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Man and Wife by Wilkie Collins

Part 8 out of 15

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advice. "I thought you would have helped me to put things right
with Blanche," he said.

"I _am_ helping you. Let Blanche alone. Don't speak of the
marriage again, the next time you see her. If she mentions it,
beg her pardon, and tell her you won't press the question any
more. I shall see her in an hour or two, and I shall take exactly
the same tone myself. You have put the idea into her mind--leave
it there to ripen. Give her distress about Miss Silvester nothing
to feed on. Don't stimulate it by contradiction; don't rouse it
to defend itself by disparagement of her lost friend. Leave Time
to edge her gently nearer and nearer to the husband who is
waiting for her--and take my word for it, Time will have her
ready when the settlements are ready."

Toward the luncheon hour Sir Patrick saw Blanche, and put in
practice the principle which he had laid down. She was perfectly
tranquil before her uncle left her. A little later, Arnold was
forgiven. A little later still, the old gentleman's sharp
observation noted that his niece was unusually thoughtful, and
that she looked at Arnold, from time to time, with an interest of
a new kind--an interest which shyly hid itself from Arnold's
view. Sir Patrick went up to dress for dinner, with a comfortable
inner conviction that the difficulties which had beset him were
settled at last. Sir Patrick had never been more mistaken in his

The business of the toilet was far advanced. Duncan had just
placed the glass in a good light; and Duncan's master was at that
turning point in his daily life which consisted in attaining, or
not attaining, absolute perfection in the tying of his white
cravat--when some outer barbarian, ignorant of the first
principles of dressing a gentleman's throat, presumed to knock at
the bedroom door. Neither master nor servant moved or breathed
until the integrity of the cravat was placed beyond the reach of
accident. Then Sir Patrick cast the look of final criticism
in the glass, and breathed again when he saw that it was done.

"A little labored in style, Duncan. But not bad, considering the

"By no means, Sir Patrick."

"See who it is."

Duncan went to the door; and returned, to his master, with an
excuse for the interruption, in the shape of a telegram!

Sir Patrick started at the sight of that unwelcome message. "Sign
the receipt, Duncan," he said--and opened the envelope. Yes!
Exactly as he had anticipated! News of Miss Silvester, on the
very day when he had decided to abandon all further attempt at
discovering her. The telegram ran thus:

"Message received from Falkirk this morning. Lady, as described,
left the train at Falkirk last night. Went on, by the first train
this morning, to Glasgow. Wait further instructions."

"Is the messenger to take any thing back, Sir Patrick?"

"No. I must consider what I am to do. If I find it necessary I
will send to the station. Here is news of Miss Silvester,
Duncan," continued Sir Patrick, when the messenger had gone. "She
has been traced to Glasgow."

"Glasgow is a large place, Sir Patrick."

"Yes. Even if they have telegraphed on and had her watched (which
doesn't appear), she may escape us again at Glasgow. I am the
last man in the world, I hope, to shrink from accepting my fair
share of any responsibility. But I own I would have given
something to have kept this telegram out of the house. It raises
the most awkward question I have had to decide on for many a long
day past. Help me on with my coat. I must think of it! I must
think of it!"

Sir Patrick went down to dinner in no agreeable frame of mind.
The unexpected recovery of the lost trace of Miss
Silvester--there is no disguising it--seriously annoyed him.

The dinner-party that day, assembling punctually at the stroke of
the bell, had to wait a quarter of an hour before the hostess
came down stairs.

Lady Lundie's apology, when she entered the library, informed her
guests that she had been detained by some neighbors who had
called at an unusually late hour. Mr. and Mrs. Julius Delamayn,
finding themselves near Windygates, had favored her with a visit,
on their way home, and had left cards of invitation for a
garden-party at their house.

Lady Lundie was charmed with her new acquaintances. They had
included every body who was staying at Windygates in their
invitation. They had been as pleasant and easy as old friends.
Mrs. Delamayn had brought the kindest message from one of her
guests--Mrs. Glenarm--to say that she remembered meeting Lady
Lundie in London, in the time of the late Sir Thomas, and was
anxious to improve the acquaintance. Mr. Julius Delamayn had
given a most amusing account of his brother. Geoffrey had sent to
London for a trainer; and the whole household was on the tip-toe
of expectation to witness the magnificent spectacle of an athlete
preparing himself for a foot-race. The ladies, with Mrs. Glenarm
at their head, were hard at work, studying the profound and
complicated question of human running--the muscles employed in
it, the preparation required for it, the heroes eminent in it.
The men had been all occupied that morning in assisting Geoffrey
to measure a mile, for his exercising-ground, in a remote part of
the park--where there was an empty cottage, which was to be
fitted with all the necessary appliances for the reception of
Geoffrey and his trainer. "You will see the last of my brother,"
Julius had said, "at the garden-party. After that he retires into
athletic privacy, and has but one interest in life--the interest
of watching the disappearance of his own superfluous flesh."
Throughout the dinner Lady Lundie was in oppressively good
spirits, singing the praises of her new friends. Sir Patrick, on
the other hand, had never been so silent within the memory of
mortal man. He talked with an effort; and he listened with a
greater effort still. To answer or not to answer the telegram in
his pocket? To persist or not to persist in his resolution to
leave Miss Silvester to go her own way? Those were the questions
which insisted on coming round to him as regularly as the dishes
themselves came round in the orderly progression of the dinner.

Blanche---who had not felt equal to taking her place at the
table--appeared in the drawing-room afterward.

Sir Patrick came in to tea, with the gentlemen, still uncertain
as to the right course to take in the matter of the telegram. One
look at Blanche's sad face and Blanche's altered manner decided
him. What would be the result if he roused new hopes by resuming
the effort to trace Miss Silvester, and if he lost the trace a
second time? He had only to look at his niece and to see. Could
any consideration justify him in turning her mind back on the
memory of the friend who had left her at the moment when it was
just beginning to look forward for relief to the prospect of her
marriage? Nothing could justify him; and nothing should induce
him to do it.

Reasoning--soundly enough, from his own point of view--on that
basis, Sir Patrick determined on sending no further instructions
to his friend at Edinburgh. That night he warned Duncan to
preserve the strictest silence as to the arrival of the telegram.
He burned it, in case of accidents, with his own hand, in his own

Rising the next day and looking out of his window, Sir Patrick
saw the two young people taking their morning walk at a moment
when they happened to cross the open grassy space which separated
the two shrubberies at Windygates. Arnold's arm was round
Blanche's waist, and they were talking confidentially with their
heads close together. "She is coming round already!" thought the
old gentleman, as the two disappeared again in the second
shrubbery from view. "Thank Heaven! things are running smoothly
at last!"

Among the ornaments of Sir Patrick's bed room there was a view
(taken from above) of one of the Highland waterfalls. If he had
looked at the picture when he turned away from his window, he
might have remarked that a river which is running with its utmost
smoothness at one moment may be a river which plunges into its
most violent agitation at another; and he might have remembered,
with certain misgivings, that the progress of a stream of water
has been long since likened, with the universal consent of
humanity, to the progress of the stream of life.




ON the day when Sir Patrick received the second of the two
telegrams sent to him from Edinburgh, four respectable
inhabitants of the City of Glasgow were startled by the
appearance of an object of interest on the monotonous horizon of
their daily lives.

The persons receiving this wholesome shock were--Mr. and Mrs.
Karnegie of the Sheep's Head Hotel- and Mr. Camp, and Mr. Crum,
attached as "Writers" to the honorable profession of the Law.

It was still early in the day when a lady arrived, in a cab from
the railway, at the Sheep's Head Hotel. Her luggage consisted of
a black box, and of a well-worn leather bag which she carried in
her hand. The name on the box (recently written on a new luggage
label, as the color of the ink and paper showed) was a very good
name in its way, common to a very great number of ladies, both in
Scotland and England. It was "Mrs. Graham."

Encountering the landlord at the entrance to the hotel, "Mrs.
Graham" asked to be accommodated with a bedroom, and was
transferred in due course to the chamber-maid on duty at the
time. Returning to the little room behind the bar, in which the
accounts were kept, Mr. Karnegie surprised his wife by moving
more briskly, and looking much brighter than usual. Being
questioned, Mr. Karnegie (who had cast the eye of a landlord on
the black box in the passage) announced that one "Mrs. Graham"
had just arrived, and was then and there to be booked as
inhabiting Room Number Seventeen. Being informed (with
considerable asperity of tone and manner) that this answer failed
to account for the interest which appeared to have been inspired
in him by a total stranger, Mr. Karnegie came to the point, and
confessed that "Mrs. Graham" was one of the sweetest-looking
women he had seen for many a
long day, and that he feared she was very seriously out of

Upon that reply the eyes of Mrs. Karnegie developed in size, and
the color of Mrs. Karnegie deepened in tint. She got up from her
chair and said that it might be just as well if she personally
superintended the installation of "Mrs. Graham" in her room, and
personally satisfied herself that "Mrs. Graham" was a fit inmate
to be received at the Sheep's Head Hotel. Mr. Karnegie thereupon
did what he always did--he agreed with his wife.

Mrs. Karnegie was absent for some little time. On her return her
eyes had a certain tigerish cast in them when they rested on Mr.
Karnegie. She ordered tea and some light refreshment to be taken
to Number Seventeen. This done--without any visible provocation
to account for the remark--she turned upon her husband, and said,
"Mr. Karnegie you are a fool." Mr. Karnegie asked, "Why, my
dear?" Mrs. Karnegie snapped her fingers, and said, "_That_ for
her good looks! You don't know a good-looking woman when you see
her." Mr. Karnegie agreed with his wife.

Nothing more was said until the waiter appeared at the bar with
his tray. Mrs. Karnegie, having first waived the tray off,
without instituting her customary investigation, sat down
suddenly with a thump, and said to her husband (who had not
uttered a word in the interval), "Don't talk to Me about her
being out of health! _That_ for her health! It's trouble on her
mind." Mr. Karnegie said, "Is it now?" Mrs. Karnegie replied,
"When I have said, It is, I consider myself insulted if another
person says, Is it?" Mr. Karnegie agreed with his wife.

