Part 6 out of 11
Holt. I think they're going next week," Tembarom said.
"The old lady?" repeated Captain Palliser.
"I mean her mother. The one that's the Countess of Mallowe."
"Have you met Lady Mallowe?" Palliser inquired with a not wholly
repressed smile. A vision of Lady Mallowe over-hearing their
conversation arose before him.
"No, I haven't. What's she like?"
"She is not the early- or mid-Victorian old lady," was Palliser's
reply. "She wears Gainsborough hats, and looks a quite possible eight
and thirty. She is a handsome person herself."
He was not aware that the term "old lady" was, among Americans of the
class of Mrs. Bowse's boarders, a sort of generic term signifying
almost anything maternal which had passed thirty.
"After they get through at the Asshawe Holt place, I've asked them to
"Indeed," said Palliser, with an inward start. The man evidently did
not know what other people did. After all, why should he? He had been
selling something or other in the streets of New York when the thing
happened, and he knew nothing of London.
"The countess called on Miss Alicia when we were in London," he heard
next. "She said we were relations."
"You are--as we are. The connection is rather distant, but it is near
enough to form a sort of link."
"I've wanted to see Lady Joan," explained Tembarom. "From what I've
heard, I should say she was one of the 'Lady's Pictorial' kind."
"I am afraid--" Palliser's voice was slightly unsteady for the moment-
-"I have not studied the type sufficiently to know. The 'Pictorial' is
so exclusively a women's periodical."
His companion laughed.
"Well, I've only looked through it once myself just to find out. Some
way I always think of Lady Joan as if she was like one of those
Beaut's from Beautsville, with trains as long as parlor-cars and
feathers in their heads--dressed to go to see the queen. I guess she's
been presented at court," he added.
"Yes, she has been presented."
"Do they let 'em go more than once?" he asked with casual curiosity.
"Confound this cough!" exclaimed Captain Palliser, and he broke forth
"Take another G," said Tembarom, producing his tube. "Say, just take
the bottle and keep it in your pocket"
When the brief paroxysm was over and they moved on again, Palliser was
looking an odd thing or so in the face. "I always think of Lady Joan"
was one of them. "Always" seemed to go rather far. How often and why
had he "always thought"? The fellow was incredible. Did his sharp,
boyish face and his slouch conceal a colossal, vulgar, young ambition?
There was not much concealment about it, Heaven knew. And as he so
evidently was not aware of the facts, how would they affect him when
he discovered them? And though Lady Mallowe was a woman not in the
least distressed or hampered by shades of delicacy and scruple, she
surely was astute enough to realize that even this bounder's dullness
might be awakened to realize that there was more than a touch of
obvious indecency in bringing the girl to the house of the man she had
tragically loved, and manoeuvering to work her into it as the wife of
the man who, monstrously unfit as he was, had taken his place. Captain
Palliser knew well that the pressing of the relationship had meant
only one thing. And how, in the name of the Furies! had she dragged
Lady Joan into the scheme with her?
It was as unbelievable as was the new Temple Barholm himself. And how
unconcerned the fellow looked! Perhaps the man he had supplanted was
no more to him than a scarcely remembered name, if he was as much as
that. Then Tembarom, pacing slowly by his side, hands in pockets, eyes
on the walk, spoke:
"Did you ever see Jem Temple Barholm? " he asked.
It was like a thunderbolt. He said it as though he were merely
carrying his previous remarks on to their natural conclusion; but
Palliser felt himself so suddenly unadjusted, so to speak, that he
"Did you?" his companion repeated.
"I knew him well," was the answer made as soon as readjustment was
"Remember just how he looked?"
"Perfectly. He was a striking fellow. Women always said he had
"Sort of slant downward on the outside corners--and black eyelashes
sorter sweeping together?"
Palliser turned with a movement of surprise.
"How did you know? It was just that odd sort of thing."
"Miss Alicia told me. And there's a picture in the gallery that's like
Captain Palliser felt as embarrassed as Miss Alicia had felt, but it
was for a different reason. She had felt awkward because she had
feared she had touched on a delicate subject. Palliser was embarrassed
because he was entirely thrown out of all his calculations. He felt
for the moment that there was no calculating at all, no security in
preparing paths. You never know where they would lead. Here had he
been actually alarmed in secret! And the oaf stood before him
undisturbedly opening up the subject himself.
"For a fellow like that to lose a girl as he lost Lady Joan was pretty
tough," the oaf said. "By gee! it was tough!"
He knew it all--the whole thing, scandal, tragically broken marriage,
everything. And knowing it, he was laying his Yankee plans for getting
the girl to Temple Barholm to look her over. It was of a grossness one
sometimes heard of in men of his kind, and yet it seemed in its
casualness to out-leap any little scheme of the sort he had so far
looked on at.
"Lady Joan felt it immensely," he said.
A footman was to be seen moving toward them, evidently bearing a
message. Tea was served in the drawing-room, and he had come to
announce the fact.
They went back to the house, and Miss Alicia filled cups for them and
presided over the splendid tray with a persuasive suggestion in the
matter of hot or cold things which made it easy to lead up to any
subject. She was the best of unobtrusive hostesses.
Palliser talked of his visit at Detchworth, which had been shortened
because he had gone to "fit in" and remain until a large but uncertain
party turned up. It had turned up earlier than had been anticipated,
and of course he could only delicately slip away.
"I am sorry it has happened, however," he said, "not only because one
does not wish to leave Detchworth, but because I shall miss Lady
Mallowe and Lady Joan, who are to be at Asshawe Holt next week. I
particularly wanted to see them."
Miss Alicia glanced at Tembarom to see what he would do. He spoke
before he could catch her glance.
"Say," he suggested, "why don't you bring your grip over here and
stay? I wish you would."
"A grip means a Gladstone bag," Miss Alicia murmured in a rapid
Palliser replied with appreciative courtesy. Things were going
"That's awfully kind of you," he answered. "I should like it
tremendously. Nothing better. You are giving me a delightful
opportunity. Thank you, thank you. If I may turn up on Thursday I
shall be delighted."
There was satisfaction in this at least in the observant gray eye when
he went away.
Dinner at Detchworth Grange was most amusing that evening. One of the
chief reasons -- in fact, it would not be too venturesome to say THE
chief reason -- for Captain Palliser's frequent presence in very good
country houses was that he had a way of making things amusing. His
relation of anecdotes, of people and things, was distinguished by a
manner which subtly declined to range itself on the side of vulgar
gossip. Quietly and with a fine casualness he conveyed the whole
picture of the new order at Temple Barholm. He did it with wonderfully
light touches, and yet the whole thing was to be seen -- the little
old maid in her exquisite clothes, her unmistakable stamp of timid
good breeding, her protecting adoration combined with bewilderment;
the long, lean, not altogether ill-looking New York bounder, with his
slight slouch, his dangerously unsophisticated-looking face, and his
American jocularity of slang phrase.
"He's of a class I know nothing about. I own he puzzled me a trifle at
first," Palliser said with his cool smile. "I'm not sure that I've
'got on to him' altogether yet. That's an expressive New York phrase
of his own. But when we were strolling about together, he made
revelations apparently without being in the least aware that they were
revelations. He was unbelievable. My fear was that he would not go
"But he did go on?" asked Amabel. "One must hear something of the
Then was given in the best possible form the little drama of the talk
in the garden. No shade of Mr. Temple Barholm's characteristics was
lost. Palliser gave occasionally an English attempt at the
reproduction of his nasal twang, but it was only a touch and not
sufficiently persisted in to become undignified.
"I can't do it," he said. "None of us can really do it. When English
actors try it on the stage, it is not in the least the real thing.
They only drawl through their noses, and it is more than that."
The people of Detchworth Grange were not noisy people, but their
laughter was unrestrained before the recital was finished. Nobody had
gone so far as either to fear or to hope for anything as undiluted in
its nature as this was.
"Then he won't give us a chance, the least chance," cried Lucy and
Amabel almost in unison. "We are out of the running."
"You won't get even a look in--because you are not 'ladies,'" said
"Poor Jem Temple Barholm! What a different thing it would have been if
we had had him for a neighbor!" Mr. Grantham fretted.
"We should have had Lady Joan Fayre as well," said his wife.
"At least she's a gentlewoman as well as a 'lady,'" Mr. Grantham said.
"She would not have become so bitter if that hideous thing had not
They wondered if the new man knew anything about Jem. Palliser had not
reached that part of his revelation when the laughter had broken into
it. He told it forthwith, and the laughter was overcome by a sort of
dismayed disgust. This did not accord with the rumors of an almost
"nice" good nature.
"There's a vulgar horridness about it," said Lucy.
"What price Lady Mallowe!" said the son. "I'll bet a sovereign she
"She did," remarked Palliser; "but I think one may leave Mr. Temple
Barholm safely to Lady Joan." Mr. Grantham laughed as one who knew
something of Lady Joan.
"There's an Americanism which I didn't learn from him," Palliser
added, "and I remembered it when he was talking her over. It's this:
when you dispose of a person finally and forever, you 'wipe up the
earth with him.' Lady Joan will 'wipe up the earth' with your new
There was a little shout of laughter. "Wipe up the earth" was entirely
new to everybody, though even the country in England was at this time
by no means wholly ignorant of American slang.
This led to so many other things both mirth-provoking and serious,
even sometimes very serious indeed, that the entire evening at
Detchworth was filled with talk of Temple Barholm. Very naturally the
talk did not end by confining itself to one household. In due time
Captain Palliser's little sketches were known in divers places, and it
became a habit to discuss what had happened, and what might possibly
happen in the future. There were those who went to the length of
calling on the new man because they wanted to see him face to face.
People heard new things every few days, but no one realized that it
was vaguely through Palliser that there developed a general idea that,
crude and self-revealing as he was, there lurked behind the outward
candor of the intruder a hint of over-sharpness of the American kind.
There seemed no necessity for him to lay schemes beyond those he had
betrayed in his inquiries about "ladies," but somehow it became a
fixed idea that he was capable of doing shady things if at any time
the temptation arose. That was really what his boyish casualness
meant. That in truth was Palliser's final secret conclusion. And he
wanted very much to find out why exactly little old Miss Temple
Barholm had been taken up. If the man wanted introductions, he could
have contrived to pick up a smart and enterprising unprofessional
chaperon in London who would have done for him what Miss Temple
Barholm would never presume to attempt. And yet he seemed to have
chosen her deliberately. He had set her literally at the head of his
house. And Palliser, having heard a vague rumor that he had actually
settled a decent income upon her, had made adroit inquiries and found
it was true.
