Part 3 out of 11
Type as exotic as Tembarom's was to his solicitor naturally suggested
problems. Mr. Palford found his charge baffling because, according to
ordinary rules, a young man so rudimentary should have presented no
problems not perfectly easy to explain. It was herein that he was
exotic. Mr. Palford, who was not given to subtle analysis of
differences in character and temperament, argued privately that an
English youth who had been brought up in the streets would have been
one of two or three things. He would have been secretly terrified and
resentful, roughly awkward and resentful, or boastfully delighted and
given to a common youth's excitedly common swagger at finding himself
suddenly a "swell."
This special kind of youth would most assuredly have constantly
thought of himself as a "swell" and would have lost his head
altogether, possibly with results in the matter of conduct in public
which would have been either maddening or crushing to the spirit of a
well-bred, mature-minded legal gentleman temporarily thrust into the
position of bear-leader.
But Tembarom was none of these things. If he was terrified, he did not
reveal his anguish. He was without doubt not resentful, but on the
contrary interested and curious, though he could not be said to bear
himself as one elated. He indulged in no frolics or extravagances. He
saw the Hutchinsons off on their steamer, and supplied them with fruit
and flowers and books with respectful moderation. He did not conduct
himself as a benefactor bestowing unknown luxuries, but as a young man
on whom unexpected luck had bestowed decent opportunities to express
his friendship. In fact, Palford's taste approved of his attitude. He
was evidently much under the spell of the slight girl with the
Manchester accent and sober blue eyes, but she was neither flighty nor
meretricious, and would have sense enough to give no trouble even when
he naturally forgot her in the revelations of his new life. Her father
also was plainly a respectable working-man, with a blunt Lancashire
pride which would keep him from intruding.
"You can't butt in and get fresh with a man like that," Tembarom said.
"Money wouldn't help you. He's too independent."
After the steamer had sailed away it was observable to his solicitor
that Mr. Temple Barholm was apparently occupied every hour. He did not
explain why he seemed to rush from one part of New York to another and
why he seemed to be seeking interviews with persons it was plainly
difficult to get at. He was evidently working hard to accomplish
something or other before he left the United States, perhaps. He asked
some astutely practical business questions; his intention seeming to
be to gain a definite knowledge of what his future resources would be
and of his freedom to use them as he chose.
Once or twice Mr. Palford was rather alarmed by the tendency of his
questions. Had he actually some prodigious American scheme in view? He
seemed too young and inexperienced in the handling of large sums for
such a possibility. But youth and inexperience and suddenly inherited
wealth not infrequently led to rash adventures. Something which
Palford called "very handsome" was done for Mrs. Bowse and the
boarding-house. Mrs. Bowse was evidently not proud enough to resent
being made secure for a few years' rent. The extraordinary page was
provided for after a large amount of effort and expenditure of energy.
"I couldn't leave Galton high and dry," Tembarom explained when he
came in after rushing about. "I think I know a man he might try, but
I've got to find him and put him on to things. Good Lord! nobody
rushed about to find me and offer me the job. I hope this fellow wants
it as bad as I did. He'll be up in the air." He discovered the where-
abouts of the young man in question, and finding him, as the youngster
almost tearfully declared, "about down and out," his proposition was
met with the gratitude the relief from a prospect of something
extremely like starvation would mentally produce. Tembarom took him to
Galton after having talked him over in detail.
"He's had an education, and you know how much I'd had when I butted
into the page," he said. "No one but you would have let me try it. You
did it only because you saw--you saw--"
"Yes, I saw," answered Galton, who knew exactly what he had seen and
who found his up-town social representative and his new situation as
interesting as amusing and just touched with the pathetic element.
Galton was a traveled man and knew England and several other countries
"You saw that a fellow wanted the job as much as I did would be likely
to put up a good fight to hold it down. I was scared out of my life
when I started out that morning of the blizzard, but I couldn't afford
to be scared. I guess soldiers who are scared fight like that when
they see bayonets coming at them. You have to."
"I wonder how often a man finds out that he does pretty big things
when bayonets are coming at him," answered Galton, who was actually
neglecting his work for a few minutes so that he might look at and
talk to him, this New York descendant of Norman lords and Saxon kings.
"Joe Bennett had been trying to live off free-lunch counters for a
week when I found him," Tembarom explained. "You don't know what that
is. He'll go at the page all right. I'm going to take him up-town and
introduce him to my friends there and get them to boost him along."
"You made friends," said Galton. "I knew you would."
"Some of the best ever. Good-natured and open-handed. Well, you bet!
Only trouble was they wanted you to eat and drink everything in sight,
and they didn't quite like it when you couldn't get outside all the
champagne they'd offer you."
He broke into a big, pleased laugh.
"When I went in and told Munsberg he pretty near threw a fit. Of
course he thought I was kidding. But when I made him believe it, he
was as glad as if he'd had luck himself. It was just fine the way
people took it. Tell you what, it takes good luck, or bad luck, to
show you how good-natured a lot of folks are. They'll treat Bennett
and the page all right; you'll see."
"They'll miss you," said Galton.
"I shall miss them," Tembarom answered in a voice with a rather
depressed drop in it.
"I shall miss you," said Galton.
Tembarom's face reddened a little.
"I guess it'd seem rather fresh for me to tell you how I shall miss
you," he said. "I said that first day that I didn't know how to tell
you how I--well, how I felt about you giving a mutt like me that big
chance. You never thought I didn't know how little I did know, did
you?" he inquired almost anxiously.
"That was it--that you did know and that you had the backbone and the
good spirits to go in and win," Galton replied. "I'm a tired man, and
good spirits and good temper seem to me about the biggest assets a man
can bring into a thing. I shouldn't have dared do it when I was your
age. You deserved the Victoria Cross," he added, chuckling.
"What's the Victoria Cross?" asked Tembarom.
"You'll find out when you go to England."
"Well, I'm not supposing that you don't know about how many billion
things I'll have to find out when I go to England."
"There will be several thousand," replied Galton moderately; "but
you'll learn about them as you go on."
"Say," said Tembarom, reflectively, "doesn't it seem queer to think of
a fellow having to keep up his spirits because he's fallen into three
hundred and fifty thousand a year? You wouldn't think he'd have to,
"But you find he has?" queried Galton, interestedly.
Tembarom's lifted eyes were so honest that they were touching.
"I don't know where I'm at," he said. "I'm going to wake up in a new
place--like people that die. If you knew what it was like, you
wouldn't mind it so much; but you don't know a blamed thing. It's not
having seen a sample that rattles you."
"You're fond of New York?"
"Good Lord! it's all the place I know on earth, and it's just about
good enough for me, by gee! It's kept me alive when it might have
starved me to death. My! I've had good times here," he added, flushing
with emotion. "Good times-- when I hadn't a whole meal a day!"
"You'd have good times anywhere," commented Galton, also with feeling.
"You carry them over your shoulder, and you share them with a lot of
He certainly shared some with Joe Bennett, whom he took up-town and
introduced right and left to his friendly patrons, who, excited by the
atmosphere of adventure and prosperity, received him with open arms.
To have been the choice of T. Tembarom as a mere representative of the
EARTH would have been a great thing for Bennett, but to be the choice
of the hero of a romance of wildest opulence was a tremendous send-
off. He was accepted at once, and when Tembarom actually "stood for" a
big farewell supper of his own in "The Hall," and nearly had his hand
shaken off by congratulating acquaintances, the fact that he kept the
new aspirant by his side, so that the waves of high popularity flowed
over him until he sometimes lost his joyful breath, established him as
a sort of hero himself.
Mr. Palford did not know of this festivity, as he also found he was
not told of several other things. This he counted as a feature of his
client's exoticism. His extraordinary lack of concealment of things
vanity forbids many from confessing combined itself with a quite
cheerful power to keep his own counsel when he was, for reasons of his
own, so inclined.
"He can keep his mouth shut, that chap," Hutchinson had said once, and
Mr. Palford remembered it. "Most of us can't. I've got a notion I can;
but I don't many's the time when I should. There's a lot more in him
than you'd think for. He's naught but a lad, but he is na half such a
fool as he looks."
He was neither hesitant nor timid, Mr. Palford observed. In an
entirely unostentatious way he soon realized that his money gave
things into his hands. He knew he could do most things he chose to do,
and that the power to do them rested in these days with himself
without the necessity of detailed explanation or appeal to others, as
in the case, for instance, of this mysterious friend or protege whose
name was Strangeways. Of the history of his acquaintance with him
Palford knew nothing, and that he should choose to burden himself with
a half-witted invalid --in these terms the solicitor described him--
was simply in-explainable. If he had asked for advice or by his manner
left an opening for the offering of it, he would have been most
strongly counseled to take him to a public asylum and leave him there;
but advice on the subject seemed the last thing he desired or
anticipated, and talk about his friend was what he seemed least likely
to indulge in. He made no secret of his intentions, but he frankly
took charge of them as his own special business, and left the rest
"Say nothing and saw wood," Palford had once been a trifle puzzled by
hearing him remark casually, and he remembered it later, as he
remembered the comments of Joseph Hutchinson. Tembarom had explained
himself to Little Ann.
"You'll understand," he said. " It is like this. I guess I feel like
you do when a dog or a cat in big trouble just looks at you as if you
were all they had, and they know if you don't stick by them they'll be
killed, and it just drives them crazy. It's the way they look at you
that you can't stand. I believe something would burst in that fellow's
brain if I left him. When he found out I was going to do it he'd just
let out some awful kind of a yell I'd remember till I died. I dried
right up almost as soon as I spoke of him to Palford. He couldn't see
anything but that he was crazy and ought to be put in an asylum. Well,
he's not. There're times when he talks to me almost sensible; only
he's always so awful low down in his mind you're afraid to let him go
on. And he's a little bit better than he was. It seems queer to get to
like a man that's sort of dotty, but I tell you, Ann, because you'll
understand --I've got to sort of like him, and want to see if I can
work it out for him somehow. England seems to sort of stick in his
mind. If I can't spend my money in living the way I want to live,--
buying jewelry and clothes for the girl I'd like to see dressed like a
queen--I'm going to do this just to please myself. I'm going to take
him to England and keep him quiet and see what'll happen. Those big
doctors ought to know about all there is to know, and I can pay them
any old thing they want. By jings! isn't it the limit--to sit here and
say that and know it's true!"
Beyond the explaining of necessary detail to him and piloting him to
England, Mr. Palford did not hold himself many degrees responsible.
His theory of correct conduct assumed no form of altruism. He had
formulated it even before he reached middle age. One of his fixed
rules was to avoid the error of allowing sympathy or sentiment to
hamper him with any unnecessary burden. Natural tendency of
temperament had placed no obstacles in the way of his keeping this
rule. To burden himself with the instruction or modification of this
unfortunately hopeless young New Yorker would be unnecessary.
