire-screen to begin with! ... I wonder what 
housekeeping will be like. I suppose the cook 
will have horns and a tail, and all the food will be 
devilled. I should like to see Daph ordering din- 
ner. 'Good-morning, Diabolo!' * Good-morning, 
Miss ! What would you like for dinner to-night.^^ ' 
*Well, Diabolo, what have you got?^ 'There's a 
nice tender sinner came in this morning, Miss. 
You might have a few of his ribs; or would you 
prefer him served up grilled, with brimstone 
sauce .f^ And I suppose you would like devils-on- 
horseback for a savoury.' 'That will do very 
nicely, Diabolo. Oh, I forgot! It's possible that 
the Lucifers will drop in. Perhaps we'd better 
have yesterday's money-lender cold on the side- 
board in case there is n't enough to go round. 
And we must have something special to — ' 
Ally, what do people drink in Hell?" 

"Dunno," said Ally drowsily;, "molten lead, 
I should think." 

" Only the lower classes, dear," said Nicky with- 
eringly. "I am talking about the best people." 


"Sulphuric acid?" suggested Ally, who was 
beginning to study chemistry at school. 

"That will do," said Nicky, and returned to 
her dialogue. "'Diabolo, will you tell the butler 
to put a barrel — no, a vat — of sulphuric acid on 
ice. You know what the Lucif ers. are, when — * 
Hallo, here's Daph at last!" 

The bride-elect approached, swinging her gar- 
den hat in her hand, and followed by Mr. Dawks. 

"Well, family," she said, "I'm yours for the 
rest of the day. What shall we do.'^" 

" Where is John.^ " enquired Ally. (John, it may 
be explained, was the name by which the family, 
with the exception of Nicky, had decided to ad- 
dress their future brother-in-law.) 

"In the study with Dad." 

"Has he arranged about having the five 
o'clock train stopped to-morrow afternoon?" 
enquired the careful Stiffy. 

"No. We are going in a motor all the way to 
London," said Daphne. "Jack was keeping it as 
a surprise for me. It's a new one, a — " 

" All the way to where ? " enquired that econom- 
ical humourist, Miss Veronica Vereker. 


"H'm! Yes, I have heard it called that, now 
I come to think of it," conceded Nicky, "but it 
seems a waste of a good car, especially if it's a 
new one. Unless it 's made of some special — 


Stiffy, what's the name of that stuff that won't 


"That's it — asbestos. I did n't expect to see 
you drive off down the road, somehow," con- 
tinued Nicky, in a somewhat injured voice, "just 
hke an ordinary couple. I thought Polly would 
stamp his foot on the lawn, and a chasm would 
yawn at your feet, and in you'd both pop, and 
you would be gone forever, like — Ally, who 
were those two people in the Latin book you had 
for a holiday task?" 

"Don't know. Strikes me you're balmy," 
responded Mr. Aloysius Vereker. "Unless you 
mean Pluto and Proserpine." 

"That's it — Proserpine. Well, Proserpine, 
what are you going to say to entertain your little 
brothers and sisters this afternoon?" 

"Anything you like," said Proserpine, endeav- 
ouring to balance herself on the top bar of the 
gate. "How about making toffee down in the 

There was a chorus of approval. Nursery cus- 
toms die hard. Even the magnificent Ally found 
it difficult to shake off the glamour of this youth- 
ful dissipation. 

" I '11 tell you what," continued Daphne, warm- 
ing up to the occasion, " we '11 have a regular fare- 
well feast. We'll send down to the shop and get 


some buns and chocolates and ginger-beer, and — 

*' Bananas," suggested Tony. 

"Nuts," added Cilly. 

"Cigarettes," said Ally. 

"Who has got any money?" enquired Nicky. 

The family fumbled in its pockets. 

"Here's threepence — all I have," said Cilly 
at length. 

"Twopence," said Ally, laying the sum on 
Cilly's threepenny bit. 

"Awfully sorry," said Stiffy, "but I'm afraid 
I Ve only got a stamp. It's still quite gummy at 
the back, though," he added, hopefully. " They 'U 
take it." 

Tony produced a half-penny. 

"You can search we, friends!" was Nicky's 
despairing contribution. 

"I have fourpence," said the bride — "not a 
penny more. I handed over all the spare house- 
keeping money to Dad this morning. That only 
makes tenpence-halfpenny, counting Stiffy's 
stamp." She sighed wistfully. "And I did so 
want to give you all a treat before I went! Well, 
we must do without the nuts and chocolates, 

Nicky rose to her feet, swelling with sudden in- 

"Daph, what's the matter with running along 


to this millionaire young man of yours, and touch- 
ing him for a trifle?" she enquired triumphantly. 

Daphne hesitated. True, to-morrow she would 
be a rich man's wife, able to afford unlimited 
ginger-beer. But the idea of asking a man for 
money did not appeal to her. Pride of poverty 
and maidenly reserve make an obstinate mixture. 
Yet the flushed and eager faces of Nicky and 
Tony, the polite deprecations of the selfless Stiffy, 
and the studied indifference of Cilly and Ally 
were hard to resist. 

"I wonder if he would mind," she said doubt- 

*'Mind? Oh, no! Why should he?" urged the 
chorus respectfully. 

*'Have a dart for it, anyhow," said Nicky. 

Daphne descended from the gate. 

*' Righto!" she said. "After all, it's our last 
afternoon together, and I should like to do you all 
proud. I'll chance it. The rest of you can start 
down to the Den and collect sticks, while I run 
along to the house and ask him. Nicky, you had 
better come with me to carry down saucepans 
and things. Come on — I'll race you!" 

Three minutes later Sir John Carr, smoking a 
meditative cigar upon the lawn, was aware of a 
sudden scurry and patter in the lane outside. 
Directly after this, with a triumphant shriek, the 
nimble figure of his future sister-in-law shot 


through the garden gate, closely followed by that 
of his future wife. Mr. Dawks, faint yet pursu- 
ing, brought up the rear. 

The competitors flung themselves down on the 
grass at his feet, panting. 

"We have been having a race," explained 
Daphne, rather gratuitously. 

" I won ! " gasped Nicky. " Daph has the long- 
est legs," she continued, "but I have the shortest 
skirts. Now, my children, I must leave you. 
Wire in!" she concluded, in a hoarse and pene- 
trating whisper to Daphne. 

Her short skirts flickered round the corner of 
the house, and she was gone. Daphne was left 
facing her fiance. 

"I say," she began rather constrainedly — 
"don't get up; I'm not going to stay — do you 
think you could lend me a little money .^ I — I '11 
pay you back in a day or two," she added with a 
disarming smile. "The fact is, we are going to 
make toffee down in the Den, and I wanted to get 
a few extra things, just to give them all a real 
treat to finish up with, you know. Will you — 

Juggernaut looked up at her with his slow 
scrutinising smile. 

"What sort of extra things?" he enquired. 

"Oh!" — Daphne closed her eyes and began 
to count on her fingers — "buns and chocolates 



and nuts and ginger-beer. And I wanted to give 
Ally a packet of cigarettes. (After all, he 's eigh- 
teen, and he does love them so, and they are only 
ten for threepence.) And if you could run to it 
I should like to get a few bananas as well," she 
concluded with a rush, laying all her cards on 
the table at once. 

Juggernaut leaned back in his chair and looked 
extremely judicial. 

What will all this cost?" he enquired. 
One and eleven," said Daphne. "Jack, you 
dear! We shall have a time!" 

Juggernaut had taken a handful of change out 
of his pocket. 

"One and eleven," he said. "I wonder. Daph- 
ne, if you will be able to purchase an afternoon of 
perfect happiness for that sum in a year's time." 

He handed over the money. 

"May I have a receipt?" he asked gravely. 

Daphne took his meaning, and kissed him 
lightly. She lingered for a moment, anxious not 
to appear in a hurry to run away. 

"Is there anything else?" enquired Sir John at 

Daphne ran an inward eye over the possibilities 
of dissipation. 

"No, I don't think so," she said. "Thanks 
ever so much! We shall be back about six. So 
long, old man. Don't go to sleep in this hot sun." 


She flitted away across the lawn, jingling the 
money in her hand. At the gate she turned and 
waved her hand. Juggernaut's eyes were fixed 
upon her, but he did not appear to observe her 
salutation. Probably he was in a brown study 
about something. 

Daphne was halfway down to the Den before it 
occurred to her that it would have been a graceful 
act — not to say the barest civility — to invite 
the donor of the feast to come and be present 
thereat. But she did not go back. 

"It would bore him so, poor dear!'* she said to 
herself, — "and — and us, too ! " 

Next day they were married. 






"And how is her ladyship?" enquired Mrs. 

"Her ladyship," replied Sir John Carr, "is 
enjoying life. What good bread-and-butter you 
always keep." 

They were sitting in Mrs. Carfrae's tiny draw- 
ing room in Hill Street. Mrs. Carfrae was a little 
old lady in a wheeled chair. Her face was com- 
paratively youthful, but her hair was snowy 
white. She spoke with what English people, to 
whom the pure Highland Scots of Inverness and 
the guttural raucousness of Glasgow are as one, 
term "a Scotch accent." 

"I am glad you like my bread-and-butter," she 
said; "but I fancy you get as good at your wife's 

"I don't often see my wife's tea-table," con- 
fessed Juggernaut. "She is out a good deal, and 
as a rule it is more convenient for me to have my 
tea sent into my study." 

" Where you grumble at it, I '11 be bound. I ken 
husbands. So her ladyship is out a good deal? 


Well do I mind the first time I caught her in, the 
besom! That was nearly three years ago. I am 
not a payer of calls, as you know; but I felt that 
I must be the very first to greet your wife, Johnny, 
boy. So the day after I knew you had settled in, 
I had myself bundled into the carriage, and off I 
went to Grosvenor Street. I told Maxwell to ring 
the bell and enquire if her ladyship was at home. 
The door was thrown open immediately — rather 
prematurely, in fact. I heard a sound like the 
cheep of a frightened mouse, and I saw a grand 
silk skirt and a pair of ankles scuttering up the 
staircase. I knew fine what had happened. I was 
her first caller: and though the child was sitting 
in her grand new drawing-room waiting for me 
and those like me, her courage had failed at the 
sound of the bell, and she was galloping up the 
stair out of the way when the man opened the 
door. Poor lassie! I did exactly the same thing 
at her age." 

"Did you go in?'* 

*'I did. I was determined to do it. I gripped 
my crutch and was out of the carriage and up the 
steps before the footman could answer Maxwell. 
I hobbled past the man — he just gaped at me 
like a puddock on a hot day — and got to the foot 
of the stair and looked up. As I expected, there 
was Madam, hanging over the banisters to see 
what sort of a caller she had hooked the first 


time. There was another creature beside her, 
with wild brown hair and eyes like saucers. They 
were clutching each other round the waist. When 
they saw me they gave a kind of horrified yelp. 
But I cried to them to come down, and in ten 
minutes we were the best of friends. They were 
horribly prim at first; but when they found out 
that I was just a clavering old wife and nothing 
more, they lost their grand manners. They over- 
laid me with questions about London, and while I 
was answering them the saucer-eyed one set to 
work cracking lumps of sugar with her teeth. 
The other — her ladyship — was eating jam out 
of an Apostle spoon. The spoon was in her mouth 
when a footman came in to mend the fire. She was 
fairly taken by surprise, and tried to push the 
whole concern into her mouth until the man 
should be gone. I thought at first she had swal- 
lowed it, but presently I saw the Apostle sticking 
out. And that was three years ago. Well, I have 
become less active since then, and I pay no more 
calls, — wheel me a piece nearer the fire, Johnny, 
— so I do not see so much of her ladyship as I did. 
Still, I am glad to hear she is enjoying life. And 
how is the baby?" 

"The baby," replied its male parent, "looks 
and sounds extremely robust. He uttered several 
articulate words the other day, I am told." 

"Can he walk?" 


"He can lurch along in a slightly dissipated 


" Good ! And how does your Daphne handle all 
these houses and servants of yours?" 

Sir John smiled. 

"She was a little out of her depth at first," he 
said. "She had not been accustomed to cater for 
a large household. The extravagance of ordering 
at least one fresh joint a day appalled her, and it 
was a long time before the housekeeper could cure 
her of a passion for shepherd's pie. But she has a 
shrewd head. She soon discovered which items 
of domestic expenditure were reasonable and 
which were not. She has cut down the bills by 
a half, but I don't notice any corresponding fall- 
ing off in the quality of the menu." 

"And does she love fine clothes, and gaiety.''" 

"I think she found her maid rather a trial at 
first. She had been so accustomed not only to 
attiring herself, but to going round and hooking 
up her sisters as well, that a woman who handled 
her like a baby rather paralysed her. She also 
exhibited a penchant for wearing her old clothes 
out — to rags, that is — in private. But I think 
she is getting over that now. I received her dress- 
maker's latest bill this morning. It reveals dis- 
tinct signs of progress." 

"And I hear she looks just beautiful. 

"She does. I must admit that." 



** Then " — the old lady raised herself a little in 
her chair, and settled her spectacles with her un- 
paralysed hand — *' what is the trouble between 
the two of you, Johnny Can? " 

Juggernaut laid down his tea-cup with a slight 

*'I was not aware," he said curtly, "that there 
was any trouble." 

Mrs. Carfrae surveyed him long and balefully 
over her spectacles. 

"Johnny Carr," she observed dispassionately, 
"I have known you ever since you could roar for 
your bottle, and I have never had patience with 
you either then or since. You are a dour, dreich, 
thrawn, camstearie creature. You have more 
money than you can spend, grand health, and a 
young and beautiful wife. But you are not happy. 
You come here to tell me so, and when I ask you 
to begin, you say there is nothing! Well, I will 
tell you what the matter is. There is some trouble 
between you and your Daphne." 

Considerable courage is required to inform a 
man to his face that all is not well between him 
and his wife; but courage was a virtue that Els- 
peth Carfrae had never lacked. Juggernaut ex- 
perienced no feeling of resentment or surprise 
that this old lady should have instantaneously 
sized up a situation which he himself had been 
investigating in a groping and uncertain fashion 


for nearly three years. Life is a big book of prob- 
lems, and while man is content to work them out 
figure by figure, taking nothing for granted which 
cannot be approved by established formulae, 
woman has an exasperating habit of skipping 
straight to the solution, in a manner which causes 
the conscientious and methodical male to suspect 
her of peeping at the answers at the end of the 

"Perhaps you had not realised that," pursued 
Mrs. Carfrae. " Men are apt to be slow in the up- 
take," she added indulgently. 

*'I fail to see where you get your data from," 
replied Juggernaut. *'I have not been particu- 
larly communicative on the subject. In fact, 
I don't remember telling you a single — " 

Mrs. Carfrae subjected him to a withering 

*'If all that women knew," she observed frost- 
ily, "was what men had told them, I wonder 
how many of us would be able to spell our own 
names! No, laddie, you have told me nothing: 
that's true enough. But I know fine why you 
come here to-day. You are worried. You and 
Daphne are getting on splendidly. The match 
has been a great success. You have a son and 
heir. But — you are not happy; and it is about 
your Daphne that you are not happy." 

Juggernaut gazed into the fire. 


"You are right," he said. "I confess that my 
marriage has not been so upHfting as I had hoped. 
I dare say it is my own fault. As you point out, I 
am — well, all the Caledonian adjectives you 
heaped upon me just now: all that and a good deal 
more. I have the reputation of being a harsh 
man, and I hate it. I hoped, when I married that 
child, that she would pull me out of my rigid un- 
deviating way of life and broaden my sympathies 
a little. I looked forward to a little domesticity.'* 
His dark face coloured slightly. "I may be an 
ogre, but I have my soft side, as you know." 

"None better," said the old lady gently. 

"Well, somehow," continued Juggernaut, "my 
marriage has not made the difference to me that 
I had hoped. We two have had our happy hours 
together, but we don't seem to progress beyond a 
certain point. We are amiability itself. If I ask 
Daphne to see to anything about the house, she 
sees to it; if she asks me to go with her to a tea- 
fight, I go. But that seems to be about the limit. 
I can't help thinking that marriage would not 
have survived so long as an institution if there 
had been no more behind it than that. I was 
under the impression that it made two one. At 
present we are still two — very decidedly two; 
and — and — " 

"And being you, it just maddens you not to be 
able to get your money's worth," said Mrs. Car- 




frae calmly. *'Now, John Carr, just listen to me. 
First of all, have you had any trouble with her.^ " 


"Yes. Any direct disagreement with her.'*" 

"Never. Stop — we had one small breeze." 

Mrs. Carfrae wagged a forefinger. 

"You have been bullying her, monster!' 

"Heavens, no!" 

"Well, tell me the story.' 

"Six months agone," said Juggernaut, "she 
came to me and asked for money — much as a 
child asks for toffee — with a seraphic smile and 
an ingratiating rub up against my chair. I asked 
her what it was for." 

"Quite wrong!" said Mrs. Carfrae promptly. 

"But surely — " began Juggernaut, the man 
of business up in arms at once. 

"You should have begun by taking out your 
cheque-book and saying 'How much?'" con- 
tinued his admonitress. "Then she would have 
called you a dear, or some such English term of 
affection, and recognising you as her natural con- 
fidant would have told you everything. After that 
you might have improved the occasion. As it was, 
you just put her back up, and she dithered." 

" She did, so far as I understand the expression. 
But, finding that I was firm — " 

"Oh, man, man, how can a great grown creat- 
ure like you bear to be firm — hardy you mean. 


of course — with a wild, unbroken lass like that? 
Well, go on. You were firm. And what did her 
poor ladyship say she wanted the money for.''" 

"For hei^ young cub of a brother," said Jugger- 
naut briefly. 

*' A wealthy young wife daring to want to help 
her own brother! Monstrous!" observed Mrs. 

'*I think you are unjust to me in this matter. 
Listen! When I married Daphne I was aware 
that she would want to finance her entire family : 
in fact, it was one of the inducements to marrying 
me which I laid before her. For that purpose, to 
save her the embarrassment of constantly coming 
to me for supplies, I settled upon her a private 
allowance of — what do vou think.'^" 

"Out with it! No striving after effect with me^ 
my man!" was the reply of his unimpressionable 

"I gave her a thousand a year," said Jugger- 

"That should have been sufficient," said Mrs. 
Carfrae composedly. " But do not be ostentatious 
about it. You could well afford the monev." 

"Well, she had spent most of that year's allow- 
ance in six months," continued Juggernaut, dis- 
regarding these gibes, "on her father's curate, 
the younger children's education, and so forth — 
and she wanted more." 


"What age is this brother?" 

"Twenty, I think. He is up at Cambridge, and 
wants to get into the Army as a University can- 
didate. At present he appears to be filHng in his 
time philandering with a tobacconist's daughter. 
The tobacconist's bill for moral and intellectual 
damage came to five hundred pounds. Before 
writing the cheque, I stipulated — " 

"You would!" said the old lady grimly. 

" — That I should be permitted to make a few 
investigations on my own behalf. Young Vereker 
is a handsome, fascinating rascal, with about as 
much moral fibre as a Yahoo. He was a good deal 
franker in his admissions to me than he had been 
to his sister — " 

"Aye, I once heard you cross-examining a 
body," confirmed Mrs. Carfrae. 

" — And on the completion of my enquiries I 
paid the money down on the nail. It was the only 
thing to do." 

"Did you tell Daphne the whole story?" 

"No. I should hate to dispel her illusions. She 
loves her brothers and sisters." 

"There is no need to excuse yourself, John 
Carr. I knew fine that you would not tell her. In- 
stead, you glowered at her, and read her a lecture 
about extravagance and improvidence. She tried 
to look prim and penitent, but danced down the 
stair the moment she got the door shut behind 


her. Now, mannie, listen to me. This is no Hght 
charge you have taken on yourself — to rule a 
wild, shy, impulsive taupie like that. You cannot 
contain the like with bit and bridle, mind. I have 
been one myself, and I know. There is just one 
thing to do. She must learn to love you, or the 
lives of the pair of you will go stramash!" 

Juggernaut's old friend concluded this homily 
with tremendous emphasis, and there was a long 
silence. Then the man drew his chair a little 

"How can I teach her? " he asked humbly. " I 
have no finesse, no attractiveness. Do you think 
I — I am too old for her? " 

"Old? Toots! I was nineteen when I married 
on my Andy, and he was thirty-nine. For the 
first few years after we married I called him 
'Daddy' to his face. After that I found that I 
was really old enough to be the man's mother; so 
I called him * Sonny.' But that is a digression. I 
will tell you how to teach her. Do not be mono- 
tonous. It's no use just to be a good husband to 
her: any gowk can be that. Do not let your affec- 
tion run on in a regular, dutiful stream: have a 
spate occasionally! Get whirled off your feet by 
her, and let her see it. Prepare some unexpected 
ploy for her. Carry her off to dine somewhere 
on the spur of the moment — just your two selves. 


Stop her suddenly on the staircase in a half-light, 
and give her a hug." 

"She'd never stand it!" cried Juggernaut in 
dismay. "And I could never do it," he added ap- 

"You do it, my callant," said Mrs. Carfrae 
with decision, "and she'll staiid it right enough! 
She may tell you not to be foolish, but she will not 
make a point of coming down by the back stair in 
future, for all that. And let her see that with you 
she comes first in everything. What a crow she 
will have to herself when she realises that a feck- 
less, unbusinesslike piece like herself has crept 
right into the inmost place in the heart of a man 
whose gods used to be hard work and hard words 
and hard knocks! She'll just glory in you! 

"Lastly, do not be discouraged if you have no 
success to begin with. At all costs you must keep 
on smiling. A dour, bleak man is no fit compan- 
ion for a young girl who has always lived a shel- 
tered, sunny life. He just withers her. She may 
last for a while, and do her duty by him, but in 
time he '11 break her heart. Aye, keep on smiling, 
Johnny, even if she hurts you. She will hurt you 
often. Young girls are like that. It takes time 
for a woman to realise that a man is just about 
twice as sensitive as herself in certain matters, 
and she will not make allowances for you at first. 
But until she does — and she will, if you give her 


time — keep on smiling! If you keep on long 
enough, you will get your reward. Make the 
effort, my man ! I have had to make efforts in my 
time — " 

*'I know that," said Juggernaut. 

" — And the efforts have been the making of 
me. For one thing I have acquired a sense of pro- 
portion. When we are young and lusty, our know- 
ledge of perspective is so elementary that in our 
picture of life our own Ego fills the foreground 
to the exclusion of all else; with this result, that 
we get no view of the countless interesting and 
profitable things that lie behind. My Ego is kept 
in better order these days, I assure you. It gets 
just a good comfortable place in the picture and 
no more. If Elspeth Carfrae stirs from that, or 
comes creeping too far forward so as to block out 
other things, she hears from me!" 

"Does she always obey you?" asked Jugger- 

*'She got far beyond my control once," ad- 
mitted the old lady. "I mind when my Andy 
went from me, she swelled and swelled, until 
she blotted out everything — earth, sea, and sky. 
But she has been back in her place these twenty 
years, and there she shall bide. There is no great 
selfish Ego blocking the view now when I sit and 
look out upon my section of the world. You have 
no idea how interesting it is to study your friends* 


troubles instead of your own, John. The beauty 
of it is that you need not worry over them: you 
just watch them — unconcernedly." 

The Scots have their own notion of what con- 
stitutes an excursion into the realms of humour, 
and Juggernaut, knowing this, made no attempt 
to controvert his hostess's last statement. 

*'Not that I grudged my Andy," continued the 
old lady presently. " No wife worthy of the name 
could grudge her man to his country when he died 
as Andy died. But my only son — that was my 
own fault, maybe. I would not put him into the 
army like his father, thinking to keep him safer 
that way; and he died of pneumonia at seven-and- 
twenty, an East End curate. Then my Lintie. 
But I have no need to be talking of Lintie to you, 
John Carr. You mind her still. Daphne or no 
Daphne. Then" — she indicated her paralysed 
shoulder — ''this! But I keep on smiling. Per- 
haps that is why people are so kind to me. Per- 
haps if I did not smile they would not seek my 
company so freely. I suppose they see something 
in me, that they come and listen to me havering. 
When I first settled down here by myself, in this 
little house, many kind people called. I never 
thought to see them twice; but they come again 
and again. Maybe it is because English people 
have a notion that the Scots' tongue is * so quaint ' ! 
They seem to find something exhilarating in hear- 


ing fish called fush. Not that I call it any such 
thing, but they think I do. Anyhow, they come. 
Some of them bring their troubles with them, and 
go away without them. When they do that, I 
know that it was worth while to keep a smiling 
face all these years. So smile yourself, Johnny 
Carr! And some day, when your Daphne comes 
and puts her head on your shoulder and tells you 
all that is troubling her, you will know that you 
have won through. And when that happens, come 
and tell me. I like to hear when my methods 

**I will remember," said Juggernaut gravely. 

Mrs. Carfrae watched his broad back through 
the doorway. 

"But I doubt you will both have to be worse 
before you are better," she added to herself. 

An hour later, Lady Carr, a radiant vision of 
glinting hair and rustling skirts, on her way up- 
stairs to dress for dinner, encountered her husband 
coming down. There was a half-light. Sir John 

"Are you dining any where to-night. Daphne?" 
he said. 

Daphne, her youthful shrewdness uneradicated 
by three years of adult society, replied guardedly: 
Are you trying to pull my leg.^ If I say 'No,' 



will you tell me that in that case I shall be very 
hungry by bedtime, or something? I suppose that 
old chestnut has just got round to your club. 
Have you been electing Noah an honorary mem- 

*'I was about to suggest," said Juggernaut 
perseveringly, "that we should go and dine at the 
Savoy together." 

Daphne dimpled into a delighted smile. 

*'You dear! And we might go on somewhere 
afterwards. What would you like me to wear?" 

She preened herself in anticipation. 

"Oh, anything," said Juggernaut absently. 

He was regarding his wife in an uncertain and 
embarrassed fashion. 

Suddenly he drew a deep breath, and took a 
step down towards her. Then, with equal sud- 
denness, he turned on his heel and retired upstairs 
rather precipitately in the direction of his dress- 

It was as well that Mrs. Carfrae was not 
present ! 



By nine o'clock next morning Lady Carr, be- 
comingly arrayed, was sitting up in bed munching 
a hearty breakfast, and reflecting according to 
her habit upon yesterday's experiences and to- 
day's arrangements. 

She had dined with her husband at the Savoy, 
but the meal had not been quite such a success as 
she had anticipated. Juggernaut had treated her 
with the restrained courtesy which was habitual 
to him ; but ladies who are taken out to dinner at 
the Savoy, even by their husbands, usually ex- 
pect something more than restrained courtesy. 
You must be animated on these occasions — 
unless, of course, you happen to be a newly en- 
gaged couple, in which case the world benignantly 
washes its hands of you — or the evening writes 
itself down a failure. Juggernaut had not been 
animated. He had ordered a dinner which to 
Daphne's gratification and surprise — she had 
not credited him with so much observation — 
had consisted almost entirely of her favourite 


dishes. But he had not sparkled, and sparkle at 
the Savoy, as already intimated, is essential. 