It was. To arrange the matter had been one of his reasons for going to
see Mr. Palford during their stay in London.
"I wanted to fix you--fix you safe," he said when he told Miss Alicia
about it. "I guess no one can take it away from you, whatever old
"What could happen, dear Mr. Temple Barholm?" said Miss Alicia in the
midst of tears of gratitude and tremulous joy. "You are so young and
strong and--everything! Don't even speak of such a thing in jest. What
"Anything can happen," he answered, "just anything. Happening's the
one thing you can't bet on. If I was betting, I'd put my money on the
thing I was sure couldn't happen. Look at this Temple Barholm song and
dance! Look at T. T. as he was half strangling in the blizzard up at
Harlem and thanking his stars little Munsberg didn't kick him out of
his confectionery store less than a year ago! So long as I'm all
right, you're all right. But I wanted you fixed, anyhow."
He paused and looked at her questioningly for a moment. He wanted to
say something and he was not sure he ought. His reverence for her
little finenesses and reserves increased instead of wearing away. He
was always finding out new things about her.
"Say," he broke forth almost impetuously after his hesitation, "I wish
you wouldn't call me Mr. Temple Barholm."
"D-do you?" she fluttered. "But what could I call you?"
"Well," he answered, reddening a shade or so, "I'd give a house and
lot if you could just call me Tem."
"But it would sound so unbecoming, so familiar," she protested.
"That's just what I'm asking for," he said--"some one to be familiar
with. I'm the familiar kind. That's what's the matter with me. I'd be
familiar with Pearson, but he wouldn't let me. I'd frighten him half
to death. He'd think that he wasn't doing his duty and earning his
wages, and that somehow he'd get fired some day without a character."
He drew nearer to her and coaxed.
"Couldn't you do it?" he asked almost as though he were asking a favor
of a girl. "Just Tem? I believe that would come easier to you than T.
T. I get fonder and fonder of you every day, Miss Alicia, honest
Injun. And I'd be so grateful to you if you'd just be that
He looked honestly in earnest; and if he grew fonder and fonder of
her, she without doubt had, in the face of everything, given her whole
heart to him.
"Might I call you Temple -- to begin with?" she asked. "It touches me
so to think of your asking me. I will begin at once. Thank you --
Temple," with a faint gasp. "I might try the other a little later."
It was only a few evenings later that he told her about the flats in
Harlem. He had sent to New York for a large bundle of newspapers, and
when he opened them he read aloud an advertisement, and showed her a
picture of a large building given up entirely to "flats."
He had realized from the first that New York life had a singular
attraction for her. The unrelieved dullness of her life -- those few
years of youth in which she had stifled vague longings for the joys
experienced by other girls; the years of middle age spent in the
dreary effort to be "submissive to the will of God," which, honestly
translated, signified submission to the exactions and domestic
tyrannies of "dear papa" and others like him -- had left her with her
capacities for pleasure as freshly sensitive as a child's. The
smallest change in the routine of existence thrilled her with
excitement. Tembarom's casual references to his strenuous boyhood
caused her eyes to widen with eagerness to hear more. Having seen
this, he found keen delight in telling her stories of New York life --
stories of himself or of other lads who had been his companions. She
would drop her work and gaze at him almost with bated breath. He was
an excellent raconteur when he talked of the things he knew well. He
had an unconscious habit of springing from his seat and acting his
scenes as he depicted them, laughing and using street-boy phrasing:
"It's just like a tale," Miss Alicia would breathe, enraptured as he
jumped from one story to another. "It's exactly like a wonderful
She learned to know the New York streets when they blazed with heat,
when they were hard with frozen snow, when they were sloppy with
melting slush or bright with springtime sunshine and spring winds
blowing, with pretty women hurrying about in beflowered spring hats
and dresses and the exhilaration of the world-old springtime joy. She
found herself hurrying with them. She sometimes hung with him and his
companions on the railing outside dazzling restaurants where scores of
gay people ate rich food in the sight of their boyish ravenousness.
She darted in and out among horses and vehicles to find carriages
after the theater or opera, where everybody was dressed dazzlingly and
"Oh, how rich everybody must have seemed to you--how cruelly rich,
poor little boy!"
"They looked rich, right enough," he answered when she said it. "And
there seemed a lot of good things to eat all corralled in a few
places. And you wished you could be let loose inside. But I don't know
as it seemed cruel. That was the way it was, you know, and you
couldn't help it. And there were places where they'd give away some of
what was left. I tell you, we were in luck then."
There was some spirit in his telling it all--a spirit which had surely
been with him through his hardest days, a spirit of young mirth in
rags--which made her feel subconsciously that the whole experience
had, after all, been somehow of the nature of life's high adventure.
He had never been ill or heart-sick, and he laughed when he talked of
it, as though the remembrance was not a recalling of disaster.
"Clemmin' or no clemmin'. I wish I'd lived the loife tha's lived,"
Tummas Hibblethwaite had said.
Her amazement would indeed have been great if she had been told that
she secretly shared his feeling.
"It seems as if somehow you had never been dull," was her method of
"Dull! Holy cats! no," he grinned. "There wasn't any time for being
anything. You just had to keep going."
She became in time familiar with Mrs. Bowse's boarding-house and
boarders. She knew Mrs. Peck and Mr. Jakes and the young lady from the
notion counter (those wonderful shops!). Julius and Jem and the hall
bedroom and the tilted chairs and cloud of smoke she saw so often that
she felt at home with them.
"Poor Mrs. Bowse," she said, "must have been a most respectable,
motherly, hard-working creature. Really a nice person of her class."
She could not quite visualize the "parlor," but it must have been warm
and comfortable. And the pianola--a piano which you could play without
even knowing your notes--What a clever invention! America seemed full
of the most wonderfully clever things.
Tembarom was actually uplifted in soul when he discovered that she
laid transparent little plans for leading him into talk about New
York. She wanted him to talk about it, and the Lord knows he wanted to
talk about himself. He had been afraid at first. She might have hated
it, as Palford did, and it would have hurt him somehow if she hadn't
understood. But she did. Without quite realizing the fact, she was
beginning to love it, to wish she had seen it. Her Somerset vicarage
imagination did not allow of such leaps as would be implied by the
daring wish that sometime she might see it.
But Tembarom's imagination was more athletic.
"Jinks! wouldn't it be fine to take her there! The lark in London
wouldn't be ace high to it."
The Hutchinsons were not New Yorkers, but they had been part of the
atmosphere of Mrs. Bowse's. Mr. Hutchinson would of course be rather a
forward and pushing man to be obliged to meet, but Little Ann! She did
so like Little Ann! And the dear boy did so want, in his heart of
hearts, to talk about her at times. She did not know whether, in the
circumstances, she ought to encourage him; but he was so dear, and
looked so much dearer when he even said "Little Ann," that she could
not help occasionally leading him gently toward the subject.
When he opened the newspapers and found the advertisements of the
flats, she saw the engaging, half-awkward humorousness come into his
"Here's one that would do all right," he said--"four rooms and a bath,
eleventh floor, thirty-five dollars a month."
He spread the newspaper on the table and rested on his elbow, gazing
at it for a few minutes wholly absorbed. Then he looked up at her and
"There's a plan of the rooms," he said. "Would you like to look at it?
Shall I bring your chair up to the table while we go over it
He brought the chair, and side by side they went over it thoroughly.
To Miss Alicia it had all the interest of a new kind of puzzle. He
explained it in every detail. One of his secrets had been that on
several days when Galton's manner had made him hopeful he had visited
certain flat buildings and gone into their intricacies. He could
therefore describe with color their resources--the janitor; the
elevator; the dumb-waiters to carry up domestic supplies and carry
down ashes and refuse; the refrigerator; the unlimited supply of hot
and cold water, the heating plan; the astonishing little kitchen, with
stationary wash-tubs; the telephone, if you could afford it,-- all the
conveniences which to Miss Alicia, accustomed to the habits of
Rowcroft Vicarage, where you lugged cans of water up-stairs and down
if you took a bath or even washed your face; seemed luxuries
appertaining only to the rich and great.
"How convenient! How wonderful! Dear me! Dear me!" she said again and
again, quite flushed with excitement. "It is like a fairy-story. And
it's not big at all, is it?"
"You could get most of it into this," he answered, exulting. "You
could get all of it into that big white-and gold parlor."
"The white saloon?"
He showed his teeth.
"I guess I ought to remember to call it that," he said, "but it always
makes me think of Kid MacMurphy's on Fourth Avenue. He kept what was
called a saloon, and he'd had it painted white."
"Did you know him?" Miss Alicia asked.
"Know him! Gee! no! I didn't fly as high as that. He'd have thought me
pretty fresh if I'd acted like I knew him. He thought he was one of
the Four Hundred. He'd been a prize-fighter. He was the fellow that
knocked out Kid Wilkens in four rounds." He broke off and laughed at
himself. "Hear me talk to you about a tough like that!" he ended, and
he gave her hand the little apologetic, protective pat which always
made her heart beat because it was so "nice."
He drew her back to the advertisements, and drew such interesting
pictures of what the lives of two people--mother and son or father and
daughter or a young married couple who didn't want to put on style--
might be in the tiny compartments, that their excitement mounted
This could be a bedroom, that could be a bedroom, that could be the
living-room, and if you put a bit of bright carpet on the hallway and
hung up a picture or so, it would look first-rate. He even went into
the matter of measurements, which made it more like putting a puzzle
together than ever, and their relief when they found they could fit a
piece of furniture he called "a lounge" into a certain corner was a
thing of flushing delight. The "lounge," she found, was a sort of cot
with springs. You could buy them for three dollars, and when you put
on a mattress and covered it with a "spread," you could sit on it in
the daytime and sleep on it at night, if you had to.
From measurements he went into calculations about the cost of things.
He had seen unpainted wooden tables you could put mahogany stain on,
and they'd look all you'd want. He'd seen a splendid little rocking-
chair in Second Avenue for five dollars, one of the padded kind that
ladies like. He had seen an arm-chair for a man that was only seven;
but there mightn't be room for both, and you'd have to have the
rocking-chair. He had once asked the price of a lot of plates and cups
and saucers with roses on them, and you could get them for six; and
you didn't need a stove because there was the range.
He had once heard Little Ann talking to Mrs. Bowse about the price of
frying-pans and kettles, and they seemed to cost next to nothing. He'd
looked into store windows and noticed the prices of groceries and
vegetables and things like that--sugar, for instance; two people
wouldn't use much sugar in a week--and they wouldn't need a ton of tea
or flour or coffee. If a fellow had a mother or sister or wife who had
a head and knew about things, you could "put it over" on mighty
little, and have a splendid time together, too. You'd even be able to
work in a cheap seat in a theater every now and then. He laughed and
flushed as he thought of it.