Palford's summing up of him was that he was of a type with which
nothing palliative could be done. There he was. As unavoidable
circumstances forced one to take him,--commonness, slanginess,
appalling ignorance, and all,--one could not leave him. Fortunately,
no respectable legal firm need hold itself sponsor for a "next of kin"
provided by fate and the wilds of America.
The Temple Barholm estate had never, in Mr. Palford's generation, been
specially agreeable to deal with. The late Mr. Temple Temple Barholm
had been a client of eccentric and abominable temper. Interviews with
him had been avoided as much as possible. His domineering insolence of
bearing had at times been on the verge of precipitating unheard-of
actions, because it was almost more than gentlemanly legal flesh and
blood could bear. And now appeared this young man.
He rushed about New York strenuously attending to business concerning
himself and his extraordinary acquaintances, and on the day of the
steamer's sailing he presented himself at the last moment in an
obviously just purchased suit of horribly cut clothes. At all events,
their cut was horrible in the eyes of Mr. Palford, who accepted no cut
but that of a West End tailor. They were badly made things enough,
because they were unconsidered garments that Tembarom had barely found
time to snatch from a "ready-made" counter at the last moment. He had
been too much "rushed" by other things to remember that he must have
them until almost too late to get them at all. He bought them merely
because they were clothes, and warm enough to make a voyage in. He
possessed a monster ulster, in which, to Mr. Palford's mind, he looked
like a flashy black-leg. He did not know it was flashy. His
opportunities for cultivating a refined taste in the matter of
wardrobe had been limited, and he had wasted no time in fastidious
consideration or regrets. Palford did him some injustice in taking it
for granted that his choice of costume was the result of deliberate
bad taste. It was really not choice at all. He neither liked his
clothes nor disliked them. He had been told he needed warm garments,
and he had accepted the advice of the first salesman who took charge
of him when he dropped into the big department store he was most
familiar with because it was the cheapest in town. Even when it was no
longer necessary to be cheap, it was time-saving and easy to go into a
place one knew.
The fact that he was as he was, and that they were the subjects of
comment and objects of unabated interest through-out the voyage, that
it was proper that they should be companions at table and on deck,
filled Mr. Palford with annoyed unease.
Of course every one on board was familiar with the story of the
discovery of the lost heir. The newspapers had reveled in it, and had
woven romances about it which might well have caused the deceased Mr.
Temple Barholm to turn in his grave. After the first day Tembarom had
been picked out from among the less-exciting passengers, and when he
walked the deck, books were lowered into laps or eyes followed him
over their edges. His steamer-chair being placed in a prominent
position next to that of a pretty, effusive Southern woman, the mother
of three daughters whose eyes and eyelashes attracted attention at the
distance of a deck's length, he was without undue delay provided with
acquaintances who were prepared to fill his every moment with
"The three Gazelles," as their mother playfully confided to Tembarom
her daughters were called in Charleston, were destructively lovely.
They were swaying reeds of grace, and being in radiant spirits at the
prospect of "going to Europe," were companions to lure a man to any
desperate lengths. They laughed incessantly, as though they were
chimes of silver bells; they had magnolia-petal skins which neither
wind nor sun blemished; they had nice young manners, and soft moods in
which their gazelle eyes melted and glowed and their long lashes
drooped. They could dance, they played on guitars, and they sang. They
were as adorable as they were lovely and gay.
"If a fellow was going to fall in love," Tembarom said to Palford,
"there'd be no way out of this for him unless he climbed the rigging
and dragged his food up in a basket till he got to Liverpool. If he
didn't go crazy about Irene, he'd wake up raving about Honora; and if
he got away from Honora, Adelia Louise would have him `down on the
mat.'" From which Mr. Palford argued that the impression made by the
little Miss Hutchinson with the Manchester accent had not yet had time
to obliterate itself.
The Gazelles were of generous Southern spirit, and did not surround
their prize with any barrier of precautions against other young
persons of charm. They introduced him to one girl after another, and
in a day or two he was the center of animated circles whenever he
appeard. The singular thing, however, was that he did not appear as
often as the other men who were on board. He seemed to stay a great
deal with Strangeways, who shared his suite of rooms and never came on
deck. Sometimes the Gazelles prettily reproached him. Adelia Louise
suggested to the others that his lack of advantages in the past had
made him feel rather awkward and embarrassed; but Palford knew he was
not embarrassed. He accepted his own limitations too simply to be
disturbed by them. Palford would have been extremely bored by him if
he had been of the type of young outsider who is anxiouus about
himself and expansive in self-revelation and appeals for advice; but
sometimes Tembarom's air of frankness, which was really the least
expansive thing in the world and revealed nothing whatever, besides
concealing everything it chose, made him feel himself almost
irritatingly baffled. It would have been more natural if he had not
been able to keep anything to himself and had really talked too much.
The necessary business in London having been transacted, Tembarom went
north to take possession of the home of his forefathers. It had rained
for two days before he left London, and it rained steadily all the way
to Lancashire, and was raining steadily when he reached Temple
Barholm. He had never seen such rain before. It was the quiet, unmoved
persistence of it which amazed him. As he sat in the railroad carriage
and watched the slanting lines of its unabating downpour, he felt that
Mr. Palford must inevitably make some remark upon it. But Mr. Palford
continued to read his newspapers undisturbedly, as though the
condition of atmosphere surrounding him were entirely accustomed and
natural. It was of course necessary and proper that he should
accompany his client to his destination, but the circumstances of the
case made the whole situation quite abnormal. Throughout the centuries
each Temple Barholm had succeeded to his estate in a natural and
conventional manner. He had either been welcomed or resented by his
neighbors, his tenants, and his family, and proper and fitting
ceremonies had been observed. But here was an heir whom nobody knew,
whose very existence nobody had even suspected, a young man who had
been an outcast in the streets of the huge American city of which
lurid descriptions are given. Even in New York he could have produced
no circle other than Mrs. Bowse's boarding-house and the objects of
interest to the up-town page, so he brought no one with him; for
Strangeways seemed to have been mysteriously disposed of after their
arrival in London.
Never had Palford & Grimby on their hands a client who seemed so
entirely alone. What, Mr. Palford asked himself, would he do in the
enormity of Temple Barholm, which always struck one as being a place
almost without limit. But that, after all, was neither here nor there.
There he was. You cannot undertake to provide a man with relatives if
he has none, or with acquaintances if people do not want to know him.
His past having been so extraordinary, the neighborhood would
naturally be rather shy of him. At first, through mere force of custom
and respect for an old name, punctilious, if somewhat alarmed,
politeness would be shown by most people; but after the first calls
all would depend upon how much people could stand of the man himself.
The aspect of the country on a wet winter's day was not enlivening.
The leafless and dripping hedges looked like bundles of sticks; the
huge trees, which in June would be majestic bowers of greenery, now
held out great skeleton arms, which seemed to menace both earth and
sky. Heavy-faced laborers tramped along muddy lanes; cottages with
soaked bits of dead gardens looked like hovels; big, melancholy cart-
horses, dragging jolting carts along the country roads, hung their
heads as they splashed through the mire.
As Tembarom had known few persons who had ever been out of America, he
had not heard that England was beautiful, and he saw nothing which led
him to suspect its charms. London had impressed him as gloomy, dirty,
and behind the times despite its pretensions; the country struck him
as "the limit." Hully gee! was he going to be expected to spend his
life in this! Should he be obliged to spend his life in it. He'd find
that out pretty quick, and then, if there was no hard-and-fast law
against it, him for little old New York again, if he had to give up
the whole thing and live on ten per. If he had been a certain kind of
youth, his discontent would have got the better of him, and he might
have talked a good deal to Mr. Palford and said many disparaging
"But the man was born here," he reflected. "I guess he doesn't know
anything else, and thinks it's all right. I've heard of English
fellows who didn't like New York. He looks like that kind."
He had supplied himself with newspapers and tried to read them. Their
contents were as unexciting as the rain-sodden landscape. There were
no head-lines likely to arrest any man's attention. There was a lot
about Parliament and the Court, and one of them had a column or two
about what lords and ladies were doing, a sort of English up-town or
He knew the stuff, but there was no snap in it, and there were no
photographs or descriptions of dresses. Galton would have turned it
down. He could never have made good if he had done no better than
that. He grinned to himself when he read that the king had taken a
drive and that a baby prince had the measles.
"I wonder what they'd think of the Sunday Earth," he mentally
He would have been much at sea if he had discovered what they really
would have thought of it. They passed through smoke-vomiting
manufacturing towns, where he saw many legs seemingly bearing about
umbrellas, but few entire people; they whizzed smoothly past drenched
suburbs, wet woodlands, and endless-looking brown moors, covered with
dead bracken and bare and prickly gorse. He thought these last great
desolate stretches worse than all the rest.
But the railroad carriage was luxuriously upholstered and comfortable,
though one could not walk about and stretch his legs. In the
afternoon, Mr. Palford ordered in tea, and plainly expected him to
drink two cups and eat thin bread and butter. He felt inclined to
laugh, though the tea was all right, and so was the bread and butter,
and he did not fail his companion in any respect. The inclination to
laugh was aroused by the thought of what Jim Bowles and Julius would
say if they could see old T. T. with nothing to do at 4:30 but put in
cream and sugar, as though he were at a tea-party on Fifth Avenue.
But, gee! this rain did give him the Willies. If he was going to be
sorry for himself, he might begin right now. But he wasn't. He was
going to see this thing through.
The train had been continuing its smooth whir through fields, wooded
lands, and queer, dead-and-alive little villages for some time before
it drew up at last at a small station. Bereft by the season of its
garden bloom and green creepers, it looked a bare and uninviting
little place. On the two benches against the wall of the platform a
number of women sat huddled together in the dampness. Several of them
held children in their laps and all stared very hard, nudging one
another as he descended from the train. A number of rustics stood
about the platform, giving it a somewhat crowded air. It struck
Tembarom that, for an out- of-the-way place, there seemed to be a good
many travelers, and he wondered if they could all be going away. He
did not know that they were the curious element among such as lived in
the immediate neighborhood of the station and had come out merely to
see him on his first appearance. Several of them touched their hats as
he went by, and he supposed they knew Palford and were saluting him.
Each of them was curious, but no one was in a particularly welcoming
mood. There was, indeed, no reason for anticipating enthusiasm. It
was, however, but human nature that the bucolic mind should bestir
itself a little in the desire to obtain a view of a Temple Barholm who
had earned his living by blacking boots and selling newspapers,
unknowing that he was "one o' th' gentry."
