Part 6 out of 8
fact, the title to the land was vested entirely in his young American
wife; his sole possession, according to report, being a title much
less substantial but a great deal more picturesque than the large,
much-handled piece of paper down in the safety deposit vault--lying
close and crumpled among a million sordid, homely little slips called
It requires no great stretch of imagination to understand that Lord
Bazelhurst had an undesirable neighbor. That neighbor was young Mr.
Shaw--Randolph Shaw, heir to the Randolph fortune. It may be fair to
state that Mr. Shaw also considered himself to be possessed of an
odious neighbor. In other words, although neither had seen the other,
there was a feud between the owners of the two estates that had all
the earmarks of an ancient romance.
Lady Bazelhurst was the daughter of a New York millionaire; she was
young, beautiful, and arrogant. Nature gave her youth and beauty;
marriage gave her the remaining quality. Was she not Lady Bazelhurst?
What odds if Lord Bazelhurst happened to be a middle-aged, addle-pated
ass? So much the better. Bazelhurst castle and the Bazelhurst estates
(heavily encumbered before her father came to the rescue) were among
the oldest and most coveted in the English market. Her mother noted,
with unctuous joy, that the present Lady Bazelhurst in babyhood had
extreme difficulty in mastering the eighth letter of the alphabet,
certainly a most flattering sign of natal superiority, notwithstanding
the fact that her father was plain old John Banks (deceased), formerly
of Jersey City, more latterly of Wall street and St. Thomas's.
Bazelhurst was a great catch, but Banks was a good name to conjure
with, so he capitulated with a willingness that savored somewhat of
suspended animation (so fearful was he that he might do something to
disturb the dream before it came true). That was two years ago. With
exquisite irony, Lady Bazelhurst decided to have a country-place in
America. Her agents discovered a glorious section of woodland in the
Adirondacks, teeming with trout streams, game haunts, unparalleled
scenery; her ladyship instructed them to buy without delay. It was
just here that young Mr. Shaw came into prominence.
His grandfather had left him a fortune and he was looking about for
ways in which to spend a portion of it. College, travel, and society
having palled on him, he hied himself into the big hills west of Lake
Champlain, searching for beauty, solitude, and life as he imagined it
should be lived. He found and bought five hundred acres of the most
beautiful bit of wilderness in the mountains.
The same streams coursed through his hills and dales that ran through
those of Lady Bazelhurst, the only distinction being that his portion
was the more desirable. When her ladyship's agents came leisurely up
to close their deal, they discovered that Mr. Shaw had snatched up
this choice five hundred acres of the original tract intended for
their client. At least one thousand acres were left for the young
lady, but she was petulant enough to covet all of it.
Overtures were made to Mr. Shaw, but he would not sell. He was
preparing to erect a handsome country-place, and he did not want to
alter his plans. Courteously at first, then somewhat scathingly he
declined to discuss the proposition with her agents. After two months
of pressure of the most tiresome persistency, he lost his temper
and sent a message to his inquisitors that suddenly terminated all
negotiations. Afterward, when he learned that heir client was a
lady, he wrote a conditional note of apology, but, if he expected
a response, he was disappointed. A year went by, and now, with the
beginning of this narrative, two newly completed country homes
glowered at each other from separate hillsides, one envious and
spiteful, the other defiant and a bit satirical.
Bazelhurst Villa looks across the valley and sees Shaw's Cottage
commanding the most beautiful view in the hills; the very eaves of
her ladyship's house seem to have wrinkled into a constant scowl
of annoyance. Shaw's long, low cottage seems to smile back with
tantalizing security, serene in its more lofty altitude, in its more
gorgeous raiment of nature. The brooks laugh with the glitter of
trout, the trees chuckle with the flight of birds, the hillsides
frolic in their abundance of game, but the acres are growling like
dogs of war. "Love thy neighbor as thyself" is not printed on the
boards that line the borders of the two estates. In bold black letters
the sign-boards laconically say: "No trespassing on these grounds.
"Yes, I fancy you'd better put him off the place if he comes down here
again to fish, Tompkins," said his lordship, in conclusion. Then he
touched whip to his horse and bobbed off through the shady lane in a
most painfully upright fashion, his thin legs sticking straight out,
his breath coming in agonized little jerks with each succeeding return
of his person to the saddle.
"By Jove, Evelyn, it's most annoying about that confounded Shaw chap,"
he remarked to his wife as he mounted the broad steps leading to the
gallery half an hour later, walking with the primness which suggests
pain. Lady Bazelhurst looked up from her book, her fine aristocratic
young face clouding with ready belligerence.
"What has he done, Cecil dear?"
"Been fishing on our property again, that's all. Tompkins says he
laughed at him when he told him to get off. I say, do you know, I
think I'll have to adopt rough methods with that chap. Hang it all,
what right has he to catch our fish?"
"Oh, how I hate that man!" exclaimed her ladyship petulantly.
"But I've given Tompkins final instructions."
"And what are they?"
"To throw him in the river next time."
"Oh, if he only _could_!" rapturously.
"_Could_? My dear, Tompkins is an American. He can handle these chaps
in their own way. At any rate, I told Tompkins if his nerve failed
him at the last minute to come and notify me. _I'll_ attend to this
"Good for you, Cecil!" called out another young woman from, the broad
hammock in which she had been dawdling with half-alert ears through
the foregoing conversation. "Spoken like a true Briton. What is this
"Hullo, sister. Hang it all, what's he like? He's like an ass, that's
all. I've never seen him, but if I'm ever called upon to--but you
don't care to listen to details. You remember the big log that lies
out in the river up at the bend? Well, it marks the property line. One
half of its stump belongs to the Shaw man, the other half to m--to
us, Evelyn. He shan't fish below that log--no, sir!" His lordship
glared fiercely through his monocle in the direction of the far-away
log, his watery blue eyes blinking as malevolently as possible, his
long, aristocratic nose wrinkling at its base in fine disdain. His
five feet four of stature quivered with illy-subdued emotion, but
whether it was rage or the sudden recollection of the dog-trot through
the woods, it is beyond me to suggest.
"But suppose our fish venture into his waters, Cecil; what then? Isn't
that trespass?" demanded the Honorable Penelope Drake, youngest and
most cherished sister of his lordship.
"Now, don't he silly, Pen," cried her sister-in-law. "Of course we
can't regulate the fish."
"But I daresay his fish will come below the log, so what's the odds?"
said his lordship quickly. "A trout's a lawless brute at best."
"Is he big?" asked the Honorable Penelope lazily.
"They vary, my dear girl."
"I mean Mr. Shaw."
"Oh, I thought you meant the--but I don't know. What difference does
that make? Big or little, he has to stay off my grounds." Was it a
look of pride that his tall young wife bestowed upon him as he drew
himself proudly erect or was it akin to pity? At any rate, her gay
young American head was inches above his own when she arose and
suggested that they go inside and prepare for the housing of the
guests who were to come over from the evening train.
"The drag has gone over to the station, Cecil, and it should be here
by seven o'clock."
"Confound his impudence, I'll show him," grumbled his lordship as he
followed her, stiff-legged, toward the door.
"What's up, Cecil, with your legs?" called his sister. "Are you
getting old?" This suggestion always irritated him.
"Old? Silly question. You know how old I am. No; it's that beastly
American horse. Evelyn, I told you they have no decent horses in this
beastly country. They jiggle the life out of one--" but he was obliged
to unbend himself perceptibly in order to keep pace with her as she
hurried through the door.
The Honorable Penelope allowed her indolent gaze to follow them. A
perplexed pucker finally developed on her fair brow and her thought
was almost expressed aloud: "By Jove, I wonder if she really loves
him." Penelope was very pretty and very bright. She was visiting
America for the first time and she was learning rapidly. "Cecil's a
good sort, you know, even--" but she was loyal enough to send her
thoughts into other channels.
Nightfall brought half a dozen guests to Bazelhurst Villa. They were
fashionable to the point where ennui is the chief characteristic, and
they came only for bridge and sleep. There was a duke among them and
also a French count, besides the bored New Yorkers; they wanted brandy
and soda as soon as they got into the house, and they went to bed
early because it was so much easier to sleep lying down than sitting
All were up by noon next day, more bored than ever, fondly praying
that nothing might happen before bedtime. The duke was making
desultory love to Mrs. De Peyton and Mrs. De Peyton was leading him
aimlessly toward the shadier and more secluded nooks in the park
surrounding the Villa. Penelope, fresh and full of the purpose of
life, was off alone for a long stroll. By this means she avoided the
attentions of the duke, who wanted to marry her; those of the count
who also said he wanted to marry her but couldn't because his wife
would not consent; those of one New Yorker, who liked her because she
was English; and the pallid chatter of the women who bored her with
their conjugal cynicisms.
"What the deuce is this coming down the road?" queried the duke,
returning from the secluded nook at luncheon time.
"Some one has been hurt," exclaimed his companion. Others were looking
down the leafy road from the gallery.
"By Jove, it's Penelope, don't you know," ejaculated the duke,
dropping his monocle and blinking his eye as if to rest it for the
"But she's not hurt. She's helping to support one of those men."
"Hey!" shouted his lordship from the gallery, as Penelope and two
dilapidated male companions abruptly started to cut across the park
in the direction of the stables. "What's up?" Penelope waved her hand
aimlessly, but did not change her course. Whereupon the entire house
party sallied forth in more or less trepidation to intercept the
"Who are these men?" demanded Lady Bazelhurst, as they came up to the
fast-breathing young Englishwoman.
"Don't bother me, please. We must get him to bed at once. He'll have
pneumonia," replied Penelope.
Both men were dripping wet and the one in the middle limped painfully,
probably because both eyes were swollen tight and his nose was
bleeding. Penelope's face was beaming with excitement and interest.
"Who are you?" demanded his lordship planting himself in front of the
"Tompkins," murmured the blind one feebly, tears starting from the
blue slits and rolling down his cheeks.
"James, sir," answered the other, touching his damp forelock.
"Are they drunk?" asked Mrs. De Peyton, with fresh enthusiasm.
