Part 9 out of 13
"Milo, mam,--Milo o' Crotona, but my pals generally calls me Tony,
for short, they do."
"Milo of Crotona!" repeated the Duchess, with her eyes wider than
ever, "but he was a giant who slew an ox with his fist, and ate it
"Why, mam, I'm oncommon fond of oxes,--roasted, I am."
"Well," said the Duchess, "you are the very smallest giant I ever saw."
"Why, you ain't werry large yourself, mam, you ain't."
"No, I fear I am rather petite," said the Duchess with a trill of
girlish laughter. "And pray, Giant, what may you be doing here?"
"Come up on the coach, I did,--box seat, mam,--to take Mr. Beverley
back wiv me 'cause 'is 'oss ain't safe, and--"
"Not safe,--what do you mean, boy?"
"Some coves got in and tried to nobble 'Moonraker' and 'im--"
"Lame 'em, mam,--put 'em out o' the running."
"Yes'm. Ye see us sportsmen 'ave our worritting times, we do."
"But where is Mr. Beverley?"
"Why, I ain't looked, mam, I ain't,--but they're down by the
brook--behind them bushes, they are."
"Oh, are they!" said the Duchess, "Hum!"
"No mam,--'e's a-coming, and so's she."
"Why, Barnabas," cried the Duchess, as Cleone and he stepped out of
the shadow, "what's all this I hear about your horse,--what is the
meaning of it?"
"That I must start for London to-night, Duchess."
"Leave to-night? Absurd!"
"And yet, madam, Cleone seems to think I must, and so does Viscount
Devenham,--see what he writes." So the Duchess took the Viscount's
letter and, having deciphered it with some difficulty, turned upon
Barnabas with admonishing finger upraised:
"So you 've been betting, eh? And with Sir Mortimer Carnaby and
Mr. Chichester of all people?"
"Ah! You backed the Viscount, I suppose?"
"No,--I backed myself, Duchess."
"But only to beat Sir Mortimer Carnaby--"
"The other favorite. Oh, ridiculous! What odds did they give you?"
"You mean--oh, dear me!--you actually backed yourself--at even money?"
"But you haven't a chance, Barnabas,--not a chance! You didn't bet
much, I hope?"
"Not so much as I intended, madam."
"Pray what was the sum?"
"Twenty thousand pounds."
"Forty thousand pounds! Against a favorite! Cleone, my dear,"
said the Duchess, with one of her quick, incisive nods, "Cleone,
this Barnabas of ours is either a madman or a fool! And yet--stoop
down, sir,--here where I can see you,--hum! And yet, Cleone,
there are times when I think he is perhaps a little wiser than he
seems,--nothing is so baffling as simplicity, my dear! If you wished
to be talked about, Barnabas, you have succeeded admirably,--no wonder
all London is laughing over such a preposterous bet. Forty thousand
pounds! Well, it will at least buy you notoriety, and that is next to
"Indeed, I hadn't thought of that," said Barnabas.
"And supposing your horse had been lamed and you couldn't ride,--how
"Why, then, I forfeit the money, madam."
Now here the Duchess frowned thoughtfully, and thereafter said
"ha!" so suddenly, that Cleone started and hurried to her side.
"Dear God-mother, what is it?"
"A thought, my dear!"
"Call it a woman's intuition if you will."
"What is your thought, dear?"
"That you are right, Cleone,--he must go--at once!"
"Yes; to London,--now--this very instant! Unless you prefer to
forfeit your money, Barnabas?"
But Barnabas only smiled and shook his head.
"You would be wiser!"
"But I was never very wise, I fear," said Barnabas.
"Oh, God-mother,--do you think there is--danger, then?"
"Yes, child, I do. Indeed, Barnabas, you were wiser and safer to
forfeit your wagers and stay here with me and--Cleone!"
But Barnabas only sighed and shook his head.
"Cleone," said the Duchess, "speak to him."
So blushing a little, sighing a little, Cleone reached out her hand
to Barnabas, while the Duchess watched them with her young, bright
"Oh, Barnabas, God-mother is very wise, and if--there is danger--you
mustn't go--for my sake."
But Barnabas shook his head again, and taking in his strong clasp
the pleading hand upon his arm, turned to the Duchess.
"Madam," said he, "dear Duchess, to-night I have found my manhood,
for to-night I have learned that a man must ever choose the hardest
course and follow it--to the end. To-night Cleone has taught me--many
"And you will--stay?" inquired the Duchess.
"I must go!" said Barnabas.
"Then good-by--Barnabas!" said her Grace, looking up at him with a
sudden, radiant smile, "good-by!" said she very softly, "it is a
fine thing to be a gentleman, perhaps,--but it is a godlike thing to
be--a man!" So saying, she gave him her hand, and as Barnabas
stooped to kiss those small, white fingers, she looked down at his
curly head with such an expression as surely few had ever seen
within the eyes of this ancient, childless woman, her Grace of
"Now Giant!" she called, as Barnabas turned towards Cleone,
"come here, Giant, and promise me to take care of Mr. Beverley."
"Yes, mam,--all right, mam,--you jest leave 'im to me," replied
Master Milo with his superb air, "don't you worrit on 'is account,
'e'll be all right along o' me, mam, 'e will."
"For that," cried the Duchess, catching him by two of his gleaming
buttons, "for that I mean to kiss you, Giant!" The which, despite
his reproving blushes, she did forthwith.
And Cleone and Barnabas? Well, it so chanced, her Grace's back was
towards them; while as for Master Milo--abashed, and for once
forgetful of his bepolished topboots, he became in very truth a child,
though one utterly unused to the motherly touch of a tender woman's
lips; therefore he suffered the embrace with closed eyes,--even his
buttons were eclipsed, and, in that moment, the Duchess whispered
something in his ear. Then he turned and followed after Barnabas,
who was already striding away across the wide lawn, his head carried
high, a new light in his eyes and a wondrous great joy at his heart,
--a man henceforth--resolute to attempt all things, glorying in his
strength and contemptuous of failure, because of the trill of a
woman's voice and the quick hot touch of a woman's soft lips, whose
caress had been in no sense--motherly. And presently, being come to
the hospitable gates, he turned with bared head to look back at the
two women, the one a childless mother, old and worn, yet wise with
years, and the maid, strong and proud in all the glory of her warm,
young womanhood. Side by side with arms entwined they stood, to
watch young Barnabas, and in the eyes of each, an expression so much
alike, yet so dissimilar. Then, with a flourish of his hat, Barnabas
went on down the road, past the finger-post, with Milo of Crotona's
small top-boots twinkling at his side.
"Sir," said he suddenly, speaking in an awed tone, "is she a real
Doochess--the little old 'un?"
"Yes," nodded Barnabas, "very real. Why, Imp?"
"'Cos I called 'er a child, I did--Lord! An' then she--she kissed me,
she did, sir--which ain't much in my line, it ain't. But she give
me a guinea, sir, an' she likewise whispered in my ear, she did."
"Oh?" said Barnabas, thinking of Cleone--"whispered, did she?"
"Ah! she says to me--quick like, sir,--she says, 'tell 'im,' she
says--meaning you, sir, 'tell 'im to beware o' Wilfred Chichester!'
IN WHICH "THE TERROR," HITHERTO KNOWN AS "FOUR-LEGS,"
JUSTIFIES HIS NEW NAME
The chill of dawn was in the air as the chaise began to rumble over
the London cobble-stones, whereupon Master Milo (who for the last
hour had slumbered peacefully, coiled up in his corner like a kitten)
roused himself, sat suddenly very upright, straightened his cap and
pulled down his coat, broad awake all at once, and with his eyes as
round and bright as his buttons.
"Are you tired, Imp?" inquired Barnabas, yawning.
"Tired, sir, ho no, sir--not a bit, I ain't."
"But you haven't slept much."
"Slep', sir? I ain't slep'. I only jest 'appened to close me eyes,
sir. Ye see, I don't need much sleep, I don't,--four hours is enough
for any man,--my pal Nick says so, and Nick knows a precious lot, 'e
"Who is Nick?"
"Nick's a cobbler, sir,--boots and shoes,--ladies' and gents', and a
very good cobbler 'e is too, although a cripple wiv a game leg. Me
and 'im's pals, sir, and though we 'as our little turn-ups 'count of
'im coming it so strong agin the Quality, I'm never very 'ard on 'im
'count of 'is crutch, d'ye see, sir."
"What do you mean by the 'Quality,' Imp?"
"Gentle-folks, sir,--rich folks like you an' m'lud. 'I'd gillertine
the lot, if I'd my way,' he says, 'like the Frenchies did in
Ninety-three,' 'e says. But 'e wouldn't reelly o'course, for Nick's
very tender-hearted, though 'e don't like it known. So we 're pals,
we are, and I often drop in to smoke a pipe wiv 'im--"
"What! Do you smoke, Imp?"
"Why, yes, o' course, sir,--all grooms smokes or chews, but I
prefers a pipe--allus 'ave, ah! ever since I were a kid. But I
mostly only 'as a pipe when I drop in on my pal Nick in Giles's Rents."
"Down by the River?" inquired Barnabas.
"Yessir. And now, shall I horder the post-boy to stop?"
"Well, the stables is near by, sir, and I thought as you might like
to take a glimp at the 'osses,--just to make your mind easy, sir."
"Oh, very well!" said Barnabas, for there was something in the boy's
small, eager face that he could not resist.