When he stepped from his first-class carriage, Tembarom found himself
confronted by a very straight, clean-faced, and well-built young man,
who wore a long, fawn-colored livery coat with claret facings and
silver buttons. He touched his cockaded hat, and at once took up the
Gladstone bags. Tembarom knew that he was a footman because he had
seen something like him outside restaurants, theaters, and shops in
New York, but he was not sure whether he ought to touch his own hat or
not. He slightly lifted it from his head to show there was no ill
feeling, and then followed him and Mr. Palford to the carriage waiting
for them. It was a severe but sumptuous equipage, and the coachman was
as well dressed and well built as the footman. Tembarom took his place
in it with many mental reservations.
"What are the illustrations on the doors?" he inquired.
"The Temple Barholm coat of arms," Mr. Palford answered. "The people
at the station are your tenants. Members of the family of the stout
man with the broad hat have lived as yeoman farmers on your land for
three hundred years."
They went on their way, with more rain, more rain, more dripping
hedges, more soaked fields, and more bare, huge-armed trees. CLOP,
CLOP, CLOP, sounded the horses' hoofs along the road, and from his
corner of the carriage Mr. Palford tried to make polite conversation.
Faces peered out of the windows of the cottages, sometimes a whole
family group of faces, all crowded together, eager to look, from the
mother with a baby in her arms to the old man or woman, plainly
grandfather or grandmother--sharp, childishly round, or bleared old
eyes, all excited and anxious to catch glimpses.
"They are very curious to see you," said Mr. Palford. "Those two
laborers are touching their hats to you. It will be as well to
recognize their salute."
At a number of the cottage doors the group stood upon the threshold
and touched foreheads or curtsied. Tembarom saluted again and again,
and more than once his friendly grin showed itself. It made him feel
queer to drive along, turning from side to side to acknowledge
obeisances, as he had seen a well-known military hero acknowledge them
as he drove down Broadway.
The chief street of the village of Temple Barholm wandered almost
within hailing distance of the great entrance to the park. The gates
were supported by massive pillars, on which crouched huge stone
griffins. Tembarom felt that they stared savagely over his head as he
was driven toward them as for inspection, and in disdainful silence
allowed to pass between them as they stood on guard, apparently with
the haughtiest mental reservations.
The park through which the long avenue rolled concealed its beauty to
the unaccustomed eye, showing only more bare trees and sodden
stretches of brown grass. The house itself, as it loomed up out of the
thickening rain-mist, appalled Tembarom by its size and gloomily gray
massiveness. Before it was spread a broad terrace of stone, guarded by
more griffins of even more disdainful aspect than those watching over
the gates. The stone noses held themselves rigidly in the air as the
reporter of the up-town society page passed with Mr. Palford up a
flight of steps broad enough to make him feel as though he were going
to church. Footmen with powdered heads received him at the carriage
door, seemed to assist him to move, to put one foot before the other
for him, to stand in rows as though they were a military guard ready
to take him into custody.
Then he was inside, standing in an enormous hall filled with
furnishings such as he had never seen or heard of before. Carved oak,
suits of armor, stone urns, portraits, another flight of church steps
mounting upward to surrounding galleries, stained-glass windows,
tigers' and lions' heads, horns of tremendous size, strange and
beautiful weapons, suggested to him that the dream he had been living
in for weeks had never before been so much a dream. He had walked
about as in a vision, but among familiar surroundings. Mrs. Bowse's
boarders and his hall bedroom had helped him to retain some hold over
actual existence. But here the reverently saluting villagers staring
at him through windows as though he were General Grant, the huge,
stone entrance, the drive of what seemed to be ten miles through the
park, the gloomy mass of architecture looming up, the regiment of
liveried men-servants, with respectfully lowered but excitedly curious
eyes, the dark and solemn richness inclosing and claiming him--all
this created an atmosphere wholly unreal. As he had not known books,
its parallel had not been suggested to him by literature. He had
literally not heard that such things existed. Selling newspapers and
giving every moment to the struggle for life or living, one did not
come within the range of splendors. He had indeed awakened in that
other world of which he had spoken. And though he had heard that there
was another world, he had had neither time nor opportunity to make
mental pictures of it. His life so far had expressed itself in another
language of figures. The fact that he had in his veins the blood of
the Norman lords and Saxon kings may or may not have had something to
do with the fact that he was not abashed, but bewildered. The same
factor may or may not have aided him to preserve a certain stoic,
outward composure. Who knows what remote influences express themselves
in common acts of modern common life? As Cassivellaunus observed his
surroundings as he followed in captive chains his conqueror's
triumphal car through the streets of Rome, so the keen-eyed product of
New York pavement life "took in" all about him. Existence had forced
upon him the habit of sharp observance. The fundamental working law of
things had expressed itself in the simple colloquialism, "Keep your
eye skinned, and don't give yourself away." In what phrases the
parallel of this concise advice formulated itself in 55 B.C. no
classic has yet exactly informed us, but doubtless something like it
was said in ancient Rome. Tembarom did not give himself away, and he
took rapid, if uncertain, inventory of people and things. He remarked,
for instance, that Palford's manner of speaking to a servant was
totally different from the manner he used in addressing himself. It
was courteous, but remote, as though he spoke across an accepted chasm
to beings of another race. There was no hint of incivility in it, but
also no hint of any possibility that it could occur to the person
addressed to hesitate or resent. It was a subtle thing, and Tembarom
wondered how he did it.
They were shown into a room the walls of which seemed built of books;
the furniture was rich and grave and luxuriously comfortable. A fire
blazed as well as glowed in a fine chimney, and a table near it was
set with a glitter of splendid silver urn and equipage for tea.
"Mrs. Butterworth was afraid you might not have been able to get tea,
sir," said the man-servant, who did not wear livery, but whose
butler's air of established authority was more impressive than any
fawn color and claret enriched with silver could have encompassed.
Tea again? Perhaps one was obliged to drink it at regular intervals.
Tembarom for a moment did not awaken to the fact that the man was
speaking to him, as the master from whom orders came. He glanced at
"Mr. Temple Barholm had tea after we left Crowly," Mr. Palford said.
"He will no doubt wish to go to his room at once, Burrill."
"Yes, sir," said Burrill, with that note of entire absence of comment
with which Tembarom later became familiar. "Pearson is waiting."
It was not unnatural to wonder who Pearson was and why he was waiting,
but Tembarom knew he would find out. There was a slight relief on
realizing that tea was not imperative. He and Mr. Palford were led
through the hall again. The carriage had rolled away, and two footmen,
who were talking confidentially together, at once stood at attention.
The staircase was more imposing as one mounted it than it appeared as
one looked at it from below. Its breadth made Tembarom wish to lay a
hand on a balustrade, which seemed a mile away. He had never
particularly wished to touch balustrades before. At the head of the
first flight hung an enormous piece of tapestry, its forest and
hunters and falconers awakening Tembarom's curiosity, as it looked
wholly unlike any picture he had ever seen in a shop-window. There
were pictures everywhere, and none of them looked like chromos. Most
of the people in the portraits were in fancy dress. Rumors of a New
York millionaire ball had given him some vague idea of fancy dress. A
lot of them looked like freaks. He caught glimpses of corridors
lighted by curious, high, deep windows with leaded panes. It struck
him that there was no end to the place, and that there must be rooms
enough in it for a hotel.
"The tapestry chamber, of course, Burrill," he heard Mr. Palford say
in a low tone.
"Yes, sir. Mr. Temple Barholm always used it."
A few yards farther on a door stood open, revealing an immense room,
rich and gloomy with tapestry-covered walls and dark oak furniture. A
bed which looked to Tembarom incredibly big, with its carved oak
canopy and massive posts, had a presiding personality of its own. It
was mounted by steps, and its hangings and coverlid were of embossed
velvet, time-softened to the perfection of purples and blues. A fire
enriched the color of everything, and did its best to drive the
shadows away. Deep windows opened either into the leafless boughs of
close-growing trees or upon outspread spaces of heavily timbered park,
where gaunt, though magnificent, bare branches menaced and defied. A
slim, neat young man, with a rather pale face and a touch of anxiety
in his expression, came forward at once.
"This is Pearson, who will valet you," exclaimed Mr. Palford.
"Thank you, sir," said Pearson in a low, respectful voice. His manner
was correctness itself.
There seemed to Mr. Palford to be really nothing else to say. He
wanted, in fact, to get to his own apartment and have a hot bath and a
rest before dinner.
"Where am I, Burrill?" he inquired as he turned to go down the
"The crimson room, sir," answered Burrill, and he closed the door of
the tapestry chamber and shut Tembarom in alone with Pearson.
For a few moments the two young men looked at each other, Pearson's
gaze being one of respectfulness which hoped to propitiate, if
propitiation was necessary, though Pearson greatly trusted it was not.
Tembarom's was the gaze of hasty investigation and inquiry. He
suddenly thought that it would have been "all to the merry" if
somebody had "put him on to" a sort of idea of what was done to a
fellow when he was "valeted." A valet, he had of course gathered,
waited on one somehow and looked after one's clothes. But were there
by chance other things he expected to do,--manicure one's nails or cut
one's hair,--and how often did he do it, and was this the day? He was
evidently there to do something, or he wouldn't have been waiting
behind the door to pounce out the minute he appeared, and when the
other two went away, Burrill wouldn't have closed the door as solemnly
as though he shut the pair of them in together to get through some
sort of performance.
"Here's where T. T. begins to feel like a fool," he thought. "And
here's where there's no way out of looking like one. I don't know a
But personal vanity was not so strong in him as healthy and normal
good temper. Despite the fact that the neat correctness of Pearson's
style and the finished expression of his neat face suggested that he
was of a class which knew with the most finished exactness all that
custom and propriety demanded on any occasion on which "valeting" in
its most occult branches might be done, he was only "another fellow,"
after all, and must be human. So Tembarom smiled at him.
"Hello, Pearson," he said. "How are you?"
Pearson slightly started. It was the tiniest possible start, quite
involuntary, from which he recovered instantly, to reply in a tone of
"Thank you, sir, very well; thank you, sir."
"That's all right," answered Tembarom, a sense of relief because he'd
"got started" increasing the friendliness of his smile. "I see you got
my trunk open," he said, glancing at some articles of clothing neatly
arranged upon the bed.
Pearson was slightly alarmed. It occurred to him suddenly that perhaps
it was not the custom in America to open a gentleman's box and lay out
his clothes for him. For special reasons he was desperately anxious to
keep his place, and above all things he felt he must avoid giving
offense by doing things which, by being too English, might seem to
cast shades of doubt on the entire correctness of the customs of
America. He had known ill feeling to arise between "gentlemen's
gentlemen" in the servants' hall in the case of slight differences in
customs, contested with a bitterness of feeling which had made them
almost an international question. There had naturally been a great
deal of talk about the new Mr. Temple Barholm and what might be
expected of him. When a gentleman was not a gentleman,--this was the
form of expression in "the hall,"--the Lord only knew what would
happen. And this one, who had, for all one knew, been born in a
workhouse, and had been a boot-black kicked about in American
streets,--they did not know Tembarom,--and nearly starved to death,
and found at last in a low lodging-house, what could he know about
decent living? And ten to one he'd be American enough to swagger and
bluster and pretend he knew everything better than any one else, and
lose his temper frightfully when he made mistakes, and try to make
other people seem to blame. Set a beggar on horseback, and who didn't
know what he was? There were chances enough and to spare that not one
of them would be able to stand it, and that in a month's time they
would all be looking for new places.