About ten o'clock he had been called away to 
an important division in the House, and Daphne 
had gone on to a party, escorted by her husband's 
secretary, factotum, and right-hand man, one 
Jim Carthew, who arrived from Grosvenor Street 
in answer to a telephone summons. Carthew was 
a new friend of Daphne's. She accumulated 
friends much as a honey -pot accumulates flies, but 
Jim Carthew counted for more than most. They 
had never met until five weeks ago, for Carthew 
had always been up North engaged on colliery 
business when Daphne was in London, and when 
Daphne was at Belton, her husband's old home 
near Kilchester, Carthew had been occupied by 
secretarial work in town. But they had known one 
another by name and fame ever since Daphne's 
marriage, and at last they had met. Daphne was 
not slow to understand why her husband, impa- 
tient of assistance as he usually was, had always 
appeared ready to heap labour and responsibility 
upon these youthful shoulders. Carthew was 
barely thirty, but he was perfectly capable of 
upholding and furthering his leader's interests in 
the great industrial North; while down South it 
was generally held that whenever he grew tired 
of devilling for Juggernaut the Party would find 
him a seat for the asking. 


But so far Carthew seemed loath to forsake the 
man who had taught him all he knew. He cher- 
ished a theory, somewhat unusual in a rising man, 
that common decency requires of a pupil that he 
should endeavour to repay his master, at the end 
of the period of instruction, by a period of personal 

He was a freckle-faced youth, with a frank 
smile of considerable latitude, and a bojash zeal 
for the healthy pursuits of life. He possessed 
brains and character, as any man must who served 
under Juggernaut; and like his master he was a 
shrewd judge of men. Of his capacity for dealing 
with women, Daphne knew less; but she had 
already heard rumours — confidences exchanged 
over tea-cups and behind fans — of a certain Miss 
Nina Tallentyre, perhaps the acknowledged 
beauty of that season, at the flame of whose altar 
Jim Carthew was said to have singed his wings 
in a conspicuously reckless fashion. But all this 
was the merest hearsay, and Daphne was unac- 
quainted with the lady into the bargain. Possibly 
it was with a view to remedying this deficiency 
in her circle of acquaintance that she kept Jim 
Carthew at her side for the space of half an hour 
after they reached Mrs. Blankney-Pushkins' re- 

After a couple of waltzes Lady Carr expressed 
a desire to be fed with ices and cream buns. 


Mr. Carthew assented, but with less enthusi- 
asm than before. Daphne noticed that his eye 
was beginning to wander. 

*' After that," she continued cheerfully, "we 
will find seats, and you shall tell me who every- 
body is. I am still rather a country mouse." 

"I should think so!" said Carthew, reluctantly 
recalling his gaze from a distant corner of the re- 
freshment room. "I beg your pardon! You were 
saying — ?" 

"Perhaps there is some one else whom you have 
promised to dance with, though," continued the 
country mouse demurely. 

Carthew, whose eye had slid stealthily round 
once more in the direction of the supper-party 
in the corner, recovered himself resolutely, and 
made the only reply that gallantry permitted. 

"That's all right, then," said Daphne. "Tell 
me who those people are, having supper over 
there. That man with the fierce black eyes — 
who is he.^^ He looks wicked." 

"As a matter of fact," said Carthew, resigning 
himself to his fate, "he is about the most com- 
monplace bore in the room. If he takes a girl in 
to dinner he talks to her about the weather with 
the soup, the table decorations with the fish, and 
suffragettes with the entree. About pudding- 
time he takes the bit between his teeth and 
launches out into a description of the last play he 


saw — usually Charley's Aunt or East Lynne. 
When he unexpectedly encounters a friend at 
a seaside watering-place, he observes that 'the 
world is a very small place.' At his own funeral 
(to which I shall send a wreath) he will sit up and 
thank the mourners for *this personal tribute 
of affection and esteem.'" 

Daphne sat regarding this exhibition of the 
art of conversation with some interest. She ob- 
served that Carthew's wits were wandering, and 
that with inherent politeness he was exercising a 
purely mechanical faculty to entertain her pend- 
ing their return. Jim Carthew was a true Briton 
in that he hated revealing his deeper thoughts to 
the eyes of the world. But unlike the ordinary 
Briton, who, when his feelings do get the better 
of him, finds himself reduced to silent and por- 
tentous gloom, he instinctively clothed his naked, 
shrinking soul in a garment of irresponsible friv- 
olity. The possession of this faculty is a doubt- 
ful blessing, for it deprives many a deserving 
sufferer of the sympathy which is his right, and 
which would be his could he but take the world 
into his confidence. But the world can never 
rid itself of the notion that only still waters run 
deep. Consequently Jim Carthew passed in the 
eyes of most of his friends as a kindly, light- 
hearted, rather soulless triflcr. But Daphne was 
not altogether deceived. She took an instinctive 



interest in this young man. She interrupted his 
feverish monologue, and enquired : — 

"Tell me, who is that girl? The tall one, with 
fair hair and splendid black eyes." 

*' What is she dressed in.^*" asked Carthew, sur- 
veying the throng with studied diligence. 
Tlame-coloured chiffon," said Daphne. 
'That is a Miss Tallentyre," replied Carthew 
carelessly. *'Do you think she is pretty.?" he 
added, after a slightly strained pause. 

*'I think she is perfectly magnificent. Do you 
know her?" 

"Er — yes." 

"Will you introduce me?" asked Daphne. "I 
should like to know her. See, she has just sent 
away her partner. Take me over and leave me 
with her, and then you will be free to run off and 
find the charmer I can see you are so anxious 

The hapless Carthew having asserted, this 
time with considerably more sincerity, that he 
had now no further thoughts of dancing, the 
introduction was effected. The sequel lay 
this morning upon Daphne's breakfast-tray, 
amid a heap of invitations, — Daphne was in 
great request at present, — in the form of a 
note written upon thick blue paper in a large 
and rather ostentatious feminine hand. It 
ran, — 


Dear Lady Carr: Don't consider me a for- 
ward young person if I ask you to be an angel 
and come and lunch with me to-day. I know all 
sorts of ceremonies ought to be observed before 
such a climax is reached; but will you take them 
for granted and come ? We had such a tiny talk 
last night, and I do so want to know you better. 
I have been dying to make your acquaintance 
ever since I first saw you. 

Sincerely yours, 

Nina Tallentyre. 

Daphne was not the sort of girl to take it amiss 
that she, a married woman of twenty-three, with 
a husband and baby of her own, should inform- 
ally be bidden to a feast by a young person pre- 
viously unknown to her, who possessed neither. 
In any case the last sentence would have been too 
much for her vanity. She scribbled a note of ac- 
ceptance to Miss Tallentyre's invitation, and set 
about her morning toilet. 

Once downstairs, she paid her usual punctilious 
visit to the library, where her husband was usu- 
ally to be found until twelve o'clock. She en- 
quired in her breezy fashion after the health of 
the Mother of Parliaments, and expressed a hope 
that her spouse had come home at a reasonable 
hour and enjoyed a proper night's rest. She next 
proceeded to the orders of the day. 


"Are you dining out to-night, dear?" she en- 

*' Yes, for my sins ! A City dinner at six-thirty." 

*"You'll be bad the morn!'" quoted Lady 

*'True for you, Daphne. Are you going any- 


"Well, you had better have Carthew to dine 
with you, and then he can take you to the theatre 
afterwards. Sorry I can't manage it my — for 
our two selves," he added, guiltily conscious of 
Mrs. Carfrae's recent homily. 

But Daphne was quite satisfied with the ar- 
rangement, which she designated top-hole. 

"Now, I am off shopping," she announced. 
"After that I am lunching with a girl I met last 
night; then Hurlingham, with the Peabodys. If 
you are going gorging at six-thirty, I probably 
shan't see you again to-day; so I'll say good- 
night now. Pleasant dreams! I am off to play 
Vv^ith Baby before I go out. So long!" 

She presented her husband with his diurnal 
kiss, and departed in search of Master Brian Vere- 
ker Carr, whose domain was situated in the upper 
regions of the house. Here for a time the beauti- 
ful and stately consort of Sir John Carr merged 
into the Daphne of old — Daphne, the little 
mother of all the world, the inventor of new and 


delightful games and repairer of all damages in- 
curred therein. Her son's rubicund and puckered 
countenance lightened at her approach. He per- 
mitted his latest tooth to be exhibited without 
remonstrance : he nodded affably, even encourag- 
ingly, over his mother's impersonation of a dying 
pig; and paid her the supreme compliment of 
howling lustily on her departure. 

Master Carr never interviewed his parents 
simultaneously. His father's visits — not quite 
so constrained as one might imagine, once the 
supercilious nurse had been removed out of ear- 
shot — usually took place in the evening, just 
before dinner, but father and mother never came 
together. Had they done so, it is possible that 
this narrative might have followed a different 
course. A common interest, especially when it 
possesses its father's mouth and its mother's 
eyes, with a repertory of solemn but attractive 
tricks with its arms and legs thrown in, is apt to 
be a very uniting thing. 


Daphne duly lunched with Miss Tallentyre. 

*'May I call you Daphne?" the siren asked, in 
a voice which intimated that a request from some 
people is as good as a command from most. *'I 
have taken a fancy to you; and when I do that to 
anybody — which is n't often — I say so. My 


dear, you are perfectly lovely ! I wish I had your 
complexion. You don't put anything on it, do 

"Soap," said Daphne briefly. She was not of 
the sort which takes ''fancies" readily. 

Miss Tallentyre smiled, lazily. 

"I see you have n't got the hang of me yet," 
she drawled. "You are a little offended with me. 
Most people are at first, but they soon find that 
it 's not really rudeness — only me! — and they 
soon come round. I don't go in for rouge either: 
like you, I don't need it. But I have to touch up 
my eyebrows. They are quite tragically sandy, 
and my face looks perfectly insipid if I leave them 
as they are." She laughed again. "Have I 
shocked you.^ You see, I believe in being frank 
about things — don't you? Be natural — be 
yourself — say what you think ! That is the only 
true motto in life, is n't it?" 

Daphne agreed, cautiously. She had not yet 
plumbed this rather peculiar young woman. It 
had never occurred to her, in the whole course of 
her frank, ingenuous existence, to ask herself 
whether she was herself or not. Such things were 
too high for her. She began to feel that she had 
been somewhat remiss in the matter. Miss Tal- 
lentyre appeared to have made a specialty of it. 

But as shrewd Daphne was soon to discern for 
herself, this was only pretty Nina's way. A more 


confirmed poseuse never angled for the indiscrim- 
inate admiration of mankind. Nina Tallentyre 
was no fool. Having observed that in order to 
become conspicuous in this world it is an advan- 
tage to possess marked individuality, and having 
none of her own beyond that conferred by her 
face and figure, she decided to manufacture an 
individuality for herself. She accordingly selected 
what she considered the most suitable of the roles 
at her disposal, rehearsed it to her satisfaction, 
assumed it permanently, and played it, it must be 
confessed, uncommonly well. Her pose was that 
of the blunt and candid child of nature, and her 
performances ranged from unblushing flattery 
towards those with whom she desired to stand 
well to undisguised rudeness towards those whom 
she disliked and did not think it necessary to 

Her method prospered. Whatever wise men 
may think or say of us, fools usually take us at 
our own valuation. Consequently Miss Tallen- 
tyre never lacked a majority of admirers. She 
set a very high price upon her friendship, too, 
conferring it only as an exceptional favour; and 
the public, which always buys on the rise, had 
long since rushed in and bulled Miss Tallentyre's 
stock — her beauty, her wit, her transparent 
honesty — sky high. 

The luncheon was a tete-^-tete function, the 


parent-birds, as Miss Tallentyre termed them, 
being absent upon a country visit. Afterwards 
Russian cigarettes and liqueur brandy were served 
with coffee. Daphne declined these manly luxu- 
ries, but her hostess took both. 

"Not that I like them," she explained with a 
plaintive little sigh, "but it looks chic; and one 
must be chic or die. Besides, I am doing it to an- 
noy one of my admirers — one of those simple- 
minded, early Victorian, John Bullish creatures 
who dislike seeing a girl smoke, or drink cognac, 
or go to the theatre without a chaperone. Here is 
his latest effusion: it will make you shriek." 

She picked up a letter from a little table by her 
side, and began to read aloud. 

"'Nina, dear child, I know you don't care for 
me any more,' — as a matter of fact I never cared 
for him at any time, — ' but I can't help still tak- 
ing an interest in you, and all that. I must say 
this. On Tuesday night I saw you sitting at sup- 
per with two men at the Vallombrosa, without 
anybody else to keep you in countenance, sipping 
liqueur brandy and smoking. Well, don't — 
there 's a dear ! You simply don't know what cruel 
things people say about a girl who does that sort 
of thing in public. Of course / know that you are 
absolutely — ' " 

But Lady Carr was on her feet, slightly 


"I think I must be going now," she said. "I 
had no idea it was so late. I have to meet some 
people at Hurlingham.'* 

" Sorry you have to rush off," said Miss Tallen- 
tyre regretfully; *'we were so cosy. Isn't this 
letter perfectly sweet?" 

Daphne, who was glowing hotly, suddenly 
spoke her mind. 

"If an honest man," she said, "wrote me a 
letter like that, I don't think I should read it 
aloud to total strangers, even if I was mortally 
offended by it. It does n't seem to me cricket. 
Good-bye, and thank you so much for asking me 
to lunch." 

*'Not altogether a successful party," mused 
Daphne, as a taxicab conveyed her to Hurling- 
ham. "What a hateful girl ! And yet, at the back 
of all that affectation I believe there is something. 
I could n't help liking her. She certainly is very 
lovely, and she must have been a darling before 
men got hold of her and spoiled her. ... I won- 
der if that letter was from Jim Carthew. It 
sounded like his blunt, blundering way of doing 
things. Well, he is well rid of her, anyhow. — 
Hurrah! here is Hurlingham, and there are the 
Peabodys ! How lovely to see the trees and grass 
again ! And the dear ponies ! " 

The country-bred girl drew a long, luxurious 
breath, and in the fullness of her heart grossly over- 


paid her charioteer on alighting. Then, forgetting 
Miss Tallentyre and her exotic atmosphere utterly 
and absolutely, she plunged with all the energy 
of her sunny soul into the sane delights and whole- 
some joys afforded by green trees, summer skies, 
and prancing polo-ponies. 


Daphne concluded her day, after a joyous drive 
home in the cool of the evening on the box-seat 
of a coach, by entertaining Jim Carthew at din- 
ner. Afterwards he was to take her to The Yeo- 
men of the Guard, which was running through a 
revival at the Savoy Theatre. Daphne was by no 
means a hlasee Londoner as yet, for much of her 
short married life had been spent at Bel ton; and 
the theatre was still an abiding joy to her. On 
the way she rattled off a list of the pieces she had 

"And you have never been to a Gilbert and 
Sullivan opera?" asked Carthew incredulously. 

"No — never.'* 

"All I can say is — cheers!" 


" Supposing you were a benevolent person about 
to introduce a small boy to his first plum-pudding, 
you would feel as I do," replied her companion. 
"But wait. Here is the theatre: we are in the 
fourth row of stalls." 


Daphne sat raptly through the first act. Once 
or twice her laughter rang out suddenly and spon- 
taneously like a child's, and indulgent persons 
turned and smiled sympathetically upon her; but 
for the most part she was still and silent, revelling 
in Sullivan's ever-limpid music and following the 
scenes that passed before her with breathless at- 

When the curtain fell slowly upon the finale of 
the first act, — the suddenly deserted stage, the 
bewildered Fairfax holding his fainting bride in 
his arms, and the black, motionless figure of the 
executioner towering over all, — Daphne drew a 
long and tremulous breath, and turned to her 

"I understand now what you meant," she said 
softly. *' How perfect, to be able to bring some one 
here for the first time!" 

"What surprises me," said Carthew, *'is that 
Sir John has n't brought you here already. I 
know he simply loves it." 

"I am usuallj'' taken to places like the Gaiety," 
confessed Lady Carr. "Probably Jack considers 
them more suited to my intellect. — Hallo, here 
are the orchestra-men crawling out of their holes 
again! Good!" 

Presently the curtain went up on the last act, 
and Jack Point introduced a selection of the Merry 
Jests of Hugh Ambrose, to the audible joy of the 


fourth row of stalls. The Assistant Tormentor 
and his beloved were likewise warmly received; 
but presently Daphne's smiles faded. Poor Jack 
Point's tribulations were too much for her: dur- 
ing the final recurrence of / Have a Song to Sing- 
01 tears came, and as the curtain fell she dabbed 
her eyes hurriedly with an inadequate handker- 

"Awfully sorry!" she murmured apologetic- 
ally. "Luckily you are not the sort to laugh at 


Carthew silently placed her wrap round her 

"Mr. Carthew," said Daphne suddenly, "will 
you take me somewhere gay for supper.'* It 
would n't be awfully improper, would it.'* I can't 
go home feeling as sad as this." 

"Come along!" said Carthew. 

He escorted her to an establishment where the 
electric lights blazed bravely, a band blared forth 
a cacophonous cake-walk apparently entitled 
"By Request," and the brightest and best of the 
Jeunesse doree of London mingled in sweet com- 
panionship with the haughty but hungry divin- 
ities of the musical comedy stage. 

Carthew secured a table in a secluded corner, 
as far as possible from the band. 

"Sorry to have given you the hump," he said, 
with his boyish smile. "Next week I will take 


you to The Mikado. No tears there! You will 
laugh till you cry. Rather a bull that — what ? " 

He persevered manfully in this strain in his en- 
deavour to drive away impressionable Daphne's 
distress on Jack Point's behalf, and ultimately 

*' I hope he was dead, not simply in a faint," was 
her final reference to the subject. Then she con- 
tinued: "I shall take them all to see that lovely 
piece — separately. I am not sure about Nicky, 
though. She is just at the scoflSng age now, and 
I don't think I could bear it, if she — " 

" Not long ago," said Carthew, " I took a girl — 
that sort of girl — to see The Yeomen — " 

Daphne regarded him covertly. She knew the 

"Well?" she said. 

"I took her on purpose," continued Carthew 
— "to see how she — " 

Daphne, deeply interested, nodded compre- 

"I know," she said. "How did she take 

" She never stirred," said Carthew, " all through 
the last act. When the curtain fell, she sat on for 
a few moments, without saying a word, and she 
never spoke all the time I was taking her home. 
When I said good-night to her, she — she said 
something to me. It was not much, but it showed 


me that she was the right sort after all, in spite of 
what people said — " 

He checked himself suddenly, as if conscious 
that his reminiscences were becoming somewhat 
intimate. But Daphne nodded a serious head. 

"I'm glad," she said simply. "One likes to be 
right about one's friends." 

Carthew shot a grateful glance at her; and pre- 
sently they drifted into less personal topics, mutu- 
ally conscious that here, if need be, was a friend 
— an understanding friend. 

The evening had yet one more incident in store 
for Daphne. 

Twelve-thirty, the Ultima Thule of statutory 
indulgence, — the hour at which London, thirty 
minutes more fortunate than Cinderella, must 
perforce fly home from scenes of revelry and get 
ready to shake the mats, — was fast approach- 
ing; and the management of the restaurant be- 
gan, by a respectful but pertinacious process of 
light-extinguishing, to apprise patrons of the 

As Daphne and Carthew passed through the 
rapidly emptying vestibule to their cab, five 
flushed young gentlemen, of the genus under- 
gi'aduate-on-the-spree, suddenly converged upon 
the scene from the direction of the bar, locked 
together in a promiscuous and not altogether 
unprofitable embrace. They were urged from 


the rear by polite but inflexible menials in brass 

"Whatho, Daph!" 

The cry emanated from the gentleman who was 
acting for the moment as keystone of the group. 

Daphne, stepping into the cab, looked back. 

"Mr. Carthew," she exclaimed, "it's Ally — 
my brother! He must have come up from Cam- 
bridge for the day. Do go and bring him here." 

She took her seat in the hansom, and Carthew 
went back. Presently he returned. 

"I would not advise an interview," he said 
drily. " Your brother — well, you know the effects 
of London air upon an undergraduate fresh from 
the country ! Let him come round and see you in 
the morning." 

He gave the cabman his orders, and their equi- 
page drove off, just as Sebastian Aloysius Vereker, 
the nucleus of a gyrating mass of humanity 
(composed of himself and party, together with 
two stalwart myrmidons of the Hilarity Restau- 
rant and a stray cab-tout), toppled heavily out 
of the portals of that celebrated house of refresh- 
ment into the arms of an indulgent policeman. 

More life — real life! reflected Daphne, as she 
laid her head on her pillow, tired out and utterly 
contented. To-day had yielded its full share. 
That peculiar but interesting interview with Miss 


Tallentyre, that glorious carnival under the blue 
sky at Hurlingham, and that laughter-and-tear- 
compelling spectacle at the Savoy — all had 
contributed to the total. Finally that tete-a-tete 
supper with Jim Carthew, — indubitably a dear, 
— ending with the episode of Ally. A little dis- 
turbing, that last! Well, perhaps Ally was only 
trying to see life, too, in his own way. Life! 
Daphne tingled as she felt her own leap in her 
veins. And to-morrow would bring more! 

Then the sandman paid his visit, and she slept 
like the tired child that she was, having completed 
to her entire satisfaction another day of what, 
when you come to think of it, was nothing more 
or less than an utterly idle, selfish, unprofitable 



At Belton, Daphne, like her Scriptural coun- 
terpart, came to herself. Attired in what she 
called "rags," she ran wild about the woods and 
plantations, accompanied by the faithful Mr. 
Dawks, who found a green countryside (even 
when marred at intervals by a grimy pithead) 
infinitely preferable to Piccadilly, where the pave- 
ment is hot and steerageway precarious. 

They were to stay at Belton till Christmas, 
after which the house in Berkeley Square would 
be ready for her. Hitherto she had been well con- 
tent with the little establishment in Grosvenor 
Street; but her ideas in certain directions, as her 
husband had observed to Mrs. Carfrae, were de- 
veloping in a very gratifying manner. 

One hot morning Daphne arrived at breakfast 
half an hour late. To do her justice, this was an 
unusual fault; for in the country she would never 
have dreamed of indulging in such an urban lux- 
ury as breakfast in bed. Her unpunctuality was 
not due to sloth. She had already superintended 


the morning toilet of Master Brian Vereker Carr, 
and had even taken a constitutional with Mr. 
Dawks along the road which ran over the shoul- 
der of a green hill towards Belton Pit, two miles 
away. She knew that her husband had gone out 
at seven o'clock to interview the manager at the 
pithead, and she had reckoned on being picked 
up by the returning automobile and brought 
home in time for nine o'clock breakfast. Unfort- 
unately, Juggernaut had changed his plans and 
gone to another pit in the opposite direction, with 
the result that Daphne, besides being compelled 
to walk twice as far as she intended, found an un- 
comfortable combination of cold food and chilly 
husband waiting for her when she reached home. 
Juggernaut never called Daphne to book for 
her shortcomings now. It had become his cus- 
tom of late, if he found anything amiss in the 
management of the establishment, to send a mes- 
sage to the housekeeper direct. He should have 
known better. Daphne, regarding such a pro- 
ceeding as an imputation of incompetence on her 
part, boiled inwardly at the slight, though her 
innate sense of justice told her that it was not 
altogether undeserved. Being a great success is 
apt to be a slightly demoralizing business, and 
Daphne herself was beginning dimly to realise 
the fact. There was no doubt, for instance, that 
she was not the housekeeper she had been. But 


what was the good? There had been some credit 
in feeding the boys and Dad on half nothing, and 
in conjuring that second weekly joint out of a 
housekeeping surplus that was a little financial 
triumph in itself. But now, who cared if a leg of 
mutton were saved or not? What did it matter if 
the cook sold the leavings and the butler drank 
the wine? Her husband could afford it. And so on. 

A discussion had arisen on this subject the 
evening before; and the silent, enigmatical man 
whom she had married, whom she understood so 
little, and who, from the fact that he treated her 
as something between an incompetent servant 
and a spoiled child, appeared to understand her 
even less, had spoken out more frankly than 
usual, with not altogether happy results. Daphne 
above all loved openness and candour, and she 
could not endure to feel that her husband was 
exercising forbearance towards her, or making 
allowances, or talking down to her level. Conse- 
quently the laborious little lecture she had re- 
ceived, with its studied moderation of tone and its 
obvious desire to let her down gently, had had an 
unfortunate but not altogether unnatural result. 
Juggernaut would have done better to employ his 
big guns, such as he reserved for refractory pub- 
lic meetings. As it was. Daphne lost her temper. 

"Jack," she blazed out suddenly, *'I know I'm 
a failure, so why rub it in? I know you married 


me to keep house for you; so you have a perfect 
right to complain if I do it badly. Well, you have 
told me; now I know. Shall we drop the subject.'* 
I will endeavour to be more competent, honest, 
and obliging in future." 

Juggernaut rose suddenly from the table — 
they were sitting over their dessert at the time — 
and walked to the mantelpiece, where he stood 
leaning his head upon his arms, in an apparent 
endeavour to mesmerise the fender. Daphne, 
cooling rapidly, considered what he was thinking 
about. Was he angry, or bored, or indifferent? 

Presently he turned round. 

*'I'm afraid I don't handle you as successfully 
as I handle some other problems. Daphne," he 
said reflectively. "Good-night!" 

That was all. He left the room, and Daphne 
had not seen him since. Her anger was gone. By 
bedtime she was thoroughly ashamed of herself, 
and being Daphne, no other course lay open to 
her than that of saying so. Hence her early rising 
next morning, and her effort to intercept the 

The failure of the latter enterprise made mat- 
ters more difficult; for courage, once screwed to 
the sticking-point and timed for a certain mo- 
ment, cannot as a rule outlast postponement. 

Still, she walked into the breakfast-room 



'Jack," she began, a little breathlessly, *'I'm 
sorry I was cross last night." 

Her husband was sitting with his back to the 
door. Possibly if he had seen her face, — flushed 
and appealing under its soft hat of grey suede, — 
he might have acted a little more helpfully than 
he did. He merely laid down his newspaper and 
remarked cheerfully : — 

*' That's all right, dear. Let's say no more 
about it. Sit down to your breakfast before it 
gets colder. You must have been for a long walk. 
— Fried sole or a sausage.'^'* 

He rose and helped her to food from the side- 
board, as promptly and carefully as if she had 
been a newly arrived and important guest. It 
was something; but compared with what he 
might have done it was nothing. In effect, 
Daphne had asked for a kiss and been given a 

It was rather a miserable breakfast. Daphne 
had vowed to herself not to be angry again; con- 
sequently she could only mope. Juggernaut con- 
tinued to read the newspaper. The political world 
was in a ferment at the moment. There was a 
promise for him in all this of work — trouble — 
the facing of difficulties — the overcoming of 
strenuous opposition — the joy of battle, in fact. 
Manlike, he overlooked the trouble that was 
brewing at his own fireside. 


Presently he put down his newspaper and 
strolled to the open window. 

**What a gorgeous day. Daphne. And I have 
to spend it in a committee-room at Kilchester!'* 

"Anything important.^^" asked Daphne, deter- 
mined to be interested. 

"Important.'^ I should just think it was, only 
people refuse to realise the fact. It's a meeting 
of the County Territorial Association. What 
humbug the whole business is ! They started the 
old Volunteers, coddled them, asked nothing of 
them but a few drills and an annual picnic in 
camp, and then laughed them out of existence for 
Saturday-afternoon soldiers. Now they start the 
Territorials and go to the other extreme. They 
require of a man that he shall attain, free gratis 
and for nothing, at the sacrifice of the few scanty 
weeks which he gets by way of holiday, to prac- 
tically the same standard of efficiency as a regular 
soldier, who is paid for it and gets the whole year 
to do it in. And then they blarne us, the County 
Associations, because we can't find recruits for 
them ! Luckily, we shall have compulsory service 
soon, and that will end the farce once and for all." 