"No, they are not, poor fellows," cried Penelope. "They have taken
nothing but water."
"By Jove, deuced clever that," drawled the duke. "Eh?" to the New
"Deuced," from the Knickerbocker.
"Well, well, what's it all about?" demanded Bazelhurst.
"Mr. Shaw, sir," said James.
"Good Lord, couldn't you rescue him?" in horror.
"He rescued us, sir," mumbled Tompkins.
"He throwed us in and then had to jump in and pull us out, sir.
Beggin' your pardon, sir, but _damn_ him!"
"And you didn't throw him in, after all? By Jove, extraordinary!"
"Do you mean to tell us that he threw you great hulking creatures into
the river? Single-handed?" cried Lady Bazelhurst, aghast.
"He did, Evelyn," inserted Penelope. "I met them coming home, and poor
Tompkins was out of his senses. I don't know how it happened, but--"
"It was this way, your ladyship," put in James, the groom. "Tompkins
and me could see him from the point there, sir, afishin' below the
log. So we says to each other 'Come on,' and up we went to where he
was afishin'. Tompkins, bein' the game warden, says he to him 'Hi
there!' He was plainly on our property, sir, afishin' from a boat for
bass, sir. 'Hello, boys,' says he back to us. 'Get off our land,' says
Tompkins. 'I am,' says he; 'it's water out here where I am.' Then--"
"You're wrong," broke in Tompkins. "He said 'it's wet out here where I
"You're right. It was wet. Then Tompkins called him a vile name, your
lordship--shall I repeat it, sir?"
"No, no!" cried four feminine voices.
"Yes, do," muttered the duke.
"He didn't wait after that, sir. He rowed to shore in a flash and
landed on our land. 'What do you mean by that?' he said, mad-like. 'My
orders is to put you off this property,' says Tompkins, 'or to throw
you in the river.' 'Who gave these orders?' asked Mr. Shaw. 'Lord
Bazelhurst, sir, damn you--' beg pardon, sir; it slipped out. 'And who
the devil is Lord Bazelhurst?' said he. 'Hurst,' said Tompkins.
'He owns this ground. Can't you see the mottoes on the trees--No
Trespassin'?'--but Mr. Shaw said: 'Well, why don't you throw me in the
river?' He kinder smiled when he said it. 'I will,' says Tompkins, and
made a rush for him. I don't just remember why I started in to help
Tompkins, but I did. Somehow, sir, Mr. Shaw got--"
"Don't call him _Mr_. Shaw. Just Shaw; he's no gentleman," exploded
"But he told us both to call him 'Mister,' sir, as long as we lived.
I kinder got in the habit of it, your lordship, up there. That is,
that's what he told us after he got through with us. Well, anyhow, he
got the start of us an'--there's Tompkins' eyes, sir, and look at my
ear. Then he pitched us both in the river."
"Good Lord!" gasped the duke.
"Diable!" sputtered the count.
"Splendid!" cried Penelope, her eyes sparkling.
"Hang it all, Pen, don't interrupt the count," snorted Bazelhurst, for
want of something better to say and perhaps hoping that Deveaux might
say in French what could not be uttered in English.
"Don't say it in French, count," said little Miss Folsom. "It deserves
"Go on, James," sternly, from Lady Bazelhurst.
"Well, neither of us can swim, your ladyship, an' we'd 'a' drowned if
Mr.--if Shaw hadn't jumped in himself an' pulled us out. As it was,
sir, Tompkins was unconscious. We rolled him on a log, sir, an' got a
keg of water out of him. Then Mr.--er--Shaw told us to go 'ome and get
in bed, sir."
"He sent a message to you, sir," added Tompkins, shivering mightily.
"Well, I'll have one for him, never fear," said his lordship, glancing
about bravely. "I won't permit any man to assault my servants and
brutally maltreat them. No, sir! He shall hear from me--or my
"He told us to tell you, sir, that if he ever caught anybody from this
place on his land he'd serve him worse than he did us," said Tompkins.
"He says, 'I don't want no Bazelhursts on my place,'" added James in
"Go to bed, both of you!" roared his lordship.
"Very good, sir," in unison.
"They can get to bed without your help, I daresay, Pen," added his
lordship caustically, as she started away with them. Penelope with a
rare blush and--well, one party went to luncheon while the other went
"I should like to see this terrible Mr. Shaw," observed Penelope at
table. "He's a sort of Jack-the-Giant-Killer, I fancy."
"He is the sort one _has_ to meet in America," lamented her ladyship.
"Oh, I say now," expostulated the New York young man, wryly.
"I don't mean in good society," she corrected, with unconscious irony.
"Oh," said he, very much relieved.
"He's a demmed cad," Said his lordship conclusively.
"Because he chucked your men into the river?" asked Penelope sweetly.
"She's dooced pretty, eh?" whispered the duke to Mrs. De Peyton
without taking his eyes from his young countrywoman's face.
"Who?" asked Mrs. De Peyton. Then he relinquished his gaze and turned
his monocle blankly upon the American beside him.
"I shall send him a warning that he'll have to respect, cad or no
cad," said Bazelhurst, absently spreading butter upon his fingers
instead of the roll.
"_Send_ him a warning?" asked his queenly wife. "Aren't you going to
see him personally? You can't trust the servants, it seems."
"My dear, I can't afford to lose my temper and engage in a row with
that bounder, and there's no end of trouble I might get into--"
"I shall see him myself, if you won't," said her ladyship firmly.
There was frigid silence at the table for a full minute, relieved only
when his lordship's monocle dropped into the glass of water he was
trying to convey to his lips. He thought best to treat the subject
lightly, so he laughed in his most jovial way.
"You'd better take a mackintosh with you, my dear," he said. "Remember
what he told Tompkins and James."
"He will not throw _me_ into the river. It might be different if you
went. Therefore I think--"
"Throw me in, would he?" and Bazelhurst laughed loudly. "I'm no groom,
my dear. You forget that it _is_ possible for Mr. Shaw to be soused."
"He was good enough to souse himself this morning," volunteered
Penelope. "I rather like him."
"By Jove, Cecil, you're not afraid to meet him, are you?" asked the
duke with tantalizing coolness. "You know, if you are, I'll go over
and talk to the fellow."
"Afraid? Now, hang it all, Barminster, that's rather a shabby thing to
suggest. You forget India."
"I'm trying to. Demmed miserable time I had out there. But this fellow
fights. That's more than the beastly natives did when we were out
there. Marching isn't fighting, you know."
"Confound it, you forget the time--"
"Mon Dieu, are we to compare ze Hindoo harem wiz ze American feest
slugger?" cried the count, with a wry face.
"What's that?" demanded two noblemen in one voice. The count
apologized for his English.
"No one but a coward would permit this disagreeable Shaw creature to
run affairs in such a high-handed way," said her ladyship. "Of course
Cecil is not a coward."
"Thank you, my dear. Never fear, ladies and gentlemen; I shall attend
to this person. He won't soon forget what I have to say to him,"
promised Lord Bazelhurst, mentally estimating the number of brandies
and soda it would require in preparation.
"This afternoon?" asked his wife, with cruel insistence.
"Yes, Evelyn--if I can find him."
And so it was that shortly after four o'clock, Lord Bazelhurst,
unattended at his own request, rode forth like a Lochinvar, his steed
headed bravely toward Shaw's domain, his back facing his own home with
a military indifference that won applause from the assembled house
"I'll face him alone," he had said, a trifle thickly, for some unknown
reason, when the duke offered to accompany him. It also might have
been noticed as he cantered down the drive that his legs did not stick
out so stiffly, nor did his person bob so exactingly as on previous
but peaceful expeditions.
In fact, he seemed a bit limp. But his face was set determinedly for
the border line and Shaw.
IN WHICH A YOUNG WOMAN TRESPASSES
Mr. Shaw was a tall young man of thirty or thereabouts, smooth-faced,
good-looking and athletic. It was quite true that he wore a red
coat when tramping through his woods and vales, not because it was
fashionable, but because he had a vague horror of being shot at by
some near-sighted nimrod from Manhattan. A crowd of old college
friends had just left him alone in the hills after spending several
weeks at his place, and his sole occupation these days, aside from
directing the affair's about the house and grounds, lay in the efforts
to commune with nature by means of a shotgun and a fishing-rod. His
most constant companion was a pipe, his most loyal follower a dog.
As he sauntered slowly down the river road that afternoon, smiling
retrospectively from time to time as he looked into the swift, narrow
stream that had welcomed his adversaries of the morning, he little
thought of the encounter in store for him. The little mountain stream
was called a river by courtesy because it was yards wider than the
brooks that struggled impotently to surpass it during the rainy
season. But it was deep and turbulent in places and it had a roar at
times that commanded the respect of the foolhardy.
"The poor devils might have drowned, eh, Bonaparte?" he mused,
addressing the dog at his side. "Confounded nuisance, getting wet
after all, though. Lord Bazelhurst wants war, does he? That log down
there is the dividing line in our river, eh? And I have to stay on
this side of it. By George, he's a mean-spirited person. And it's his
wife's land, too. I wonder what she's like. It's a pity a fellow can't
have a quiet, decent summer up here in the hills. Still"--lighting his
pipe--"I daresay I can give as well as I take. If I stay off his land,
they'll have to keep off of mine. Hullo, who's that? A man, by George,
but he looks like a partridge. As I live, Bonaparte is pointing. Ha,
ha, that's one on you, Bony." Mr. Shaw stepped into the brush at the
side of the path and watched the movements of the man at the "log,"
now less than one hundred yards away.
Lord Bazelhurst, attired in his brown corduroys and his tan waistcoat,
certainly suggested the partridge as he hopped nimbly about in the
distant foreground, cocking his ears from time to time with all the
aloofness of that wily bird. He was, strange to relate, some little
distance from Bazelhurst territory, an actual if not a confident
trespasser upon Shaw's domain. His horse, however, was tethered to
a sapling on the safe side of the log, comfortably browsing on
Bazelhurst grass. Randolph Shaw, an unseen observer, was considerably
mystified by the actions of his unusual visitor.