Miss Alicia had never had a doll's house. Rowcroft Vicarage did not
run to dolls and their belongings. Her thwarted longing for a doll's
house had a sort of parallel in her similarly thwarted longing for "a
And here was her doll's house so long, so long unpossessed! It was
like that, this absorbed contriving and fitting of furniture into
corners. She also flushed and laughed. Her eyes were so brightly eager
and her cheeks so pink that she looked quite girlish under her lace
"How pretty and cozy it might be made, how dear!" she exclaimed. "And
one would be so high up on the eleventh floor, that one would feel
like a bird in a nest."
His face lighted. He seemed to like the idea tremendously.
"Why, that's so," he laughed. "That idea suits me down to the ground.
A bird in a nest. But there'd have to be two. One would be lonely.
Say, Miss Alicia, how would you like to live in a place like that?"
"I am sure any one would like it--if they had some dear relative with
He loved her "dear relative," loved it. He knew how much it meant of
what had lain hidden unacknowledged, even unknown to her, through a
lifetime in her early-Victorian spinster breast.
"Let's go to New York and rent one and live in it together. Would you
come?" he said, and though he laughed, he was not jocular in the usual
way. "Would you, if we waked up and found this Temple Barholm thing
was a dream?"
Something in his manner, she did not know what, puzzled her a little.
"But if it were a dream, you would be quite poor again," she said,
"No, I wouldn't. I'd get Galton to give me back the page. He'd do it
quick--quick," he said, still with a laugh. "Being poor's nothing,
anyhow. We'd have the time of our lives. We'd be two birds in a nest.
You can look out those eleventh- story windows 'way over to the Bronx,
and get bits of the river. And perhaps after a while Ann would do -
like she said, and we'd be three birds."
"Oh!" she sighed ecstatically. "How beautiful it would be! We should
be a little family!"
"So we should," he exulted. "Think of T. T. with a family!" He drew
his paper of calculations toward him again. "Let's make believe we're
going to do it, and work out what it would cost - for three. You know
about housekeeping, don't you? Let's write down a list."
If he had warmed to his work before, he warmed still more after this.
Miss Alicia was drawn into it again, and followed his fanciful plans
with a new fervor. They were like two children who had played at make-
believe until they had lost sight of commonplace realities.
Miss Alicia had lived among small economies and could be of great
assistance to him. They made lists and added up lines of figures until
the fine, huge room and its thousands of volumes melted away. In the
great hall, guarded by warriors in armor, the powdered heads of the
waiting footmen drooped and nodded while the prices of pounds of
butter and sugar and the value of potatoes and flour and nutmegs were
balanced with a hectic joy, and the relative significance of dollars
and cents and shillings and half-crowns and five-cent pieces caused
Miss Alicia a mild delirium.
By the time that she had established the facts that a shilling was
something like twenty-five cents, a dollar was four and twopence, and
twenty-five dollars was something over five pounds, it was past
They heard the clock strike the half-hour, and stopped to stare at
Tembarom got up with yet another laugh.
"Say, I mustn't keep you up all night," he said. "But haven't we had a
fine time - haven't we? I feel as if I'd been there."
They had been there so entirely that Miss Alicia brought herself back
"I can scarcely believe that we have not," she said. "I feel as if I
didn't like to leave it. It was so delightful." She glanced about her.
"The room looks huge," she said--"almost too huge to live in."
"Doesn't it?" he answered. "Now you know how I feel." He gathered his
scraps of paper together with a feeling touch. "I didn't want to come
back myself. When I get a bit of a grouch I shall jerk these out and
go back there again."
"Oh, do let me go with you!" she said. "I have so enjoyed it."
"You shall go whenever you like," he said. "We'll keep it up for a
sort of game on rainy days. How much is a dollar, Miss Alicia?"
"Four and twopence. And sugar is six cents a pound."
"Go to the head," he answered. "Right again."
The opened roll of newspapers was lying on the table near her. They
were copies of The Earth, and the date of one of them by merest chance
caught her eye.
"How odd!" she said. "Those are old papers. Did you notice? Is it a
mistake? This one is dated" She leaned forward, and her eye caught a
word in a head-line.
"The Klondike," she read. "There's something in it about the
Klondike." He put his hand out and drew the papers away.
"Don't you read that," he said. "I don't want you to go to bed and
dream about the Klondike. You've got to dream about the flat in
"Yes," she answered. "I mustn't think about sad things. The flat in
Harlem is quite happy. But it startled me to see that word."
"I only sent for them--because I happened to want to look something
up," he explained. "How much is a pound, Miss Alicia?"
"Four dollars and eighty-six cents," she replied, recovering herself.
"Go up head again. You're going to stay there."
When she gave him her hand on their parting for the night he held it a
moment. A subtle combination of things made him do it. The
calculations, the measurements, the nest from which one could look out
over the Bronx, were prevailing elements in its make-up. Ann had been
in each room of the Harlem flat, and she always vaguely reminded him
"We are relations, ain't we?" he asked.
"I am sure we often seem quite near relations--Temple." She added the
name with very pretty kindness.
"We're not distant ones any more, anyhow," he said. "Are we near
enough--would you let me kiss you good night, Miss Alicia?"
An emotional flush ran up to her cap ribbons.
"Indeed, my dear boy--indeed, yes."
Holding her hand with a chivalric, if slightly awkward, courtesy, he
bent, and kissed her cheek. It was a hearty, affectionately grateful
young kiss, which, while it was for herself, remotely included Ann.
"It's the first time I've ever said good night to any one like that,"
he said. "Thank you for letting me."
He patted her hand again before releasing it. She went up-stairs
blushing and feeling rather as though she had been proposed to, and
yet, spinster though she was, somehow quite understanding about the
nest and Ann.
Lady Mallowe and her daughter did not pay their visit to Asshawe Holt,
the absolute, though not openly referred to, fact being that they had
not been invited. The visit in question had merely floated in the air
as a delicate suggestion made by her ladyship in her letter to Mrs.
Asshe Shaw, to the effect that she and Joan were going to stay at
Temple Barholm, the visit to Asshawe they had partly arranged some
time ago might now be fitted in.
The partial arrangement itself, Mrs. Asshe Shaw remarked to her eldest
daughter when she received the suggesting note, was so partial as to
require slight consideration, since it had been made "by the woman
herself, who would push herself and her daughter into any house in
England if a back door were left open." In the civilly phrased letter
she received in answer to her own, Lady Mallowe read between the lines
the point of view taken, and writhed secretly, as she had been made to
writhe scores of times in the course of her career. It had happened so
often, indeed, that it might have been imagined that she had become
used to it; but the woman who acted as maid to herself and Joan always
knew when "she had tried to get in somewhere" and failed.
The note of explanation sent immediately to Miss Alicia was at once
adroit and amiable. They had unfortunately been detained in London a
day or two past the date fixed for their visit to Asshawe, and Lady
Mallowe would not allow Mrs. Asshe Shawe, who had so many guests, to
be inconvenienced by their arriving late and perhaps disarranging her
plans. So if it was quite convenient, they would come to Temple
Barholm a week earlier; but not, of course, if that would be the least
When they arrived, Tembarom himself was in London. He had suddenly
found he was obliged to go. The business which called him was
something which could not be put off. He expected to return at once.
It was made very easy for him when he made his excuses to Palliser,
who suggested that he might even find himself returning by the same
train with his guests, which would give him opportunities. If he was
detained, Miss Alicia could take charge of the situation. They would
quite understand when she explained. Captain Palliser foresaw for
himself some quiet entertainment in his own meeting with the visitors.
Lady Mallowe always provided a certain order of amusement for him, and
no man alive objected to finding interest and even a certain
excitement in the society of Lady Joan. It was her chief
characteristic that she inspired in a man a vague, even if slightly
irritated, desire to please her in some degree. To lead her on to talk
in her sometimes brilliant, always heartlessly unsparing, fashion,
perhaps to smile her shade of a bitter smile, gave a man something to
do, especially if he was bored. Palliser anticipated a possible chance
of repeating the dialogue of "the ladies," not, however, going into
the Jem Temple Barholm part of it. When one finds a man whose idle
life has generated in him the curiosity which is usually called
feminine, it frequently occupies him more actively than he is aware or
A fashionable male gossip is a curious development. Palliser was, upon
the whole, not aware that he had an intense interest in finding out
the exact reason why Lady Mallowe had not failed utterly in any
attempt to drag her daughter to this particular place, to be flung
headlong, so to speak, at this special man. Lady Mallowe one could run
and read, but Lady Joan was in this instance unexplainable. And as she
never deigned the slightest concealment, the story of the dialogue
would no doubt cause her to show her hand. She must have a hand, and
it must be one worth seeing.
It was not he, however, who could either guess or understand. The
following would have been his summing up of her: "Flaringly handsome
girl, brought up by her mother to one end. Bad temper to begin with.
Girl who might, if she lost her head, get into some frightful mess.
Meets a fascinating devil in the first season. A regular Romeo and
Juliet passion blazes up--all for love and the world well lost. All
London looking on. Lady Mallowe frantic and furious. Suddenly the
fascinating devil ruined for life, done for. Bolts, gets killed. Lady
Mallowe triumphant. Girl dragged about afterward like a beautiful
young demon in chains. Refuses all sorts of things. Behaves
infernally. Nobody knows anything else."
Nobody did know; Lady Mallowe herself did not. From the first year in
which Joan had looked at her with child consciousness she had felt
that there was antagonism in the deeps of her eyes. No mother likes to
recognize such a thing, and Lady Mallowe was a particularly vain
woman. The child was going to be an undeniable beauty, and she ought
to adore the mother who was to arrange her future. Instead of which,
she plainly disliked her. By the time she was three years old, the
antagonism had become defiance and rebellion. Lady Mallowe could not
even indulge herself in the satisfaction of showing her embryo beauty
off, and thus preparing a reputation for her. She was not cross or
tearful, but she had the temper of a little devil. She would not be
shown off. She hated it, and her bearing dangerously suggested that
she hated her handsome young mother. No effects could be produced with
Before she was four the antagonism was mutual, and it increased with
years. The child was of a passionate nature, and had been born
intensely all her mother was not, and intensely not all her mother
was. A throw-back to some high-spirited and fiercely honest ancestor
created in her a fury at the sight of mean falsities and dishonors.