So while Tembarom was rather afraid of Pearson and moved about in an
awful state of uncertainty, Pearson was horribly afraid of Tembarom,
and was, in fact, in such a condition of nervous anxiety that he was
obliged more than once furtively to apply to his damp, pale young
forehead his exceedingly fresh and spotless pocket-handkerchief.
In the first place, there was the wardrobe. What COULD he do? How
could he approach the subject with sufficient delicacy? Mr. Temple
Barholm had brought with him only a steamer trunk and a Gladstone bag,
the latter evidently bought in London, to be stuffed with hastily
purchased handkerchiefs and shirts, worn as they came out of the shop,
and as evidently bought without the slightest idea of the kind of
linen a gentleman should own. What most terrified Pearson, who was of
a timid and most delicate-minded nature, was that having the workhouse
and the boot-blacking as a background, the new Mr. Temple Barholm
COULDN'T know, as all this had come upon him so suddenly. And was it
to be Pearson's calamitous duty to explain to him that he had NOTHING,
that he apparently KNEW nothing, and that as he had no friends who
knew, a mere common servant must educate him, if he did not wish to
see him derided and looked down upon and actually "cut" by gentlemen
that WERE gentlemen? All this to say nothing of Pearson's own well-
earned reputation for knowledge of custom, intelligence, and deftness
in turning out the objects of his care in such form as to be a
reference in themselves when a new place was wanted. Of course
sometimes there were even real gentlemen who were most careless and
indifferent to appearance, and who, if left to themselves, would buy
garments which made the blood run cold when one realized that his own
character and hopes for the future often depended upon his latest
employer's outward aspect. But the ulster in which Mr. Temple Barholm
had presented himself was of a cut and material such as Pearson's most
discouraged moments had never forced him to contemplate. The limited
wardrobe in the steamer trunk was all new and all equally bad. There
was no evening dress, no proper linen,--not what Pearson called
"proper,"-- no proper toilet appurtenances. What was Pearson called
upon by duty to do? If he had only had the initiative to anticipate
this, he might have asked permission to consult in darkest secrecy
with Mr. Palford. But he had never dreamed of such a situation, and
apparently he would be obliged to send his new charge down to his
first dinner in the majestically decorous dining-room, "before all the
servants," in a sort of speckled tweed cutaway, with a brown necktie.
Tembarom, realizing without delay that Pearson did not expect to be
talked to and being cheered by the sight of the fire, sat down before
it in an easy-chair the like of which for luxurious comfort he had
never known. He was, in fact, waiting for developments. Pearson would
say or do something shortly which would give him a chance to "catch
on," or perhaps he'd go out of the room and leave him to himself,
which would be a thing to thank God for. Then he could wash his face
and hands, brush his hair, and wait till the dinner-bell rang. They'd
be likely to have one. They'd have to in a place like this.
But Pearson did not go out of the room. He moved about behind him for
a short time with footfall so almost entirely soundless that Tembarom
became aware that, if it went on long, he should be nervous; in fact,
he was nervous already. He wanted to know what he was doing. He could
scarcely resist the temptation to turn his head and look; but he did
not want to give himself away more entirely than was unavoidable, and,
besides, instinct told him that he might frighten Pearson, who looked
frightened enough, in a neat and well-mannered way, already. Hully
gee! how he wished he would go out of the room!
But he did not. There were gently gliding footsteps of Pearson behind
him, quiet movements which would have seemed stealthy if they had been
a burglar's, soft removals of articles from one part of the room to
another, delicate brushings, and almost noiseless foldings. Now
Pearson was near the bed, now he had opened a wardrobe, now he was
looking into the steamer trunk, now he had stopped somewhere behind
him, within a few yards of his chair. Why had he ceased moving? What
was he looking at? What kept him quiet?
Tembarom expected him to begin stirring mysteriously again; but he did
not. Why did he not? There reigned in the room entire silence; no soft
footfalls, no brushing, no folding. Was he doing nothing? Had he got
hold of something which had given him a fit? There had been no sound
of a fall; but perhaps even if an English valet had a fit, he'd have
it so quietly and respectfully that one wouldn't hear it. Tembarom
felt that he must be looking at the back of his head, and he wondered
what was the matter with it. Was his hair cut in a way so un-English
that it had paralyzed him? The back of his head began to creep under
an investigation so prolonged. No sound at all, no movement. Tembarom
stealthily took out his watch--good old Waterbury he wasn't going to
part with --and began to watch the minute-hand. If nothing happened in
three minutes he was going to turn round. One--two-- three--and the
silence made it seem fifteen. He returned his Waterbury to his pocket
and turned round.
Pearson was not dead. He was standing quite still and resigned,
waiting. It was his business to wait, not to intrude or disturb, and
having put everything in order and done all he could do, he was
waiting for further commands--in some suspense, it must be admitted.
"Hello!" exclaimed Tembarom, involuntarily.
"Shall I get your bath ready, sir?" inquired Pearson. "Do you like it
hot or cold, sir?"
Tembarom drew a relieved breath. He hadn't dropped dead and he hadn't
had a fit, and here was one of the things a man did when he valeted
you--he got your bath ready. A hasty recollection of the much-used,
paint-smeared tin bath on the fourth floor of Mrs. Bowse's boarding-
house sprang up before him. Everybody had to use it in turn, and you
waited hours for the chance to make a dash into it. No one stood still
and waited fifteen minutes until you got good and ready to tell him he
could go and turn on the water. Gee whizz!
Being relieved himself, he relieved Pearson by telling him he might
"fix it" for him, and that he would have hot water.
"Very good, sir. Thank you, sir," said Pearson, and silently left the
Then Tembarom got up from his chair and began to walk about rather
restlessly. A new alarm seized him. Did Pearson expect to WASH him or
to stand round and hand him soap and towels and things while he washed
If it was supposed that you hadn't the strength to turn the faucets
yourself, it might be supposed you didn't have the energy to use a
flesh-brush and towels. Did valeting include a kind of shampoo all
"I couldn't stand for that," he said. "I'd have to tell him there'd
been no Turkish baths in mine, and I'm not trained up to them. When
I've got on to this kind of thing a bit more, I'll make him understand
what I'm NOT in for; but I don't want to scare the life out of him
right off. He looks like a good little fellow."
But Pearson's duties as valet did not apparently include giving him
his bath by sheer physical force. He was deft, calm, amenable. He led
Tembarom down the corridor to the bath-room, revealed to him stores of
sumptuous bath-robes and towels, hot- and cold-water faucets, sprays,
and tonic essences. He forgot nothing and, having prepared all, mutely
vanished, and returned to the bedroom to wait--and gaze in troubled
wonder at the speckled tweed cutaway. There was an appalling
possibility--he was aware that he was entirely ignorant of American
customs--that tweed was the fashionable home evening wear in the
States. Tembarom, returning from his bath much refreshed after a warm
plunge and a cold shower, evidently felt that as a costume it was all
that could be desired.
"Will you wear--these, sir,--this evening?" Pearson suggested.
It was suggestive of more than actual inquiry. If he had dared to hope
that his manner might suggest a number of things! For instance, that
in England gentlemen really didn't wear tweed in the evening even in
private. That through some unforeseen circumstances his employer's
evening-dress suit had been delayed, but would of course arrive to-
But Tembarom, physically stimulated by hot and cold water, and relief
at being left alone, was beginning to recover his natural buoyancy.
"Yes, I'll wear 'em," he answered, snatching at his hairbrush and
beginning to brush his damp hair. It was a wooden-backed brush that
Pearson had found in his Gladstone bag and shudderingly laid in
readiness on the dressing-table. "I guess they're all right, ain't
"Oh, quite right, sir, quite," Pearson ventured--"for morning wear."
"Morning?" said Tembarom, brushing vigorously. "Not night?"
"Black, sir," most delicately hinted Pearson, "is--more usual--in the
evening--in England." After which he added, "So to speak," with a
vague hope that the mollifying phrase might counteract the effect of
any apparently implied aspersion on colors preferred in America.
Tembarom ceased brushing his hair, and looked at him in good-natured
desire for information.
"Frock-coats or claw-hammer?" he asked. Despite his natural anxiety,
and in the midst of it, Pearson could not but admit that he had an
uncondemnatory voice and a sort of young way with him which gave one
courage. But he was not quite sure of "claw-hammer."
"Frock-coats for morning dress and afternoon wear, sir," he ventured.
"The evening cut, as you know, is--"
"Claw-hammer. Swallow-tail, I guess you say here," Tembarom ended for
him, quite without hint of rancor, he was rejoiced to see.
"Yes, sir," said Pearson.
The ceremony of dressing proved a fearsome thing as it went on.
Pearson moved about deftly and essayed to do things for the new Mr.
Temple Barholm which the new Mr. Temple Barholm had never heard of a
man not doing for himself. He reached for things Pearson was about to
hand to him or hold for him. He unceremoniously achieved services for
himself which it was part of Pearson's manifest duty to perform. They
got into each other's way; there was even danger sometimes of their
seeming to snatch things from each other, to Pearson's unbounded
horror. Mr. Temple Barholm did not express any irritation whatsoever
misunderstandings took place, but he held his mouth rather close-shut,
and Pearson, not aware that he did this as a precaution against open
grinning or shouts of laughter as he found himself unable to adjust
himself to his attendant's movements, thought it possible that he was
secretly annoyed and regarded the whole matter with disfavor. But when
the dressing was at an end and he stood ready to go down in all his
innocent ignoring of speckled tweed and brown necktie, he looked
neither flurried nor out of humor, and he asked a question in a voice
which was actually friendly. It was a question dealing with an
incident which had aroused much interest in the servants' hall as
suggesting a touch of mystery.
"Mr. Strangeways came yesterday all right, didn't he?" he inquired.
"Yes, sir," Pearson answered. "Mr. Hutchinson and his daughter came
with him. They call her `Little Ann Hutchinson.' She's a sensible
little thing, sir, and she seemed to know exactly what you'd want done
to make him comfortable. Mrs. Butterworth put him in the west room,
sir, and I valeted him. He was not very well when he came, but he
seems better to-day, sir, only he's very anxious to see you."
"That's all right," said Tembarom. "You show me his room. I'll go and
see him now."
And being led by Pearson, he went without delay.
The chief objection to Temple Barholm in Tembarom's mind was that it
was too big for any human use. That at least was how it struck him.
