Part 3 out of 7
"Well, I don't know; I gathered it from the way you expressed
"Well, I don't intend any thing of the kind. I simply wish to have
occasional looks at her--to get a bow and a smile of recognition when
I meet her, and have a few additional recollections to turn over in my
thoughts after I have left her forever. Perhaps this seems odd."
"Oh no, it doesn't. I quite understand it. A passing smile or a
parting sigh is sometimes more precious than any other memory. I know
all about it, you know--looks, glances, smiles, sighs, and all that
sort of thing, you know."
"Well, now, old chap, there's one thing I want you to do for me."
"Well, what is it?"
"It isn't much, old fellow. It isn't much. I simply wish you to visit
"_Me_?--visit _there_? What! me--and visit? Why, my dear fellow, don't
you know how I hate such bother?"
"I know all about that; but, old boy, it's only for a few weeks I ask
it, and for my sake, as a particular favor. I put it in that light."
"Oh, well, really, dear boy, if you put it in that light, you know, of
course, that I'll do any thing, even if it comes to letting myself be
bored to death."
"Just a visit a day or so."
"A visit a day!" Hawbury looked aghast.
"It isn't much to ask, you know," continued Dacres. "You see my reason
is this: I can't go there myself, as you see, but I hunger to hear
about her. I should like to hear how she looks, and what she says, and
whether she thinks of me."
"Oh, come now! look here, my dear fellow, you're putting it a little
too strong. You don't expect me to go there and talk to her about you,
you know. Why, man alive, that's quite out of my way. I'm not much of
a talker at any time; and besides, you know, there's something
distasteful in acting as--as--By Jove! I don't know what to call it."
"My dear boy, you don't understand me. Do you think I'm a sneak? Do
you suppose I'd ask you to act as a go-between? Nonsense! I merely ask
you to go as a cursory visitor. I don't want you to breathe my name,
or even think of me while you are there."
"But suppose I make myself too agreeable to the young lady. By Jove!
she might think I was paying her attentions, you know."
"Oh no, no! believe me, you don't know her. She's too earnest; she has
too much soul to shift and change. Oh no! I feel that she is mine, and
that the image of my own miserable self is indelibly impressed upon
her heart. Oh no! you don't know her. If you had heard her thrilling
expressions of gratitude, if you had seen the beseeching and pleading
looks which she gave me, you would know that she is one of those
natures who love once, and once only."
"Oh, by Jove, now! Come! If that's the 'state of the case, why, I'll
"Thanks, old boy."
"As a simple visitor."
"To talk about the weather, and that rot."
"And no more."
"Not a word about you."
"Not a word."
"No leading questions, and that sort of thing."
"Nothing of the kind."
"No hints, no watching, but just as if I went there of my own accord."
"That's exactly the thing."
"Very well; and now, pray, what good is all this going to do to you,
"Well, just this; I can talk-to you about her every evening, and you
can tell me how she looks, and what she says, and all that sort of
thing, you know."
"And you'll cheer my heart, old fellow."
"Heavens and earth! old boy, you don't seem to think that this is
going to be no end of a bore."
"I know it, old man; but then, you know, I'm desperate just now."
And Hawbury, uttering this exclamation, relapsed into silence, and
wondered over his friend's infatuation.
On the following day when Dacres came in he found that Hawbury had
kept his word.
"Great bore, old fellow," said he; "but I did it. The old lady is an
old acquaintance, you know. I'm going there to-morrow again. Didn't
see any thing to-day of the child-angel. But it's no end of a bore,
FALSE AND FORGETFUL.
The day when Lord Hawbury called on Lady Dalrymple was a very eventful
one in his life, and had it not been for a slight peculiarity of his,
the immediate result of that visit would have been of a highly
important character. This slight peculiarity consisted in the fact
that he was short-sighted, and, therefore, on a very critical occasion
turned away from that which would have been his greatest joy, although
it was full before his gaze.
It happened in this wise:
On the day when Hawbury called, Ethel happened to be sitting by the
window, and saw him as he rode up. Now the last time that she had seen
him he had a very different appearance--all his hair being burned off,
from head and cheeks and chin; and the whiskers which he had when she
first met him had been of a different cut from the present appendages.
In spite of this she recognized him almost in a moment; and her heart
beat fast, and her color came and went, and her hands clutched the
window ledge convulsively.
[Illustration: "'IT'S HE!' SHE MURMURED."]
"It's _he_!" she murmured.
Of course there was only one idea in her mind, and that was that he
had heard of her presence in Naples, and had come to call on her.
She sat there without motion, with her head eagerly bent forward, and
her eyes fixed upon him. He looked up carelessly as he came along, and
with his chin in the air, in a fashion peculiar to him, which,
by-the-way, gave a quite unintentional superciliousness to his
expression. For an instant his eyes rested upon her, then they moved
away, without the slightest recognition, and wandered elsewhere.
Ethel's heart seemed turned to stone. He had seen her. He had not
noticed her. He had fixed his eyes on her and then looked away.
Bitter, indeed, was all this to her. To think that after so long a
period of waiting--after such hope and watching as hers had been--that
this should be the end. She turned away from the window, with a
choking sensation in her throat. No one was in the room. She was alone
with her thoughts and her tears.
Suddenly her mood changed. A thought came to her which dispelled her
gloom. The glance that he had given was too hasty; perhaps he really
had not fairly looked at her. No doubt he had come for her, and she
would shortly be summoned down.
And now this prospect brought new hope. Light returned to her eyes,
and joy to her heart. Yes, she would be summoned. She must prepare
herself to encounter his eager gaze. Quickly she stepped to the
mirror, hastily she arranged those little details in which consists
the charm of a lady's dress, and severely she scrutinized the face and
figure reflected there. The scrutiny was a satisfactory one. Face and
figure were perfect; nor was there in the world any thing more
graceful and more lovely than the image there, though the one who
looked upon it was far too self-distrustful to entertain any such idea
Then she seated herself and waited. The time moved slowly, indeed, as
she waited there. After a few minutes she found it impossible to sit
any longer. She walked to the door, held it open, and listened. She
heard his voice below quite plainly. They had two suits of rooms in
the house--the bedrooms up stairs and reception-rooms below. Here Lord
Hawbury was, now, within hearing of Ethel. Well she knew that voice.
She listened and frowned. The tone was too flippant. He talked like a
man without a care--like a butterfly of society--and and that was a
class which she scorned. Here he was, keeping her waiting. Here he
was, keeping up a hateful clatter of small-talk, while her heart was
aching with suspense.
Ethel stood there listening. Minute succeeded to minute. There was no
request for her. How strong was the contrast between the cool
indifference of the man below, and the feverish impatience of that
listener above! A wild impulse came to her to go down, under the
pretense of looking for something; then another to go down and out for
a walk, so that he might see her. But in either case pride held her
back. How could she? Had he not already seen her? Must he not know
perfectly well that she was there? No; if he did not call for her she
could not go. She could not make advances.
Minute succeeded to minute, and Ethel stood burning with impatience,
racked with suspense, a prey to the bitterest feelings. Still no
message. Why did he delay? Her heart ached now worse than ever, the
choking feeling in her throat returned, and her eyes grew moist. She
steadied herself by holding to the door. Her fingers grew white at the
tightness of her grasp; eyes and ears were strained in their intent
watchfulness over the room below.
Of course the caller below was in a perfect state of ignorance about
all this. He had not the remotest idea of that one who now stood so
near. He came as a martyr. He came to make a call. It was a thing he
detested. It bored him. To a man like him the one thing to be avoided
on earth was a bore. To be bored was to his mind the uttermost depth
of misfortune. This he had voluntarily accepted. He was being bored,
and bored to death.
Certainly no man ever accepted a calamity more gracefully than
Hawbury. He was charming, affable, easy, chatty. Of course he was
known to Lady Dalrymple. The Dowager could make herself as agreeable
as any lady living, except young and beautiful ones. The conversation,
therefore, was easy and flowing. Hawbury excelled in this.
Now there are several variations in the great art of expression, and
each of these is a minor art by itself. Among these may be enumerated:
First, of course, the art of novel-writing.
Second, the art of writing editorials.
Third, the art of writing paragraphs.
After these come all the arts of oratory, letter-writing,
essay-writing, and all that sort of thing, among which there is one to
which I wish particularly to call attention, and this is:
The art of small-talk.
Now this art Hawbury had to an extraordinary degree of perfection. He
knew how to beat out the faintest shred of an idea into an illimitable
surface of small-talk. He never took refuge in the weather. He left
that to bunglers and beginners. His resources were of a different
character, and were so skillfully managed that he never failed to
leave a very agreeable impression. Small-talk! Why, I've been in
situations sometimes where I would have given the power of writing
like Dickens (if I had it) for perfection in this last art.
But this careless, easy, limpid, smooth, natural, pleasant, and
agreeable flow of chat was nothing but gall and wormwood to the
listener above. She ought to be there. Why was she so slighted? Could
it be possible that he would go away without seeing her?