His lordship paced back and forth with a stride that grew firmer as
time brought forth no hostile impediments. His monocle ever and anon
was directed both high and low in search of Shaw or his henchmen,
while his face was rapidly resolving itself into a bloom of rage.
"Confound him," his lordship was muttering, looking at his timepiece
with stern disapproval; "he can't expect me to wait here all day. I'm
on his land and I'll stay here as long as I like." (At this juncture
he involuntarily measured the distance between himself and the log.)
"I knew it was all a bluff, his threat to put me off. Hang it all,
where is the fellow? I won't go up to his beastly house. I won't
gratify him by going up there even to give him his orders. Demmed cad,
blowhard! Five o'clock, confound him! I daresay he's seen me and has
crawled off into the underbrush. He's afraid of me; he's a coward. It
is as I feared. I can't see the rascal. There's only one thing left
for me to do. I'll pin a note to this tree. Confound him, he shall
hear from me; he'll _have_ to read it."
Whereupon his lordship drew forth a large envelope from his pocket and
proceeded to fasten it to the trunk of a big tree which grew in the
middle of the road, an act of premeditation which showed strange
powers of prophecy. How could he, except by means of clairvoyance,
have known before leaving home that he was not to meet his enemy face
As Mr. Shaw afterward read the note and tossed it into the river, it
is only fair that the world should know its contents while it hung
unfolded to the bark of the tall tree. It said, in a very scrawling
hand: "Mr. Shaw, I have looked all over this end of your land for you
this afternoon. You doubtless choose to avoid me. So be it. Let me
state, once and for all, that your conduct is despicable. I came here
personally to tell you to keep off my land, henceforth and forever. I
will not repeat this warning, but will instead, if you persist, take
such summary measures as would befit a person of your instincts.
I trust you will feel the importance of keeping off." To this his
lordship bravely signed himself.
"There," he muttered, again holding his watch and fob up for close
inspection. "He'll not soon overlook what I've said in that letter,
He had not observed the approach of Randolph Shaw, who now stood, pipe
in hand, some twenty paces behind him in the road.
"What the devil are you doing?" demanded a strong bass voice. It had
the effect of a cannon shot.
His lordship leaped half out of his corduroys, turned with agonizing
abruptness toward the tall young man, and gasped "Oh!" so shrilly that
his horse looked up with a start. The next instant his watch dropped
forgotten from his fingers and his nimble little legs scurried
for territory beyond the log. Nor did he pause upon reaching that
supposedly safe ground. The swift glance he gave the nearby river was
significant as well as apprehensive. It moved him to increased but
He leaped frantically for the saddle, scorning the stirrups landing
broadside but with sufficient nervous energy in reserve to scramble
on and upward into the seat. Once there, he kicked the animal in the
flanks with both heels, clutching with his knees and reaching for the
bridle rein in the same motion. The horse plunged obediently, but came
to a stop with a jerk that almost unseated the rider; the sapling
swayed; the good but forgotten rein held firm.
"Ha!" gasped his lordship as the horrid truth became clear to him.
"Charge, Bonaparte!" shouted the man in the road.
"Soldiers?" cried the rider with a wild look among the trees.
"My dog," called back the other. "He charges at the word."
"Well, you know, I saw service in the army," apologized his lordship,
with a pale smile. "Get ep!" to the horse.
"What's your hurry?" asked Shaw, grinning broadly as he came up to the
"Don't--don't you dare to step over that log," shouted Bazelhurst.
"All right. I see. But, after all, what's the rush?" The other was
puzzled for the moment.
"I'm practising, sir," he said unsteadily. "How to mount on a run,
demmit. Can't you see?"
"In case of fire, I imagine. Well, you made excellent time. By the
way, what has this envelope to do with it?"
"Who are you, sir?"
"Shaw. And you?"
"You'll learn when you read that document. Take it home with you."
"Ah, yes, I see it's for me. Why don't you untie that hitch rein?
And what the dickens do you mean by having a hitch rein, anyway? No
"Confound your impudence, sir, I did not come here to receive
instructions from you, dem you," cried his lordship defiantly. He had
succeeded at that moment in surreptitiously slashing the hitch rein in
two with his pocket-knife. There was nothing now to prevent him
from giving the obtrusive young man a defiant farewell. "I am Lord
Bazelhurst. Good day, sir!"
"Just a minute, your lordship," called Shaw. "No doubt you were timing
yourself a bit ago, but that's no reason why you should leave your
watch on my land. Of course, I've nothing against the watch, and,
while I promise you faithfully that any human being from your side of
the log who ventures over on my side shall be ejected in one way or
another, it would seem senseless for me to kick this timepiece into
the middle of next week."
"Don't you dare kick that watch. It's a hundred years old."
"Far be it from me to take advantage of anything so old. Don't you
want it any longer?"
"Certainly, sir. I wouldn't part from it."
"Then why don't you come over and get it? Do you expect me to break
the rule by coming over on to your land to hand it to you?"
"I shouldn't call _that_ trespassing, don't you know," began his
"Ah? Nevertheless, if you want this watch you'll have to come over and
"By Jove, now, that's a demmed mean trick. I'm mounted. Beastly
annoying. I say, would you mind _tossing_ it up to me?"
"I wouldn't touch it for ten dollars. By the way, I'll just read this
note of yours." Lord Bazelhurst nervously watched him as he read; his
heart lightened perceptibly as he saw a good-humored smile struggle to
the tall young man's face. It was, however, with some misgiving that
he studied the broad shoulders and powerful frame of the erstwhile
poacher. "Very good of you, I'm sure, to warn me."
"Good of me? It was imperative, let me tell you, sir. No man can abuse
my servants and trample all over my land and disturb my fish--"
"Excuse me, but I haven't time to listen to all that. The note's
sufficient. You've been practising the running mount until it looks
well nigh perfect to me, so I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll step back
thirty paces and then you come over and get the watch--if you're not
afraid of me--and I'll promise--"
"Afraid? Demmit, sir, didn't I say I was Lord Bazelhurst? Of the
Guards, sir, and the Seventy-first? Conf--"
"You come over and get the watch and then see if you can get back to
the horse and mount before I get to the log. If I beat you there, you
lose. How's that?"
"I decline to make a fool of myself. Either you will restore my watch
to me, or I shall instantly go before the authorities and take out
a warrant. I came to see you on business, sir, not folly. Lady
Bazelhurst herself would have come had I been otherwise occupied,
and I want to assure you of her contempt. You are a disgrace to her
countrymen. If you ever put foot on our land I shall have you thrown
into the river. Demmit, sir, it's no laughing matter. My watch, sir."
"Come and get it."
"By George, do you know if you get too personal I _will_ come over
there." Randolph Shaw advanced with a threatening scowl.
"Ha, ha!" laughed his lordship shrilly; "I dare you!" He turned his
horse's head for home and moved off a yard or more. "Whoa! Curse you!
This is the demdest horse to manage I've ever owned. Stand still,
confound you! Whoa!"
"He'll stand if you stop licking him."
"Halloa! Hey, Bazelhurst!" came a far distant voice. The adversaries
glanced down the road and beheld two horsemen approaching from
Bazelhurst Villa--the duke and the count.
"By Jove!" muttered his lordship, suddenly deciding that it would not
be convenient for them to appear on the scene at its present stage.
"My friends are calling me. Her ladyship doubtless is near at hand.
She rides, you know--I mean dem you! Wouldn't have her see you for
a fortune. Not another word, sir! You have my orders. Stay off or
I'll--throw you off!" This last threat was almost shrieked and was
plainly heard by the two horsemen.
"By Jove, he's facing the fellow," said the duke to the count.
"Ees eet Shaw? Parbleu!"
"I'll send some one for that watch. Don't you dare to touch it," said
his lordship in tones barely audible. Then he loped off to meet his
friends and turn them back before they came too close for comfort.
Randolph Shaw laughed heartily as he watched the retreat. Seeing the
newcomers halt and then turn abruptly back into their tracks he picked
up the watch and strolled off into the woods, taking a short out for
the dirt road which led up to his house.
"I had him begging for mercy," explained his lordship as he rode
along. "I was on his land for half an hour before he would come within
speaking distance. Come along. I need a drink."
Young Mr. Shaw came to the road in due time and paused, after his
climb, to rest on a stone at the wayside. He was still a mile from
home and in the loneliest part of his domain. The Bazelhurst line was
scarcely a quarter of a mile behind him. Trees and underbrush grew
thick and impenetrable alongside the narrow, winding road; the light
of heaven found it difficult to struggle through to the highway below.
Picturesque but lonely and sombre indeed were his surroundings.
"Some one coming?" he said aloud, as Bonaparte pricked up his ears and
looked up the road. A moment later a horse and rider turned the bend a
hundred yards away and came slowly toward him. He started to his feet
with an exclamation. The rider was a woman and she was making her way
leisurely toward the Bazelhurst lands. "Lady Bazelhurst, I'll bet my
hat," thought he with a quiet whistle. "By George, this is awkward. My
first trespasser is in petticoats. I say, she's a beauty--a ripping
beauty. Lord, Lord, what do such women mean by giving themselves to
little rats like Bazelhurst? Oh, the shame of it! Well, it's up to
me! If I expect to 'make good,' I've just got to fire her off these
Naturally he expected to be very polite about it--instinctively so; he
could not have been otherwise. The horsewoman saw him step into the
middle of the road, smiling oddly, but deferentially; her slim figure
straightened, her color rose, and there was a--yes, there was a
relieved gleam in her eyes. As she drew near he advanced, hat in hand,
his face uplifted in his most winning smile--savoring more of welcome
than of repellence.
"I beg your pardon," he said; "doubtless you are not aware that this
is proscribed land."
"Then you _are_ Mr. Shaw?" she asked, checking her horse with
premeditated surprise and an emphasis that puzzled him.
"Yes, madam," he responded gravely, "the hated Shaw. Permit me," and
he politely grasped the bridle rein. To her amazement he deliberately
turned and began to lead her horse, willy nilly, down the road, very
much as if she were a child taking her first riding lesson.