Therefore, having paid and dismissed the chaise, they turned into a
certain narrow by-street. It was very dark as yet, although in the
east was a faint, gray streak, and the air struck so chill, after
the warmth of the chaise, that Barnabas shivered violently, and,
happening to glance down, he saw that the boy was shivering also. On
they went, side by side, between houses of gloom and silence, and
thus, in a while, came to another narrow street, or rather, blind
alley, at the foot of which were the stables.
"Hush, sir!" said the Imp, staring away to where the stable
buildings loomed up before them, shadowy and indistinct in the dawn.
"Hush, sir!" he repeated, and Barnabas saw that he was creeping
forward on tip-toe, and, though scarce knowing why, he himself did
They found the great swing doors fast, bolted from within, and, in
this still dead hour, save for their own soft breathing, not a sound
reached them. Then Barnabas laughed suddenly, and clapped Master
Milo upon his small, rigid shoulder.
"There, Imp,--you see it's all right!" said he, and then paused, and
held his breath.
"Did ye hear anythink?" whispered the boy.
"A chain--rattled, I think."
"And 't was in The Terror's' stall,--there? didn't ye hear somethink
"I did,--it sounded like--" the boy's voice tailed off suddenly and,
upon the silence, a low whistle sounded; then a thud, as of some one
dropping from a height, quickly followed by another,--and thus two
figures darted away, impalpable as ghosts in the dawn, but the alley
was filled with the rush and patter of their flight. Instantly
Barnabas turned in pursuit, then stopped and stood utterly still,
his head turned, his eyes wide, glaring back towards the gloom of
the stables. For, in that moment, above the sudden harsh jangling of
chains from within, above the pattering footsteps of the fugitives
without, was an appalling sound rising high and ever higher--shrill,
unearthly, and full of horror and torment unspeakable. And now,
sudden as it had come, it was gone, but in its place was another
sound,--a sound dull and muffled, but continuous, and pierced, all
at once, by the loud, hideous whinnying of a horse. Then Barnabas
sprang back to the doors, beating upon them with his fists and
calling wildly for some one to open.
And, in a while, a key grated, a bolt shrieked; the doors swung back,
revealing Martin, half-dressed and with a lantern in his hand, while
three or four undergrooms hovered, pale-faced, in the shadows behind.
"My horse!" said Barnabas, and snatched the lantern.
"'The Terror'!" cried Milo, "this way, sir!"
Coming to a certain shadowy corner, Barnabas unfastened and threw
open the half-door; and there, rising from the gloom of the stall,
was a fiendish, black head with ears laid back, eyes rolling, and
teeth laid bare,--cruel teeth, whose gleaming white was hatefully
splotched,--strong teeth, in whose vicious grip something yet dangled.
"Why--what's he got there!" cried Martin suddenly, and then--
"Oh, my God! sir,--look yonder!" and, covering his eyes, he pointed
towards a corner of the stall where the light of the lantern fell.
And--twisted and contorted,--something lay there; something
hideously battered, and torn, and trampled; something that now lay
so very quiet and still, but which had left dark splashes and stains
on walls and flooring; something that yet clutched the knife which
was to have hamstrung and ended the career of Four-legs once and for
all; something that had once been a man.
WHICH, BEING SOMEWHAT IMPORTANT, IS CONSEQUENTLY SHORT
"My dear fellow," said the Viscount, stifling a yawn beneath the
bedclothes, "you rise with the lark,--or should it be linnet? Anyhow,
you do, you know. So deuced early!"
"I am here early because I haven't been to bed, Dick."
"Ah, night mail? Dev'lish uncomfortable! Didn't think you'd come back
in such a deuce of a hurry, though!"
"But you wanted to see me, Dick, what is it?"
"Why,--egad, Bev, I'm afraid it's nothing much, after all.
It's that fellow Smivvle's fault, really."
"Fellow actually called here yesterday--twice, Bev. Dev'lish
importunate fellow y'know. Wanted to see you,--deuced insistent
about it, too!"
"Well, from what I could make out, he seemed to think--sounds
ridiculous so early in the morning,--but he seemed to fancy you were
in some kind of--danger, Bev."
"Well, when I told him he couldn't see you because you had driven
over to Hawkhurst, the fellow positively couldn't sit still--deuced
nervous, y'know,--though probably owing to drink. 'Hawkhurst!' says
he, staring at me as if I were a ghost, my dear fellow, 'yes,' says I,
'and the door's open, sir!' 'I see it is,' says he, sitting tight.
'But you must get him back!' 'Can't be done!' says I. 'Are you his
friend?' says he. 'I hope so,' says I. 'Then,' says he, before I
could remind him of the door again, 'then you must get him back--
at once!' I asked him why, but he only stared and shook his head,
and so took himself off. I'll own the fellow shook me rather, Bev,
--he seemed so very much in earnest, but, knowing where you were, I
wouldn't have disturbed you for the world if it hadn't been for the
"Ah, yes--the horses!" said Barnabas thoughtfully. "How is your
arm now, Dick?"
"A bit stiff, but otherwise right as a trivet, Bev. But now--about
yourself, my dear fellow,--what on earth possessed you to lay
Carnaby such a bet? What a perfectly reckless fellow you are! Of
course the money is as good as in Carnaby's pocket already, not to
mention Chichester's--damn him! As I told you in my letter, the
affair has gone the round of the clubs,--every one is laughing at
the 'Galloping Countryman,' as they call you. Jerningham came within
an ace of fighting Tufton Green of the Guards about it, but the
Marquis is deuced knowing with the barkers, and Tufton, very wisely,
thought better of it. Still, I'm afraid the name will stick--!"
"And why not, Dick? I am a countryman, indeed quite a yokel in many
ways, and I shall certainly gallop--when it comes to it."
"Which brings us back to the horses, Bev. I 've been thinking we
ought to get 'em away--into the country--some quiet place like--say,
the--the 'Spotted Cow,' Bev."
"Yes, the 'Spotted Cow' should do very well; especially as Clemency--"
"Talking about the horses, Bev," said the Viscount, sitting up in
bed and speaking rather hurriedly, "I protest, since the rascally
attempt on 'Moonraker' last night, I've been on pins and needles,
positively,--nerve quite gone, y'know, Bev. If 'Moonraker' didn't
happen to be a horse, he'd be a mare,--of course he would,--but I
mean a nightmare. I've thought of him all day and dreamed of him all
night, oh, most cursed, y'know! Just ring for my fellow, will you,
Bev?--I'll get up, and we'll go round to the stables together."
"Quite unnecessary, Dick."
"Because I have just left there."
"Are the horses all right, Bev?"
"Ah!" sighed the Viscount, falling back among his pillows, "and
everything is quite quiet, eh?"
"Very quiet,--now, Dick."
"Eh?" cried the Viscount, coming erect again, "Bev, what d' you mean?"
"I mean that three men broke in again to-night--"
"Oh, Lord!" exclaimed the Viscount, beginning to scramble out of bed.
"But we drove them off before they had done--what they came for."
"Did you, Bev,--did you? ah,--but didn't you catch any of 'em?"
"No; but my horse did."
"Your horse? Oh, Beverley,--d'you mean he--"
"Killed him, Dick!"
Once more the Viscount sank back among his pillows and stared up at
the ceiling a while ere he spoke again--
"By the Lord, Bev," said he, at last, "the stable-boys might well
call him 'The Terror'!"
"Yes," said Barnabas, "he has earned his name, Dick."
"And the man was--dead, you say?"
"Hideously dead, Dick,--and in his pocket we found this!" and
Barnabas produced a dirty and crumpled piece of paper, and put it
into the Viscount's reluctant hand. "Look at it, Dick, and tell me
what it is."
"Why, Bev,--deuce take me, it's a plan of our stables! And they've
got it right, too! Here's 'Moonraker's' stall marked out as pat as
you please, and 'The Terror's,' but they've got his name wrong--"
"My horse had no name, Dick."
"But there's something written here."
"Yes, look at it carefully, Dick."
"Well, here's an H, and an E, and--looks like 'Hera,' Bev!"
"Yes, but it isn't. Look at that last letter again, Dick!"
"Why, I believe--by God, Bev,--it's an E!"
"Yes,--an E, Dick."
"'Here'!" said the Viscount, staring at the paper; "why, then--why,
Bev,--it was--your horse they were after!"
"My horse,--yes, Dick."
"But he's a rank outsider--he isn't even in the betting! In heaven's
name, why should any one--"
"Look on the other side of the paper, Dick."
Obediently, the Viscount turned the crumpled paper over, and
thereafter sat staring wide-eyed at a name scrawled thereon, and
from it to Barnabas and back again; for the name he saw was this:
RONALD BARRYMAINE ESQUIRE.
"And Dick," said Barnabas, "it is in Chichester's handwriting."
IN WHICH RONALD BARRYMAINE SPEAKS HIS MIND
The whiskers of Mr. Digby Smivvle were in a chastened mood, indeed
their habitual ferocity was mitigated to such a degree that they
might almost be said to wilt, or droop. Mr. Digby Smivvle drooped
likewise; in a word, Mr. Smivvle was despondent.
He sat in one of the rickety chairs, his legs stretched out to the
cheerless hearth, and stared moodily at the ashes of a long dead fire.
At the opening of the door he started and half rose, but seeing
Barnabas, sank back again.
"Beverley," he cried, "thank heaven you're safe back again--that is
to say--" he went on, striving to speak in his ordinary manner,
"that is to say,--I mean--ah--in short, my dear Beverley, I'm
delighted to see you!"
"Pray what do you mean by safe?"
"What do I mean?" repeated Mr. Smivvle, beginning to fumble for his
whisker with strangely clumsy fingers, "why, I mean--safe, sir,--a
very natural wish, surely?"