She was soon to know.
She heard him rise. She heard him saunter to the door.
"Thanks, yes. Ha, ha, you're too kind--really--yes--very happy, you
know. To-morrow, is it? Good-morning."
And with these words he went out.
With pale face and staring eyes Ethel darted back to the window. He
did not see her. His back was turned. He mounted his horse and gayly
cantered away. For full five minutes Ethel stood,--crouched in the
shadow of the window, staring after him, with her dark eyes burning
and glowing in the intensity of their gaze. Then she turned away with
a bewildered look. Then she locked the door. Then she flung herself
upon the sofa, buried her head in her hands, and burst into a
convulsive passion of tears. Miserable, indeed, were the thoughts that
came now to that poor stricken girl as she lay there prostrate. She
had waited long, and hoped fondly, and all her waiting and all her
hope had been for this. It was for this that she had been praying--for
this that she had so fondly cherished his memory. He had come at last,
and he had gone; but for her he had certainly shown nothing save an
indifference as profound as it was inexplicable.
Ethel's excuse for not appearing at the dinner-table was a severe
headache. Her friends insisted on seeing her and ministering to her
sufferings. Among other things, they tried to cheer her by telling her
of Hawbury. Lady Dalrymple was full of him. She told all about his
family, his income, his habits, and his mode of life. She mentioned,
with much satisfaction, that he had made inquiries after Minnie, and
that she had promised to introduce him to her the next time he called.
Upon which he had laughingly insisted on calling the next day. All of
which led Lady Dalrymple to conclude that he had seen Minnie
somewhere, and had fallen in love with her.
This was the pleasing strain of conversation into which the ladies
were led off by Lady Dalrymple. When I say the ladies, I mean Lady
Dalrymple and Minnie. Mrs. Willoughby said nothing, except once or
twice when she endeavored to give a turn to the conversation, in which
she was signally unsuccessful. Lady Dalrymple and Minnie engaged in an
animated argument over the interesting subject of Hawbury's
intentions, Minnie taking her stand on the ground of his indifference,
the other maintaining the position that he was in love. Minnie
declared that she had never seen him. Lady Dalrymple asserted her
belief that he had seen her. The latter also asserted that Hawbury
would no doubt be a constant visitor, and gave Minnie very sound
advice as to the best mode of treating him.
[Illustration: "THEN SHE FLUNG HERSELF UPON THE SOFA."]
On the following day Hawbury called, and was introduced to Minnie. He
chatted with her in his usual style, and Lady Dalrymple was more than
ever confirmed in her first belief. He suggested a ride, and the
suggestion was taken up.
If any thing had been needed to complete Ethel's despair it was this
second visit and the project of a ride. Mrs. Willoughby was introduced
to him; but he took little notice of her, treating her with a kind of
reserve that was a little unusual with him. The reason of this was his
strong sympathy with his friend, and his detestation of Mrs.
Willoughby's former history. Mrs. Willoughby, however, had to ride
with them when they went out, and thus she was thrown a little more
into Hawbury's way.
Ethel never made her appearance. The headaches which she avouched were
not pretended. They were real, and accompanied with heartaches that
were far more painful. Hawbury never saw her, nor did he ever hear her
mentioned. In general he himself kept the conversation in motion; and
as he never asked questions, they, of course, had no opportunity to
answer. On the other hand, there was no occasion to volunteer any
remarks about the number or the character of their party. When he
talked it was usually with Lady Dalrymple and Minnie: and with these
the conversation turned always upon glittering generalities, and the
airy nothings of pleasant gossip. All this, then, will very easily
account for the fact that Hawbury, though visiting there constantly,
never once saw Ethel, never heard her name mentioned, and had not the
faintest idea that she was so near. She, on the other hand, feeling
now sure that he was utterly false and completely forgetful, proudly
and calmly held aloof, and kept out of his way with the most jealous
care, until at last she staid indoors altogether, for fear, if she
went out, that she might meet him somewhere. For such a meeting she
did not feel sufficiently strong.
Often she thought of quitting Naples and returning to England. Yet,
after all, she found a strange comfort in being there. She was near
him. She heard his voice every day, and saw his face. That was
something. And it was better than absence.
Minnie used always to come to her and pour forth long accounts of Lord
Hawbury--how he looked, what he said, what he did, and what he
proposed to do. Certainly there was not the faintest approach to
love-making, or even sentiment, in Hawbury's attitude toward Minnie.
His words were of the world of small-talk--a world where sentiment and
love-making have but little place. Still there was the evident fact of
his attentions, which were too frequent to be overlooked.
Hawbury rapidly became the most prominent subject of Minnie's
conversation. She used to prattle away for hours about him. She
alluded admiringly to his long whiskers. She thought them "lovely."
She said that he was "awfully nice." She told Mrs. Willoughby that "he
was nicer than any of them; and then, Kitty darling," she added, "it's
so awfully good of him not to be coming and saving my life, and
carrying me on his back down a mountain, like an ogre, and then
pretending that he's my father, you know.
"For you know, Kitty pet, I've always longed so awfully to see some
really nice person, you know, who wouldn't go and save my life and
bother me. Now he doesn't seem a bit like proposing. I do _hope_ he
won't. Don't you, Kitty dearest? It's so _much_ nicer not to propose.
It's so horrid when they go and propose. And then, you know, I've had
so much of that sort of thing. So, Kitty, I think he's really the
nicest person that I ever saw, and I really think I'm beginning to
Far different from these were the conversations which Mrs. Willoughby
had with Ethel. She was perfectly familiar with Ethel's story. It had
been confided to her long ago. She alone knew why it was that Ethel
had walked untouched through crowds of admirers. The terrible story of
her rescue was memorable to her for other reasons; and the one who had
taken the prominent part in that rescue could not be without interest
"There is no use, Kitty--no use in talking about it any more," said
Ethel one day, after Mrs. Willoughby had been urging her to show
herself. "I can not. I will not. He has forgotten me utterly."
"Perhaps he has no idea that you are here. He has never seen you."
"Has he not been in Naples as long as we have? He must have seen me in
the streets. He saw Minnie."
"Do you think it likely that he would come to this house and slight
you? If he had forgotten you he would not come here."
"Oh yes, he would. He comes to see Minnie. He knows I am here, of
course. He doesn't care one atom whether I make my appearance or not.
He doesn't even give me a thought. It's so long since _that time_ that
he has forgotten even my existence. He has been all over the world
since then, and has had a hundred adventures. I have been living
quietly, cherishing the remembrance of that one thing."
"Ethel, is it not worth trying? Go down and try him."
"I can not bear it. I can not look at him. I lose all self-command
when he is near. I should make a fool of myself. He would look at me
with a smile of pity. Could I endure that? No, Kitty; my weakness must
never be known to him."
"Oh, Ethel, how I wish you could try it!"
"Kitty, just think how utterly I am forgotten. Mark this now. He knows
I was at _your_ house. He must remember your name. He wrote to me
there, and I answered him from there. He sees you now, and your name
must be associated with mine in his memory of me, if he has any. Tell
me now, Kitty, has he ever mentioned me? has he ever asked you about
me? has he ever made the remotest allusion to me?"
Ethel spoke rapidly and impetuously, and as she spoke she raised
herself from the sofa where she was reclining, and turned her large,
earnest eyes full upon her friend with anxious and eager watchfulness.
Mrs. Willoughby looked back at her with a face full of sadness, and
mournfully shook her head.
"You see," said Ethel, as she sank down again--"you see how true my
"I must say," said Mrs. Willoughby, "that I thought of this before. I
fully expected that he would make some inquiry after you. I was so
confident in the noble character of the man, both from your story and
the description of others, that I could not believe you were right.
But you are right, my poor Ethel. I wish I could comfort you, but I
can not. Indeed, my dear, not only has he not questioned me about you,
but he evidently avoids me. It is not that he is engrossed with
Minnie, for he is not so; but he certainly has some reason of his own
for avoiding me. Whenever he speaks to me there is an evident effort
on his part, and though perfectly courteous, his manner leaves a
certain disagreeable impression. Yes, he certainly has some reason for
"The reason is plain enough," murmured Ethel. "He wishes to prevent
you from speaking about a painful subject, or at least a distasteful
one. He keeps you off at a distance by an excess of formality. He will
give you no opportunity whatever to introduce any mention of me. And
now let me also ask you this--does he ever take any notice of any
allusion that may be made to me?"
"I really don't remember hearing any allusion to you."
"Oh, that's scarcely possible! You and Minnie must sometimes have
alluded to 'Ethel.'"
"Well, now that you put it in that light, I do remember hearing Minnie
allude to you on several occasions. Once she wondered why 'Ethel' did
not ride. Again she remarked how 'Ethel' would enjoy a particular
"And he heard it?"
"Oh, of course."