The entrance was too big, the stairs were too wide, the rooms too
broad and too long and too high to allow of eyes accustomed to hall
bedrooms adjusting their vision without discomfort. The dining-room in
which the new owner took his first meal in company with Mr. Palford,
and attended by the large, serious man who wore no livery and three
tall footmen who did, was of a size and stateliness which made him
feel homesick for Mrs. Bowse's dining-room, with its two hurried,
incompetent, and often-changed waitresses and its prevailing friendly
custom of pushing things across the table to save time. Meals were
quickly disposed of at Mrs. Bowse's. Everybody was due up-town or
down-town, and regarded food as an unavoidable, because necessary,
interference with more urgent business. At Temple Barholm one sat half
the night-- this was the impression made upon Tembarom--watching
things being brought in and taken out of the room, carved on a huge
buffet, and passed from one man to another; and when they were brought
solemnly to you, if you turned them down, it seemed that the whole
ceremony had to be gone through with again. All sorts of silver
knives, forks, and spoons were given to one and taken away, and half a
dozen sorts of glasses stood by your plate; and if you made a move to
do anything for yourself, the man out of livery stopped you as though
you were too big a fool to be trusted. The food was all right, but
when you knew what anything was, and were inclined to welcome it as an
old friend, it was given to you in some way that made you get rattled.
With all the swell dishes, you had no butter-plate, and ice seemed
scarce, and the dead, still way the servants moved about gave you a
sort of feeling that you were at a funeral and that it wasn't decent
to talk so long as the remains were in the room. The head-man and the
foot-men seemed to get on by signs, though Tembarom never saw them
making any; and their faces never changed for a moment. Once or twice
he tried a joke, addressing it to Mr. Palford, to see what would
happen. But as Mr. Palford did not seem to see the humor of it, and
gave him the "glassy eye," and neither the head-man nor the footmen
seemed to hear it, he thought that perhaps they didn't know it was a
joke; and if they didn't, and they thought anything at all, they must
think he was dippy. The dinner was a deadly, though sumptuous, meal,
and long drawn out, when measured by meals at Mrs. Bowse's. He did not
know, as Mr. Palford did, that it was perfect, and served with a
finished dexterity that was also perfection.
Mr. Palford, however, was himself relieved when it was at an end. He
had sat at dinner with the late Mr. Temple Barholm in his day, and had
seen him also served by the owners of impassive countenances; but he
had been aware that whatsoever of secret dislike and resentment was
concealed by them, there lay behind their immovability an acceptance
of the fact that he represented, even in his most objectionable
humors, centuries of accustomedness to respectful service and of
knowledge of his right and power to claim it. The solicitor was keenly
aware of the silent comments being made upon the tweed suit and brown
necktie and on the manner in which their wearer boldly chose the wrong
fork or erroneously made use of a knife or spoon. Later in the
evening, in the servants' hall, the comment would not be silent, and
there could be no doubt of what its character would be. There would be
laughter and the relating of incidents. Housemaids and still-room
maids would giggle, and kitchen-maids and boot-boys would grin and
whisper in servile tribute to the witticisms of the superior servants.
After dinner the rest of the evening could at least be spent in talk
about business matters. There still remained details to be enlarged
upon before Palford himself returned to Lincoln's Inn and left Mr.
Temple Barholm to the care of the steward of his estate. It was not
difficult to talk to him when the sole subject of conversation was of
a business nature.
Before they parted for the night the mystery of the arrangements made
for Strangeways had been cleared. In fact, Mr. Temple Barholm made no
mystery of them. He did not seem ignorant of the fact that what he had
chosen to do was unusual, but he did not appear hampered or
embarrassed by the knowledge. His remarks on the subject were entirely
civil and were far from actually suggesting that his singular conduct
was purely his own business and none of his solicitor's; but for a
moment or so Mr. Palford was privately just a trifle annoyed. The
Hutchinsons had traveled from London with Strangeways in their care
the day before. He would have been unhappy and disturbed if he had
been obliged to travel with Mr. Palford, who was a stranger to him,
and Miss Hutchinson had a soothing effect on him. Strangeways was for
the present comfortably installed as a guest of the house, Miss
Hutchinson having talked to the housekeeper, Mrs. Butterworth, and to
Pearson. What the future held for him Mr. Temple Barholm did not seem
to feel the necessity of going into. He left him behind as a subject,
and went on talking cheerfully of other things almost as if he had
They had their coffee in the library, and afterward sat at the
writing-table and looked over documents and talked until Mr. Palford
felt that he could quite decorously retire to his bedroom. He was glad
to be relieved of his duties, and Tembarom was amiably resigned to
parting with him.
Tembarom did not go up-stairs at once himself. He sat by the fire and
smoked several pipes of tobacco and thought things over. There were a
lot of things to think over, and several decisions to make, and he
thought it would be a good idea to pass them in review. The quiet of
the dead surrounded him. In a house the size of this the servants were
probably half a mile away. They'd need trolleys to get to one, he
thought, if you rang for them in a hurry. If an armed burglar made a
quiet entry without your knowing it, he could get in some pretty rough
work before any of the seventy-five footmen could come to lend a hand.
He was not aware that there were two of them standing in waiting in
the hall, their powdered heads close together, so that their whispers
and chuckles could be heard. A sound of movement in the library would
have brought them up standing to a decorous attitude of attention
conveying to the uninitiated the impression that they had not moved
Sometimes as he sat in the big morocco chair, T. Tembarom looked grave
enough; sometimes he looked as though he was confronting problems
which needed puzzling out and with which he was not making much
headway; sometimes he looked as though he was thinking of little Ann
Hutchinson, and not infrequently he grinned. Here he was up to the
neck in it, and he was darned if he knew what he was going to do. He
didn't know a soul, and nobody knew him. He didn't know a thing he
ought to know, and he didn't know any one who could tell him. Even the
Hutchinsons had never been inside a place like Temple Barholm, and
they were going back to Manchester after a few weeks' stay at the
Before he had left New York he had seen Hadman and some other fellows
and got things started, so that there was an even chance that the
invention would be put on its feet. He had worked hard and used his
own power to control money in the future as a lever which had proved
to be exactly what was needed.
Hadman had been spurred and a little startled when he realized the
magnitude of what really could be done, and saw also that this slangy,
moneyed youth was not merely an enthusiastic fool, but saw into
business schemes pretty sharply and was of a most determined
readiness. With this power ranging itself on the side of Hutchinson
and his invention, it was good business to begin to move, if one did
not want to run a chance of being left out in the cold.
Hutchinson had gone to Manchester, and there had been barely time for
a brief but characteristic interview between him and Tembarom, when he
rushed back to London. Tembarom felt rather excited when he remembered
it, recalling what he had felt in confronting the struggles against
emotion in the blunt-featured, red face, the breaks in the rough
voice, the charging up and down the room like a curiously elated bull
in a china shop, and the big effort to restrain relief and gratitude
the degree of which might seem to under-value the merits of the
Once or twice when he looked serious, Tembarom was thinking this over,
and also once or twice when he grinned. Relief and gratitude
notwithstanding, Hutchinson had kept him in his place, and had not
made unbounded efforts to conceal his sense of the incongruity of his
position as the controller of fortunes and the lord of Temple Barholm,
which was still vaguely flavored with indignation.
When he had finished his last pipe, Tembarom rose and knocked the
ashes out of it.
"Now for Pearson," he said.
He had made up his mind to have a talk with Pearson, and there was no
use wasting time. If things didn't suit you, the best thing was to see
what you could do to fix them right away --if it wasn't against the
law. He went out into the hall, and seeing the two footmen standing
waiting, he spoke to them.
"Say, I didn't know you fellows were there," he said. "Are you waiting
up for me? Well, you can go to bed, the sooner the quicker. Good
night." And he went up-stairs whistling.
The glow and richness and ceremonial order of preparation in his
bedroom struck him as soon as he opened the door. Everything which
could possibly have been made ready for his most luxurious comfort had
been made ready. He did not, it is true, care much for the huge bed
with its carved oak canopy and massive pillars.
"But the lying-down part looks about all right," he said to himself.
The fine linen, the soft pillows, the downy blankets, would have
allured even a man who was not tired. The covering had been neatly
turned back and the snowy whiteness opened. That was English, he
supposed. They hadn't got on to that at Mrs. Bowse's.
"But I guess a plain little old New York sleep will do," he said.
"Temple Barholm or no Temple Barholm, I guess they can't change that."
Then there sounded a quiet knock at the door. He knew who it would
turn out to be, and he was not mistaken. Pearson stood in the
corridor, wearing his slightly anxious expression, but ready for
Mr. Temple Barholm looked down at him with a friendly, if unusual,
"Say, Pearson," he announced, "if you've come to wash my face and put
my hair up in crimping-pins, you needn't do it, because I'm not used
to it. But come on in."
If he had told Pearson to enter and climb the chimney, it cannot be
said that the order would have been obeyed upon the spot, but Pearson
would certainly have hesitated and explained with respectful delicacy
the fact that the task was not "his place." He came into the room.
"I came to see, if I could do anything further and--" making a
courageous onslaught upon the situation for which he had been
preparing himself for hours--"and also--if it is not too late--to
venture to trouble you with regard to your wardrobe." He coughed a
low, embarrassed cough. "In unpacking, sir, I found--I did not find--"
"You didn't find much, did you?" Tembarom assisted him.
"Of course, sir," Pearson apologized, "leaving New York so hurriedly,
your--your man evidently had not time to-- er--"
Tembarom looked at him a few seconds longer, as if making up his mind
to something. Then he threw himself easily into the big chair by the
fire, and leaned back in it with the frankest and best- natured smile
"I hadn't any man," he said. "Say, Pearson," waving his hand to
another chair near by, "suppose you take a seat."
Long and careful training came to Pearson's aid and supported him, but
he was afraid that he looked nervous, and certainly there was a lack
of entire calm in his voice.
"I--thank you, sir,--I think I'd better stand, sir."
"Why?" inquired Tembarom, taking his tobacco-pouch out of his pocket
and preparing to fill another pipe.
"You're most kind, sir, but--but--" in impassioned embarrassment--"I
should really PREFER to stand, sir, if you don't mind. I should feel
more--more at 'ome, sir," he added, dropping an h in his agitation.
"Well, if you'd like it better, that's all right," yielded Mr. Temple
Barholm, stuffing tobacco into the pipe. Pearson darted to a table,
produced a match, struck it, and gave it to him.
"Thank you," said Tembarom, still good-naturedly. "But there are a few
things I've GOT to say to you RIGHT now."
Pearson had really done his best, his very best, but he was terrified
because of the certain circumstances once before referred to.
"I beg pardon, sir," he appealed, "but I am most anxious to give
satisfaction in every respect." He WAS, poor young man, horribly
anxious. "To-day being only the first day, I dare say I have not been
all I should have been. I have never valeted an American gentleman
before, but I'm sure I shall become accustomed to everything QUITE
"Say," broke in Tembarom, "you're 'way off. I'm not complaining.
