Part 4 out of 5
The Baron tugged at his mustache and frowned.
"She vill not do for Tollyvoddle," he said to himself.
But the next instant a glance from Eva's brilliant
eyes--a glance so reproachful, so appealing, and so
stimulating, that there was no resisting it--diverted
his reflections into quite another channel.
"Vat can I do to prove zat I am so friendly as
ever?" he exclaimed.
"So FRIENDLY?" she repeated, with an innocently
"So vary parteecularly friendly!"
Her air relented a little--just enough, in fact, to
make him ardently desire to see it relent still further.
"You promise things to me, and then do them for
other people's benefit."
The Baron eagerly demanded a fuller statement of
this abominable charge.
"Well," she said, "you told me twenty times you
would show me something really Highland--that you'd
kill a deer by torchlight, or hold a gathering of the
clans upon the castle lawn. All sorts of things you
offered to do for me, and the only thing you have done
has been for the sake of your NEW friends! You gave
THEM a procession and a dance."
"But you did see it too!" he interrupted eagerly.
"As part of your procession," she retorted scornfully.
"We felt much obliged to you--especially as
you were so attentive to us afterwards!"
"I did not mean to leave you," exclaimed the Baron
weakly. "It was jost zat Miss Maddison----"
"I am not interested in Miss Maddison. No doubt
she is very charming; but, really, she doesn't interest
me at all. You were unavoidably prevented from talking
to us--that is quite sufficient for me. I excuse
you, Lord Tulliwuddle. Only, please, don't make me
any more promises."
"Eva! Ach, I most say 'Eva' jost vunce more!
I am going to leave my castle, to leave you, and say
She started and looked quickly at him.
"Bot before I go I shall keep my promise! Ve shall
have ze pipers, and ze kilts, and ze dancing, and toss
ze caber, and fling ze hammer, and it shall be on ze
castle lawn, and all for your sake! Vill you not forgive
me and be friends?"
"Will it really be all for my sake?"
She spoke incredulously, yet looked as if she were
willing to be convinced.
"I swear it vill!"
The latter part of this interview was so much more
agreeable than the beginning that when the distant
rumble of the luncheon gong brought it to an end at
last they sighed, and for fully half a minute lingered
still in silence. If one may dare to express in crude
language a maiden's unspoken, formless thought, Eva's
might be read--"There is yet a moment left for him
to say the three short words that seem to hang upon
his tongue!" While on his part he was reflecting that
he had another duologue arranged for that very afternoon,
and that, for the simultaneous suitor of two
ladies, an open mind was almost indispensable.
"Then you are going for a drive with the Count
Bunker this afternoon?" she asked, as they strolled
slowly towards the house.
"For a leetle tour in my estate," he answered easily.
"On business, I suppose?"
"Yes, vorse luck!"
He knew not whether to feel more relieved or
embarrassed to find that he evidently rose in her
estimation as a conscientious landlord.
. . . . . .
"You are having a capital day's sport, Baron," said
the Count gaily, as they drew near Lincoln Lodge.
During their drive the Baron had remained unusually
silent. He now roused himself and said in a
"Bonker, vill you please to give ze coachman some
money not to say jost vere he did drive us."
"I have done so," smiled the Count.
His friend gratefully grasped his hand and curled
his mustache with an emboldened air.
A similar display of address on the part of Count
Bunker resulted in the Baron's finding himself some ten
minutes later alone with Miss Maddison in her sanctuary.
But, to his great surprise, he was greeted with
none of the encouraging cordiality that had so charmed
him yesterday. The lady was brief in her responses,
critical in her tone, and evidently disposed to quarrel
with her admirer on some ground at present entirely
mysterious. Indeed, so discouraging was she that at
length he exclaimed--
"Tell me, Miss Maddison--I should not have gom
to-day? You did not vish to see me. Eh?"
"I certainly was perfectly comfortable without you,
Lord Tulliwuddle," said the heiress tartly.
"Shall I go avay?"
"You have come here entirely for your own pleasure;
and the moment you begin to feel tired there is
nothing to hinder you going home again."
"You vere more kind to me yesterday," said the
"I did not learn till after you had gone how much
I was to blame for keeping you so long away from
your friends. Please do not think I shall repeat the
There was an accent on the word "friends" that
enlightened the bewildered nobleman, even though quickness
in taking a hint was not his most conspicuous
attribute. That the voice of gossip had reached the
fair American was only too evident; but though
considerably annoyed, he could not help feeling at the
same time flattered to see the concern he was able to
"My friends!" said he with amorous artfulness.
"Do you mean Count Bunker? He is ze only FRIEND
I have here mit me."
"The ONLY friend? Indeed!"
"Zat is since I see you vill not treat me as soch."
Upon these lines a pretty little passage-of-arms
ensued, the Baron employing with considerable effect the
various blandishments of which he was admitted a past
master; the heiress modifying her resentment by degrees
under their insidious influence. Still she would
not entirely quit her troublesome position, till at last
a happy inspiration came to reinforce his assaults.
Why, he reflected, should an entertainment that would
require a considerable outlay of money and trouble
serve to win the affections of only one girl? With the
same espenditure of ammunition it might be possible
to double the bag.
"Miss Maddison," he said with a regretful air, "I
did come here to-day in ze hope----But ach!"
So happily had he succeeded in whetting her curiosity
that she begged--nay, insisted--that he should
finish his sentence.
"If you had been kind I did hope zat you vould
allow me to give in your honor an entertainment at
"An entertainment!" she cried, with a marked
increase of interest.
"Jost a leetle EXPOSITION of ze Highland sport, mit
bagpipes and caber and so forth; unvorthy of your
notice perhaps, bot ze best I can do."
Eleanor clapped her hands enthusiastically.
"I should just love it!"
The triumphant diplomatist smiled complacently.
"Bonker vill arrange it all nicely," he said to
And there rose in his fancy such a pleasing and
gorgeous picture of himself in the panoply of the
North, hurling a hammer skywards amidst the plaudits
of his clan and the ravished murmurs of the ladies,
that he could not but congratulate himself upon this
last master-stroke of policy. For if instead of ladies
there were only one lady, exactly half the pleasure
would be lacking. So generous were this nobleman's
During their drive to Lincoln Lodge the Baron had
hesitated to broach his new project to his friend for
the very reason that, after the glow of his first enthusiastic
proposal to Eva was over, it seemed to him a
vast undertaking for a limited object; but driving
home he lost no time in confiding his scheme to the
"The deuce!" cried Bunker. "That will mean
three more days here at least!"
"Vat is tree days, mine Bonker?"
"My dear Baron, I am the last man in the world to
drop an unpleasant hint; yet I can't help thinking we
have been so unconscionably lucky up till now that it
would be wise to retire before an accident befalls us."
"Vat kind of accident?"
"The kind that may happen to the best regulated
The Baron pondered. When Bunker suggested caution
it indeed seemed time to beat a retreat; yet--
those two charming ladies, and that alluring tartan
"Ach, let ze devil take ze man zat is afraid!" he
exclaimed at last. "Bonker, it vill be soch fun!"
"Watching you complete two conquests?"
"Be not impatient, good Bonker!"