"Then there is not a shadow of a doubt left. He knows I am here. He
has forgotten me so totally, and is so completely indifferent, that he
comes here and pays attention to another who is in the very same house
with me. It is hard. Oh, Kitty, is it not? Is it not bitter? How could
I have thought this of _him_?"
A high-hearted girl was Ethel, and a proud one; but at this final
confirmation of her worst fears there burst from her a sharp cry, and
she buried her face in her hands, and moaned and wept.
One day Mrs. Willoughby and Minnie were out driving. Hawbury was
riding by the carriage on the side next Minnie, when suddenly their
attention was arrested by a gentleman on horseback who was approaching
them at an easy pace, and staring hard at them. Minnie's hand suddenly
grasped her sister's arm very tightly, while her color came and went
"Oh dear!" sighed Mrs. Willoughby.
"Oh, what _shall_ I do?" said Minnie, in a hasty whisper. "Can't we
pretend not to see him?"
"Nonsense, you little goose," was the reply. "How can you think of
By this time the gentleman had reached them, and Mrs. Willoughby
stopped the carriage, and spoke to him in a tone of gracious suavity,
in which there was a sufficient recognition of his claims upon her
attention, mingled with a slight hauteur that was intended to act as a
check upon his Italian demonstrativeness.
For it was no other than the Count Girasole, and his eyes glowed with
excitement and delight, and his hat was off and as far away from his
head as possible, and a thousand emotions contended together for
expression upon his swarthy and handsome countenance. As soon as he
could speak he poured forth a torrent of exclamations with amazing
volubility, in the midst of which his keen black eyes scrutinized very
closely the faces of the ladies, and finally turned an interrogative
glance upon Hawbury, who sat on his horse regarding the new-comer with
a certain mild surprise not unmingled with superciliousness. Hawbury's
chin was in the air, his eyes rested languidly upon the stranger, and
his left hand toyed with his left whisker. He really meant no offense
whatever. He knew absolutely nothing about the stranger, and had not
the slightest intention of giving offense. It was simply a way he had.
It was merely the normal attitude of the English swell before he is
introduced. As it was, that first glance which Girasole threw at the
English lord inspired him with the bitterest hate, which was destined
to produce important results afterward.
Mrs. Willoughby was too good-natured and too wise to slight the Count
in any way. After introducing the two gentlemen she spoke a few more
civil words, and then bowed him away. But Girasole did not at all take
the hint. On the contrary, as the carriage started, he turned his
horse and rode along with it on the side next Mrs. Willoughby. Hawbury
elevated his eyebrows, and stared for an instant, and then went on
talking with Minnie. And now Minnie showed much more animation than
usual. She was much agitated and excited by this sudden appearance of
one whom she hoped to have got rid of, and talked rapidly, and laughed
nervously, and was so terrified at the idea that Girasole was near
that she was afraid to look at him, but directed all her attention to
Hawbury. It was a slight, and Girasole showed that he felt it; but
Minnie could not help it. After a time Girasole mastered his feelings,
and began an animated conversation with Mrs. Willoughby in very broken
English. Girasole's excitement at Minnie's slight made him somewhat
incoherent, his idioms were Italian rather than English, and his
pronunciation was very bad; he also had a fashion of using an Italian
word when he did not know the right English one, and so the
consequence was that Mrs. Willoughby understood not much more than
one-quarter of his remarks.
Mrs. Willoughby did not altogether enjoy this state of things, and so
she determined to put an end to it by shortening her drive. She
therefore watched for an opportunity to do this so as not to make it
seem too marked, and finally reached a place which was suitable. Here
the carriage was turned, when, just as it was half-way round, they
noticed a horseman approaching. It was Scone Dacres, who had been
following them all the time, and who had not expected that the
carriage would turn. He was therefore taken completely by surprise,
and was close to them before he could collect his thoughts so as to do
any thing. To evade them was impossible, and so he rode on. As he
approached, the ladies saw his face. It was a face that one would
remember afterward. There was on it a profound sadness and dejection,
while at the same time the prevailing expression was one of sternness.
The ladies both bowed. Scone Dacres raised his hat, and disclosed his
broad, massive brow. He did not look at Minnie. His gaze was fixed on
Mrs. Willoughby. Her veil was down, and he seemed trying to read her
face behind it. As he passed he threw a quick, vivid glance at
Girasole. It was not a pleasant glance by any means, and was full of
quick, fierce, and insolent scrutiny--a "Who-the-devil-are-you?"
glance. It was for but an instant, however, and then he glanced at
Mrs. Willoughby again, and then he had passed.
The ladies soon reached their home, and at once retired to Mrs.
Willoughby's room. There Minnie flung herself upon the sofa, and Mrs.
Willoughby sat down, with a perplexed face.
"What in the world _are_ we to do?" said she.
"I'm sure _I_ don't know," said Minnie. "I _knew_ it was going to be
so. I said that he would find me again."
"He is _so_ annoying."
"Yes, but, Kitty dear, we can't be rude to him, you know, for he saved
my life. But it's horrid, and I really begin to feel quite desperate."
"I certainly will not let him see you. I have made up my mind to
"And oh! how he _will_ be coming and calling, and tease, tease,
teasing. Oh dear! I do wonder what Lord Hawbury thought. He looked
_so_ amazed. And then--oh, Kitty dear, it was so awfully funny!--did
you notice that other man?"
Mrs. Willoughby nodded her head.
"Did you notice how awfully black he looked? He wouldn't look at me at
all. _I_ know why."
Mrs. Willoughby said nothing.
"He's awfully jealous. Oh, _I_ know it. I saw it in his face. He was
as black as a thunder-cloud. Oh dear! And it's all about me. Oh, Kitty
darling, what _shall_ I do? There will be something dreadful, I know.
And how shocking to have it about me. And then the newspapers. They'll
all have it. And the reporters. Oh dear! Kitty, why _don't_ you say
"Why, Minnie dearest, I really don't know what to say."
"But, darling, you must say something. And then that Scone Dacres. I'm
more afraid of him than any body. Oh, I know he's going to _kill_ some
one. He is so big. Oh, if _you_ had only been on his back, Kitty
darling, and had him run down a steep mountain-side, you'd be as
awfully afraid of him as I am. Oh, how I _wish_ Lord Hawbury would
drive them off, or somebody do something to save me."
"Would you rather that Lord Hawbury would stay, or would you like him
to go too?"
"Oh dear! I don't care. If he would only go quietly and nicely, I
should like to have him go too, and never, never see a man again
except dear papa. And I think it's a shame. And I don't see why I
should be so persecuted. And I'm tired of staying here. And I don't
want to stay here any more. And, Kitty darling, why shouldn't we all
go to Rome?"
"Would you prefer Rome?" asked Mrs. Willoughby, thoughtfully.
"Well, yes--for several reasons. In the first place, I must go
somewhere, and I'd rather go there than any where else. Then, you
know, that dear, delightful holy-week will soon be here, and I'm dying
to be in Rome."
"I think it would be better for all of us," said Mrs. Willoughby,
thoughtfully--"for all of us, if we were in Rome."
"Of course it would, Kitty sweetest, and especially me. Now if I am in
Rome, I can pop into a convent whenever I choose."
"A convent!" exclaimed Mrs. Willoughby, in surprise.
"Oh yes--it's going to come to that. They're all so horrid, you know.
Besides, it's getting worse. I got a letter yesterday from Captain
Kirby, written to me in England. He didn't know I was here. He has
just arrived at London, and was leaving for our place on what he
called the wings of the wind. I expect him here at almost any time.
Isn't it dreadful, Kitty dearest, to have so many? As fast as one goes
another comes, and then they all come together; and do you know,
darling, it really makes one feel quite dizzy. I'm sure _I_ don't know
what to do. And that's why I'm thinking of a convent, you know."
"But you're not a Catholic."
"Oh yes, I am, you know. Papa's an Anglo-Catholic, and I don't see the
difference. Besides, they're all the time going over to Rome; and why
shouldn't I? I'll be a novice--that is, you know, I'll only go for a
time, and not take the vows. The more I think of it, the more I see
that it's the only thing there is for me to do."
"Well, Minnie, I really think so too, and not only for you, but for
all of us. There's Ethel, too; poor dear girl, her health is very
miserable, you know. I think a change would do her good."
"Of course it would; I've been talking to her about it. But she won't
hear of leaving Naples. I _wish_ she wouldn't be so awfully sad."
"Oh yes; it will certainly be the best thing for dear Ethel, and for
you and me and all of us. Then we must be in Rome in holy-week. I
wouldn't miss that for any thing."
"And then, too, you know, Kitty darling, there's another thing," said
Minnie, very confidentially, "and it's very important. In Rome, you
know, all the gentlemen are clergymen--only, you know, the clergymen
of the Roman Church can't marry; and so, you know, of course, they can
never propose, no matter if they were to save one's life over and over
again. And oh! what a relief that would be to find one's self among
those dear, darling, delightful priests, and no chance of having one's
life saved and having an instant proposal following! It would be _so_
Mrs. Willoughby smiled.