"Yes," said Barnabas, "and you wished to see me, I think?"
"To see you?" echoed Mr. Smivvle, still feeling for his whisker,--"why,
yes, of course--"
"At least, the Viscount told me so."
"Ah? Deuced obliging of the Viscount,--very!"
"Are you alone?" Barnabas inquired, struck by Mr. Smivvle's
hesitating manner, and he glanced toward the door of what was
evidently a bedroom.
"Alone, sir," said Mr. Smivvle, "is the precise and only word for it.
You have hit the nail exactly--upon the nob, sir." Here, having
found his whisker, Mr. Smivvle gave it a fierce wrench, loosed it,
and clenching his fist, smote himself two blows in the region of the
heart. "Sir," said he, "you behold in me a deserted and therefore
doleful ruminant chewing reflection's solitary cud. And, sir,--it is
a bitter cud, cursedly so,--wherein the milk of human kindness is
curdled, sir, curdled most damnably, my dear Beverley! In a word, my
friend Barry--wholly forgetful of those sacred bonds which the
hammer of Adversity alone can weld,--scorning Friendship's holy
obligations, has turned his back upon Smivvle,--upon Digby,--upon
faithful Dig, and--in short has--ah--hopped the mutual perch, sir."
"Do you mean he has left you?"
"Yes, sir. We had words this morning--a good many and, the end of it
was--he departed--for good, and all on your account!"
"And with a month's rent due, not to mention the Spanswick's wages,
and she has a tongue! 'Oh, Death, where is thy sting?'"
"But how on my account?"
"Sir, in a word, he resented my friendship for you. Sir, Barrymaine
is cursed proud, but so am I--as Lucifer! Sir, when the blood of a
Smivvle is once curdled, it's curdled most damnably, and the heart
of a Smivvle,--as all the world knows,--becomes a--an accursed flint,
sir." Here Mr. Smivvle shook his head and sighed again. "Though I
can't help wondering what the poor fellow will do without me at hand
to--ah--pop round the corner for him. By the way, do you happen to
remember if you fastened the front door securely?"
"I ask because the latch is faulty,--like most things about
here,--and in this delightful Garden of Hatton and the--ah--hot-beds
adjoining there are weeds, sir, of the rambling species which, given
opportunity--will ramble anywhere. Several of 'em--choice exotics,
too! have found their way up here lately,--one of 'em got in here
this very morning after Barrymaine had gone,--characteristic
specimen in a fur cap. But, as I was saying, you may have noticed
that Chichester is not altogether--friendly towards you?"
"Chichester?" said Barnabas. "Yes!"
"And it would almost seem that he's determined that Barrymaine
shall--be the same. Poor fellow's been very strange lately,--Gaunt's
been pressing him again worse than ever,--even threatened him with
the Marshalsea. Consequently, the flowing bowl has continually
brimmed--Chichester's doing, of course,--and he seems to consider
you his mortal enemy, and--in short, I think it only right to--put
you on your guard."
"You mean against--Chichester?"
"I mean against--Barrymaine!"
"Ah!" said Barnabas, chin in hand, "but why?"
"Well, you'll remember that the only time you met him he was
inclined to be--just a l-ee-tle--violent, perhaps?"
"When he attacked me with the bottle,--yes!" sighed Barnabas,
"but surely that was only because he was drunk?"
"Y-e-s, perhaps so," said Mr. Smivvle, fumbling for his whisker again,
"but this morning he--wasn't so drunk as usual."
"And yet he was more violent than ever--raved against you like a
"It was just after he had received another of Jasper Gaunt's
letters,--here it is!" and, stooping, Mr. Smivvle picked up a
crumpled paper that had lain among the ashes, and smoothing it out,
tendered it to Barnabas. "Read it, sir,--read it!" he said earnestly,
"it will explain matters, I think,--and much better than I can. Yes
indeed, read it, for it concerns you too!" So Barnabas took the letter,
and this is what he read:
DEAR MR. BARRYMAINE,--In reply to your favor, _re_ interest,
requesting more time, I take occasion once more to remind you that I
am no longer your creditor, being merely his agent, as Mr. Beverley
himself could, and will, doubtless, inform you.
I am, therefore, compelled to demand payment within thirty days
from date; otherwise the usual steps must be taken in lieu of same.
Now when Barnabas had read the letter a sudden fit of rage possessed
him, and, crumpling the paper in his fist, he dashed it down and set
his foot upon it.
"A lie!" he cried, "a foul, cowardly lie!"
"Then you--you didn't buy up the debt, Beverley?"
"No! no!--I couldn't,--Gaunt had sold already, and by heaven I
believe the real creditor is--"
"Ha!" cried Smivvle, pointing suddenly, "the door wasn't fastened,
Barnabas started, and glancing round, saw that the door was opening
very slowly, and inch by inch; then, as they watched its stealthy
movement, all at once a shaggy head slid into view, a round head,
with a face remarkably hirsute as to eyebrow and whisker, and
surmounted by a dingy fur cap.
"'Scuse me, gents!" said the head, speaking hoarsely, and rolling
its eyes at them, "name o' Barrymaine,--vich on ye might that be, now?"
"Ha?" cried Mr. Smivvle angrily, "so you're here again, are you!"
"'Scuse me, gents!" said the head, blinking its round eyes at them,
"name o' Barrymaine,--no offence,--vich?"
"Come," said Mr. Smivvle, beginning to tug at his whiskers,--
"come, get out,--d'ye hear!"
"But, axing your pardons, gents,--vich on ye might be--name o'
"What do you want with him--eh?" demanded Mr. Smivvle, his whiskers
growing momentarily more ferocious, "speak out, man!"
"Got a letter for 'im--leastways it's wrote to 'im," answered the
head, "'ere's a B, and a Nay, and a Nar, and another on 'em, and a
Vy,--that spells Barry, don't it? Then, arter that, comes a M., and
"Oh, all right,--give it me!" said Mr. Smivvle, rising.
"Are you name o' Barrymaine?"
"No, but you can leave it with me, and I--"
"Leave it?" repeated the head, in a slightly injured tone, "leave it?
axing your pardons, gents,--but burn my neck if I do! If you ain't
name o' Barrymaine v'y then--p'r'aps this is 'im a-coming upstairs
now,--and werry 'asty about it, too!" And, sure enough, hurried feet
were heard ascending; whereupon Mr. Smivvle uttered a startled
exclamation, and, motioning Barnabas to be seated in the dingiest
corner, strode quickly to the door, and thus came face to face with
Ronald Barrymaine upon the threshold.
"Why, Barry!" said he, standing so as to block Barrymaine's view of
the dingy corner, "so you've come back, then?"
"Come back, yes!" returned the other petulantly, "I had to,--mislaid
a letter, must have left it here, somewhere. Did you find it?"
"Axing your pardon, sir, but might you be name o' Barrymaine, no
offence, but might you?"
The shaggy head had slid quite into the room now, bringing after it
a short, thick-set person clad after the fashion of a bargeman.
"Yes; what do you want?"
"Might this 'ere be the letter as you come back for,--no offence,
but might it?"
"Yes! yes," cried Barrymaine, and, snatching it, he tore it fiercely
across and across, and made a gesture as if to fling the fragments
into the hearth, then thrust them into his pocket instead. "Here's a
shilling for you," said he, turning to the bargeman, "that is--Dig,
l-lend me a shilling, I--" Ronald Barrymaine's voice ended abruptly,
for he had caught sight of Barnabas sitting in the dingy corner, and
now, pushing past Smivvle, he stood staring, his handsome features
distorted with sudden fury, his teeth gleaming between his parted
"So it's--you, is it?" he demanded.
"Yes," said Barnabas, and stood up.
"So--you're--back again, are you?"
"Thank you, yes," said Barnabas, "and quite safe!"
"As yet," answered Barnabas.
"You aren't d-drunk, are you?"
"No," said Barnabas, "nor are you, for once."
Barrymaine clenched his fists and took a step towards Barnabas, but
spying the bargeman, who now lurched forward, turned upon him in a
"What the d-devil d' you want? Get out of the way, d' ye hear?--get
out, I say!"
"Axing your pardon, sir, an' meaning no offence, but summat was said
about a bob, sir--vun shilling!"
"Damnation! Give the fellow his s-shilling, Dig, and then k-kick him
Hereupon Mr. Smivvle, having felt through his pockets, slowly
produced the coin demanded, and handing it to the bargeman, pointed
to the door.
"No,--see him downstairs--into the street, Dig. And you needn't
hurry back, I'm going to speak my mind to this f-fellow--once and
for all! So l-lock the street door, Dig."
Mr. Smivvle hesitated, glanced at Barnabas, shrugged his shoulders
and followed the bargeman out of the room. As the door closed,
Barrymaine sprang to it, and, turning the key, faced Barnabas with
arms folded, head lowered, and a smile upon his lips:
"Now," said he, "you are going to listen to me--d'you hear? We are
going to understand each other before you leave this room! D'you see?"
"Yes," said Barnabas.
"Oh!" he cried bitterly, "I know the sort of c-crawling thing you are,
Gaunt has warned me--"
"Gaunt is a liar!" said Barnabas.
"I say,--he's told me,--are you listening? Y-you think, because
you've bought my debts, you've bought me, too, body and soul,
and--through me--Cleone! Ah, but you haven't,--before that happens
y-you'll be dead and rotting--and I, and she as well. Are you
listening?--she as well! You think you've g-got me--there beneath
your foot--b-but you haven't, no, by God, you haven't--"
"I tell you Gaunt is a liar!" repeated Barnabas. "I couldn't buy
your debts because he had sold them already. Come with me, and I'll
prove it,--come and let me face him with the truth--"
"The truth? You? Oh, I might have guessed you'd come creeping round
here to see S-Smivvle behind my back--as you do my sister--"
"Sir!" said Barnabas, flushing.