"My dear fellow, if you could find me one girl--
even one would content me--who would condescend to
turn her eyes from the dazzling spectacle of Baron
Tulliwuddle, and cast them for so much as half an hour
a day upon his obscure companion, I might see some
fun in it too."
The Baron, with an air of patronizing kindness that
made his fellow-adventurer's lot none the easier to bear,
"Bot I shall leave all ze preparations to be made by
you; you vill not have time zen to feel lonely."
"Thank you, Baron; you have the knack of conferring
the most princely favors."
"Ach, I am used to do so," said the Baron simply,
and then burst out eagerly, "Some feat you must
design for me at ze sports so zat I can show zem my
"With the caber, for instance?"
The Baron had seen the caber tossed, and he shook
"He is too big."
"I might fit a strong spring in one end."
But the Baron still seemed disinclined. His friend
reflected, and then suddenly exclaimed--
"The village doctor keeps some chemical apparatus,
I believe! You'll throw the hammer, Baron. I can
The Baron appeared mystified by the juxtaposition
of ideas, but serenely expressed himself as ready to
entrust this and all other arrangements for the Hechnahoul
Gathering to the ingenious Count, as some small
compensation for so conspicuously outshining him.
The day of the Gathering broke gray and still,
and the Baron, who was no weather prophet,
"It vill rain. Donnerwetter!"
A couple of hours later the sun was out, and the
distant hills shimmering in the heat haze.
"Himmel! Ve are alvays lucky, Bonker!" he cried,
and with gleeful energy brandished his dumb-bells in
final preparation for his muscular exploits.
"We certainly have escaped hanging so far," said
the Count, as he drew on the trews which became his
well-turned leg so happily.
His arrangements were admirable and complete, and
by twelve o'clock the castle lawn looked as barbarically
gay as the colored supplement to an illustrated paper.
Pipes were skirling, skirts fluttering, flags flapping;
and as invitations had been issued to various magnates
in the district, whether acquainted with the present
peer or not, there were to be seen quite a number of
dignified personages in divers shades of tartan, and
parasols of all the hues in the rainbow. The Baron
was in his element. He judged the bagpipe competition
himself, and held one end of the tape that measured
the jumps, besides delighting the whole assembled
company by his affability and good spirits.
"Your performance comes next, I see," said Eleanor
Maddison, throwing him her brightest smile. "I can't
tell you how I am looking forward to seeing you do it!"
The Baron started and looked at the programme in
her hand. He had been too excited to study it carefully
before, and now for the first time he saw the
announcement (in large type)--
"7. Lord Tulliwuddle throws the 85-lb. hammer."
The sixth event was nearly through, and there--
there evidently was the hammer in question being carried
into the ring by no fewer than three stalwart
Highlanders! The Baron had learned enough of the
pastimes of his adopted country to be aware that this
gigantic weapon was something like four times as
heavy as any hammer hitherto thrown by the hardiest
"Teufel! Bonker vill make a fool of me," he
muttered, and hastily bursting from the circle of
spectators, hurried towards the Count, who appeared to be
busied in keeping the curious away from the Chieftain's
"Bonker, vat means zis?" he demanded.
"Your hammer," smiled the Count.
"A hammer zat takes tree men----"
"Hush!" whispered the Count. "They are only
holding it down!"
The Baron laid his hand upon the round enormous
head, and started.
"It is not iron!" he gasped. "It is of rubber."
"Filled with hydrogen," breathed the Count in his
ear. "Just swing it once and let go--and, I say, mind
it doesn't carry you away with it."
The chief bared his arms and seized the handle; his
three clansmen let go; and then, with what seemed to
the breathless spectators to be a merely trifling effort
of strength, he dismissed the projectile upon the most
astounding journey ever seen even in that land of
brawny hammer-hurlers. Up, up, up it soared, over
the trees; high above the topmost turret of the castle,
and still on and on and ever upwards till it became a
mere speck in the zenith, and at last faded utterly from
Then, and not till then, did the pent-up applause
break out into such a roar of cheering as Hechnahoul
had never heard before in all its long history.
"Eighty-five pounds of pig-iron gone straight to
heaven!" gasped the Silver King. "Guess that beats
"America must wake up!" frowned Ri.
Meanwhile the Baron, after bowing in turn towards
all points of the compass, turned confidentially to his
"Vill not ze men that carried it----?"
"I've told 'em you'd give 'em a couple of sovereigns
The Baron came from an economical nation.
"Two to each!"
"My dear fellow, wasn't it worth it?"
The Baron grasped his hand.
"Ja, mine Bonker, it vas! I vill pay zem."
Radiant and smiling, he returned to receive the
congratulations of his guests, dreaming that his triumph
was complete, and that nothing more arduous remained
than pleasant dalliance alternately with his Eleanor
and his Eva. But he speedily discovered that hurling
an inflated hammer heavenwards was child's play as
compared with the simultaneous negotiation of a double
wooing. The first person to address him was the millionaire,
and he could not but feel a shiver of apprehension
to note that he was evidently in the midst of a
conversation with Mr. Gallosh.
"I must congratulate you, Lord Tulliwuddle," said
Mr. Maddison, "and I must further congratulate my
daughter upon the almost miraculous feat you have
performed for her benefit. You know, I dare say"
--here he turned to Mr. Gallosh--"that this very
delightful entertainment was given primarily in my
"Whut!" exclaimed the merchant. "That's--eh--
that's scarcely the fac's as we've learned them. But
his lordship will be able to tell you best himself."
His lordship smiled affably upon both, murmured
something incoherent, and passed on hastily towards
the scarlet parasol of Eleanor. But he had no sooner
reached it than he paused and would have turned had
she not seen him, for under a blue parasol beside her
he espied, too late, the fair face of Eva, and too clearly
perceived that the happy maidens had been comparing
notes, with the result that neither looked very happy
"I hope you do enjoy ze sports," he began, endeavoring
to distribute this wish as equally as possible.
"Miss Gallosh has been remarkably fortunate in her
weather," said Eleanor, and therewith gave him an
uninterrupted view of her sunshade.
"Miss Maddison has seen you to great advantage,
Lord Tulliwuddle," said Eva, affording him the next
instant a similar prospect of silk.
The unfortunate chief recoiled from this ungrateful
reception of his kindness. Only one refuge, one mediator,
he instinctively looked for; but where could the
Count have gone?
"Himmel! Has he deserted me?" he muttered,
frantically elbowing his way in search of him.
But this once it happened that the Count was
engaged upon business of his own. Strolling outside the
ring of spectators, with a view to enjoying a cigar and
a little relaxation from the anxieties of stage-management,
his attention had been arrested in a singular and
flattering way. At that place where he happened to be
passing stood an open carriage containing a girl and
an older lady, evidently guests from the neighborhood
personally unknown to his lordship, and just as he went
by he heard pronounced in a thrilling whisper--"THAT
must be Count Bunker!"
The Count was too well-bred to turn at once, but
it is hardly necessary to say that a few moments later
he casually repassed the carriage; nor will it astonish
any who have been kind enough to follow his previous
career with some degree of attention to learn that when
opposite the ladies he paused, looked from them to the
enclosure and back again, and presently raising his
feathered bonnet, said in the most ingratiating tones--
"Pardon me, but I am requested by Lord Tulliwuddle
to show any attention I can to the comfort of
his guests. Can you see well from where you are?"