There. was another interval. Mrs. Karnegie added up a bill, with
a face of disgust. Mr. Karnegie looked at her with a face of
wonder. Mrs. Karnegie suddenly asked him why he wasted his looks
on _her,_ when he would have "Mrs. Graham" to look at before
long. Mr. Karnegie, upon that, attempted to compromise the matter
by looking, in the interim, at his own boots. Mrs. Karnegie
wished to know whether after twenty years of married life, she
was considered to be not worth answering by her own husband.
Treated with bare civility (she expected no more), she might have
gone on to explain that "Mrs. Graham" was going out. She might
also have been prevailed on to mention that "Mrs. Graham" had
asked her a very remarkable question of a business nature, at the
interview between them up stairs. As it was, Mrs. Karnegie's lips
were sealed, and let Mr. Karnegie deny if he dared, that he
richly deserved it. Mr. Karnegie agreed with his wife.

In half an hour more, "Mrs. Graham" came down stairs; and a cab
was sent for. Mr. Karnegie, in fear of the consequences if he did
otherwise, kept in a corner. Mrs. Karnegie followed him into the
corner, and asked him how he dared act in that way? Did he
presume to think, after twenty years of married life, that his
wife was jealous? "Go, you brute, and hand Mrs. Graham into the

Mr. Karnegie obeyed. He asked, at the cab window, to what part of
Glasgow he should tell the driver to go. The reply informed him
that the driver was to take "Mrs. Graham" to the office of Mr.
Camp, the lawyer. Assuming "Mrs. Graham" to be a stranger in
Glasgow, and remembering that Mr. Camp was Mr. Karnegie's lawyer,
the inference appeared to be, that "Mrs. Graham's" remarkable
question, addressed to the landlady, had related to legal
business, and to the discovery of a trust-worthy person capable
of transacting it for her.

Returning to the bar, Mr. Karnegie found his eldest daughter in
charge of the books, the bills, and the waiters. Mrs. Karnegie
had retired to her own room, justly indignant with her husband
for his infamous conduct in handing "Mrs. Graham" into the cab
before her own eyes. "It's the old story, Pa," remarked Miss
Karnegie, with the most perfect composure. "Ma told you to do it,
of course; and then Ma says you've insulted her before all the
servants. I wonder how you bear it?" Mr. Karnegie looked at his
boots, and answered, "I wonder, too, my dear." Miss Karnegie
said, "You're not going to Ma, are you?" Mr. Karnegie looked up
from his boots, and answered, "I must, my dear."

Mr. Camp sat in his private room, absorbed over his papers.
Multitudinous as those documents were, they appeared to be not
sufficiently numerous to satisfy Mr. Camp. He rang his bell, and
ordered more.

The clerk appearing with a new pile of papers, appeared also with
a message. A lady, recommended by Mrs. Karnegie, of the Sheep's
Head, wished to consult Mr. Camp professionally. Mr. Camp looked
at his watch, counting out precious time before him, in a little
stand on the table, and said, "Show the lady in, in ten minutes."

In ten minutes the lady appeared. She took the client's chair and
lifted her veil. The same effect which had been produced on Mr.
Karnegie was once more produced on Mr. Camp. For the first time,
for many a long year past, he felt personally interested in a
total stranger. It might have been something in her eyes, or it
might have been something in her manner. Whatever it was, it took
softly hold of him, and made him, to his own exceeding surprise,
unmistakably anxious to hear what she had to say!

The lady announced--in a low sweet voice touched with a quiet
sadness--that her business related to a question of marriage (as
marriage is understood by Scottish law), and that her own peace
of mind, and the happiness of a person very dear to her, were
concerned alike in the opinion which Mr. Camp might give when he
had been placed in possession of the facts.

She then proceeded to state the facts, without mentioning names:
relating in every particular precisely the same succession of
events which Geoffrey Delamayn had already related to Sir Patrick
Lundie--with this one difference, that she acknowledged herself
to be the woman who was personally concerned in knowing whether,
by Scottish law, she was now held to be a married woman or not.

Mr. Camp's opinion given upon this, after certain questions had
been asked and answered, differed from Sir Patrick's opinion, as
given at Windygates. He too quoted the language used by the
eminent judge--Lord Deas--but he drew an inference of his own
from it. "In Scotland, consent makes marriage," he said; "and
consent may be proved by inference. I see a plain inference of
matrimonial consent in the circumstances which you have related
to me and I say you are a married woman."

The effect produced on the lady, when sentence was pronounced on
her in those terms, was so distressing that Mr. Camp sent a
message up stairs to his wife; and Mrs. Camp appeared in her
husband's private room, in business hours, for the first time in
her life. When Mrs. Camp's services had in some degree restored
the lady to herself, Mr. Camp followed with a word of
professional comfort. He, like Sir Patrick, acknowledged the
scandalous divergence of opinions produced by the confusion and
uncertainty of the marriage-law of Scotland. He, like Sir
Patrick, declared it to be quite possible that another lawyer
might arrive at another conclusion. "Go," he said, giving her his
card, with a line of writing on it, "to my colleague, Mr. Crum;
and say I sent you."

The lady gratefully thanked Mr. Camp and his wife, and went next
to the office of Mr. Crum.

Mr. Crum was the older lawyer of the two, and the harder lawyer
of the two; but he, too, felt the influence which the charm that
there was in this woman exercised, more or less, over every man
who came in contact with her. He listened with a patience which
was rare with him: he put his questions with a gentleness which
was rarer still; and when _he_ was in possession of the
circumstances---behold, _his_ opinion flatly contradicted the
opinion of Mr. Camp!

"No marriage, ma'am," he said, positively. "Evidence in favor of
perhaps establishing a marriage, if you propose to claim the man.
But that, as I understand it, is exactly what you don't wish to

The relief to the lady, on hearing this, almost overpowered her.
For some minutes she was unable to speak. Mr. Crum did, what he
had never done yet in all his experience as a lawyer. He patted a
client on the shoulder, and, more extraordinary still , he gave a
client permission to waste his time. "Wait, and compose
yourself," said Mr. Crum--administering the law of humanity. The
lady composed herself. "I must ask you some questions, ma'am,"
said Mr. Crum--administering the law of the land. The lady bowed,
and waited for him to begin.

"I know, thus far, that you decline to claim the gentleman," said
Mr. Cram. "I want to know now whether the gentleman is likely to
claim _you._"

The answer to this was given in the most positive terms. The
gentleman was not even aware of the position in which he stood.
And, more yet, he was engaged to be married to the dearest friend
whom the lady had in the world.

Mr. Crum opened his eyes--considered--and put another question as
delicately as he could. "Would it be painful to you to tell me
how the gentleman came to occupy the awkward position in which he
stands now?"

The lady acknowledged that it would be indescribably painful to
her to answer that question.

Mr. Crum offered a suggestion under the form of an inquiry:

"Would it be painful to you to reveal the circumstances--in the
interests of the gentleman's future prospects--to some discreet
person (a legal person would be best) who is not, what I am, a
stranger to you both?"

The lady declared herself willing to make any sacrifice, on those
conditions--no matter how painful it might be--for her friend's

Mr. Crum considered a little longer, and then delivered his word
of advice:

"At the present stage of the affair," he said, "I need only tell
you what is the first step that you ought to take under the
circumstances. Inform the gentleman at once--either by word of
mouth or by writing--of the position in which he stands: and
authorize him to place the case in the hands of a person known to
you both, who is competent to decide on what you are to do next.
Do I understand that you know of such a person so qualified?"

The lady answered that she knew of such a person.

Mr. Crum asked if a day had been fixed for the gentleman's

The lady answered that she had made this inquiry herself on the
last occasion when she had seen the gentleman's betrothed wife.
The marriage was to take place, on a day to be hereafter chosen,
at the end of the autumn.

"That," said Mr. Crum, "is a fortunate circumstance. You have
time before you. Time is, here, of very great importance. Be
careful not to waste it."

The lady said she would return to her hotel and write by that
night's post, to warn the gentleman of the position in which he
stood, and to authorize him to refer the matter to a competent
and trust-worthy friend known to them both.

On rising to leave the room she was seized with giddiness, and
with some sudden pang of pain, which turned her deadly pale and
forced her to drop back into her chair. Mr. Crum had no wife; but
he possessed a housekeeper--and he offered to send for her. The
lady made a sign in the negative. She drank a little water, and
conquered the pain. "I am sorry to have alarmed you," she said.
"It's nothing--I am better now." Mr. Crum gave her his arm, and
put her into the cab. She looked so pale and faint that he
proposed sending his housekeeper with her. No: it was only five
minutes' drive to the hotel. The lady thanked him--and went her
way back by herself.

"The letter!" she said, when she was alone. "If I can only live
long enough to write the letter!"



MRS. KARNEGIE was a woman of feeble intelligence and violent
temper; prompt to take offense, and not, for the most part, easy
to appease. But Mrs. Karnegie being--as we all are in our various
degrees--a compound of many opposite qualities, possessed a
character with more than one side to it, and had her human merits
as well as her human faults. Seeds of sound good feeling were
scattered away in the remoter corners of her nature, and only
waited for the fertilizing occasion that was to help them to
spring up. The occasion exerted that benign influence when the
cab brought Mr. Crum's client back to the hotel. The face of the
weary, heart-sick woman, as she slowly crossed the hall, roused
all that was heartiest and best in Mrs. Karnegie's nature, and
said to her, as if in words, "Jealous of this broken creature?
Oh, wife and mother is there no appeal to your common womanhood

"I am afraid you have overtired yourself, ma'am. Let me send you
something up stairs?"

"Send me pen, ink, and paper," was the answer. "I must write a
letter. I must do it at once."

It was useless to remonstrate with her. She was ready to accept
any thing proposed, provided the writing materials were supplied
first. Mrs. Karnegie sent them up, and then compounded a certain
mixture of eggs and hot wine. for which The Sheep's Head was
famous, with her own hands. In five minutes or so it was
ready--and Miss Karnegie was dispatched by her mother (who had
other business on hand at the time) to take it up stairs.