"What are you doing, sir?" she exclaimed sharply. There was a queer
flutter of helplessness in her voice.
"Putting you off," he answered laconically. She laughed in delight and
he looked up with a relieved smile. "I'm glad you don't mind. I have
to do it. These feuds are such beastly things, you know. One has to
live up to them whether he likes it or not."
"So you are putting me off your place? Oh, how lovely!"
"It isn't far, you know--just down by those big rocks. Your line is
there. Of course," he went on politely, "you know that there _is_ a
"Oh, yes; I've heard you discussed. Besides, I met Tompkins and James
this morning. Pardon me, Mr. Shaw, but I fancy I can get on without
being led. Would you mind--"
"My dear madam, there is no alternative. I have taken a solemn vow
personally to eject all Bazelhurst trespassers from my place. You
forget that I am, by your orders, to be thrown into the river and all
that. Don't be alarmed! I don't mean to throw you into the river."
"By my orders? It seems to me that you have confused me with Lord
"Heaven has given me keener perception, your ladyship. I have seen his
"Ah, may I inquire whether he was particularly rough with afternoon?"
"I trust I am too chivalrous to answer that question."
"You are quite dry."
"Thank you. I deserve the rebuke, all right."
"Oh, I mean you haven't been in the river."
"Not since morning. Am I walking too fast for you?"
"Not at all. One couldn't ask to be put off more considerately."
"By Jove," he said involuntarily, his admiration getting the hotter of
"I beg your pardon," with the slightly elevated eyebrows.
"Do you know, you're not at all what I imagined you'd be."
"Oh? And I fancy I'm not at all _whom_ you imagined me to be."
"Heavens! Am I ejecting an innocent bystander? You _are_ Lady
"I am Penelope Drake. But"--she added quickly--"I _am_ an enemy. I am
Lord Bazelhurst's sister."
"You--you don't mean it?"
"Are you disappointed? I'm sorry."
"I am staggered and--a bit skeptical. There is no resemblance."
"I _am_ a bit taller," she admitted carefully. "It isn't dreadfully
immodest, is it, for one to hold converse with her captor? I am in
your power, you see."
"On the contrary, it is quite the thing. The heroine always converses
with the villain in books. She tells him what she thinks of him."
"But this isn't a book and I'm not a heroine. I am the adventuress.
Will you permit me to explain my presence on your land?"
"No excuse is necessary. You were caught red-handed and you don't have
to say anything to incriminate yourself further."
"But it is scarcely a hundred feet to our line. In a very few minutes
I shall be hurled relentlessly from your land and may never have
another chance to tell why I dared to venture over here. You see, you
have a haunted house on your land and I--" She hesitated.
"I see. The old Renwood cottage on the hill. Been deserted for years.
Renwood brought his wife up here in the mountains long ago and
murdered her. She comes back occasionally, they say; mysterious noises
and lights and all that. Well?"
"Well, I'm very much interested in spooks. In spite of the feud I rode
over here for a peep at the house. Dear me, it's a desolate looking
place. I didn't go inside, of course. Why don't you tear it down?"
"And deprive the ghost of house and home? That would be heartless.
Besides, it serves as an attraction to bring visitors to my otherwise
unalluring place. I'm terribly sorry the fortunes of war prevent me
from offering to take you through the house. But as long as you remain
a Bazelhurst I can't neglect my vow. Of course, I don't mean to say
that you _can't_ come and do what you please over here, but you shall
be recognized and treated as a trespasser."
"Oh, that's just splendid! Perhaps I'll come to-morrow."
"I shall be obliged to escort you from the grounds, you know."
"Yes, I know," she said agreeably. He looked dazed and delighted. "Of
course, I shall come with stealth and darkly. Not even my brother
shall know of my plans."
"Certainly not," he said with alacrity. (They were nearing the line.)
"Depend on me."
"Depend on you? Your only duty is to scare me off the place."
"That's what I mean. I'll keep sharp watch for you up at the haunted
"It's more than a mile from the line," she advised him.
"Yes, I know," said he, with his friendliest smile. "Oh, by the way,
would you mind doing your brother a favor, Miss Drake? Give him this
watch. He--er--he must have dropped it while pursuing me."
"You _ran_?" she accepted the watch with surprise and unbelief.
"Here is the line, Miss Drake," he evaded. "Consider yourself
ignominiously ejected. Have I been unnecessarily rough and
"You have had a long and tiresome walk," she said, settling herself
for a merry clip. "Please don't step on our side." He released the
bridle rein and doffed his hat.
"I shall bring my horse to-morrow," he remarked significantly.
"I may bring the duke," she said sweetly.
"In that case I shall have to bring an extra man to lead his horse. It
"So this rock is the dividing line?"
"Yes; you are on the safe side now--and so am I, for that matter. The
line is here," and he drew a broad line in the dust from one side of
the road to the other. "My orders are that you are not to ride across
that line, at your peril."
"And you are not to cross it either, at _your_ peril."
"Do you dare me?" with an eager step forward.
"Good-bye! I say, are you sure you can find the Kenwood cottage?" he
called after her. The answer came back through the clatter of hoofs,
accompanied by a smile that seduced his self-possession.
"I shall find it in time."
For a long time he stood watching her as she raced down the road.
"At my peril," he mused, shaking his head with a queer smile. "By
George, that's fair warning enough. She's beautiful."
At dinner that night the Honorable Penelope restored the watch to her
brother, much to his embarrassment, for he had told the duke it was
being repaired in town.
"It wasn't this watch that I meant, old chap," he announced,
irrelevantly, to the duke, quite red in the face. "Where did you find
it, Pen?" She caught the plea in his eye and responded loyally.
"You dropped it, I daresay, in pursuing Mr. Shaw."
The positive radiance which followed dismay in his watery eyes
convinced her beyond all doubt that her brother's encounter with
the tall Mr. Shaw was not quite creditable to Bazelhurst arms. She
listened with pensive indifference to the oft-repeated story of how
he had routed the "insufferable cad," encouraged by the support of
champagne and the solicited approval of two eye-witnesses. She could
not repress the mixed feelings of scorn, shame, and pity, as she
surveyed the array of men who so mercilessly flayed the healthy,
fair-faced young man with the gentle strength.
The house party had been augmented during the day by the arrival of
half a dozen men and women from, the city brain-fagged, listless, and
smart. The big cottage now was full, the company complete for
three weeks at least. She looked ahead, this fresh, vigorous young
Englishwoman, and wondered how she was to endure the staleness of
There was some relief in the thought that the men would make love
to the good-looking young married women--at least part of the
time--and--but it depressed her in turn to think of the left-over
husbands who would make love to her.
"Why is it that Evelyn doesn't have real men here--like this Mr.
Shaw?" she found herself wondering vaguely as the night wore on.
IN WHICH A DOG TRESPASSES
Penelope was a perverse and calculating young person. She was her own
mistress and privileged to ride as often as she pleased, but it seemed
rather odd--although splendidly decorous--that she did not venture
upon Mr. Shaw's estate for more than a week after her first encounter
with the feudal baron. If she found a peculiarly feminine satisfaction
in speculating on his disappointment, it is not to be wondered at.
Womanly insight told her that Randolph Shaw rode forth each day and
watched with hawk-like vigilance for the promised trespasser. In his
imagination, she could almost hear him curse the luck that was helping
her to evade the patrol.
One morning, after a rain, she rode with the duke to the spot where
Shaw had drawn his line in the road. She felt a thrill of something
she could not define on discovering that the wet soil on the opposite
side of the line was disfigured by a mass of fresh hoof-prints. She
rejoiced to find that his vigil was incessant and worthy of the
respect it imposed. The desire to visit the haunted house was growing
more and more irresistible, but she turned it aside with all the
relentless perverseness of a woman who feels it worth while to
Truth to tell, Randolph Shaw was going hollow-eyed and faint in his
ceaseless, racking watch for trespassers.
Penelope laughed aloud as she gazed upon the tangle of hoof-print. The
duke looked as surprised as it was possible for him to look after the
wear of the past night.
"Hang it all, Penelope," he said. "I didn't say anything, don't you
"I was just thinking," she said hastily, "what fun it would be for us
to explore the haunted house."
"Oh, I say, Pen, that's going out of the way for a little fun, isn't
it? My word, it's a filthy old house with rats and mice and all
that--no place for a ghost, much less a nice little human being like
you. They're all like that."
"I think you are afraid to go," said she.
"Afraid of ghosts? Pshaw!" sniffed the duke, sticking out his chest.
"Yes, Shaw! That's whom you're afraid of."
"Now, see here, Pen, you shouldn't say that. Shaw's a d----, a cad.
See what Cecil did to him. Remember that? Well, pooh! What would _I_
do to him?" Penelope looked him over critically.
"I'll admit that you're larger and younger than Cecil," she confessed
grudgingly. "But they say Mr. Shaw is a giant-killer." The duke
dropped his monocle and guffawed loudly.
"Good!" he cried in the ecstasy of pride. His worn, dissipated face
lighted up with unwonted interest. "I say, Pen, that's the nicest
thing you've said to me in a week. You've been so deuced cold of late.
I don't understand. I'm not such a bad lot, you know."
"Tell that to Mrs. De Peyton and Mrs. Corwith. They're looking for the
good in everything."
"By Jove, I believe you're jealous! This is the proudest moment of my
"Don't be silly! And don't try to make love to me any more. Wait until
I'm married," she added with a laugh, the irony of which escaped him.
"But, hang it all, suppose you should marry some one else and not me."
"That's what I mean."
"Oh!" he said, perplexed. Then, as if his stupidity called for an
explanation: "I had a beastly night. Didn't go to bed till four. But,
I say, why can't I have the same privilege as these other chaps?
Corwith makes love to you and so does Odwell, and, hang it, they're
both married. It's rotten mean of--"
"Their wives are accountable for their manners, not I. But, come; will
you go to Renwood's with me?"
"I'd rather talk to you in that nice little corner of the
billiard-room, at home, if you--"
"But I don't need a brandy and soda. Oh!" This exclamation came with
the discovery of an approaching horseman. "It's Mr. Shaw--I'm sure."