The younger lady with an eager air assured him that
they saw perfectly, and even in the course of the three
or four sentences she spoke he was able to come to
several conclusions regarding her: that her companion
was in a subsidiary and doubtless salaried position; that
she herself was decidedly attractive to look upon;
that her voice had spoken the whispered words; and
that her present animated air might safely be attributed
rather to the fact that she addressed Count Bunker
than to the subject-matter of her reply.
No one possessed in a higher degree than the Count
the nice art of erecting a whole conversation upon the
foundation of the lightest phrase. He contrived a
reply to the lady's answer, was able to put the most
natural question next, to follow that with a happy
stroke of wit, and within three minutes to make it
seem the most obvious thing in the world that he should
"I am sure that Lord Tulliwuddle will never forgive
me if I fail to learn the names of any visitors who have
honored him to-day."
"Mine," said the girl, her color rising slightly, but
her glance as kind as ever, "is Julia Wallingford.
This is my friend Miss Minchell."
The Count bowed.
"And may I introduce myself as a friend of Tulliwuddle's,
answering to the name of Count Bunker."
Again Miss Wallingford's color rose. In a low and
ardent voice she began
"I am so glad to meet you! Your name is
But at that instant, when the Count was bending
forward to catch the words and the lady bending down
to utter them, a hand grasped him by the sleeve, and
the Baron's voice exclaimed
"Come, Bonker, quickly here to help me!"
He would fain have presented his lordship to the
ladies, but the Baron was too hurried to pause, and
with a parting bow he was reluctantly borne off to
assist his friend out of his latest dilemma.
"Pooh, my dear Baron!" he cried, when the
situation was explained to him; "you couldn't have done
more damage to their hearts if you had hurled your
hammer at them! A touch of jealousy was all that
was needed to complete your conquests. But for me
you have spoiled the most promising affair imaginable.
There goes their carriage trotting down the drive!
And I shall probably never know whether my name
was already in her heart or in her prayers. Those are
the two chief receptacles for gentlemen's names, I
believe--aren't they, Baron?"
On his advice the rival families were left to the
soothing influences of a good dinner and a night's
sleep, and he found himself free to ponder over his
"Undoubtedly one feels all the better for a little
appreciation," he reflected complacently. "I wonder
if it was my trews that bowled her over?"
The Count next morning consumed a solitary
breakfast, his noble friend having risen some
hours previously and gone for an early walk
upon the hill. But he was far from feeling
any trace of boredom, since an open letter beside his
plate appeared to provide him with an ample fund of
pleasant and entertaining reflections.
"I have not withered yet," he said to himself.
"Here is proof positive that some blossom, some aroma
The precise terms of this encouraging epistle were
"THE LASH, near NETHERBRIG.
"DEAR COUNT BUNKER,--Forgive what must seem to
you INCREDIBLE boldness (!), and do not think worse of
me than I deserve. It seems such a pity that you should
be so near and yet that I should lose this chance of
gratifying my great desire. If you knew how I prized
the name of Bunker you would understand; but no doubt
I am only one among many, and you do understand
better than I can explain.
"My father is away from home, and the WORLD dictates
prudence; but I know your views on conventionality
are those I too have learned to share, so will you
come and see me before you leave Scotland?
"With kindest regards and in great haste because
I want you to get this to-morrow morning. Believe me,
yours very sincerely,
"P.S.--If it would upset your arrangements to come
only for the day, Miss Minchell agrees with me that
we could easily put you up.--J. W."
"By Jingo!" mused the Count, "that's what I call
a sporting offer. Her father away from home, and
Count Bunker understanding better than she can explain!
Gad, it's my duty to go!"
But besides the engaging cordiality of Miss Wallingford's
invitation, there was something about the letter
that puzzled almost as much as it cheered him.
"She prizes the name of Bunker, does she? Never
struck me it was very ornamental; and in any case the
compliment seems a trifle stretched. But, hang it! this
is looking a gift-horse in the mouth. Such ardor deserves
to be embraced, not dissected."
He swiftly debated how best to gratify the lady.
Last night it had been his own counsel, and likewise the
Baron's desire, to leave by the night mail that very
evening, with their laurels still unfaded and blessings
heaped upon their heads. Why not make his next stage
"Hang it, the Baron has had such a good innings
that he can scarcely grudge me a short knock," he said
to himself. "He can wait for me at Perth or
And, ringing the bell, he wrote and promptly
despatched this brief telegram:
"Delighted. Shall spend to-night in passing. Bunker."
Hardly was this point settled when the footman re-
entered to inform him that Mr. Maddison's motor car
was at the door waiting to convey him without delay
to Lincoln Lodge. Accompanying this announcement
came the Silver King's card bearing the words, "Please
come and see me at once."
The Count stroked his chin, and lit a cigarette.
"There is something fresh in the wind," thought he.
In the course of his forty-miles-an-hour rush through
the odors of pine woods, he had time to come to a pretty
correct conclusion regarding the business before him,
and was thus enabled to adopt the mien most suitable
to the contingency when he found himself ushered into
the presence of the millionaire and his son. The set
look upon their faces, the ceremonious manner of their
greeting, and the low buzzing of the phonograph, audible
above the tinkle of a musical box ingeniously
intended to drown it, confirmed his guess even before a
word had passed.
"Be seated, Count," said the Silver King; and the
"Now, sir," he continued, "I have sent for you,
owing, sir, to the high opinion I have formed of your
intelligence and business capabilities."
The Count bowed profoundly.
"Yes, sir, I believe, and my son believes, you to be a
white man, even though you are a Count."
"That is so," said Ri.
"Now, sir, you must be aware--in fact, you ARE
aware--of the matrimonial project once entertained
between my daughter and Lord Tulliwuddle."
"Once!" exclaimed the Count in protest.
"ONCE!" echoed Ri in his deepest voice.
"Hish, Ri! Let your poppa do the talking this
time," said the millionaire sternly, though with an
"But--er--ONCE?" repeated the Count, as if bewildered
by the past tense implied; though to himself he
murmured--"I knew it!"
"When I gave my sanction to Lord Tulliwuddle's
proposition, I did so under the impression that I was
doing a deal with a man, sir, of integrity and honor.
But what do I find?"
"Yes, what?" thundered Ri.
"I find, sir, that his darned my-lordship--and be
damned to his titles----"
"Mr. Maddison!" expostulated the Count gently.
"I find, Count, I find that Lord Tulliwuddle, under
pretext of paying my Eleanor a compliment, has provided
an entertainment--a musical and athletic entertainment--
for another woman!"
The Count sprang to his feet.
"Impossible!" he cried.
"It is true!"
"She answers, sir, to the plebeian cognomen of Gallosh."
"A nobody!" sneered Ri.
"In trade!" added his father scornfully.
Had the occasion been more propitious, the Count
could scarcely have refrained from commenting upon
this remarkably republican criticism; but, as it was, he
deemed it more advisable to hunt with the hounds.