Before she was old enough to know the exact cause of her rage she was
shaken by it. She thought she had a bad temper, and was bad enough to
hate her own mother without being able to help it. As she grew older
she found out that she was not really so bad as she had thought,
though she was obliged to concede that nothing palliative could be
said about the temper. It had been violent from the first, and she had
lived in an atmosphere which infuriated it. She did not suppose such a
thing could be controlled. It sometimes frightened her. Had not the
old Marquis of Norborough been celebrated through his entire life for
his furies? Was there not a hushed-up rumor that he had once thrown a
decanter at his wife, and so nearly killed her that people had been
asking one another in whispers if a peer of the realm could be hanged.
He had been born that way, so had she. Her school-room days had been a
horror to her, and also a terror, because she had often almost flung
ink-bottles and heavy rulers at her silly, lying governesses, and once
had dug a pair of scissors into one sneaking old maid fool's arm when
she had made her "see red" by her ignoble trickeries. Perhaps she
would be hanged some day herself. She once prayed for a week that she
might be made better tempered, --not that she believed in prayer,--and
of course nothing came of it.
Every year she lived she raged more furiously at the tricks she saw
played by her mother and every one who surrounded her; the very
servants were greater liars and pilferers than any other servants. Her
mother was always trying to get things from people which they did not
want to give her. She would carry off slights and snubs as though they
were actual tributes, if she could gain her end. The girl knew what
the meaning of her own future would be. Since she definitely disliked
her daughter, Lady Mallowe did not mince matters when they were alone.
She had no money, she was extremely good looking, she had a certain
number of years in which to fight for her own hand among the new
debutantes who were presented every season. Her first season over, the
next season other girls would be fresher than she was, and newer to
the men who were worth marrying. Men like novelty. After her second
season the debutantes would seem fresher still by contrast. Then
people would begin to say, "She was presented four or five years ago."
After that it would be all struggle,--every season it would be worse.
It would become awful. Unmarried women over thirty-five would speak of
her as though they had been in the nursery together. Married girls
with a child or so would treat her as though she were a maiden aunt.
She knew what was before her. Beggary stared them both in the face if
she did not make the most of her looks and waste no time. And Joan
knew it was all true, and that worse, far worse things were true also.
She would be obliged to spend a long life with her mother in cheap
lodgings, a faded, penniless, unmarried woman, railed at, taunted,
sneered at, forced to be part of humiliating tricks played to enable
them to get into debt and then to avoid paying what they owed. Had she
not seen one horrible old woman of their own rank who was an example
of what poverty might bring one to, an old harpy who tried to queen it
over her landlady in an actual back street, and was by turns fawned
upon and disgustingly "your ladyshiped" or outrageously insulted by
Then that first season! Dear, dear God! that first season when she met
Jem! She was not nineteen, and the facile world pretended to be at her
feet, and the sun shone as though London were in Italy, and the park
was marvelous with flowers, and there were such dances and such
And it was all so young--and she met Jem! It was at a garden-party at
a lovely old house on the river, a place with celebrated gardens which
would always come back to her memory as a riot of roses. The frocks of
the people on the lawn looked as though they were made of the petals
of flowers, and a mad little haunting waltz was being played by the
band, and there under a great copper birch on the green velvet turf
near her stood Jem, looking at her with dark, liquid, slanting eyes!
They were only a few feet from each other,--and he looked, and she
looked, and the haunting, mad little waltz played on, and it was as
though they had been standing there since the world began, and nothing
else was true.
Afterward nothing mattered to either of them. Lady Mallowe herself
ceased to count. Now and then the world stops for two people in this
unearthly fashion. At such times, as far as such a pair are concerned,
causes and effects cease. Her bad temper fled, and she knew she would
never feel its furious lash again.
With Jem looking at her with his glowing, drooping eyes, there would
be no reason for rage and shame. She confessed the temper to him and
told of her terror of it; he confessed to her his fondness for high
play, and they held each other's hands, not with sentimental youthful
lightness, but with the strong clasp of sworn comrades, and promised
on honor that they would stand by each other every hour of their lives
against their worst selves.
They would have kept the pact. Neither was a slight or dishonest
creature. The phase of life through which they passed is not a new
one, but it is not often so nearly an omnipotent power as was their
It lasted only that length of time. Then came the end of the world.
Joan did not look fresh in her second season, and before it was over
men were rather afraid of her. Because she was so young the freshness
returned to her cheek, but it never came back to her eyes.
What exactly had happened, or what she thought, it was impossible to
know. She had delicate, black brows, and between them appeared two
delicate, fierce lines. Her eyes were of a purplish-gray, "the color
of thunder," a snubbed admirer had once said. Between their black
lashes they were more deeply thunder-colored. Her life with her mother
was a thing not to be spoken of. To the desperate girl's agony of
rebellion against the horror of fate Lady Mallowe's taunts and
beratings were devilish. There was a certain boudoir in the house in
Hill Street which was to Joan like the question chamber of the
Inquisition. Shut up in it together, the two went through scenes which
in their cruelty would have done credit to the Middle Ages. Lady
Mallowe always locked the door to prevent the unexpected entrance of a
servant, but servants managed to hover about it, because her ladyship
frequently forgot caution so far as to raise her voice at times, as
ladies are not supposed to do.
"We fight," Joan said with a short, horrible laugh one morning--"we
fight like cats and dogs. No, like two cats. A cat-and-dog fight is
more quickly over. Some day we shall scratch each other's eyes out."
"Have you no shame?" her mother cried.
"I am burning with it. I am like St. Lawrence on his gridiron. 'Turn
me over on the other side,'" she quoted.
This was when she had behaved so abominably to the Duke of Merthshire
that he had actually withdrawn his more than half-finished proposal.
That which she hated more than all else was the God she had prayed to
when she asked she might be helped to control her temper.
She had not believed in Him at the time, but because she was
frightened after she had stuck the scissors into Fraulein she had
tried the appeal as an experiment. The night after she met Jem, when
she went to her room in Hill Street for the night, she knelt down and
prayed because she suddenly did believe. Since there was Jem in the
world, there must be the other somewhere.
As day followed day, her faith grew with her love. She told Jem about
it, and they agreed to say a prayer together at the same hour every
night. The big young man thought her piety beautiful, and, his voice
was unsteady as they talked. But she told him that she was not pious,
"I want to be made good," she said. "I have been bad all my life. I
was a bad child, I have been a bad girl; but now I must be good."
On the night after the tragic card-party she went to her room and
kneeled down in a new spirit. She knelt, but not to cover her face,
she knelt with throat strained and her fierce young face thrown back
Her hands were clenched to fists and flung out and shaken at the
ceiling. She said things so awful that her own blood shuddered as she
uttered them. But she could not--in her mad helplessness--make them
awful enough. She flung herself on the carpet at last, her arms
outstretched like a creature crucified face downward on the cross.
"I believed in You!" she gasped. "The first moment you gave me a
reason I believed. I did! I did! We both said our prayer to You every
night, like children. And you've done this--this--this!" And she beat
with her fists upon the floor.
Several years had passed since that night, and no living being knew
what she carried in her soul. If she had a soul, she said to herself,
it was black--black. But she had none. Neither had Jem had one; when
the earth and stones had fallen upon him it had been the end, as it
would have been if he had been a beetle.
This was the guest who was coming to the house where Miles Hugo smiled
from his frame in the picture-gallery--the house which would to-day
have been Jem's if T. Tembarom had not inherited it.
Tembarom returned some twenty-four hours after Miss Alicia had
received his visitors for him. He had been "going into" absorbing
things in London. His thoughts during his northward journey were
puzzled and discouraged ones. He sat in the corner of the railway
carriage and stared out of the window without seeing the springtime
changes in the flying landscape.
The price he would have given for a talk with Ann would not have been
easy to compute. Her head, her level little head, and her way of
seeing into things and picking out facts without being rattled by what
didn't really count, would have been worth anything. The day itself
was a discouraging one, with heavy threatenings of rain which did not
The low clouds were piles of dark-purple gray, and when the sun tried
to send lances of ominous yellow light through them, strange and lurid
effects were produced, and the heavy purple-gray masses rolled
together again. He wondered why he did not hear low rumblings of
He went to his room at once when he reached home. He was late, and
Pearson told him that the ladies were dressing for dinner. Pearson was
in waiting with everything in readiness for the rapid performance of
his duties. Tembarom had learned to allow himself to be waited upon.
He had, in fact, done this for the satisfying of Pearson, whose
respectful unhappiness would otherwise have been manifest despite his
efforts to conceal it. He dressed quickly and asked some questions
about Strangeways. Otherwise Pearson thought he seemed preoccupied. He
only made one slight joke.
"You'd be a first-rate dresser for a quick-change artist, Pearson," he
On his way to the drawing-room he deflected from the direct path,
turning aside for a moment to the picture-gallery because for a reason
of his own he wanted to take a look at Miles Hugo. He took a look at
Miles Hugo oftener than Miss Alicia knew.
The gallery was dim and gloomy enough, now closing in in the purple-
gray twilight. He walked through it without glancing at the pictures
until he came to the tall boy in the satin and lace of Charles II
period. He paused there only for a short time, but he stood quite near
the portrait, and looked hard at the handsome face.
"Gee!" he exclaimed under his breath, "it's queer, gee!"
Then he turned suddenly round toward one of the big windows. He turned
because he had been startled by a sound, a movement. Some one was
standing before the window. For a second's space the figure seemed as
though it was almost one with the purple-gray clouds that were its
background. It was a tall young woman, and her dress was of a thin
material of exactly their color--dark-gray and purple at once. The
wearer held her head high and haughtily. She had a beautiful, stormy
face, and the slender, black brows were drawn together by a frown.
Tembarom had never seen a girl as handsome and disdainful. He had,
indeed, never been looked at as she looked at him when she moved
He knew who it was. It was the Lady Joan girl, and the sudden sight of
her momentarily "rattled" him.
"You quite gave me a jolt," he said awkwardly, and knowing that he
said it like a "mutt." "I didn't know any one was in the gallery."
"What are you doing here?" she asked. She spoke to him as though she
were addressing an intruding servant. There was emphasis on the word
Her intention was so evident that it increased his feeling of being
"rattled." To find himself confronting deliberate ill nature of a
superior and finished kind was like being spoken to in a foreign
"I--I'm T. Tembarom." he answered, not able to keep himself from
staring because she was such a "winner" as to looks.
"T. Tembarom?" she repeated slowly, and her tone made him at once see
what a fool he had been to say it.