Randolph Shaw, loyal to his feudal promise, appeared in the road a
couple of hundred yards away. He drew rein and from that distance
surveyed the two who were so near to encroaching upon his preserves.
He sat straight and forbidding in the saddle. For a full minute
the two factions stared at each other. Then, without a sign of
recognition, Shaw turned and rode rapidly away.
"He rides like a gentleman," commented Miss Drake, after reflection.
"Indian blood in him," remarked her companion.
"Let us go home," said she, whirling her horse like a flash. The duke
had some difficulty in keeping abreast of her during the ride and
he lost sight of her altogether after they dismounted at Bazelhurst
The momentary glimpse of a real man set Penelope's opinions on edge
for the remainder of the day and night. Shaw, whatever else he might
be, was a man. Even while others addressed her in conversation she was
absent-mindedly recalling to memory certain English gentlemen at home
who could stand comparison with this handsome fellow across the danger
line. But to compare any one of the men in Lady Bazelhurst's house
party--oh, it was absurd! She looked them over. Dull-eyed, blase,
frayed by the social whirl, worn out, pulseless, all of them. They
talked automobile, bridge, women, and self in particular; in the
seclusion of a tete-a-tete they talked love with an ardor that lost
most of its danger because it was from force of habit. One of the men
was even now admitting in her ear that he had not spent an evening
alone with his wife in four years.
"There's always something doing," he said. "A week or two ago, by
Jove, you wouldn't believe it, but we had an evening turn up without a
thing on hand. Strangest thing I ever knew. Neither of us had a thing
on. We said we'd stay at home and go to bed early, just to see how it
felt. Well, what do you think? We sat up and read till half past ten
o'clock and then both of us thought of it at the same time. We dressed
and went down to Hector's and waited for the theatres to let out.
Three o'clock when we got home. You can't imagine what a queer
experience it is, being all alone with one's wife."
"Don't you love your wife, Mr. Odwell?"
"Certainly! but there's always a crowd." Both of them glanced over at
pretty Mrs. Odwell. She was looking down at her plate demurely while
Reggie Van Voort talked straight into her pink ear, his eyes gleaming
with the zest of invasion. "I say, Miss Drake, you won't mind talking
to me a while after dinner, will you?" went on Odwell, something like
relief in his voice.
After dinner she was obliged to set him straight in a little
matter. They were sitting on the terrace and he had thrown away his
half-smoked cigarette, an act in itself significant. She had been
listening patiently, from sheer habit and indifference, to what he was
saying, but at last she revolted.
"Don't! You shall not say such things to me. I am not your kind, I
fancy, Mr. Odwell," she said. "I don't know why you should tell me of
your chorus-girl friends--of your suppers and all that. I don't care
to hear of them and I don't intend that you shall use me as a subject
of illustration. I am going upstairs."
"Oh, come now, that's rather rough, just as we were getting on so
well. All the fellows do the same--"
"I know. You need not tell me. And you all have wives at home, too,"
with intense scorn.
"Now, that's where you wrong us. They're _not_ at home, you know.
That's just it."
"Never mind, Mr. Odwell; I'm going in." She left him and entered the
house. For a minute or two he looked after her in wonder, and then,
softly whistling, made his way over to where De Peyton, through some
oversight, was talking to his own wife. De Peyton unceremoniously
announced that he was going upstairs to write a letter.
Penelope, flushed with disgust and humiliation, drew near a crowd of
men and women in the long living-room. Her brother was haranguing the
assemblage, standing forth among them like an unconquered bantam. In
spite of herself, she felt a wave of shame and pity creep over her as
she looked at him.
"Barminster says the fellow ran when he saw him to-day," his lordship
was saying. "But that doesn't help matters. He had been on my land
again and again, Tompkins says, and Tompkins ought to know."
"And James, too," said the duke with a brandied roar.
"Can't Tompkins and his men keep that man off my land?" demanded Lady
Bazelhurst. Every one took note of the pronoun. Her ladyship's temples
seemed to narrow with hatred. Bazelhurst had told the men privately
that she was passing sleepless nights in order to "hate that fellow
Shaw" to her full capacity.
"My dear, I have given positive orders to Tompkins and he swears he'll
carry them out," said he hastily.
"I suppose Tompkins is to throw him into the river again."
"He is to shoot that fellow Shaw if he doesn't keep off our land. I've
had enough of it. They say he rode his confounded plough horse all
over the west end the other day." Penelope smiled reflectively.
"Trampled the new fern beds out of existence and all that. Hang him,
Tompkins will get him if he persists. He has told the men to take a
shot at the rascal on sight. Tompkins doesn't love him, you know."
Penelope went her way laughing and--forgot the danger that threatened
The next morning, quite early, she was off for a canter. Some magnetic
force drew her toward that obliterated line in the roadway. Almost as
she came up to it and stopped, Randolph Shaw rode down the hillside
through the trees and drew rein directly opposite, the noses of their
horses almost touching. With a smile he gave the military salute even
as she gasped in self-conscious dismay.
"On duty, Miss Drake. No trespassing," he said. There was a glad ring
in his voice. "Please don't run away. You're on the safe side."
"I'm not going to run," she said, her cheek flushing. "How do you know
where the line is? It has been destroyed by the ravages of time."
"Yes. It has seemed a year. This thing of acting sentinel so
religiously is a bit wearing." His great, friendly dog came across the
line, however, and looked bravely up into the enemy's face, wagging
his tail. "Traitor! Come back, Bonaparte," cried his master.
"What a beautiful dog," she cried, sincere admiration in her eyes. "I
love a big dog. He is your best friend, I'll wager.'
"'Love me, love my dog,' is my motto."
The conversation was not prolonged. Penelope began to find herself on
rather friendly terms with the enemy. Confusion came over her when
she remembered that she was behaving in a most unmaidenly manner.
Doubtless that was why she brought the meeting to a close by galloping
The ways of fortune are strange, look at them from any point of view.
Surprising as it may seem, a like encounter happened on the following
day and--aye, on the day after and every day for a week or more.
Occasions there were when Penelope was compelled to equivocate
shamefully in order to escape the companionship of the duke, the
count, or others of their ilk. Once, when the guardian of the road
was late at his post, she rode far into the enemy's country, actually
thrilled by the joy of adventure. When he appeared far down the road,
she turned and fled with all the sensations of a culprit. And he
thundered after her with vindictiveness that deserved better results.
Across the line she drew rein and faced him defiantly, her hair blown
awry, her cheeks red, her eyes sparkling.
"No trespass!" she cried, holding up her gloved hand. He stopped
short, for that was one of the terms of truce.
The next day he again was missing, but she was not to be caught by his
stratagem. Instead of venturing into the trap he had prepared for her,
she remained on her side of the line smiling at the thought of him in
hiding far up the road. If any one had suggested to her that she was
developing too great an interest in this stalwart gentleman, she would
have laughed him to scorn. It had not entered her mind to question
herself as to the pleasure she found in being near him. She was
founding her actions on the basis that he was a real man and that the
little comedy of adventure was quite worth while.
At length an impatient line appeared on her fair brow, a resentful
gleam in her eyes. His remissness was an impertinence! It was the last
time she would come--but a sudden thought struck her like a blow. She
turned white and red by turns. Had he tired of the sport? Had the
novelty worn off? Was he laughing at her for a silly coquette? The
riding crop came down sharply upon her horse's flank and a very deeply
agitated young woman galloped off toward Bazelhurst Villa, hurrying as
though afraid he might catch sight of her in flight.
A quarter of a mile brought a change in her emotions. British
stubbornness arose to combat an utter rout. After all, why should she
run away from him? With whimsical bravado, she turned off suddenly
into the trail that led to the river, her color deepening with the
consciousness that, after all, she was vaguely hoping she might see
him somewhere before the morning passed. Through the leafy pathway she
rode at a snail's pace, brushing the low-hanging leaves and twigs from
about her head with something akin to petulance. As she neared the
river the neighing of a horse hard by caused her to sit erect with
burning ears. Then she relapsed into a smile, remembering that it
might have come from the game warden's horse. A moment later her
searching eyes caught sight of Shaw's horse tied to a sapling and on
Bazelhurst ground, many hundred feet from his own domain. She drew in
sharply and looked about in considerable trepidation. Off to the right
lay the log that divided the lands, but nowhere along the bank of the
river could she see the trespasser. Carefully she resumed her way,
ever on the lookout, puzzled not a little by the unusual state of
Near the river trail she came upon the man, but he paid no heed to her
approach. He sat with his face in his hands and--she could not believe
her eyes and ears--he was sobbing bitterly. For an instant her lips
curled in the smile of scornful triumph and then something like
disgust came over her. There was mockery in her voice as she called
out to him.
"Have you stubbed your toe, little boy?"
He looked up, dazed. Then he arose, turning his back while he dashed
his hand across his eyes. When he glanced back at her he saw that she
was smiling. But she also saw something in his face that drove the
smile away. Absolute rage gleamed in his eyes.
"So it is real war," he said hoarsely, his face quivering. "Your
pitiful cowards want it to be real, do they? Well, that's what it
shall be, hang them! They shall have all they want of it! Look! This
is their way of fighting, is it? Look!"
He pointed to his feet. Her bewildered eyes saw that his hand was
bloody and a deathly sickness came over her. He was pointing to the
outstretched, inanimate form of the dog that had been his friend
and comrade. She knew that the beast was dead and she knew that her
brother's threat had not been an idle one. A great wave of pity and
horror swept over her. Moisture sprang to her eyes on the moment.
"He--he is dead?" she exclaimed.
"Yes--and killed by some cowardly brute whose neck I'd like to wring.
That dog--my Bonaparte--who knew no feud, who did no wrong! Your
brother wants war, does he? Well, I'll give him all--"
"But my brother could not have done a thing like this," she cried,
slipping from her saddle and advancing toward him quickly. "Oh, no,
no! Not this! He is not that sort, I know. It must have been an
"Accident! Don't come near me! I mean it. God, my heart is too full of
vengeance. Accident? Is this blood on my arm accidental? Bah! It was a
deliberate attempt to murder me!"