After the lapse of a few moments a cry of alarm was heard from
the upper landing. Mrs. Karnegie recognized her daughter's voice,
and hastened to the bedroom floor.

"Oh, mamma! Look at her! look at her!"

The letter was on the table with the first lines written. The
woman was on the sofa with her handkerchief twisted between her
set teeth, and her tortured face terrible to look at. Mrs.
Karnegie raised her a little, examined her closely--then suddenly
changed color, and sent her daughter out of the room with
directions to dispatch a messenger instantly for medical help.

Left alone with the sufferer, Mrs. Karnegie carried her to her
bed. As she was laid down her left hand fell helpless over the
side of the bed. Mrs. Karnegie suddenly checked the word of
sympathy as it rose to her lips--suddenly lifted the hand, and
looked, with a momentary sternness of scrutiny, at the third
finger. There was a ring on it. Mrs. Karnegie's face softened on
the instant: the word of pity that had been suspended the moment
before passed her lips freely now. "Poor soul!" said the
respectable landlady, taking appearances for granted. "Where's
your husband, dear? Try and tell me."

The doctor made his appearance, and went up to the patient.

Time passed, and Mr. Karnegie and his daughter, carrying on the
business of the hotel, received a message from up stairs which
was ominous of something out of the common. The message gave the
name and address of an experienced nurse--with the doctor's
compliments, and would Mr. Karnegie have the kindness to send for
her immediately.

The nurse was found and sent up stairs.

Time went on, and the business of the hotel went on, and it was
getting to be late in the evening, when Mrs. Karnegie appeared at
last in the parlor behind the bar. The landlady's face was grave,
the landlady's manner was subdued. "Very, very ill," was the only
reply she made to her daughter's inquiries. When she and her
husband were together, a little later, she told the news from up
stairs in greater detail. "A child born dead," said Mrs.
Karnegie, in gentler tones than were customary with her. "And the
mother dying, poor thing, so far as _I_ can see."

A little later the doctor came down. Dead? No.--Likely to live?
Impossible to say. The doctor returned twice in the course of the
night. Both times he had but one answer. "Wait till to-morrow."

The next day came. She rallied a little. Toward the afternoon she
began to speak. She expressed no surprise at seeing strangers by
her bedside: her mind wandered. She passed again into
insensibility. Then back to delirium once more. The doctor said,
"This may last for weeks. Or it may end suddenly in death. It's
time you did something toward finding her friends."

(Her friends! She had left the one friend she had forever!)

Mr. Camp was summoned to give his advice. The first thing he
asked for was the unfinished letter.

It was blotted, it was illegible in more places than one. With
pains and care they made out the address at the beginning, and
here and there some fragments of the lines that followed. It
began: "Dear Mr. Brinkworth." Then the writing got, little by
little, worse and worse. To the eyes of the strangers who looked
at it, it ran thus: "I should ill re quite * * * Blanche's
interests * * * For God's sake! * * * don't think of _me_ * * *"
There was a little more, but not so much as one word, in those
last lines, was legible

The names mentioned in the letter were reported by the doctor and
the nurse to be also the names on her lips when she spoke in her
wanderings. "Mr. Brinkworth" and "Blanche"--her mind ran
incessantly on those two persons. The one intelligible thing that
she mentioned in connection with them was the letter. She was
perpetually trying, trying, trying to take that unfinished letter
to the post; and she could never get there. Sometimes the post
was across the sea. Sometimes it was at the top of an
inaccessible mountain. Sometimes it was built in by prodigious
walls all round it. Sometimes a man stopped her cruelly at the
moment when she was close at the post, and forced her back
thousands of miles away from it. She once or twice mentioned this
visionary man by his name. They made it out to be "Geoffrey."

Finding no clew to her identity either in the letter that she had
tried to write or in the wild words that escaped her from time to
time, it was decided to search her luggage, and to look at the
clothes which she had worn when she arrived at the hotel.

Her black box sufficiently proclaimed itself as recently
purchased. On opening it the address of a Glasgow trunk-maker was
discovered inside. The linen was also new, and unmarked. The
receipted shop-bill was found with it. The tradesmen, sent for in
each case and questioned, referred to their books. It was proved
that the box and the linen had both been purchased on the day
when she appeared at the hotel.

Her black bag was opened next. A sum of between eighty and ninety
pounds in Bank of England notes; a few simple articles belonging
to the toilet; materials for needle-work; and a photographic
portrait of a young lady, inscribed, "To Anne, from Blanche,"
were found in the bag--but no letters, and nothing whatever that
could afford the slightest clew by which the owner could be
traced. The pocket in her dress was searched next. It contained a
purse, an empty card-case, and a new handkerchief unmarked.

Mr. Camp shook his head.

"A woman's luggage without any letters in it," he said, "suggests
to my mind a woman who has a motive of her own for keeping her
movements a secret. I suspect she has destroyed her letters, and
emptied her card-case, with that view." Mrs. Karnegie's report,
after examining the linen which the so-called "Mrs. Graham" had
worn when she arrived at the inn, proved the soundness of the
lawyer's opinion. In every case the marks had been cut out. Mrs.
Karnegie began to doubt whether the ring which she had seen on
the third finger of the lady's left hand had been placed there
with the sanction of the law.

There was but one chance left of discovering--or rather of
attempting to discover--her friends. Mr. Camp drew out an
advertisement to be inserted in the Glasgow newspapers. If those
newspapers happened to be seen by any member of her family, she
would, in all probability, be claimed. In the contrary event
there would be nothing for it but to wait for her recovery or her
death--with the money belonging to her sealed up, and deposited
in the landlord's strongbox.

The advertisement appeared. They waited for three days afterward,
and nothing came of it. No change of importance occurred, during
the same period, in the condition of the suffering woman. Mr.
Camp looked in, toward evening, and said, "We have done our best.
There is no help for it but to wait."

Far away in Perthshire that third evening was marked as a joyful
occasion at Windygates House. Blanche had consented at last to
listen to Arnold's entreaties, and had sanctioned the writing of
a letter to London to order her wedding-dress.




"NOT SO large as Windygates. But--shall we say snug, Jones?"

"And comfortable, Smith. I quite agree with you."

Such was the judgment pronounced by the two choral gentlemen on
Julius Delamayn's house in Scotland. It was, as usual with Smith
and Jones, a sound judgment--as far as it went. Swanhaven Lodge
was not half the size of Windygates; but it had been inhabited
for two centuries when the foundations of Windygates were first
laid--and it possessed the advantages, without inheriting the
drawbacks, of its age. There is in an old house a friendly
adaptation to the human character, as there is in an old hat a
friendly adaptation to the human head. The visitor who left
Swanhaven quitted it with something like a sense of leaving home.
Among the few houses not our own which take a strong hold on our
sympathies this was one. The ornamental grounds were far inferior
in size and splendor to the grounds at Windygates. But the park
was beautiful--less carefully laid out, but also less monotonous
than an English park. The lake on the northern boundary of the
estate, famous for its breed of swans, was one of the curiosities
of the neighborhood; and the house had a history, associating it
with more than one celebrated Scottish name, which had been
written and illustrated by Julius Delamayn. Visitors to Swanhaven
Lodge were invariably presented with a copy of the volume
(privately printed). One in twenty read it. The rest were
"charmed," and looked at the pictures.

The day was the last day of August, and the occasion was the
garden-party given by Mr. and Mrs. Delamayn.

Smith and Jones--following, with the other guests at Windygates,
in Lady Lundie's train--exchanged their opinions on the merits of
the house, standing on a terrace at the back, near a flight of
steps which led down into the garden. They formed the van-guard
of the visitors, appearing by twos and threes from the reception
rooms, and all bent on going to see the swans before the
amusements of the day began. Julius Delamayn came out with the
first detachment, recruited Smith and Jones, and other wandering
bachelors, by the way, and set forth for the lake. An interval of
a minute or two passed--and the terrace remained empty. Then two
ladies--at the head of a second detachment of visitors--appeared
under the old stone porch which sheltered the entrance on that
side of the house. One of the ladies was a modest, pleasant
little person, very simply dressed. The other was of the tall and
formidable type of "fine women," clad in dazzling array. The
first was Mrs. Julius Delamayn. The second was Lady Lundie.

"Exquisite!" cried her ladyship, surveying the old mullioned
windows of the house, with their framing of creepers, and the
grand stone buttresses projecting at intervals from the wall,
each with its bright little circle of flowers blooming round the
base. "I am really grieved that Sir Patrick should have missed

"I think you said, Lady Lundie, that Sir Patrick had been called
to Edinburgh by family business?"

"Business, Mrs. Delamayn, which is any thing but agreeable to me,
as one member of the family. It has altered all my arrangements
for the autumn. My step-daughter is to be married next week."

"Is it so near as that? May I ask who the gentleman is?"

"Mr. Arnold Brinkworth."

"Surely I have some association with that name?"

"You have probably heard of him, Mrs. Delamayn, as the heir to
Miss Brinkworth's Scotch property?"

"Exactly! Have you brought Mr. Brinkworth here to-day?"

"I bring his apologies, as well as Sir Patrick's. They went to
Edinburgh together the day before yesterday. The lawyers engage
to have the settlements ready in three or four days more, if a
personal consultation can be managed. Some formal question, I
believe, connected with title-deeds. Sir Patrick thought the
safest way and the speediest way would be to take Mr. Brinkworth
with him to Edinburgh--to get the business over to-day--and to
wait until we join them, on our way south, to-morrow."

"You leave Windygates, in this lovely weather?"

"Most unwillingly! The truth is, Mrs. Delamayn, I am at my
step-daughter's mercy. Her uncle has the authority, as her
guardian--and the use he makes of it is to give her her own way
in every thing. It was only on Friday last that she consented to
let the day be fixed--and even then she made it a positive
condition that the marriage was not to take place in Scotland.
Pure willfulness! But what can I do? Sir Patrick submits; and Mr.
Brinkworth submits. If I am to be present at the marriage I must
follow their example. I feel it my duty to be present--and, as a
matter of course, I sacrifice myself. We start for London

"Is Miss Lundie to be married in London at this time of year?"