"That canaille!" he shouted. "Ha, ha! Lord
Tulliwuddle would never so far demean himself!"
"I have it from old Gallosh himself," declared Mr.
"And that girl Gallosh told Eleanor the same,"
"Pooh!" cried the Count. "A mere invention."
"You are certain, sir, that Lord Tulliwuddle gave
them no grounds whatever for supposing such a thing?"
"I pledge my reputation as Count of the Austrian
Empire, that if my friend be indeed a Tulliwuddle he
is faithful to your charming daughter!"
Father and son looked at him shrewdly.
"Being a Tulliwuddle, or any other sort of pampered
aristocrat, doesn't altogether guarantee faithfulness,"
observed the Silver King.
"If he has deceived you, he shall answer to ME!"
declared the Count. "And between ourselves, as nature's
gentleman to nature's gentleman, you may assure Miss
Maddison that there is not the remotest likelihood of
this scheming Miss Gallosh ever becoming my friend's
The two Dariuses were sensibly affected by this
"As nature's gentleman to nature's gentleman!"
repeated the elder with unction, wringing his hand.
His son displayed an equal enthusiasm, and the Count
departed with an enhanced reputation and the lingering
fragrance of a cocktail upon his tongue.
"Now I think we are in comparatively smooth water,"
he said to himself as he whizzed back to the castle.
At the door he was received by the butler.
"Mr. Gallosh is waiting for you in the library, my
lord," said he, adding confidentially (since the Count
had endeared himself to all), "He's terrible impatient
for to see your lordship."
Evidently Mr. Gallosh, while waiting for the
Count's return, had so worked up his wrath
that it was ready to explode on a hair-trigger
touch; and, as evidently, his guest's extreme
urbanity made it exceedingly difficult to carry out his
"I want a word with you, Count. I've been wanting
a word with you all morning," he began.
"Believe me, Mr. Gallosh, I appreciate the compliment."
"Where were you? I mean it was verra annoying
not to find you when I wanted you."
The merchant was so evidently divided between anxiety
to blurt out his mind while it was yet hot from the
making up, and desire not to affront a guest and a man
of rank, that the Count could scarcely restrain a smile.
"It is equally annoying to myself. I should have
enjoyed a conversation with you at any hour since breakfast."
"Umph," replied his host.
"What can I do for you now?"
Mr. Gallosh looked at him steadfastly.
"Count Bunker," said he, "I am only a plain
"The ladies, I assure you, are not of that opinion,"
interposed the Count politely.
Mr. Gallosh seemed to him to receive this compliment
with more suspicion than pleasure.
"I'm saying," he repeated, "that I'm only a plain
man of business, and you and your friend are what
you'd call swells."
"God forbid that I should!" the Count interjected
fervently. " 'Toffs,' possibly--but no matter, please
"Well, now, so long as his lordship likes to treat me
and my family as kind of belonging to a different sphere,
I'm well enough content. I make no pretensions, Count,
to be better than what I am."
"I also, Mr. Gallosh, endeavor to affect a similar
modesty. It's rather becoming, I think, to a fine-looking
"It's becoming to any kind of man that he should
know his place. But I was saying, I'd have been content
if his lordship had been distant and polite and that
kind of thing. But was he? You know yourself, Count,
how he's behaved!"
"Perfectly politely, I trust."
"But he's not been what you'd call distant, Count
Bunker. In fac', the long and the short of it is just
this--what's his intentions towards my Eva?"
"Is it Mrs. Gallosh who desires this information?"
"It is. And myself too; oh, I'm not behindhand
where the reputation of my daughters is concerned!"
"Mrs. G. has screwed him up to this," said the
Count to himself. Aloud, he asked with his blandest
"Was not Lord Tulliwuddle available himself?"
"No; he's gone out."
"No, not alone."
"In brief, with Miss Gallosh?"
"Quite so; and what'll he be saying to her?"
"He is a man of such varied information that it's
hard to guess."
"From all I hear, there's not been much variety so
far," said Mr. Gallosh drily.
"Dear me!" observed the Count.
His host looked at him for a few moments.
"Well?" he demanded at length.
"Pardon me if I am stupid, but what comment do
you expect me to make?"
"Well, you see, we all know quite well you're more
in his lordship's confidence than any one else in the
house, and I'd take it as a favor if you'd just give me
your honest opinion. Is he just playing himself--or
The worthy Mr. Gallosh was so evidently sincere, and
looked at him with such an appealing eye, that the Count
found the framing of a suitable reply the hardest task
that had yet been set him.
"Mr. Gallosh, if I were in Tulliwuddle's shoes I can
only say that I should consider myself a highly fortunate
individual; and I do sincerely believe that that is
his own conviction also."
"You think so?"
"I do indeed."
Though sensibly relieved, Mr. Gallosh still felt vaguely
conscious that if he attempted to repeat this statement
for the satisfaction of his wife, he would find it
hard to make it sound altogether as reassuring as when
accompanied by the Count's sympathetic voice. He
ruminated for a minute, and then suddenly recalled
what the Count's evasive answers and sympathetic
assurances had driven from his mind. Yet it was, in fact,
the chief occasion of concern.
"Do you know, Count Bunker, what his lordship has
gone and done?"
"Should one inquire too specifically?" smiled the
Count; but Mr. Gallosh remained unmoved.
"You can bear me witness that he told us he was
giving this gathering in my Eva's honor?"
"Well, he went and told Miss Maddison it was for
"It's a fact!"
"I refuse to believe my friend guilty of such perfidy!
Who told you this?"
"The Maddisons themselves."
"Ha, ha!" laughed the Count, as heartily as he had
laughed at Lincoln Lodge; "don't you know these
Americans sometimes draw the long bow?"
"You mean to say you don't believe they told the
"My dear Mr. Gallosh, I would answer you in
the oft-quoted words of Horace--'Arma virumque
cano.' The philosophy of a solar system is some
times compressed within an eggshell. Say nothing
He shook his host heartily by the hand as he spoke,
and Mr. Gallosh, to his subsequent perplexity, found
the interview apparently at a satisfactory conclusion.
"And now," said the Count to himself, " 'Bolt!' is
As he set about his packing in the half-hour that yet
remained before luncheon, he was surprised to note that
his friend had evidently left no orders yet concerning
any preparations for his departure.
"Confound him! I thought he had made up his
mind last night! Ah, there he comes--and singing, too,
by Jingo! If he wants another day's dalliance----"
At this point his reflections were interrupted by the
entrance of the jovial Baron himself. He stopped and
stared at his friend.
"Vat for do you pack up?"
"Because we leave this afternoon."
"Ach, Bonker, absurd! To-morrow--yes, to-morrow
ve vill leave."
Bunker folded his arms and looked at him seriously.
"I have had two interviews this morning--one with
Mr. Maddison, the other with Mr. Gallosh. They were
neither of them pleased with you, Baron."
"Not pleased? Vat did zey say?"
Depicting the ire of these gentlemen in the most vivid
terms, the Count gave him a summary of his morning's
"Pooh, pooh! Tuts, tuts!" exclaimed the Baron.
"I vill make zat all right; never do you fear. Eva, she
does smile on me already. Eleanor, she vill also ven I
see her. Leave it to me."