"You? You, too?" she gasped, reeling.
"Yes--they've winged me, too. Oh, God, if I only had been armed. There
_would_ have been a killing!"
"Let me see--let me help you!" she cried, coming up to his side,
white-faced and terrified. "I won't stay away! You are hurt. Please!
Please! I am not your enemy."
For a long minute he held back, savagely resentful, glowering upon
her, then his face softened and his hand went out to clasp hers.
"I knew you had nothing to do with it. Forgive me--forgive my
rudeness. Don't be alarmed about me. Two or three scattered shot
struck me in the arm. The fellow's aim was bad when it came to me.
But he--he got the dog! Poor old Bonaparte! It's as if he were a--a
brother, Miss Drake. I loved him and he loved me."
"You must let me see your arm. I will not take no for an answer. It
must need attention--"
"Believe me, it is nothing. I have tied my handkerchief about it--two
little shot, that's all. The first charge riddled the dog. But I
forget. I am still on your sister's land. At any minute I may be shot
from behind some tree. I--I couldn't help crying, Miss Drake. It was
cruel--fiendish! Now, if you'll permit me, I'll take my dead off of
"Stop! I must know about it. Tell me; how did it happen?"
"I can't talk about it to you."
"Why not? Do you think I condone this outrage? Do you think I can
support such means of warfare? You do not know me, Mr. Shaw; you do
not know an Englishwoman's love of fairness."
"By Jove, do you mean it?" his eyes lighted up. "But, after all, you
belong to the other camp," he added dejectedly. "I--I wish to heavens,
Miss Drake, you were not one of them!"
"My brother--Cecil would not have permitted this," she tried to
apologize, remembering with a cold heart that Lord Bazelhurst had
given the very instructions of which this was the result.
"We can't discuss it, Miss Drake. Some one from your side of the line
killed my dog and then fired at me. I'll admit I was trespassing, but
not until the dog was shot. He was on Lady Bazelhurst's land when he
was shot. It was not until after that that I trespassed, if you are
pleased to call it such. But I was unarmed; hang the luck!" The way he
said it conveyed much to her understanding.
"Tell me, please."
"I've had murder in my heart for half an hour, Miss Drake. Somehow you
soothe me." He sat down on the log again and leaned his head upon his
hand. With his eyes upon the dead dog he went on, controlling his
anger with an effort: "I rode down the river road this morning for a
change, intending to go up later on to our trysting place through the
wood." She heard him call it a trysting place without a thought of
resentment or shame. "When I came to the log there I stopped, but
Bonaparte, lawless old chap, kept on. I paid no attention to him,
for I was thinking of--of something else. He had raced around in the
forbidden underbrush for some time before I heard the report of a gun
near at hand. The dog actually screamed like a human being. I saw him
leap up from the ground and then roll over. Of course, I--well, I
trespassed. Without thinking of my own safety I flew to where the dog
was lying. He looked up into my face and whined just as he died. I
don't remember how I got off the horse. The next I knew I was rushing
blindly into the brush toward a place where I saw smoke, cursing like
a fiend. Then came the second shot and the stinging in my arm. It
brought me to my senses. I stopped and a moment later I saw a man
running down along the bank of the stream. I--oh, well, there isn't
any more to tell. I don't know who fired the shots. I couldn't see his
"It was Tompkins," she cried. "I know it was. He had his orders--" but
she checked herself in confusion.
"His orders? Do you mean to say--Miss Drake, did your brother instruct
him to kill me?" She quailed beneath his look.
"--I can't say anything more about it, Mr. Shaw," she murmured, so
piteously that he was touched. For a seemingly interminable length of
time his hard eyes looked into hers and then they softened.
"I understand," he said simply. "You cannot talk about it. I'll not
ask any questions."
"My brother is weak in her hands," she managed to say in extenuation.
"After all, it isn't a pleasant subject. If you don't mind we'll let
it drop--that is, between you and me, Miss Drake! I hope the war won't
break off our--"
"Don't suggest it, please! I'd rather you wouldn't. We are friends,
after all. I thought it was playing at war--and I can't tell you how
shocked I am."
"Poor old Bonaparte!" was all he said in reply. She stooped and laid
her hand on the fast-chilling coat of the dog. There were tears in
her eyes as she arose and turned away, moving toward her horse. Shaw
deliberately lifted the dead animal into his arms and strode off
toward his own land. She followed after a moment of indecision,
leading the horse. Across the line he went and up the side of the
knoll to his right. At the foot of a great tree he tenderly deposited
his burden. Then he turned to find her almost beside him.
"You won't mind my coming over here, will you?" she asked softly.
He reached out and clasped her hand, thoughtlessly, with his
blood-covered fingers. It was not until long afterward that she
discovered his blood upon the hand from which she had drawn her riding
"_You_ are always welcome" he said. "I am going to bury him here this
afternoon. No, please don't come. I'll bring the men down to help me.
I suppose they think I'm a coward and a bounder over at your place. Do
you remember the challenge you gave me yesterday? You dared me to come
over the line as far into Bazelhurst land as you had come into mine.
Well, I dared last night."
"You dared? You came?"
"Yes, and I went farther than you have gone, because I thought it was
play, comedy, fun. I even sat upon your gallery, just outside the
billiard-room--and smoked two cigarettes. You'll find the stubs on the
porch railing if her ladyship's servants are not too exemplary." She
was looking at him in wide-eyed unbelief. "I was there when you came
out on the lawn with the Frenchman."
"Did you hear what he was--what we were saying?" she asked, nervously
and going pale.
"No. I was not eavesdropping. Besides, you returned to the house very
abruptly, if you remember."
"Yes, I remember," she said, a sigh of relief accompanying the warm
glow that came to her cheek. "But were you not afraid of being
discovered? How imprudent of you!"
"It was a bit risky, but I rather enjoyed it. The count spoke to me as
I left the place. It was dark and he mistook me for one of your party.
I couldn't wait to see if you returned to renew the tete-a-tete--"
"I did not return," she said. It was his turn to be relieved.
IN WHICH THE TRUTH TRESPASSES
Lord and Lady Bazelhurst, with the more energetic members of their
party, spent the day in a so-called hunting excursion to the hills
south of the Villa. Toward nightfall they returned successfully
empty-handed and rapacious for bridge. Penelope, full of smouldering
anger, had spent the afternoon in her room, disdaining every call of
sociability. She had awakened to the truth of the situation in so far
as she was concerned. She was at least seeing things from Shaw's point
of view. Her resentment was not against the policy of her brother, but
the overbearing, petulant tyranny of her American sister-in-law. From
the beginning she had disliked Evelyn; now she despised her. With the
loyal simplicity of a sister she absolved Cecil of all real blame in
the outrage of the morning, attributing everything to the cruelty and
envy of the despot who held the purse-strings from which dangled
the pliable fortunes of Bazelhurst. The Bazelhursts, one and
all--ancestors thrown in--swung back and forth on the pendulum of her
capriciousness. Penelope, poor as a church mouse, was almost wholly
dependent upon her brother, who in turn owed his present affluence to
the more or less luckless movement of the matrimonial market. The girl
had a small, inadequate income--so small it was almost worth jesting
Here was Penelope, twenty-two, beautiful, proud, fair-minded, and
healthy, surveying herself for the first time from a new and an
entirely different point of view. She was not pleased with the
picture. She began to loathe herself more than she pitied her brother.
Something like a smile came into her clouded face as she speculated on
Randolph Shaw's method of handling Evelyn Banks had she fallen to him
as a wife. The quiet power in that man's face signified the presence
of a manhood that--ah, and just here it occurred to her that Lady
Bazelhurst felt the force of that power even though she never had seen
the man. She hated him because he was strong enough to oppose her, to
ignore her, to laugh at her impotence.
The smouldering anger and a growing sense of fairness combined at
length in the determination to take her brother and his wife to task
for the morning's outrage, let the consequences be what they might.
When she joined the people downstairs before dinner, there was a red
spot in each cheek and a steady look in her eyes that caused the duke
to neglect woefully the conversation he was carrying on with Mrs.
Dinner was delayed for nearly half an hour while four of the guests
finished their "rubber." Penelope observed that the party displayed
varying emotions. It afterward transpired that the hunters had spent
most of the afternoon in her ladyship's distant lodge playing bridge
for rather high stakes. Little Miss Folsom was pitifully unresponsive
to the mirth of Mr. Odwell. She could ill afford to lose six hundred
dollars. Lady Bazelhurst was in a frightful mood. Her guests had so
far forgotten themselves as to win more than a thousand dollars of
the Banks legacy and she was not a cheerful loser--especially as his
lordship had dropped an additional five hundred. The winners were
riotously happy. They had found the sport glorious. An observer,
given to deductions, might have noticed that half of the diners were
immoderately hilarious, the other half studiously polite.
Lord Bazelhurst wore a hunted look and drank more than one or two
highballs. From time to time he cast furtive glances at his wife. He
laughed frequently at the wrong time and mirthlessly.
"He's got something on his mind," whispered Odwell in comment.
"Yes; he always laughs when there is anything on his mind," replied
Mrs. De Peyton. "That's the way he gets it off."
After dinner no one proposed cards. The party edged off into twos and
threes and explained how luck had been with or against them. Penelope,
who could not afford to play for stakes, and had the courage to say
so, sat back and listened to the conversation of her brother and the
group around him.
The duke was holding forth on the superiority of the Chinese over the
Japanese as servants and Bazelhurst was loudly defending the Japanese
"Hang it all, Barminster, the Japs could eat 'em up," he proclaimed.
"Couldn't they?" to the crowd.
"I'm talking about servants, Cecil," observed the duke.
"And shoot? Why, they're the greatest gunners in the world. By Jove, I
read somewhere the other day that they had hit what they shot at three
million times out of--or, let me see, was it the Prussians who fired
three million rounds and--"
"Oh, let's change the subject," said the duke in disgust. "What's
become of that Shaw fellow?" Penelope started and flushed, much to her
chagrin. At the sound of Shaw's name Lady Bazelhurst, who was passing
with the count, stopped so abruptly that her companion took half a
dozen paces without her.