Daphne liked to be talked to like this. In the 
first place, it removed the uncomfortable and 
humiliating sensation that she was a child in her 
husband's eyes, and in the second, it adjusted her 
sense of proportion as regards the male sex. Ob- 


viously, with all these dull but weighty matters 
to occupy him, a man could not be expected to 
set as much store by conjugal unity as his wife, 
who had little else to think of. 

"Perhaps I have been a little fool," she phi- 
losophised. "After all, a man does n't in the least 
realise how a woman — '* 

" What are you going to do to-day? " asked her 

"This afternoon I am going over to Croxley 
Dene to play tennis." 

"Anything this morning.'*" 

"I am going to order the automobile for twelve 
o'clock" — rather reluctantly. "I suppose Vick 
will be back from Kilchester." 

"Oh, yes. Are you going out to lunch some- 


"Just a drive?" 

"Yes. The fact is," said poor Daphne, hating 
herself for feeling like a child detected in a fault, 
"I am going to try my hand at driving the car 

There was a pause, and Juggernaut continued 
to gaze out of the window, while Daphne pleated 
the tablecloth. 

Presently the hateful expected words came. 

"I would rather you did n't." 

Daphne rose suddenly to her feet. Her face 


was aflame, and all her good resolutions had van- 
ished. She had always longed to drive the big 
car, her appetite having been whetted by occa- 
sional experiments upon the property — usually 
small, easily-handled vehicles — of long-suffering 
friends. She had broached the subject more than 
once, but had found her husband curiously vague 
as regards permission. Usually it was *'Yes" or 
"No" with him. This morning, tired of the hu- 
miliation of constantly asking for leave, she had 
decided to give orders on her own account. And 
but for Juggernaut's unlucky question she would 
have achieved her purpose and settled accounts 
afterwards — a very different thing from asking 
leave first, as every child knows. 

"And why.?" she asked, with suspicious calm- 

"Well, for one thing I don't think a lady should 
be seen driving a great covered-in limousine car. 
You would n't go out on the box seat of a 
brougham, would you? As a matter of fact, if you 
will have patience for a week or two — " 

"Yes, I know!" broke in Daphne passionately. 
" If I have patience for a week or two, and am a 
good little girl, and order the meals punctually in 
the mean while, you will perhaps take me for a 
run one afternoon, and let me hold the wheel 
while you sit beside me with the second speed in. 
Thank you! GoofZ-morning ! " 


She pushed back her chair, whirled round with 
a vehement swirl of her tweed skirt, and left the 

Juggernaut continued to finger a typewritten 
letter which he had just taken from his pocket. 
It bore the address of a firm of motor-makers, 
and said : — 

Sir, — We beg to inform you that one of our 
Handy Runabout 10-12 h-p Cars, for which we 
recently received your esteemed order, is now in 
hand from the varnishers', and will be delivered 
at Belton Hall on Tuesday next. As requested, 
we have given the clutch-pedal and brake a par- 
ticularly easy spring, with a view to the car being 
driven by a lady. 

Thanking you for past favours, we are, sir. 
Yours faithfully. 
The Diablement-Odorant Automobile Co., Ltd. 

Juggernaut put the letter back into his pocket. 


In due course the Belton motor conveyed its 
owner to Kilchester and left him there. 

*' Shall I come back for you, sir.^ " enquired Mr. 
Vick, the chauffeur. He was a kindly man, de- 
spite his exalted station. 

**No, thanks — I'll take the train. But I be- 


lieve Lady Carr wants you to take her over to 
Croxley Dene this afternoon." 

*'Her ladyship shall be took," said Mr. Vick, 
with an indulgent smile, — Lady Carr was a 
favourite of his, — and forthwith returned to 

On running the car into the yard, he found the 
coachman, Mr. Windebank, a sadly diminished 
luminary in these days, putting a polish upon an 
unappreciative quadruped. 

" You and your machine, Mr. Vick," announced 
Mr. Windebank, "is wanted round at twelve 

It was then eleven-fifteen. 
,"Ho!" replied the ruffled Mr. Vick, feeling 
much as the Emperor Nero might have felt on 
being requested by the most recently immured 
early Christian to see that the arena lions were 
kept a bit quieter to-morrow night; "ho! indeed !" 

"Them's your orders, Mr. Vick," said Mr. 
Windebank, resuming the peculiar dental obbligato 
which seems to be the inseparable accompaniment 
of the toilet of a horse, temporarily suspended on 
this occasion to enable the performer to discharge 
his little broadside. 

Mr. Vick turned off various taps and switches 
on his dashboard, and the humming of the engine 

"I take my orders," he proclaimed in majestic 


tones, "from the master and missis direct, and 
from nobody else." 

Mr. Windebank, after spending some moments 
in groping for a crushing rejoinder, replied: — 

"Well, you'd better go inside and get 'em. 
And you 'd better 'ang a nosebag on your spark- 
ing-plug in the mean while," he added, with sud- 
den and savage irrelevance. 

Mr. Vick adopted the former of these two sug- 
gestions, with the result that at the hour of noon 
the car slid submissively round to the front of the 
Hall. Presently Daphne appeared, and, disre- 
garding the door which Mr. Vick was holding 
open for her, stepped up into the driver's seat — 
the throne itself — and took the wheel in her 
vigorous little hands. 

"I am going to drive, Vick," she observed 

Mr. Vick preserved his self-control and smiled 

"I suppose you have a license, my lady.?^" he 

"Gracious, no! I am only just beginning," 
replied Daphne, who regarded a driver's license 
as a sort of reward of merit. "I want you to 
teach me. Which of these things is the clutch- 

"The left, my lady. I am afraid," added Mr. 
Vick, with the air of one who intends to stop this 


nonsense once and for all, "that you will find it 
very stiff." 

*' Thanks," said Daphne blankly. "And I sup- 
pose the other one is the brake?" 

"Yes, my lady; but — " 

" Then we can start. How do I put in the first 
speed .^" 

Mr. Vick, in what can only be described as a 
moriturus-te-saluto! voice, gave the required in- 
formation; and the car, after a dislocating jerk, 
moved off at a stately four miles per hour. Pres- 
ently, with much slipping of the clutch and buzz- 
ing of the gear-wheels, the second, and finally the 
third speed went in, and the car proceeded with 
all the exuberance of its forty-five horse-power 
down the long straight drive. Fortunately the 
lodge gates stood open, and the road outside was 

Certainly Mr. Vick behaved very well. Al- 
though every wrench and jar to which his beloved 
engines were subjected appeared to react di- 
rectly upon his own internal mechanism, he never 
winced. Occasionally a muffled groan or a mut- 
tered exclamation of "My tires!" or "My differ- 
ential!" burst from his overwrought lips; but for 
the most part he sat like a graven image, merely 
hoping that when the crash came, it would be a 
good one — something about which it would be 
really grateful and comfortable to say, "I told 


you so!" He also cherished a strong hope that 
his name would appear in the newspaper account 
of the disaster. 

But Daphne drove well. She had a good head 
and quick hands; and steering a middle course 
between the extreme caution of the beginner and 
the omniscient recklessness of the half-educated, 
she gave Mr. Vick very little excuse for anything 
in the shape of a genuine shudder. She experi- 
enced a little difficulty in getting the clutch right 
out of acting in changing gear; and once she 
stopped her engine through going round a corner 
with the brakes on; but that was all. Mr. Vick 
began to feel distinctly aggrieved. 

There was a spice of abandon in Daphne's 
present attitude. She had burned her boats; she 
had flown in the face of authority and she intended 
to brazen it out. The breeze whistled in her ears; 
her eyes blazed; her cheeks glowed. She felt in 
good fighting trim. 

Presently, fetching a compass, the car began to 
head towards Belton again, and having been 
directed in masterly fashion through the narrow 
gates by the back lodge, sped along the final 
stretch which led to home and luncheon, at a 
comfortable thirty miles an hour. 

At the end of the dappled vista formed bj' the 
over-arching trees of the avenue appeared a black 
object, which presently resolved itself into INIr. 


Dawks, lolling comfortably in a patch of "sunlight 
pending his mistress's return. 

" Mind the dog, my lady ! " cried Mr. Vick sud- 

Daphne had every intention of minding the dog ; 
but desire and performance do not always coin- 
cide. Suddenly realising that Mr. Dawks, who 
was now sitting up expectantly in the middle dis- 
tance, wagging his tail and extending a welcome 
as misplaced as that of Jephtha's daughter under 
somewhat similar circumstances, had no concep- 
tion of the necessity for vacating his present po- 
sition. Daphne put down both feet hard and en- 
deavoured to bring the car to a standstill. But 
thirty miles an hour is forty -four feet a second, 
and the momentum of a car weighing two tons is 
not lightly to be arrested by a brake intended for 
the pressure of a masculine boot. Next moment 
there was a pathetic little yelp. Daphne had a 
brief vision of an incredulous and reproachful 
doggy countenance; the car gave a slight lurch, 
and then came to a full stop, as Mr. Vick, having 
already snapped off the electric switch on the 
dashboard, reached across behind Daphne's back 
and jammed on the side brake. 


It was Mr. Dawks who really showed to the 
greatest advantage during the next half-hour. 


He assured his mistress by every means in his 
power that the whole thing was entirely his fault; 
and like the courteous gentleman that he was, he 
begged her with faintly wagging tail and affection- 
ate eyes not to distress herself unduly on his 
account. The thing was done; let there be no 
more talk about it. It was nothing! By way of 
showing that the cordiality of their relations was 
still unimpaired, he endeavoured to shake hands, 
first with one paw and then the other; but finding 
that both were broken he reluctantly desisted 
from his efforts. 

They carried him — what was left of him — 
into the house, where Daphne, white-faced and 
tearless, hung in an agony of self-reproach over 
the friend of her youth — the last link with her 
girlhood. Dawks lay very still. Once, opening 
his eyes and evidently feeling that something was 
expected of him, he licked her hand. The tears 
came fast, after that. 

Presently Windebank arrived. He loved all 
dumb beasts, and was skilled in ministering to 
their ailments, — wherein he transcended that 
highly-educated automaton, Mr. Vick, to whom 
the acme of life was represented by a set of per- 
fectly-timed sparking-plugs, — and he made 
poor mangled Dawks as comfortable as possible. 

"Is he badly hurt, Windebank.?" whispered 


"Yes, Miss," said Windebank, touching his 
forelock. He was a man of few words in the pres- 
ence of his superiors. 

"Will he die?" 

Windebank gazed down in an embarrassed 
fashion at the close coils of fair hair, bowed over 
the dog's rough coat. Then he stiffened himself 

"He'll get well right enough, Miss," he said 
with great assurance. "Just wants taking care 
of, that's all." 

It was a lie, and he knew it. But it was a kind 
lie. To such much is forgiven. 

Daphne sat with her patient until three o'clock, 
and then, overcome with the restlessness of im- 
potent anxiety, and stimulated by an urgent 
telephonic reminder, ordered out the horse. 

"Good-bye, old man," she said to Dawks, 
caressing the dog's long ears and unbecoming 
nose. "I'll be back in an hour or two. Lie quiet, 
and you '11 soon be all right. Windebank says so.'* 

Mr. Dawks whined gently and flapped his tail 
upon the floor, further intimating by a faint tremor 
of his ungainly body that if circumstances had 
permitted he would certainly have made a point 
of rising and accompanying his mistress to the 
door, and seeing her off the premises. As things 
were, he must beg to be excused. 

Daphne drove to Croxley Dene, where for an 


hour or so she exchanged banaHties with the rest 
of the county and played a set of tennis. 

She drove home in the cool of the evening, 
more composed in mind. The fresh air and exer- 
cise had done her good. Windebank had said that 
the dog would live; that was everything. Less 
satisfactory to contemplate was the approaching 
interview with her husband in the matter of the 
car. Until now she had not thought of it. 

On reaching home she hurried to the library, 
where she had left the invalid lying on a rug before 
the fire. Mr. Dawks was not there. 

*'I wonder if Windebank has taken him to the 
stable," she said to herself. *'I'll go and — " 

She turned, and found herself face to face with 
her husband. 

*'Jack," she asked nervously, *'do you know 
where Dawks is.'^ I suppose you have heard — " 

*'Yes, I have heard." 

Daphne shrank back at the sound of his voice. 
His face was like flint. 

"Then — where is he?" she faltered. "Win- 
debank said — " 

"I had him shot." 

Daphne stared at him incredulously. "You 
had him shot!" she said slowly. "My Dawks.'*" 

"Yes. It was rank cruelty on your part keep- 
ing the poor brute alive, after — after reducing 
him to that state." 


The last half-sentence may have been natural 
and justifiable, but no one could call it generous. 
It is not easy to be merciful when one is at white 

Daphne stood up, very slim and straight, gaz- 
ing stonily into her husband's face. 

"Have you buried him.''" 

*'I told one of the gardeners to do so." 


*'I don't know, but we can — " 

*' I suppose you know," said Daphne with great 
deliberation, *'that he was the only living creat- 
ure in all this great house that loved me — really 
loved me.'^" 

Verily, here was war. There was a tense silence 
for a moment, and an almost imperceptible flicker 
of some emotion passed over Juggernaut's face. 
Then he said, with equal deliberation: — 
Without any exception.'^" 
Yes, without any exception!" cried Daphne, 
stabbing passionately in the dark. "And since he 
is dead," she added, — "since you have killed 
him, — I am going home to Dad and the boys! 
They love me!" 

She stood before her husband with her head 
thrown back defiantly, white and trembling with 

"Very good. Perhaps that would be best," 
said Juggernaut quietly. 


cilly; or the world well lost 

"Stiffy," bellowed the new curate ferociously, 
** what the — I mean, why on earth can't you 
keep that right foot steady? You edge off to leg 
every time. If you get a straight ball, stand up to 
it! If you get a leg-ball, turn round and have a 
slap at it! But for heaven's sake, don't go run- 
ning away ! Especially from things like pats of 

"Awfully sorry, Mr. Blunt!" gasped Stiffy 
abjectly, as another pat of butter sang past his 
ear. *' It 's the rotten way I 've been brought up ! 
I've never had any decent coaching before. 
Ough ! . . . No, it did n't hurt a bit, really ! I 
shall be all right in a minute." He hopped round 
in a constricted circle, apologetically caressing 
his stomach. 

They were in the paddock behind the Rectory 
orchard. The Reverend Godfrey Blunt, a ruddy 
young man of cheerful countenance and ingenu- 
ous disposition, had rolled out an extremely fiery 
wicket; and within the encompassing net — 
Daphne's last birthday present — Stephen Bla- 
sius Vereker, impaled frog-wise upon the handle 


of his bat, and divided between a blind instinct 
of self-preservation and a desire not to appear 
ungrateful for favours received, was frantically 
endeavouring to dodge the deliveries of the 
church militant, as they bumped past his head 
and ricocheted off his ribs. 

"That's better," said Mr. Blunt, as his pupil 
succeeded for the first time in arresting the course 
of a fast long-hop with his bat instead of his per- 
son. "But don't play back to yorkers!" 

"All right!" said Stiffy dutifully. "I didn't 
know," he added in all sincerity, "that it was a 
yorker, or I would n't have done it. Oh, I say, 
well bowled! I don't think anybody could have 
stopped that one. It never touched the ground 
at all!" 

Stiffy turned round, and surveyed his prostrate 
wickets admiringly. He was an encouraging per- 
son to bowl to. 

"No, it was a pretty hot one," admitted the 
curate modestly. " I think I shall have to be going 
now," he added, mopping his brow. "Parish 
work, and a sermon to write, worse luck ! I think 
I have just time for a short knock, though. Bowl 
away, Stiffy!" 

He took his stand at the wicket, and, after 
three blind and characteristic swipes, succeeded 
in lifting a half- volley of Stiffy's into the adjacent 
orchard. When the bowler, deeply gratified with 


a performance of which he felt himself to be an 
unworthy but necessary adjunct, returned ten 
minutes later from a successful search for the 
ball, he found his hero hastily donning the old 
tweed jacket and speckled straw hat which he 
kept for wear with his cricket flannels. 

"Hallo! Off?" cried Stiffy regretfully. 

"Yes; I'm afraid so," replied Mr. Blunt, who 
was gazing anxiously through a gap in the hedge 
which commanded the Rectory garden gate. 
"This is my busy day. So long, old man!" 

He vaulted the fence, and set off down the road 
at a vigorous and businesslike trot. But after a 
hundred yards or so he halted, and looked round 
him with an air which can only be described as 
furtive. Before him the road, white and dusty, 
continued officiously on its way to the village and 
duty. Along the right-hand side thereof ran a 
neat rail fence, skirting the confines of Tinkler's 
Den. The landscape appeared deserted. All na- 
ture drowsed in the hot afternoon sun. 

Mr. Blunt, who was a muscular young Chris- 
tian, took a running jump of some four feet six, 
cleared the topmost rail, and landed neatly on 
the grassy slope which ran down towards the 

"Now then. Sunny Jim!" remarked a reprov- 
ing voice above his head, ^'^pas si beaucoup de 


However sound our nervous systems may be, 
we are all of us liable to be startled at times. Mr. 
Blunt was undoubtedly startled on this occasion, 
and being young and only very recently ordained, 
signified the same in the usual manner. 

When he looked up into the tree where Nicky 
was reclining, that virtuous damsel's fingers were 
in her ears. 

"Mr. Blunt," she remarked, "I am both sur- 
prised and shocked." 

"Veronica Vereker," replied Mr. Blunt, turn- 
ing and shaking his fist as he retreated down the 
slope towards Tinkler's Den, "next time I get 
hold of you, I will wring your little neck!" 

Miss Veronica Vereker kissed the tips of her 
fingers to him. 

"We will now join," she proclaimed, in a voice 
surprisingly reminiscent of the throaty tenor 
which Mr. Blunt reserved for his ecclesiastical 
performances, "in singing hymn number two 
hundred and thirty-three; during which those 
who desire to leave the church are recommended 
to do so, as it is my — turn — to — preach — the 
— sermon!*^ 

But by this time, the foe, running rapidly, was 
out of earshot. 

Half an hour later Stiffy, who was a gregarious 
animal, went in search of his younger sister, 
whom he discovered, recently returned from her 



sylvan skirmish with the curate, laboriously 
climbing into a hammock in the orchard. 

"Nicky, will you come and play cricket?" he 
asked politely. 

"I suppose that means will I come and bowl 
to you?" replied Nicky. 

No. You can bat if you like." 
Well, I won't do either," said Nicky agreeably. 
What shall we do, then?" pursued Stiff y, 
with unimpaired bonhomie. 

"Personally, I am going to remain in this ham- 
mock," replied the lady. "I recommend you, 
dear, to go put your head in a bucket. Good- 
afternoon! Sorry you can't stop." 

T wonder if Cilly would play,'* mused StifFy. 
Cilly? I don't think! She is gloating over her 
clothes in her bedroom. If you and I, my lad," 
continued Veronica reflectively, "were going to 
be presented at Court next week, I wonder if we 
should make such unholy shows of ourselves for 
days beforehand." 

"I know her boxes are all packed," pursued 
Stiffy hopefully, "because I went and sat on the 
lids myself after lunch. Perhaps she will come out 
for half an hour before tea. Dad and Tonv won't 
be back from Tilney till seven, so they are no 

"Well, run along, little man," said Nicky, clos- 
ing her eyes. "I'm fed up with you." 


Stiffy departed obediently, and for ten minutes 
his younger sister reclined in her hammock, her 
sinful little soul purged for the moment of evil 
intent against any man. When next she opened 
her eyes, Stiffy was standing disconsolately before 

"Go away," said Nicky faintly. "We have no 
empty bottles or rabbit-skins at present. If you 
call round about Monday we shall be emptying 
the dustbin — " 

"Cilly's not there," said Stiffy. "Keziah 
thinks she has gone out for a walk. She saw her 
strolling down towards the Den half an hour 


"T/ie Den?" Nicky's eyes suddenly unclosed 
to their full radius. " My che — ild ! So that 's the 
game ! That was why the pale young curate was 
jumping fences, llsi-ha! Stiffy, would you like 
some fun.f'" 

Stiffy, mystified but docile, assented. 

"We are going," announced Nicky, rolling 
gracefully out of the hammock, " to stalk a brace 
of true lovers." 

"What — Mr. Blunt and Cilly.? Do you 
mean — ? Are they really keen on each other .f^" 
enquired the unobservant male amazedly. 

**Are they.'' My dear, it has been written all 
over them for weeks! I'm not certain, though," 
continued the experienced Nicky, "that the poor 


dears are aware of it themselves yet. But to-day 
is Cilly's last for months, so — " 

"Do you mean they were down the Den to- 
gether?" demanded Stiffy. 

"I do." 

"But — Mr. Blunt has gone off to do parish 
work. He told me so himself." 

"Parish work, my foot!" commented Nicky 
simply. "Come on! Let's go and mark down 
their trail ! We can pretend to be Red Indians, if 
you like," she added speciously. 

But the sportsmanlike Stiffy hung back. 

"Let's play cricket instead," he said hesitat- 

"Not me! Come on!" 

"Nicky," said Stiffy, searching his hand, so to 
speak, for trumps, "Preston is killing a pig this 
afternoon at four o'clock. I 've just remembered. 
He promised not to begin till I came. We shall 
just be in time. Hurry up!" 

"I am going," said Nicky firmly, "to stalk that 
couple. Are you coming.'*" 

"No. It's not playing the game," said Stiffy 

Nicky, uneasily conscious that he spoke the 
truth, smiled witheringly. 

"All right, milksop!" she said. "I shall go by 
myself. You can go and hold the pig's head." 

So they departed on their several errands. 


Meanwhile Cilly and the curate sat side by side 
beneath a gnarled and venerable oak in Tinkler's 

"... Then your name is called out," con- 
tinued Cilly raptly, "and you give one last squig- 
gle to your train and go forward and curtsy, — to 
all the Royalties in turn, I think, but I 'm not quite 
sure about that part yet, — and then you pass 
along out of the way, and somebody picks up 
your train and throws it over your shoulder, and 
you find yourself in another room, and it's all 
over. Won't it be heavenly.^ " 

"Splendid!" replied Mr. Blunt, without en- 

"After that," continued Cilly, "my sister is 
going to take me simply everywhere. And I am to 
meet lots of nice people. It 's too late for Henley 
and Ascot and that sort of thing this summer, 
but I am to have them all next year. Later on, we 
are going to Scotland. I 'm not at all a lucky girl, 

It was one of those questions to which, despite 
its form, an experienced Latin grammarian would 
have unhesitatingly prefixed the particle nonne. 
But the Reverend Godfrey Blunt merely replied 
in a hollow voice: "What price me?" 

Cilly, startled, turned and regarded his hot but 
honest face, and then lowered her gaze hastily to 
the region of her own toes. 


The Reverend G odfrey Blunt was a fine upstand- 
ing young man, with merry grey eyes; and there 
was a cheerful and boisterous bonhomie about his 
conversation which the exigencies of his calling 
had not yet intoned out of him. No one had ever 
called him brilliant, for his strength lay in char- 
acter rather than intellect. He was a perfect 
specimen of that unromantic but priceless type 
with which British public schools and universities 
never fail to meet the insatiable demands of a 
voracious Empire. The assistant commissioner, 
the company officer, the junior-form master, the 
slum curate — these are they that propel the 
ships of state. Up above upon the quarter-deck, 
looking portentously wise and occasionally quar- 
relling for the possession of the helm, you may 
behold their superiors — the Cabinet Minister, 
the Prelate, the Generalissimo. But our friends 
remain below the water-line, — unheeded, un- 
credited, — and see to it that the wheels go round. 
They expect no thanks, and they are not disap- 
pointed. The ship goes forward, and that is all 
they care about. 

The Reverend Godfrey Blunt was one of this 
nameless host. At school he had scraped into the 
Sixth by a hair's breadth ; at the University he had 
secured a degree of purely nominal value. He had 
been an unheroic member of his House Eleven; 
thereafter he had excoriated his person uncom- 


plainingly and unsuccessfully upon a fixed seat 
for the space of three years, not because he ex- 
pected to make bumps or obtain his Blue, but be- 
cause his College second crew had need of him. 
Since then he had worked for five years in a parish 
in Bermondsey, at a stipend of one hundred 
pounds a year; and only the doctor's ultimatum 
had prevailed on him to try country work for a 
change. His spelling was shaky, his theology 
would have made Pusey turn in his grave, and 
his sermons would have bored his own mother. 
But he was a man. 

Cilly, whom we left bashfully contemplating 
her shoe-buckles under an oak tree, was conscious 
of a new, sudden, and disturbing thrill. Young 
girls are said seldom to reflect and never to rea- 
son. They have no need. They have methods of 
their own of arriving at the root of the matter. Cilly 
realised in a flash that if a proper man was the 
object of her proposed journey through the great 
and enticing world before her, she need never set 
out at all. Something answering to that descrip- 
tion was sitting beside her, sighing like a furnace. 
Her face flamed. 

"What did you say?" she enquired unsteadily. 

" I said * What price me? '" reiterated the curate 

"W^hat do you mean?'* 

"I mean" — he spoke hesitatingly, like a man 


picking his words from an overwhelming crowd 
of applicants — "well, I mean this. You and I 
have seen a lot of each other since I came here. 
You have been awfully good to me, and I have 
got into the way of bringing you my little trou- 
bles, and turning to you generally if I felt dismal 
or humpy. (There are more joyful spots, you 
know, to spend one's leisure hours in than Mrs. 
Tice's First Floor Front !) And now — now you 
are going away from me, to meet all sorts of at- 
tractive people and have the time of your life. 
You will have a fearful lot of attention paid to 
you. Nine out of ten men you meet will fall in 
love with you — " 

"Oh, nonsense!" said Cilly feebly. 

"But I know it," persisted Blunt. "I simply 
can't conceive any man being able to do anything 
else. Do you know" — the words stuck in his 
throat for a moment and then came with a rush 
— "do you know that you are the most adorable 
girl on God's earth? I love you! I love you! 
There — I've said it! I had meant to say a lot 
more first, — work up to it by degrees, you 
know, — but it has carried me away of its own 
accord. I love you — dear, dear Cilly!" 

There was a long stillness. All nature seemed 
to be watching with bated breath for the next 
step. Only above their heads the branches of the 
oak tree crackled gently. Cilly's head swam. 


Something new and tremulous was stirring within 
her. She closed her eyes, lest the spell should be 
broken by the sight of some mundane external 
object. A purely hypothetical fairy prince, com- 
posed of equal parts of Peer of the Realm, Life 
Guardsman, Mr. Sandow, Lord Byron, and the 
Bishop of London, whom she had cherished in the 
inmost sanctuary of her heart ever since she had 
reached the age at which a girl begins to dream 
about young men, suddenly rocked upon his ped- 
estal. Then she opened her eyes again, and con- 
templated the homely features of the Reverend 
Godfrey Blunt. 

Not that they appeared homely any longer. 
Never had a man's face undergone such a trans- 
formation in so short a time. To her shy eyes he 
had grown positively handsome. Cilly felt her 
whole being suddenly drawn towards this goodly 
youth. The composite paragon enshrined in her 
heart gave a final lurch and then fell headlong, to 
lie dismembered and disregarded, Dagon-like, at 
the foot of his own pedestal. 