"I forgot," he half laughed. "I ought to have said I'm Temple
"Oh!" was her sole comment. She actually stood still and looked him up
She knew perfectly well who he was, and she knew perfectly well that
no palliative view could possibly be taken by any well-bred person of
her bearing toward him. He was her host. She had come, a guest, to his
house to eat his bread and salt, and the commonest decency demanded
that she should conduct herself with civility. But she cared nothing
for the commonest, or the most uncommon, decency. She was thinking of
other things. As she had stood before the window she had felt that her
soul had never been so black as it was when she turned away from Miles
Hugo's portrait--never, never. She wanted to hurt people. Perhaps Nero
had felt as she did and was not so hideous as he seemed.
The man's tailor had put him into proper clothes, and his features
were respectable enough, but nothing on earth could make him anything
but what he so palpably was. She had seen that much across the gallery
as she had watched him staring at Miles Hugo.
"I should think," she said, dropping the words slowly again, "that you
would often forget that you are Temple Barholm."
"You're right there," he answered. "I can't nail myself down to it. It
seems like a sort of joke."
She looked him over again.
"It is a joke," she said.
It was as though she had slapped him in the face, though she said it
so quietly. He knew he had received the slap, and that, as it was a
woman, he could not slap back. It was a sort of surprise to her that
he did not giggle nervously and turn red and shuffle his feet in
impotent misery. He kept quite still a moment or so and looked at her,
though not as she had looked at him. She wondered if he was so thick-
skinned that he did not feel anything at all.
"That's so," he admitted. "That's so." Then he actually smiled at her.
"I don't know how to behave myself, you see," he said. "You're Lady
Joan Fayre, ain't you? I'm mighty glad to see you. Happy to make your
acquaintance, Lady Joan."
He took her hand and shook it with friendly vigor before she knew what
he was going to do.
"I'll bet a dollar dinner's ready," he added, "and Burrill's waiting.
It scares me to death to keep Burrill waiting. He's got no use for me,
anyhow. Let's go and pacify him."
He did not lead the way or drag her by the arm, as it seemed to her
quite probable that he might, as costermongers do on Hampstead Heath.
He knew enough to let her pass first through the door; and when Lady
Mallowe looked up to see her enter the drawing-room, he was behind
her. To her ladyship's amazement and relief, they came in, so to
speak, together. She had been spared the trying moment of assisting at
the ceremony of their presentation to each other.
In a certain sense she had been dragged to the place by her mother.
Lady Mallowe had many resources, and above all she knew how to weary
her into resistlessness which was almost indifference. There had been
several shameless little scenes in the locked boudoir. But though she
had been dragged, she had come with an intention. She knew what she
would find herself being forced to submit to if the intruder were not
disposed of at the outset, and if the manoeuvering began which would
bring him to London. He would appear at her elbow here and there and
at every corner, probably unaware that he was being made an offensive
puppet by the astute cleverness against which she could not defend
herself, unless she made actual scenes in drawing-rooms, at dinner-
tables, in the very streets themselves. Gifted as Lady Mallowe was in
fine and light-handed dealing of her cards in any game, her stakes at
this special juncture were seriously high. Joan knew what they were,
and that she was in a mood touched with desperation. The defenselessly
new and ignorant Temple Barholm was to her mind a direct intervention
of Providence, and it was only Joan herself who could rob her of the
benefits and reliefs he could provide. With regard to Lady Joan,
though Palliser's quoted New Yorkism, "wipe up the earth," was unknown
to her, the process she had in mind when she left London for
Lancashire would have been well covered by it. As in feudal days she
might have ordered the right hand of a creature such as this to be
struck off, forgetting that he was a man, so was she capable to-day of
inflicting upon him any hurt which might sweep him out of her way. She
had not been a tender-hearted girl, and in these years she was
absolutely callous. The fellow being what he was, she had not the
resources she might have called upon if he had been a gentleman. He
would not understand the chills and slights of good manners. In the
country he would be easier to manage than in town, especially if
attacked in his first timidity before his new grandeurs. His big house
no doubt frightened him, his servants, the people who were of a class
of which he knew nothing. When Palliser told his story she saw new
openings. He would stand in servile awe of her and of others like her.
He would be afraid of her, to begin with, and she could make him more so.
But though she had come to alarm him so that he would be put to
absolute flight, she had also come for another reason. She had never
seen Temple Barholm, and she had discovered before they had known each
other a week that it was Jem's secret passion. He had loved it with a
slighted and lonely child's romantic longing; he had dreamed of it as
boy and man, knowing that it must some time be his own, his home, and
yet prevented by his uncle's attitude toward him from daring to act as
though he remembered the fact. Old Mr. Temple Barholm's special humor
had been that of a man guarding against presumption.
Jem had not intended to presume, but he had been snubbed with
relentless cruelty even for boyish expressions of admiration. And he
had hid his feeling in his heart until he poured it out to Joan. To-
day it would have been his. Together, together, they would have lived
in it and loved every stone of it, every leaf on every great tree,
every wild daffodil nodding in the green grass. Most people, God be
thanked! can forget. The wise ones train themselves beyond all else to
Joan had been a luckless, ill-brought-up, passionate child and girl.
In her Mayfair nursery she had been as little trained as a young
savage. Since her black hour she had forgotten nothing, allowed
herself no palliating moments. Her brief dream of young joy had been
the one real thing in her life. She absolutely had lain awake at night
and reconstructed the horror of Jem's death, had lived it over again,
writhing in agony on her bed, and madly feeling that by so doing she
was holding her love close to her life.
And the man who stood in the place Jem had longed for, the man who sat
at the head of his table, was this "thing!" That was what she felt him
to be, and every hurt she could do him, every humiliation which should
write large before him his presumption and grotesque unfitness, would
be a blow struck for Jem, who could never strike a blow for himself
again. It was all senseless, but she had not want to reason. Fate had
not reasoned in her behalf. She watched Tembarom under her lids at the
He had not wriggled or shuffled when she spoke to him in the gallery;
he did neither now, and made no obvious efforts to seem unembarrassed.
He used his knife and fork in odd ways, and he was plainly not used to
being waited upon. More than once she saw the servants restrain
smiles. She addressed no remarks to him herself, and answered with
chill indifference such things as he said to her. If conversation had
flagged between him and Mr. Palford because the solicitor did not know
how to talk to him, it did not even reach the point of flagging with
her, because she would not talk and did not allow it to begin. Lady
Mallowe, sick with annoyance, was quite brilliant. She drew out Miss
Alicia by detailed reminiscences of a visit paid to Rowlton Hall years
before. The vicar had dined at the hall while she had been there. She
remembered perfectly his charm of manner and powerful originality of
mind, she said sweetly. He had spoken with such affection of his
"little Alicia," who was such a help to him in his parish work.
"I thought he was speaking of a little girl at first," she said
smilingly, "but it soon revealed itself that 'little Alicia' was only
his caressing diminutive."
A certain widening of Miss Alicia's fascinated eye, which could not
remove itself from her face, caused her to quail slightly.
"He was of course a man of great force of character and-- and
expression," she added. "I remember thinking at the time that his
eloquent frankness of phrase might perhaps seem even severe to
frivolous creatures like myself. A really remarkable personality."
"His sermons," faltered Miss Alicia, as a refuge, "were indeed
remarkable. I am sure he must greatly have enjoyed his conversations
with you. I am afraid there were very few clever women in the
neighborhood of Rowlton."
Casting a bitter side glance on her silent daughter, Lady Mallowe
lightly seized upon New York as a subject. She knew so much of it from
delightful New Yorkers. London was full of delightful New Yorkers. She
would like beyond everything to spend a winter in New York. She
understood that the season there was in the winter and that it was
most brilliant. Mr. Temple Barholm must tell them about it.
"Yes," said Lady Joan, looking at him through narrowed lids, "Mr.
Temple Barholm ought to tell us about it."
She wanted to hear what he would say, to see how he would try to get
out of the difficulty or flounder staggeringly through it. Her mother
knew in an instant that her own speech had been a stupid blunder. She
had put the man into exactly the position Joan would enjoy seeing him
in. But he wasn't in a position, it appeared.
"What is the season, anyhow?" he said. "You've got one on me when you
talk about seasons."
"In London," Miss Alicia explained courageously, "it is the time when
her Majesty is at Buckingham Palace, and when the drawing-rooms are
held, and Parliament sits, and people come up to town and give balls."
She wished that Lady Mallowe had not made her remark just at this
time. She knew that the quietly moving servants were listening, and
that their civilly averted eyes had seen Captain Palliser smile and
Lady Joan's curious look, and that the whole incident would form
entertainment for their supper- table.
"I guess they have it in the winter in New York, then, if that's it,"
he said. "There's no Buckingham Palace there, and no drawing-rooms,
and Congress sits in Washington. But New York takes it out in suppers
at Sherry's and Delmonico's and theaters and receptions. Miss Alicia
knows how I used to go to them when I was a little fellow, don't you,
Miss Alicia?" he added, smiling at her across the table.
"You have told me," she answered. She noticed that Burrill and the
footmen stood at attention in their places.
"I used to stand outside in the snow and look in through the windows
at the people having a good time," he said. "Us kids that were selling
newspapers used to try to fill ourselves up with choosing whose plate
we'd take if we could get at it. Beefsteak and French fried potatoes
were the favorites, and hot oyster stews. We were so all-fired
"How pathetic!" exclaimed Lady Mallowe. "And how interesting, now that
it is all over!"
She knew that her manner was gushing, and Joan's slight side glance of
subtle appreciation of the fact exasperated her almost beyond
endurance. What could one do, what could one talk about, without
involving oneself in difficulties out of which one's hasty retreat
could be effected only by gushing? Taking into consideration the
awkwardness of the whole situation and seeing Joan's temper and
attitude, if there had not been so much at stake she would have
received a summoning telegram from London the next day and taken
flight. But she had been forced to hold her ground before in places
she detested or where she was not wanted, and she must hold it again
until she had found out the worst or the best. And, great heaven! how
Joan was conducting herself, with that slow, quiet insultingness of
tone and look, the wicked, silent insolence of bearing which no man
was able to stand, however admiringly he began! The Duke of Merthshire
had turned his back upon it even after all the world had known his
intentions, even after the newspapers had prematurely announced the
engagement and she herself had been convinced that he could not
possibly retreat. She had worked desperately that season, she had
fawned on and petted newspaper people, and stooped to little things no
one but herself could have invented and which no one but herself knew
of. And never had Joan been so superb; her beauty had seemed at its
most brilliant height. The match would have been magnificent; but he
could not stand her, and would not. Why, indeed, should any man? She
glanced at her across the table. A beauty, of course; but she was
thinner, and her eyes had a hungry fierceness in them, and the two
delicate, straight lines between her black brows were deepening.