"You won't go to-day?"
"To-morrow, Bonker, I swear I vill for certain!"
"Hang it!" he exclaimed. "The worst of it is, I've
pledged myself to go upon a visit."
The Baron listened to the tale of his incipient romance
with the greatest relish.
"Bot go, my friend! Bot go!" he cried, "and
zen come back here to-morrow and ve vill leave togezzer."
"Leave you alone, with the barometer falling and the
storm-cone hoisted? I don't like to, Baron."
"Bot to leave zat leetle girl--eh, Bonker? How is
"Was ever a man so torn between two duties!"
exclaimed the conscientious Count.
"Ladies come first!" quoth the Baron.
Bunker was obviously strongly tending to this opinion
"Can I trust you to guide your own destinies without me?"
The Baron drew himself up with a touch of indignation.
"Am I a child or a fool? I have guided mine destiny
vary vell so far, and I zink I can still so do. Ven vill
you go to see Miss Wallingford?"
"I'll hire a trap from the village after lunch and be
off about four," said the Count. "Long live the ladies!
Learn wisdom by my example! Will this tie conquer
her, do you think?"
In this befitting spirit he drove off that afternoon,
and the Baron, after waving his adieus from the door,
strode brimful of confidence towards the drawing-room.
His thoughts must have gone astray, for he turned by
accident into the wrong room--a small apartment hardly
used at all; and before he had time to turn back he
stopped petrified at the sight of a picture on the wall.
There could be no mistake--it was the original of that
ill-omened print he had seen in the Edinburgh hotel,
"The Execution of Lord Tulliwuddle." The actual
title was there plain to see.
"Zen it vas not a hoax!" he gasped.
His first impulse was to look for a bicycle and tear
after the dog-cart.
"But can I ride him in a kilt?" he reflected.
By the time he had fully debated this knotty point
his friend was miles upon his way, and the Baron was
left ruefully to lament his rashness in parting with such
During the horrid period of suspense that
followed her visit to Sir Justin, the Baroness
von Blitzenberg naturally enough felt
disinclined to go much into society, and in
fact rarely went out at all during the Baron's absence,
except to the houses of one or two of her mother's
particular friends. Even then she felt much more inclined
to stay at home.
"Need we go to Mrs. Jerwin-Speedy's to-night?"
she said one afternoon.
"Certainly," replied the Countess decisively.
Alicia sighed submissively; but this attitude was
abruptly changed into one of readiness, nay, even of alacrity,
when her mother remarked--
"By the way, she is an aunt of the present
Tulliwuddle. I believe it was you who were asking about him
the other day."
"Was I?" said the Baroness carelessly; but she
offered no further objections to attending Mrs. Jerwin-
She found there a large number of people compressed
into a couple of small rooms, and she soon felt so lost in
the crush of strangers, and the chances of obtaining
any information about Lord Tulliwuddle or his Eva
seemed so remote, that she soon began to wish herself
comfortably at home again, even though it were only to
fret. But fortune, which had so long been unkind to
her and indulgent to her erring spouse, chose that night
as the turning-point in her tide of favors. Little
dreaming how much hung on a mere introduction, Mrs.
Jerwin-Speedy led up to the Baroness an apparently
nervous and diffident young man.
"Let me introduce my nephew, Lord Tulliwuddle--
the Baroness von Blitzenberg," said she; and having
innocently hurled this bomb, retired from further
participation in the drama.
With young and diffident men Alicia had a pleasant
instinct for conducting herself as smilingly as though
they were the greatest wits about the town. The envious
of her sex declared that it was because she scarcely
recognized the difference; but be that as it may, it
served her on this occasion in the most admirable stead.
She detached the agitated peer from the thickest of the
throng, propped him beside her against the wall, and by
her kindness at length unloosed his tongue. Then it
was she began to suspect that his nervous manner must
surely be due to some peculiar circumstance rather than
mere constitutional shyness. Made observant by her
keen curiosity, she noticed at first a worried, almost
hunted, look in his eyes and an extreme impatience of
scrutiny by his fellow-guests; but as he gained
confidence in her kindness and discretion these passed away,
and he appeared simply a garrulous young man, with
a tolerably good opinion of himself.
"Poor fellow! He is in trouble of some kind.
Something to do with Eva, of course!" she said to
The genuine Tulliwuddle had indeed some cause for
perturbation. After keeping himself out of the way
of all his friends and most of his acquaintances ever
since the departure of his substitute, hearing nothing
of what was happening at Hechnahoul, and living in
daily dread of the ignominious exposure of their plot,
he had stumbled by accident against his aunt, explained
his prolonged absence from her house with the utmost
difficulty, and found himself forced to appease her
wounded feelings by appearing where he least wished
to be seen--in a crowded London reception-room.
No wonder the unfortunate young man seemed nervous
and ill at ease.
As for Alicia, she was consumed with anxiety to know
why he was here and not in Scotland, as Sir Justin had
supposed; and, indeed, to learn a number of things.
And now they were rapidly getting on sufficiently
familiar terms for her to put a tactful question or two.
Encouraged by her sympathy, he began to touch upon
his own anxieties.
"A young man ought to get married, I suppose," he
The Baroness smiled.
"That depends on whether he likes any one well
enough to marry her, doesn't it?"
"Do you think--honestly now," he said solemnly,
"that one should marry for love or marry for money?"
"For love, certainly!"
"You really think so? You'd advise--er--advise
a fellow to blow the prejudices of his friends, and
that sort of thing?"
"I should have to know a little more about the case."
He was evidently longing for a confidant.
"Suppose er--one girl was ripping, but--well--
on the stage, for instance."
"On the stage!" exclaimed the Baroness. "Yes,
please go on. What about the other girl?"
"Suppose she had simply pots of money, but the
fellow didn't know much more about her?"
"I certainly shouldn't marry a girl I didn't know
a good deal about," said the Baroness with conviction.
Lord Tulliwuddle seemed impressed with this opinion.
"That's just what I have begun to think," said he,
and gazed down at his pumps with a meditative air.
The Baroness thought the moment had come when
she could effect a pretty little surprise.
"Which of them is called Eva?" she asked archly.
To her intense disappointment he merely stared.
"Don't you really know any girl called Eva?"
He shook his head.
"Can't think of any one."
Suspicion, fear, bewilderment, made her reckless.
"Have you been in Scotland--at your castle, as I
heard you were going?"
A mighty change came over the young man. He
backed away from her, stammering hurriedly
"No--yes--I--er--why do you ask me that?"
"Is there any other Lord Tulliwuddle?" she
He gave her one wild look, and then without so
much as a farewell had turned and elbowed his way
out of the room.
"It's all up!" he said to himself. "There's no use
trying to play that game any longer--Essington has
muddled it somehow. Well, I'm free to do what I
In this state of mind he found himself in the street,
hailed the first hansom, and drove headlong from the
dangerous regions of Belgravia.
. . . . . .