You're all right."
The easy good temper of his manner was so singularly assuring that
Pearson, unexplainable as he found him in every other respect, knew
that this at least was to be depended upon, and he drew an almost
palpable breath of relief. Something actually allured him into
approaching what he had never felt it safe to approach before under
like circumstances--a confidential disclosure.
"Thank you, sir: I am most grateful. The--fact is, I hoped especially
to be able to settle in place just now. I--I'm hoping to save up
enough to get married, sir."
"You are?" Tembarom exclaimed. "Good business! So was I before all
this"--he glanced about him--"fell on top of me."
"I've been saving for three years, sir, and if I can know I'm a
permanency--if I can keep this place--"
"You're going to keep it all right," Tembarom cheered him up with. "If
you've got an idea you're going to be fired, just you forget it. Cut
it right out."
"Is--I beg your pardon, sir," Pearson asked with timorous joy, "but is
that the American for saying you'll be good enough to keep me on?"
Mr. Temple Barholm thought a second.
"Is 'keep me on' the English for 'let me stay'?"
"Then we're all right. Let's start from there. I'm going to have a
heart-to-heart talk with you, Pearson."
"Thank you, sir," said Pearson in a deferential murmur. But if he was
not dissatisfied, what was going to happen?
"It'll save us both trouble, and me most. I'm not one of those clever
Clarences that can keep up a bluff, making out I know things I don't
know. I couldn't deceive a setting hen or a Berlin wool antimacassar."
Pearson swallowed something with effort.
"You see, I fell into this thing KERCHUNK, and I'm just RATTLED--I'm
rattled." As Pearson slightly coughed again, he translated for him,
"That's American for 'I don't know where I'm at'."
"Those American jokes, sir, are very funny indeed," answered Pearson,
"Funny!" the new Mr. Temple Barholm exclaimed even aggrievedly. "If
you think this lay-out is an American joke to me, Pearson, there's
where you're 'way off. Do you think it a merry jest for a fellow like
me to sit up in a high chair in a dining-room like a cathedral and not
know whether he ought to bite his own bread or not? And not dare to
stir till things are handed to him by five husky footmen? I thought
that plain-clothes man was going to cut up my meat, and slap me on the
back if I choked."
Pearson's sense of humor was perhaps not inordinate, but unseemly
mirth, which he had swallowed at the reference to the setting hen and
the Berlin wool antimacassar, momentarily got the better of him,
despite his efforts to cough it down, and broke forth in a hoarse,
"I beg pardon, sir," he said with a laudable endeavor to recover his
professional bearing. "It's your--American way of expressing it which
makes me forget myself. I beg pardon."
Tembarom laughed outright boyishly.
"Oh, cut that out," he said. "Say, how old are you?"
"So am I. If you'd met me three months ago, beating the streets of New
York for a living, with holes in my shoes and a celluloid collar on,
you'd have looked down on me. I know you would."
"Oh, no, sir," most falsely insisted Pearson.
"Oh, yes, you would," protested Tembarom, cheerfully. "You'd have said
I talked through my nose, and I should have laughed at you for
dropping your h's. Now you're rattled because I'm Mr. Temple Temple
Barholm; but you're not half as rattled as I am."
"You'll get over it, sir, almost immediately," Pearson assured him,
"Of course I shall," said Tembarom, with much courage. "But to start
right I've got to get over YOU."
"Me, sir?" Pearson breathed anxiously.
"Yes. That's what I want to get off my chest. Now, first off, you came
in here to try to explain to me that, owing to my New York valet
having left my New York wardrobe behind, I've not got anything to
wear, and so I shall have to buy some clothes."
"I failed to find any dress-shirts, sir," began Pearson, hesitatingly.
Mr. Temple Barholm grinned.
"I always failed to find them myself. I never had a dress-shirt. I
never owned a suit of glad rags in my life."
"Gl--glad rags, sir?" stammered Pearson, uncertainly.
"I knew you didn't catch on when I said that to you before dinner. I
mean claw-hammer and dress-suit things. Don't you be frightened,
Pearson. I never had six good shirts at once, or two pair of shoes, or
more than four ten-cent handkerchiefs at a time since I was born. And
when Mr. Palford yanked me away from New York, he didn't suspect a
fellow could be in such a state. And I didn't know I was in a state,
anyhow. I was too busy to hunt up people to tell me, because I was
rushing something important right through, and I couldn't stop. I just
bought the first things I set eyes on and crammed them into my trunk.
There, I guess you know the most of this, but you didn't know I knew
you knew it. Now you do, and you needn't be afraid to hurt my feelings
by telling me I haven't a darned thing I ought to have. You can go
As he leaned back, puffing away at his pipe, he had thrown a leg over
the arm of his chair for greater comfort, and it really struck his
valet that he had never seen a gentleman more at his ease, even one
who WAS one. His casual candidness produced such a relief from the
sense of strain and uncertainty that Pearson felt the color returning
to his face. An opening had been given him, and it was possible for
him to do his duty.
"If you wish, sir, I will make a list," he ventured further, "and the
proper firms will send persons to bring things down from London on
"What's 'appro' the English for?"
"Good business! Good old Pearson!"
"Thank you, sir. Shall I attend to it to-night, to be ready for the
"In five minutes you shall. But you threw me off the track a bit. The
thing I was really going to say was more important than the clothes
There was something else, then, thought Pearson, some other unexpected
point of view.
"What have you to do for me, anyhow?"
"Valet you, sir."
"That's English for washing my face and combing my hair and putting my
socks on, ain't it?"
"Well, sir, it means doing all you require, and being always in
attendance when you change."
"How much do you get for it?"
"Thirty shillings a week, sir."
"Say, Pearson," said Tembarom, with honest feeling, "I'll give you
sixty shillings a week NOT to do it."
Calmed though he had felt a few moments ago, it cannot be denied that
Pearson was aghast. How could one be prepared for developments of such
"Not to do it, sir!" he faltered. "But what would the servants think
if you had no one to valet you?"
"That's so. What would they think?" But he evidently was not dismayed,
for he smiled widely. "I guess the plainclothes man would throw a fit."
But Pearson's view was more serious and involved a knowledge of not
improbable complications. He knew "the hall" and its points of view.
"I couldn't draw my wages, sir," he protested. "There'd be the
greatest dissatisfaction among the other servants, sir, if I didn't do
my duties. There's always a--a slight jealousy of valets and ladies'-
maids. The general idea is that they do very little to earn their
salaries. I've seen them fairly hated."
"Is that so? Well, I'll be darned! " remarked Mr. Temple Barholm. He
gave a moment to reflection, and then cheered up immensely.
"I'll tell you how we'll fix it. You come up into my room and bring
your tatting or read a newspaper while I dress." He openly chuckled.
"Holy smoke! I've GOT to put on my shirt and swear at my collar-
buttons myself. If I'm in for having a trained nurse do it for me,
it'll give me the Willies. When you danced around me before dinner--"
Pearson's horror forced him to commit the indiscretion of
"I hope I didn't DANCE, sir," he implored. "I tried to be extremely
"That was it," said Tembarom. "I shouldn't have said danced; I meant
crept. I kept thinking I should tread on you, and I got so nervous
toward the end I thought I should just break down and sob on your
bosom and beg to be taken back to home and mother."
"I'm extremely sorry, sir, I am, indeed," apologized Pearson, doing
his best not to give way to hysterical giggling. How was a man to keep
a decently straight face, and if one didn't, where would it end? One
thing after another.
"It was not your fault. It was mine. I haven't a thing against you.
You're a first-rate little chap."
"I will try to be more satisfactory to-morrow."
There must be no laughing aloud, even if one burst a blood- vessel. It
would not do. Pearson hastily confronted a vision of a young footman
or Mr. Burrill himself passing through the corridors on some errand
and hearing master and valet shouting together in unseemly and wholly
incomprehensible mirth. And the next remark was worse than ever.
"No, you won't, Pearson," Mr. Temple Barholm asserted. "There's where
you're wrong. I've got no more use for a valet than I have for a pair
of straight-front corsets."
This contained a sobering suggestion.
"But you said, sir, that--"
"Oh, I'm not going to fire you," said Tembarom, genially. "I'll 'keep
you on', but little Willie is going to put on his own socks. If the
servants have to be pacified, you come up to my room and do anything
you like. Lie on the bed if you want to; get a jew's-harp and play on
it--any old thing to pass the time. And I'll raise your wages. What do
you say? Is it fixed?"
"I'm here, sir, to do anything you require," Pearson answered
distressedly; "but I'm afraid--"
Tembarom's face changed. A sudden thought had struck him.
"I'll tell you one thing you can do," he said; "you can valet that
friend of mine."
"Mr. Strangeways, sir?"
"Yes. I've got a notion he wouldn't mind it." He was not joking now.
He was in fact rather suddenly thoughtful.
"Say, Pearson, what do you think of him?"
"Well, sir, I've not seen much of him, and he says very little, but I
should think he was a GENTLEMAN, sir."
Mr. Temple Barholm seemed to think it over.
"That's queer," he said as though to himself. "That's what Ann said."
Then aloud, "Would you say he was an American?"
In his unavoidable interest in a matter much talked over below stairs
and productive of great curiosity Pearson was betrayed. He could not
explain to himself, after he had spoken, how he could have been such a
fool as to forget; but forget himself and the birthplace of the new
Mr. Temple Barholm he did.
"Oh, no, sir," he exclaimed hastily; "he's QUITE the gentleman, sir,
even though he is queer in his mind." The next instant he caught
himself and turned cold. An American or a Frenchman or an Italian, in
fact, a native of any country on earth so slighted with an
unconsciousness so natural, if he had been a man of hot temper, might
have thrown something at him or kicked him out of the room; but Mr.
Temple Barholm took his pipe out of his mouth and looked at him with a
slow, broadening smile.
"Would you call me a gentleman, Pearson?" he asked.
Of course there was no retrieving such a blunder, Pearson felt, but--
"Certainly, sir," he stammered. "Most--most CERTAINLY, sir."
"Pearson," said Tembarom, shaking his head slowly, with a grin so
good-natured that even the frankness of his words was friendly humor
itself--"Pearson, you're a liar. But that doesn't jolt me a bit. I
dare say I'm not one, anyhow. We might put an 'ad' in one of your
papers and find out."
"I--I beg your pardon, sir," murmured Pearson in actual anguish of
Mr. Temple Barholm laughed outright.
"Oh, I've not got it in for you. How could you help it?" he said. Then
he stopped joking again. "If you want to please ME," he added with
deliberation, "you look after Mr. Strangeways, and don't let anything
disturb him. Don't bother him, but just find out what he wants. When
he gets restless, come and tell me. If I'm out, tell him I'm coming
back. Don't let him worry. You understand--don't let him worry."