"What--do you dare deny it? Do you d-dare deny that you have met
her--by stealth,--do you? do you? Oh, I know of your secret meetings
with her. I know how you have imposed upon the credulity of a
weak-minded old woman and a one-armed d-dotard sufficiently to get
yourself invited to Hawkhurst. But I tell you this shall stop,--it
shall! Yes, by God,--you shall give me your promise to c-cease your
persecution of my sister before you leave this room, or--"
"Or?" said Barnabas.
"Or it will be the w-worse for you!"
"I--I'll k-kill you!"
"It's no m-murder to kill your sort!"
"Then it _is_ a pistol you have in your pocket, there?"
"Yes--l-look at it!" And, speaking, Barrymaine drew and levelled the
weapon with practised hand. "Now listen!" said he. "You will s-sit
down at that table there, and write Gaunt to g-give me all the time
I need for your c-cursed interest--"
"But I tell you--"
"Liar!" cried Barrymaine, advancing a threatening step. "Liar,--I
know! Then, after you've done that,--you will swear never to see or
c-communicate with my sister again, or I'll shoot you dead where you
stand,--s-so help me God!"
"You are mad," said Barnabas, "I am not your creditor, and--"
"Liar! I know!" repeated Barrymaine.
"And yet," said Barnabas, fronting him, white-faced, across the table,
"I think--I'm sure, there are four things you don't know. The first
is that Lady Cleone has promised to marry me--some day--"
"Go on to the next, liar!"
"The second is that my stables were broken into again, this
morning,--the third is that my horse killed the man who was trying
to hamstring him,--and the fourth is that in the dead man's pocket
I found--this!" And Barnabas produced that crumpled piece of paper
whereon was drawn the plan of the stables.
Now, at the sight of this paper, Barrymaine fell back a step, his
pistol-hand wavered, fell to his side, and sinking into a chair, he
seemed to shrink into himself as he stared dully at a worn patch in
"Only one beside myself knows of this," said Barnabas.
"Well?" The word seemed wrung from Barrymaine's quivering lips. He
lay back in the rickety chair, his arms dangling, his chin upon his
breast, never lifting his haggard eyes, and, almost as he spoke, the
pistol slipped from his lax fingers and lay all unheeded.
"Not another soul shall ever know," said Barnabas earnestly,
"the world shall be none the wiser if you will promise to stop,--now,
--to free yourself from Chichester's influence, now,--to let me help
you to redeem the past. Promise me this, and I, as your friend, will
tear up this damning evidence--here and now."
Barnabas sighed, and folding up the crumpled paper, thrust it back
into his pocket.
"You shall have--a week, to make up your mind. You know my address,
I think,--at least, Mr. Smivvle does." So saying, Barnabas stepped
towards the door, but, seeing the look on Barrymaine's face, he
stooped very suddenly, and picked up the pistol. Then he unlocked
the door and went out, closing it behind him. Upon the dark stairs
he encountered Mr. Smivvle, who had been sitting there making
nervous havoc of his whiskers.
"Gad, Beverley!" he exclaimed, "I ought not to have left you alone
with him,--deuce of a state about it, 'pon my honor. But what could
I do,--as I sat here listening to you both I was afraid."
"So was I," said Barnabas. "But he will be quiet now, I think. Here
is one of his pistols, you'd better hide it. And--forget your
differences with him, for if ever a man needed a friend, he does. As
for your rent, don't worry about that, I'll send it round to you
this evening. Good-by."
So Barnabas went on down the dark stairs, and being come to the door
with the faulty latch, let himself out into the dingy street, and
thus came face to face with the man in the fur cap.
"Lord, Mr. Barty, sir," said that worthy, glancing up and down the
street with a pair of mild, round eyes, "you can burn my neck if I
wasn't beginning to vorry about you, up theer all alone vith that
'ere child o' mine. For, sir, of all the Capital coves as ever I see,
--'e's vun o' the werry capital-est."
WHICH TELLS HOW AND WHY MR. SHRIG'S CASE WAS SPOILED
"Why," exclaimed Barnabas, starting, "is that you, Mr. Shrig?"
"As ever vas, sir. I ain't partial to disguises as a rule, but
circumstances obleeges me to it now and then," sighed Mr. Shrig as
they turned into Hatton Garden. "Ye see, I've been keeping a eye--or
as you might say, a fatherly ogle on vun o' my fambly, vich is the
v'y and the v'erefore o' these 'ere v'iskers. Yesterday, I vas a
market gerdener, vith a basket o' fine wegetables as nobody 'ad
ordered,--the day afore, a sailor-man out o' furrin parts, as
vos a-seeking and a-searchin' for a gray-'eaded feyther as didn't
exist,--to-day I'm a riverside cove as 'ad found a letter--a letter
as I'd stole--"
"Stolen!" repeated Barnabas.
"Vell, let's say borreyed, sir,--borreyed for purposes o' obserwation,
--out o' young Barrymaine's pocket, and werry neatly I done it too!"
Here Mr. Shrig chuckled softly, checked himself suddenly, and shook
his placid head. "But life ain't all lavender, sir,--not by no
manner o' means, it ain't," said he dolefully. "Things is werry
slack vith me,--nothing in the murder line this veek, and only vun
sooicide, a couple o' 'ighvay robberies, and a 'sault and battery!
You can scrag me if I know v'ot things is coming to. And then, to
make it vorse, I 've jest 'ad a loss as vell."
"I'm sorry for that, Mr. Shrig, but--"
"A loss, sir, as I shan't get over in a 'urry. You'll remember
V'istlin' Dick, p'r'aps,--the leary, flash cove as you give such a
leveller to, the first time as ever I clapped my day-lights on ye?"
"Yes, I remember him."
"Veil sir,' e's been and took, and gone, and got 'isself kicked to
death by an 'orse!"
"Eh,--a horse?" exclaimed Barnabas, starting.
"An 'orse, sir, yes. Vich I means to say is coming it a bit low down
on _me_, sir,--sich conduct ain't 'ardly fair, for V'istlin' Dick
vos a werry promising cove as Capitals go. And now to see 'im cut
off afore 'is time, and in such a outrageous, onnat'ral manner,
touches me up, Mr. Barty, sir,--touches me up werry sharp it do! For
arter all, a nice, strong gibbet vith a good long drop is qvicker,
neater, and much more pleasant than an 'orse's 'oof,--now ain't it?
Still," said Mr. Shrig, sighing and shaking his head again,
"things is allus blackest afore the dawn, sir, and--'twixt you and
me,--I'm 'oping to bring off a nice little murder case afore long--"
"Veil--let's say--expecting, sir. Quite a bang up affair it'll be
too,--nobs, all on 'em, and there's three on 'em concerned. I'll call
the murderer Number Vun, Number Two is the accessory afore the fact,
and Number Three is the unfort'nate wictim. Now sir, from private
obserwation, the deed is doo to be brought off any time in the next
three veeks, and as soon as it's done, v'y then I lays my right 'and
on Number Vun, and my left 'and on Number Two, and--"
"But--what about Number Three?" inquired Barnabas.
Mr. Shrig paused, glanced at Barnabas, and scratched his ear,
"V'y sir," said he at last, "Number Three vill be a corp."
"A what?" said Barnabas.
"A corp, sir--a stiff--"
"Do you mean--dead?"
"Ah,--I mean werry much so!" nodded Mr. Shrig.
"Number Three vill be stone cold,--somev'eres in the country it'll
'appen, I fancy,--say in a vood! And the leaves'll keep a-fluttering
over 'im, and the birds'll keep a-singing to 'im,--oh, Number
Three'll be comfortable enough,--'e von't 'ave to vorry about
nothink no more, it'll be Number Vun and Number Two as'll do the
vorrying, and me--till I gets my 'ooks on 'em, and then--"
"But," said Barnabas earnestly, "why not try to prevent it?"
"Prewent it, sir?" said Mr. Shrig, in a tone of pained surprise.
"Prewent it? Lord, Mr. Barty, sir--then vere vould my murder case be?
Besides, I ain't so onprofessional as to step in afore my time.
Prewent it? No, sir. My dooty is to apprehend a man _arter_ the crime,
not afore it."
"But surely you don't mean to allow this unfortunate person to be
done to death?"
"Sir," said Mr. Shrig, beginning to finger his ear again, "unfort'nate
wictims is born to be--vell, let's say--unfort'nate. You can't 'elp
'em being born wictims. I can't 'elp it,--nobody can't, for natur'
vill 'ave 'er own vay, sir, and I ain't vun to go agin natur' nor
yet to spile a good case,--good cases is few enough. Oh, life ain't
all lavender, as I said afore,--burn my neck if it is!" And here
Mr. Shrig shook his head again, sighed again, and walked on in a
somewhat gloomy silence.
Now, all at once, as they turned into the rush and roar of Holborn,
Barnabas espied a face amid the hurrying throng; a face whose proud,
dark beauty there was no mistaking despite its added look of sorrow;
and a figure whose ripe loveliness the threadbare cloak could not
disguise. For a moment her eyes looked up into his, dark and
suddenly wide,--then, quick and light of foot, she was gone, lost in
the bustling crowd.