And there were no dukes on the horizon. Merthshire had married almost
at once, and all the others were too young or had wives already. If
this man would take her, she might feel herself lucky. Temple Barholm
and seventy thousand a year were not to be trifled with by a girl who
had made herself unpopular and who was twenty-six. And for her own
luck the moment had come just before it was too late--a second
marriage, wealth, the end of the hideous struggle. Joan was the
obstacle in her path, and she must be forced out of it. She glanced
quickly at Tembarom. He was trying to talk to Joan now. He was trying
to please her. She evidently had a fascination for him. He looked at
her in a curious way when she was not looking at him. It was a way
different from that of other men whom she had watched as they
furtively stared. It had struck her that he could not take his eyes
away. That was because he had never before been on speaking terms with
a woman of beauty and rank.
Joan herself knew that he was trying to please her, and she was asking
herself how long he would have the courage and presumption to keep it
up. He could scarcely be enjoying it.
He was not enjoying it, but he kept it up. He wanted to be friends
with her for more reasons than one. No one had ever remained long at
enmity with him. He had "got over" a good many people in the course of
his career, as he had "got over" Joseph Hutchinson. This had always
been accomplished because he presented no surface at which arrows
could be thrown. She was the hardest proposition he had ever come up
against, he was thinking; but if he didn't let himself be fool enough
to break loose and get mad, she'd not hate him so much after a while.
She would begin to understand that it wasn't his fault; then perhaps
he could get her to make friends. In fact, if she had been able to
read his thoughts, there is no certainty as to how far her temper
might have carried her. But she could see him only as a sharp-faced,
common American of the shop-boy class, sitting at the head of Jem
Temple Barholm's table, in his chair.
As they passed through the hall to go to the drawing-room after the
meal was over, she saw a neat, pale young man speaking to Burrill and
heard a few of his rather anxiously uttered words.
"The orders were that he was always to be told when Mr. Strangeways
was like this, under all circumstances. I can't quiet him, Mr.
Burrill. He says he must see him at once."
Burrill walked back stiffly to the dining-room.
"It won't trouble HIM much to be disturbed at his wine," he muttered
before going. "He doesn't know hock from port."
When the message was delivered to him, Tembarom excused himself with
simple lack of ceremony.
"I 'll be back directly," he said to Palliser. "Those are good
cigars." And he left the room without going into the matter further.
Palliser took one of the good cigars, and in taking it exchanged a
glance with Burrill which distantly conveyed the suggestion that
perhaps he had better remain for a moment or so. Captain Palliser's
knowledge of interesting detail was obtained "by chance here and
there," he sometimes explained, but it was always obtained with a
light and casual air.
"I am not sure," he remarked as he took the light Burrill held for him
and touched the end of his cigar--"I am not quite sure that I know
exactly who Mr. Strangeways is."
"He's the gentleman, sir, that Mr. Temple Barholm brought over from
New York," replied Burrill with a stolidity clearly expressive of
"Indeed, from New York! Why doesn't one see him?"
"He's not in a condition to see people, sir," said Burrill, and
Palliser's slightly lifted eyebrow seeming to express a good deal, he
added a sentence, "He's not all there, sir."
"From New York, and not all there. What seems to be the matter?"
Palliser asked quietly. "Odd idea to bring a lunatic all the way from
America. There must be asylums there."
"Us servants have orders to keep out of the way," Burrill said with
sterner stolidity. "He's so nervous that the sight of strangers does
him harm. I may say that questions are not encouraged."
"Then I must not ask any more," said Captain Palliser. "I did not know
I was edging on to a mystery."
"I wasn't aware that I was myself, sir," Burrill remarked, "until I
asked something quite ordinary of Pearson, who is Mr. Temple Barholm's
valet, and it was not what he said, but what he didn't, that showed me
where I stood."
"A mystery is an interesting thing to have in a house," said Captain
Palliser without enthusiasm. He smoked his cigar as though he was
enjoying its aroma, and even from his first remark he had managed not
to seem to be really quite addressing himself to Burrill. He was
certainly not talking to him in the ordinary way; his air was rather
that of a gentleman overhearing casual remarks in which he was only
vaguely interested. Before Burrill left the room, however, and he left
it under the impression that he had said no more than civility
demanded, Captain Palliser had reached the point of being able to
deduce a number of things from what he, like Pearson, had not said.
The man who in all England was most deeply submerged in deadly boredom
was, the old Duke of Stone said with wearied finality, himself. He had
been a sinful young man of finished taste in 1820; he had cultivated
these tastes, which were for literature and art and divers other
things, in the most richly alluring foreign capitals until finding
himself becoming an equally sinful and finished elderly man, he had
decided to marry. After the birth of her four daughters, his wife had
died and left them on his hands. Developing at that time a tendency to
rheumatic gout and a daily increasing realization of the fact that the
resources of a poor dukedom may be hopelessly depleted by an expensive
youth passed brilliantly in Vienna, Paris, Berlin, and London, when it
was endurable, he found it expedient to give up what he considered the
necessities of life and to face existence in the country in England.
It is not imperative that one should enter into detail. There was
much, and it covered years during which his four daughters grew up and
he "grew down," as he called it. If his temper had originally been a
bad one, it would doubtless have become unbearable; as he had been
born an amiable person, he merely sank into the boredom which
threatens extinction. His girls bored him, his neighbors bored him,
Stone Hover bored him, Lancashire bored him, England had always bored
him except at abnormal moments.
"I read a great deal, I walk when I can," this he wrote once to a
friend in Rome. "When I am too stiff with rheumatic gout, I drive
myself about in a pony chaise and feel like an aunt in a Bath chair. I
have so far escaped the actual chair itself. It perpetually rains
here, I may mention, so I don't get out often. You who gallop on white
roads in the sunshine and hear Italian voices and vowels, figure to
yourself your friend trundling through damp, lead-colored Lancashire
lanes and being addressed in the Lancashire dialect. But so am I
driven by necessity that I listen to it gratefully. I want to hear
village news from villagers. I have become a gossip. It is a wonderful
thing to be a gossip. It assists one to get through one's declining
years. Do not wait so long as I did before becoming one. Begin in your
roseate middle age."
An attack of gout more severe than usual had confined him to his room
for some time after the arrival of the new owner of Temple Barholm. He
had, in fact, been so far indisposed that a week or two had passed
before he had heard of him. His favorite nurse had been chosen by him,
because she was a comfortable village woman whom he had taught to lay
aside her proper awe and talk to him about her own affairs and her
neighbors when he was in the mood to listen. She spoke the broadest
possible dialect,--he liked dialect, having learned much in his youth
from mellow-eyed Neapolitan and Tuscan girls,--and she had never been
near a hospital, but had been trained by the bedsides of her children
"If I were a writing person, she would become literature, impinging
upon Miss Mitford's tales of 'Our Village,' Miss Austen's varieties,
and the young Bronte woman's 'Wuthering Heights.' Mon Dieu! what a
resource it would be to be a writing person!" he wrote to the Roman
To his daughters he said:
"She brings back my tenderest youth. When she pokes the fire in the
twilight and lumbers about the room, making me comfortable, I lie in
my bed and watch the flames dancing on the ceiling and feel as if I
were six and had the measles. She tucks me in, my dears--she tucks me
in, I assure you. Sometimes I feel it quite possible that she will
bend over and kiss me."
She had tucked him in luxuriously in his arm-chair by the fire on the
first day of his convalescence, and as she gave him his tray, with his
beef tea and toast, he saw that she contained anecdotal information of
interest which tactful encouragement would cause to flow.
"Now that I am well enough to be entertained, Braddle," he said, "tell
me what has been happening."
"A graidely lot, yore Grace," she answered; "but not so much i' Stone
Hover as i' Temple Barholm. He's coom!"
Then the duke vaguely recalled rumors he had heard sometime before his
"The new Mr. Temple Barholm? He's an American, isn't he? The lost heir
who had to be sought for high and low-- principally low, I
The beef tea was excellently savory, the fire was warm, and relief
from two weeks of pain left a sort of Nirvana of peace. Rarely had the
duke passed a more delightfully entertaining morning. There was a
richness in the Temple Barholm situation, as described in detail by
Mrs. Braddle, which filled him with delight. His regret that he was
not a writing person intensified itself. Americans had not appeared
upon the horizon in Miss Mitford's time, or in Miss Austen's, or in
the Brontes' the type not having entirely detached itself from that of
the red Indian. It struck him, however, that Miss Austen might have
done the best work with this affair if she had survived beyond her
period. Her finely demure and sly sense of humor would have seen and
seized upon its opportunities. Stark moorland life had not encouraged
humor in the Brontes, and village patronage had not roused in Miss
Mitford a sense of ironic contrasts. Yes, Jane Austen would have done
That the story should be related by Mrs. Braddle gave it extraordinary
flavor. No man or woman of his own class could have given such a
recounting, or revealed so many facets of this jewel of entertainment.
He and those like him could have seen the thing only from their own
amused, outraged, bewildered, or cynically disgusted point of view.
Mrs. Braddle saw it as the villagers saw it--excited, curious,
secretly hopeful of undue lavishness from "a chap as had nivver had
brass before an' wants to chuck it away for brag's sake," or somewhat
alarmed at the possible neglecting of customs and privileges by a
person ignorant of memorial benefactions. She saw it as the servants
saw it--secretly disdainful, outwardly respectful, waiting to discover
whether the sacrifice of professional distinction would be balanced by
liberties permitted and lavishness of remuneration and largess. She
saw it also from her own point of view--that of a respectable cottage
dweller whose great-great-grandfather had been born in a black-and-
white timbered house in a green lane, and who knew what were "gentry
ways" and what nature of being could never even remotely approach the
assumption of them. She had seen Tembarom more than once, and summed
him up by no means ill-naturedly.
"He's not such a bad-lookin' chap. He is na short-legged or turn-up-
nosed, an' that's summat. He con stride along, an' he looks healthy
enow for aw he's thin. A thin chap nivver looks as common as a fat un.
If he wur pudgy, it ud be a lot more agen him."
"I think, perhaps," amiably remarked the duke, sipping his beef tea,
"that you had better not call him a `chap,' Braddle. The late Mr.
Temple Barholm was never referred to as a `chap' exactly, was he?"