"Shaw? By Jove, do you know, I'd completely forgotten that fellow,"
"I thought you were going to shoot him, or shoot at him, or something
like that. Can't you get him in range?"
"Oh, I wasn't really in earnest about that, Barminster. You know we
couldn't shoot at a fellow for such a thing--"
"Nonsense, Cecil," said his wife. "You shoot poachers in England."
"But this fellow isn't a poacher. He's a--a gentleman, I daresay--in
some respects--not all, of course, my dear, but--"
"Gentleman? Ridiculous!" scoffed his wife.
"I--yes, quite right--a ridiculous gentleman, of course. Ha, ha! Isn't
he, Barminster? But with all that, you know, I couldn't have Tompkins
shoot him. He asked me the other day if he should take a shot at
Shaw's legs, and I told him not to do anything so absurd." Penelope's
heart swelled with relief, and for the first time that evening she
looked upon her brother with something like sisterly regard.
"It didn't matter, however," said Lady Evelyn sharply, "I gave him
instructions yesterday to shoot any trespasser from that side of the
line. I can't see that we owe Mr. Shaw any especial consideration. He
has insulted end ignored me at every opportunity. Why should he be
permitted to trespass more than any other common lawbreaker? If he
courts a charge of birdshot he should not expect to escape scot free.
Birdshot wouldn't kill a man, you know, but it would--"
But Penelope could restrain herself no longer. The heartlessness of
her sister-in-law overcame her prudence, and she interrupted the
scornful mistress of the house, her eyes blazing, but her voice under
perfect control. Her tall young figure was tense, and her fingers
clasped the back of Miss Folsom's chair rather rigidly.
"I suppose you know what happened this morning," she said, with such
apparent restraint that every one looked at her expectantly.
"Do you mean in connection with Mr.--with Jack-the-Giant-Killer?"
asked her ladyship, her eyes brightening.
"Some one of your servants shot him this morning," said Penelope with
great distinctness. There was breathless silence in the room.
"Shot him?" gasped Lord Bazelhurst, his thin red face going very
"Not--not fatally?" exclaimed Evelyn, aghast in spite of herself.
"No. The instructions were carried out. His wound in the arm is
trifling. But the coward was not so generous when it came to the life
of his innocent, harmless dog. He killed the poor thing. Evelyn,
it's--it's like murder."
"Oh," cried her ladyship, relieved. "He killed the dog. I daresay
Mr. Shaw has come to realize at last that we are earnest in this. Of
course I am glad that the man is not badly hurt. Still, a few shot in
the arm will hardly keep him in bounds. His legs were intended," she
laughed lightly. "What miserable aim Tompkins must take."
"He's a bit off in his physiology, my dear," said Cecil, with a
nervous attempt at humor. He did not like the expression in his
sister's face. Somehow, he was ashamed.
"Oh, it's bad enough," said Penelope. "It was his left arm--the upper
arm, too. I think the aim was rather good."
"Pray, how do you know all of this, Penelope?" asked her ladyship,
lifting her eyebrows. "I've heard that you see Mr. Shaw occasionally,
but you can't be his physician, I'm sure."
Penelope flushed to the roots of her hair, but suppressed the retort
which would have been in keeping with the provocation.
"Oh, dear, no!" she replied. "I'm too soft-hearted to be a physician.
I saw Mr. Shaw just after the--ah--the incident."
"You shaw Saw--I mean you saw Shaw?" gasped Bazelhurst.
"She sees him frequently, Cecil. It was not at all unusual that she
should have seen him to-day. I daresay he waited to show you his wound
before going to a surgeon."
Penelope could not resist the temptation to invent a story befitting
the moment. Assuming a look of concern, she turned to her brother and
said: "He is coming to see you about it to-morrow, and he is coming
armed to, the teeth, attended by a large party of friends. My. Shaw
says he will have satisfaction for the death of that dog if he has to
shoot everybody on the place."
"Good Lord!" cried the duke. There was instant excitement. "I believe
the wretch will do it, too."
"Oh, I say, Bazelhurst, settle with him for the dog," said De Peyton
nervously. He looked at his watch and then at his wife. The entire
party now was listening to the principal speakers.
"Nonsense!" exclaimed Lady Evelyn. "He won't come. It's all bluster.
Don't let it frighten you, Cecil. I know the manner of man."
"I wish you could have seen him this morning," murmured Penelope,
thoroughly enjoying the unexpected situation. Her conscience was not
troubled by the prevarication.
"By Jove, I think it would be wise to send over and find out what he
valued the brute at," said Cecil, mopping his brow.
"Good. We'll send Penelope to act as ambassador," said her ladyship.
"She seems to be on friendly terms with the enemy."
"To act as ambassador from Cowardice Court?" questioned Penelope,
loftily, yet with cutting significance. "No, I thank you. I decline
the honor. Besides," with a reflective frown, "I don't believe it is
diplomacy he's after."
"I say what the deuce do you suppose the confounded savage has in
mind?" exclaimed the duke. "I've heard of the way these cowboys settle
their affairs. You don't imagine--" and he paused significantly.
"It looks like it's going to be a da--rather disagreeable affair,"
said De Peyton sourly.
"Good heavens, what are we to do if he comes here with a lot of
desperadoes and begins to shoot?" cried Mrs. Odwell, genuinely
alarmed. "I've read so much of these awful mountain feuds."
"Don't be alarmed. Lord Bazelhurst will attend to the gentleman," said
Lady Evelyn blandly. His lordship's monocle clattered down and the ice
rattled sharply in his glass.
"To--to be sure," he agreed. "Don't be in the least worried. I'll
attend to the upstart. What time's he coming, Pen?"
A door banged noisily near by, and every one jumped as though a gun
had been fired. While the "ohs" were still struggling from their lips,
Hodder, the butler, came into the room, doing his best to retain his
composure under what seemed to be trying circumstances.
"What is it, Hodder?" demanded her ladyship.
"The cook, your ladyship. She's fallen downstairs and broken her
leg," announced Hodder. He did not betray it, but he must have been
tremendously surprised by the sigh of relief that went up on all
sides. Lord Bazelhurst went so far as to laugh.
"Ha, ha! is that all?"
"Oh, dear, I'm so glad!" cried Miss Folsom, impulsively. "I was
frightened half to death. It might have been Mr.--"
"Don't he silly, Rose," said Lady Bazelhurst. "Where is she, Hodder?"
"In the laundry, your ladyship. There are two fractures."
"By Jove, two legs instead of one, then--worse than I thought," cried
Bazelhurst, draining his glass.
"Send at once for a doctor, Hodder, and take her to her room. Isn't it
annoying," said her ladyship. "It's so difficult to keep a cook in the
"Don't see how she can get away without legs," observed De Peyton.
"I'll come with you, Hodder. Perhaps I can do something for her," said
Penelope, following the butler from the room.
"Don't take too many patients on your hands, my dear," called the
mistress, with a shrill laugh.
"Yes; remember to-morrow," added the duke. Then, suddenly: "I believe
I'll lend a hand." He hurried after Penelope, rather actively for him.
Lord Bazelhurst visited his wife's room later in the night, called
there by a more or less peremptory summons. Cecil had been taking time
by the forelock in anticipation of Shaw's descent in the morning and
was inclined to jocundity.
"Cecil, what do you think of Penelope's attitude toward Mr. Shaw?" she
asked, turning away from the window which looked out over the night in
the direction of Shaw's place.
"I didn't know she had an attitude," replied he, trying to focus his
wavering gaze upon her.
"She meets him clandestinely and she supports him openly. Isn't that
an attitude, or are you too drunk to see it?"
"My dear, remember you are speaking of my sister," he said with fine
dignity but little discrimination. "Besides, I am not too drunk.
I _do_ see it. It's a demmed annoying attitude. She's a traitor,
un'stand me? A traito-tor. I intend to speak to her about it."
"It is better that you should do it," said his wife. "I am afraid I
could not control my temper."
"Penelope's a disgrace--an absolute disgrace. How many legs did Hodder
say she'd--she'd broken?"
"Oh, you're disgusting!" cried Lady Evelyn. "Go to bed! I thought I
could talk to you to-night, but I can't. You scarcely can stand up."
"Now, Evelyn, you do me injustice. I'm only holding to this chair to
keep it from moving 'round the room. See that? Course I c'n stan' up,"
he cried, triumphantly.
"I am utterly disgusted with you. Oh, for a man! A man with real blood
in his veins, a man who could do something besides eat and drink at my
cost. I pay your debts, clothe you, feed you--house your ungrateful
sister--and what do I get in return? _This_!"
Lord Bazelhurst's eyes steadied beneath this unexpected assault, his
legs stiffened, his shoulders squared themselves in a pitiful attempt
"Lady Bazelhurst, you--you--" and then he collapsed into the chair,
bursting into maudlin tears. She stood over by the dressing-table and
looked pitilessly upon the weak creature whose hiccoughing sobs filled
the room. Her color was high, her breathing heavy. In some way it
seemed as though there was so much more she could have said had the
circumstances been different.
There came a knock at the door, but she did not respond. Then the door
opened quietly and Penelope entered the room, resolutely, fearlessly.
Evelyn turned her eyes upon the intruder and stared for a moment.
"Did you knock?" she asked at last.
"Yes. You did not answer."
"Wasn't that sufficient?"
"Not to-night, Evelyn. I came to have it out with you and Cecil. Where
"Asleep?" with a look of amazement.
"I hope not. I should dislike having to call the servants to carry him
to his room."
"I see. Poor old chap!" She went over and shook him by the shoulder.
He sat up and stared at her blankly through his drenched eyes. Then,
as if the occasion called for a supreme effort, he tried to rise,
ashamed that his sister should have found him in his present
condition. "Don't get up, Cecil. Wait a bit and I'll go to your room
"What have you to say to me, Penelope?" demanded Evelyn, a green light
in her eyes.
"I can wait. I prefer to have Cecil--understand," she said, bitterly.