But, even so, Barnabas turned and followed, striding on and on until
at length he saw again the flutter of the threadbare cloak. And,
because of its shabbiness, he frowned and hastened his steps, and
because of the look he had read in her eyes, he paused again, yet
followed doggedly nevertheless. She led him down Holborn Hill past
the Fleet Market, over Blackfriars Bridge, and so, turning sharp to
the right, along a somewhat narrow and very grimy street between
rows of dirty, tumble-down houses, with, upon the right hand,
numerous narrow courts and alley-ways that gave upon the turgid river.
Down one of these alleys the fluttering cloak turned suddenly, yet
when Barnabas reached the corner, behold the alley was quite deserted,
save for a small and pallid urchin who sat upon a rotting stump,
staring at the river, with a pallid infant in his arms.
"Which way did the lady go?" inquired Barnabas.
"Lady?" said the urchin, staring.
"Yes. She wore a cloak,--a gray cloak. Where did she go?" and
Barnabas held up a shilling. Instantly the urchin rose and, swinging
the pallid infant to his ragged hip, pattered over the cobbles with
his bare feet, and with one small, dirty claw extended.
"A bob!" he cried in a shrill, cracked voice, "gimme it, sir! Yus,
--yus,--I'll tell ye. She's wiv Nick--lives dere, she do. Now gimme
th' bob,--she's in dere!" And he pointed to a narrow door at the
further end of the alley. So Barnabas gave the shilling into the
eager clutching fingers, and approaching the door, knocked upon the
rotting timbers with the head of his cane.
"Come in!" roared a mighty voice. Hereupon Barnabas pushed open the
crazy door, and descending three steps, found himself in a small,
dark room, full of the smell of leather. And here, its solitary
inmate, was a very small man crouched above a last, with a hammer in
his hand and an open book before him. His head was bald save for a
few white hairs that stood up, fiercely erect, and upon his short,
pugnacious nose he wore a pair of huge, horn-rimmed spectacles.
"What's for you, sir?" he demanded in the same great, fierce voice,
viewing Barnabas over his spectacles with sharp, bright eyes.
"If it's a pair o' Hessians you'll be wanting--"
"It isn't," said Barnabas, "I--"
"Or a fine pair o' dancing shoes--?"
"No, thank you, I want to--"
"Or a smart pair o' bang up riding-jacks--?"
"No," said Barnabas again, "I came here to see--"
"You can't 'ave 'em! And because why?" demanded the little man, his
fierce eyes growing fiercer as he stared at Barnabas from modish hat
to flowered waistcoat, "because I don't make for the Quality.
Quality--bah! If I 'ad my way, I'd gillertine 'em all,--ah, that I
would! Like the Frenchies did when they revolutioned. I'd cut off
their 'eads! By the dozen! With j'y!"
"You are Nick, the Cobbler, I think?"
"And what if I am? I'd chop off their 'eads, I tell ye,--with j'y
"And pray where is Clemency?"
"Eh?" exclaimed the little cobbler, pushing up his horn spectacles,
"'oo did ye say?"
"Where is the lady who came in here a moment ago?"
"Lady?" said the cobbler, shaking his round, bald head, "Lord, sir,
your heyes 'as been a-deceiving of you!"
"I am--her friend!"
"Friend!" exclaimed the cobbler, "to which I says--Hookey Walker, sir!
'Andsome gells don't want friends o' your kind. Besides, she ain't
here--you can see that for yourself. Your heyes 'as been a-deceiving
of you,--try next door."
"But I must see her," said Barnabas, "I wish to help her,--I have
good news for her--"
"Noos?" said the cobbler, "Oh? Ah! Well go and tell your noos to
someone else as ain't so 'andsome,--Mrs. Snummitt, say, as lives
next door,--a widder,--respectable, but with only one heye,--try
"Ah,--perhaps she's in the room yonder," said Barnabas, "anyhow, I
mean to see--"
"No ye don't!" cried the little cobbler, seizing a crutch that leant
near him, and springing up with astonishing agility, "no ye don't,
my fine gentleman,--she ain't for you,--not while I'm 'ere to
protect her!" and snatching up a long awl, he flourished it above
his head. "I'm a cobbler, oh yes,--but then I'm a valiant cobbler,
as valiant as Sir Bedevere, or Sir Lancelot, or any of 'em,--every
bit,--come and try me!" and he made a pass in the air with the awl
as though it had been a two-edged sword. But, at this moment, the
door of the inner room was pushed open and Clemency appeared. She
had laid aside her threadbare cloak, and Barnabas was struck afresh
by her proud, dark loveliness.
"You good, brave Nick!" said she, laying her hand upon the little
cripple's bent shoulder, "but we can trust this gentleman, I know."
"Trust him!" repeated the cobbler, peering at Barnahas, more
particularly at his feet, "why, your boots _is_ trustworthy--now I
come to look at 'em, sir,"
"Boots?" said Barnabas.
"Ah," nodded the cobbler, "a man wears his character into 'is boots
a sight quicker than 'e does into 'is face,--and I can read boots
and shoes easier than I can print,--and that's saying summat, for I'm
a great reader, I am. Why didn't ye show me your boots at first
and have done with it?" saying which the cobbler snorted and sat down;
then, having apparently swallowed a handful of nails, he began to
hammer away lustily, while Barnabas followed Clemency into the inner
room, and, being there, they stood for a long moment looking on each
other in silence.
And now Barnabas saw that, with her apron and mobcap, the country
serving-maid had vanished quite. In her stead was a noble woman,
proud and stately, whose clear, sad eyes returned his gaze with a
gentle dignity; Clemency indeed was gone, but Beatrix had come to
life. Yet, when he spoke, Barnabas used the name he had known her by
"Clemency," said he, "your father is seeking for you."
"My--father!" she exclaimed, speaking in a whisper. "You have
seen--my father? You know him?"
"Yes. I met him--not long ago. His name is Ralph Darville, he told me,
and he goes up and down the countryside searching for you--has done
so, ever since he lost you, and he preaches always Forgiveness and
Forgetfulness of Self!"
"My father!" she whispered again with quivering lips. "Preaching?"
"He tramps the roads hoping to find you, Clemency, and he preaches
at country wakes and fairs because, he told me, he was once a very
selfish man, and unforgiving."
"And--oh, you have seen him, you say,--lately?" she cried.
"Yes. And I sent him to Frittenden--to the 'Spotted Cow.' But
Clemency, he was just a day too late."
Now when Barnabas said this, Clemency uttered a broken cry, and
covered her face.
"Oh, father!" she whispered, "if I had only known,--if I could but
have guessed! Oh, father! father!"
"Clemency, why did you run away?"
"Because I--I was afraid!"
"No!" she cried in sudden scorn, "him I only--hate!"
"Then--whom did you fear?"
Clemency was silent, but, all at once, Barnabas saw a burning flush
that crept up, over rounded throat and drooping face, until it was
lost in the dark shadow of her hair.
"Was it--the Viscount?" Barnabas demanded suddenly.
"No--no, I--I think it was--myself. Oh, I--I am very wretched
and--lonely!" she sobbed, "I want--my father!"
"And he shall be found," said Barnabas, "I promise you! But, until
then, will you trust me, Clemency, as--as a sister might trust her
brother? Will you let me take you from this dreary place,--will you,
Clemency? I--I'll buy you a house--I mean a--a cottage--in the
country--or anywhere you wish."
"Oh, Mr. Beverley!" she sighed, looking up at him with tear-dimmed
eyes, but with the ghost of a smile hovering round her scarlet lips,
"I thank you,--indeed, indeed I do, but how can I? How may I?"
"Quite easily," said Barnabas stoutly, "oh quite--until I bring your
father to you."
"Dear, dear father!" she sighed. "Is he much changed, I wonder? Is
he well,--quite well?"
"Yes, he is very well," answered Barnabas, "but you--indeed you
cannot stay here--"
"I must," she answered. "I can earn enough for my needs with my
needle, and poor little Nick is very kind--so gentle and considerate
in spite of his great, rough voice and fierce ways. I think he is
the gentlest little man in all the world. He actually refused to
take my money at first, until I threatened to go somewhere else."
"But how did you find your way to--such a place as this?"
"Milo brought me here."
"The Viscount's little imp of a groom?"
"Yes, though he promised never to tell--_him_ where I was, and Milo
always keeps his word. And you, Mr. Beverley, you will promise also,
"You mean--never to tell the Viscount of your whereabouts?"
"Yes," said Barnabas, "I will promise, but--on condition that you
henceforth will regard me as a brother. That you will allow me the
privilege of helping you whenever I may, and will always turn to me
in your need. Will you promise me this, Clemency?" And Barnabas held
out his hand.
"Yes," she answered, smiling up into his earnest eyes, "I think I
shall be--proud to--have you for a brother." And she put her hand
"Ah! so you're a-going, are ye?" demanded the cobbler, disgorging
the last of the nails as Barnabas stepped into the dark little shop.
"Yes," said Barnabas, "and, if you think my boots sufficiently
trustworthy, I should like to shake your hand."
"Eh?" exclaimed the cobbler, "shake 'ands with old Nick, sir? But
you're one o' the Quality, and I 'ates the Quality--chop off their
'eads if I 'ad my way, I would! and my 'and's very dirty--jest
let me wipe it a bit,--there sir, if you wish to! and 'ere's
'oping to see you again. Though, mark you, the Frenchies was quite
right,--there's nothing like the gillertine, I say. Good arternoon, sir."
Then Barnabas went out into the narrow, grimy alley, and closed the
crazy door behind him. But he had not gone a dozen yards when he
heard Clemency calling his name, and hastened back.