"No. We only pass through, on our way to Sir Patrick's place in
Kent--the place that came to him with the title; the place
associated with the last days of my beloved husband. Another
trial for _me!_ The marriage is to be solemnized on the scene of
my bereavement. My old wound is to be reopened on Monday
next--simply because my step-daughter has taken a dislike to

"This day week, then, is the day of the marriage?"

"Yes. This day week. There have been reasons for hurrying it
which I need not trouble you with. No words can say how I wish it
was over.--But, my dear Mrs. Delamayn, how thoughtless of me to
assail _ you_ with my family worries! You are so sympathetic.
That is my only excuse. Don't let me keep you from your guests. I
could linger in this sweet place forever! Where is Mrs. Glenarm?"

"I really don't know. I missed her when we came out on the
terrace. She will very likely join us at the lake. Do you care
about seeing the lake, Lady Lundie?"

"I adore the beauties of Nature, Mrs. Delamayn--especially

"We have something to show you besides; we have a breed of swans
on the lake, peculiar to the place. My husband has gone on with
some of our friends; and I believe we are expected to follow, as
soon as the rest of the party--in charge of my sister--have seen
the house."

"And what a house, Mrs. Delamayn! Historical associations in
every corner of it! It is _such_ a relief to my mind to take
refuge in the past. When I am far away from this sweet place I
shall people Swanhaven with its departed inmates, and share the
joys and sorrows of centuries since."

As Lady Lundie announced, in these terms, her intention of adding
to the population of the past, the last of the guests who had
been roaming over the old house appeared under the porch. Among
the members forming this final addition to the garden-party were
Blanche, and a friend of her own age whom she had met at
Swanhaven. The two girls lagged behind the rest, talking
confidentially, arm in arm--the subject (it is surely needless to
add) being the coming marriage.

"But, dearest Blanche, why are you not to be married at

"I detest Windygates, Janet. I have the most miserable
associations with the place. Don't ask me what they are! The
effort of my life is not to think of them now. I long to see the
last of Windygates. As for being married there, I have made it a
condition that I am not to be married in Scotland at all."

"What has poor Scotland done to forfeit your good opinion, my

"Poor Scotland, Janet, is a place where people don't know whether
they are married or not. I have heard all about it from my uncle.
And I know somebody who has been a victim--an innocent victim--to
a Scotch marriage."

"Absurd, Blanche! You are thinking of runaway matches, and making
Scotland responsible for the difficulties of people who daren't
own the truth!"

"I am not at all absurd. I am thinking of the dearest friend I
have. If you only knew--"

"My dear! _I_ am Scotch, remember! You can be married just as
well--I really must insist on that--in Scotland as in England."

"I hate Scotland!"


"I never was so unhappy in my life as I have been in Scotland. I
never want to see it again. I am determined to be married in
England--from the dear old house where I used to live when I was
a little girl. My uncle is quite willing. _He_ understands me and
feels for me."

"Is that as much as to say that _I_ don't understand you and feel
for you? Perhaps I had better relieve you of my company,

"If you are going to speak to me in that way, perhaps you had!"

"Am I to hear my native country run down and not to say a word in
defense of it?"

"Oh! you Scotch people make such a fuss about your native

"_We_ Scotch people! you are of Scotch extraction yourself, and
you ought to be ashamed to talk in that way. I wish you

"I wish you a better temper!"

A minute since the two young ladies had been like twin roses on
one stalk. Now they parted with red cheeks and hostile sentiments
and cutting words. How ardent is the warmth of youth! how
unspeakably delicate the fragility of female friendship!

The flock of visitors followed Mrs. Delamayn to the shores of the
lake. For a few minutes after the terrace was left a solitude.
Then there appeared under the porch a single gentleman, lounging
out with a flower in his mouth and his hands in his pockets. This
was the strongest man at Swanhaven--otherwise, Geoffrey Delamayn.

After a moment a lady appeared behind him, walking softly, so as
not to be heard. She was superbly dressed after the newest and
the most costly Parisian design. The brooch on her bosom was a
single diamond of resplendent water and great size. The fan in
her hand was a master-piece of the finest Indian workmanship. She
looked what she was, a person possessed of plenty of superfluous
money, but not additionally blest with plenty of superfluous
intelligence to correspond. This was the childless young widow of
the great ironmaster--otherwise, Mrs. Glenarm.

The rich woman tapped the strong man coquettishly on the shoulder
with her fan. "Ah! you bad boy!" she said, with a
slightly-labored archness of look and manner. "Have I found you
at last?"

Geoffrey sauntered on to the terrace--keeping the lady behind him
with a thoroughly savage superiority to all civilized submission
to the sex--and looked at his watch.

"I said I'd come here when I'd got half an hour to myself," he
mumbled, turning the flower carelessly between his teeth. "I've
got half an hour, and here I am."

"Did you come for the sake of seeing the visitors, or did you
come for the sake of seeing Me?"

Geoffrey smiled graciously, and gave the flower another turn in
his teeth. "You. Of course."

The iron-master's widow took his arm, and looked up at him--as
only a young woman would have dared to look up--with the
searching summer light streaming in its full brilliancy on her

Reduced to the plain expression of what it is really worth, the
average English idea of beauty in women may be summed up in three
words--youth, health, plumpness. The more spiritual charm of
intelligence and vivacity, the subtler attraction of delicacy of
line and fitness of detail, are little looked for and seldom
appreciated by the mass of men in this island. It is impossible
otherwise to account for the extraordinary blindness of
perception which (to give one instance only) makes nine
Englishmen out of ten who visit France come back declaring that
they have not seen a single pretty Frenchwoman, in or out of
Paris, in the whole country. Our popular type of beauty proclaims
itself, in its fullest material development, at every shop in
which an illustrated periodical is sold. The same fleshy-faced
girl, with the same inane smile, and with no other expression
whatever, appears under every form of illustration, week after
week, and month after month, all the year round. Those who wish
to know what Mrs. Glenarm was like, have only to go out and stop
at any bookseller's or news-vendor's shop, and there they will
see her in the first illustration, with a young woman in it,
which they discover in the window. The one noticeable peculiarity
in Mrs. Glenarm's purely commonplace and purely material beauty,
which would have struck an observant and a cultivated man, was
the curious girlishness of her look and manner. No stranger
speaking to this woman--who had been a wife at twenty, and who
was now a widow at twenty-four--would ever have thought of
addressing her otherwise than as "Miss."

"Is that the use you make of a flower when I give it to you?" she
said to Geoffrey. "Mumbling it in your teeth, you wretch, as if
you were a horse!"

"If you come to tha t," returned Geoffrey, "I'm more a horse than
a man. I'm going to run in a race, and the public are betting on
me. Haw! haw! Five to four."

"Five to four! I believe he thinks of nothing but betting. You
great heavy creature, I can't move you. Don't you see I want to
go like the rest of them to the lake? No! you're not to let go of
my arm! You're to take me."

"Can't do it. Must be back with Perry in half an hour."

(Perry was the trainer from London. He had arrived sooner than he
had been expected, and had entered on his functions three days

"Don't talk to me about Perry! A little vulgar wretch. Put him
off. You won't? Do you mean to say you are such a brute that you
would rather be with Perry than be with me?"

"The betting's at five to four, my dear. And the race comes off
in a month from this."

"Oh! go away to your beloved Perry! I hate you. I hope you'll
lose the race. Stop in your cottage. Pray don't come back to the
house. And--mind this!--don't presume to say 'my dear' to me

"It ain't presuming half far enough, is it? Wait a bit. Give me
till the race is run--and then I'll presume to marry you."

"You! You will be as old as Methuselah, if you wait till I am
your wife. I dare say Perry has got a sister. Suppose you ask
him? She would be just the right person for you."

Geoffrey gave the flower another turn in his teeth, and looked as
if he thought the idea worth considering.

"All right," he said. "Any thing to be agreeable to you. I'll ask

He turned away, as if he was going to do it at once. Mrs. Glenarm
put out a little hand, ravishingly clothed in a blush-colored
glove, and laid it on the athlete's mighty arm. She pinched those
iron muscles (the pride and glory of England) gently. "What a man
you are!" she said. "I never met with any body like you before!"

The whole secret of the power that Geoffrey had acquired over her
was in those words.

They had been together at Swanhaven for little more than ten
days; and in that time he had made the conquest of Mrs. Glenarm.
On the day before the garden-party--in one of the leisure
intervals allowed him by Perry--he had caught her alone, had
taken her by the arm, and had asked her, in so many words, if she
would marry him. Instances on record of women who have been wooed
and won in ten days are--to speak it with all possible
respect--not wanting. But an instance of a woman willing to have
it known still remains to be discovered. The iron-master's widow
exacted a promise of secrecy before the committed herself When
Geoffrey had pledged his word to hold his tongue in public until
she gave him leave to speak, Mrs. Glenarm, without further
hesitation, said Yes--having, be it observed, said No, in the
course of the last two years, to at least half a dozen men who
were Geoffrey's superiors in every conceivable respect, except
personal comeliness and personal strength.

There is a reason for every thing; and there was a reason for

However persistently the epicene theorists of modern times may
deny it, it is nevertheless a truth plainly visible in the whole
past history of the sexes that the natural condition of a woman
is to find her master in a man. Look in the face of any woman who
is in no direct way dependent on a man: and, as certainly as you
see the sun in a cloudless sky, you see a woman who is not happy.
The want of a master is their great unknown want; the possession
of a master is--unconsciously to themselves--the only possible
completion of their lives. In ninety-nine cases out of a hundred
this one primitive instinct is at the bottom of the otherwise
inexplicable sacrifice, when we see a woman, of her own free
will, throw herself away on a man who is unworthy of her. This
one primitive instinct was at the bottom of the otherwise
inexplicable facility of self-surrender exhibited by Mrs.

Up to the time of her meeting with Geoffrey, the young widow had
gathered but one experience in her intercourse with the
world--the experience of a chartered tyrant. In the brief six
months of her married life with the man whose grand-daughter she
might have been--and ought to have been--she had only to lift her
finger to be obeyed. The doting old husband was the willing slave
of the petulant young wife's slightest caprice. At a later
period, when society offered its triple welcome to her birth, her
beauty, and her wealth--go where she might, she found herself the
object of the same prostrate admiration among the suitors who
vied with each other in the rivalry for her hand. For the first
time in her life she encountered a man with a will of his own
when she met Geoffrey Delamayn at Swanhaven Lodge.