"If it's about our affair with Shaw, it won't make any difference
whether Cecil understands or not. Has your friend asked you to plead
for him? Does he expect me to take him up on your account and have him
"I was jesting when I said he would come to-morrow," said Penelope,
ignoring the thrust and hurrying to her subject. "I couldn't go to
sleep to-night if I neglected to tell you what I think of the outrage
this morning. You and Cecil had no right to order Tompkins to shoot at
Mr. Shaw. He is not a trespasser. Some one killed his dog to-day. When
he pursued the coward, a second shot was fired at him. He was wounded.
Do you call that fair fighting? Ambushed, shot from behind a tree.
I don't care what you and Cecil think about it, I consider it
despicable. Thank God, Cecil was not really to blame. It is about the
only thing I can say to my brother's credit."
Lady Bazelhurst was staring at her young-sister-in-law with wide eyes.
It was the first time in all her petted, vain life that any one had
called her to account. She was, at first, too deeply amazed to resent
the sharp attack.
"Penelope Drake!" was all she could say. Then the fury in her soul
began to search for an outlet. "How dare you? How dare you?"
"I don't mean to hurt you. I am only telling you that your way of
treating this affair is a mistake. It can be rectified. You don't want
to be lawless; you don't understand what a narrow escape from murder
you have had. Evelyn, you owe reparation to Mr. Shaw. He is--"
"I understand why you take his side. You cheapen and degrade yourself
and you bring shame upon your brother and me by your disgraceful
affair with this ruffian. Don't look shocked! You meet him secretly,
I know--how much farther you have gone with him I don't know. It is
enough that you--"
"Stop! You shall not say such things to me!"
"You came in here to have it out with me. Well, we'll have it out. You
think because you're English, and all that that you are better than I.
You show it in your every action; you turn up your nose at me because
I am an American. Well, what if I am? Where would you be if it were
not for me? And where would _he_ be? You'd starve if it were not
for me. You hang to me like a leech--you sponge on me, you gorge
"That is enough, Evelyn. You have said all that is necessary. I
deserve it, too, for meddling in your affairs. It may satisfy you to
know that I have always despised you. Having confessed, I can only add
that we cannot live another hour under the same roof. You need not
order me to go. I shall do so of my own accord--gladly." Penelope
turned to the door. She was as cold as ice.
"It is the first time you have ever done anything to please me. You
may go in the morning."
"I shall go to-night!"
"As you like. It is near morning. Where do you expect to go at this
hour of night?"
"I am not afraid of the night. To-morrow I shall send over from the
village for my trunks." She paused near the door and then came back to
Cecil's side. "Good-bye, Cecil. I'll write. Good-bye." He looked up
with a hazy smile.
"G'night," he muttered thickly.
Without another word or so much as a glance at Lady Bazelhurst,
Penelope Drake went swiftly from the room. The big hall clock struck
the half-hour after eleven. Some one--a woman--was laughing in the
billiard-room below; the click of the balls came to her ears like
the snapping of angry teeth. She did not hesitate; it was not in
her nature. The room in which she had found so much delight was now
loathsome to her. With nervous fingers she threw the small things
she most cherished into a bag--her purse, her jewels, her little
treasures. Somehow it seemed to her as if she were hurrying to catch a
night train, that was all. With her own strong young arms she dragged
the two huge trunks from the closet. Half an hour later they were full
and locked. Then she looked about with a dry, mirthless smile.
"I wonder where I _am_ to go?" she murmured, half aloud, A momentary
feeling of indecision attacked her. The click of the balls had ceased,
the clock had struck twelve. It was dark and still, and the wind was
crying in the trees.
* * * * *
"She won't go," Lady Bazelhurst was saying to herself, as she sat,
narrow-eyed and hateful, in her window looking out into the night.
"Life is too easy here." The light from the porch lanterns cast a
feeble glow out beyond the porte-cochere and down the drive. As
she stared across the circle, the figure of a woman suddenly cut a
diametric line through it, and lost itself in the wall of blackness
that formed the circumference. Lady Evelyn started and stared
unbelievingly into the darkness, striving to penetrate it with her
"It was she--Penelope," she cried, coming to her feet. "She's really
gone--she meant it." For many minutes she peered out into the night,
expecting to see the shadow returning. A touch of anxious hope
possessing her, she left the window and hurried down the corridor to
Penelope's room. What she found there was most convincing. It was
not a trick of the lanterns. The shadow had been real. It must be
confessed that the peevish heart of Lady Bazelhurst beat rather
rapidly as she hastened back to the window to peer anxiously out into
the sombre park with its hooting owls and chattering night-bugs. The
mournful yelp of a distant dog floated across the black valley.
The watcher shuddered as she recalled stories of panthers that had
infested the great hills. A small feeling of shame and regret began to
develop with annoying insistence.
An hour dragged itself by before she arose petulantly, half terrified,
half annoyed in spite of herself. Her husband still was sitting in the
big chair, his face in his hands. His small, dejected figure appealed
to her pity for the first time in the two years of their association.
She realized what her temper had compelled her to say to him and to
his sister; she saw the insults that at least one of them had come to
"I hope that foolish girl will come back," she found herself saying,
with a troubled look from the window. "Where can the poor thing go?
What will become of her? What will everyone say when this becomes
known?" she cried, with fresh selfishness. "I--I should not have let
her go like this."
Even as she reproached herself, a light broke in upon her
understanding; a thought whirled into her brain and a moment later a
shrill, angry, hysterical laugh came from her lips.
"She knew where she could go! How simple I am. Shaw will welcome her
gladly. She's with him by this time--his doors have opened to her. The
little wretch! And I've been trying so hard to pity her!" She laughed
again so shrilly that his lordship stirred and then looked up at her
"Hullo," he grunted. "What time is it?"
"Oh, you're awake, are you?" scornfully.
"Certainly. Have I been dozing? What's there to laugh at, my dear?" he
mumbled, arising very unsteadily. "Where's Pen?"
"She's gone. She's left the house," she said, recurring dread and
anxiety in her voice. A glance at the darkness outside brought back
the growing shudders.
"What--what d'ye mean?" demanded he, bracing up with a splendid
"She's left the house, that's all. We quarrelled. I don't know where
she's gone. Yes, I do know. She's gone to Shaw's for the night. She's
with him. I saw her going," she cried, striving between fear and
"You've--you've turned her out?" gasped Lord Bazelhurst, numbly. "In
the night? Good Lord, why--why did you let her go?" He turned and
rushed toward the door, tears springing to his eyes. He was sobering
now and the tears were wrenched from his hurt pride. "How long ago?"
"An hour or more. She went of her own accord. You'll find her at
Shaw's," said her ladyship harshly. She hated to admit that she was to
blame. But as her husband left the room, banging the door after him,
she caught her breath several times in a futile effort to stay the
sobs, and then broke down and cried, a very much abused young woman.
She hated everybody and everything.
IN WHICH DAN CUPID TRESPASSES
Lady Bazelhurst was right. Penelope was making her way through the
blackest of nights toward the home of Randolph Shaw. In deciding upon
this step, after long deliberation, she had said to herself: "Randolph
Shaw is the only real man I've seen since coming to the mountains. I
can trust him to help me to-night."
It was fully three miles to Shaw's place, most of the way over the
narrow valley road. She knew she would encounter but few tortuous
places. The last half-mile, however, was steep, rugged, and unfamiliar
to her. She had ventured no nearer to his home than Renwood's deserted
cottage, lying above and to the south of the road, almost at the base
of the long hill on whose side Shaw had built his big home. To climb
that hill was no easy task in daylight; at midnight, with the stars
obscured by clouds and tree-tops, there was something perilously
uncertain in the prospect.
Only the knowledge that patience and courage eventually would bring
her to the end made the journey possible. Time would lead her to the
haven; care would make the road a friend; a stout heart was her best
ally. Strength of limb and strength of purpose she had, in use and in
reserve. No power could have made her turn back willingly. Her anxious
eyes were set ahead in the blackness; her runaway feet were eager in
obedience to her will.
"Why couldn't I have put it off until morning?" she was saying to
herself as she passed down the gravelled drive and advanced to meet
the wall of trees that frowned blackly in her face. "What will he
think? What will he say? Oh, he'll think I'm such a silly, romantic
fool. No, he won't. He'll understand. He'll help me on to Plattsburg
to-morrow. But will he think I've done this for effect? Won't he think
I'm actually throwing myself at his head? No, I can't turn back. I'd
rather die than go back to that house. It won't matter what he thinks;
I'll be away from all of it to-morrow. I'll he out of his life and I
won't care what he thinks. England! Goodness, what's that?" She had
turned a bend in the drive and just ahead there was a light. A sigh of
relief followed the question. It came from the lantern which hung to a
stake in the road where the new stone gate-posts were being built by
workmen from town. Bazelhurst Villa was a quarter of a mile, through
the park, behind her; the forest was ahead.
At the gate she stopped between the half-finished stone posts and
looked ahead with the first shiver of dismay. Her limbs seemed ready
to collapse. The flush of anger and excitement left her face; a white,
desolate look came in its stead. Her eyes grew wide and she blinked
her lashes with an awed uncertainty that boded ill for the stability
of her adventure. An owl hooted in mournful cadence close by and she
felt that her hair was going straight on end. The tense fingers of one
hand gripped the handle of the travelling-bag while the other went
spasmodically to her heart.
"Oh!" she gasped, moving over quickly to the stake on which the
lantern hung. The wind was rushing through the tree-tops with
increased fervor; the air was cool and wet with the signs of rain; a
swirl of dust flew up into her face; the swish of leaves sounded like
the splashing of water in the air. Holding her heart for minutes, she
at last regained some of the lost composure. A hysterical laugh fell
from her lips. "What a goose! It was an owl and I've heard hundreds of
them up here. Still, they _do_ sound different outside of one's own
room. It's going to rain. What wretched luck! Dear me, I can't stand
here all night. How black it is ahead there. Oooh! Really, now, it
does seem a bit terrifying. If I only had a lantern it wouldn't
be so--" her gaze fell upon the laborers' lantern that clattered