"Well, Minnie dearest," said she, "I really think that we had better
decide to go to Rome, and I don't see any difficulty in the way."
"The only difficulty that I can see," said Minnie, "is that I
shouldn't like to hurt their feelings, you know."
"Their feelings!" repeated her sister, in a doleful voice.
"Yes; but then, you see, some one's feelings _must_ be hurt
eventually, so that lessens one's responsibility, you know; doesn't
it, Kitty darling?"
While saying this Minnie had risen and gone to the window, with the
intention of taking her seat by it. No sooner had she reached the
place, however, than she started back, with a low exclamation, and,
standing on one side, looked cautiously forth.
"Come here," she said, in a whisper.
Mrs. Willoughby went over, and Minnie directed her attention to some
one outside. It was a gentleman on horseback, who was passing at a
slow pace. His head was bent on his breast. Suddenly, as he passed, he
raised his head and threw over the house a quick, searching glance.
They could see without being seen. They marked the profound sadness
that was over his face, and saw the deep disappointment with which his
"Scone Dacres!" said Minnie, as he passed on. "How _aw_fully sad he
Mrs. Willoughby said nothing.
"But, after all, I don't believe it's _me_."
"Because he didn't look at me a bit when he passed to-day. He looked
at you, though."
"Yes, and his face had an _aw_fully hungry look. I know what makes him
"He's in love with you."
Mrs. Willoughby stared at Minnie for a moment. Then a short laugh
burst from her.
"Child!" she exclaimed, "you have no idea of any thing in the world
but falling in love. You will find out some day that there are other
feelings than that."
"But, Kitty dear," said Minnie, "didn't you notice something very
peculiar about him?"
"I noticed it. I had a good look at him. I saw that he fixed his eyes
on you with--oh! _such_ a queer look. And he was awfully sad too. He
looked as if he would like to seize you and lift you on his horse and
carry you off, just like young Lochinvar."
"Me!" said Mrs. Willoughby, with a strange intonation.
"Yes, you--oh yes; really now."
"Oh, you little goose, you always think of people rushing after one
and carrying one off."
"Well, I'm sure I've had reason to. So many people have always been
running after me, and snatching me up as if I were a parcel, and
carrying me every where in all sorts of places. And I think it's too
bad, and I really wish they'd stop it. But, Kitty dear--
"About this Scone Dacres. Don't you really think there's something
very peculiarly sad, and very delightfully interesting and pathetic,
and all that sort of thing, in his poor dear old face?"
"I think Scone Dacres has suffered a great deal," said Mrs.
Willoughby, in a thoughtful tone. "But come now. Let us go to Ethel.
Soon after they joined the other ladies, and talked over the project
of going to Rome. Lady Dalrymple offered no objection; indeed, so far
as she had any choice, she preferred it. She was quite willing at all
times to do whatever the rest proposed, and also was not without some
curiosity as to the proceedings during holy-week. Ethel offered no
objections either. She had fallen into a state of profound melancholy,
from which nothing now could rouse her, and so she listened listlessly
to the discussion about the subject. Mrs. Willoughby and Minnie had
the most to say on this point, and offered the chief reasons for
going; and thus it was finally decided to take their departure, and to
start as soon as possible.
Meanwhile Girasole had his own thoughts and experiences. He had
already, some time before, been conscious that his attentions were not
wanted, but it was only on the part of the other ladies that he
noticed any repugnance to himself. On Minnie's part he had not seen
any. In spite of their graciousness and their desire not to hurt his
feelings, they had not been able to avoid showing that, while they
felt grateful for his heroism in the rescue of Minnie, they could not
think of giving her to him. They had manoeuvred well enough to get rid
of him, but Girasole had also manoeuvred on his part to find them
again. He had fallen off from them at first when he saw that they were
determined on effecting this; but after allowing a sufficient time to
elapse, he had no difficulty in tracking them, and finding them at
Naples, as we have seen.
But here he made one or two discoveries.
One was that Minnie already had an accepted lover in the person of
Lord Hawbury. The lofty superciliousness of the British nobleman
seemed to Girasole to be the natural result of his position, and it
seemed the attitude of the successful lover toward the rejected
The other discovery was that Minnie herself was more pleased with the
attentions of the English lord than with his own. This was now
evident, and he could not help perceiving that his difficulties were
far more formidable from the presence of such a rival.
But Girasole was not easily daunted. In the first place, he had
unbounded confidence in his own fascinations; in the second place, he
believed that he had a claim on Minnie that no other could equal, in
the fact that he had saved her life; in the third place, apart from
the question of love, he believed her to be a prize of no common
value, whose English gold would be welcome indeed to his Italian need
and greed; while, finally, the bitter hate with which Lord Hawbury had
inspired him gave an additional zest to the pursuit, and made him
follow after Minnie with fresh ardor.
Once or twice after this he called upon them. On the first occasion
only Lady Dalrymple was visible. On the second, none of the ladies
were at home. He was baffled, but not discouraged. Returning from his
call, he met Minnie and Mrs. Willoughby. Hawbury was with them, riding
beside Minnie. The ladies bowed, and Girasole, as before, coolly
turned his horse and rode by the carriage, talking with Mrs.
Willoughby, and trying to throw at Minnie what he intended to be
impassioned glances. But Minnie would not look at him. Of course she
was frightened as usual, and grew excited, and, as before, talked with
unusual animation to Hawbury. Thus she overdid it altogether, and more
than ever confirmed Girasole in the opinion that she and Hawbury were
Two days after this Girasole called again.
A bitter disappointment was in store for him.
They were not there--they had gone.
Eagerly he inquired where.
"To Rome," was the reply.
[Illustration: "'TO ROME!' HE MUTTERED, BETWEEN HIS SET TEETH."]
"To Rome!" he muttered, between his set teeth; and mounting his horse
hurriedly, he rode away.
He was not one to be daunted. He had set a certain task before
himself, and could not easily be turned aside. He thought bitterly of
the ingratitude with which he had been treated. He brought before his
mind the "stony British stare," the supercilious smile, and the
impertinent and insulting expression of Hawbury's face as he sat on
his saddle, with his chin up, stroking his whiskers, and surveyed him
for the first time. All these things combined to stimulate the hate as
well as the love of Girasole. He felt that he himself was not one who
could be lightly dismissed, and determined that they should learn
Hawbury had immolated himself for as much as half a dozen times to
gratify Dacres. He had sacrificed himself over and over upon the altar
of friendship, and had allowed himself to be bored to death because
Dacres so wished it. The whole number of his calls was in reality only
about five or six; but that number, to one of his taste and
temperament, seemed positively enormous, and represented an immense
amount of human suffering.
One day, upon reaching his quarters, after one of these calls, he
found Dacres there, making himself, as usual, very much at home.
"Well, my dear fellow," said Hawbury, cheerfully, "how waves the flag
now? Are you hauling it down, or are you standing to your guns? Toss
over the cigars, and give an account of yourself."
"Do you know any thing about law, Hawbury?" was Dacres's answer.
"No, not much. But what in the world makes you ask such a question as
that? Law! No--not I."
"Well, there's a point that I should like to ask somebody about."
"Why not get a lawyer?"
"An Italian lawyer's no use."
"Well, English lawyers are to be found. I dare say there are twenty
within five minutes' distance of this place."
"Oh, I don't want to bother. I only wanted to ask some one's opinion
in a general way."
"Well, what's the point?"
"Why this," said Dacres, after a little hesitation. "You've heard of
"Should think I had--Robin Hood and his merry men, Lincoln green,
Sherwood Forest, and all that sort of thing, you know. But what the
mischief sets you thinking about Robin Hood?"
"Oh, I don't mean that rot. I mean real outlawry--when a fellow's in
debt, you know."
"Well; if he goes out of the country, and stays away a certain number
of years, the debt's outlawed, you know."
"The deuce it is! Is it, though? _I've_ been in debt, but I always
managed to pull through without getting so far. But that's convenient
for some fellows too."
"I'm a little muddy about it, but I've heard something to this effect.
I think the time is seven years. If the debt is not acknowledged
during the interval, it's outlawed. And now, 'pon my life, my dear
fellow, I really don't know but that I've jumbled up some fragments of
English law with American. I felt that I was muddy, and so I thought
I'd ask you."
"Don't know any more about it than about the antediluvians."
"It's an important point, and I should like to have it looked up."
"Well, get a lawyer here; half London is on the Continent. But still,
my dear fellow, I don't see what you're driving at. You're not in
"No--this isn't debt; but it struck me that this might possibly apply
to other kinds of contracts."
"How--such as what, for instance?"
"Well, you see, I thought, you know, that all contracts might be
included under it; and so I thought that if seven years or so annulled
all contracts, it might have some effect, you know,
upon--the--the--the marriage contract, you know."
At this Hawbury started up, stared at Dacres, gave a loud whistle, and
"I may be mistaken," said Dacres, modestly.