"I'll do my best--my very best, sir," Pearson answered devoutly. "I've
been nervous and excited this first day because I am so anxious to
please--everything seems to depend on it just now," he added, daring
another confidential outburst. "But you'll see I do know how to keep
my wits about me in general, and I've got a good memory, and I have
learned my duties, sir. I'll attend to Mr. Strangeways most
As Tembarom listened, and watched his neat, blond countenance, and
noted the undertone of quite desperate appeal in his low voice, he was
thinking of a number of things. Chiefly he was thinking of little Ann
Hutchinson and the Harlem flat which might have been "run" on fifteen
dollars a week.
"I want to know I have some one in this museum of a place who'll
UNDERSTAND," he said--"some one who'll do just exactly what I say and
ask no fool questions and keep his mouth shut. I believe you could do
"I'll swear I could, sir. Trust me," was Pearson's astonishingly
emotional and hasty answer.
"I'm going to," returned Mr. Temple Barholm. "I've set my mind on
putting something through in my own way. It's a queer thing, and most
people would say I was a fool for trying it. Mr. Hutchinson does, but
Miss Hutchinson doesn't."
There was a note in his tone of saying "Miss Hutchinson doesn't" which
opened up vistas to Pearson--strange vistas when one thought of old
Mrs. Hutchinson's cottage and the estate of Temple Barholm.
"We're just about the same age," his employer continued, "and in a
sort of way we're in just about the same fix."
Their eyes looked into each other's a second; but it was not for
Pearson to presume to make any comment whatsoever upon the possible
nature of "the fix." Two or three more puffs, and Mr. Temple Barholm
"Say, Pearson, I don't want to butt in, but what about that little
bunch of calico of yours--the one you're saving up for?"
"Calico, sir?" said Pearson, at sea, but hopeful. Whatsoever the new
Mr. Temple Barholm meant, one began to realize that it was not likely
to be unfriendly.
"That's American for HER, Pearson. 'Her' stands for the same thing
both in English and American, I guess. What's her name and where is
she? Don't you say a word if you don't want to."
Pearson drew a step nearer. There was an extraordinary human
atmosphere in the room which caused things to begin to go on in his
breast. He had had a harder life than Tembarom because he had been
more timid and less buoyant and less unselfconscious. He had been
beaten by a drunken mother and kicked by a drunken father. He had gone
hungry and faint to the board school and had been punished as a dull
boy. After he had struggled into a place as page, he had been bullied
by footmen and had had his ears boxed by cooks and butlers. Ladies'-
maids and smart housemaids had sneered at him, and made him feel
himself a hopeless, vulgar little worm who never would "get on." But
he had got on, in a measure, because he had worked like a slave and
openly resented nothing. A place like this had been his fevered hope
and dream from his page days, though of course his imagination had not
encompassed attendance on a gentleman who had never owned a dress-
shirt in his life. Yet gentleman or no gentleman, he was a Temple
Barholm, and there was something about him, something human in his
young voice and grin and queer, unheard-of New York jokes, which
Pearson had never encountered, and which had the effect of making him
feel somehow more of a man than his timorous nature had ever allowed
of his feeling before. It suggested that they were both, valet and
master, merely masculine human creatures of like kind. The way he had
said "Miss Hutchinson" and the twinkle in his eye when he'd made that
American joke about the "little bunch of calico"! The curious fact was
that thin, neat, white-blooded-looking Pearson was passionately in
love. So he took the step nearer and grew hot and spoke low.
"Her name is Rose Merrick, sir, and she's in place in London. She's
lady's-maid to a lady of title, and it isn't an easy place. Her lady
has a high temper, and she's economical with her servants. Her maid
has to sew early and late, and turn out as much as if she was a whole
dressmaking establishment. She's clever with her needle, and it would
be easier if she felt it was appreciated. But she's treated haughty
and severe, though she tries her very best. She has to wait up half
the night after balls, and I'm afraid it's breaking her spirit and her
health. That's why,--I beg your pardon, sir," he added, his voice
shaking--"that's why I'd bear anything on earth if I could give her a
little home of her own."
"Gee whizz!" ejaculated Mr. Temple Barholm, with feeling. "I guess you
"And that's not all, sir," said Pearson. "She's a beautiful girl, sir,
with a figure, and service is sometimes not easy for a young woman
like that. His lordship--the master of the house, sir,--is much too
attentive. He's a man with bad habits; the last lady's-maid was sent
away in disgrace. Her ladyship wouldn't believe she hadn't been
forward when she saw things she didn't like, though every one in the
hall knew the girl hated his bold ways with her, and her mother nearly
broke her heart. He's begun with Rose, and it just drives me mad, sir,
He choked, and wiped his forehead with his clean handkerchief. It was
damp, and his young eyes had fire in them, as Mr. Temple Barholm did
not fail to observe.
"I'm taking a liberty talking to you like this, sir," he said. "I'm
behaving as if I didn't know my place, sir."
"Your place is behind that fellow, kicking him till he'll never sit
down again except on eider-down cushions three deep," remarked Mr.
Temple Barholm, with fire in his eyes also. "That's where your place
is. It's where mine would be if I was in the same house with him and
caught him making a goat of himself. I bet nine Englishmen out of ten
would break his darned neck for him if they got on to his little ways,
even if they were lordships themselves."
"The decent ones won't know," Pearson said. "That's not what happens,
sir. He can laugh and chaff it off with her ladyship and coax her
round. But a girl that's discharged like that, Rose says, that's the
worst of it: she says she's got a character fastened on to her for
life that no respectable man ought to marry her with."
Mr. Temple Barholm removed his leg from the arm of his chair and got
up. Long-legged, sinewy, but somewhat slouchy in his badly made tweed
suit, sharp New York face and awful American style notwithstanding, he
still looked rather nice as he laid his hand on his valet's shoulder
and gave him a friendly push.
"See here," he said. "What you've got to say to Rose is that she's
just got to cut that sort of thing out--cut it right out. Talking to a
man that's in love with her as if he was likely to throw her down
because lies were told. Tell her to forget it --forget it quick. Why,
what does she suppose a man's FOR, by jinks? What's he FOR?"
"I've told her that, sir, though of course not in American. I just
swore it on my knees in Hyde Park one night when she got out for an
hour. But she laid her poor head on the back of the bench and cried
and wouldn't listen. She says she cares for me too much to--"
Tembarom's hand clutched his shoulder. His face lighted and glowed
"Care for you too much," he asked. "Did she say that? God bless her!"
"That's what I said," broke in Pearson.
"I heard another girl say that--just before I left New York--a girl
that's just a wonder," said his master. "A girl can be a wonder, can't
"Rose is, sir," protested Pearson. "She is, indeed, sir. And her eyes
are that blue--"
"Blue, are they? " interrupted Tembarom. "I know the kind. I'm on to
the whole thing. And what's more, I'm going to fix it. You tell Rose--
and tell her from me--that she's going to leave that place, and you're
going to stay in this one, and--well, presently things'll begin to
happen. They're going to be all right--ALL RIGHT," he went on, with
immensely convincing emphasis. "She's going to have that little home
of her own." He paused a moment for reflection, and then a sudden
thought presented itself to him. "Why, darn it!" he exclaimed, "there
must be a whole raft of little homes that belong to me in one place or
another. Why couldn't I fix you both up in one of them?"
"Oh, sir!" Pearson broke forth in some slight alarm. He went so fast
and so far all in a moment. And Pearson really possessed a neat, well-
ordered conscience, and, moreover, "knew his place." "I hope I didn't
seem to be expecting you to trouble yourself about me, sir. I mustn't
presume on your kindness."
"It's not kindness; it's--well, it's just human. I'm going to think
this thing over. You just keep your hair on, and let me do my own
valeting, and you'll see I'll fix it for you somehow."
What he thought of doing, how he thought of doing it, and what Pearson
was to expect, the agitated young man did not know. The situation was
of course abnormal, judged by all respectable, long-established
custom. A man's valet and his valet's "young woman" were not usually
of intimate interest. Gentlemen were sometimes "kind" to you--gave you
half a sovereign or even a sovereign, and perhaps asked after your
mother if you were supporting one; but--
"I never dreamed of going so far, sir," he said. "I forgot myself, I'm
"Good thing you did. It's made me feel as if we were brothers." He
laughed again, enjoying the thought of the little thing who cared for
Pearson "too much" and had eyes that were "that blue." "Say, I've just
thought of something else. Have you bought her an engagement-ring
"No, sir. In our class of life jewelry is beyond the means."
"I just wondered," Mr. Temple Barholm said. He seemed to be thinking
of something that pleased him as he fumbled for his pocket-book and
took a clean banknote out of it. "I'm not on to what the value of this
thing is in real money, but you go and buy her a ring with it, and I
bet she'll be so pleased you'll have the time of your life."
Pearson taking it; and recognizing its value in UNreal money, was
embarrassed by feeling the necessity of explanation.
"This is a five-pound note, sir. It's too much, sir, it is indeed.
This would FURNISH THE FRONT PARLOR." He said it almost solemnly.
Mr. Temple Barholm looked at the note interestedly.
"Would it? By jinks!" and his laugh had a certain softness of
recollection. "I guess that's just what Ann would say. She'd know what
it would furnish, you bet your life!"
"I'm most grateful, sir," protested Pearson, "but I oughtn't to take
it. Being an American gentleman and not accustomed to English money,
you don't realize that--"
"I'm not accustomed to any kind of money," said his master. "I'm
scared to be left alone in the room with it. That's what's the matter.
If I don't give some away, I shall never know I've got it. Cheer up,
Pearson. You take that and buy the ring, and when you start
furnishing, I'll see you don't get left."
"I don't know what to say, sir," Pearson faltered emotionally. "I
"Don't say a darned thing," replied Mr. Temple Barholm. And just here
his face changed as Mr. Palford had seen it change before, and as
Pearson often saw it change later. His New York jocular irreverence
dropped from him, and he looked mature and oddly serious.
"I've tried to sort of put you wise to the way I've lived and the
things I HAVEN'T had ever since I was born," he said, "but I guess you
don't really know a thing about it. I've got more money coming in
every year than a thousand of me would ever expect to see in their
lives, according to my calculation. And I don't know how to do any of
the things a fellow who is what you call `a gentleman' would know how
to do. I mean in the way of spending it. Now, I've got to get some fun
out of it. I should be a mutt if I didn't, so I'm going to spend it my
own way. I may make about seventy-five different kinds of a fool of
myself, but I guess I sha'n't do any particular harm."
"You'll do good, sir,--to every one."
"Shall I?--said Tembarom, speculatively. "Well, I'm not exactly
setting out with that in my mind. I'm no Young Men's Christian
Association, but I'm not in for doing harm, anyway. You take your
five-pound note--come to think of it, Palford said it came to about
twenty- five dollars, real money. Hully gee! I never thought I'd have
twenty-five dollars to GIVE AWAY! It makes me feel like I was Morgan."