. . . Slowly their hands met, and they gazed 
upon one another long and rapturously. How 
long, they did not know. There was no need to 
take count of time. They seemed to be sitting to- 
gether all alone on the edge of the universe, with 
eternity before them. The next step was obvious 
enough; they both realised what it must be: but 


they did not hurry. They sat on, this happy pair, 
waiting for inspiration. 

It came — straight from above their heads. 

*' Kiss her, you fool ! " commanded a hoarse and 
frenzied voice far up the tree. 

Crackle! Crash! Bump! 

And Nicky, overestimating in her enthusiasm 
the supporting power of an outlying branch, 
tumbled, headlong but undamaged, a medley of 
arms and legs and blue pinafore, right at their 
very feet. 

A few hours later, Daphne, preceded by a rather 
incoherent telegram, drove up to the Rectory in 
the station fly. 

She was met at the door by Cilly, and the two, 
as if by one impulse, fell into each other's arms. 

"Daphne, dear Daph," murmured the impetu- 
ous Cilly, " I am the happiest girl in all the world." 

"And I," said Daphne simply, "am the most 




The scene is the Restaurant International, a 
palatial house of refreshment in Regent Street; 
the time, half -past one. At a table in the corner of 
the Grand Salle-a-Manger, set in a position calcu- 
lated to extract full value from the efforts of a 
powerful orchestra, a waiter of majestic mien, 
with a powdered head, and a gold tassel on his left 
shoulder, stands towering over two recently ar- 
rived patrons with the menu. 

The patrons, incredible as it may appear, are 
Stephen Blasius Vereker and Veronica Elizabeth 
Vereker. Stiffy, in the gala dress of a schoolboy 
of eighteen, is perspiring freely under the gaze of 
the overpowering menial at his elbow; Nicky, in 
a new hat of colossal but correct dimensions (the 
gift of her eldest sister), with her hair gathered 
into the usual ne plus ultra of the "flapper," — a 
warped and constricted pigtail tied with a large 
black bow of ribbon, — is entirely unruffled. 

How they got there will appear presently. 

"Will you lunch a la carte or table d'hote, sir? 



enquired the waiter, much as an executioner might 
say, "Will you be drawn or quartered?" 

The flustered Stiffy gazed helplessly at his 

*'He means, will you pay for what you eat or 
eat what you pay for, dear," explained that ex- 
perienced but flippant young person. *' You must 
excuse him," she added, turning her round and 
trustful orbs upon the waiter. *'He is not accus- 
tomed to being given a choice of dishes." 

The waiter, realising that here was a worthy 
opponent, maintained a countenance of wood and 
repeated the question. 

"You had better give me the menu," said Miss 
Vereker. " How much is the table d'hote lunch.'* " 

"Four shillings. Madam." 

Madam mused. 

"Let me see," she said thoughtfully. "Can 
we run to it, dear.f^" 

"Of course!" said Stiffy in an undertone, red- 
dening with shame. "You know. Daphne gave 

Nicky smiled joyfully. 

"So she did. I had forgotten. Two and nine, 
was n't it?" 

Stiffy, with a five-pound-note crackling in his 
pocket, merely gaped. 

"Then," continued Nicky, calculating on her 
fingers, " there is the three and a penny which we 


got out of the missionary-box. That makes five 
and tenpence. And there is that shilling that 
slipped down into your boot, Stiffy. You can 
easily get under the table and take it off. Six and 
tenpence. I have elevenpence in stamps, and that, 
with the threepenny-bit we picked up off the floor 
of the bus, makes eight shillings. We can just do 
it. Thank you," she intimated to the waiter with 
a seraphic smile, *'we will take table d'hote. I 
suppose," she added wistfully, "there would be 
no reduction if I took my little boj^ on my knee? " 

" None, Madam." 

And the waiter, still unshaken, departed to bring 
the hors d'oeuvres. 

*' Nicky, don't play the goat!" urged the re- 
spectable Stephen in a low and agitated voice. 
"That blighter really believes we are going to pay 
him in stamps. We shall get flung out, for a 

"It's all right," said Nicky. "I am only going 
to try and make him laugh." 

"You'll fail," said her brother with conviction. 

At this moment a mighty tray, covered with 
such inducements to appetite as anchovies, sliced 
tomatoes, sardines, radishes, chopped celery, 
Strasburg sausage, et hoc genus omne — all equally 
superfluous in the case of a schoolboy up in town 
on an exeat, — was laid before him with a stately 
flourish. Then the waiter came stiffly and grimly 


to attention, and stood obviously expectant. 
Hors d'oeuvres are rather puzzling things. Here 
was a chance for the tyros before him to show 
their mettle. 

They showed it. 

*'One gets tired of these everlasting things," 
mused Nicky wearily. "I'll just peck at one or 
two. You can fetch the soup, waiter: we shall be 
ready for it immediately." 

"Thick or clear soup. Madam?" 

"We'll have thick to begin with, please: then 
clear," replied Nicky calmly. "Stiffy, I will take 
an anchovy." 

The waiter was not more than two minutes 
absent, but ere he returned a lightning transfor- 
mation scene had been enacted. 

Certainly the Briton, with all his faults, sur- 
passes the foreigner in the control of emotions. 
What a Gaul or a Teuton would have done on wit- 
nessing the sight which met the eyes of the im- 
perturbable Ganymede of the Restaurant Inter- 
national when he returned with the thick soup, it 
is difficult to say. The first would probably have 
wept, the second have sent for a policeman. For 
lo! the richly dight hors d'oeuvres tray had be- 
come a solitude — the component parts thereof 
were duly discovered by the charwoman next 
morning amid the foliage of an adjacent palm — 
and the tail of the last radish was disappearing 


into Stiffy's mouth. Stiffy, once roused, made an 
excellent accomplice, though he had no initiative 
of his own. 

The waiter's face twitched ever so slightly, and 
there was an undulating movement in the region 
of his scarlet waistcoat. But he recovered him- 
self in time, and having served the thick soup, 
departed unbidden in search of the clear. 

" Nicky," said Stiffy, in a concerned voice, "are 
we really going to have everything on the menu? '* 

" You are, my son," replied Nicky. *' I, being a 
lady, will make use of this palm-tub." 

The waiter brought the clear soup, and asked 
for instruction with regard to the fish. 

*'What sort of fish have you.''" 

The man proffered the card. 

''Sole: Sauce tartare. That means sole with 
tartar sauce," Nicky translated glibly for the 
benefit of her untutored relative. " We had better 
not have that. — Tartar sauce always makes him 
sick," she explained to the waiter, indicating the 
fermenting Stiffy. "What else is there .^ Let me 
see — ah ! Blanchailles! — er — Blanchailles ! A 
very delicate fish! Quite so. You may bring us " 
— her brain worked desperately behind a smiling 
face, but fruitlessly — "a blanchaille, waiter." 

There was an ominous silence. Then the waiter 
asked, in a voice tinged with polite incredulity: — 
'A whole one each. Madam?" 



"Certainly," said Madam in freezing tones. 

The waiter bowed deferentially, and departed. 

"Stiffy," enquired Nicky in agonized tones, 
"what is a blanchaille? Don't say it's a cod!" 

StifFy devoted three hours a week to the study 
of modern languages, but so far no blanchaille 
had swum into his vocabulary. 

*' I 've a notion," he said, after a prolonged men- 
tal effort, "that it is a sturgeon.'* 

"How big is a sturgeon.'*" 

"It's about the size of a shark, I think." 

But their capacity was not to be taxed after 
all. The waiter returned, and, with the nonchalant 
demeanour of a hardened clubman playing out an 
unexpected ace of trumps, laid down two plates. 
In the centre of each reposed a single forlorn, 
diminutive whitebait. 

But it was here that Veronica Elizabeth Vere- 
ker rose to her greatest heights. She inspected 
her own portion and then her brother's. 

"Waiter," she said at last, "will you kindly 
take away this young gentleman's fish and ask 
the cook to give you a rather longer one.'* About 
three quarters of an inch, I should say. The child " 
— indicating her hirsute and crimson senior — 
"gets very peevish and fretful if his portion is 
smaller than any one else's." 

Without a word the waiter picked up Stiffy's 
plate and bore it away. His broad back had be- 


come slightly bowed, and his finely chiselled legs 
had a warped and bandy appearance. The strain 
was telling. 

Stiffy gazed upon his sister in rapt admiration. 

"Nicky, you ripper T' he said. 

After this it was mere child's play to request a 
stout gentleman with a chain round his neck to 
submit the wine-list, — an imposing volume of 
many pages, — and after a heated and technical 
discussion of the respective merits of Pommery 
and Cliquot, to order one stone ginger and two 

Nicky next instructed the waiter to present her 
compliments to the leader of the band and to ask 
as a special favour that he and his colleagues 
would oblige with a rendering of Shall We Gather 
at the River ? The waiter returned with a reply to 
the effect that the chef d'orchestre would be de- 
lighted. Unfortunately he had not the full score 
by him at the moment, but had sent along to the 
Cafe Royal to borrow a copy. Everything would 
be in readiness about teatime. It was then a little 
after two, and it was admitted by both Nicky and 
Stiffy that honours on this occasion were divided. 

So far both sides, as the umpires say on Terri- 
torial field-days, had acquitted themselves in a 
manner deserving great credit; but the waiter 
scored the odd and winning trick a little later, in 
a particularly subtle manner. Age and experience 


always tell. Nicky, unduly inflated by early suc- 
cess, insisted upon Stiffy ordering a liqueur with 
his coffee. Green Chartreuse was finally selected 
and brought. 

"Shall I pour it into your coffee, sir.'^" asked 
the waiter respectfully. 

''Please," said the unsuspecting Stiffy. 

The man obeyed, and directly afterwards 
emitted a sound which caused both children to 
glance up suddenly. They glared suspiciously, 
first at one another, then at the back of the re- 
treating foe. 

"Do people drink Green Chartreuse in their 
coffee?" asked Nicky apprehensively. 

"I don't know," said Stiffy. He tasted the 
compound. " No, I 'm 6/o2^ec? if they do ! Nicky, 
we've been had. He's one up!" 

"It would score him off," replied the undefeated 
Nicky, "if you could manage to be sick." 

But Stiffy held out no hope of this happy re- 
taliation; and they ultimately produced the five- 
pound note and paid the score with somewhat 
chastened mien, adding a douceur which was as 
excessive as it was unnecessary. Waiters do not 
get much entertainment out of serving meals as a 


"Now we must meet Daphne," said Stiffy, as 
they left the restaurant and hailed a cab. 


They were in town for an all too brief sojourn 
of twenty-four hours, to assist at the inspection 
of Daphne's new house. It was now February, 
and Lady Carr had not seen her husband since 
the eruption at Belton the summer before. Jug- 
gernaut had made no attempt to prevent her going 
home, and when she wrote later, requesting that 
Master Brian Vereker Carr might be sent to her, 
had despatched him without remonstrance. No 
one save Cilly and her beloved Godfrey — least of 
all the Rector — knew of the true state of affairs; 
and all during that autumn and winter Daphne 
was happier in a fashion than she had ever been. 
To a large extent she resumed command of the 
household, setting Cilly free for other very right 
and natural diversions; and a sort of edition de 
luxe of the old days came into being, with first- 
hand food at every meal and a boy to clean the 
boots and drive the pony. 

Daphne was entirely impervious to the gravity 
of the situation. There are certain women who 
are curiously wanting in all sense of responsibility. 
They preserve the child's lack of perspective and 
proportion even after they grow up, and the con- 
sequences are sometimes disastrous. If love ar- 
rives upon the scene, no further harm ensues, for 
the missing qualities spring up, with that Jo- 
nah's-gourd-like suddenness which characterises 
so many feminine developments, at the first 


touch of the newcomer's hand. The retarded fac- 
ulties achieve maturity in a flash, and their owner 
becomes maternal, solicitous, Martha-like; and 
all is well. 

Daphne was one of these women; but so far, 
unfortunately, she had failed to fall in love. Her 
marriage had never really touched her. Her hus- 
band had vibrated many strings in her responsive, 
impulsive young heart, — gratitude, affection, 
admiration, — but the great harmonious com- 
bination, the master-chord, had yet to be struck. 
Consequently she saw nothing unusual in living 
apart from her husband, financing her family 
with his money, and enjoying herself with friends 
whom he did not know. 

Early in the year, however, it occurred to her 
that it would be pleasant to go home again for a 
time. Her elastic nature had entirely recovered 
from the stress of last summer's crisis, and she 
was frankly consumed with curiosity on the sub- 
ject of the new house in Berkeley Square — and 
said so. It was perhaps an unfortunate reason for 
a wife to give for wishing to return to her husband, 
but this did not occur to her at the time. She re- 
ceived a brief note in reply, saying that the furn- 
ishing and decorating were now practically com- 
pleted, and the house ready for her inspection 
any time she cared to come up to town. Hence 
this joyous expedition. 


Daphne had half-expected to find her husband 
waiting for her at the house, for the ParHamentary 
Recess was over and she knew he was almost cer- 
tain to be in town. Instead, she was received by 
an overwhelmingly polite individual named Hib- 
bins, from the house-furnishers'. Mr. Hibbins's 
appearance and deportment proved a sore trial 
to the composure of Nicky, who exploded at fre- 
quent and unexpected intervals throughout the 
afternoon, lamely alleging the fantastic design of 
some very ordinary wall-paper or the shortness 
of Stiffy's Sunday trousers, in excuse. 

It was essentially a masculine house, furnished 
in accordance with a man's ideas of solidity and 
comfort. The high oak panelling and dark green 
frieze in the dining-room pleased Daphne, who 
recognised that glass and silver, well illuminated, 
would show up bravely in such a setting. The 
drawing-room was perhaps a little too severe in its 
scheme of decoration: Daphne would have pre- 
ferred something more feminine. "But that 
comes," she reflected characteristically, *'of leav- 
ing it to your partner!" There was a billiard- 
room in which Nicky declared it would be a sin to 
place a billiard-table, so perfectly was it adapted 
for waltzing after dinner. 

Opening out of the billiard-room was a plainly 
furnished but attractive little set of apartments, 
— "the bachelor suite," Mr. Ilibbins designated 


it, — consisting of a snug study with an apart- 
ment adjoining, containing a small camp-bed 
and a large bath. Daphne's own rooms consisted 
of a bedroom and boudoir on the first floor, with 
wide bow windows. 

The nursery came last. It was a large irregular- 
shaped room at the top of the house, full of un- 
expected corners and curious alcoves such as 
children love, affording convenient caves for rob- 
bers and eligible lairs for wild beasts, fabulous or 
authentic. Besides the regulation nursery furn- 
iture there was a miniature set, in green stained 
wood — a table barely eighteen inches high, a 
tiny armchair, and a miniature sofa upon which 
Master Brian's friends might recline when they 
came to drink tea, or its equivalent. Round the 
whole room ran a brightly coloured dado covered 
with life-size figures of all the people we love when 
we are young — Jack the Giant Killer, Old King 
Cole, Cinderella, and the Three Bears. Even Peter 
Pan, with residence and following, was there. 
The spectacle of Doctor Johnson taking a walk 
down Fleet Street would pale to insignificance 
compared with that of Master Brian Vereker 
Carr enjoying a constitutional along his own 
dado, encountering a new friend round every cor- 

Daphne suddenly realised that here was yet 
another aspect of this strange, impenetrable hus- 


band of hers. The room in its way was a work of 
genius — the genius that understands children. 

As they departed to catch the afternoon train 
to Snayling, the obsequious Mr. Hibbins pro- 
duced a letter. 

Sir John Carr, he explained, had called at the 
head office of their firm that morning — mpersoUy 
Mr. Hibbins added with a gratified smile — and 
requested that this letter should be handed to her 
ladyship in the afternoon. Sir John had also in- 
structed Mr. Hibbins to inform her ladyship that 
any improvements or alterations which she desired 
had only to be mentioned to be carried out. 

Mr. Hibbins having handed them into a cab 
and bidden them an unctuous farewell, they drove 
away to the station, Nicky atoning for previous 
aloofness by hanging out of the window and wav- 
ing her handkerchief until they turned the corner. 


The journey from London to Snayling — in- 
volving as it does a run of forty miles by mail 
line, a wait of indefinite duration at a junction, 
furnished with no other facilities for recreation 
than a weighing-machine and a printed and de- 
tailed record of the awful fate which awaits per- 
sons who compass the awe-inspiring but cumbrous 
crime of travelling-by-a-class-superior-to-that- 


them, and concluding with an interminable crawl 
along a branch line — is not at first sight an en- 
terprise that promises much joyous adventure; 
but Nicky and Stiff y, who usually contrived to 
keep ennui at arm's length, had a very tolerable 
time of it. 

Their efforts at first were directed to securing 
a compartment to themselves — an achievement 
which, when you come to think of it, fairly epit- 
omises the Englishman's outlook on life in gen- 

"Hang your face out of the window, Stiffy, my 
lad," commanded Nicky, returning from an un- 
successful attempt to wheedle the guard into la- 
belling their carriage "engaged"; "and play at 
Horatius Codes till the train starts. That ought 
to do the trick." 

But no! At the last moment a crusty -looking 
old gentleman WTcnched the door open, nearly 
precipitating Horatius Codes (and face) on to 
the platform, and sat down with great determina- 
tion in the corner seat. He glared ferociously at 
the demure-looking pair before him, in a manner 
which intimated plainly that he was too old a 
customer to be kept out of his usual compartment 
by tricks of that kind. After this he produced the 
Westminster Gazette from a handbag and began 
to read it. 

Nicky gave him five minutes. Then, turning 


to her brother and scrutinising his freckled coun- 
tenance, she observed in clear and measured 
tones : — 

"I think they have let you out rather soon, 

Stiffy, realising that he was the person ad- 
dressed, and that some fresh game was afoot, 
looked as intelligent as possible, and waited. 
Daphne, in the far corner of the carriage, hurriedly 
opened her husband's letter and began to read it. 

"The marks aren't all gone yet," continued 
Nicky, inspecting her brother anxiously. "Are 
you still peeling?" 

"Yes — I think so," said Stiffy, groping for 
his cue. 

"Ah!" Nicky nodded her head judicially. 
"We must give you a carbolic bath when we get 
you home." 

The Westminster Gazette emitted a perceptible 

"It will never do," pursued Nicky, getting into 
her stride, "to have you disfigured for life." 

Stiffy, who was impervious to all reflections 
upon his personal appearance, grinned faintly. 
Opposite, a scared and bulging eye slid cautiously 
round the edge of the Westminster Gazette^ and 
embarked upon a minute and apprehensive in- 
spection of the plague-stricken youth. Nicky 
saw, and thrilled with gratification. She was on 


the point of continuing when the train dived into 
a tunnel. Having no desire that the schemes 
should go awry in the din, she waited. 

The train came to a sudden and unexplained 
stop. Deathlike silence reigned, broken only by 
murmurs of conversation from next door. Pres- 
ently in the gross darkness, Nicky's voice was 
once more uplifted. 

*'By the way, is it infectious, or merely con- 
tagious ? I meant to ask when I called for you at 
the Institute," — she was rather proud of that 
inspiration: an Institute sounded more terrify- 
ing and mysterious than a Hospital, — "but in 
the excitement of that last fainting-fit of yours, I 
forgot. Which is it.^" 

"Both, I think," said Stiffy, anxious to help. 

"Ah! I feared as much. Still, things might be 
worse," commented Nicky philosophically. "So 
many of these complaints are infectious in the 
early stages, when no one suspects any danger. 
Mumps, for instance, or scarlet fever. But 
others, like yours, are only infectious in the con- 
valescent stage, and then of course one knows 
exactly where one is." 

There was a crumpling of paper in the darkness, 
accompanied by a shuffling of feet and a vibrat- 
ory motion of the seat-cushions — all indicative 
of the presence of one who knows exactly where 
he is, and regrets the fact exceedingly. 


"The air is very close in here," resumed 
Nicky's voice. "I wonder — " she whispered a 
sentence into Stiffy's ear, the only distinguish- 
able word in which was "germs." "Of course I 
have had it — slightly," she added in a relieved 

Something moved again in the darkness oppo- 
site to them, and then came a sound as of a win- 
dow being cautiously slid open. 

"Still, I think,'' replied StiiTy solicitously, — 
as usual he was warming up to the game slowly 
but surely, — "that it would be wiser for you to 
keep your mouth closed and breathe through 
your nose. One cannot be too careful." 

"All right," said Nicky. 

Once again silence reigned. But presently there 
fell upon the ears of the conspirators, rendered 
almost incredulous by joy, an unmistakable and 
stertorous sound, as of some heavy and asthmatic 
body taking in air through unaccustomed chan- 

Five minutes later the train, groaning arthrit- 
ically, resumed its way and crawled out of the 
tunnel into a station. Nicky and Stiffy, blinking 
in the sudden daylight, beheld the reward of their 
labours. A corpulent and rapidly ageing citizen, 
shrinking apprehensively into a corner of the 
compartment and holding a small handbag upon 
his knees as if with a view to instant departure, sat 


glaring malignantly upon them. His face was 
mottled, his mouth was firmly closed, and he 
breathed perseveringly through his nostrils. 

Next moment he had flung open the door and 
was out upon the platform, inhaling great gulps 
of vernal air and looking for the police. 

"Stiffy, you darling! I'll never call you a fat- 
head again!" declared Nicky, enthusiastically 
embracing her complacent accomplice. "That 
notion of yours to make him breathe through his 
nose was simply It I Daph, wasn't it splen — 
Hallo ! Bless me, Stiffy , if Daph is n't breathing 
through her nose too! Look!" 

Certainly Daphne's lips were tightly com- 
pressed, but she turned to her companions and 
smiled faintly. 

*'It's all right, kids," she said. "I think this 
carriage is overheated, or something. I shall be 
all right in a minute. Keep that window open, 
Stiffy, dear." 

She was very white, but on emphatically de- 
clining Nicky's offer of first aid she was left to 
herself, while her brother and sister discussed the 
course to be followed in the event of another in- 
vasion of the carriage. Like true artists, they 
scorned to achieve the same effect by the same 
means twice running. 

Meanwhile Daphne re-read her husband's 


**...! have waited six months, and as you 
display no inclination to look facts in the face, I 
am compelled to take the initiative myself. As 
far as I can gather from your attitude, you seem 
to consider that things are very well as they are. 
On this point I beg to differ from you. The pres- 
ent situation must end. We must either come to- 
gether again or part for good on some definitely 
arranged terms. 

"... As you have exhibited no desire to re- 
concile yourself to me, — your letter indicates 
that your sole object in returning home is to play 
with your latest toy, the new house, — I con- 
clude that you wish to remain your own mistress. 
I therefore place the new house entirely at your 
disposal. You can draw money as you require it 
from Coutts's, and I will see to it that there is 
always an adequate balance. I think, if you have 
no objection, that it would be as well if I occasion- 
ally came to the house, and occupied the bache- 
lor suite off the billiard-room; but I shall come and 
go without troubling you. I think we ought to 
make this concession to appearances. I should 
not like your father, for instance, to be made un- 
happy by the knowledge that his daughter and 
her husband found it better to go their several 

"... As for the custody of the hoy — " 

A long slow shudder rippled down Daphne's 


spine. Custody! There was a horribly legal, end- 
of-all-things, divorce-court flavour about the 

" I think it would be a good scheme, Stiffy , dear," 
broke in Nicky's cheerful voice, *'for you to pre- 
tend this time that you had just been discharged 
from an asylum. I will be taking you home 
and — " Her voice faded. 

** . . . You will naturally like to have him with 
you while he is a mere child. I will therefore leave 
him in your hands for the present. Later, when 
he goes to a Public School and University, I 
think I should like him to be with me during the 
holidays. When he grows up altogether he must 
please himself about — " 

Public School! University! Daphne turned 
sick and faint. Were the provisions of this mer- 
ciless letter to cover all eternity.'' What had she 
done to deserve this.'^ 

"It would be a bright thought," continued 
Nicky's voice, returning from a great distance, 
"to roll up your handkerchief into a ball and put 
it right into your mouth. Then do something to 
attract their attention, and when they are all 
looking, pull it right out with a jerk, and mop 
and mow. Can you mop and mow, Stiffy .f' Mop 
anyhow ! Just before a station, you know, so that 
they can get out. If that does n't wprk, roll about 
on the cushions, and — " 


Daphne detached her gaze from the flying 
landscape, and finished the letter. 

"Forgive me if I appear to have resorted to 
extreme or harsh measures. I suppose I am a 
hard man; at any rate I am not pliable. I dare 
say if I had been differently built I might have 
played the part of the modern husband with fair 
success, and you could have picked your compan- 
ions at will. Unfortunately I would rather die 
than permit you to impose such a regime upon 
me, as you seem prepared to do. The thing is 
degrading. To my mind there can be no compro- 
mise, no half-measures, between man and wife. 
It must be all in all, or not at all 

"Lastly, Daphne, let me say how sorry I am 
that things have come to this pass. I realise that 
it is my fault. I should not have asked a young 
and inexperienced girl to marry me. You could 
not be expected to know better: I might and 
should. And it is because I realise and admit that 
the fault is mine, that I refrain from attaching 
any blame to you or uttering any reproaches. All 
I can do is to say that I am sorry, and make it 
possible for you to go your way, unhampered as 
far as may be by the ties of a marriage which 
should never have taken place. 

"If I can at any time be of service to you, 
command me. I can never forget that w^e have 
had our happy hours together." 


Daphne folded up the letter with mechanical 
deliberation. The first numbness was over. Her 
brain was clear again, and thoughts were crowd- 
ing in upon her. But two things overtopped all 
the others for the moment. 

The first was the realisation of the truth of her 
husband's words. The old situation had been im- 
possible — as impossible as the new one was in- 
evitable. She saw that — at last. "All in all, or 
not at all,'* he had said, and he was right. 

The second was a sudden awakening to the 
knowledge that we never begin really to want 
a thing in this world until we find we cannot 
have it. 



"Madame," announced the major-domo of the 
Hotel Magnifique with a superb gesture, "the 
post from England!" 

"Thank you, Themistocle," said Mrs. Carfrae. 
" But you are over-generous : one of these letters 
is not for me." 

She handed back an envelope. 

Themistocle, needless to remark, was desolated 
at his own carelessness, and said so. But the old 
lady cut him short. 

"Don't distress yourself unduly, Themistocle. 
It is a mistake even an English body might have 
made. There is not much difference between 
Carfrae and Carthew." 

The punctilious Themistocle refused to be com- 

"But no, Madame," he persisted; "I should 
have observed that the letter addressed itself to a 
Monsieur, and not a Madame. Doubtless it is 
intended for one of the English party who arrive 
this afternoon." 

'An English party? Is my seclusion to be dis- 



turbed by the disciples of the good Monsieur 

"Assuredly no, Madame. These are English 
milords from Marseilles. The Riviera season has 
been a failure : the mistral blows eternally. There- 
fore the party abandons Cannes and telegraphs 
for apartments at the Hotel Magnifique." 

*'Are they from London? Possibly I may be 
acquainted with some of them. What are their 

Themistocle would enquire. He departed 
amid a whirlwind of bows, leaving Mrs. Carfrae 
to continue her dejeuner in the sunny verandah 
of her sitting-room. She came to Algiers every 
spring, and she came unattended save for a grim- 
faced Scottish maid of her own age. It was Mrs. 
Carfrae's habit to assume that she and her 
wheeled chair were a drag upon the world; and 
she systematically declined invitations to join 
friends upon the Riviera. People, she explained, 
who would otherwise have been playing tennis at 
the Beau Site or roulette at the Casino would feel 
bound to relinquish these pursuits and entertain 
her. So she came to Algiers by herself, this proud, 
lonely lady. 