Geoffrey's occupation of the moment especially favored the
conflict between the woman's assertion of her influence and the
man's assertion of his will.

During the days that had intervened between his return to his
brother's house and the arrival of the trainer, Geoffrey had
submitted himself to all needful preliminaries of the physical
discipline which was to prepare him for the race. He knew, by
previous experience, what exercise he ought to take, what hours
he ought to keep, what temptations at the table he was bound to
resist. Over and over again Mrs. Glenarm tried to lure him into
committing infractions of his own discipline--and over and over
again the influence with men which had never failed her before
failed her now. Nothing she could say, nothing she could do,
would move _this_ man. Perry arrived; and Geoffrey's defiance of
every attempted exercise of the charming feminine tyranny, to
which every one else had bowed, grew more outrageous and more
immovable than ever. Mrs. Glenarm became as jealous of Perry as
if Perry had been a woman. She flew into passions; she burst into
tears; she flirted with other men; she threatened to leave the
house. All quite useless! Geoffrey never once missed an
appointment with Perry; never once touched any thing to eat or
drink that she could offer him, if Perry had forbidden it. No
other human pursuit is so hostile to the influence of the sex as
the pursuit of athletic sports. No men are so entirely beyond the
reach of women as the men whose lives are passed in the
cultivation of their own physical strength. Geoffrey resisted
Mrs. Glenarm without the slightest effort. He casually extorted
her admiration, and undesignedly forced her respect. She clung to
him, as a hero; she recoiled from him, as a brute; she struggled
with him, submitted to him, despised him, adored him, in a
breath. And the clew to it all, confused and contradictory as it
seemed, lay in one simple fact--Mrs. Glenarm had found her

"Take me to the lake, Geoffrey!" she said, with a little pleading
pressure of the blush-colored hand.

Geoffrey looked at his watch. "Perry expects me in twenty
minutes," he said.

"Perry again!"


Mrs. Glenarm raised her fan, in a sudden outburst of fury, and
broke it with one smart blow on Geoffrey's face.

"There!" she cried, with a stamp of her foot. "My poor fan
broken! You monster, all through you!"

Geoffrey coolly took the broken fan and put it in his pocket.
"I'll write to London," he said, "and get you another. Come
along! Kiss, and make it up."

He looked over each shoulder, to make sure that they were alone
then lifted her off the ground (she was no light weight), held
her up in the air like a baby, and gave her a rough loud-sounding
kiss on each cheek. "With kind compliments from yours truly!" he
said--and burst out laughing, and put her down again.

"How dare you do that?" cried Mrs. Glenarm. "I shall claim Mrs.
Delamayn's protection if I am to be insulted in this way! I will
never forgive you, Sir!" As she said those indignant words she
shot a look at him which flatly contradicted them. The next
moment she was leaning on his arm, and was looking at him
wonderingly, for the thousandth time, as an entire novelty in her
experience of male human kind. "How rough you are, Geoffrey!" she
said, softly. He smiled in recognition of that artless homage to
the manly virtue of his character. She saw the smile, and
instantly made another effort to dispute the hateful supremacy of
Perry. "Put him off!" whispere d the daughter of Eve, determined
to lure Adam into taking a bite of the apple. "Come, Geoffrey,
dear, never mind Perry, this once. Take me to the lake!"

Geoffrey looked at his watch. "Perry expects me in a quarter of
an hour," he said.

Mrs. Glenarm's indignation assumed a new form. She burst out
crying. Geoffrey surveyed her for a moment with a broad stare of
surprise--and then took her by both arms, and shook her!

"Look here!" he said, impatiently. "Can you coach me through my

"I would if I could!"

"That's nothing to do with it! Can you turn me out, fit, on the
day of the race? Yes? or No?"


"Then dry your eyes and let Perry do it."

Mrs. Glenarm dried her eyes, and made another effort.

"I'm not fit to be seen," she said. "I'm so agitated, I don't
know what to do. Come indoors, Geoffrey--and have a cup of tea."

Geoffrey shook his head. "Perry forbids tea," he said, "in the
middle of the day."

"You brute!" cried Mrs. Glenarm.

"Do you want me to lose the race?" retorted Geoffrey.


With that answer she left him at last, and ran back into the

Geoffrey took a turn on the terrace--considered a
little--stopped--and looked at the porch under which the irate
widow had disappeared from his view. "Ten thousand a year," he
said, thinking of the matrimonial prospect which he was placing
in peril. "And devilish well earned," he added, going into the
house, under protest, to appease Mrs. Glenarm.

The offended lady was on a sofa, in the solitary drawing-room.
Geoffrey sat down by her. She declined to look at him. "Don't be
a fool!" said Geoffrey, in his most persuasive manner. Mrs.
Glenarm put her handkerchief to her eyes. Geoffrey took it away
again without ceremony. Mrs. Glenarm rose to leave the room.
Geoffrey stopped her by main force. Mrs. Glenarm threatened to
summon the servants. Geoffrey said, "All right! I don't care if
the whole house knows I'm fond of you!" Mrs. Glenarm looked at
the door, and whispered "Hush! for Heaven's sake!" Geoffrey put
her arm in his, and said, "Come along with me: I've got something
to say to you." Mrs. Glenarm drew back, and shook her head.
Geoffrey put his arm round her waist, and walked her out of the
room, and out of the house--taking the direction, not of the
terrace, but of a fir plantation on the opposite side of the
grounds. Arrived among the trees, he stopped and held up a
warning forefinger before the offended lady's face. "You're just
the sort of woman I like," he said; "and there ain't a man living
who's half as sweet on you as I am. You leave off bullying me
about Perry, and I'll tell you what I'll do--I'll let you see me
take a Sprint."

He drew back a step, and fixed his big blue eyes on her, with a
look which said, "You are a highly-favored woman, if ever there
was one yet!" Curiosity instantly took the leading place among
the emotions of Mrs. Glenarm. "What's a Sprint, Geoffrey?" she

"A short run, to try me at the top of my speed. There ain't
another living soul in all England that I'd let see it but you.
_Now_ am I a brute?"

Mrs. Glenarm was conquered again, for the hundredth time at
least. She said, softly, "Oh, Geoffrey, if you could only be
always like this!" Her eyes lifted themselves admiringly to his.
She took his arm again of her own accord, and pressed it with a
loving clasp. Geoffrey prophetically felt the ten thousand a year
in his pocket. "Do you really love me?" whispered Mrs. Glenarm.
"Don't I!" answered the hero. The peace was made, and the two
walked on again.

They passed through the plantation, and came out on some open
ground, rising and falling prettily, in little hillocks and
hollows. The last of the hillocks sloped down into a smooth level
plain, with a fringe of sheltering trees on its farther
side--with a snug little stone cottage among the trees--and with
a smart little man, walking up and down before the cottage,
holding his hands behind him. The level plain was the hero's
exercising ground; the cottage was the hero's retreat; and the
smart little man was the hero's trainer.

If Mrs. Glenarm hated Perry, Perry (judging by appearances) was
in no danger of loving Mrs. Glenarm. As Geoffrey approached with
his companion, the trainer came to a stand-still, and stared
silently at the lady. The lady, on her side, declined to observe
that any such person as the trainer was then in existence, and
present in bodily form on the scene.

"How about time?" said Geoffrey.

Perry consulted an elaborate watch, constructed to mark time to
the fifth of a second, and answered Geoffrey, with his eye all
the while on Mrs. Glenarm.

"You've got five minutes to spare."

"Show me where you run, I'm dying to see it!" said the eager
widow, taking possession of Geoffrey's arm with both hands.

Geoffrey led her back to a place (marked by a sapling with a
little flag attached to it) at some short distance from the
cottage. She glided along by his side, with subtle undulations of
movement which appeared to complete the exasperation of Perry. He
waited until she was out of hearing--and then he invoked (let us
say) the blasts of heaven on the fashionably-dressed head of Mrs.

"You take your place there," said Geoffrey, posting her by the
sapling. "When I pass you--" He stopped, and surveyed her with a
good-humored masculine pity. "How the devil am I to make you
understand it?" he went on. "Look here! when I pass you, it will
be at what you would call (if I was a horse) full gallop. Hold
your tongue--I haven't done yet. You're to look on after me as I
leave you, to where the edge of the cottage wall cuts the trees.
When you have lost sight of me behind the wall, you'll have seen
me run my three hundred yards from this flag. You're in luck's
way! Perry tries me at the long Sprint to-day. You understand
you're to stop here? Very well then--let me go and get my toggery

"Sha'n't I see you again, Geoffrey?"

"Haven't I just told you that you'll see me run?"

"Yes--but after that?"

"After that, I'm sponged and rubbed down--and rest in the

"You'll come to us this evening?"

He nodded, and left her. The face of Perry looked unutterable
things when he and Geoffrey met at the door of the cottage.

"I've got a question to ask you, Mr. Delamayn," said the trainer.
"Do you want me? or don't you?"

"Of course I want you."

"What did I say when I first come here?" proceeded Perry,
sternly. "I said, 'I won't have nobody a looking on at a man I'm
training. These here ladies and gentlemen may all have made up
their minds to see you. I've made up my mind not to have no
lookers-on. I won't have you timed at your work by nobody but me.
I won't have every blessed yard of ground you cover put in the
noospapers. I won't have a living soul in the secret of what you
can do, and what you can't, except our two selves.'--Did I say
that, Mr. Delamayn? or didn't I?"

"All right!"

"Did I say it? or didn't I?"

"Of course you did!"

"Then don't you bring no more women here. It's clean against
rules. And I won't have it."

Any other living creature adopting this tone of remonstrance
would probably have had reason to repent it. But Geoffrey himself
was afraid to show his temper in the presence of Perry. In view
of the coming race, the first and foremost of British trainers
was not to be trifled with, even by the first and foremost of
British athletes.