"Thank you, sir; thank you," said Pearson, putting the note into his
pocket with rapt gratitude in his neat face. "You --you do not wish me
to remain--to do anything for you?"
"Not a thing. But just go and find out if Mr. Strangeways is asleep.
If he isn't and seems restless, I'll come and have a talk with him."
"Yes, sir," said Pearson, and went at once.
In the course of two days Mr. Palford, having given his client the
benefit of his own exact professional knowledge of the estate of
Temple Barholm and its workings and privileges as far as he found them
transferable and likely to be understood, returned to London,
breathing perhaps something like a sigh of relief when the train
steamed out of the little station. Whatsoever happened in days to
come, Palford & Grimby had done their most trying and awkward duty by
the latest Temple Barholm. Bradford, who was the steward of the
estate, would now take him over, and could be trusted to furnish
practical information of any ordinary order.
It did not appear to Mr. Palford that the new inheritor was
particularly interested in his possessions or exhilarated by the
extraordinary turn in his fortunes. The enormity of Temple Barholm
itself, regarded as a house to live in in an everyday manner, seemed
somewhat to depress him. When he was taken over its hundred and fifty
rooms, he wore a detached air as he looked about him, and such remarks
as he made were of an extraordinary nature and expressed in terms
peculiar to America. Neither Mr. Palford nor Burrill understood them,
but a young footman who was said to have once paid a visit to New
York, and who chanced to be in the picture-gallery when his new master
was looking at the portraits of his ancestors, over-hearing one
observation, was guilty of a convulsive snort, and immediately made
his way into the corridor, coughing violently. From this Mr. Palford
gathered that one of the transatlantic jokes had been made. That was
the New York idea--to be jocular. Yet he had not looked jocular when
he had made the remark which had upset the equilibrium of the young
footman. He had, in fact, looked reflective before speaking as he
stood and studied a portrait of one of his ancestors. But, then, he
had a trick of saying things incomprehensibly ridiculous with an
unmoved expression of gravity, which led Palford to feel that he was
ridiculous through utter ignorance and was not aware that he was
exposing the fact. Persons who thought that an air of seriousness
added to a humorous remark were especially annoying to the solicitor,
because they frequently betrayed one into the position of seeming to
be dull in the matter of seeing a point. That, he had observed, was
often part of the New York manner--to make a totally absurdly
exaggerated or seemingly ignorance-revealing observation, and then
leave one's hearer to decide for himself whether the speaker was an
absolute ignoramus and fool or a humorist.
More than once he had somewhat suspected his client of meaning to "get
a rise out of him," after the odious manner of the tourists described
in "The Innocents Abroad," though at the same time he felt rather
supportingly sure of the fact that generally, when he displayed
ignorance, he displayed it because he was a positive encyclopedia of
lack of knowledge.
He knew no more of social customs, literature, and art than any other
street lad. He had not belonged to the aspiring self-taught, who
meritoriously haunt the night schools and free libraries with a view
to improving their minds. If this had been his method, he might in one
sense have been more difficult to handle, as Palford had seen the
thing result in a bumptiousness most objectionable. He was markedly
not bumptious, at all events.
A certain degree of interest in or curiosity concerning his ancestors
as represented in the picture-gallery Mr. Palford had observed. He had
stared at them and had said queer things --sometimes things which
perhaps indicated a kind of uneducated thought. The fact that some of
them looked so thoroughly alive, and yet had lived centuries ago,
seemed to set him reflecting oddly. His curiosity, however, seemed to
connect itself with them more as human creatures than as historical
"What did that one do?" he inquired more than once. "What did he
start, or didn't he start anything?"
When he disturbed the young footman he had stopped before a dark man
"Who's this fellow in the tin overcoat?" he asked seriously, and
Palford felt it was quite possible that he had no actual intent of
"That is Miles Gaspard Nevil John, who fought in the Crusades with
Richard Coeur de Lion," he explained. "He is wearing a suit of armor."
By this time the footman was coughing in the corridor.
"That's English history, I guess," Tembarom replied. "I'll have to get
a history-book and read up about the Crusades."
He went on farther, and paused with a slightly puzzled expression
before a boy in a costume of the period of Charles II.
"Who's this Fauntleroy in the lace collar?" he inquired. "Queer!" he
added, as though to himself. "I can't ever have seen him in New York."
And he took a step backward to look again.
"That is Miles Hugo Charles James, who was a page at the court of
Charles II. He died at nineteen, and was succeeded by his brother
Denzel Maurice John."
"I feel as if I'd had a dream about him sometime or other," said
Tembarom, and he stood still a few seconds before he passed on.
"Perhaps I saw something like him getting out of a carriage to go into
the Van Twillers' fancy-dress ball. Seems as if I'd got the whole show
shut up in here. And you say they're all my own relations?" Then he
laughed. "If they were alive now!" he said. "By jinks!"
His laughter suggested that he was entertained by mental visions. But
he did not explain to his companion. His legal adviser was not in the
least able to form any opinion of what he would do, how he would be
likely to comport himself, when he was left entirely to his own
devices. He would not know also, one might be sure, that the county
would wait with repressed anxiety to find out. If he had been a minor,
he might have been taken in hand, and trained and educated to some
extent. But he was not a minor.
On the day of Mr. Palford's departure a thick fog had descended and
seemed to enwrap the world in the white wool. Tembarom found it close
to his windows when he got up, and he had dressed by the light of tall
wax candles, the previous Mr. Temple Barholm having objected to more
modern and vulgar methods of illumination.
"I guess this is what you call a London fog," he said to Pearson.
"No, not exactly the London sort, sir," Pearson answered. "A London
fog is yellow--when it isn't brown or black. It settles on the hands
and face. A fog in the country isn't dirty with smoke. It's much less
When Palford had departed and he was entirely alone, Tembarom found a
country fog trying enough for a man without a companion. A degree of
relief permeated his being with the knowledge that he need no longer
endeavor to make suitable reply to his solicitor's efforts at
conversation. He had made conversational efforts himself. You couldn't
let a man feel that you wouldn't talk to him if you could when he was
doing business for you, but what in thunder did you have to talk about
that a man like that wouldn't be bored stiff by? He didn't like New
York, he didn't know anything about it, and he didn't want to know,
and Tembarom knew nothing about anything else, and was homesick for
the very stones of the roaring city's streets. When he said anything,
Palford either didn't understand what he was getting at or he didn't
like it. And he always looked as if he was watching to see if you were
trying to get a joke on him. Tembarom was frequently not nearly so
much inclined to be humorous as Mr. Palford had irritably suspected
him of being. His modes of expression might on numerous occasions have
roused to mirth when his underlying idea was almost entirely serious.
The mode of expression was merely a result of habit.
Mr. Palford left by an extremely early train, and after he was gone,
Tembarom sat over his breakfast as long as possible, and then, going
to the library, smoked long. The library was certainly comfortable,
though the fire and the big wax candles were called upon to do their
best to defy the chill, mysterious dimness produced by the heavy,
white wool curtain folding itself more and more thickly outside the
But one cannot smoke in solitary idleness for much more than an hour,
and when he stood up and knocked the ashes out of his last pipe,
Tembarom drew a long breath.
"There's a hundred and thirty-six hours in each of these days," he
said. "That's nine hundred and fifty-two in a week, and four thousand
and eighty in a month--when it's got only thirty days in it. I'm not
going to calculate how many there'd be in a year. I'll have a look at
the papers. There's Punch. That's their comic one."
He looked out the American news in the London papers, and sighed
hugely. He took up Punch and read every joke two or three times over.
He did not know that the number was a specially good one and that
there were some extremely witty things in it. The jokes were about
bishops in gaiters, about garden-parties, about curates or lovely
young ladies or rectors' wives and rustics, about Royal Academicians
or esthetic poets. Their humor appealed to him as little and seemed as
obscure as his had seemed to Mr. Palford.
"I'm not laughing my head off much over these," he said. "I guess I'm
not on to the point."
He got up and walked about. The "L" in New York was roaring to and fro
loaded with men and women going to work or to do shopping. Some of
them were devouring morning papers bearing no resemblance to those of
London, some of them carried parcels, and all of them looked as though
they were intent on something or other and hadn't a moment to waste.
They were all going somewhere in a hurry and had to get back in time
for something. When the train whizzed and slackened at a station, some
started up, hastily caught their papers or bundles closer, and pushed
or were pushed out on the platform, which was crowded with other
people who rushed to get in, and if they found seats, dropped into
them hastily with an air of relief. The street-cars were loaded and
rang their bells loudly, trucks and carriages and motors filled the
middle of the thoroughfares, and people crowded the pavements. The
store windows were dressed up for Christmas, and most of the people
crowded before them were calculating as to what they could get for the
inadequate sums they had on hand.
The breakfast at Mrs. Bowse's boarding-house was over, and the
boarders had gone on cars or elevated trains to their day's work. Mrs.
Bowse was getting ready to go out and do some marketing. Julius and
Jim were down-town deep in the work pertaining to their separate
"jobs." They'd go home at night, and perhaps, if they were in luck,
would go to a "show" somewhere, and afterward come and sit in their
tilted chairs in the hall bedroom and smoke and talk it over. And he
wouldn't be there, and the Hutchinsons' rooms would be empty, unless
some new people were in them. Galton would be sitting among his
papers, working like mad. And Bennett--well, Bennett would be either
"getting out his page," or would be rushing about in the hundredth
streets to find items and follow up weddings or receptions.
"Gee!" he said, "every one of them trying their best to put something
over, and with so much to think of they've not got time to breathe!
It'd be no trouble for THEM to put in a hundred and thirty-six hours.
They'd be darned glad of them. And, believe me, they'd put something
over, too, before they got through. And I'm here, with three hundred
and fifty thousand dollars a year round my neck and not a thing to
spend it on, unless I pay some one part of it to give me lessons in
tatting. What is tatting, anyhow?
He didn't really know. It was vaguely supposed to imply some intensely
feminine fancy-work done by old ladies, and used as a figure of speech
"If you could ride or shoot, you could amuse yourself in the country,"
Palford had said.
"I can ride in a street-car when I've got five cents," Tembarom had
answered. " That's as far as I've gone in riding --and what in thunder
should I shoot?"
"Game," replied Mr. Palford, with chill inward disgust. "Pheasants,
partridges, woodcock, grouse--"
"I shouldn't shoot anything like that if I went at it," he responded
shamelessly. "I should shoot my own head off, or the fellow's that
stood next to me, unless he got the drop on me first."
He did not know that he was ignominious. Nobody could have made it
clear to him. He did not know that there were men who had gained
distinction, popularity, and fame by doing nothing in particular but