"Mr. Beverley," said she, "I want to ask you--something else--about
"Yes," said Barnabas, as she hesitated.
"Does he think I am--does he know that--though I ran away with--a
beast, I--ran away--from him, also,--does he know--?"
"He knows you for the sweet, pure woman you are," said Barnabas as
she fell silent again, "he knows the truth, and lives but to find
you again--my sister!" Now, when he said this, Barnabas saw within
her tearful eyes the light of a joy unutterable; so he bared his head
and, turning about, strode quickly away up the alley.
Being come into the narrow, dingy street, he suddenly espied Mr. Shrig
who leaned against a convenient post and stared with round eyes at
the tumble-down houses opposite, while upon his usually placid brow
he wore a frown of deep perplexity.
"So you followed me?" exclaimed Barnabas.
"V'y, sir, since you mention it,--I did take that 'ere liberty. This
is a werry on-savory neighborhood at most times, an' the air's werry
bad for--fob-seals, say,--and cravat-sparklers at all times. Sich
things 'as a 'abit o' wanishing theirselves avay." Having said which,
Mr. Shrig walked on beside Barnabas as one who profoundly meditates,
for his brow was yet furrowed deep with thought.
"Why so silent, Mr. Shrig?" inquired Barnabas as they crossed
"Because I'm vorking out a problem, sir. For some time I've been
trying to add two and two together, and now I'm droring my
conclusions. So you know Old Nick the cobbler, do you, sir?"
"I didn't--an hour ago."
"Sir, when you vos in his shop, I took the liberty o' peeping in at
"And I seen that theer 'andsome gal."
"Oh, did you?"
"I likewise 'eered her call your name--Beverley, I think?"
"Beverley!" repeated Mr. Shrig.
"But your name's--Barty!"
"True, but in London I'm known as Beverley, Mr. Shrig."
"Not--not--_the_ Beverley? Not the bang up Corinthian? Not the
Beverley as is to ride in the steeplechase?"
"Yes," said Barnabas, "the very same,--why?"
"Now--dang me for a ass!" exclaimed Mr. Shrig, and, snatching off
the fur cap, he dashed it to the ground, stooped, picked it up, and
crammed it back upon his head,--all in a moment.
"Why--what's the matter?"
"Matter!" said Mr. Shrig, "matter, sir? Veil, vot vith your qviet,
innocent looks and vays, and vot vith me a-adding two and two
together and werry carefully making 'em--three, my case is
spiled--won't come off,--can't come off,--mustn't come off!"
"What in the world do you mean?"
"Mean, sir? I mean as, if Number Vun is the murderer, and Number Two
is the accessory afore the fact,--then Number Three--the unfort'nate
wictim is--vait a bit!" Here, pausing in a quiet corner of Fleet
Market, Mr. Shrig dived into his breast and fetched up his little
book. "Sir," said he, turning over its pages with a questing finger,
"v'en I borreyed that theer letter out o' young B.'s pocket, I made
so free as to take a copy of it into my little reader,--'ere it is,
--jest take a peep at it."
Then, looking where he pointed, Barnabas read these words, very
neatly set down:
MY DEAR BARRYMAINE,--I rather suspect Beverley will not ride in the
race on the Fifteenth. Just now he is at Hawkhurst visiting Cleone!
He is with--your sister! If you are still in the same mind about a
certain project, no place were better suited. If you are still set
on trying for him, and I know how determined you are where your honor,
or Cleone's, is concerned, the country is the place for it, and I
will go with you, though I am convinced he is no fighter, and will
refuse to meet you, on one pretext or another. However, you may as
well bring your pistols,--mine are at the gun-smith's.--Yours always,
"So you see, sir," sighed Mr. Shrig, as he put away the little book,
"my case is spiled,--can't come off,--mustn't come off! For if young
B. is Number Vun, the murderer, and C. is Number Two, the accessory
afore the fact, v'y then Number Three, the unfort'nate wictim is--you,
sir,--you! And you--" said Mr. Shrig, sighing deeper than ever,
"you 'appen to be my pal!"
OF A BREAKFAST, A ROMAN PARENT, AND A KISS
Bright rose the sun upon the "White Hart" tavern that stands within
Eltham village, softening its rugged lines, gilding its lattices,
lending its ancient timbers a mellower hue.
This inn of the "White Hart" is an ancient structure and very
unpretentious (as great age often is), and being so very old, it has
known full many a golden dawn. But surely never, in all its length
of days, had it experienced quite such a morning as this. All night
long there had been a strange hum upon the air, and now, early though
the hour, Eltham village was awake and full of an unusual bustle and
excitement. And the air still hummed, but louder now, a confused
sound made up of the tramp of horse-hoofs, the rumble of wheels, the
tread of feet and the murmur of voices. From north and south, from
east and west, a great company was gathering, a motley throng of
rich and poor, old and young: they came by high road and by-road, by
lane and footpath, from sleepy village and noisy town,--but, one and
all, with their faces set towards the ancient village of Eltham.
For to-day is the fateful fifteenth of July; to-day the great
Steeplechase is to be run--seven good miles across country from point
to point; to-day the very vexed and all-important question as to
which horse out of twenty-three can jump and gallop the fastest over
divers awkward obstacles is to be settled once and for all.
Up rose the sun higher and higher, chasing the morning mists from
dell and dingle, filling the earth with his glory and making glad
the heart of man, and beast, and bird.
And presently, from a certain casement in the gable of the "White
Hart," his curls still wet with his ablutions, Barnabas thrust his
touzled head to cast an anxious glance first up at the cloudless
blue of the sky, then down at the tender green of the world about,
and to breathe in the sweet, cool freshness of the morning. But
longest and very wistfully he gazed to where, marked out by small
flags, was a track that led over field, and meadow, and winding
stream, over brown earth newly turned by the plough, over hedge, and
ditch, and fence, away to the hazy distance. And, as he looked, his
eye brightened, his fingers clenched themselves and he frowned, yet
smiled thereafter, and unfolding a letter he held, read as follows:
OUR DEAR LAD,--Yours received, and we are rejoyced to know you so
successful so far. Yet be not over confident, says your father, and
bids me remind you as a sow's ear ain't a silk purse, Barnabas, nor
ever can be. Your description of horse reads well, though brief. But
as to the Rayce, Barnabas, though you be a rider born, yet having
ridden a many rayces in my day, I now offer you, my dear lad, a word
of advice. In a rayce a man must think as quick as he sees, and act
as quick as he thinks, and must have a nice judgment of payce. Now
here comes my word of advice.
1. Remember that many riders beat themselves by over-eagerness.
Well--let 'em, Barnabas.
2. Don't rush your fences, give your mount time, and steady him
about twenty yards from the jump.
3. Remember that a balking horse generally swerves to the left,
4. Keep your eye open for the best take-offs and landings.
5. Gauge your payce, save your horse for raycing at finish.
6. Remember it's the last half-mile as counts, Barnabas.
7. So keep your spurs till they 're needed, my lad.
A rayce, Barnabas lad, is very like a fight, after all. Given a good
horse it's the man with judgment and cool head as generally wins. So,
Barnabas, keep your temper. This is all I have to say, or your father,
only that no matter how near you come to turning yourself into a
fine gentleman, we have faith as it won't spoil you, and that you
may come a-walking into the old 'Hound' one of these days just the
same dear Barnabas as we shall always love and remember.
Now, as he conned over these words of Natty Bell, a hand was laid
upon his shoulder, and, glancing round, he beheld the Viscount in
all the bravery of scarlet hunting frock, of snowy buckskins and
spurred boots, a little paler than usual, perhaps, but as gallant a
figure as need be.
"What, Bev!" he exclaimed, "not dressed yet?"
"Why I've only just woke up, Dick!"
"Woke up! D' you mean to say you've actually--been asleep?" demanded
the Viscount reproachfully. "Gad! what a devilish cold-blooded fish
you are, Bev! Haven't closed a peeper all night, myself. Couldn't,
y' know, what with one deuced thing or another. So I got up, hours
ago, went and looked at the horses. Found your man Martin on guard
with a loaded pistol in each pocket, y' know,--deuced trustworthy
fellow. The horses couldn't look better, Bev. Egad! I believe they
know to-day is--the day! There's your 'Terror' pawing and fidgeting,
and 'Moonraker' stamping and quivering--"
"But how is your arm, Dick?"
"Arm?" said the Viscount innocently. "Oh,--ah, to be sure,--thanks,
couldn't be better, considering."
"Are you--quite sure?" persisted Barnabas, aware of the Viscount's
haggard cheek and feverish eye.
"Quite, Bev, quite,--behold! feel!" and doubling his fist, he smote
Barnabas a playful blow in the ribs. "Oh, my dear fellow, it's
going to be a grand race though,--ding-dong to the finish! And it's
dry, thank heaven, for 'Moonraker''s no mud-horse. But I shall be
glad when we line up for the start, Bev."
"In about--four hours, Dick."
"Yes! Devilish long time till eleven o'clock!" sighed the Viscount,
seating himself upon the bed and swinging his spurred heels
petulantly to and fro. "And I hate to be kept waiting, Bev--egad, I
"Viscount, do you love the Lady Cleone?"
"Eh? Who? Love? Now deuce take it, Beverley, how sudden you are!"
"Do you love her, Dick?"
"Love her--of course, yes--aren't we rivals? Love her, certainly, oh
yes--ask my Roman parent!" And the Viscount frowned blackly, and ran
his fingers through his hair.
"Why then," said Barnabas, "since you--honor me with your friendship,
I feel constrained to tell you that she has given me to--to
understand she will--marry me--some day."