Mrs. Braddle gave vent to a sort of internal-sounding chuckle. She had
not meant to be impertinent, and she knew her charge was aware that
she had not, and that he was neither being lofty or severe with her.
"Eh, I'd 'a'loiked to ha' heard somebody do it when he was nigh," she
said. "Happen I'd better be moindin' ma P's an' Q's a bit more. But
that's what this un is, yore Grace. He's a `chap' out an' out. An'
theer's some as is sayin' he's not a bad sort of a chap either.
There's lots o' funny stories about him i' Temple Barholm village. He
goes in to th' cottages now an' then, an' though a fool could see he
does na know his place, nor other people's, he's downreet open-handed.
An' he maks foak laugh. He took a lot o' New York papers wi' big
pictures in 'em to little Tummas Hibblethwaite. An' wot does tha think
he did one rainy day? He walks in to the owd Dibdens' cottage, an'
sits down betwixt 'em as they sit one each side o' th' f're, an' he
tells 'em they've got to cheer him up a bit becos he's got nought to
do. An' he shows 'em th' picter-papers, too, an' tells 'em about New
York, an' he ends up wi' singin' 'em a comic song. They was frightened
out o' their wits at first, but somehow he got over 'em, an' made 'em
laugh their owd heads nigh off."
Her charge laid his spoon down, and his shrewd, lined face assumed a
new expression of interest.
"Did he! Did he, indeed!" he exclaimed. "Good Lord! what an
exhilarating person! I must go and see him. Perhaps he'd make me laugh
my `owd head nigh off.' What a sensation! "
There was really immense color in the anecdotes and in the side views
accompanying them; the routing out of her obscurity of the isolated,
dependent spinster relative, for instance. Delicious! The man was
either desperate with loneliness or he was one of the rough-diamond
benefactors favored by novelists, in which latter case he would not be
so entertaining. Pure self-interest caused the Duke of Stone quite
unreservedly to hope that he was anguished by the unaccustomedness of
his surroundings, and was ready to pour himself forth to any one who
would listen. There would be originality in such a situation, and one
could draw forth revelations worth forming an audience to. He himself
had thought that the volte-face such circumstances demanded would
surely leave a man staring at things foreign enough to bore him. This,
indeed, had been one of his cherished theories; but the only man he
had ever encountered who had become a sort of millionaire between one
day and another had been an appalling Yorkshire man, who had had some
extraordinary luck with diamond-mines in South Africa, and he had been
simply drunk with exhilaration and the delight of spending money with
both hands, while he figuratively slapped on the back persons who six
weeks before would have kicked him for doing it.
This man did not appear to be excited. The duke mentally rocked with
gleeful appreciation of certain things Mrs. Braddle detailed. She
gave, of course, Burrill's version of the brief interview outside the
dining-room door when Miss Alicia's status in the household bad been
made clear to him. But the duke, being a man endowed with a subtle
sense of shades, was wholly enlightened as to the inner meaning of
"Now, that was good," he said to himself, almost chuckling. "By the
Lord! the man might have been a gentleman."
When to all this was added the story of the friend or poor relative,
or what not, who was supposed to be "not quoite reet i' th' yed," and
was taken care of like a prince, in complete isolation, attended by a
valet, visited and cheered up by his benefactor, he felt that a boon
had indeed been bestowed upon him. It was a nineteenth century
"Mysteries of Udolpho" in embryo, though too greatly diluted by the
fact that though the stranger was seen by no one, the new Temple
Barholm made no secret of him.
If he had only made a secret of him, the whole thing would have been
complete. There was of course in the situation a discouraging
suggestion that Temple Barholm MIGHT turn out to be merely the
ordinary noble character bestowing boons.
"I will burn a little candle to the Virgin and offer up prayers that
he may NOT. That sort of thing would have no cachet whatever, and
would only depress me," thought his still sufficiently sinful Grace.
"When, Braddle, do you think I shall be able to take a drive again?"
he asked his nurse.
Braddle was not prepared to say upon her own responsibility, but the
doctor would tell him when he came in that afternoon.
"I feel astonishingly well, considering the sharpness of the attack,"
her patient said. "Our little talk has quite stimulated me. When I go
out,"--there was a gleam in the eye he raised to hers,--" I am going
to call at Temple Barholm."
"I knowed tha would," she commented with maternal familiarity. "I
dunnot believe tha could keep away."
And through the rest of the morning, as he sat and gazed into the
fire, she observed that he several times chuckled gently and rubbed
his delicate, chill, swollen knuckled hands together.
A few weeks later there were some warm days, and his Grace chose to go
out in his pony carriage. Much as he detested the suggestion of "the
aunt in the Bath chair," he had decided that he found the low,
informal vehicle more entertaining than a more imposing one, and the
desperation of his desire to be entertained can be comprehended only
by those who have known its parallel. If he was not in some way
amused, he found himself whirling, with rheumatic gout and seventy
years, among recollections of vivid pictures better hung in galleries
with closed doors. It was always possible to stop the pony carriage to
look at views--bits of landscape caught at by vision through trees or
under their spreading branches, or at the end of little green-hedged
lanes apparently adorned with cottages, or farm-houses with ricks and
barn-yards and pig-pens designed for the benefit of Morland and other
painters of rusticity. He could also slacken the pony's pace and draw
up by roadsides where solitary men sat by piles of stone, which they
broke at leisure with hammers as though they were cracking nuts. He
had spent many an agreeable half-hour in talk with a road-mender who
could be led into conversation and was left elated by an extra
shilling. As in years long past he had sat under chestnut-trees in the
Apennines and shared the black bread and sour wine of a peasant, so in
these days he frequently would have been glad to sit under a hedge and
eat bread and cheese with a good fellow who did not know him and whose
summing up of the domestic habits and needs of "th' workin' mon" or
the amiabilities or degeneracies of the gentry would be expressed,
figuratively speaking, in thoughts and words of one syllable. The
pony, however, could not take him very far afield, and one could not
lunch on the grass with a stone-breaker well within reach of one's own
castle without an air of eccentricity which he no more chose to assume
than he would have chosen to wear long hair and a flowing necktie.
Also, rheumatic gout had not hovered about the days in the Apennines.
He did not, it might be remarked, desire to enter into conversation
with his humble fellow-man from altruistic motives. He did it because
there was always a chance more or less that he would be amused. He
might hear of little tragedies or comedies,-- he much preferred the
comedies,--and he often learned new words or phrases of dialect
interestingly allied to pure Anglo-Saxon. When this last occurred, he
entered them in a notebook he kept in his library. He sometimes
pretended to himself that he was going to write a book on dialects;
but he knew that he was a dilettante sort of creature and would really
never do it. The pretense, however, was a sort of asset. In dire
moments during rains or foggy weather when he felt twinges and had
read till his head ached, he had wished that he had not eaten all his
cake at the first course of life's feast, that he had formed a habit
or so which might have survived and helped him to eke out even an
easy-chair existence through the last courses. He did not find
consolation in the use of the palliative adjective as applied to
himself. A neatly cynical sense of humor prevented it. He knew he had
always been an entirely selfish man and that he was entirely selfish
still, and was not revoltingly fretful and domineering only because he
was constitutionally unirritable.
He was, however, amiably obstinate, and was accustomed to getting his
own way in most things. On this day of his outing he insisted on
driving himself in the face of arguments to the contrary. He was so
fixed in his intention that his daughters and Mrs. Braddle were
obliged to admit themselves overpowered.
"Nonsense! Nonsense!" he protested when they besought him to allow
himself to be driven by a groom. "The pony is a fat thing only suited
to a Bath chair. He does not need driving. He doesn't go when he is
driven. He frequently lies down and puts his cheek on his hand and
goes to sleep, and I am obliged to wait until he wakes up."
"But, papa, dear," Lady Edith said, "your poor hands are not very
strong. And he might run away and kill you. Please do be reasonable!"
"My dear girl," he answered, "if he runs, I shall run after him and
kill him when I catch him. George," he called to the groom holding the
plump pony's head, "tell her ladyship what this little beast's name
"The Indolent Apprentice, your Grace," the groom answered, touching
his hat and suppressing a grin.
"I called him that a month ago," said the duke. "Hogarth would have
depicted all sorts of evil ends for him. Three weeks since, when I was
in bed being fed by Braddle with a spoon, I could have outrun him
myself. Let George follow me on a horse if you like, but he must keep
out of my sight. Half a mile behind will do."
He got into the phaeton, concealing his twinges with determination,
and drove down the avenue with a fine air, sitting erect and smiling.
Indoor existence had become unendurable, and the spring was filling
"I love the spring," he murmured to himself. "I am sentimental about
it. I love sentimentality, in myself, when I am quite alone. If I had
been a writing person, I should have made verses every year in April
and sent them to magazines-- and they would have been returned to me."
The Indolent Apprentice was, it is true, fat, though comely, and he
was also entirely deserving of his name. Like his Grace of Stone,
however, he had seen other and livelier days, and now and then he was
beset by recollections. He was still a rather high, though slow,
stepper--the latter from fixed preference. He had once stepped fast,
as well as with a spirited gait. During his master's indisposition he
had stood in his loose box and professed such harmlessness that he had
not been annoyed by being taken out for exercise as regularly as he
might have been. He had champed his oats and listened to the repartee
of the stable-boys, and he had, perhaps, felt the coming of the spring
when the cuckoo insisted upon it with thrilling mellowness across the
green sweeps of the park land. Sometimes it made him sentimental, as
it made his master, sometimes it made him stamp his small hoofs
restlessly in his straw and want to go out. He did not intend, when he
was taken out, to emulate the Industrious Apprentice by hastening his
pace unduly and raising false hopes for the future, but he sniffed in
the air the moist green of leafage and damp moss, massed with yellow
primroses cuddling in it as though for warmth, and he thought of other
fresh scents and the feel of the road under a pony's feet.
Therefore, when he found himself out in the world again, he shook his
head now and then and even tossed it with the recurring sensations of
a pony who was a mere boy and still slight in the waist.
"You feel it too, do you? " said the duke. "I won't remind you of your
The drive from Stone Hover to the village of Temple Barholm was an
easy one, of many charms of leaf-arched lanes and green- edged road.
The duke had always had a partiality for it, and he took it this
morning. He would probably have taken it in any case, but Mrs.
Braddle's anecdotes had been floating through his mind when he set
forth and perhaps inclined him in its direction.