"Mistaken? Why, old chap, you're mad. Marriage? Good Lord! don't you
know nothing can abrogate that? Of course, in case of crime, one can
get a divorce; but there is no other way. Seven years? By Jove! A good
idea that. Why, man, if that were so, the kingdom would be
depopulated. Husbands running off from wives, and wives from husbands,
to pass the required seven years abroad. By Jove! You see, too,
there's another thing, my boy. Marriage is a sacrament, and you've not
only got to untie the civil knot, but the clerical one, my boy. No,
no; there's no help for it. You gave your word, old chap, 'till death
do us part,' and you're in for it."
At this Dacres said nothing; it appeared to dispel his project from
his mind. He relapsed into a sullen sort of gloom, and remained so for
some time. At last he spoke:
"Have you found out who that fellow is?"
"Why that yellow Italian that goes prowling around after my wife."
"Oh yes; I heard something or other today."
"What was it?"
"Well, it seems that he saved her life, or something of that sort."
"Saved her life!" Dacres started. "How? where? Cool, too!"
"Oh, on the Alps somewhere."
"On the Alps! saved her life! Come now, I like that," said Dacres,
with bitter intonation. Aha! don't I know her? I warrant you she
contrived all that. Oh, she's deep! But how did it happen? Did you
"Well, I didn't hear any thing very definite. It was something about a
precipice. It was Lady Dalrymple that told me. It seems she was
knocked over a precipice by an avalanche."
"Was what? Knocked where? Over a precipice? By a what--an avalanche?
Good Lord! I don't believe it. I swear I don't. She invented it all.
It's some of her infernal humbug. She slid off over the snow, so as to
get him to go after her. Oh, don't I know her and her ways!"
"Well, come now, old man, you shouldn't be too hard on her. You never
said that flirtation was one of her faults."
"Well, neither it was; but, as she is a demon, she's capable of any
thing; and now she has sobered down, and all her vices have taken this
turn. Oh yes. I know her. No more storms now--no rage, no fury---all
quiet and sly. Flirtation! Ha, ha! That's the word. And my wife! And
going about the country, tumbling over precipices, with devilish
handsome Italians going down to save her life! Ha, ha, ha! I like
"See here, old boy, I swear you're too suspicious. Come now. You're
going too far. If she chooses, she may trump up the same charge
against you and the child-angel at Vesuvius. Come now, old boy, be
just. You can afford to. Your wife may be a fiend in human form; and
if you insist upon it, I've nothing to say. But this last notion of
yours is nothing but the most wretched absurdity. It's worse. It's
"Well, well," said Dacres, in a milder tone; "perhaps she didn't
contrive it. But then, you know," he added, "it's just as good for
her. She gets the Italian. Ha, ha, ha!"
His laugh was forced, feverish, and unnatural. Hawbury didn't like it,
and tried to change the subject.
"Oh, by-the-way," said he, "you needn't have any further trouble about
any of them. You don't seem inclined to take any definite action, so
the action will be taken for you."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean that they are all going to leave Naples."
"To leave Naples!"
Dacres uttered this in a voice of grief and surprise which astonished
Hawbury and touched him.
"Yes," he said. "You know they've been here long enough. They want to
see Rome. Holy-week, you know. No end of excitement. Illumination of
St. Peter's, and all that sort of thing, you know."
Dacres relapsed into sombre silence. For more than half an hour he did
not say a word. Hawbury respected his mood, and watched him with
something approaching to anxiety.
"Hawbury," said he at last.
"Well, old man?"
"I'm going to Rome."
"Yes, me, to Rome."
"Oh, nonsense! See here, old boy. You'd really better not, you know.
Break it up. You can't do any thing."
"I'm going to Rome," repeated Dacres, stolidly. "I've made up my
"But, really," remonstrated Hawbury. "See here now, my dear fellow;
look here, you know. By Jove! you don't consider, really."
"Oh yes, I do. I know every thing; I consider every thing."
"But what good will it do?"
"It won't do any good; but it may prevent some evil."
"Nothing but evil can ever come of it."
"Oh, no evil need necessarily come of it."
"By Jove!" exclaimed Hawbury, who began to be excited. "Really, my
dear fellow, you don't think. You see you can't gain any thing. She's
surrounded by friends, you know. She never can be yours, you know.
There's a great gulf between you, and all that sort of thing, you
"Yes," repeated Dacres, catching his last words--"yes, a great gulf,
as deep as the bottomless abyss, never to be traversed, where she
stands on one side, and I on the other, and between us hate, deep and
pitiless hate, undying, eternal!"
"Then, by Jove! my dear fellow, what's the use of trying to fight
against it? You can't do any thing. If this were Indiana, now, or even
New York, I wouldn't say any thing, you know; but you know an Indiana
divorce wouldn't do _you_ any good. Her friends wouldn't take you on
those terms--and she wouldn't. Not she, by Jove!"
"I _must_ go. I must follow her," continued Dacres. "The sight of her
has roused a devil within me that I thought was laid. I'm a changed
"I should think so, by Jove!"
"A changed man," continued Dacres. "Oh, Heavens, what power there is
in a face! What terrific influence it has over a man! Here am I; a few
days ago I was a free man; now I am a slave. But, by Heaven! I'll
follow her to the world's end. She shall not shake me off. She thinks
to be happy without me. She shall not. I will silently follow as an
avenging fate. I can not have her, and no one else shall. The same
cursed fate that severs her from me shall keep her away from others.
If I am lonely and an exile, she shall not be as happy as she expects.
I shall not be the only one to suffer."
"See here, by Jove!" cried Hawbury. "Really. You're going too far, my
dear boy, you know. You are, really. Come now. This is just like a
Surrey theatre, you know. You're really raving. Why, my poor old boy,
you _must_ give her up. You can't do any thing. You daren't call on
her. You're tied hand and foot. You may worship her here, and rave
about your child-angel till you're black in the face, but you never
can see her; and as to all this about stopping her from marrying any
other person, that's all rot and bosh. What do you suppose any other
man would care for your nonsensical ravings? Lonely and an exile! Why,
man, she'll be married and done for in three months."
"You don't understand me," said Dacres, dryly.
"I'm glad that I don't; but it's no wonder, old man, for really you
were quite incoherent."
"And so they're going to Rome," said Dacres. "Well, they'll find that
I'm not to be shaken off so easily."
"Come now, old man, you _must_ give up that."
"And I, suppose," continued Dacres, with a sneer, "our handsome,
dark-eyed little Italian cavalier is going with us. Ha, ha, ha! He's
at the house all the time, no doubt."
"Well, yes; he was there once."
"Ah! of course--quite devoted."
"Oh yes; but don't be afraid. It was not to the child-angel. She
appears to avoid him. That's really quite evident. It's an apparent
aversion on her part."
Dacres drew a long breath.
"Oh," said he; "and so I suppose it's not _her_ that _he_ goes after.
I did not suppose that it was. Oh no. There's another one--more
piquant, you know--ha, ha!--a devoted lover--saved her life--quite
devoted--and she sits and accepts his attentions. Yet she's seen me,
and knows that I'm watching her. Don't she know _me_? Does she want
any further proof of what I am ready to do? The ruins of Dacres Grange
should serve her for life. She tempts fate when she carries on her
gallantries and her Italian cicisbeism under the eyes of Scone Dacres.
It'll end bad. By Heaven, it will!"
Scone Dacres breathed hard, and, raising his head, turned upon Hawbury
a pair of eyes whose glow seemed of fire.
"Bad!" he repeated, crashing his fist on the table. "Bad, by Heaven!"
Hawbury looked at him earnestly.
"My dear boy," said he, "you're getting too excited. Be cool. Really,
I don't believe you know what you're saying. I don't understand what
you mean. Haven't the faintest idea what you're driving at. You're
making ferocious threats against some people, but, for my life, I
don't know who they are. Hadn't you better try to speak so that a
fellow can understand the general drift, at least, of what you say?"
"Well, then, you understand this much--I'm going to Rome."
"I'm sorry for it, old boy."
"And see here, Hawbury, I want you to come with me."
"Me? What for?"
"Well, I want you. I may have need of you."
As Dacres said this his face assumed so dark and gloomy an expression
that Hawbury began to think that there was something serious in all
"'Pon my life," said he, "my dear boy, I really don't think you're in
a fit state to be allowed to go by yourself. You look quite desperate.
I wish I could make you give up this infernal Roman notion."
"I'm going to Rome!" repeated Dacres, resolutely.
Hawbury looked at him.
"You'll come, Hawbury, won't you?"
"Why, confound it all, of course. I'm afraid you'll do something rash,
old man, and you'll have to have me to stand between you and harm."
"Oh, don't be concerned about me," said Dacres. "I only want to watch
her, and see what her little game is. I want to look at her in the
midst of her happiness. She's most infernally beautiful, too; hasn't
added a year or a day to her face; more lovely than ever; more
beautiful than she was even when I first saw her. And there's a
softness about her that she never had before. Where the deuce did she
get that? Good idea of hers, too, to cultivate the soft style. And
there's sadness in her face, too. Can it be real? By Heavens! if I
thought it could be real I'd--but pooh! what insanity! It's her art.