Till the middle of the next day the Baroness still
managed to keep her own counsel, though she was now
so alarmed that she was twenty times on the point of
telling everything to her mother. But the arrival of
a note from Sir Justin ended her irresolution. It
"MY DEAR ALICIA,--I have just learned for certain
that Lord T. is at his place in Scotland. Singularly
enough, he is described as apparently of foreign
extraction, and I hear that he is accompanied by a
friend of the name of Count Bunker. I am just setting
out for the North myself, and trust that I may
be able to elucidate the mystery. Yours very truly,
"Foreign extraction! Count Bunker!" gasped the
Baroness; and without stopping to debate the matter
again, she rushed into her mother's arms, and there
sobbed out the strange story of her second letter and
the two Lord Tulliwuddles.
It were difficult to say whether anger at her daughter's
deceit, indignation with the treacherous Baron,
or a stern pleasure in finding her worst prognostications
in a fair way to being proved, was the uppermost
emotion in Lady Grillyer's mind when she had
listened to this relation. Certainly poor Alicia could
not but think that sympathy for her troubles formed
no ingredient in the mixture.
"To think of your concealing this from me for so
long!" she cried: "and Sir Justin abetting you! I
shall tell him very plainly what I think of him! But
if my daughter sets an example in treachery, what can
one expect of one's friends?"
"After all, mamma, it was my own and Rudolph's
concern more than your's!" exclaimed Alicia, flaring
up for an instant.
"Don't answer me, child!" thundered the Countess.
"Fetch me a railway time-table, and say nothing that
may add to your sin!"
"A time-table, mamma? What for?"
"I am going to Scotland," pronounced the Countess.
"Then I shall go too!"
"Indeed you shall not. You will wait here till I
have brought Rudolph back to you."
The Baroness said nothing aloud, but within her
wounded heart she thought bitterly
"Mamma seems to forget that even worms will turn
"A decidedly delectable residence," said
Count Bunker to himself as his dog-cart
approached the lodge gates of The Lash.
"And a very proper setting for the pleasant
scenes so shortly to be enacted. Lodge, avenue,
a bogus turret or two, and a flagstaff on top of 'em--
by Gad, I think one may safely assume a tolerable
cellar in such a mansion."
As he drove up the avenue between a double line of
ancient elms and sycamores, his satisfaction increased
and his spirits rose ever higher.
"I wonder if I can forecast the evening: a game of
three-handed bridge, in which I trust I'll be lucky
enough to lose a little silver, that'll put 'em in good-
humor and make old Miss What-d'ye-may-call-her the
more willing to go to bed early; then the departure
of the chaperon; and then the tete-a-tete! I hope
to Heaven I haven't got rusty!"
With considerable satisfaction he ran over the outfit
he had brought, deeming it even on second thoughts
a singularly happy selection: the dining coat with pale-
blue lapels, the white tie of a new material and cut
borrowed from the Baron's finery, the socks so ravishingly
embroidered that he had more than once caught
the ladies at Hechnahoul casting affectionate glances
"A first-class turn-out," he thought. "And what a
lucky thing I thought of borrowing a banjo from
young Gallosh! A coon song in the twilight will break
the ground prettily."
By this time they had stopped before the door, and
an elderly man-servant, instead of waiting for the
Count, came down the steps to meet him. In his
manner there was something remarkably sheepish and
constrained, and, to the Count's surprise, he thrust
forth his hand almost as if he expected it to be shaken.
Bunker, though a trifle puzzled, promptly handed him
the banjo case, remarking pleasantly--
"My banjo; take care of it, please."
The man started so violently that he all but dropped
it upon the steps.
"What the deuce did he think I said?" wondered
the Count. " 'Banjo' can't have sounded 'dynamite.' "
He entered the house, and found himself in a pleasant
hall, where his momentary uneasiness was at once
forgotten in the charming welcome of his hostess.
Not only she, but her chaperon, received him with a
flattering warmth that realized his utmost expectations.
"It was so good of you to come!" cried Miss Wallingford.
"So very kind," murmured Miss Minchell.
"I knew you wouldn't think it too unorthodox!"
"I'm afraid orthodoxy is a crime I shall never swing
for," said the Count, with his most charming smile.
"I am sure my father wouldn't REALLY mind," said
"Not if Sir Justin shared your enthusiasm, dear,"
added Miss Minchell.
"I must teach him to!"
"Good Lord!" thought the Count. "This is
A few minutes passed in the exchange of these
preliminaries, and then his hostess said, with a pretty
little air of discipleship that both charmed and slightly
"You do still think that nobody should dine later
than six, don't you? I have ordered dinner for six
"Six!" exclaimed the Count, but recovering himself,
added, "An ideal hour--and it is half-past five now.
Perhaps I had better think of dressing."
"What YOU call dressing!" smiled Julia, to his
justifiable amazement. "Let me show you to your
She led him upstairs, and finally stopped before an
"There!" she said, with an air of pride. "It is
really my father's bedroom when he is at home, but
I've had it specially prepared for YOU! Is it just as
you would like?"
Bunker was incapable of observing anything very
particularly beyond the fact that the floor was
uncarpeted, and as nearly free from furniture as a
bedroom floor could well be.
"It is ravishing!" he murmured, and dismissed her
with a well-feigned smile.
Bereft even of expletives, he gazed round the apartment
prepared for him. It was a few moments before
he could bring himself to make a tour of its vast
"I suppose that's what they call a truckle-bed,"
he mused. "Oh, there is one chair--nothing but cold
water-towels made of vegetable fibre apparently.
The devil take me, is this a reformatory for bogus
He next gazed at the bare whitewashed wall. On it
hung one picture--the portrait of a strangely attired
"What n shocking-looking fellow!" he exclaimed,
and went up to examine it more closely.
Then, with a stupefying shock, he read this legend
"Count Bunker. Philosopher, teacher, and martyr."
For a minute he stared in rapt amazement, and then
sharply rang the bell.
"Hang it," he said to himself, "I must throw a
little light on this somehow!"
Presently the elderly man-servant appeared, this
time in a state of still more obvious confusion. For
a moment he stared at the Count--who was too discomposed
by his manner to open his lips--and then,
once more stretching out his hand, exclaimed in a
choked voice and a strong Scotch accent--
"How are ye, Bunker!"
"What the deuce!" shouted the Count, evading the
proffered hand-shake with an agile leap.
The poor fellow turned scarlet, and in an humble
voice blurted out--
"She told me to do it! Miss Julia said ye'd like me
to shake hands and just ca' ye plain Bunker. I beg
your pardon, sir; oh, I beg your pardon humbly!"
The Count looked at him keenly.
"He is evidently telling the truth," he thought.
Thereupon he took from his pocket half a sovereign.
"My good fellow," he began. "By the way, what's
"Mackenzie, my honest friend, I clearly perceive
that Miss Wallingford, in her very kind efforts to
gratify my unconventional tastes, has put herself to
quite unnecessary trouble. She has even succeeded in
surprising me, and I should be greatly obliged if you
would kindly explain to me the reasons for her conduct,
so far as you can."
At this point the half-sovereign changed hands.
"In the first place," resumed the Count, "what is
the meaning of this remarkably villainous portrait
labelled with my name?"
"That, sir," stammered Mackenzie, greatly taken
aback by the inquiry. "Why, sir, that's the famous
Count Bunker--your uncle, sir, is he no'?"