"She won't come again," said Geoffrey. "She's going away from
Swanhaven in two days' time."

"I've put every shilling I'm worth in the world on you," pursued
Perry, relapsing into tenderness. "And I tell you I felt it! It
cut me to the heart when I see you coming along with a woman at
your heels. It's a fraud on his backers, I says to myself--that's
what it is, a fraud on his backers!"

"Shut up!" said Geoffrey. "And come and help me to win your
money." He kicked open the door of the cottage--and athlete and
trainer disappeared from view.

After waiting a few minutes by the little flag, Mrs. Glenarm saw
the two men approaching her from the cottage. Dressed in a
close-fitting costume, light and elastic, adapting itself to
every movement, and made to answer every purpose required by the
exercise in which he was abo ut to engage, Geoffrey's physical
advantages showed themselves in their best and bravest aspect.
His head sat proud and easy on his firm, white throat, bared to
the air. The rising of his mighty chest, as he drew in deep
draughts of the fragrant summer breeze; the play of his lithe and
supple loins; the easy, elastic stride of his straight and
shapely legs, presented a triumph of physical manhood in its
highest type. Mrs. Glenarm's eyes devoured him in silent
admiration. He looked like a young god of mythology--like a
statue animated with color and life. "Oh, Geoffrey!" she
exclaimed, softly, as he went by. He neither answered, nor
looked: he had other business on hand than listening to soft
nonsense. He was gathering himself up for the effort; his lips
were set; his fists were lightly clenched. Perry posted himself
at his place, grim and silent, with the watch in his hand.
Geoffrey walked on beyond the flag, so as to give himself start
enough to reach his full speed as he passed it. "Now then!" said
Perry. In an instant more, he flew by (to Mrs. Glenarm's excited
imagination) like an arrow from a bow. His action was perfect.
His speed, at its utmost rate of exertion, preserved its rare
underlying elements of strength and steadiness. Less and less and
less he grew to the eyes that followed his course; still lightly
flying over the ground, still firmly keeping the straight line. A
moment more, and the runner vanished behind the wall of the
cottage, and the stop-watch of the trainer returned to its place
in his pocket.

In her eagerness to know the result, Mrs. Glenarm forget her
jealousy of Perry.

"How long has he been?" she asked.

"There's a good many besides you would be glad to know that,"
said Perry.

"Mr. Delamayn will tell me, you rude man!"

"That depends, ma'am, on whether _I_ tell _him._"

With this reply, Perry hurried back to the cottage.

Not a word passed while the trainer was attending to his man, and
while the man was recovering his breath. When Geoffrey had been
carefully rubbed down, and clothed again in his ordinary
garments, Perry pulled a comfortable easy-chair out of a corner.
Geoffrey fell into the chair, rather than sat down in it. Perry
started, and looked at him attentively.

"Well?" said Geoffrey. "How about the time? Long? short? or

"Very good time," said Perry.

"How long?"

"When did you say the lady was going, Mr. Delamayn?"

"In two days."

"Very well, Sir. I'll tell you 'how long' when the lady's gone."

Geoffrey made no attempt to insist on an immediate reply. He
smiled faintly. After an interval of less than ten minutes he
stretched out his legs and closed his eyes.

"Going to sleep?" said Perry.

Geoffrey opened his eyes with an effort. "No," he said. The word
had hardly passed his lips before his eyes closed again.

"Hullo!" said Perry, watching him. "I don't like that."

He went closer to the chair. There was no doubt about it. The man
was asleep.

Perry emitted a long whistle under his breath. He stooped and
laid two of his fingers softly on Geoffrey's pulse. The beat was
slow, heavy, and labored. It was unmistakably the pulse of an
exhausted man.

The trainer changed color, and took a turn in the room. He opened
a cupboard, and produced from it his diary of the preceding year.
The entries relating to the last occasion on which he had
prepared Geoffrey for a foot-race included the fullest details.
He turned to the report of the first trial, at three hundred
yards, full speed. The time was, by one or two seconds, not so
good as the time on this occasion. But the result, afterward, was
utterly different. There it was, in Perry's own words: "Pulse
good. Man in high spirits. Ready, if I would have let him, to run
it over again."

Perry looked round at the same man, a year afterward--utterly
worn out, and fast asleep in the chair.

He fetched pen, ink, and paper out of the cupboard, and wrote two
letters--both marked "Private." The first was to a medical man, a
great authority among trainers. The second was to Perry's own
agent in London, whom he knew he could trust. The letter pledged
the agent to the strictest secrecy, and directed him to back
Geoffrey's opponent in the Foot-Race for a sum equal to the sum
which Perry had betted on Geoffrey himself. "If you have got any
money of your own on him," the letter concluded, "do as I do.
'Hedge'--and hold your tongue."

"Another of 'em gone stale!" said the trainer, looking round
again at the sleeping man. "He'll lose the race."



AND what did the visitors say of the Swans?

They said, "Oh, what a number of them!"--which was all that was
to be said by persons ignorant of the natural history of aquatic

And what did the visitors say of the lake?

Some of them said, "How solemn!" Some of them said, "How
romantic!" Some of them said nothing--but privately thought it a
dismal scene.

Here again the popular sentiment struck the right note at
starting. The lake was hidden in the centre of a fir wood. Except
in the middle, where the sunlight reached them, the waters lay
black under the sombre shadow of the trees. The one break in the
plantation was at the farther end of the lake. The one sign of
movement and life to be seen was the ghostly gliding of the swans
on the dead-still surface of the water. It was solemn--as they
said; it was romantic--as they said. It was dismal--as they
thought. Pages of description could express no more. Let pages of
description be absent, therefore, in this place.

Having satiated itself with the swans, having exhausted the lake,
the general curiosity reverted to the break in the trees at the
farther end--remarked a startlingly artificial object, intruding
itself on the scene, in the shape of a large red curtain, which
hung between two of the tallest firs, and closed the prospect
beyond from view--requested an explanation of the curtain from
Julius Delamayn--and received for answer that the mystery should
be revealed on the arrival of his wife with the tardy remainder
of the guests who had loitered about the house.

On the appearance of Mrs. Delamayn and the stragglers, the united
party coasted the shore of the lake, and stood assembled in front
of the curtain. Pointing to the silken cords hanging at either
side of it, Julius Delamayn picked out two little girls (children
of his wife's sister), and sent them to the cords, with
instructions to pull, and see what happened. The nieces of Julius
pulled with the eager hands of children in the presence of a
mystery--the curtains parted in the middle, and a cry of
universal astonishment and delight saluted the scene revealed to

At the end of a broad avenue of firs a cool green glade spread
its grassy carpet in the midst of the surrounding plantation. The
ground at the farther end of the glade rose; and here, on the
lower slopes, a bright little spring of water bubbled out between
gray old granite rocks.

Along the right-hand edge of the turf ran a row of tables,
arrayed in spotless white, and covered with refreshments waiting
for the guests. On the opposite side was a band of music, which
burst into harmony at the moment when the curtains were drawn.
Looking back through the avenue, the eye caught a distant glimpse
of the lake, where the sunlight played on the water, and the
plumage of the gliding swans flashed softly in brilliant white.
Such was the charming surprise which Julius Delamayn had arranged
for his friends. It was only at moments like these--or when he
and his wife were playing Sonatas in the modest little music-room
at Swanhaven--that Lord Holchester's eldest son was really happy.
He secretly groaned over the duties which his position as a
landed gentleman imposed upon him; and he suffered under some of
the highest privileges of his rank and station as under social
martyrdom in its cruelest form.

"We'll dine first," said Julius, "and dance afterward. There is
the programme!"

He led the way to the tables, with the two ladies nearest to
him--utterly careless whether they were or were not among the
ladies of the highest rank then present. To Lady Lundie's
astonishment he took the first seat
he came to, without appearing to care what place he occupied at
his own feast. The guests, following his example, sat where they
pleased, reckless of precedents and dignities. Mrs. Delamayn,
feeling a special interest in a young lady who was shortly to be
a bride, took Blanche's arm. Lady Lundie attached herself
resolutely to her hostess on the other side. The three sat
together. Mrs. Delamayn did her best to encourage Blanche to
talk, and Blanche did her best to meet the advances made to her.
The experiment succeeded but poorly on either side. Mrs. Delamayn
gave it up in despair, and turned to Lady Lundie, with a strong
suspicion that some unpleasant subject of reflection was preying
privately on the bride's mind. The conclusion was soundly drawn.
Blanche's little outbreak of temper with her friend on the
terrace, and Blanche's present deficiency of gayety and spirit,
were attributable to the same cause. She hid it from her uncle,
she hid it from Arnold--but she was as anxious as ever, and as
wretched as ever, about Anne; and she was still on the watch (no
matter what Sir Patrick might say or do) to seize the first
opportunity of renewing the search for her lost friend.

Meanwhile the eating, the drinking, and the talking went merrily
on. The band played its liveliest melodies; the servants kept the
glasses constantly filled: round all the tables gayety and
freedom reigned supreme. The one conversation in progress, in
which the talkers were not in social harmony with each other, was
the conversation at Blanche's side, between her step-mother and
Mrs. Delamayn.

Among Lady Lundie's other accomplishments the power of making
disagreeable discoveries ranked high. At the dinner in the glade
she had not failed to notice--what every body else had passed
over--the absence at the festival of the hostess's
brother-in-law; and more remarkable still, the disappearance of a
lady who was actually one of the guests staying in the house: in
plainer words, the disappearance of Mrs. Glenarm.

"Am I mistaken?" said her ladyship, lifting her eye-glass, and
looking round the tables. "Surely there is a member of our party
missing? I don't see Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn."

"Geoffrey promised to be here. But he is not particularly
attentive, as you may have noticed, to keeping engagements of
this sort. Every thing is sacrificed to his training. We only see
him at rare intervals now."

With that reply Mrs. Delamayn attempted to change the subject.
Lady Lundie lifted her eye-glass, and looked round the tables for
the second time.

"Pardon me," persisted her ladyship--"but is it possible that I
have discovered another absentee? I don't see Mrs. Glenarm. Yet
surely she must be here! Mrs. Glenarm is not training for a
foot-race. Do you see her? _I_ don't."