There never was such cunning. She cultivates the soft, sad style so as
to attract lovers--lovers--who adore her--who save her life--who
become her obedient slaves! Oh yes; and I--what am I? Why they get
together and laugh at me; they giggle; they snicker--"
"Confound it all, man, what are you going on at that rate for?"
interrupted Hawbury. "Are you taking leave of your senses altogether?
By Jove, old man, you'd better give up this Roman journey."
"No, I'll keep at it."
"What for? Confound it! I don't see your object."
"My object? Why, I mean to follow her. I can't give her up. I won't
give her up. I'll follow her. She shall see me every where. I'll
follow her. She sha'n't go any where without seeing me on her track.
She shall see that she is mine. She shall know that she's got a
master. She shall find herself cut off from that butterfly life which
she hopes to enter. I'll be her fate, and she shall know it."
"By Jove!" cried Hawbury. "What the deuce is all this about? Are you
mad, or what? Look here, old boy, you're utterly beyond me, you know.
What the mischief do you mean? Whom are you going to follow? Whose
fate are you going to be? Whose track are you talking about?"
"Who?" cried Dacres. "Why, my wife!"
As he said this he struck his fist violently on the table.
"The deuce!" exclaimed Hawbury, staring at him; after which he added,
thoughtfully, "by Jove!"
Not much more was said. Dacres sat in silence for a long time,
breathing hard, and puffing violently at his cigar. Hawbury said
nothing to interrupt his meditation. After an hour or so Dacres
tramped off in silence, and Hawbury was left to meditate over the
And this was the result of his meditations.
He saw that Dacres was greatly excited, and had changed completely
from his old self. His state of mind seemed actually dangerous. There
was an evil gleam in his eyes that looked like madness. What made it
more perplexing still was the new revulsion of feeling that now was
manifest. It was not so much love for the child-angel as bitter and
venomous hate for his wife. The gentler feeling had given place to the
sterner one. It might have been possible to attempt an argument
against the indulgence of the former; but what could words avail
against revenge? And now there was rising in the soul of Dacres an
evident thirst for vengeance, the result of those injuries which had
been carried in his heart and brooded over for years. The sight of his
wife had evidently kindled all this. If she had not come across his
path he might have forgotten all; but she had come, and all was
revived. She had come, too, in a shape which was adapted in the
highest degree to stimulate all the passion of Dacres's soul--young,
beautiful, fascinating, elegant, refined, rich, honored, courted, and
happy. Upon such a being as this the homeless wanderer, the outcast,
looked, and his soul seemed turned to fire as he gazed. Was it any
All this Hawbury thought, and with full sympathy for his injured
friend. He saw also that Dacres could not be trusted by himself. Some
catastrophe would be sure to occur. He determined, therefore, to
accompany his friend, so as to do what he could to avert the calamity
which he dreaded.
And this was the reason why he went with Dacres to Rome.
As for Dacres, he seemed to be animated by but one motive, which he
expressed over and over again:
"She stood between me and my child-angel, and so will I stand between
her and her Italian!"
THE ZOUAVE OFFICER.
Whatever trouble Ethel had experienced at Naples from her conviction
that Hawbury was false was increased and, if possible, intensified by
the discovery that he had followed them to Rome. His true motives for
this could not possibly be known to her, so she, of course, concluded
that it was his infatuation for Minnie, and his determination to win
her for himself. She felt confident that he knew that she belonged to
the party, but was so utterly indifferent to her that he completely
ignored her, and had not sufficient interest in her to ask the
commonest question about her. All this, of course, only confirmed her
previous opinion, and it also deepened her melancholy. One additional
effect it also had, and that was to deprive her of any pleasure that
might be had from drives about Rome. She felt a morbid dread of
meeting him somewhere; she did not yet feel able to encounter him; she
could not trust herself; she felt sure that if she saw him she would
lose all self-control, and make an exhibition of humiliating weakness.
The dread of this was sufficient to detain her at home; and so she
remained indoors, a prisoner, refusing her liberty, brooding over her
troubles, and striving to acquire that indifference to him which she
believed he had toward her. Now going about was the very thing which
would have alleviated her woes, but this was the very thing that she
was unwilling to do; nor could any persuasion shake her resolve.
One day Mrs. Willoughby and Minnie were out driving, and in passing
through a street they encountered a crowd in front of one of the
churches. Another crowd was inside, and, as something was going on,
they stopped the carriage and sat looking. The Swiss Guards were there
in their picturesque costume, and the cardinals in their scarlet robes
and scarlet coaches, and military officers of high rank, and carriages
of the Roman aristocracy filled with beautiful ladies. Something of
importance was going on, the nature of which they did not know. A
little knot of Englishmen stood near; and from their remarks the
ladies gathered that this was the Church of the Jesuits, and that the
Pope in person was going to perform high-mass, and afterward hold a
Soon there arose a murmur and a bustle among the crowd, which was
succeeded by a deep stillness. The Swiss Guards drove the throng to
either side, and a passage-way was thus formed through the people to
the church. A carriage drove up in great state. In this was seated an
elderly gentleman in rich pontifical robes. He had a mild and gentle
face, upon which was a sweet and winning smile. No face is more
attractive than that of Pio Nono.
"Oh, look!" cried Minnie; "that must be the Pope. Oh, what a darling!"
Mrs. Willoughby, however, was looking elsewhere.
"Minnie," said she.
"What, Kitty dear?"
"Are you acquainted with any Zouave officer?"
"Zouave officer! Why, no; what put such a thing as that into your
head, you old silly?"
"Because there's a Zouave officer over there in the crowd who has been
staring fixedly at us ever since we came up, and trying to make
signals, and it's my opinion he's signaling to you. Look at him; he's
over there on the top of the steps."
"I won't look," said Minnie, pettishly. "How do I know who he is? I
declare I'm afraid to look at any body. He'll be coming and saving my
"I'm sure this man is an old acquaintance."
"Nonsense! how can he be?"
"It may be Captain Kirby."
"How silly! Why, Captain Kirby is in the Rifles."
"Perhaps he is dressed this way just for amusement. Look at him."
"Now, Kitty, I think you're unkind. You _know_ I don't want to look at
him; I don't want to see him. I don't care who he is--the great, big,
ugly, old horrid! And if you say any thing more, I'll go home."
Mrs. Willoughby was about to say something, but her attention and
Minnie's, and that of every one else, was suddenly diverted to another
Among the crowd they had noticed a tall man, very thin, with a lean,
cadaverous face, and long, lanky, rusty black hair. He wore a white
necktie, and a suit of rusty black clothes. He also held a large
umbrella in his hand, which he kept carefully up out of the way of the
crowd. This figure was a conspicuous one, even in that crowd, and the
ladies had noticed it at the very first.
As the Pope drove up they saw this long, slim, thin, cadaverous man,
in his suit of rusty black, edging his way through the crowd, so as to
get nearer, until at length he stood immediately behind the line of
Swiss Guards, who were keeping the crowd back, and forming a
passageway for the Pope. Meanwhile his Holiness was advancing through
the crowd. He reached out his hand, and smiled and bowed and murmured
a blessing over them. At last his carriage stopped. The door was
opened, and several attendants prepared to receive the Pope and assist
At that instant the tall, slim stranger pushed forward his sallow
head, with its long, lanky, and rusty black hair, between two Swiss
Guards, and tried to squeeze between them. The Swiss at first stood
motionless, and the stranger had actually succeeded in getting about
half-way through. He was immediately in front of his Holiness, and
staring at him with all his might. His Holiness saw this very peculiar
face, and was so surprised that he uttered an involuntary exclamation,
and stopped short in his descent.
The stranger stopped short too, and quite involuntarily also. For the
Swiss Guards, irritated by his pertinacity, and seeing the Pope's
gesture, turned suddenly, and two of them grasped the stranger by his
It was, of course, an extremely undignified attitude for the Swiss
Guards, whose position is simply an ornamental one. Nothing but the
most unparalleled outrage to their dignity could have moved them to
this. So unusual a display of energy, however, did not last long. A
few persons in citizens' clothes darted forward from among the crowd,
and secured the stranger; while the Swiss, seeing who they were,
resumed their erect, rigid, and ornamental attitude. The Pope found no
longer any obstacle, and resumed his descent. For a moment the
stranger had created a wide-spread consternation in the breasts of all
the different and very numerous classes of men who composed that
crowd. The arrest was the signal for a murmur of voices, among which
the ladies heard those of the knot of Englishmen who stood near.
"It's some Garibaldian," said they.
And this was the general sentiment.
Several hours after this they were at home, and a caller was
announced. It was the Baron Atramonte.
"Atramonte!" said Lady Dalrymple. "Who is that? We're not at home, of
course. Atramonte! Some of these Italian nobles. Really, I think we
have seen enough of them. Who is he, Kitty?"