" Carthew?" she mused. "That is the name of 
Johnny Carr's familiar spirit. And that letter 
was in Johnny's handwriting. Well, Themistocle, 
who are — Stand still, man!" 


Themistocle reluctantly curtailed an elaborate 
obeisance, and came to attention. The leader of 
the expedition, he announced, was Milord the 
Right Honourable Sir Hilton Bart, with Milady 
Hilton Bart. The names of the other guests were 
not known, but there were eleven of them. 

They arrived on the steamer that afternoon, 
and drove in an imposing procession up the long 
and dusty hill that leads to Mustapha Superieur, 
leaving Algiers — that curious combination of 
Mauretanian antiquity and second-rate French 
provincialism — baking peacefully in the hot 
sunshine below. As Themistocle had predicted, 
they came unshepherded by the good Mr. Cook. 
They were of the breed and caste that has always 
found its own way about the world. 

There was Sir Arthur Hilton, a slow-moving 
Briton of few words, with a pretty wife of com- 
plementary volubility. There were one or two 
soldiers on leave; there was a Cambridge don; 
there were three grass widows. There were two 
newly emancipated schoolgirls, gobbling life in 
indigestible but heavenly lumps. There was a tall 
and beautiful damosel, with a demeanour which 
her admirers — and they were many — described 
as regal, and which her detractors — and their 
name was legion — described as affected; and 
whom her chaperon, Lady Hilton, addressed as 
*'Nine, dearest." And there was a squarely 


built, freckle-faced young man with whom we 
are already acquainted. His name ^was Jim 

Altogether they were a clean-bred, self-con- 
tained, easy-going band, unostentatious but 
quietly exclusive — thoroughly representative of 
the sanest and most reputable section of that 
variegated cosmos which breathes the air of what 
Gallic students of British sociology term "Le 
Higlif ." Very few of them possessed much money : 
theirs was a stratum of society to which money 
was no passport. You could have money if you 
liked, they conceded, but you must have a good 
many other things first. Hence the absence from 
their midst of Hoggenheimer and Aspasia. 

Jim Carthew had not meant to come. Jugger- 
naut had given him six weeks' leave, for there 
had been an Autumn Session in town and an in- 
dustrial upheaval in the country, and the squire 
had worked early and late by his knight's side. 
Consequently when the spring came, Carthew 
was summarily bidden to go away and fish. With- 
out quite knowing why, he went to Cannes in- 
stead, where Nina Tallentyre, attended by a 
zealous but mutually distrustful guard-of -honour, 
was enjoying herself after her fashion under the 
inadequate wing of Lady Hilton. When the exo- 
dus to Algiers was mooted, Carthew labelled his 
portmanteau London. But he ultimately crossed 


the Mediterranean with the rest. He had never 
seen Africa, he explained to himself. 

Daphne was of the party too. (Possibly the 
reader has already identified her as one of the 
three grass widows.) She had despatched Master 
Brian Vereker Carr to Belton for a season, and 
joined the Hilton's party four weeks ago. The 
great new house in town stood empty. After her 
husband's bombshell in March, she felt bound to 
do something to show her spirit. Another strike 
was brewing in the North, so doubtless her lord 
and master would soon be congenially occupied 
in starving his dependents into submission. 
Meanwhile her duty was to herself. Domestic 
ties were at an end. She would enjoy life. 

She experienced no difficulty in the execution 
of this project. Every one seemed anxious to as- 
sist her. Despite precautions, the fact that all 
was not well in the house of Juggernaut was pub- 
lic property; and the usual distorted rumours on 
the subject had set out upon their rounds, going 
from strength to strength in the process. Daphne 
was soon made conscious that people were sorry 
for her. Frivolous but warm-hearted women were 
openly sympathetic. Large clumsy men indicated 
by various awkward and furtive acts of kindness 
that they, too, understood the situation, but were 
too tactful to betray the fact. Altogether Daphne 
was in a fair way to becoming spoiled. With all her 


faults, no one had ever yet been able or inclined 
to call her anything but unaffected and natural; 
but about this time she began to assume the vir- 
tuous and long-suffering demeanour of a femme 
incomprise. She was only twenty-four, and few 
of us are able to refuse a martyr's crown when it is 
pressed upon us. 

Only her monosyllabic host — "The Silent 
Knight," his friends called him, denying him his 
baronetcy in their zest for the nickname — was 
unable to appreciate the extreme delicacy of the 
situation. He was a plain man, Arthur Hilton, 
and hated mysteries. 

*' Why is n't that girl at home, lookin' after her 
husband, Ethel .5^" he enquired of his wife one 

"I think she is happier with us, dear," replied 
Lady Hilton with immense solemnity. 

The Silent Knight emitted a subdued rumble, 
indicative of a desire to argue the point, and con- 
tinued : — 

"Happier — eh? Hasn't she got a baby, or 
somethin', somewhere? What the dev — " 

"Yes, dear, she has a baby," replied his wife, 
rolling up her fine eyes to the ceiling; "but I 
fear she has not been very fortunate in her mar- 
riage. She was the daughter of a country cler- 
gyman — dreadfully poor, I understand — and 
wanted to improve the family fortunes. There 


were eight or nine of them, so she took this old 
man — " 

The Silent Knight's engine fairly raced. 

*'01d man be damned!" he observed with sud- 
den heat. "Sorry, my dear! But Jack Carr can't 
be more than forty-six. I 'm forty-eight. I 'm an 
old man, too, I suppose, being" — a pause for 
calculation — " two years older. Back number — 
eh.'' One foot in the grave, I suppose ! You lookin' 
about for my successor, Ethel — what?" 

It was useless to explain to this obtuse and 
uxorious critic that a young and sensitive girl 
cannot be expected to dwell continuously beneath 
the roof of a husband whose tastes are not her 
tastes, who has merely married her to keep house 
for him, and who neglects her into the bargain. 
Not that this prevented Lady Hilton from en- 
deavouring to do so. When she had finished, her 
husband knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and 
remarked : — 

" Can't make you women out. Here 's old Jug- 
gernaut — best man I ever came across, and as 
kind as they make 'em — marries this little fool 
of a girl and gives her everything she wants; and 
she goes off and leaves him slavin' at his work, 
while she comes trapesin' about here with a col- 
lection of middle-aged baby-snatchers and knock- 
kneed loafers. Next thing, she '11 start flirtin' ; then 
she'll fall in love with some bounder, and then 


there'll be the devil of a mess. Rotten, I call it! 
Don't know what wives are comin' to, nowadays. 
Have you goin' off next, Ethel — leavin' me and 
the kids and becomin' a Suffragette — what? " 

After this unusual outburst the Silent Knight 
throttled himself down and said no more, all 
efforts on his wife's part to lure him into ground 
less favourable to his point of view proving fruit- 
less. He merely smoked his pipe and emitted an 
obstinate purr. 

"But what else can one expect, dearest," Ethel 
Hilton confided to a friend afterwards, "if one 
marries an internal combustion engine?" 


Neither was Mrs. Carfrae satisfied to find her 
beloved Johnny Carr's lawful wife disporting 
herself in her present company. One afternoon 
she heckled Jim Carthew upon the subject, to the 
extreme embarrassment of that loyal youth. The 
rest of the party had gone off to explore Algiers, 
and were safely occupied for the present with the 
contemplation of the passing show — ghostlike 
Moors in snowy burnouses, baggy -trousered 
members of that last resort of broken men. La 
Legion Etrangere, and spectacled French officials 
playing at colonies. 

Mrs. Carfrae's chair had been wheeled into a 
corner of the open courtyard which occupied the 


middle of the Hotel Magnifique, as far as possible 
from the base of operations of a pseudo-Tzigane 
orchestra which discoursed languorous melody 
twice daily; and its occupant was dispensing to 
Carthew what Themistocle was accustomed to 
describe as "some five o'clock.'* 

"So you are leaving us, Mr. Carthew," ob- 
served the hostess. 

" Yes, the day after to-morrow. There is a boat 
then. I must go. There is trouble brewing in the 
colliery districts again, and Sir John wants me." 

"And will you take Lady Carr with you?" 

"Oh, no," said Carthew, flushing. "We are 
not together. I mean, it is not on her account that 
I am here." 

"So I have noticed," said Mrs. Carfrae drily. 

"I was invited here by the Hiltons," explained 
Carthew, and plunged into a sea of unnecessary 
corroborative details. "I was quite surprised to 
find Lady Carr here," he concluded. "I thought 
she was in London." 

"And why," enquired the old lady with sudden 
ferocity, "is she not at Belton, with her man.^^'* 

The faithful Carthew stiffened at once. 

" I expect Sir John sent her out here to have a 
good time," he said. "He could not get away 
himself, so — " 

Mrs. Carfrae surveyed him for a moment over 
her glasses. 


*'You are a decent lad,'* she observed rather 

This testimonial had its desired effect of re- 
ducing Carthew to silence, and Mrs. Carfrae con- 
tinued: — 

** You have been with John Carr for some time 
now, have you not?" 

"Yes; ever since I came down from Cam- 

"How did you meet him? He does not take to 
young men readily as a rule, so I have heard." 

"I had the luck," said Carthew, his eye kin- 
dling with historic reminiscence, "to meet him at 
dinner one night at the end of my third year, at 
my tutor's. Sir John was an old member of the 
College, staying there for the week-end. He told 
us at dinner that he had come up to find a good 
ignorant, unlicked cub, to help him with his work, 
who could be trusted to obey an order when he 
received one, and act for himself when he did not. 
Those were his exact words, I remember." 

"Aye, they would be. Go on." 

"This unlicked cub was to come and be a sort 
of general factotum to him, and do his best to 
help him with his work, and so on. Marvyn (the 
tutor) and I sat trying to think of likely men, and 
finally we made a list of about six, whom Sir John 
said he would run his eye over next day. After 
that I went off to bed. I remember wishing to my- 


self that I had taken a better degree and been 
a more prominent member of the College: then 
I might have had a shot for this berth, instead of 
going into a solicitor's oflSce. But as things were, 
I hadn't the cheek. Well, do you know, Jug — Sir 
John came round to me next morning — " 

"Before breakfast, I doubt." 

"Yes; as a matter of fact, I had just come in 
from a run and was sitting down to it. He asked 
if he might have some: and after that he offered 
me — ME! — this grand billet. Of course I 
jumped at it, — who would n't, to be with a man 
like that.f^ — and I have been with him ever 

"Well," said Mrs. Carfrae, "you should know 
more of the creature than most folk. What is 
your unbiased opinion of him.^^" 

"I think he is the greatest man that ever 
lived," said the boy simply. 

"Humph! As a matter of fact, he has less 
sense than anybodj^ I ever knew," replied the old 
lady calmly. "Still, you are entitled to your 
opinion. I need not trouble you with an account 
of my first meeting with him: it occurred a long 
time ago. But — wheel me a little nearer the sun, 
laddie : this corner is a thing too shady — it may 
interest you to know that he would have been my 
son-in-law to-day, had it not been" — she 
paused for a moment, very slightly — "for the 


uncertainty of human life. And that is why I 
take something more than a passing interest in 
the doings of that shm-bodied, brown-eyed, tow- 
headed hempie that he married on. And that 
brings me to the point. Laddie, those two are 
getting over-far apart, and it must be stopped T* 

"Yes, but how?" enquired Carthew dismally. 
"I understand that entering a lion's den just be- 
fore dinnertime is wisdom itself compared with 
interfering between husband and wife." 

A quiver passed through Elspeth Carfrae's frail 
body, and she straightened herself in her chair. 

*'I am a havering and doited old woman," she 
announced with great decision, "and no one 
takes any notice of what I say or do — but I tell 
you this. So long as my old heart beats and my 
old blood runs, I shall be perfectly willing to face 
every single lion in the Zoo, gin it will bring a mo- 
ment's happiness to Johnny Carr. The lad de- 
serves a good wife. Once he nearly got one, — 
the best and fairest in all the world, — but God 
decided otherwise. Now he has got another; I 
know her; she has the right stuff in her. And 
when I leave this hotel next week I am going to 
take her with me, in her right mind, and deliver 
her to her man!" 

The old lady concluded her intimation with 
tremendous vigour. Carthew sat regarding her 
with a mixture of reverence and apprehension. 


**In her right mind? Then you are going to — • 
to speak to her about it?" he asked. 

"I am," replied Mrs. Carfrae, with vigour. 

"I would do anything," said Carthew awk- 
wardly, "to put things right between those two. 
But supposing you make your attempt, Mrs. 
Carfrae, and — and fail ; won't it make matters 

"Much," said Mrs. Carfrae calmly. "If I in- 
terfere, unsuccessfully, I doubt if either of them 
will ever speak to me again. That is the usual 
and proper fate of busybodies. But — I am go- 
ing to risk it ! Run me back to my sitting-room, 
now, and call Janet. I hear your friends gather- 
ing out there in the verandah. They will be 
through with Algiers." 



But our two conspirators were fated, for all 
practical purposes, to exchange roles. 

The following evening Daphne and Carthew 
found themselves sitting together in the hotel 
garden after dinner. A great moon shone from a 
velvety African sky; the scented breeze rustled 
in the palms; and the music of the band drifted 
to their ears in intermittent waves. 

It was one of those nights which touch the im- 
agination and stir the emotions — a night upon 
which human nature expands to its utmost lim- 
its ; a night upon which passion awakes, and 
long-cherished secrets are whispered into sud- 
denly receptive ears ; also a night upon which 
the Devil stalks abroad. Dido resided a few 
miles from this spot. It was probably a night like 
this that made the Fourth Book of the Mneid 
worth writing. 

If Dido failed to resist such environment, what 
of Daphne.'* She was young; she was intensely 
susceptible to such things as moonshine and soft 
music; and, disguise the fact from herself as she 
might, she was lonely. It was not altogether sur- 


prising that, as she surveyed this silent, comely 
youth, who lolled beside her eyeing the glittering 
Mediterranean in stolid abstraction, she should 
unconsciously have acquiesced in the first of the 
dismal prognostications of that splenetic but 
clear-sighted baronet. Sir Arthur Hilton. Jim 
Carthew had occupied Daphne's thoughts a good 
deal of late, and to-night she felt suddenly con- 
scious of a desire to flirt with him. 

"Cigarette, please!" she commanded. 

Carthew silently handed her his case, and al- 
lowed her to select and light her own cigarette — 
a prodigal waste of opportunity, as any profes- 
sional philanderer could have told her. 

"A penny for your thoughts!" continued 
Daphne pertly. 

Carthew, struck by a peculiar note in her 
voice, turned and looked at her. He was met by 
a provocative glance. There was a brief silence. 
Then he said gravely : — 

" I don't think you are quite out for that sort of 
thing. Lady Carr." 

Daphne, feeling as if she had received a whip- 
lash in the face, stared at him, white with anger. 
Then she rose stiffly from her seat, and moved 
towards the hotel. Carthew did not stir. 

"Don't go," he said; "we may as well have 
this out." 

Daphne stood irresolute. Then curiosity got 


the better of virtuous indignation, and she sat 
down again. 

"Will you kindly tell me," she said, "what you 
mean by talking in that way?" 

Carthew's honest eyes lingered on her face in a 
manner which she could not fathom. Did the 
man love her, or was he pitying her, or was he 
merely indulging in sarcastic reflections at her 
expense.'^ Whatever his motives, he had a knack 
of compelling attention. 

Presently he began to speak. 

I wonder," he said, as if talking to himself, 
why men and women are made as they are. 
Why does A love B, while B worships C, who cares 
for no one in the world but himself? And why 
does D insist on confusing things still further by 
not quite knowing what he — she wants? I won- 
der. They say there is enough money spent in 
charity every year to supply the needs of every 
poor person living, but so much is misapplied 
that many have to go without. I think it is the 
same with human affection. There is so much 
true love going about in this world — enough to 
keep all of us well-nourished and contented. But 
what a lot of it goes to waste ! There is so much 
overlapping! Why, I wonder? It is a difficult 
business. Life, Daphne." 

He had never called her Daphne before, but 
neither of them seemed to notice the familiarity. 

n ■ 


"We're a contrary crew, we mortals," he con- 
tinued presently. "Here you and I are sitting in 
the moonshine, inaugurating a flirtation, though 
neither of us cares a snap for the other — in that 
way. Why, I wonder.'^ I think it is partly due to 
pride — wounded pride. You are angry with 
your husband — " 

Daphne, who was methodically picking her 
cigarette to pieces, looked up indignantly. 
I'm not!" she said hotly. 
Oh yes, you are," replied Carthew. "You 
think you are not, but you are. You try to be- 
lieve that you are merely indifferent to him, but 
you are not. As for me, I am angry too — 
piqued — furious — jealous — raging — I admit 
it — with a girl whom I dislike intensely. The 
more I see of her, the more selfish, affected, shal- 
low, unwomanly I see her to be. And yet — I 
love her \ Why.^ Why? Why? People tell me she 
is heartless, soulless, sordid, greedy, vulgar — 
everything, in fact. Sometimes I feel they are 
right. Still" — he dropped his head into his 
hands and continued doggedly — "what differ- 
ence does that make to me? I love her! She 
cared for me once, too. She told me so — and she 
meant it ! Perhaps if I had been a little more pa- 
tient with her, I might have kept her, and — and 
helped her a bit. Perhaps that was what I was 
sent into the world for — to make things easier 


for Nina. I could have done so much for her, too. 
I could have made a woman of her. She has her 
soft side: I know; I have seen it. No other man 
can say that. Meanwhile," — he continued with 
a whimsical smile, — *'I am trying to solace my- 
self by allowing you to flirt with me — '* 

Daphne drew her breath sharply. 

" — And you are not very good at it," con- 
cluded Carthew unexpectedly. 

*' You are very candid," said Daphne frigidly. 

"Yes, but I speak truth. You are not good at 
it. Flirtation is a crooked business, and you are 
straight, mon amie. But wounded pride is not the 
only thing that has drawn us here together. 
Something else is responsible. We are both crav- 
ing for sympathy. *A fellow-feeling,' you know! 
I know all about 2/ow," he continued quickly, as 
Daphne's lips parted. "You are by way of being 
a neglected wife; and since Nina has informed me 
that she has told you all about me, I suppose you 
regard me as a bit of a derelict, too. Well, we 
have foregathered. What is going to happen 

Daphne was silent. She certainly did not know 
what was going to happen next. Her ideas on all 
subjects were a little jumbled at this moment. 

Presently Carthew continued. 

"We came together," he said gently, "just 
when each of us required a little companionship 


and sympathy, and we got it. I think our chance 
encounter on the highway of Hfe has been a very 
profitable one. But it has served its turn. Our 
roads diverge again. We must part company, 
little comrade.'* 


Daphne spoke this time in a tremulous whis- 
per. A great wave of loneliness was surging up 
towards her. 

"Because," said Carthew's deep voice, **it is 
the only thing to do. Think what may happen if 
we travel on together too far. At present we are 
safe. I love some one else, and so do — and you 
are angry with some one else, let us say. Suppos- 
ing, since the girl I love does not love me any 
more — supposing I ceased to love her.^^ It seems 
hopeless, incredible, I admit, but it might con- 
ceivably happen. And supposing you gave up 
being angry with — some one else, and became 
indifferent to him, where might we not find our- 
selves? Our sheet-anchor — our platonic sheet- 
anchor — would be gone. And sooner than send 
you adrift among cross-currents, little Daphne, I 
prefer to forego the only friendship in this world 
that I really value. You are too delicate and too 
fragrant to be tarnished by common gossip, so I 
am going away to-morrow. Let us say good-bye 
now — you beautiful thing!" 

Daphne looked up at him in amazement. But 


there was no passion in his face — only an infin- 
ite tenderness. To him she was simply a woman, 
— one of the rarest and fairest of her sex, per- 
haps, but still simply a woman, — whom to suc- 
cour, without expectation or desire of reward, 
was the merest courtesy on the part of any 
knight worthy of the name. This was a man! 
Daphne bowed her head, wondering dimly and 
scornfully at the insensate folly of Nina Tallen- 

"Shall we go back to the hotel.'*" asked Car- 
thew at length. 

There was no reply. Turning to note the cause, 
he saw something bright and glistening fall upon 
his companion's hand — then another. With 
innate loyalty and delicacy he averted his gaze, 
and surveyed the distant seascape with laborious 

Meanwhile Daphne sat on, her head still 
bowed. Through the night air, from the hotel 
verandah, there came the refrain of a waltz. It 
was called Caressante, Daphne thought. Carthew 
knew it, too, and dug his teeth into his lower lip. 
Waltzes have an unfortunate habit of reviving 
the memories of yester-year. 

" Don't go in," said Daphne at length. " Don't 
leave me; — I can't bear it!" Her voice broke. 

Suddenly Carthew turned to her. 

"Daphne," — his voice was low, but he spoke 


with intense earnestness, — "y^^^ ^^^ lonely, I 
know, and sad ; and you are too proud to own it. 
Shall I tell you who is more lonely and more sad, 
and too proud to own it too?" 

*'Do you mean" — were Jim Carthew's good 
resolutions crumbling? — "yourself?" 

"No, no; — nothing of the kind. I mean — 
your husband!" Then he continued, hurriedly: 
" Daphne, if I thought I was leaving you to real 
loneliness and inevitable wretchedness, I — well, 
perhaps I should n't go away at all. But I — I 
am not needed. Little friend, you have the fin- 
est husband in all the world, waiting for you. For 
all his domineering ways, he is shy, and wants 
knowing. You have never discovered that. I 
don't believe you know him a bit. It all comes of 
having begun wrong. Go back and study him. 
Give him a fair chance! Give yourself a fair 
chance! You and I have always been friends: 
will you promise me this ? Go back, and give your- 
self and Jack Carr another chance." 

Half an hour before, Daphne would have 
smiled sceptically and indulgently upon such a 
suggestion. But this lonely, loyal spirit had 
touched her. She felt she would like to please 

"Very well," she said. "I promise — no, I 
can't!'' The memory of some ancient wrong 
suddenly surged up in her, swamping the gener- 
ous impulse. ^' I can't!" 



*' Jack is so hard'' she said. "Look at the way 
he treats those in his power. His work-people, 

Carthew laughed, positively boisterously. 

" Hard.? Listen," he said, " and I will tell you a 

When he had finished, Daphne stood up, white 
and gleaming in the moonlight, and gave him her 

"All right," she said softly — "it's a bargain. 
I go home to-morrow.' 




Certainly, matters were in a serious state in 
the Mirkley Colliery District. The whole indus- 
trial world was unsettled at the time. There had 
been trouble on the railways, and a great ship- 
yard strike was threatening in Scotland. Most 
serious of all, the men were beginning to defy 
their own leaders. They had taken to organising 
little sectional revolts of their own, and Employ- 
ers' Federations were beginning to ask how they 
could be expected to ratify treaties with Trades- 
Union oflScials who were unable to hold their own 
followers to the terms of agreements concluded 
on their behalf. 

The Mirkley District had caught the infec- 
tion. The mischief had originated at Marble- 
down and Cherry Hill, the immediate cause of 
the trouble being a simple question of weights 
and measures. 

The ordinary collier is paid by piecework — so 
much per ton for all the coal he hews. The coal is 
carefully weighed on coming to the surface, and 
to ensure fair play all round the weight is checked 
by the men's own representative at the pit-head. 


Now just as all is not gold that glitters, so all that 
comes to the surface of the earth from the interior 
of a coal-pit is not necessarily coal. A good deal 
of it is shale, stone, and the like, — technically 
summarised as "dirt," — and has to be sorted 
out from the genuine article by a bevy of young 
ladies retained at some expense for the purpose. 
As colliers are paid for hewing coal and not dirt, 
the mine-managers, reckoning one hundred- 
weight as the average weight of dirt in a tub of 
coal, had been in the habit, when making out 
their pay-sheets, of deducting this amount from 
the total weight of each load brought to the sur- 
face. Hinc lacrymce. The man in the pit claimed 
that he should be paid for all he sent up the shaft, 
alleging that it was impossible to separate coal 
from dirt at the face, and that dirt was quite as 
difficult to hew as coal. To this those in author- 
ity replied that a collier is a man who is employed 
to hew coal and not dirt, and that as such he 
should only be paid for the coal he hewed. It was 
a nice point, and so high did feeling run upon the 
subject, and so fierce was the demeanour of their 
employes, that pliable Mr. Aymar and pusillani- 
mous Mr. Montague yielded to the extent of 
fifty-six pounds, and henceforth each toiler in 
Cherry Hill and Marbledown Colliery was deb- 
ited with one half instead of one whole hundred- 
weight of dirt per tub. 


Encouraged by the success of their colleagues, 
the men employed at Sir John Carr's great pit at 
Belton proffered a similar request. But though 
the request was the same, its recipient was differ- 
ent. Sir John greeted the deputation with dis- 
arming courtesy, and announced in a manner 
which precluded argument that, on the question 
of the owners' right to deduct for dirt in each 
load, he would not yield one inch. On this the 
deputation rashly changed their ground and al- 
leged that the toll of one hundredweight per tub 
was excessive. Whereupon Juggernaut whisked 
them off without delay to the pit-head. Here a 
minute examination was made of the contents of 
the next ten tubs of coal which came to the sur- 
face, and it was found that, so far from defraud- 
ing his employes, Juggernaut was defrauding him- 
self, for the average weight of dirt in each tub was 
not one hundred and twelve, but one hundred 
and thirty pounds. 

**You see, Mr. Brash?" said Sir John cheer- 
fully. "I am afraid you have all been in m}^ debt 
to the extent of eighteen pounds of coal per tub 
for quite a considerable number of years. How- 
ever, if you will be sensible and go back to work, 
we will call it a wash-out and say no more about 

Then he departed to London. 

But he had to return. The half-hundred weight 


of Cherry Hill and Marbledown outbalanced Bel- 
ton's plain facts and ocular demonstrations. The 
Pit "came out" en masse, against the advice and 
without the authority of their Union officials; and 
for two or three weeks men loafed up and down 
the long and unlovely street which comprised 
Belton Village, smoking their pipes and organis- 
ing occasional whippet-races against the time 
when the despot who employed them should be 
pleased to open negotiations. 

But the despot made no sign. Presently pipes 
were put away for want of tobacco, and whippet- 
racing ceased for want of stake-money. Then 
came a tightening of belts and a setting of teeth, 
and men took to sitting on their heels against 
walls and fences, punctuating recrimination by 
expectoration, through another four long and pit- 
iful weeks. 

Not so utterly pitiful, though. For a wonder- 
ful thing happened. The unknown benefactor of 
the strike of seven years ago came to life again. 
Every morning the postman delivered to the wife 
of each man in Belton a packet containing a 
ration of tea, sugar, and (once a week) bacon. 
Coal, too, was distributed by a mysterious mo- 
tor-lorry, bearing a London number-plate and 
manned by two sardonic Titans who deposited 
their sacks and answered no questions. So there 
was no actual destitution in the village. But there 


was no beer and no tobacco and no money. Wo- 
men and children can live for an amazingly long 
time on tea and sugar eked out by a little bread, 
but man is the slave of an exacting stomach, and 
requires red meat for the upkeep of his larger 
frame. The whippets, too, had to be considered; 
and when, after an interval of seven weeks, a 
notice went up on the gates of the Pit buildings, 
intimating that all who returned to work on the 
following Monday would be reinstated without 
question, Belton Colliery put its pride into its 
empty pocket and came back as one man. 