Bunker began to see a glimmer of light, though the
vista it illumined was scarcely a much pleasanter
prospect than the previous bank of fog. He remembered
now, for the first time since his journey north,
that the Baron, in dubbing him Count Bunker, had
encouraged him to take the title on the ground that
it was a real dignity once borne by a famous personage;
and in a flash he realized the pitfalls that awaited
a solitary false step.
"THAT my uncle!" he exclaimed with an air of
pleased surprise, examining the portrait more attentively;
"by Gad, I suppose it is! But I can't say it
is a flattering likeness. 'Philosopher, teacher, and
martyr'--how apt a description! I hadn't noticed
that before, or I should have known at once who it
Still Mackenzie was looking at him with a perplexed
and uneasy air.
"Miss Wallingford, sir, seems under the impression
that you would be wanting jist the same kind of things
as he likit," he remarked diffidently.
The Count laughed.
"Hence the condemned cell she's put me in? I see!
Ha, ha! No, Mackenzie, I have moved with the times.
In fact, my uncle's philosophy and teachings always
struck me as hardly suitable for a gentleman."
"I was thinking that mysel'," observed Mackenzie.
"Well, you understand now how things are, don't
you? By the way, you haven't put out my evening
clothes, I notice."
"You werena to dress, sir, Miss Julia said."
"Not to dress! What the deuce does she expect me
to dine in?"
With a sheepish grin Mackenzie pointed to something
upon the bed which the Count had hitherto taken to be
a rough species of quilt.
"She said you might like to wear that, sir."
The Count took it up.
"It appears to be a dressing-gown!" said he.
"She said, sir, your uncle was wont to dine in
"Ah! It's one of my poor uncle's eccentricities,
is it? Very nice of Miss Wallingford; but all the same
I think you can put out my evening clothes for me; and,
I say, get me some hot water and a couple of towels
that feel a little less like sandpaper, will you? By the
way--one moment, Mackenzie!--you needn't mention
anything of this to Miss Wallingford. I'll explain it
all to her myself."
It is remarkable how the presence or absence of a
few of the very minor accessories of life will affect the
humor even of a man so essentially philosophical as
Count Bunker. His equanimity was most marvelously
restored by a single jugful of hot water, and by the
time he came to survey his blue lapels in the mirror the
completest confidence shone in his humorous eyes.
"How deuced pleased she'll be to find I'm a white
man after all," he reflected. "Supposing I'd really
turned out a replica of that unshaved heathen on the
wall--poor girl, what a dull evening she'd have spent!
Perhaps I'd better break the news gently for the
chaperon's sake, but once we get her of to bed I rather
fancy the fair Julia and I will smile together over my
dear uncle's dressing-gown!"
And in this humor he strode forth to conquer.
Count Bunker could not but observe that
Miss Wallingford's eyes expressed more surprise
than pleasure when he entered the drawing-
room, and he was confirmed in his resolution
to let his true character appear but gradually.
Afterwards he could not congratulate himself too
heartily on this prudent decision.
"I fear," he said, "that I am late." (It was in
fact half-past six by now.) "I have been searching
through my wardrobe to find some nether garments at
all appropriate to the overall--if I may so term it--
which you were kind enough to lay out for me. But I
found mustard of that particular shade so hard to
match that I finally decided in favor of this more
conventional habit. I trust you don't mind?"
Both the ladies, though evidently disappointed,
excused him with much kindness, and Miss Minchell
alluded directly to his blue lapels as evidence that even
now he held himself somewhat aloof from strict orthodoxy.
"May we see any allusion to your uncle, the late
Count Bunker, in his choice of color?" she asked in a
reverently hushed voice.
"Yes," replied the Count readily; "my aunt's stockings
were of that hue."
From the startled glances of the two ladies it became
plain that the late Count Bunker had died a bachelor.
"My other aunt," he exclaimed unabashed; yet
nevertheless it was with decided pleasure that he heard
dinner announced immediately afterwards.
"They seem to know something about my uncle,"
he said to himself. "I must glean a few particulars
A horrible fear lest his namesake might have dined
solely upon herbs, and himself be expected to follow his
example, was pleasantly dissipated by a glance at the
menu; but he confessed to a sinking of his heart when
he observed merely a tumbler beside his own plate and
a large brown jug before him.
"Good heavens!" he thought, "do they imagine an
Austrian count is necessarily a beer drinker?"
With a sigh he could not quite smother, he began to
pour the contents into his glass, and then set it down
abruptly, emitting a startled exclamation.
"What is the matter?" cried Julia sympathetically.
Her eyes (he was embarrassed to note) followed his
every movement like a dog's, and her apprehension
clearly was extreme.
"This seems to be water," smiled the Count, with an
effort to carry off their error as pleasantly for them as
"Isn't it good water?" asked Julia with an air of
It was the Count's turn to open his eyes.
"You have concluded then that I am a teetotaler?"
"Of course, we know you are!"
"If we may judge by your prefaces," smiled Miss
The Count began to realize the hazards that beset
him; but his spirit stoutly rose to meet the shock of the
"There is no use in attempting to conceal my
idiosyncrasies, I see," he answered. "But to-night, will
you forgive me if I break through the cardinal rule
of my life and ask you for a little stimulant? My
"I see!" cried Miss Wallingford compassionately.
"Of course, one can't dispute a doctor's orders. What
would you like?"
"Oh, anything you have. He did recommend champagne--
if it was good; but anything will do."
"A bottle of the VERY best champagne, Mackenzie!"
The dinner now became an entirely satisfactory meal.
Inspired by his champagne and by the success of his
audacity in so easily surmounting all difficulties, the
Count delighted his hostesses by the vivacity and originality
of his conversation. On the one hand, he chose
topics not too flippant in themselves and treated them
with a becomingly serious air; on the other, he carefully
steered the talk away from the neighborhood of his
"By the time I fetch out my banjo they'll have
forgotten all about him," he said to himself complacently.
Knowing well the importance of the individual factor
in all the contingencies of life, he set himself, in the
meanwhile, to study with some attention the two ladies
beside him. Miss Minchell he had already summarized
as an agreeable nonentity, and this impression was only
confirmed on better acquaintance. It was quite evident,
he perceived, that she was dragged practically
unresisting in Miss Wallingford's wake--even to the
length of abetting the visit of an unknown bachelor in
the absence of Miss Wallingford's parent.
As for Julia, he decided that she was even better-
looking and more agreeable than he had at first
imagined; though, having the gayest of hearts himself,
he was a trifle disconcerted to observe the uniform
seriousness of her ideas. How one could reconcile her
ecstatic enthusiasm for the ideal with her evident
devotion to himself he was at a loss to conceive.
"However, we will investigate that later," he
But first came a more urgent question: Had his
uncle and his "prefaces" committed him to forswear
tobacco? He resolved to take the bull by the horns.
"I hope you will not be scandalized to learn that I
have acquired the pernicious habit of smoking?" he said
as they rose from the table.
"I told you he was smoking a cigar at Hechnahoul!"
cried Miss Minchell with an air of triumph.
"I thought you were mistaken," said Julia, and the
Count could see that he had slipped a little from his
This must not be permitted; yet he must smoke.