The groom was a young man of three and twenty, and he felt the spring
also. The horse he rode was a handsome animal, and he himself was not
devoid of a healthy young man's good looks. He knew his belted livery
was becoming to him, and when on horseback he prided himself on what
he considered an almost military bearing. Sarah Hibson, farmer
Hibson's dimple-chinned and saucy-eyed daughter, had been "carryin' on
a good bit" with a soldier who was a smart, well-set-up, impudent
fellow, and it was the manifest duty of any other young fellow who had
considered himself to be "walking out with her" to look after his
charges. His Grace had been most particular about George's keeping far
enough behind him; and as half a mile had been mentioned as near
enough, certainly one was absolved from the necessity of keeping in
sight. Why should not one turn into the lane which ended at Hibson's
farm-yard, and drop into the dairy, and "have it out wi' Sarah?"
Dimpled chins and saucy eyes, and bare, dimpled arms and hands patting
butter while heads are tossed in coquettishly alluring defiance, made
even "having it out" an attractive and memory-obscuring process. Sarah
was a plump and sparkling imp of prettiness, and knew the power of
every sly glance and every dimple and every golden freckle she
possessed. George did not know it so well, and in ten minutes had lost
his head and entirely forgotten even the half-mile behind.
He was lover-like, he was masterful, he brought the spring with him;
he "carried on," as Sarah put it, until he had actually out-distanced
the soldier, and had her in his arms, kissing her as she laughed and
"Shame o' tha face! Shame o' tha face, George!" she scolded and
dimpled and blushed. "Wilt tha be done now? Wilt tha be done? I'll
And at that very moment mother came without being called, running, red
of face, heavy-footed, and panting, with her cap all on one side.
"Th' duke's run away! Th' duke's run away!" she shouted. "Jo seed him.
Pony got freetened at summat-- an' what art doin' here, George Bind?
Get o' thy horse an' gallop. If he's killed, tha 'rt a ruined man."
There was an odd turn of chance in it, the duke thought afterward.
Though friskier than usual, the Indolent Apprentice had behaved
perfectly well until they neared the gates of Temple Barholm, which
chanced to be open because a cart had just passed through. And it was
not the cart's fault, for the Indolent Apprentice regarded it with
friendly interest. It happened, however, that perhaps being absorbed
in the cart, which might have been drawn by a friend or even a distant
relative, the Indolent Apprentice was horribly startled by a large
rabbit which leaped out of the hedge almost under his nose, and, worse
still, was followed the next instant by another rabbit even larger and
more sudden and unexpected in its movements. The Indolent Apprentice
snorted, pawed, whirled, dashed through the open gateway,--the duke's
hands were even less strong than his daughter had thought,--and
galloped, head in air and bit between teeth, up the avenue, the low
carriage rocking from side to side.
"Damn! Damn!" cried the duke, rocking also. "Oh, damn! I shall be
killed in a runaway perambulator!"
And ridiculous as it was, things surged through his brain, and once,
though he laughed at himself bitterly afterward, he gasped "Ah,
Heloise;" as he almost whirled over a jagged tree-stump; gallop and
gallop and gallop, off the road and through trees, and back again on
to the sward, and gallop and gallop and jerk and jolt and jerk, and he
was nearing the house, and a long-legged young man ran down the steps,
pushing aside footmen, and was ahead of the drunken little beast of a
pony, and caught him just as the phaeton overturned and shot his grace
safely though not comfortably in a heap upon the grass.
It was of course no trifle of a shock, but its victim's sensations
gave him strong reason to hope, as he rolled over, that no bones were
broken. The following servants were on the spot almost at once, and
took the pony's head.
The young man helped the duke to his feet and dusted him with masterly
dexterity. He did not know he was dusting a duke, and he would not
have cared if he had.
"Hello," he said, "you're not hurt. I can see that. Thank the Lord! I
don't believe you've got a scratch."
His grace felt a shade shaky, and he was slightly pale, but he smiled
in a way which had been celebrated forty years earlier, and the charm
of which had survived even rheumatic gout.
"Thank you. I'm not hurt in the least. I am the Duke of Stone. This
isn't really a call. It isn't my custom to arrive in this way. May I
address you as my preserver, Mr. Temple Barholm?"
Upon the terrace, when he was led up the steps, stood a most perfect
little elderly lady in a state of agitation much greater than his own
or his rescuer's. It was an agitation as perfect in its femininity as
she herself was. It expressed its kind tremors in the fashion which
belonged to the puce silk dress and fine bits of collar and
undersleeve the belated gracefulness of which caused her to present
herself to him rather as a figure cut neatly from a book of the styles
he had admired in his young manhood. It was of course Miss Alicia, who
having, with Tembarom, seen the galloping pony from a window, had
followed him when he darted from the room. She came forward, looking
pale with charming solicitude.
"I do so hope you are not hurt," she exclaimed. "It really seemed that
only divine Providence could prevent a terrible accident."
"I am afraid that it was more grotesque than terrible," he answered a
"Let me make you acquainted with the Duke of Stone, Miss Alicia,"
Tembarom said in the formula of Mrs. Bowse's boarders on state
occasions of introduction. "Duke, let me make you acquainted, sir,
with my--relation--Miss Alicia Temple Barholm."
The duke's bow had a remote suggestion of almost including a kissed
hand in its gallant courtesy. Not, however, that Early Victorian
ladies had been accustomed to the kissing of hands; but at the period
when he had best known the type he had daily bent over white fingers
in Continental capitals.
"A glass of wine," Miss Alicia implored. "Pray let me give you a glass
of wine. I am sure you need it very much."
He was taken into the library and made to sit in a most comfortable
easy-chair. Miss Alicia fluttered about him with sympathy still
delicately tinged with alarm. How long, how long, it had been since he
had been fluttered over! Nearly forty years. Ladies did not flutter
now, and he remembered that it was no longer the fashion to call them
"ladies." Only the lower-middle classes spoke of "ladies." But he
found himself mentally using the word again as he watched Miss Alicia.
It had been "ladies" who had fluttered and been anxious about a man in
this quite pretty way.
He could scarcely remove his eyes from her as he sipped his wine. She
felt his escape "providential," and murmured such devout little
phrases concerning it that he was almost consoled for the grotesque
inward vision of himself as an aged peer of the realm tumbling out of
a baby-carriage and rolled over on the grass at the feet of a man on
whom later he had meant to make, in proper state, a formal call. She
put her hand to her side, smiling half apologetically.
"My heart beats quite fast yet," she said. Whereupon a quaintly novel
thing took place, at the sight of which the duke barely escaped
opening his eyes very wide indeed. The American Temple Barholm put his
arm about her in the most casual and informally accustomed way, and
led her to a chair, and put her in it, so to speak.
"Say," he announced with affectionate authority, "you sit down right
away. It's you that needs a glass of wine, and I'm going to give it to
The relations between the two were evidently on a basis not common in
England even among people who were attached to one another. There was
a spontaneous, every-day air of natural, protective petting about it,
as though the fellow was fond of her in his crude fashion, and meant
to take care of her. He was fond of her, and the duke perceived it
with elation, and also understood. He might be the ordinary bestower
of boons, but the protective curve of his arm included other things.
In the blank dullness of his unaccustomed splendors he had somehow
encountered this fine, delicately preserved little relic of other
days, and had seized on her and made her his own.
"I have not seen anything as delightful as Miss Temple Barholm for
many a year," the duke said when Miss Alicia was called from the room
and left them together.
"Ain't she great?" was Tembarom's reply. "She's just great."
"It's an exquisite survival of type," said the duke. "She belongs to
my time, not yours," he added, realizing that "survival of type" might
not clearly convey itself.
"Well, she belongs to mine now," answered Tembarom. "I wouldn't lose
her for a farm."
"The voice, the phrases, the carriage might survive,- they do in
remote neighborhoods, I suppose--but the dress is quite delightfully
incredible. It is a work of art," the duke went on. She had seemed too
good to be true. Her clothes, however, had certainly not been dug out
of a wardrobe of forty years ago.
"When I went to talk to the head woman in the shop in Bond Street I
fixed it with 'em hard and fast that she was not to spoil her. They
were to keep her like she was. She's like her little cap, you know,
and her little mantles and tippets. She's like them," exclaimed
Did he see that? What an odd feature in a man of his sort! And how
thoroughly New Yorkish it was that he should march into a fashionable
shop and see that he got what he wanted and the worth of his money!
There had been no rashness in the hope that the unexplored treasure
might be a rich one. The man's simplicity was an actual complexity. He
had a boyish eye and a grin, but there was a business-like line about
his mouth which was strong enough to have been hard if it had not been
"That was confoundedly clever of you," his grace commented heartily--
"confoundedly. I should never have had the wit to think of it myself,
or the courage to do it if I had. Shop-women make me shy."
"Oh, well, I just put it up to them," Tembarom answered easily.
"I believe," cautiously translated the duke, "that you mean that you
made them feel that they alone were responsible."
"Yes, I do," assented Tembarom, the grin slightly in evidence. "Put it
up to them's the short way of saying it."
"Would you mind my writing that down?" said the duke. "I have a fad
for dialects and new phrases." He hastily scribbled the words in a
tablet that he took from his pocket. "Do you like living in England?"
he asked in course of time.
"I should like it if I'd been born here," was the answer.
"I see, I see."
"If it had not been for finding Miss Alicia, and that I made a promise
I'd stay for a year, anyhow, I'd have broken loose at the end of the
first week and worked my passage back if I hadn't had enough in my
clothes to pay for it." He laughed, but it was not real laughter.
There was a thing behind it. The situation was more edifying than one
could have hoped. "I made a promise, and I'm going to stick it out,"
He was going to stick it out because he had promised to endure for a
year Temple Barholm and an income of seventy thousand pounds! The duke
gazed at him as at a fond dream realized.
"I've nothing to do," Tembarom added.
"Neither have I," replied the Duke of Stone.
"But you're used to it, and I'm not. I'm used to working 'steen hours
a day, and dropping into bed as tired as a dog, but ready to sleep
like one and get up rested."
"I used to play twenty hours a day once," answered the duke, "but I
didn't get up rested. That's probably why I have gout and rheumatism
combined. Tell me how you worked, and I will tell you how I played."
It was worth while taking this tone with him. It had been worth while
taking it with the chestnut-gathering peasants in the Apennines,
sometimes even with a stone-breaker by an English roadside. And this
one was of a type more unique and distinctive than any other--a fellow
who, with the blood of Saxon kings and Norman nobles in his veins, had
known nothing but the street life of the crudest city in the world,
who spoke a sort of argot, who knew no parallels of the things which
surrounded him in the ancient home he had inherited and in which he
stood apart, a sort of semi-sophisticated savage. The duke applied