But the danger was not over yet, as Juggernaut 
well knew. For the moment the men were sub- 
dued by sheer physical exhaustion. The first 
pay-day would fill their bellies and put some red 
blood into their passions. And it was certain 
information, received on this head at the Pit 
offices, that sent Sir John Carr home to Belton 
Hall with knitted brow and tight-set mouth one 
wintry Saturday afternoon in early April, a fort- 
night after the men had resumed work. 

He stepped out of the automobile and walked 
into the cheerful firelit hall. He stood and gazed 
reflectively upon the crackling logs as the butler 
removed his heavy coat. But the removal of the 
coat seemed to take no weight from his shoul- 
ders. He felt utterly lonely and unhappy. Was 
he growing old .^^ he wondered. He was not accus- 


tomed to feel like this. He did not usually 
shrink from responsibility, or desire a shoulder to 
lean upon, but at this moment he suddenly felt 
the want of some one to consult. No, consult was 
not the word ! He could have consulted Carthew. 
In fact, he had just done so, for Carthew had re- 
turned from his holiday two days before. What 
he wanted was some one to confide in. With a sud- 
den tightening of the heart he thought of a confi- 
dante who might have been at his side then, had 
things been different — a confidante who would 
have sat upon the arm of his chair and bidden 
him play the man and fear nothing. Well, doubt- 
less he would play the man and fear nothing, and 
doubtless he would win again as he had done 
before. But — cui bono? What doth it profit a 
man — ? 

He wondered where she was. Yachting on the 
Mediterranean, or frivolling on the Riviera. Or 
perhaps she was back in London by this time, 
ordering her spring clothes and preparing for an- 
other butterfly season. At any rate, she was not 
at Belton Hall. Whose fault was that? . . . 

Had he been lacking in patience with her.? Had 
he treated her too much like a refractory board- 
meeting? ... A little fool? Doubtless; but 
then, so were most women. And she was very 
young, after all. . . . 

"Will you take anything before dinner, sir?" 



enquired a respectful voice in his ear. "Tea? 
Whiskey and — " 

"No, thank you, Graves. Is Master Brian in 
the nursery .f^" 
'Yes, sir." 

T will go up shortly and say good-night to 
him. Meanwhile I shall be in the study if Mr. 
Carthew or any one calls for me. But I don't 
want to be disturbed at present." 

A minute later he opened the door of the apart- 
ment, half-library, half -smoking-room, which he 
called his study. It was in darkness, but for the 
cheerful glow of the fire. 

As Juggernaut closed the door behind him, and 
felt for the electric-light switch, there came a 
rustling from the depths of a great oak settle 
which formed a right angle with the projecting 
mantelpiece, and a slim straight figure stood sud- 
denly upright, silhouetted against the ruddy 


"Yes — me!" replied an extremely small 



There is no more disagreeable sensation in 
this world than that furnished by a sudden en- 
counter with some one with whom we are on 
*' awkward" terms. Most people know what it is 
to cross the street to avoid an old friend, or to 
dodge into a shop in order to escape the necessity 
of inflicting or receiving the cut direct. Very 
often the origin of the quarrel has been forgotten 
or has ceased to be of real moment, but the awk- 
wardness endures. Oftener still, a reconciliation 
would be welcomed on both sides, but pride, pride, 
pride intervenes. 

Now the best solvent of stubborn obstinacy is 
a sense of humour. As Juggernaut stood in the 
darkness, surveying the embarrassed little figure 
before him, — in his eyes Daphne, five feet seven 
in her stockings, was always "little," — and 
feeling acutely conscious on his part of an almost 
irresistible desire to shuffie with his feet, he sud- 
denly and most providentially broke into one of 
his rare laughs — a laugh of quiet and unforced 


Apparently this was not quite what Daphne 

"What is the matter?" she enquired. Her 
voice quavered pathetically, for she was highly 

"I could n't help thinking," said her husband, 
"of an episode in the history of two old friends 
of mine. They had been engaged for about three 
months, when they quarrelled — severely. They 
parted company forever, and whenever he or she 
saw the other upon the horizon, he or she fled. 
However, after about six weeks of this sort of 
thing, they were taken by surprise. One day the 
man saw the girl advancing straight upon him 
down the street, quite oblivious of his proximity. 
He dived into the nearest shop, which happened 
to be a baby-linen establishment — " 

Daphne gave a sudden gurgle of laughter. 

" — And when the girl walked in, two minutes 
later," concluded Juggernaut, "to match some 
silk, she found her late beloved diligently sam- 
pling Berlin wool. That did it! The sense of 
humour of that young couple came to their 
rescue. Daphne, and they walked out of the shop 
hand-in-hand, not caring a dump for anybody. 
To my knowledge they have never had a quarrel 
since. You see now why I laughed just now.^^" 

Daphne sighed comfortably. 

"Yes," she said. The tension of the situation 


was relaxed. " I want to — to talk to you, Jack," 
she continued, suddenly heartened. 

*' Certainly," replied Juggernaut, with a slight 
return of his board-room air. "I '11 turn the light 


"Please don't," said Daphne hastily. "I 
would rather talk in the dark. Will you sit down 
on the settle?" 

Juggernaut obeyed silently. The firelight 
played upon his face, showing the clear-cut lines 
of his mouth and his tired eyes. Daphne stood 
erect before him, keeping her face in the shadow. 
She had removed her hat and furs, and her thick 
hair caught the light fantastically. 

**Jack," she began, industriously scrutinising 
the vista of the room reflected by an ancient con- 
vex mirror hanging on the opposite wall, "I want 
to say something. I want to say that I am sorry. 
I have done you an injustice. I always thought 
you were a hard man, and I have discovered that 
you are not. In fact," she continued with a 
flicker of a smile, *' I have found out that you are 
very much the other thing." She paused. 

"May I ask for chapter and verse.^" said Jug- 

"Yes!" The old Daphne flashed forth. "Here 
are you, fighting all these men with one hand, 
giving no quarter, and so forth," — Juggernaut 
stirred suddenly in his seat, — "and feeding the 


women and children with the other ! Are n't you, 
now?" She pointed an accusing finger. 

"Since you tax me with it — yes," said her 

Daphne turned upon him impulsively, with 
the firelight full on her face. 

"Jack," she said softly, "it was splendid of 

He looked up and saw that her eyes were glow- 
ing. She came a step nearer, and her head drooped 

"And I'm sorry if I have been unfair to you. 
Jack," she continued. "I — I thought you were 
just a feelingless sort of man, whose work was his 
world, and who cared for nothing but himself and 
what he had in view, and regarded women as 
merely useful things to keep house, and have 
babies, and so on. But now I know that I was 
wrong. There is more of you than that. Being 
me, I had to tell you." 

She ended with a little catch in her voice. She 
had made her effort. She had humbled herself, 
and in so doing she had laid herself open to the 
cruellest of rebuffs. She waited tremulously. A 
hard word, a scornful smile, even silence now — 
and two lives would fall asunder for ever. 

But the wheels of Juggernaut had never passed 
over a woman. 

"Will 3-0U sit down?" said Sir John gently. 


He made room for her, and she sank down 
beside him, leaning her head against the high 
back of the settle and gazing unwinkingly into 
the fire. She was conscious now that this man 
was overflowing with tenderness towards her, but 
she would not look him in the face yet. 

'* How did you find out about the rations to the 
women.?" he enquired presently. 

Daphne told him. 

"But you mustn't blame Jim Carthew," she 
said in conclusion. "He simply had to tell me." 

"When did you see him?" 

"Last week, in Algiers. In fact, he brought me 
home; but I made him promise not to tell you 
I was in London. He is a good sort!" she added 

"In what way?" asked her husband curi- 

Daphne turned and surveyed him. 

"Would you be angry if I told you — jealous, 
I mean?" 

"What right have I to be angry or jealous?" 
said Juggernaut simply. "In what way," he re- 
peated, "has Carthew been showing that he is a 
good sort?" 

" Well, in bringing me his troubles. That always 
makes a conquest of any woman, you know. And 
in letting me take my troubles to him. A woman 
always has to take a trouble to a man, Jack, when 


all is said and done — even if he is only the fam- 
ily solicitor!" she concluded lightly. 

She had suddenly skated on to thin ice, and 
she knew it. The man to whom she should have 
taken her troubles had not been there to receive 

"So Jim Carthew has his troubles like the rest 
of us?" said Juggernaut. 

*' Yes; and I never suspected how he felt about 
them," said Daphne. "He is fearfully reserved 
about the things he really feels, although he bab- 
bles enough about the things he does n't. So, 
when I was in trouble — " 

"What was your trouble?" 

"I was lonely," said the girl. 

Juggernaut drew his breath sharply. 

"I am glad you had some one to be kind to 
you," he said. 

Then came a long pause — a sort of pause 
which either brings a discussion to an end or 
begets another, longer and more intimate. We all 
know them. 

Finally Daphne braced herself. 

"Jack," she said, "I want to say something 
more. I did n't mean to: I have said all I came 
here to say. But I must say this, too, — now or 
never. I — I — I was wrong to marry you. Jack. 
I did n't love you, but I thought it did n't mat- 
ter. I felt how divine it would be to be able to 


help the boys and Dad. That was all I consid- 
ered. Then, when I began to go about, and meet 
new people, and make comparisons, I — I found 
myself criticising you ! Me — you I" 

*'I would n't be too indignant about it if I 
were you," said her husband. 

He reached out deliberately for her hand, and 
continued his contemplation of the fire. 

**Go on,'* he said. 

Daphne, foolishly uplifted, continued : — 

*'I used to think you rough and hard and un- 
sympathetic. I began to prefer the men who 
buzzed round and murmured things in my ear. 
And when people began to pity me as a neglected 
wife, I — I encouraged them. I let women say 
catty things about you, and I let men make love 
to me. That sort of thing has been going on ever 
since the time" — Daphne's grip of her hus- 
band's hand tightened — "when you and I de- 
cided — to go our own ways. I don't mind tell- 
ing you now that it was a pill for me, Jack! My 
pride — " 

*'It was a brutal act on my part," blazed out 
Juggernaut, with sudden passion. 

"No it wasn't: it was what I deserved!" in- 
sisted Daphne, whose nature did not permit her 
to be repentant by halves. "Well, anyhow, I de- 
termined to flirt in real earnest now. So I began 
to carry on, in an experimental fashion. But I 


can't say it was much fun. Finally, I did fall in 
love with a man, in a sort of way, — don't hurt 
my hand, dear; it was only in a sort of way, — ■ 
and I let him see it. Well, I got a facer over him. 
One night, under the moon, I tried to flirt with 
him; and he — well, Jack, he fairly put me in my 

"What did he do?" 

"He made me feel ashamed of myself." 

"What did he say.?" 

"Not much that we need talk of now, except 
one thing." 

"What was that?" 

"He told me to go back to you." 


"Because he said" — Daphne's voice dropped 
low — "that you loved me." 

There was a long silence, until a live coal sub- 
sided in the grate. Presently Juggernaut said: — 

"It was Carthew, I suppose." 

Daphne nodded. 

"Jack," she said, "Jim Carthew is the best 
friend that you and I possess." 

"I know it." 

They were silent again, until irrelevant Daphne 
enquired suddenly: — 

"Jack, what made you do that unpractical 
thing? The tea and sugar, I mean. It was only 
prolonging the strike; even I can see that." 



'It didn't prolong the strike to any particular 
extent," said Juggernaut with decision. "Not 
that I care," he added with unusual inconse- 
quence, "if it did. It made things no easier for 
the men ; and it is with the men that the decision 
lies in cases of this kind." 

"But it was so unlike you J* persisted Daphne. 

Her husband turned and regarded her quizzi- 

"Was it.^" he said, smiling. "We all have our 
weaknesses," he added. "Mine are women and 
children. I think," he went on with great delib- 
eration, "that there is only one woman in this 
wide world who has ever suffered ill at my hand." 

"And she is—" 

"My wife! Listen," he continued rapidly, 
"while I make confession. You have spoken your 
piece bravely, little Daphne. Now hear me mine." 

He rose in his turn, and stood before his wife. 

"I never knew or cared very much about wo- 
men," he said. "I do not remember my mother, 
and I had no sisters, which probably accounts for 
a good deal. Also, I was brought up by a man 
among men, and I learned to read men and han- 
dle men to the exclusion of all else. I was given 
to understand that women did not matter. I was 
trained to regard them as a sort of inferior and 
unreliable variety of the male sex. So I confined 
my dealings to men, and I found so much joy in 


handling and mastering men that my eyes became 
closed to the fact that life could offer me any- 
thing else." 

"But didn't you miss female society? Most 
men can't get on without some^' said experienced 

"You can't miss what you have never had, lit- 
tle girl. Perhaps if I had encountered female 
society early in life — " 

"But did n't you sometimes instinctively long 
for a woman to come and take charge of you.'^ 
Most men are so helpless and messy by them- 

"Sometimes," admitted Juggernaut, almost 
reluctantly, "I did. But I put the notion from 

"Shall I tell you why.'^" asked Daphne quietly. 

"I suppose it was because I did n't want to 
yield to a weakness — " 

"It was nothing of the kind," said Daphne 
with immense decision. "It was because you 
were afraid T^ 


"Yes — afraid! You would have nothing to do 
with women, because, you told yourself, you 
despised them. We were a waste of time, you 
said an encumbrance! The real reason was that 
you feared us. Yes — feared ! Success was the 
breath of life to you. You had always had your 


own way wherever you went. You were the great 
Sir John Carr — the strong man — Juggernaut ! 
You had never been beaten. Why.?^ Because you 
had never had the pkick to try conclusions with a 
woman. Your excuse was that you were a wo- 
man-hater, when all the time you were a woman- 
lover. You have just admitted it, impostor! You 
were afraid that, where every man had failed to 
turn you from your own hard, selfish way of life, 
a woman might succeed. And so you ran away, 
and you have been running ever since. There, 
my strong man, there's the truth for you!" 

For once in his life Sir John Carr, the terror of 
deputations, the scourge of unsound logicians, the 
respectfully avoided of hecklers, had no answer 
ready. The reason was obvious: no answer was 
possible. The victory lay with Daphne. She 
leaned back in the settle and looked fearlessly up 
into her husband's face. For the first time in her 
life she felt maternal towards this man, — 
twenty-two years her senior, — just as old Mrs. 
Carfrae had predicted. She was utterly and abso- 
lutely happy, too, for she had just realized that 
she and her husband had come together at last. 
They were one flesh. The time for tactful di- 
plomacy and mutual accommodation and making 
allowances was overpast. No need now to guard 
the flame from rude winds and cross-currents. 
The candle was safely lighted, and, please God, 


it should burn steadily to its socket. The Safety 
Match had accomplished its task after all. 

Then she gave a happy little sigh, for her hus- 
band's great arm was around her shoulders. 

"All my life, Daphne," said his deep voice, "I 
have thought that the sweetest thing in this 
world was victory. Now I have just received my 
first defeat, — you routed me, hip and thigh, — 
and I am happier than I have ever been. Why .'^ " 

"Think!" commanded a muffled voice in the 
neighbourhood of his waistcoat. 

Juggernaut obeyed. Then he continued, and 
his grip round Daphne grew stronger: — 

"I think I see. I married you because I wanted 
some one to keep my house in order and bear me 
a son. (That point of view did not endure long, 
I may say, for I fell in love with you on our hon- 
eymoon, and I have loved you ever since; but it 
was my point of view when I asked you to marry 
me.) I thought then that it would be a fair bar- 
gain if I gave you money and position in return 
for these things. We could not help living con- 
tentedly together, I considered, under the terms 
of such a logical and businesslike contract as this. 
Well, I did not know then, what I know now, 
that logic and business are utterly valueless as a 
foundation for any contract between a man and a 
woman. The only thing that is the slightest use 
for the purpose is the most illogical and unbusi- 


nesslike thing in the whole wide world. And" — 
his iron features relaxed into a smile of rare 
sweetness — "I believe, I believe, mia car a, that 
you and I have found that thing — together." 
His voice dropped lower. *'Have we, Daphne, — 
my wife?" 

Daphne raised her head, and looked her man 
full in the face. 

"We have found it, O my husband," she said 
gravely — "at last!" 

The door flew open suddenly. There was a 
gleam of electric light. Graves, the imperturb- 
able butler, inclined respectfully before them. 

"You are wanted outside, sir," he said — 



A CONFUSED medley of men and women — not 
to mention the inevitable small boy element — 
was pouring up the road from Belton Pit in the 
direction of the Hall, which lay beyond the brow 
of the hill in a green hollow as yet unsullied by 
winding- wheels and waste-heaps. People who 
have made up their minds to do evil are usually 
in a hurry to get it over. Consequently our 
friends were advancing at a high rate of speed, 
keeping up their courage by giving forth un- 
melodious noises. 

Juggernaut's prophecy had come true. The re- 
bellion had been damped down by sheer starva- 
tion; and now that starvation was overpast, the 
rebellion was flaming out again with tenfold 
vigour. That fine unreasoning human instinct 
which under a certain degree of pressure bids 
logic and argument go hang, and impels us to go 
forth and break some one else's windows, held 
the reins that evening. As the night-shift assem- 
bled at the pit-head, what time the day-shift was 
being disgorged, a cageful at a time, from the 
depths below, a great and magnificent project 


suddenly hatched itself in the fertile brain of a 
certain Mr. Tom Winch, who had been haunting 
the neighbourhood on business connected with the 
propaganda of his own particular revolutionary 
organisation for the past six weeks. Now was his 
chance. Evil passions, hitherto dimmed by hunger 
and privation, were reviving. The men were ripe 
for any mischief. What they were asking for, re- 
flected Mr. Winch, was blood, or its equivalent, 
and a man to lead them to it. 

Mr. Winch was, to do him justice, a master of 
his own furtive trade. In five minutes his pro- 
ject was circulating through the throng. In fif- 
teen, the crowd had pledged itself to do something 
really big; and in half an hour, most of the win- 
dows of the pit-offices had been broken as a guar- 
anty of good faith. 

Having whetted its appetite on this hors 
d'oeuvre, the mob listened readily to Mr. Winch's 
suggestion of a brisk walk to Belton Hall and a 
personal interview with its proprietor. The notion 
ran through the excited mass of humanity like 
fire through dry grass; and presently, as if from 
one spontaneous impulse, the advance on Belton 
Hall began. No one quite knew what he pro- 
posed to do when he got there, but the possibili- 
ties of the expedition were great. It was a pictur- 
esque procession, for every man carried a safety- 
lamp in one hand and a missile in the other. It 


was probably owing to the multiplicity of the 
twinkling points of light thus produced that no 
one observed the flickering halo of a solitary bi- 
cycle-lamp, as a machine which bore it slipped out 
from the side door of the pit-offices and silently 
stole away through the darkness, carrying a 
frightened messenger over the hill to Bel ton Hall. 

It may here be noted that Mr. Tom Winch, 
having despatched his avenging host upon its 
way, remained behind at headquarters — doubt- 
less to superintend the subsequent operations 
with that degree of perspective which is so neces- 
sary to a good general. 

Mr. Killick, an old acquaintance of ours, sup- 
ported by his friend Mr. Brash, led the proces- 

"Supposin' the lodge gates is locked — what 
then.^" enquired Mr. Brash — even a better 
critic than creator of an enterprise — as they 
trudged along the muddy road. 

"We shall trample them down," replied Mr. 
Killick, ever contemptuous of irritating detail. 

But the lodge gates stood hospitably open. 
The lodge itself was shuttered and silent; and the 
procession, pausing momentarily to deliver a hi- 
larious and irregular volley of small coal, pro- 
ceeded on its way. 

Up the long avenue they tramped. There were 
electric lamps at intervals, intended for the guid- 


ance of strange coachmen on dinner-party nights. 
These were all ablaze. Evidently Juggernaut was 
expecting friends. Five minutes later our glo- 
rious company of apostles rounded the last turn 
in the avenue, and the broad Elizabethan fagade 
of Belton Hall loomed up before them. Every 
window was alight. 

A flagged and balustraded terrace ran along 
the whole frontage of the Hall. In the middle of 
the balustrade was a gap, where a broad flight of 
shallow stone steps led down to a velvety lawn 
three hundred years old. Most of the crowd 
knew that lawn and terrace well. The grounds at 
Belton were constantly and freely granted for 
miners' fetes, political demonstrations, and the 
like. On these occasions a band was nearly always 
playing upon the terrace, and not infrequently 
post-prandial orations were outpoured from the 
rostrum formed by the stone steps upon the heads 
of a gorged and tolerant audience on the grass 

To-night no band was playing; but at the head 
of the steps — motionless, upright, inflexible — 
stood a solitary figure. It was the master of the 
liouse, waiting to receive his guests — one against 
four hundred. 

But to one who knew, the odds were not over- 
whelming. In fact, provided that the crowd pos- 
sessed no resolute leader, the chances were 


slightly in favour of the figure on the steps. One 
man with his wits about him has two great advan- 
tages over a crowd. In the first place he knows 
exactly what he is going to do, and in the second 
he knows exactly what the crowd is going to do. 
The crowd knows neither. It is impossible to 
foretell how a single individual will behave upon 
emergency: the human temperament varies too 
widely. But there is nothing in the world so 
normal or conventional as a crowd. Mankind in 
the lump is a mere puppet in the hands of the law 
of averages. Given, as noted above, a resolute 
leader, and the conditions are changed. The 
leader imbues the crowd with a portion of his 
own spirit, and creates an instinct of unanimity. 
Then the odds are once more in favour of the 
crowd; for now it is a resolute will, all alone, 
pitted against a resolute will with force behind it. 

Sir John Carr knew all this. He had studied 
men all his life; and as he stood silent and observ- 
ant, surveying the surging multitude at his feet, 
— it had flowed to the very base of the steps now, 
— he noted that there was no leader in particular. 
The crowd was acting under the influence of 
blind impulse, and if properly handled could be 
swayed about and sent home. 

Presently the hubbub ceased, and the men 
stood gazing upward, fingering lumps of coal and 
waiting for some one to fire the first shot. 


"Good-evening, ladies and gentlemen," ob- 
served Juggernaut. (The ladies, be it noted, con- 
stituted the front row of the assemblage, their 
cavaliers having modestly retired a few paces un- 
der their employer's passionless scrutiny.) "If 
you have come to serenade me, I shall have pleas- 
ure presently in sending you out some refresh- 
ments. If you have merely come to burn the 
house down, I strongly advise you to go home 
and think twice about it." 

The recipients of this piece of advice were un- 
doubtedly a little taken aback. Playful badinage 
was the last thing they had expected. They mur- 
mured uneasily to one another, debating suitable 
retorts. Presently a shrill female voice opened 


" Money-grubber ! " corroborated another voice. 

"Who starves women and children?" shrieked 
a third. 

" Yah ! Booh ! " roared the crowd, taking heart. 

"Chuck some of his own coals at 'im!" was the 
frantic adjuration of a foolish virgin who had al- 
ready expended all her ammunition against the 
shutters of the gate lodge. 

A lump of something black and crystalline 
sang past Juggernaut's head, and struck a richly 
glowing stained glass window twenty feet behind 
him. There was a sharp crash and a silvery tin- 


kle, followed by a little gasp from the crowd. The 
first shot had been fired. Juggernaut knew well 
that a broadside was imminent, and countered 
swiftly. In the startled silence which succeeded 
the destruction of the great window, — it had 
lighted the staircase at Belton for generations, — 
his voice rang out like a trumpet. 

"Listen to me!" he cried. *'You have a griev- 
ance. You have come up here to square accounts 
with me. You think you have right on your 
side: I think it is on mine. Both of us are spoil- 
ing for a fight. In our present frame of mind no- 
thing else will satisfy us. Now here is a fair 
offer. Send up any two men you like out of that 
multitude down there, and I will take them on, 
both together or one after the other, as you please. 
I am rising forty-seven, but if I fail to drop either 
of your representatives over this balustrade, back 
where he came from, inside of five minutes, I 
promise to remit the dues on that odd hundred- 
weight that you are making all this to-do about. 
Is it a bargain, gentlemen.'^" 

He had struck the right note. The low angry 
murmuring suddenly ceased, and a great wave of 
Homeric laughter rolled over the crowd. The 
British collier has his faults, but within his limits 
he is a sportsman. He appreciates pluck. 

"Good lad!" roared a voice out of the dark- 
ness. Then there fell another silence. . 


*'I am waiting, gentlemen," said Juggernaut 

But he had to continue waiting. His audience, 
as previously noted, were sportsmen within lim- 
its. The limits, alas! in these soft days are too 
often rabbit-coursing, or the backing of a horse in 
a race which will not be witnessed by the backer. 
It is always gratifying to be invited to participate 
in a sporting event, but there is a difference be- 
tween a seat on the platform and a place in the 
arena. Getting hurt gratuitously is slipping into 
the Index Expurgatorius of modern field sports. 

Men began to look sheepishly at one another. 
One or two had started forward instinctively, 
but the impulse died away. A humourist was 
heard imploring his friends to hold him back. 
There was something unutterably grim about 
the towering figure up on the terrace. Demo- 
cracy and the equality of mankind to the con- 
trary, Jack usually recognises his master when it 
comes to a pinch. No Jack seemed to desire ad- 
vancement on this occasion. 

Juggernaut waited for another minute. He 
wanted the silence to sink in. He wanted the 
crowd to feel ridiculous. That object achieved, 
he proposed to turn his visitors to the rightabout 
and send them home. He had been through this 
experience before, and felt comparatively sure of 
his ground. 


Provided, that is, that one thing did not occur. 
There were women present. 

Now women are exempt from the law of aver- 
ages; the sex snaps its fingers at computations 
based upon laboriously compiled statistics. If 
the women — or more likely a woman — gave 
the men a lead, anything might happen. And 
just as Juggernaut uplifted his voice to pro- 
nounce a valediction, the disaster befel. 

*'Now go home," he began. *'You are not 
yourselves to-night. Go home, and think things 
over. Consult the older men. I see none of them 
here. If you are of the same mind to-morrow, I 
promise to — " 

"Call yourselves men? Cowards! cowards! 
cowards! One of us is worth the lot of you!" 

A woman, with a shawl over her head and a 
child in her arms, had mounted halfway up the 
steps, and was addressing the mob below. Sir 
John recognised her as Mrs. Brash, a quiet little 
person as a rule. 

"Come up, chaps!" she shrieked. "Are you 
going to let him stamp on us all? Look at his 
fine house, and his electrics, and his marble 
steps and all ! " (They were plain freestone, 
but let that pass.) "Where did he get 'em all.? 
From usl — us that he has starved and clemmed 
this last two months! Are you afraid of him — 
the lot of you.'' Great hulking cowards! I see 


you, Brash, hiding there! Isn't there one man 

"Yes — by G^o^, there is!" 