"Eh? Oh! Marry you? The devil! Oh, has she though!" and hereupon the
Viscount stared, whistled, and, in that moment, Barnabas saw that
his frown had vanished.
"Will you--congratulate me, Dick?"
"My dear fellow," cried the Viscount, springing up, "with all my
"Dick," said Barnabas, as their hands met, "would you give me your
hand as readily had it been--Clemency?"
Now here the Viscount's usually direct gaze wavered and fell, while
his pallid cheek flushed a dull red. He did not answer at once, but
his sudden frown was eloquent.
"Egad, Bev, I--since you ask me--I don't think I should."
"Oh well, I suppose--you see--oh, I'll be shot if I know!"
"You--don't love her, do you, Dick?"
"Clemency? Of course not--that is--suppose I do--what then?"
"Why then she'd make a very handsome Viscountess, Dick."
"Beverley," said the Viscount, staring wide-eyed, "are you mad?"
"No," Barnabas retorted, "but I take you to be an honorable man, my
The Viscount sprang to his feet, clenched his fists, then took two
or three turns across the room.
"Sir," said he, in his iciest tones, "you presume too much on my
"My Lord," said Barnabas, "with your good leave I'll ring for my
servant." Which he did, forthwith.
"Sir," said the Viscount, pale and stern, and with folded arms,
"your remark was, I consider, a direct reflection upon my honor."
"My Lord," answered Barnabas, struggling with his breeches,
"your honor is surely your friend's, also?"
"Sir," said the Viscount, with arms still folded, and sitting very
upright on the bed, "were I to--call you out for that remark I
should be only within my rights."
"My Lord," answered Barnabas, struggling with his shirt, "were you
to call from now till doomsday--I shouldn't come."
"Then, sir," said the Viscount, cold and sneering, "a whip,
perhaps,--or a cane might--"
But at this juncture, with a discreet knock, Peterby entered, and,
having bowed to the scowling Viscount, proceeded to invest Barnabas
with polished boots, waistcoat and scarlet coat, and to tie his
voluminous cravat, all with that deftness, that swift and silent
dexterity which helped to make him the marvel he was.
"Sir," said he, when Barnabas stood equipped from head to foot,
"Captain Slingsby's groom called to say that his master and the
Marquis of Jerningham are expecting you and Viscount Devenham to
breakfast at 'The Chequers'--a little higher up the street, sir.
Breakfast is ordered for eight o'clock."
"Thank you, Peterby," said Barnabas, and, bowing to the Viscount,
followed him from the room and downstairs, out into the dewy
freshness of the morning. To avoid the crowded street they went by a
field-path behind the inn, a path which to-day was beset by, and
wound between, booths and stalls and carts of all sorts. And here
was gathered a motley crowd; bespangled tumblers and acrobats,
dark-browed gipsy fortune-tellers and horse-coupers, thimble-riggers,
showmen, itinerant musicians,--all those nomads who are to be found
on every race-course, fair, and village green, when the world goes
a-holiday making. Through all this bustling throng went our two
young gentlemen, each remarkably stiff and upright as to back, and
each excessively polite, yet walking, for the most part, in a
dignified silence, until, having left the crowd behind, Barnabas
paused suddenly in the shade of a deserted caravan, and turned to his
"Dick!" said he smiling, and with hand outstretched.
"Sir?" said the Viscount, frowning and with eyes averted.
"My Lord," said Barnabas, bowing profoundly, "if I have offended
your Lordship--I am sorry, but--"
"But your continued resentment for a fancied wrong is so much
stronger than your avowed friendship for me, it would seem--that
With a warning cry the Viscount sprang forward and, turning in a
flash, Barnabas saw a heavy bludgeon in the air above him; saw the
Viscount meet it with up-flung arm; heard the thud of the blow, a
snarling curse; saw a figure dart away and vanish among the jungle
of carts; saw the Viscount stagger against the caravan and lean there,
his pale face convulsed with pain.
"Oh, Bev," he groaned, "my game arm, ye know. Hold me up, I--"
"Dick!" cried Barnabas, supporting the Viscount's writhing figure,
"oh, Dick--it was meant for me! Are you much hurt?"
"No--nothing to--mention, my dear fellow. Comes a bit--sharp at first,
y' know,--better in a minute or two."
"Dick--Dick, what can I do for you?"
"Nothing,--don't worry, Bev,--right as ninepence in a minute, y' know!"
stammered the Viscount, trying to steady his twitching mouth.
"Come back," pleaded Barnabas, "come back and let me bathe it--have
it attended to."
"Bathe it? Pooh!" said the Viscount, contriving to smile, "pain's
quite gone, I assure you, my dear fellow. I shall be all right now,
if--if you don't mind giving me your arm. Egad, Bev, some one seems
devilish determined you shan't ride to-day!"
"But I shall--now, thanks to you, Dick!"
So they presently walked on together, but no longer unnaturally
stiff as to back, for arm was locked in arm, and they forgot to be
polite to each other.
Thus, in a while, they reached the "Chequers" inn, and were
immediately shown into a comfortable sanded parlor where breakfast
was preparing. And here behold Captain Slingsby lounging upon two
chairs and very busily casting up his betting book, while the Marquis,
by the aid of a small, cracked mirror, that chanced to hang against
the wall, was frowning at his reflection and pulling at the folds of
a most elaborate cravat with petulant fingers.
"Ah, Beverley--here's the dooce of a go!" he exclaimed, "that fool
of a fellow of mine has actually sent me out to ride in a 'Trone
d'Amour' cravat, and I've only just discovered it! The rascal knows
I always take the field in an 'Osbaldistone' or 'Waterfall.' Now how
the dooce can I be expected to ride in a thing like this! Most
distressing, by Jove it is!"
"Eight thousand guineas!" said the Captain, yawning. "Steepish, b'gad,
steepish! Eight thousand at ten to one--hum! Now, if Fortune should
happen to smile on me to-day--by mistake, of course--still, if she
does, I shall clear enough to win free of Gaunt's claws for good and
"Then I shall be devilish sorry to have to beat you, Sling, my boy!"
drawled the Marquis, "yes, doocid sorry,--still--"
"Eh--what? Beat the 'Rascal,' Jerny? Not on your weedy 'Clinker,'
"Oh, but dooce take me, Sling, you'd never say the 'Rascal' was the
better horse? Why, in the first place, there's too much daylight
under him for your weight--besides--"
"But, my dear Jerny, you must admit that your 'Clinker' 's inclined
to be just--a le-e-etle cow-hocked, come now, b'gad?"
"And then--as I've often remarked, my dear Sling, the 'Rascal' is
too long in the pasterns, not to mention--"
"B'gad! give me a horse with good bellows,--round, d' ye see, well
"My dear Sling, if you could manage to get your 'Rascal' four new
legs, deeper shoulders, and, say, fuller haunches, he might possibly
stand a chance. As it is, Sling, my boy, I commiserate you--but hallo!
Devenham, what's wrong? You look a little off color."
"Well, for one thing, I want my breakfast," answered the Viscount.
"So do I!" cried the Captain, springing to his feet, "but, b'gad,
Dick, you do look a bit palish round the gills, y' know."
"Effect of hunger and a bad night, perhaps."
"Had a bad night, hey, Dick? Why, so did I," said the Captain,
frowning. "Dreamed that the 'Rascal' fell and broke his neck, poor
devil, and that I was running like the wind--jumping hedges and
ditches with Jasper Gaunt close at my heels--oh, cursed unpleasant,
y'know! What--is breakfast ready? Then let's sit down, b'gad, I'm
So down they sat forthwith and, despite the Viscount's arm, and the
Marquis of Jerningham's cravat, a very hearty and merry meal they
made of it.
But lo! as they prepared to rise from the table, voices were heard
beyond the door, whereupon the Viscount sat up suddenly to listen.
"Why--egad!" he exclaimed, "I do believe it's my Roman!"
"No, by heaven!" said the Marquis, also listening, "dooce take me if
it isn't my great-aunt--her Graceless Grace, by Jove it is!"
Even as he spoke, the door opened and the Duchess swept in, all
rustling silks and furbelows, very small, very dignified, and very
imperious. Behind her, Barnabas saw a tall, graceful figure,
strangely young-looking despite his white hair, which he wore tied
behind in a queue, also his clothes, though elegant, were of a
somewhat antiquated fashion; but indeed, this man with his kindly
eyes and gentle, humorous mouth, was not at all like the Roman
parent Barnabas had pictured.
"Ah, gentlemen!" cried the Duchess, acknowledging their four bows
with a profound curtsy, "I am here to wish you success--all four of
you--which is quite an impossible wish of course--still, I wish it.
Lud, Captain Slingsby, how well you look in scarlet! Marquis--my fan!
Mr. Beverley--my cane! A chair? thank you, Viscount. Yes indeed,
gentlemen, I've backed you all--I shall gain quite a fortune if you
all happen to win--which you can't possibly, of course,--still, one
of you will, I hope,--and--oh, dear me, Viscount, how pale you are!
Look at him, Bamborough--it's his arm, I know it is!"
"Arm, madam?" repeated the Viscount with an admirable look of
surprise, "does your Grace suggest--"
But here the Earl of Bamborough stepped into the room and, closing
the door, bowed to the company.
"Gentlemen," said he, "I have the honor to salute you!
Viscount--your most dutiful, humble, obedient father to command."
"My Lord," answered the Viscount, gravely returning his father's bow,
"your Lordship's most obliged and grateful son!"