"I'm sure I haven't the faintest idea. I never heard of him in my
"We're not at home, of course. It's a singular way, and surely can not
be Roman fashion. It's not civilized fashion. But the Continental
nobility are _so_ odd."
In a few minutes the servant, who had been dispatched to say, "Not at
home," returned with the statement that the Baron wished particularly
to see Miss Fay on urgent business.
[Illustration: "TWO OF THEM GRASPED THE STRANGER BY HIS COAT COLLAR."]
At this extraordinary message Lady Dalrymple and Mrs. Willoughby
looked first at one another, and then at Minnie, in amazement.
"I'm sure _I_ don't know any thing about him," said Minnie. "They
_always_ tease me so. Oh, do go and see who he is, and send him
away--please! Oh, do, please, Dowdy dear!"
"Well, I suppose I had better see the person," said Lady Dalrymple,
good-naturedly. "There must be some mistake. How is he dressed?" she
asked the servant. "Is he a military gentleman? Most of them seem to
belong to the army."
"Yes, my lady. Zouave dress, my lady."
At this Mrs. Willoughby and Minnie looked at one another. Lady
Dalrymple went away; and as no other was present, Ethel being, as
usual, in her room, Mrs. Willoughby sighed and said,
"I thought that man must know you."
"Well, I'm sure I don't know him," said Minnie. "I never knew a Zouave
officer in my life."
"It may be Captain Kirby, under an assumed name and a disguise."
"Oh no, it isn't. I don't believe he would be such a perfect--monster.
Oh dear! It's somebody, though. It must be. And he wants me. Oh, what
_shall_ I do?"
"Nonsense! You need not go. Aunty will see him, and send him off."
"Oh, I do so hope he'll go; but I'm afraid he won't."
After a short time Lady Dalrymple returned.
"Really," said she, "this is a most extraordinary person. He speaks
English, but not at all like an Englishman. I don't know who he is. He
calls himself a Baron, but he doesn't seem to be a foreigner. I'm
"I hope he's gone," said Mrs. Willoughby.
"No--that's the worst of it. He won't go. He says he must see Minnie,
and he won't tell his errand. I told him that he could not see you,
but that I would tell you what he wanted, and that you were not at
home. And what do you think he said?"
"I'm sure I don't know, Dowdy dear."
"Why, he said he had nothing to do, and would wait till you came back.
And he took his seat in a way that showed that he meant to wait.
Really, I'm quite at a loss what to do. You'll have to see him, Kitty
"What a strange person!" said Mrs. Willoughby. "It's _so_ rude. And
don't you know what he is? How do you know he isn't an Italian?"
"Oh, his English, you know. He speaks it perfectly, but not like an
Englishman, you know, nor like a Scotchman either, or an Irishman. I
wonder whether he may not be an American?"
At this Minnie started.
"Oh dear!" she said.
"What's the matter, darling?"
"An American! Oh dear! what _will_ become of me!"
"Why," said Lady Dalrymple, "do you know him, then, after all?"
"Oh, I'm _so_ afraid that I know him!"
"Who is it, dear?"
"Oh, Dowdy! Oh, Kitty!"
"What's the matter?"
"It must be that man. Oh, was there _ever_ such a trouble--"
"Really, Minnie dearest, you are allowing yourself to get too
agitated. Who _is_ this person?"
"An American? Why, I just said that I thought he might be one. I
didn't know that you were acquainted with any."
"Oh yes; I did get acquainted with some in--in Canada."
"Oh; and is this man a Canadian?"
"No, Dowdy darling; only an American."
"Well, if he's a friend of yours, I suppose you know something about
him. But how singular it is that you have so completely forgotten his
name. Atramonte? Why, I'm sure it's a _very_ singular name for an
American gentleman--at least it seems so to me--but I don't know much
about them, you know. Tell me, darling, who is he?"
"He--he saved my life."
"What! saved your life? Why, my precious child, what _are_ you talking
about? It was the Italian that saved your life, you know, not this
"Oh, but he did too," said Minnie, despairingly. "I couldn't help it.
He would do it. Papa was washed away. I wish they all wouldn't be so
Lady Dalrymple looked in an equally despairing manner at Mrs.
"What is it, Kitty dear? _Is_ the child insane, or what does she mean?
How could this person have saved her life?"
"That's just what distracts me," said Minnie. "They all do it. Every
single person comes and saves my life. And now I suppose I must go
down and see this person."
"Well, really, since you say he saved your life, perhaps it would be
as well not to be uncivil," said Lady Dalrymple; "but, at the same
time, he seems to me to act in a very extraordinary manner. And he
calls himself a Baron. Do they have nobles in America?"
"I'm sure I don't know, Dowdy dear. I never knew that he was a Baron.
He may have been the son of some American Baron; and--and--I'm sure I
"Nonsense, Minnie dear," said Mrs. Willoughby. "This man's title is a
foreign one. He probably obtained it in Italy or Spain, or perhaps
Mexico. I think they have titles in Mexico, though I really don't
"Why, of course, one isn't expected to know any thing about America,"
said Lady Dalrymple. "I can mention quite a number of English
statesmen, members of the cabinet, and others, who don't know any more
about America than I do."
"Do you really intend to go down yourself and see him, Minnie dear?"
asked Mrs. Willoughby.
"How can I help it? What am I to do? I must go, Kitty darling. He is
so very positive, and--and he insists so. I don't want to hurt his
feelings, you know; and I really think there is nothing for me to do
but to go. What do you think about it, Dowdy dear?" and she appealed
to her aunt.
"Well, Minnie, my child, I think it would be best not to be unkind or
uncivil, since he saved your life."
Upon this Minnie accompanied her sister to see the visitor.
Mrs. Willoughby entered the room first, and Minnie was close behind
her, as though she sought protection from some unknown peril. On
entering the room they saw a man dressed in Zouave uniform. His hair
was cropped short; he wore a mustache and no beard; his features were
regular and handsome; while a pair of fine dark eyes were looking
earnestly at the door, and the face and the eyes had the expression of
one who is triumphantly awaiting the result of some agreeable
surprise. Mrs. Willoughby at once recognized the stranger as the
Zouave officer who had stared at them near the Church of the Jesuits.
She advanced with lady-like grace toward him, when suddenly he stepped
hastily past her, without taking any notice of her, and catching
Minnie in his arms, he kissed her several times.
Mrs. Willoughby started back in horror.
Minnie did not resist, nor did she scream, or faint, or do any thing.
She only looked a little confused, and managed to extricate herself,
after which she took a seat as far away as she could, putting her
sister between her and the Zouave. But the Zouave's joy was full, and
he didn't appear to notice it. He settled himself in a chair, and
laughed loud in his happiness.
"Only to think of it," said he. "Why, I had no more idea of your being
here, Minnie, than _Victory_. Well, here you see me. Only been here a
couple of months or so. You got my last favor, of course? And ain't
you regular knocked up to see me a Baron? Yes, a Baron--a real, live
Baron! I'll tell you all about it. You see I was here two or three
years ago--the time of Mentana--and fought on the Pope's side. Odd
thing, too, wasn't it, for an American? But so it was. Well, they
promoted me, and wanted me to stay. But I couldn't fix it. I had
business off home, and was on my way there the time of the shipwreck.
Well, I've been dodgin' all round every where since then, but never
forgettin' little Min, mind you, and at last I found myself here, all
right. I'd been speculatin' in wines and raisins, and just dropped in
here to take pot-luck with some old Zouave friends, when, darn me! if
they didn't make me stay. It seems there's squally times ahead. They
wanted a live man. They knew I was that live man. They offered me any
thing I wanted. They offered me the title of Baron Atramonte. That
knocked me, I tell you. Says I, I'm your man. So now you see me Baron
Atramonte, captain in the Papal Zouaves, ready to go where glory waits
me--but fonder than ever of little Min. Oh, I tell you what, I ain't a
bit of a brag, but I'm _some_ here. The men think I'm a little the
tallest lot in the shape of a commander they ever _did_ see. When I'm
in Rome I do as the Romans do, and so I let fly at them a speech every
now and then. Why, I've gone through nearly the whole 'National
Speaker' by this time. I've given them Marcellus's speech to the mob,
Brutus's to the Romans, and Antony's over Caesar's dead body. I tried a
bit of Cicero against Catiline, but I couldn't remember it very well.
You know it, of course. _Quousque tandem_, you know."
[Illustration: "CATCHING MINNIE IN HIS ARMS, HE KISSED HER SEVERAL
"Well, Min, how goes it?" he continued. "This _is_ jolly; and, what's
more, it's real good in you--darn me if it ain't! I knew you'd be
regularly struck up all of a heap when you heard of me as a Baron, but
I really didn't think you'd come all the way here to see me. And you
do look stunning! You do beat all! And this lady? You haven't
introduced me, you know."