With a bound Killick, the brooding visionary, 
the Utopian Socialist, was at the top of the steps, 
brandishing a pit-prop and haranguing his com- 
rades. There was no stopping him. Mrs. Brash 
had fired the train, and Killick was the explosion. 
His words gushed out — hot, passionate, deliri- 
ous. The man's sense of proportion, always un- 
stable, was gone entirely. He burned with the 
conviction of his wTongs and those of his fellows. 
Nohilis ira gave him eloquence. He laid violent 
hands upon wealth and greed and tyranny, and 
flung them one by one down the steps on to the 
heads of his hearers. Most of what he said was 
entirely irrelevant; a great deal more was entirely 
untrue; but it served. For the moment Sir John 
Carr stood for all the injustice and cruelty 
that strength has ever inflicted upon weakness. 
Every word told. The mob was aflame at last. 
They hung upon Killick's fiery sentences, surg- 
ing ever more closely round the steps. The next 
wave, Juggernaut saw, would bring them in a 
flood upon the terrace; and then — what.^* He 
thought coolly and rapidly. There was Daphne 
to consider — also little Brian. Daphne, he 
knew, was close by, standing with beating heart 
behind the curtains of the library window. He 


had forbidden her to come further. Perhaps, 
though, she had been sensible, and taken the op- 
portunity of this delay to slip away — 

There was a movement beside him, and he re- 
alised that his education in femininity still left 
something to be desired. A hand slid into his, 
and Daphne's voice whispered in his ear: — 

*' Jack, I want to speak to them.*' 

Her husband turned and smiled upon her cu- 

"What are you going to say?" he asked. 

"I am going to tell them about — about the 
tea and sugar. It's the only thing to do," said 
Daphne eagerly. 

"I would rather be knocked on the head by a 
pit-prop!" said Juggernaut. 

And he meant it. Some of us are terribly 
afraid of being exposed as sentimentalists. 

Meanwhile the crowd had caught sight of 
Daphne. The men fell silent, as men are fain to 
do when a slim goddess, arrayed in black velvet, 
appears to them silhouetted against a richly 
glowing window. But there was a vindictive 
shriek from the women. 

**Get back at once, dear," said Juggernaut. 
*'You are in grave danger. Telephone to the po- 
lice, and tell Graves to get the fire-hose out. It 
may be useful in two ways. I promise to come in 
if things get worse. — Hello! who is that?" 


A burly man in a bowler hat, panting with the 
unwonted exertion of a two-mile run, was ap- 
proaching him along the terrace. He had come up 
the drive unnoticed, and having skirted the edge 
of the crowd, had gained access to the terrace 
from another flight of steps at the end. It was 
Mr. Walker, the mine manager. 

"I tried to get you on the telephone," he 
shouted in Juggernaut's ear; "but they have cut 
the wire." 

"What is it?" asked Juggernaut. 

Walker told him. 

There was just time to act. The mob were 
pouring up the steps in response to Killick's final 
invitation. Juggernaut strode forward. 

" Stop ! " he cried, in a voice of thunder. " Stop, 
and listen to what Mr. Walker has to tell 

His great voice carried, and there was a mo- 
ment's lull. Walker seized his opportunity. 

"There has been an accident at the pit," he 
bellowed. "Some of your lads went down after 
you had left, to see what damage they could do 
to the plant. Some of the older men went down 
to stop them. Something happened. The roofs 
of the main road and intake have fallen in, and 
Number Three Working is cut off — with eight 
men in it!" 

There was a stricken silence, and the wave 


rolled back from the steps. Presently a hoarse 
voice cried, — 

*'Who are they?" 

Mr. Walker recited six names. Four of these 
belonged to young bloods who had been foremost 
in the riot at the pit-head. There were agonised 
cries from women in the crowd. All four men 
were married. The fifth name, that of Mr. Adam 
Wilkie, who was a bachelor and a misogynist, 
passed without comment. The sixth was that of 
a pit-boy named Hopper. 

Mr. Walker paused. 

"You said eight!" cried another woman's 
voice in an agony of suspense. " The other two — 
for the love of God!" 

"Amos Entwistle," replied Mr. Walker grimly 
— "andMr. Carthew." 




Six men sat on six heaps of small coal in a long 
rectangular cavern five feet high and six feet 
broad. The roof was supported by props placed 
at distances specified by the Board of Trade. One 
side of the cavern was pierced at regular intervals 
by narrow openings which were in reality pass- 
ages; the other was a blank wall of gleaming coal. 

This was the "face" — that point in the seam 
of coal which marked the limits of progress of the 
ever-advancing line of picks and shovels. 

The men were well over two hundred fathoms 
— roughly a quarter of a mile — below the sur- 
face of the earth, and they had been prisoners in 
Number Three Working ever since an explosion 
of fire-damp and coal-dust had cut them off from 
communication with the rest of Belton Pit six 
hours before. 

The prisoners were Jim Carthew, Amos Ent- 
wistle, and Adam Wilkie, together with a hewer, 
a drawer, and a pit-boy, named Atkinson, Den- 
ton, and Hopper respectively. There had been 
two others, but they lay dead and buried beneath 
a tombstone twelve hundred feet high. 

What had happened was this : — 


About four o'clock on that disastrous after- 
noon, Amos Entwistle was sitting despondently 
in his own kitchen. He was the oldest and most 
influential overman in Belton Pit, but his coun- 
sels of moderation had been swept aside by the 
floods of Mr. Winch's oratory; and like the 
practical creature that he was he had returned 
home, to await the issue of the insurrection and 
establish an alibi in the event of police-court 

To him entered Mr. Adam Wilkie, with the 
news that some of the more ardent iconoclasts of 
the day-shift had remained below in the pit, in 
order to break down the roofs of some of the gal- 
leries leading to the workings — an amiable and 
short-sighted enterprise which, though pleas- 
antly irritating to their employer, must inevita- 
bly throw its promoters and most of their friends 
out of work for an indefinite period. 

Here at least was an opportunity to act. Ent- 
wistle hastily repaired to the pit-offices, where 
he knew that Mr. Carthew had been spending 
the afternoon; and the three, united for the mo- 
ment by the bond of common sense if nothing 
else, dropped down the shaft with all speed. For- 
tunately the man in charge of the winding- 
engine was still at his post, and of an amenable 

Arrived at the pit-bottom, they hurried along 


the main road. The atmosphere was foul and 
close, for the ventilating-machinery had ceased to 
work. There was a high percentage of fire-damp, 
too, as constant little explosions in their Davy 
lamps informed them. 

Presently they overtook the enemy, who had 
done a good deal of mischief already; for they had 
set to work in the long tunnel known as the in- 
take, down which fresh air was accustomed to 
flow to the distant workings; and at every blow 
of their picks a pit-prop fell from its position and 
an overhead beam followed, bringing down with 
it a mingled shower of stone and rubbish. 

There was no time to be lost, for the whole 
roof might fall at any moment. It was three 
against five, but authority is a great asset and 
conscience a great liability. By adopting a "hus- 
tling" policy of the most thorough description, 
Carthew, Entwistle, and Wilkie hounded their 
slightly demoralised opponents along the intake 
towards the face, intending to round up the gang 
in one of the passages leading back to the main 
road, and, having pursued the policy of peaceful 
dissuasion to its utmost limits, conduct their con- 
verts back to the shaft. 

The tide of battle rolled out of the intake into 
the cavern formed by the face and its approaches. 
Master Hopper was the first to arrive, the toe of 
Mr. Entwistle's boot making a good second. 



Now, you men," said Carthew, addressing 
the sullen, panting figures which crouched before 
him, — the roof here was barely five feet above 
the floor, — *'we have had enough of this. Get 
out into the main road and back to the shaft. 
You are coming up topside of this pit with us — 
that's flat!" 

But his opponents were greater strategists 
than he supposed. 

"Keep them there, chaps!" cried a voice al- 
ready far down one of the passages. 

"Catch that man!" cried Carthew. "Come 

Shaking off Atkinson, who in obedience to 
orders had made a half-hearted grab at him, he 
darted down the nearest passage. It led to the 
main road, but across the mouth hung a wet brat- 
tice-cloth. Delayed a moment, he hurried on to 
the junction with the main road, just in time to 
descry two twinkling Davy lamps disappearing 
round a distant corner. They belonged to Davies 
and Renwick, the ringleaders of the gang. What 
their object might be he could not for the mo- 
ment divine, but he could hear their voices re- 
echoing down the silent tunnel. Evidently they 
were making for the main road, perhaps to raid 
the engine-room or call up reserves. He must 
keep them in sight. Laboriously he hastened 
along the rough and narrow track. 


Suddenly, far ahead in the darkness, he heard 
a crash, followed by a frightened shriek. Next 
moment there was a roar which almost broke the 
drums of his ears, and the whole pit seemed to 
plunge and stagger. His lamp went out, and he 
lay upon the floor in the darkness, — darkness 
that could be felt, — waiting for the roof to fall 

Renwick and Davies, it was discovered long 
afterward, had reached the main road, running 
rapidly. Here one of them must have tripped 
over the slack-lying wire cable which drew the 
little tubs of coal up the incline from the lyes to 
the foot of the shaft. Two seconds later a tiny 
puddle of flaming oil from a broken lamp, which 
for once in a way had not been extinguished by 
its fall, had supplied the necessary ignition to 
the accumulated fire-damp and coal-dust of the 
unventilated pit. There was one tremendous ex- 
plosion. Down came the roof of the main road 
for a distance of over a half-mile, burying the au- 
thors of the catastrophe, Samson-like, in their 
own handiwork. 

The survivors were sitting in the cul-de-sac 
formed by the face of the coal and its approaches, 
three quarters of a mile from the shaft. No one 
had been injured by the explosion, — though 
Carthew, being nearest, had lain half-stunned for 


a few minutes; possibly the brattice-cloths, hung 
at intervals across, blanketing its force. 

The party had just returned from an investi- 
gation of the possibilities of escape. 

"Will you report, Mr. Entwistle.^" said Car- 
thew, who found that the surviving mutineers 
appeared to regard him as the supreme head of 
the present enterprise and Entwistle as his chief 

Amos Entwistle complied. 

There were two ways, he explained in his broad 
North-Country dialect, by which Number Three 
could be reached from the shaft. One was the in- 
take, along which fresh air was conducted to the 
workings, and the other was the main road, 
which could be reached through any of the pass- 
ages leading away from the face. The explosioil 
in the main road had brought down the roof for a 
distance which might be almost anything. The 
intake was blocked too. It was some way from 
the scene of the explosion, but the props were 
gone, and the roof had come down from end to 
end, for all he knew. 

Is there no other way out?" said Carthew. 
None, sir." 

Carthew indicated the row of openings beside 

Don't any of these lead anywhere?" 

They all lead to the main road, except that 



one at the end, which leads to the intake. We 
have plenty of room to move about, and plenty 
of air; but we are shut in, and that's a fact, sir." 

"Is that your opinion too, Mr. Wilkie?" 

"We canna get oot o' this, sir," replied the 
oracle with complacent finality. 

There was a deathhke silence. Then Master 
Hopper began to cry softly. He was going to die, 
he reflected between his sobs, and he was very 
young to do so. It was hard luck his being there 
at all. He had only joined the riot from youthful 
exuberance and a desire to be "in the hearse," as 
an old Scottish lady once bitterly observed of a 
too pushful mourner at her husband's funeral. 
He entertained no personal animosity against the 
owner of the pit: in fact, he had never set eyes 
on him. His desire had merely been to see the 
fun. Well, he was seeing it. He wept afresh. 

Atkinson and Denton sat and gazed helplessly 
at Carthew. The part they had played in sealing 
up six souls in the bowels of the earth had faded 
from their minds: to be just, it had faded from 
the minds of their companions as well. The past 
lay buried with Renwick and Davies. The future 
occupied their entire attention. 

There was another danger to be considered — 
the after-damp of the explosion. Carthew en- 
quired about this. Entwistle considered that the 
risk was comparatively slight. 


"The cloths hung across the approaches to the 
main road should keep it away," he said. "It 's a 
heavy gas, and don't move about much, like. We 
shall be able to tell by the lamps, anyway." 

"Then what had we better do.?" said Carthew 
briskly. "Dig.?" 

One of the men — Atkinson — lifted his head 
from his hands. 

"Ah were saved by t' Salvationists once," he 
said hoarsely. "Ah could put up a prayer." 

"I think we will try the effect of a little spade- 
work first," said Carthew. " Laborare est orare, 
just now!" he added to himself. 

A few hours later they reassembled. They had 
tapped, sounded, hewed, and shovelled at every 
potential avenue of escape, but to no purpose. 
The intake and main road appeared to be blocked 
from end to end. Six men were mewed up with no 
food, a very little water, twenty-four hours' 
light, and a limited quantity of oxygen; and they 
had no means of knowing how near or how far 
away help might be. 

All they were certain of was that on the other 
side of the barrier which shut them in, men were 
working furiously to reach them in time, and that 
up above women were praying to God that He 
would deliver them. 



The search party had concluded its investiga- 
tions, and stood at the foot of the shaft, — which 
fortunately had not been injured by the distant 
explosion, — waiting for the cage. 

A pit-bottom is an unexpectedly spacious 
place, more resembling the cellars of a ducal man- 
sion, or a City station in the days of the old Un- 
derground, than a burrow in the hidden places of 
the earth. Whitewashed brick archways open up 
long vistas, illumined by electric lamps. Through 
an adjacent doorway streams the cheerful glow 
of the engine-room from which the haulage of the 
trucks is controlled. Only in the "sump," below 
the level of the flooring at the foot of the shaft, 
the water gleams black and dismally. 

*'Is there any other road to explore, Mr. 
Walker?" asked a huge man in blue overalls, 
with a patent breathing-apparatus strapped upon 
his back. 

"No, Sir John. All we can do at present is to 
get the ventilating-gear going again, and then 
send down a double shift to get to work on the 
main road, in the hope of finding some one alive 


at the end of it. Meanwhile we will go up and 
look at the pit-plan." 

"How long do you think it will take to get 
through.'* You know more of the anatomy of this 
pit than I do." 

"It depends on how far the roof is down. It 
will be slow work, for we must re-prop as we go. 
Twentj^ yards an hour is about the best we can 
expect to do, working top-notch all the time. 
And if the road is blocked from end to end, as 
well it may be, it will be a question of days, Sir 

"And in Number Three they have neither 
food nor drink .f*" 

"Neither, to our knowledge. Probably they 
have a little water, though. We must get at them 
double-quick. Here is the cage coming down." 

The cage roared upwards between the wooden 
guides, black with long use and glistening with oil 
and water; and presently the party were back in 
the great shed which covered the pit-head, push- 
ing their way through anxious enquirers to the 
office buildings. 

Leaving the other members of the search party 
— an overman and two hewers — to report pro- 
gress. Sir John and his manager shut themselves 
into the inner office. Here Walker unrolled the 
pit-plan, which, with its blocks and junctions and 
crossings, looked very like an ordinary street map. 


"Here we are," he said. "We have been able 
to explore the whole pit except this part here," — 
he dug the point of his pencil into a distant corner, 
— "and the reason is that the means of access to 
that particular level are blocked. Here is where 
the block begins." The pencil swiftly shaded in a 
passage. "There is the intake, all blown to 
smithereens; that and the road to Number Three. 
But if there are men alive in the pit, Number 
Three is where we shall find them." 

"Do you believe that they are alive.^^" asked 

"I do. It seems incredible that the whole roof 
should have come down. We must get the venti- 
lating-plant in order and dig them out: that's the 
only way. We should be able to start work im- 

"Right!" said Juggernaut, bracing himself at 
the blessed thought of action once more. "I'll 
call for volunteers." 

A minute later, appearing at a brilliantly lit 
window, he addressed the silent throng below 
him. To most of them this was the second speech 
that they had received from him in twelve hours. 

" We have been down the pit," he said. "There 
has been a biggish explosion, and Number Three 
is cut off by a heavy fall. The air below will be 
breatheable in less than an hour, and we are going 
to set to work right away, and clear, and clear. 


and clear, until we find out whether there is any- 
one left alive there. Now" — his voice rang out 
in sudden and irresistible appeal — "we want 
men, and plenty of them. Short shifts and high 
pressure! Those poor fellows have very little 
water, no food, and a doubtful air-supply. I ask 
for volunteers. Who will come down.? Step for- 
ward — now!" 

A gentle ripple passed over the sea of upturned 
faces. Then it died away. The distance between 
the speaker and his entire audience had dimin- 
ished by several feet. 

"Thank you!" said Juggernaut simply. "I 
knew I had only to ask. Mr. Walker, will you call 
the overmen together and get going as soon as 

So the work began. Six hours earlier the men 
of Belton had failed in an enterprise for lack of a 
leader. Now they had found one. 

Sir John Carr drove the first shovel into the 
mass which blocked the main road, and for the 
space of thirty minutes he set a standard of pace 
in the work of rescue which younger and more 
supple successors found it hard to maintain. 

Shift followed shift. 

Sunday morning dawned up above, and the 
sun swung into a cloudless April sky, but still the 
work below went on — grim, untiring, unprofit- 


able work. Hope deferred succeeded to hope de- 

Twenty-four hours of blind energy advanced 
the rescuers three or four hundred yards, but 
there seemed to be no end to the fall. Progress 
was growing slower, too; for the excavated ma- 
terial had to be carried back farther every time. 
Once during the second night word was sent up 
the shaft that two men had been hurt through a 
fresh fall in the roof, over-eagerness being the 
cause. Still the work went on. And so Black 
Sunday drew to a close, to be succeeded by a 
Monday of a very similar hue. 



Lady Carr was at the pit-head early on Mon- 
day morning. She had arrived in the Belton 
motor, just in time to provide for the conveyance 
of the two injured men to the County Hospital, 
eleven miles away. She herself passed quietly in 
and out amid the anxious groups of men and 
women. She said little: it was not a time for 
words; but it was noted that she lingered for 
more than a few minutes in the company of 
Master Hopper's mother, and that her grave, 
slow smile appeared to hearten that broken 
widow mightily. 

Presently she encountered her husband, whom 
she had not seen for two nights and a day. 

*'You here?" he said. 

"Yes. I have sent those two poor men away to 
Kilchester in the car, and I am waiting for it to 
come back." Then a note of maternal severity 
intervened. "Have you been to bed at all since 
I last saw you.'^" 

"Not much," admitted Juggernaut. "But I 
have a vague recollection of lying down some- 
where for a few hours last night. It may have 


been on the office sofa or it may have been in the 
sump. What I am more certain of is that I have 
not washed for days. I feel Hke Othello. But 
what has brought you down to the pit.'*" 

"I thought you would like to know," said 
Daphne, "that this affair is in the morning pa- 

Othello looked, if possible, blacker than before. 

*'Have they got the names.'*" 

"Yes, Jim Carthew's, too. And what do you 
think the result has been, Jack? I have had a 
wire from — from" — for a moment Daphne's 
concern for the tragedy around her was swallowed 
up in the joy of the matchmaking sex over one 
sinner that repenteth — " whom do you think.'* " 

"I don't know." 

"Nina Tallentyre! It was the first thing she 
heard when she landed in England. She is frantic 
about him, and is coming down here to-day. She 
has offered to sleep anywhere, do anything, if 
only she may come. Jack, is n't it too heav- 
enly.'*" Daphne positively crowed. 

Juggernaut's teeth flashed across his grimy 
countenance in a sympathetic smile. 

"You women!" he said softly. "We must fish 
him out for her after this, Daphne. Well, Mrs. 

A middle-aged woman with hungry eyes was 
at his elbow. She was Amos Entwistle's wife. 


** Would you come and speak to old Mr. Ent- 
wistle, sir?" she said — "my man's father. He 
is too rheumatic to move about easy, but he 
seems to have something on his mind about 
another way of getting at them." 

Sir John Carr turned and followed Mrs. Ent- 
wistle promptly. 

*' Shall I come, too, dear?" said Daphne. 

"Better not. But go and send Walker to me if 
you can find him." 

Mrs. Entwistle conducted Juggernaut to a 
sunny nook, sheltered from the keen breeze, 
against the brickwork of the power-house. Here 
sat Entwistle senior, stone-deaf, almost blind, 
but with his eighty-year-old wits still bright and 

He was no respecter of titles or employers, this 
old gentleman, and in high-pitched senile tones 
he criticised the arrangements for rescue. The 
excavatory operations were a mistake. Time was 
being wasted. The poor lads inside had nobbut a 
little water to drink and nowt to eat. The air 
would be getting foul, too. 

"You must get there quick, Sir John," he said, 
rising painfully from his seat. "See now." 

He began to hobble laboriously away from the 
vicinity of the pit-head towards the rather 
grimy fields which lay to the north of the colliery. 
By this time Walker had arrived, bringing with 


him a burly, bearded Pit Inspector, sent down by 
the Board of Trade. 

Twenty minutes' laborious walking ended in a 
halt in the middle of a bleak pasture field, from 
which a few unconcerned sheep were extracting 
some exceedingly dubious-looking nourishment. 
Mr. Entwistle called a halt. 

"Been thinking things over," said he, breath- 
ing stertorously. "Known this countryside, 
above and below, nigh seventy year. The lads, 
they go buzzing round the pit-head, but the old 
man" — as a matter of fact he said "t'owd 
mon," but it will be simpler to paraphrase his ut- 
terance — "sits at home and thinks things over. 
They has to come to him in the end!" 

All this was highly irrelevant and proportion- 
ately exasperating; but old age has its privileges. 
Doubtless Agamemnon, Menelaus, and other 
eager stalwarts longed with all their hearts to 
tear Nestor limb from limb, what time that ven- 
erable bore delivered himself of fifty lines of au- 
tobiographical hexameters as a preliminary to 
coming to the point; yet they never did. Pre- 
sently Mr. Entwistle concluded his exordium and 
tapped upon the ground with his staff. 

" We are standing," he announced, " right over 
the road to Number Three. Two hundred 
fathom down," he added, in case they should 
have overlooked this point. 


This at any rate was a statement of fact. 
Walker produced and consulted the pit-plan. 
** You are about right," he said. "Well?" 

"How far along this road is the face?" en- 
quired the old gentleman. "It's a tidy number 
of years since I — " 

Walker told him, with the result that the ex- 
cursion was resumed. Presently Mr. Entwistle 
came to a halt again. 

"We're over Number Three now," he said. 

Walker again confirmed him, with the aid of a 
compass bearing and the pit-plan. 

"Well?" he said. 

The old man pointed with his stick to some 
dismantled and abandoned pit buildings further 
down the valley, a full mile away. 

" The old Shawcliff e Pit," he croaked. " Worked 
out this forty year. But I knowed it well when 
I were a lad." 

Juggernaut, suddenly seeing light, caught the 
old man by the arm. 

"You mean," said he rapidly, "that the Shaw- 
cliff e Workings run up this way — " 

"No, no," said Walker, interrupting. "You 
are wrong, Mr. Entwistle. The Shawcliffe Work- 
ings all run down the other way, to the north." 

"Nay," persisted the old gentleman — "not 
all. They thowt there were a seam this way, and 
they drove one road out here, if so be they might 


pick it up. They had got signs of it, boring. But 
it were a faulty seam. It were n't until Belton 
Pit were opened, thirty years later, that they 
struck it fair." 

"And that road runs out this way, from Shaw- 
cliffe shaft.^" asked the Inspector. 

"Aye, and it must come very nigh to the 
Belton Workings now — nigh to Number Three. 
I reckon — '* 

"He is right!" said Walker excitedly. "It's a 
chance ! I have heard of this road, now I think of 
it." He turned to Entwistle again. "How far 
out do you think it runs? Quick, man — tell us ! " 

For answer the veteran, much inflated, 
stumped off again in a northerly direction, with 
all the assurance of a water-diviner in full cry. 
After fifty yards or so he stopped. 

"I should say it ended about here," he said. 
"You can trust the old man's memory. The 
youngsters — " 

Another lengthy deliverance was plainly threat- 
ened, but this time our Nestor observed, not 
without justifiable chagrin, that the majority of 
his audience had disappeared. The symposium 
was suddenly reduced to himself and his daughter- 
in-law. Testily curtailing his peroration, to the 
exclusion of several valuable aphorisms upon the 
advantages of age over youth, the old gentleman 
resignedly took the arm of Mrs. Amos and per- 


mitted himself to be conducted back to his fire- 

But he had served his turn for all that. 

The other three were hurrying back to Belton 
Pit, talking eagerly, Juggernaut leading by half 
a pace. 

*'It's madness, of course," said Walker cheer- 
fully. "This pit has been closed for forty years. 
The props will be down — " 

"The air will be foul — " said the Inspector 

"Or explosive," said Walker, 

"And there will probably be water," con- 
tinued both together. 

"Is the shaft still open?" asked Juggernaut 

"I beHeve so," added Walker. 

"I suppose it would be possible to rig a derrick 
and tackle over it.^* " 


They strode on a dozen paces. 

"I am going down," said Juggernaut. ^ 

"I am going with you," said Walker. 

"And I," said the Inspector, "am going 

They broke into a trot. 


HOLD THE fort! 

The safety-lamps had burned themselves out 
hours ago, and the imprisoned party sat on 
in the dark. There was nothing else to do. Food 
they had none; their water was exhausted. They 
slept fitfully, but in the black darkness sleep 
seemed little removed from death, and time from 

Jim Carthew lay with his head upon a friendly 
lump of coal, pondering with his accustomed de- 
tachment upon the sundry and manifold changes 
of this world. He thought of death. Plainly he 
and his companions were about to solve the 
mystery of what lay hidden round that corner 
which our omniscience is pleased to consider the 
end of all things. What would they find there .'^ 
Another life — a vista more glorious and sub- 
lime than man in his present state could conceive? 
Or just another long lane — just another high- 
way of labour and love and service and reward? 
Or — a cul-de-sac — an abyss — a jumping-off 
place? He wondered. Not the last alternative, 
he thought; more likely one of the other two. 
Anyhow, he would know soon, and it would be 


interesting. His one regret was that he would 
not be able to come back, even for five minutes, 
to tell his friends about it. 

Friends! . . . 

This brought a new train of reflection. He 
thought of Jack Carr, and Jack Carr's wife. 
Would the latter keep her promise, and come 
back to her husband, he wondered. She should 
be in Belton this week, all being well — that is, 
if this was the week he thought it was. But time 
seemed rather a jumbled affair at present. Be- 
sides, he was so infernally hungry that he could 
not reason things out. Never mind! . . . 

He thought of Nina Tallentyre. That difficulty 
had solved itself, anyhow. No need for further 
hopings or strivings: that was a relief! When 
their rupture occurred, he had prayed to be ex- 
cused from living further. He had even peti- 
tioned that the earth might open and swallow 
him up forever. Well, the earth had done so, so 
he ought to be satisfied. He was gone down into 
silence, and Nina was rid of him — well rid of 
him! He was well rid of her, too. She had led 
him a dog's life the last few months. A dog's life! 
He repeated the fact to himself pertinaciously, 
but without any great feeling either of convic- 
tion or of resentment. 

He felt strangely contented and cheerful. His 
mind dwelt with persistence on the bright side of 


things. He thought of the day when she and he 
had first met, and Nina, in her superb, imperious 
manner, had desired him to take her out of "this 
rabble" and come and amuse her in a corner. He 
remembered subsequent meetings; various gra- 
cious acts of condescension on Nina's part; and 
finally one special evening on board a yacht in 
regatta-time, when they had sat together in a 
corner of the upper deck in the lee of the chart- 
house, with a perfectly preposterous moon egging 
them on, and the faint strains of Caressante puls- 
ing across the silent water from the Commodore's 
yacht hardby; and Nina had nearly — almost — 
ail-but — and then actually — capitulated. 

She had gone back on her word three weeks 
later, it was true; but he drew consolation even 
now from the memory of something which had 
slipped through her long lashes and rolled down 
her cheek even as she dismissed him, a mem- 
ory which had carried through many a black 

It was over episodes like this that his mind 
lingered. Other and less satisfactory items de- 
clined to come up for review. Perhaps, he re- 
flected, dying men, provided they had lived 
clean and run straight, were always accorded 
this privilege. Only the credit side of the ledger 
accompanied them on their journey into the un- 
known. It was a comforting thought. 