"My dear Devenham," continued the Earl solemnly, "being, I fear,
something of a fogy and fossil, I don't know if you Bucks allow the
formality of shaking hands. Still, Viscount, as father and son--or
rather son and father, it may perhaps be permitted us? How are you,
Now as they clasped hands, Barnabas saw the Viscount set his jaw
grimly, and something glistened upon his temple, yet his smile was
quite engaging as he answered:
"Thank you, my Lord,--never better!"
"Yes," said his Lordship, as he slowly relinquished the Viscount's
hand, "your Grace was right, as usual,--it is his arm!"
"Then of course he cannot ride, Bamborough--you will forbid it?"
"On the contrary, madam, he must ride. Being a favorite, much money
has changed hands already on his account, and, arm or no arm, he
must ride now--he owes it to his backers. You intend to, of course,
"My Lord, I do."
"It's your right arm, luckily, and a horseman needs only his left.
You ride fairly well, I understand, Viscount?"
"Oh, indifferent well, sir, I thank you. But allow me to present my
friend to your Lordship,--Mr. Beverley--my father!"
So Barnabas shook hands with the Viscount's Roman parent, and,
meeting his kindly eyes, saw that, for all their kindliness, they
were eyes that looked deep into the heart of things.
"Come, gentlemen," cried the Duchess rising, "if you have quite
finished breakfast, take me to the stables, for I'm dying to see the
horses, I vow I am. Lead the way, Viscount. Mr. Beverley shall give
me his arm."
So towards the stables they set forth accordingly, the Duchess and
Barnabas well to the rear, for, be it remarked, she walked very
"Here it is, Barnabas," said she, as soon as the others were out of
"Oh, dear me, how frightfully dense you are, Barnabas!" she exclaimed,
fumbling in her reticule. "What should it be but a letter, to be
"A letter from Cleone! Oh, Duchess--"
"Here--take it. She wrote it last night--poor child didn't sleep a
wink, I know, and--all on your account, sir. I promised I'd deliver
it for her,--I mean the letter--that's why I made Bamborough bring
me here. So you see I've kept my word as I always do--that
is--sometimes. Oh, dear me, I'm so excited--about the race, I
mean--and Cleone's so nervous--came and woke me long before dawn,
and there were tears on her lashes--I know because I felt 'em when I
kissed them--I mean her eyes. And Patten dressed me in such a hurry
this morning--which was really my fault, and I know my wig's not
straight--and there you stand staring at it as though you wanted
to kiss it--I mean Cleone's letter, not my wig. That ridiculous
Mr. Tressider told Cleone that it was the best course he ever hoped
to ride over--meaning 'the worst' of course, so Cleone's quite
wretched, dear lamb--but oh, Barnabas, it would be dreadful if--
if you were--killed--oh!" And the Duchess shivered and turned away.
"Would you mind? So much, madam?"
"Barnabas--I never had a son--or a daughter--but I think I know just
how--your mother would be feeling--now!"
"And I do not remember my mother!" said Barnabas.
"Poor, poor Joan!" sighed the Duchess, very gently. "Were she here I
think she would--but then she was much taller than I, and--oh, boy,
stoop--stoop down, you great, tall Barnabas--how am I ever to reach
you if you don't?"
Then Barnabas stooped his head, and the Duchess kissed him--even as
his own mother might have done, and so, smiling a little tremulously,
turned away. "There! Barnabas," she sighed. "And now--oh, I know you
are dying to read your letter--of course you are, so pray sir,--go
back and fetch my fan,--here it is, it will serve as an excuse,
while I go on to look at the horses." And with a quick, smiling nod,
she hurried away across the paddock after the others. Then Barnabas
broke the seal of Cleone's letter, and--though to be sure it might
have been longer--he found it all sufficient. Here it is:
The Palace Grange,
Ever Dearest,--The race is to-morrow and, because I love you greatly,
so am I greatly afraid for you. And dear, I love you because you are
so strong, and gentle, and honorable. And therefore, here on my knees
I have prayed God to keep you ever in his care, my Barnabas.
IN WHICH SHALL BE FOUND SOME ACCOUNT OF THE GENTLEMAN'S STEEPLECHASE
Truly it is a great day for "The Terror," hitherto known as
"Four-legs," and well he knows it.
Behold him as he stands, with his velvet muzzle upon old Martin's
shoulder, the while the under-grooms, his two-legged slaves, hover
solicitously about him! Behold the proud arch of his powerful neck,
the knowing gleam of his rolling eye, the satiny sheen of his velvet
coat! See how he flings up his shapely head to snuff the balmy air of
morning, the while he paws the green earth with a round, bepolished
Yes, indeed, it is a great day for "The Terror," and well he knows it.
"He looks very well, Martin!" says Barnabas.
"And 'e's better than 'e looks, sir!" nods Martin. "And they're
laying thirty to one ag'in you, sir!"
"So much, Martin?"
"Ah, but it'll be backed down a bit afore you get to the post, I
reckon, so I got my fifty guineas down on you a good hour ago."
"Why, Martin, do you mean you actually backed me--to win--for fifty
"Why, y'see sir," said Martin apologetically, "fifty guineas is all
I've got, sir!"
Now at this moment, Barnabas became aware of a very shiny glazed hat,
which bobbed along, among other hats of all sorts and shapes, now
hidden, now rising again--very like a cock-boat in a heavy sea; and,
presently, sure enough, the Bo'sun hove into view, and bringing
himself to an anchor, made a leg, touched the brim of his hat, and
gripped the hand Barnabas extended.
"Mr. Beverley, sir," said he, "I first of all begs leave to say as,
arter Master Horatio his Lordship, it's you as I'd be j'yful to see
come into port first, or--as you might say--win this 'ere race.
Therefore and wherefore I have laid five guineas on you, sir, by
reason o' you being you, and the odds so long. Secondly, sir, I were
to give you this here, sir, naming no names, but she says as you'd
Hereupon the Bo'sun took off the glazed hat, inserted a hairy paw,
and brought forth a single, red rose.
So Barnabas took the rose, and bowed his head above it, and
straightway forgot the throng and bustle about him, and all things
else, yea even the great race itself until, feeling a touch upon his
arm, he turned to find the Earl of Bamborough beside him.
"He is very pale, Mr. Beverley!" said his Lordship, and, glancing
whither he looked, Barnabas saw the Viscount who was already mounted
upon his bay horse "Moonraker."
"Can you tell me, sir," pursued the Earl, "how serious his hurt
"I know that he was shot, my Lord," Barnabas answered, "and that he
received a violent blow upon his wounded arm this morning, but he is
Here the Viscount chanced to catch sight of them, and, with his
groom at "Moonraker's" head, paced up to them.
"Viscount," said his Lordship, looking up at his son with wise, dark
eyes, "your arm is troubling you, I see."
"Indeed, sir, it might be--a great deal worse."
"Still, you will be under a disadvantage, for it will be a punishing
race for horse and man."
"And--you will do your best, of course, Horatio?"
"Of course, sir."
"But--Horace, may I ask you to remember--that your father has--only
"Yes, sir,--and, father, may I tell you that--that thoughtless
though he may be, he never forgets that--he _is_ your son!" Saying
which the Viscount leaned down from his saddle, with his hand
stretched out impulsively, and, this time, his father's clasp was
very light and gentle. So the Earl bowed, and turning, walked away.
"He's--deuced Roman, of course, Bev," said the Viscount, staring
hard after his father's upright figure, "but there are times when
he's--rather more--than human!" And sighing, the Viscount nodded and
"Only ten minutes more, sir!" said Martin.
"Well, I'm ready, Martin," answered Barnabas, and, setting the rose
in his breast very securely, he swung himself lightly into the saddle,
and with the old groom at "The Terror's" head, paced slowly out of
the paddock towards the starting post.
Here a great pavilion had been set up, an ornate contrivance of silk
and gold cords, and gay with flags and bunting, above which floated
the Royal Standard of England, and beneath which was seated no less
ornate a personage than the First Gentleman in Europe--His Royal
Highness the Prince Regent himself, surrounded by all that was
fairest and bravest in the Fashionable and Sporting World. Before
this pavilion the riders were being marshalled in line, a gallant
sight in their scarlet coats, and, each and every, mounted upon a
fiery animal every whit as high-bred as himself; which fact they
manifested in many and divers ways, as--in rearing and plunging, in
tossing of heads, in lashing of heels, in quivering, and snorting,
and stamping--and all for no apparent reason, yet which is the
prerogative of your thoroughbred all the world over.
Amidst this confusion of tossing heads and manes, Barnabas caught a
momentary glimpse of the Viscount, some way down the line, his face
frowning and pale; saw the Marquis alternately bowing gracefully
towards the great, gaudy pavilion, soothing his plunging horse,
and re-settling his cravat; caught a more distant view of
Captain Slingsby, sitting his kicking sorrel like a centaur; and
finally, was aware that Sir Mortimer Carnaby had ridden up beside him,
who, handsome and debonair, bestrode his powerful gray with a
certain air of easy assurance, and laughed softly as he talked with
his other neighbor, a thinnish, youngish gentleman in sandy whiskers,
who giggled frequently.
"....very mysterious person," Sir Mortimer was saying, "nobody
knows him, devilish odd, eh, Tressider? Tufton Green dubbed him the
'Galloping Countryman,'--what do you think of the name?"
"Could have suggested a better, curse me if I couldn't, yes, Carnaby,
oh damme! Why not 'the Prancing Ploughman,' or 'the Cantering
Clodhopper'?" Here Sir Mortimer laughed loudly, and the thinnish,
youngish gentleman giggled again.
Barnabas frowned, but looking down at the red rose upon his breast,