"I missed her when we went out on the terrace, and I have not
seen her since."

"Isn't it very odd, dear Mrs. Delamayn?"

"Our guests at Swanhaven, Lady Lundie, have perfect liberty to do
as they please."

In those words Mrs. Delamayn (as she fondly imagined) dismissed
the subject. But Lady Lundie's robust curiosity proved
unassailable by even the broadest hint. Carried away, in all
probability, by the infection of merriment about her, her
ladyship displayed unexpected reserves of vivacity. The mind
declines to realize it; but it is not the less true that this
majestic woman actually simpered!

"Shall we put two and two together?" said Lady Lundie, with a
ponderous playfulness wonderful to see. "Here, on the one hand,
is Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn--a young single man. And here, on the
other, is Mrs. Glenarm--a young widow. Rank on the side of the
young single man; riches on the side of the young widow. And both
mysteriously absent at the same time, from the same pleasant
party. Ha, Mrs. Delamayn! should I guess wrong, if I guessed that
_you_ will have a marriage in the family, too, before long?"

Mrs. Delamayn looked a little annoyed. She had entered, with all
her heart, into the conspiracy for making a match between
Geoffrey and Mrs. Glenarm. But she was not prepared to own that
the lady's facility had (in spite of all attempts to conceal it
from discovery) made the conspiracy obviously successful in ten
days' time.

"I am not in the secrets of the lady and gentleman whom you
mention," she replied, dryly.

A heavy body is slow to acquire movement--and slow to abandon
movement, when once acquired. The playfulness of Lady Lundie,
being essentially heavy, followed the same rule. She still
persisted in being as lively as ever.

"Oh, what a diplomatic answer!" exclaimed her ladyship. "I think
I can interpret it, though, for all that. A little bird tells me
that I shall see a Mrs. Geoffrey Delamayn in London, next season.
And I, for one, shall not be surprised to find myself
congratulating Mrs. Glenarm."

"If you persist in letting your imagination run away with you,
Lady Lundie, I can't possibly help it. I can only request
permission to keep the bridle on _mine._"

This time, even Lady Lundie understood that it would be wise to
say no more. She smiled and nodded, in high private approval of
her own extraordinary cleverness. If she had been asked at that
moment who was the most brilliant Englishwoman living, she would
have looked inward on herself--and would have seen, as in a glass
brightly, Lady Lundie, of Windygates.

From the moment when the talk at her side entered on the subject
of Geoffrey Delamayn and Mrs. Glenarm--and throughout the brief
period during which it remained occupied with that topic--Blanche
became conscious of a strong smell of some spirituous liquor
wafted down on her, as she fancied, from behind and from above.
Finding the odor grow stronger and stronger, she looked round to
see whether any special manufacture of grog was proceeding
inexplicably at the back of her chair. The moment she moved her
head, her attention was claimed by a pair of tremulous gouty old
hands, offering her a grouse pie, profusely sprinkled with

"Eh, my bonny Miss!" whispered a persuasive voice at her ear,
"ye're joost stairving in a land o' plenty. Tak' my advice, and
ye'll tak' the best thing at tebble--groose-poy, and trufflers."

Blanche looked up.

There he was--the man of the canny eye, the fatherly manner, and
the mighty nose--Bishopriggs--preserved in spirits and
ministering at the festival at Swanhaven Lodge!

Blanche had only seen him for a moment on the memorable night of
the storm, when she had surprised Anne at the inn. But instants
passed in the society of Bishopriggs were as good as hours spent
in the company of inferior men. Blanche instantly recognized him;
instantly called to mind Sir Patrick's conviction that he was in
possession of Anne's lost letter; instantly rushed to the
conclusion that, in discovering Bishopriggs, she had discovered a
chance of tracing Anne. Her first impulse was to claim
acquaintance with him on the spot. But the eyes of her neighbors
were on her, warning her to wait. She took a little of the pie,
and looked hard at Bishopriggs. That discreet man, showing no
sign of recognition on his side, bowed respectfully, and went on
round the table.

"I wonder whether he has got the letter about him?" thought

He had not only got the letter about him--but, more than that, he
was actually then on the look-out for the means of turning the
letter to profitable pecuniary account.

The domestic establishment of Swanhaven Lodge included no
formidable array of servants. When Mrs. Delamayn gave a large
party, she depended for such additional assistance as was needed
partly on the contributions of her friends, partly on the
resources of the principal inn at Kirkandrew. Mr. Bishopriggs,
serving at the time (in the absence of any better employment) as
a supernumerary at the inn, made one among the waiters who could
be spared to assist at the garden-party. The name of the
gentleman by whom he was to be employed for the day had struck
him, when he first heard it, as having a familiar sound. He had
made his inquiries; and had then betaken himself for additional
information, to the letter which he had picked up from the parlor
floor at Craig Fernie

The sheet of note-paper, lost by Anne, conta ined, it may be
remembered, two letters--one signed by herself; the other signed
by Geoffrey--and both suggestive, to a stranger's eye, of
relations between the writers which they were interested in
concealing from the public view.

Thinking it just possible--if he kept his eyes and ears well open
at Swanhaven--that he might improve his prospect of making a
marketable commodity of the stolen correspondence, Mr.
Bishopriggs had put the letter in his pocket when he left
Kirkandrew. He had recognized Blanche, as a friend of the lady at
the inn--and as a person who might perhaps be turned to account,
in that capacity. And he had, moreover, heard every word of the
conversation between Lady Lundie and Mrs. Delamayn on the subject
of Geoffrey and Mrs. Glenarm. There were hours to be passed
before the guests would retire, and before the waiters would be
dismissed. The conviction was strong in the mind of Mr.
Bishopriggs that he might find good reason yet for congratulating
himself on the chance which had associated him with the
festivities at Swanhaven Lodge.

It was still early in the afternoon when the gayety at the
dinner-table began, in certain quarters, to show signs of wearing

The younger members of the party--especially the ladies--grew
restless with the appearance of the dessert. One after another
they looked longingly at the smooth level of elastic turf in the
middle of the glade. One after another they beat time absently
with their fingers to the waltz which the musicians happened to
be playing at the moment. Noticing these symptoms, Mrs. Delamayn
set the example of rising; and her husband sent a message to the
band. In ten minutes more the first quadrille was in progress on
the grass; the spectators were picturesquely grouped round,
looking on; and the servants and waiters, no longer wanted, had
retired out of sight, to a picnic of their own.

The last person to leave the deserted tables was the venerable
Bishopriggs. He alone, of the men in attendance, had contrived to
combine a sufficient appearance of waiting on the company with a
clandestine attention to his own personal need of refreshment.
Instead of hurrying away to the servants' dinner with the rest,
he made the round of the tables, apparently clearing away the
crumbs--actually, emptying the wine-glasses. Immersed in this
occupation, he was startled by a lady's voice behind him, and,
turning as quickly as he could, found himself face to face with
Miss Lundie.

"I want some cold water," said Blanche. "Be so good as to get me
some from the spring."

She pointed to the bubbling rivulet at the farther end of the

Bishopriggs looked unaffectedly shocked.

"Lord's sake, miss," he exclaimed "d'ye relly mean to offend yer
stomach wi' cauld water--when there's wine to be had for the

Blanche gave him a look. Slowness of perception was not on the
list of the failings of Bishopriggs. He took up a tumbler, winked
with his one available eye, and led the way to the rivulet. There
was nothing remarkable in the spectacle of a young lady who
wanted a glass of spring-water, or of a waiter who was getting it
for her. Nobody was surprised; and (with the band playing) nobody
could by any chance overhear what might be said at the

"Do you remember me at the inn on the night of the storm?" asked

Mr. Bishopriggs had his reasons (carefully inclosed in his
pocketbook) for not being too ready to commit himself with
Blanche at starting.

"I'm no' saying I canna remember ye, miss. Whar's the man would
mak' sic an answer as that to a bonny young leddy like you?"

By way of assisting his memory Blanche took out her purse.
Bishopriggs became absorbed in the scenery. He looked at the
running water with the eye of a man who thoroughly distrusted it,
viewed as a beverage.

"There ye go," he said, addressing himself to the rivulet,
"bubblin' to yer ain annihilation in the loch yonder! It's little
I know that's gude aboot ye, in yer unconvairted state. Ye're a
type o' human life, they say. I tak' up my testimony against
_that._ Ye're a type o' naething at all till ye're heated wi'
fire, and sweetened wi' sugar, and strengthened wi' whusky; and
then ye're a type o' toddy--and human life (I grant it) has got
something to say to ye in that capacity!"

"I have heard more about you, since I was at the inn," proceeded
Blanche, "than you may suppose." (She opened her purse: Mr.
Bishopriggs became the picture of attention.) "You were very,
very kind to a lady who was staying at Craig Fernie," she went
on, earnestly. "I know that you have lost your place at the inn,
because you gave all your attention to that lady. She is my
dearest friend, Mr. Bishopriggs. I want to thank you. I do thank
you. Please accept what I have got here?"

All the girl's heart was in her eyes and in her voice as she
emptied her purse into the gouty (and greedy) old hand of

A young lady with a well-filled purse (no matter how rich the
young lady may be) is a combination not often witnessed in any
country on the civilized earth. Either the money is always spent,
or the money has been forgotten on the toilet-table at home.
Blanche's purse contained a sovereign and some six or seven
shillings in silver. As pocket-money for an heiress it was
contemptible. But as a gratuity to Bishopriggs it was
magnificent. The old rascal put the money into his pocket with
one hand, and dashed away the tears of sensibility, which he had
_not_ shed, with the other.

"Cast yer bread on the waters," cried Mr. Bishopriggs, with his
one eye raised devotionally to the sky, "and ye sall find it
again after monny days! Heeh! hech! didna I say when I first set
eyes on that puir leddy, 'I feel like a fether to ye?' It's
seemply mairvelous to see hoo a man's ain gude deeds find him oot
in this lower warld o' ours. If ever I heard the voice o'
naitural affection speaking in my ain breast," pursued Mr.
Bishopriggs, with his eye fixed in uneasy expectation on Blanche,
"it joost spak' trumpet-tongued when that winsome creature first
lookit at me. Will it be she now that told ye of the wee bit
sairvice I rendered to her in the time when I was in bondage at
the hottle?"