"Of course I don't smoke REAL tobacco!" he exclaimed.
"Oh, in that case," cried Julia, "certainly then you
may smoke in the drawing-room. What is it you use?"
"A kind of herb that subdues the appetites, Miss
He could see at a glance that he was more firmly on
his pedestal than ever.
"I have been longing for this moment!" said
The Count and she were seated over the
drawing-room fire, Bunker in an easy-chair,
smoking one of the excellent cigars which he had so
grievously slandered, Julia upon a stool by his knees,
her face suffused with the most intense expression of
rapture. Miss Minchell was in the background,
shrouded in shadow, purporting to be enjoying a nap;
yet the Count could not but think that in so large a
house a separate apartment might well have been provided
for her. Her presence, he felt, circumscribed
his actions uncomfortably.
"So have I!" he murmured, deeming this the most
"Now we can talk about HIM!"
He started, but preserved his composure.
"Couldn't we keep HIM till morning?" he suggested.
"But that is why you are here!"
She spoke as if this were self-evident; while the
Count read himself a thousand lessons upon the errors
vanity is apt to lead one into. Yet his politeness
"Of course," he answered. "Of course! But you
see my knowledge of him----"
He was about to say that it was very slight, when,
fortunately for him, she interrupted with an eager--
"I know! I know! You were more than a son to
"The deuce and all!" thought the Count. "That
was a narrow squeak!"
"Do you know," she continued in the same tone,
"I have actually had the audacity to translate one of
his books--your preface and all."
"I understand the allusion now," thought Bunker.
Aloud he had the presence of mind to inquire--
"Which was it?"
" 'Existence Seriously Reviewed.' "
"You couldn't have made a better choice," he assured
"And now, what can you tell me about him?" she
"Suppose we talk about the book instead,"
suggested Bunker, choosing what seemed the lesser of two
She rose impetuously, brought with a reverent air a
beautifully written and neatly tied-up manuscript, and
sat again by his knee. Looking over his shoulder he
could see that the chaperon was wide awake and prepared
to listen rapturously also.
"I have so often longed to have some one with me who
could explain things--the very deep things, you know.
But to think of having you--the Editor and nephew!
It's too good to be true."
"Only eight o'clock," he said to himself, glancing at
the clock. "I'm in for a night of it."
The vision of a game of bridge and a coon song on
the banjo from that moment faded quite away, and the
Count even tucked his feet as far out of sight as possible,
since those entrancing socks served to remind him
too poignantly of what might have been.
"What exactly did he mean by this?" began Julia,
" 'Let Potentates fear! Let Dives tremble! The
horny hand of the poor Man in the Street is stretched
forth to grasp his birthright!' "
"For 'birthright' read 'pocket-book.' There's a
mistake in the translation," he answered promptly.
"It appears to be an indirect argument for an increase
in the Metropolitan police."
"Are you sure? I thought--surely it alludes to
"Of course; and the best advertisement for Socialism
is a collision with the bobbies. My uncle was a remarkably
subtle man, I assure you."
"How very ingenious!" exclaimed Miss Minchell
from the background.
Julia did her best to feel convinced; but it was in a
distinctly less ecstatic voice that she read her next extract.
" 'Alcohol, riches, and starched linen are the moths
and worms of society.' I suppose he means that they
eat away its foundations?"
"On the contrary, he was an enthusiastic entomologist.
He merely meant to imply that it isn't every
one who can appreciate a glass of port and a clean
"But he didn't appreciate those things himself!"
"No; poor fellow. He often wished he could,
"Did he really?"
"Oh, you've no idea how tired he grew of flannel and
ginger-beer! Many a time he's said to me, 'My boy,
learn to take what's set before you, even at an alderman's
table.' Ah, his was a generous creed, Miss
"Yes, I suppose it was," said Julia submissively.
His advantage in being able to claim an intimate personal
knowledge of the late philosopher's tastes encouraged
the Count greatly. Realizing that a nephew
could not well be contradicted, he was emboldened to
ask whether there were any more points on which his
authority could be of assistance.
"Oh yes," said she, "only--only somehow you seem
to throw a different light on everything."
"Naturally, dear," chimed in Miss Minchell, "a
personal explanation always makes things seem different."
Julia sighed, but summed up her courage to read
" 'When woman is prized according to her intellect
and man according to his virtue; oh, then mankind will
return to Eden!' "
"That," said he, "is one of the rare instances of
my uncle's pessimism."
"Of his pessimism! How can you say that?"
"He meant to imply that mankind would have to wait
for some considerable time. But do not feel dismayed.
My own opinion is that so long as woman is fair and
man has the wit to appreciate her, we ARE in Eden."
The gracious tone in which he delivered this dictum,
and the moving smile that accompanied it, appeared to
atone completely for his relative's cynical philosophy.
With a smile and a sigh Julia murmured--
"Do you really think so?"
"I do," said the Count fervently; "and now suppose
we were to have a little music?"
"Oh yes!" cried Miss Minchell; "do you perform,
"I sometimes sing a little to the guitar."
"To the guitar!" said Julia. "How delicious!
Have you brought it?"
"I have been so bold," he smiled, and promptly went
to fetch this instrument.
In a few minutes he returned with an apologetic air.
"I find that by some error they have sent me away
with a banjo instead," he exclaimed. "But I dare say
I could manage an accompaniment on that if you
would condescend to listen to me."
He felt so exceedingly disinclined for expounding a
philosophy any longer that he gave them no time to
dissent, even had they wished to, but on the instant
struck up that pathetic ditty--
"Down by whar de beans grow blue."
And no sooner had he finished it than (barely waiting
for his meed of applause) he further regaled them
"Twould make a fellow
Turn green and yellow!
Finally, as a tit-bit, he contributed--
"When hubby s gone to Brighton,
And I ve sent the cook to bed,
Oh who's that a-knocking on the window!"
At the conclusion of this concert he knew not whether
to feel more relieved or chagrined to observe that his
fair hostess had her eyes fixed upon the clock. Thanking
him with a slightly embarrassed air, she threw a
pointed glance at Miss Minchell, and the two ladies rose.
"I am afraid you will think we keep very early
hours," she began.
"It is one of the best rules in my uncle's philosophy,"
Yet though glad enough to have come so triumphantly
to the end of his ordeal, he could not bring himself
to let his charming disciple leave him in a wounded
or even disappointed mood. As soon as Miss Minchell
had passed through the door he quietly laid his hand
upon Julia's arm, and with a gesture beckoned her back
into the room.
"Pardon my seeming levity, Miss Wallingford,"
he said in a grave and gentle voice, "but you know not
what emotions I had to contend with! I thank you for
your charming sympathy, and I beg you to accept
in my uncle's name that salute by which his followers
distinguish the faithful."
And he thereupon kissed the blushing girl with a
heartiness that restored her confidence in him completely.
"Well," he said to himself as he retired with his
candle, "I've managed to get a fair penn'orth out of
it after all."
In spite of the Spartan transformation which Sir
Justin's bedroom had undergone, our adventurer
enjoyed an excellent night's rest. So fast
asleep was he at the hour of eight next morning