... He wondered what she would think when 
she heard about it. In a blue envelope at the 
bottom of his private strong-box they would find 
his will, a primitive document composed in se- 
crecy, and endorsed: "To be opened when I have 
gone out for good." In this he had bequeathed 
all he possessed to "my friend Miss Nina Tallen- 
tyre," be she maid, wife, or widow at the mo- 
ment. Carthew was not a man who loved by 
halves. All that he had was hers, whether she 
needed it or not. Of course she must not be 
made conspicuous in the matter; he had seen to 
that. The bequest was to be quite quiet and un- 
ostentatious. No probate, or notices in the papers, 
or rot of that kind. In the blue envelope was en- 
closed a private letter to his lawyers, dwelling 
on the importance of this point. They were de- 
cent old duffers, that firm, and would understand. 
They would square up any death-duties and 
other legal fakements that were necessary, and 
then pass on the balance to little Nina, to buy her- 
self pretty things with. But no publicity! No 
embarrassment ! 

. . . He fell asleep, and dreamed, from the 
natural perversity of things, of roast beef and 
Yorkshire pudding. 

When he awoke, low voices were conversing 
near him. Farther away he could hear the reg- 
ular breathing of Master Hopper, who, with 


youth's ready amenability to Nature's own an- 
odynes, was slumbering peacefully. 

*'I can weel understand, Mr. Entwistle," ob- 
served Mr. Wilkie in measured tones, "that no 
decent body would like to be seen entering yin o' 
they Episcopalian Kirks — " 

Amos Entwistle's heavy voice agreed. He 
commented with heat upon indulgence in vain 
repetition and other heathen practices favoured 
by the Anglican Community; and related with 
grim relish an anecdote of how his own daughter, 
lured from the Wesleyan fold by the external fas- 
cinations of the new curate, had once privily at- 
tended morning service at the Parish Church — 
to return shocked to the foundations of her be- 
ing, with horrific tales of candles burning on the 
altar in broad daylight and the Lord's Prayer re- 
peated four times in the course of a single service. 

"But what I couldna thole," continued Mr. 
Wilkie, who had been characteristically pursu- 
ing his own line of thought in the mean time, 
" would be no tae belong tae the kirk of the land. 
A Chapel body! I could never endure the dis- 
grace of it." 

Entwistle demurred vigorously. It was no dis- 
grace to be Chapel folks. Sturdy Independents 
were proud to be able to dispense with state- 
aided, spoon-fed religion. Disgrace indeed! Were 
not Mr. Wilkie's qualms on the subject of Dis- 


sent due rather to a hankering after the flesh-pots 

— the loaves and fishes — the — 

"Well, perhaps no exactly a disgrace," contin- 
ued Mr. Wilkie, disregarding the latter innuendo, 
"but a kin' o' stigma, like. Man, it's an awful 
thing tae walk doon the street and meet the 
minister o' the pairish, and him pass by and tak' 
no more notice of ye than if ye were a Plymouth 
Brother or an Original Secessionist. I mind yince 
when I was in a Tyneside pit, I sat under Mr. 
Maconochie — him that gave up a grand kirk in 
Paisley tae tak' a call tae oor wee bit Presbyte- 
rian contraption, Jarrow way. Now, although 
Mr. Maconochie's kirk was my kirk and him oor 
minister, I used tae feel far more uplifted if I got 
a good-day frae the minister o' the English Kirk 

— Golightly, or some sic' name — an Episcopal- 
ian! I canna imagine why, but there it was. I 
doot it was just orthodoxy. He was the minister 
o' the kirk o' the land, and Mr. Maconochie, be- 
ing, for him, on the wrong side of the Boarder, 
was not. Gin I had met yon felly Golightly 
trapesing doon the High Street o' Jedburgh, 
things would hae been gey different; for then — " 

The point at issue, Entwistle's deep, patient 
voice asseverated, was this. Should a man who 
was an Independent allow himself or his bairns to 
have aught to do with Church folk on any pre- 
tence whatever? 


He was answered in the darkness by a third 
voice. Denton, the hewer, — Atkinson, the re- 
tired Salvationist, shovelled and wheeled away 
in a tub what Denton hewed, — had awaked 
from an uneasy sleep, and was listening to the 
conversation. Of all that little band probably he 
was the least prepared to die. He was a drunkard, 
a blasphemer, and an evil liver. But like the rest 
of us, he had his redeeming features. He had 
inspired and kept alive for a period of ten years 
the love of his wife — a feat which many an 
ex-sidesman, buried beneath a mountain of ex- 
pensive masonry, adorned by an epitaph begin- 
ning, "Well done, good and faithful servant!" 
— has signally failed to accomplish. He sat up 

*' Ah niver 'ad nowt to do wi' churches or chap- 
els," he began defiantly. "But ah knaws this. 
When my Maggie were lyin' badly four years 
agone, and us thought she was goin' to die, she 
asked me to go and fetch her pastor — that 's 
what she called him. Ah ran along to his house 
and begged him to come. He said" — the man's 
voice grew thick, and one could almost see his 
sombre eyes glow in the gross darkness — "he 
said he was busy ! There was a swarry that neet 
that 't was his duty to attend, and next day he 
was going off to a political meetin' to protest 
against t' Education Bill, or summat. He said, 


too, that he had enough to do ministerin' to the 
wants o' them that deserved ministerin' to, wi'- 
out comin' to the house o' the hkes o' me. When 
had he last seen me in t' chapel, he would like to 
knaw? Yes, that was what he wanted to knaw! 
He wanted to stand and ask me questions like 
that when my Maggie — ! . . . Ah cursed him, 
and his chapel, and his fat-bellied deacons, till 
Ah were out o' puff with it; then Ah went off 
down the street half -crazed. There Ah runs 
straight into a young feller wi' a soft black hat 
and long legs. He was standing outside t' door 
of his lodgings, smoking a pipe in the dark. He 
was t' curate at t' Parish Church, and when he 
saw I was n't in liquor he asked me what was my 
trouble. I telled him. ' Is that all.'^ ' says he. ' Will 
I do.'^ I *ve just come oft' my day's work, and I 
ain't got nothing to do but amuse mysen now.* 
It were nearly ten o'clock. Well, he comes with 
me, and he sat by my Maggie all the neet through, 
and sent me with a note to a doctor that were a 
friend of his, and only went away himsel' at seven 
o'clock next morning, because he had to get 
shaved and take early servace, or summat. That *s 
all your chapel folk ever done for me, Amos 
Entwistle— " 

"That was a special case, and proves no rules. 
Besides," said Entwistle soberly, "this is no 
time for religious differences. We are in God's 


hands now, and I doubt we shall all be in a place 
soon where there is neither Church nor Chapel." 

"Would it no be best for us all tae keep silence 
for a matter o' ten minutes," suggested Wilkie, 
"and pit up a bit prayer each of his ain, we bein' 
no all of the same way of thinkin' in these mat- 
ters? That gate, wi' so many prayers o' different 
denominations goin' up, yin at least should get 
through the roof of the pit. Are ye agreed, 

"Aye, aye!" said Entwistle. 

The others all murmured assent, save Master 
Hopper, who shrieked out in sudden fear. The 
proximity of death had become instantly and 
dreadfully apparent to him on Mr. Wilkie's sug- 

Carthew reached out and pulled him to his 

"Come over here, by me," he said. 

Master Hopper, greatly soothed, crept close, 
and settled down contentedly enough with an 
arm round Carthew's shoulders. Presently Car- 
thew heard him repeating the Lord's Prayer to 
himself in a low and respectful whisper. 

The silence lasted longer than ten minutes. 
For one thing, the supplicants were exhausted in 
body, soul, and spirit, and their orisons came 
slowly. For another, there was no need to hurry. 
For nearly an hour no one spoke. 


At length some one sat up in the darkness, and 
the voice of Atkinson said : — 

"Mr. Carthew, sir, I think a song of praise 
would hearten us all." 

" I believe it would," said Carthew. He was not 
enamoured of the corybantic hymnology of the 
Salvation Army, but the horror of black darkness 
was beginning to eat into his soul, and he knew 
that the others were probably in the same plight. 
"What shall we sing?" 

"At the meeting where I were saved," said 
Atkinson deferentially, "we concluded worship 
by singing a hymn I have never forgotten since: 
'Hold the Fort!'" 

' "That sounds a good one," said Carthew, 
struggling with an unreasonable sensation of 
being in the chair at a smoking-concert. "Does 
any one else here know 'Hold the Fort'.^^" 

Yes, Entwistle knew it. Master Hopper had 
heard it. Mr. Wilkie had not. He did not hold 
with hymns: even paraphrases were not, in his 
opinion, altogether free from the taint of Popery. 
If it had been one of the Psalms of David, now! 
Still, he would join. Denton knew no hymns, 
but was willing to be instructed in this one. 

Atkinson, trembling with gratification, slowly 
rehearsed the words, the others repeating them 
after him. 

"We will sing it now," he said. 


He raised the tune in a clear tenor. Most 
North-Countrymen are musicians by instinct. 
In a few moments this grim prison was flooded by 
a wave of sonorous melody. The simple, vulgar, 
taking tune swelled up ; the brave homely words 
rang out, putting new heart into every one. One 
and all joyfully realised that there are worse 
ways of going to one's end than singing a battle- 
song composed by Moody and Sankey. With 
drawn white faces upturned to the heaven they 
could not see, they sang on, flinging glorious de- 
fiance into the very teeth of Death — gentleman 
and pitman. Church and Chapel, zealot and in- 

**Last verse again!" commanded Atkinson. 

"Wait a moment!" cried Entwistle, starting 

But no one heard him. The chorus was rolling 
out once more: — 

" Hold the fort, for I am coming — " 

Tap, tap, tap! Scrape, scrape, scrape! Ham- 
mer, hammer, hammer! 

The hymn paused, wavered, and stopped dead 
on the final shout. 

"By God!" screamed a voice — it was Den- 
ton's — "here they are!" 

Carthew, with Hopper's arms tightening con- 
vulsively round him, started up. 


"Is it true?'* he asked hoarsely. 

"Aye! Listen! They have found us. They are 
within a few yards of us," said Entwistle. 

"Praise God, from whom all blessings flow!" 
sang Atkinson, and the others joined him. 

Entwistle was right. Reasoned calculation, 
dogged persistence, and blind indifference to 
their own safety had brought the search party 
triumphantly along the mouldering, rickety 
passages of Shawcliffe Pit to the nearest point of 
contact with Number Three in Belton ; and 
"Hold the Fort!" proceeding fortissimo from a 
subterranean cave of harmony not many yards 
away, had done the rest. 



It was night once more, and the great arc lights 
snapped and sizzled above the waste-heaps and 
truck-lines surrounding the head of Belton Pit. 
But the scene was deserted. The centre of interest 
had shifted to Shawcliffe, a mile away. Here a 
vast silent throng of human beings stood expect- 
antly in groups, their faces illuminated by the 
naphtha flares which had been erected here and 
there about the long-abandoned pit-head. 

There was news — tense, thrilling news — and 
the prospect of more. The ancient shaft had 
been opened and a bucket and tackle rigged, — 
there was no time to ship a cage, — and a search 
party had gone down at dusk. Word had shortly 
been sent up that the road to the south was still 
open, though the air was foul and the props rick- 
ety. Then came a frantic tug at the rope, and a 
messenger was hauled to the surface, crying aloud 
that men were alive in Belton Pit. It was hoped, 
he added, that the search party would reach 
them by midnight, for the dividing-wall was sur- 
prisingly thin. Sir John Carr's order was that 
blankets and stretchers should be prepared; also 


food and medical comforts, for the prisoners had 
fasted for something Hke sixty hours. With that 
the messenger had dived below once more, and 
the game of patience was resumed. 

It was past midnight now, and everything 
was in readiness. On the outskirts of the throng, 
at the side of the rough and lumpy road, stood a 
motor-car, with two occupants — women. One 
of them was her ladyship; the other the specta- 
tors failed to recognise. But there were rumours 
about to the effect that she was a visitor to 
Belton, recently arrived from London. Lady 
Carr had been seen meeting her at the station 
that afternoon. 

The stranger's name, had it been told, would 
not have conveyed much information to the 
watchers. It was Nina Tallentyre. 

There was a sudden swirl and heave in the 
crowd. The hand-turned windlass was at work 
again, and some one was being hauled slowly up 
the shaft. It was Mr. Walker, the manager. 

They made a lane for him, until he reached a 
convenient rostrum formed by an inverted and 
rusty truck. This he mounted, and very briefly 
told them the news — news which made them 
laugh foolishly and sob by turns. There was no 
cheering: they were past that. 

In the excitement, the next man who followed 
him up the shaft passed unnoticed. It was Sir 


John Carr. He saw the hooded motor standing 
apart, Mr. Vick sitting motionless at the wheel. 
Next moment he was in beside the two women, 
overalls and all, holding Daphne's two hands in 
a single grimy fist and telling them what we 
know already. 

*' Is he 'perfectly safe.'* " asked Nina for the tenth 
time. She did not possess Daphne's aristocratic 
composure under critical circumstances. 

"Yes — but very weak. I am sending him up 
second. The first is a pit-boy. When Carthew 
arrives, you had better put him in the motor and 
take him straight home." 

"Jack!" said Daphne. 

She slipped out of the car and accompanied 
her husband into the darkness outside the radius 
of flaring lights. 

'Are you going down again?" she asked. 

'And when are you coming up?" 

The unflinching courage that upholds so many 
women in the face of danger had never failed 
Daphne during those long days and nights. But 
now the courage was receding with the danger. 

Juggernaut smiled. 

"When would you have me come up?" he 

"Last," said Daphne, suddenly proud. "It is 
the only place for you. I will wait here. Nina 




can take her Jim home, and the car can come 
back later for you and me . . . Jack!" 

Her husband turned and regarded her curi- 
ously. Their eyes met. 

"Well?" he said. 

"Jack," continued Daphne in a low voice, *'is 
there much risk down there — for you, I mean? " 

"There is always risk, of a sort, down a coal- 
pit," replied her husband pontifically. "A little 
explosive marsh-gas, or a handful of finely di- 
vided coal-dust lying in a cranny, might sud- 
denly assert itself. Still, there are risks every- 
where. One might be struck down by apoplexy 
at a vestry meeting." 

Daphne gave his arm a squeeze, an ingratiating, 
childish squeeze, suggestive of the Daphne of old 
negotiating for extension of dress-allowance. 

"Jack, stay up here! You have done enough." 

^^Post me, Satanella!" smiled her husband. 
Then, more seriously: " Daphne, if I came to you 
and asked for orders now, where would you send 
me, I being what I am — the proprietor of the 
pit — and you being what you are — the pro- 
prietress of my good name?" 

Daphne's fit had passed. 

I should send you," she answered bravely, 
down the shaft, with orders to stay there until 
every one else was safely out." 

I obey," said Juggernaut. "Au revoir!" 



"Jack!" said Daphne faintly. Her face was 

"It will be a coaly one!" said her husband, 

Then came an accusation. 

"Daphne, you are trembling! This is not up 
to your usual standard." 

"I can't help it," said Daphne miserably. "I 
am a coward. But I don't mind," she added, 
more cheerfully, "so long as no one else knows. 
You won't give me away!" 

At that. Juggernaut held her to him a moment 

"Daphne, my wife," he whispered suddenly — 
"thank God for you — at last!" 

Then they fell apart, and she ran lightly back 
to the motor and Nina. 

Once she turned and looked over her shoulder, 
waving her hand prettily. Her face, framed in a 
motor-bonnet and lit by the glare of a naphtha 
light, looked absurdly round and childish, just as 
it had done upon a dim and distant morning in 
Snayling Church. 

It was the last time in his life that her husband 
was ever to behold it. 

Master Hopper, partially restored by brandy 
and meat-juice, and feeling on the whole some- 
thing of a hero, arrived at the pit-head an hour 


later, there to be claimed by his mother and hus- 
tled off, by more willing hands than he could 
comfortably accommodate, home to bed. The 
bucket, which provided standing-room for two 
passengers, then went down again. 

This time it brought up Mr. Walker, holding 
a supporting arm round Carthew — a sick man, 
indeed. He was less hardened to subterranean 
existence than the rest. Sympathetic murmurs 
arose. The bucket was swung out from beneath 
the pulley and landed gently on the edge of the 
shaft. Carthew stepped out, and stood swaying 

A tall girl came suddenly forward. 

"Jim, dear!" was all she said. 

Carthew surveyed her, and smiled weakly. 

"Hallo, Nina! That you?" 

Miss Tallentyre took his arm. 

"The car is waiting for you," she said. "Lean 
on me hard, old boy!" 

And certainly no more desirable prop than 
this girl, with her splendid youth and glorious 
vitality, was ever offered to a weary mortal. Car- 
thew, dazed, but utterly content, put a feeble 
arm round the slim shoulders of the woman 
whose mere hand he had hitherto counted it 
heaven to touch, and the pair passed together 
out of the crowd — and out of this narrative. 
Happiness has no history. 


Others were coming up the shaft now. First, 
Mr. Wilkie, in a very fair state of preservation; 
then Denton, the reprobate, insensible — his 
hands were in tatters, so fiercely had he worked ; 
then Atkinson, still sheer drunk with the success 
of his own hymnology ; then Amos Entwistle. 

Denton's huge inanimate form was laid on a 
stretcher, to be carried home under the direc- 
tion of his wife. (The wives of Renwick and 
Davies, poor souls, had gone home long ago.) 
But, the Belton Hall motor returning on that in- 
stant. Lady Carr insisted on carrying husband 
and wife home together. The rush through the 
night air brought Denton round, and he was able 
to walk into his own house, leaning undeservedly 
upon the most uplifted little woman in the North 
of England. 

Daphne returned to the pit-head for the last 
time. The rescue work was completed. Surely 
she might claim him now! 

No, the block and tackle were not working. 
No one was coming up at present. Only round 
the shaft a knot of men conferred eagerly. She 
would wait in the car. 

She lay back, wrapped in a rug, — a cold dawn 
was breaking, — and closed her eyes. The rush 
and excitement of the three days had told upon 
her. She had no clear recollection of having slept 
for any length of time or eaten at any definite 


period. She had done work among stricken wives 
and mothers that Belton Village would never for- 
get, but she had not realised this. All her head 
and heart were filled by the mighty knowledge 
that after five years of married life she and her 
husband had found one another. 

Meanwhile there was silence round the pit- 

"Vick," said Daphne, suddenly fearful, **go 
and find Mr. Walker, or some one, and ask when 
Sir John will be up." 

Mr. Vick, who had been dozing comfortably 
at his wheel, clambered down into the muddy 
road and departed as bidden. Ten minutes later 
he returned, falteringly. 

*' Mr. Walker had just gone down the pit again, 
my lady," he said. "There has been a slight ex- 
plosion of coal-dust, I was to tell you. Nothing 
serious — just a flash and a spit in a holler place 
in the roof, the message said." 

"Is Sir John down there.'^" Cold fear gripped 
Daphne's heart. 

"Yes, my lady." 

"Is he safe, do you know?" 

"I could n't say, my lady," replied Vick dog- 
gedly. "I'll enquire." 

He turned away, glad to escape, with the brisk 
demeanour of one anxious to investigate matters. 
But before he reached the pit-head the answer to 


all possible enquiries came to meet him, in the 
form of a slow-moving procession carrying some- 
thing in its midst. 

Very gently the bearers laid the stretcher on 
the grass by the roadside. Daphne, white, silent, 
but composed, stooped down, and turned back 
the blanket which covered her husband's face. 
He lay very still. His head and eyes were roughly 
bandaged. Daphne whispered, so low that none 
other could hear : — 

"Jack — my Jack!" 

His voice answered hers, from amid the band- 
ages — faint, but imperturbably as ever. 

*'I'm all right, dear. Afraid it has got me in 
the eyes a bit, though. Take me home, wife of 
mine! You will have to lead me about with a 
string, now!" 

Daphne's head sank lower still, and she whis- 
pered, almost contentedly: — 

*'At last, I can really be of some use to you." 



"Brian Vereker Carr," enquires a voice, 
"what time is it?" 

"Half -past four, sir," replies the same voice 
respectfully. *'In twenty minutes" — in a more 
truculent tone — "y^^ will have to go upstairs 
and get ready for tea. You will have to wash your 
hands — and your face too, I expect," adds the 
voice bitterly. 

Thus at the age of eight does Master Brian 
Vereker Carr commune with himself — a habit 
acquired during an infancy spent in a large nurs- 
ery where there was no one else to talk to. The 
necessity for this form of duologue no longer ex- 
ists, for now a sister shares the nursery with him, 
— Brian lives in dread of the day when she shall 
discover that her manly brother not only owned 
but once rejoiced in the great doll's house in the 
corner by the fireplace, — but the habit remains. 
Besides, Miss Carr is only four years old, and 
gentlemen who have w^orn knickerbockers for 
years find it difficult to unbend towards their ex- 
treme juniors to any great extent. Hence Master 
Brian still confers aloofly with himself, even in 


the presence of adults. There are touches of 
Uncle Anthony Cuthbert about Brian. 

At present he is inadequately filling a large 
armchair in front of the library fire at Belton. 
The fire is the sole illuminant of the room. The 
curtains are closely drawn, for it is a cold winter 
evening. Brian Vereker continues his observa- 
tions, now approaching an artistic climax. 

"If you go upstairs promptly and obediently, 
like a good boy, what do you think mother will 
give you.'^" enquires voice number one. 

"Chocolates!" replies number two, with an 
inflection of tone which implies that it will be 
playing the game pretty low down if mother does 

The owner of both voices then turns an appeal- 
ing pair of brown eyes upon Daphne, who is sit- 
ting on the other side of the fireplace, engaged in 
the task of amusing her four-year-old daughter. 

"We'll see,'* she replies, after the immemorial 
practice of mother. . . . "And suddenly," she 
continues to the impatient auditor on her lap, 
"his furry skin fell away, and his great teeth 
disappeared, and he stood up there straight and 
beautiful in shining armour. He was a fairy 
prince, after all ! Brian, dear, tumble out of that 
armchair. Here is Dad." 

Daphne must have quick ears, for a full half- 
minute elapses before the door opens and a figure 


appears in the dim light at the end of the room. 
Apparently the darkness does not trouble him, 
for he circumnavigates a round table and a re- 
volving bookcase without hesitation, and finally 
drops into the armchair recently vacated by his 

"Brian Vereker Carr," enquires a small and 
respectful voice at his elbow, "do you think Dad 
will play with you to-night?" 

"I am sure he will," comes a confident reply 
from the same quarter, "if you give him two 
minutes to light his pipe in, and refrain from un- 
seemly demon — demonstrations of affection in 
the mean while." 

"It's a hard world for parents," grumbles 
Juggernaut, getting up. "Where is my tobacco- 

His hand falls upon the corner of the mantel- 
piece, but finds nothing there but a framed photo- 
graph of a sunburned young man on a polo-pony 
— Uncle Ally, to be precise. 

"Now where on earth is that pouch? I know 
I left it on the left-hand end of the mantelpiece 
after lunch." 

There is a shriek of delight at this from Brian, 
in which Miss Carr joins, for the great daily joke 
of the Carr family is now being enacted. 

"Where can it be?" wails Juggernaut. "Under 
the hearthrug, perhaps? No, not there! In the 


blotting-pad? No, not there! I know! I expect 
it is behind the coal-box." 

Surprising as it may appear, his surmise proves 
to be correct; and the triumphant discovery of 
the missing property scores a dramatic success 
which no repetition seems able to stale. (This is 
about the fiftieth night of the run of the piece.) 

Presently the pipe is filled and lit, Master 
Carr being permitted to kindle the match and 
Miss Carr to blow it out, the latter feat only be- 
ing accomplished by much expenditure of breath 
and a surreptitious puff from behind her shoulder, 
contributed by an agency unknown. 

"Now, Brian, young fellow," announces Jug- 
gernaut, "I will play for ten minutes. Let me 
speak to the sister first, though." 

He lifts his daughter, whom he has never seen, 
from her mother's knee, and exchanges a few 
whole-hearted confidences with her upon the sub- 
ject of her recreations, conduct, dolls, health, and 
outlook on life in general. Then he restores her, 
and shouts: — 

"Come on, Brian Boroo!" 

There is a responsive shriek from his son, and 
the game begins. It is not every boy, Master 
Brian proudly reflects as he crawls on all fours 
beneath a writing-table, who can play at blind 
man's buff with a real blind man! 

Daphne leans back in her chair and surveys 


her male belongings restfully. Time was when 
this husband of hers, at present eluding obsta- 
cles with uncanny facility and listening intently, 
with the youthful zest of a boy -scout, for the ex- 
cited breathing of his quarry, found life a less hil- 
arious business. There rises before her the pic- 
ture of a man led from room to room, steered 
round corners, dressed like a child, fed like a baby 
— shattered, groping, gaunt, but pathetically and 
doggedly cheerful. Neither Daphne nor her hus- 
band ever speak of that time now. Not that she 
regrets it: womanlike, she sometimes feels sorry 
it is over, and gone. She was of real use to her 
man in those days. Now he seems to be growing 
independent of her again. Then she smiles com- 
fortably, for she knows that all fears on that 
score are groundless. He is hers, body and soul. 
And she — 

; 'A small, unclean, and insistent hand is tugging 
at her skirt, and Miss Carr, swaying unsteadily 
beneath the burden of a bulky and tattered vol- 
ume, claims her attention. 

"Show me pictures," she commands. 

She and her tome are hoisted up, and the ex- 
position begins. 

"Where did you find this book, Beloved?" en- 
quires Daphne. The book is an ancient copy of 
the Pilgrim'' s Progress, and we have encountered 
it once before in this narrative. 


"Over there," replies Beloved, indicating the 
bottom shelf of a bookcase with a pudgy thumb 
— "under ze Gwaphics. What'sze name of that 

To Miss Carr, distinctions of caste are as yet 
unknown. In her eyes every member of the op- 
posite sex, from the alien who calls on Thursdays 
with a hurdy-gurdy to the knight-in-armour who 
keeps eternal vigil in the outer hall, is a "gentle- 
man." Even if you are emitting flames from your 
stomach, as in the present instance, you are not 
debarred from the title. 

Daphne surveys the picture in a reminiscent 
fashion, and her thoughts go back to a distant 
Sunday morning at the Rectory, with her 
youngest brother kneeling on the floor endeav- 
ouring to verify a pictorial reference in this very 

"What is he doin' to the other genelman.^^'* 
continues the searcher after knowledge upon her 
knee, in a concerned voice. 

"He is trying to hurt him, dear." 

"What f or .^" 

So the inexorable, immemorial catechism goes 
on, to be answered with infinite patience and sur- 
prising resource. Presently the cycle of enquiry 
completes itself, and the original question crops 
out once more. 

"What did you say was ze name of that genel- 


man?" — with a puckered, frowning effort at 

"Apollyon, dear." 

*'0h! " Then the enquirer strikes a fresh note. 
"Do you know him?" 

"I used to," repKes Daphne. "At least," she 
adds, "I used to know some one who I thought 
was Hke him. But his name turned out not to be 
Apollyon after all." 

"What was his name, then — his real name?" 
pursues Miss Carr. 

Daphne turns to another illustration, coming 
much later in the book, and surveys it with shin- 
ing eyes. 

"His real name, Beloved?" she asks. 

"Yes. Whatwa^it?" 

*Mr. Greatheart," says Daphne softly. 




This book is DUE on the last date stamped below 

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