"Yes--she told me herself."

"Might I mak' sae bauld as to ask whar' she may be at the present

"I don't know, Mr. Bishopriggs. I am more miserable about it than
I can say. She has gone away--and I don't know where."

"Ow! ow! that's bad. And the bit husband-creature danglin' at her
petticoat's tail one day, and awa' wi' the sunrise next
mornin'--have they baith taken leg-bail together?"

"I know nothing of him; I never saw him. You saw him. Tell
me--what was he like?"

"Eh! he was joost a puir weak creature. Didn't know a glass o'
good sherry-wine when he'd got it. Free wi' the siller--that's a'
ye can say for him--free wi' the siller!"

Finding it impossible to extract from Mr. Bishopriggs any clearer
description of the man who had been with Anne at the inn than
this, Blanche approached the main object of the interview. Too
anxious to waste time in circumlocution, she turned the
conversation at once to the delicate and doubtful subject of the
lost letter.

"There is something else that I want to say to you," she resumed.
"My friend had a loss while she was staying at the inn."

The clouds of doubt rolled off the mind of Mr. Bishopriggs. The
lady's friend knew of the lost letter. And, better still, the
lady's friend looked as if she wanted it!

"Ay! ay!" he said, with all due appearance of carelessness. "Like
eneugh. From the mistress downward, they're a' kittle cattle at
the inn since I've left 'em. What may it ha' been that she lost?"

"She lost a letter."

The look of uneasy expectation reappeared in the eye of Mr.
Bishopriggs. It was a question--and a serious question, from his
point of view--whether any suspicion of theft was attached to the
disappearance of the letter.

"When ye say 'lost,' " he asked, "d'ye mean stolen?"

Blanche was quite quick enough to see the necessity of quieting
his mind on this point.

"Oh no!" she answered. "Not stolen. Only lost. Did you hear about

"Wherefore suld _I_ ha' heard aboot it?" He looked hard at
Blanche --and detected a momentary hesitation in her face. "Tell
me this, my young leddy," he went on, advancing warily near to
the point. "When ye're speering for news o' your friend's lost
letter--what sets ye on comin' to _me?_"

Those words were decisive. It is hardly too much to say that
Blanche's future depended on Blanche's answer to that question.

If she could have produced the money; and if she had said,
boldly, "You have got the letter, Mr. Bishopriggs: I pledge my
word that no questions shall be asked, and I offer you ten pounds
for it"--in all probability the bargain would have been struck;
and the whole course of coming events would, in that case, have
been altered. But she had no money left; and there were no
friends, in the circle at Swanhaven, to whom she could apply,
without being misinterpreted, for a loan of ten pounds, to be
privately intrusted to her on the spot. Under stress of sheer
necessity Blanche abandoned all hope of making any present appeal
of a pecuniary nature to the confidence of Bishopriggs.

The one other way of attaining her object that she could see was
to arm herself with the influence of Sir Patrick's name. A man,
placed in her position, would have thought it mere madness to
venture on such a risk as this. But Blanche--with one act of
rashness already on her conscience--rushed, woman-like, straight
to the commission of another. The same headlong eagerness to
reach her end, which had hurried her into questioning Geoffrey
before he left Windygates, now drove her, just as recklessly,
into taking the management of Bishopriggs out of Sir Patrick's
skilled and practiced hands. The starving sisterly love in her
hungered for a trace of Anne. Her heart whispered, Risk it! And
Blanche risked it on the spot.

"Sir Patrick set me on coming to you," she said.

The opening hand of Mr. Bishopriggs--ready to deliver the letter,
and receive the reward--closed again instantly as she spoke those

"Sir Paitrick?" he repeated "Ow! ow! ye've een tauld Sir Paitrick
aboot it, have ye? There's a chiel wi' a lang head on his
shouthers, if ever there was ane yet! What might Sir Paitrick ha'

Blanche noticed a change in his tone. Blanche was rigidly careful
(when it was too late) to answer him in guarded terms.

"Sir Patrick thought you might have found the letter," she said,
"and might not have remembered about it again until after you had
left the inn."

Bishopriggs looked back into his own personal experience of his
old master--and drew the correct conclusion that Sir Patrick's
view of his connection with the disappearance of the letter was
not the purely unsuspicious view reported by Blanche. "The dour
auld deevil," he thought to himself, "knows me better than

"Well?" asked Blanche, impatiently. "Is Sir Patrick right?"

"Richt?" rejoined Bishopriggs, briskly. "He's as far awa' from
the truth as John o' Groat's House is from Jericho."

"You know nothing of the letter?"

"Deil a bit I know o' the letter. The first I ha' heard o' it is
what I hear noo."

Blanche's heart sank within her. Had she defeated her own object,
and cut the ground from under Sir Patrick's feet, for the second
time? Surely not! There was unquestionably a chance, on this
occasion, that the man might be prevailed upon to place the trust
in her uncle which he was too cautious to confide to a stranger
like herself. The one wise thing to do now was to pave the way
for the exertion of Sir Patrick's superior influence, and Sir
Patrick's superior skill. She resumed the conversation with that
object in view.

"I am sorry to hear that Sir Patrick has guessed wrong," she
resumed. "My friend was anxious to recover the letter when I last
saw her; and I hoped to hear news of it from you. However, right
or wrong, Sir Patrick has some reasons for wishing to see
you--and I take the opportunity of telling you so. He has left a
letter to wait for you at the Craig Fernie inn."

"I'm thinking the letter will ha' lang eneugh to wait, if it
waits till I gae back for it to the hottle," remarked

"In that case," said Blanche, promptly, "you had better give me
an address at which Sir Patrick can write to you. You wouldn't, I
suppose, wish me to say that I had seen you here, and that you
refused to communicate with him?"

"Never think it! " cried Bishopriggs, fervently. "If there's ain
thing mair than anither that I'm carefu' to presairve intact,
it's joost the respectful attention that I owe to Sir Paitrick.
I'll make sae bauld, miss, au to chairge ye wi' that bit caird.
I'm no' settled in ony place yet (mair's the pity at my time o'
life!), but Sir Paitrick may hear o' me, when Sir Paitrick has
need o' me, there." He handed a dirty little card to Blanche
containing the name and address of a butcher in Edinburgh.
"Sawmuel Bishopriggs," he went on, glibly. "Care o' Davie Dow,
flesher; Cowgate; Embro. My Patmos in the weelderness, miss, for
the time being."

Blanche received the address with a sense of unspeakable relief.
If she had once more ventured on taking Sir Patrick's place, and
once more failed in justifying her rashness by the results, she
had at least gained some atoning advantage, this time, by opening
a means of communication between her uncle and Bishopriggs. "You
will hear from Sir Patrick," she said, and nodded kindly, and
returned to her place among the guests.

"I'll hear from Sir Paitrick, wull I?" repeated Bishopriggs when
he was left by himself. "Sir Paitrick will wark naething less
than a meeracle if he finds Sawmuel Bishopriggs at the Cowgate,

He laughed softly over his own cleverness; and withdrew to a
lonely place in the plantation, in which he could consult the
stolen correspondence without fear of being observed by any
living creature. Once more the truth had tried to struggle into
light, before the day of the marriage, and once more Blanche had
innocently helped the darkness to keep it from view.



AFTER a new and attentive reading of Anne's letter to Geoffrey,
and of Geoffrey's letter to Anne, Bishopriggs laid down
comfortably under a tree, and set himself the task of seeing his
position plainly as it was at that moment.

The profitable disposal of the correspondence to Blanche was no
longer among the possibilities involved in the case. As for
treating with Sir Patrick, Bishopriggs determined to keep equally
dear of the Cowgate, Edinburgh, and of Mrs. Inchbare's inn, so
long as there was the faintest chance of his pushing his own
interests in any other quarter. No person living would be capable
of so certainly extracting the correspondence from him, on such
ruinously cheap terms as his old master. "I'll no' put myself
under Sir Paitrick's thumb," thought Bishopriggs, "till I've gane
my ain rounds among the lave o' them first."

Rendered into intelligible English, this resolution pledged him
to hold no communication with Sir Patrick--until he had first
tested his success in negotiating with other persons, who might
be equally interested in getting possession of the
correspondence, and more liberal in giving hush-money to the
thief who had stolen it.

Who were the "other persons" at his disposal, under these

He had only to recall the conversation which he had overheard
between Lady Lundie and Mrs. Delamayn to arrive at the discovery
of one person, to begin with, who was directly interested in
getting possession of his own letter. Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn was
in a fair way of being married to a lady named Mrs. Glenarm. And
here was this same Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn in matrimonial
correspondence, little more than a fortnight since, with another
lady--who signed herself "Anne Silvester."

Whatever his position between the two women might be, his
interest in possessing himself of the correspondence was plain
beyond all doubt. It was equally clear that the first thing to be
done by Bishopriggs was to find the means of obtaining a personal
interview with him. If the interview led to nothing else, it
would decide one important question which still remained to be
solved. The lady whom Bishopriggs had waited on at Craig Fernie
might well be "Anne Silv ester." Was Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn, in
that case. the gentleman who had passed as her husband at the

Bishopriggs rose to his gouty feet with all possible alacrity,
and hobbled away to make the necessary inquiries, addressing
himself, not to the men-servants at the dinner-table, who would
be sure to insist on his joining them, but to the women-servants
left in charge of the empty house.

He easily obtained the necessary directions for finding the
cottage. But he was warned that Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn's trainer
allowed nobody to see his patron at exercise, and that he would
certainly be ordered off again the moment he appeared on the

Bearing this caution in mind, Bishopriggs made a circuit, on
reaching the open ground, so as to approach the cottage at the
back, under shelter of the trees behind it. One look at Mr.
Geoffrey Delamayn was all that he wanted in the first instance.
They were welcome to order him off again, as long as he obtained

He was still hesitating at the outer line of the trees, when he
heard a loud, imperative voice, calling from the front of the

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