The Baron rose, and looked expectantly at Mrs. Willoughby, and then at
Minnie. The latter faltered forth some words, among which the Baron
caught the names Mrs. Willoughby and Rufus K. Gunn, the latter name
pronounced, with the middle initial and all, in a queer, prim way.
"Mrs. Willoughby--ah!--Min's sister, I presume. Well, I'm pleased to
see you, ma'am. Do you know, ma'am, I have reason to remember your
name? It's associated with the brightest hours of my life. It was in
your parlor, ma'am, that I first obtained Min's promise of her hand.
Your hand, madam."
And, stooping down, he grasped Mrs. Willoughby's hand, which was not
extended, and wrung it so hard that she actually gave a little shriek.
"For my part, ma'am," he continued, "I'm not ashamed of my name--not a
mite. It's a good, honest name; but being as the Holy Father's gone
and made me a noble, I prefer being addressed by my title. All
Americans are above titles. They despise them. But being in Rome, you
see, we must do as the Romans do; and so you needn't know me as Rufus
K. Gunn, but as the Baron Atramonte. As for you, Min--you and I won't
stand on ceremony--you may call me 'Roof,' or any other name you
fancy. I would suggest some pet name--something a little loving, you
In the midst of all this, which was poured forth with extreme
volubility, the servant came and handed a card.
* * * * *
[Illustration: "HAWBURY, AS I'M A LIVING SINNER!"]
THE AMERICAN BARON.
At any other time Mrs. Willoughby would perhaps have manoeuvred Minnie
out of the room; but on the present occasion the advent of the Italian
was an inexpressible relief. Mrs. Willoughby was not prepared for a
scene like this. The manners, the language, and the acts of Rufus K.
Gunn had filled her with simple horror. She was actually bewildered,
and her presence of mind was utterly gone. As for Minnie, she was
quite helpless, and sat, looking frightened. The Baron Atramonte might
have been one of the excellent of the earth--he might have been brave
and loyal and just and true and tender, but his manner was one to
which they were unaccustomed, and consequently Mrs. Willoughby was
The arrival of Girasole, therefore, was greeted by her with joy. She
at once rose to meet him, and could not help infusing into her
greeting a warmth which she had never shown him before. Girasole's
handsome eyes sparkled with delight, and when Mrs. Willoughby
pointedly made way for him to seat himself next to Minnie his cup of
joy was full. Mrs. Willoughby's only idea at that moment was to throw
some obstacle between Minnie and that "dreadful person" who claimed
her as his own, and had taken such shocking liberties. She did not
know that Girasole was in Rome, and now accepted his arrival at that
opportune moment as something little less than providential.
And now, actuated still by the idea of throwing further obstacles
between Minnie and the Baron, she herself went over to the latter, and
began a series of polite remarks about the weather and about Rome;
while Girasole, eager to avail himself of his unexpected privilege,
conversed with Minnie in a low voice in his broken English.
This arrangement was certainly not very agreeable to the Baron. His
flow of spirits seemed to be checked at once, and his volubility
ceased. He made only monosyllabic answers to Mrs. Willoughby's
remarks, and his eyes kept wandering, over beyond her to Minnie, and
scrutinizing the Italian who was thus monopolizing her at the very
moment when he was beginning to have a "realizing sense" of her
presence. He looked puzzled. He could not understand it at all. He
felt that some wrong was done by somebody. He fell into an ungracious
mood. He hated the Italian who had thus come between him and his
happiness, and who chatted with Minnie, in his abominable broken
English, just like an old acquaintance. He couldn't understand it. He
felt an unpleasant restraint thrown over him, and began to meditate a
departure, and a call at some more favorable time later in the
evening. But he wanted to have a few more words with "Min," and so he
tried to "sit out" the Italian.
But the Italian was as determined as the American. It was the first
chance that he had had to get a word with Minnie since he was in
Milan, and he was eager to avail himself of it. Mrs. Willoughby, on
her part, having thus discomfited the Baron, was not unmindful of the
other danger; so she moved her seat to a position near enough to
overlook and check Girasole, and then resumed those formal, chilling,
heartless, but perfectly polite remarks which she had been
administering to the Baron since Girasole's arrival.
At length Mrs. Willoughby began to be dreadfully bored, and groaned in
spirit over the situation in which Minnie had placed herself, and
racked her brains to find some way of retreat from these two
determined lovers, who thus set at naught the usages of society for
their own convenience. She grew indignant. She wondered if they would
_ever_ go. She wondered if it were not possible to engage the Count
and the Baron in a conversation by themselves, and, under cover of it,
withdraw. Finally she began to think whether she would not be
justified in being rude to them, since they were so inconsiderate. She
thought over this, and was rapidly coming to the decision that some
act of rudeness was her only hope, when, to her immense relief, the
servant entered and announced Lord Hawbury.
The entrance of the welcome guest into the room where the unwelcome
ones were seated was to Mrs. Willoughby like light in a dark place. To
Minnie also it brought immense relief in her difficult position. The
ladies rose, and were about to greet the new-comer, when, to their
amazement, the Baron sprang forward, caught Lord Hawbury's hand, and
wrung it over and over again with the most astonishing vehemence.
"Hawbury, as I'm a living sinner! Thunderation! Where did you come
from? Good again! Darn it all, Hawbury, this is real good! And how
well you look! _How_ are you? All right, and right side up? Who'd have
thought it? It ain't you, really, now, is it? Darn me if I ever was so
astonished in my life! You're the last man I'd have expected. Yes,
_Sir_. You may bet high on that."
"Ah, really," said Hawbury, "my dear fellow! Flattered, I'm sure. And
how goes it with you? Deuced odd place to find you, old boy. And I'm
deuced glad to see you, you know, and all that sort of thing."
And he wrung the Baron's hand quite as heartily as the other wrung
his; and the expression on his face was of as much cordiality and
pleasure as that upon the face of the other. Then Hawbury greeted the
ladies, and apologized by stating that the Baron was a very old and
tried friend, whom he had not seen for years; which intelligence
surprised Mrs. Willoughby greatly, and brought a faint ray of
something like peace to poor Minnie.
The ladies were not imprisoned much longer. Girasole threw a black
look at Lord Hawbury, and retreated. After a few moments' chat Hawbury
also retired, and made the Baron go with him. And the Baron went
without any urging. He insisted, however, on shaking hands heartily
with both of the ladies, especially Minnie, whose poor little hand he
nearly crushed into a pulp; and to the latter he whispered the
consoling assurance that he would come to see her on the following
day. After which he followed his friend out.
Then he took Hawbury over to his own quarters, and Hawbury made
himself very much at home in a rocking-chair, which the Baron regarded
as the pride and joy and glory of his room.
"By Jove!" cried Hawbury. "This is deuced odd, do you know, old chap;
and I can't imagine how the mischief you got here!"
This led to long explanations, and a long conversation, which was
protracted far into the night, to the immense enjoyment of both of the
The Baron was, as Lord Hawbury had said, an old friend. He had become
acquainted with him many years before upon the prairies of America,
near the Rocky Mountains. The Baron had rescued him from Indians, by
whom he had been entrapped, and the two friends had wandered far over
those regions, enduring perils, fighting enemies, and roughing it in
general. This rough life had made each one's better nature visible to
the other, and had led to the formation of a friendship full of mutual
appreciation of the other's best qualities. Now it is just possible
that if they had not known one another, Hawbury might have thought the
Baron a boor, and the Baron might have called Hawbury a "thundering
snob;" but as it was, the possible boor and the possible snob each
thought the other one of the finest fellows in the world.
"But you're not a Roman Catholic," said Hawbury, as the Baron
explained his position among the Zouaves.
"What's the odds? All's fish that comes to their net. To get an office
in the Church may require a profession of faith, but we're not so
particular in the army. I take the oath, and they let me go. Besides,
I have Roman Catholic leanings."
"Roman Catholic leanings?"
"Yes; I like the Pope. He's a fine man, Sir--a fine man. I regard that
man more like a father than any thing else. There isn't one of us but
would lay down our lives for that old gentleman."
"But you never go to confession, and you're not a member of the
"No; but then I'm a member of the army, and I have long chats with
some of the English-speaking priests. There are some first-rate
fellows among them, too. Yes, Sir."
"I don't see much of a leaning in all that."
"Leaning? Why, it's all leaning. Why, look here. I remember the time
when I was a grim, true-blue Puritan. Well, I ain't that now. I used
to think the Pope was the Beast of the 'Pocalypse. Well, now I think
he's the finest old gentleman I ever saw. I didn't use to go to
Catholic chapel. Well, now I'm there often, and I rather kind o' like
it. Besides, I'm ready to argue with them all day and all night, and
what more can they expect from a fighting man?
"You see, after our war I got my hand in, and couldn't stop fighting.
The Indians wouldn't do--too much throat-cutting and savagery. So I
came over here, took a fancy to the Pope, enlisted, was at Mentana,
fit there, got promoted, went home, couldn't stand it, and here I am,
back again; though how long I'm going to be here is more'n I can tell.
The fact is, I feel kind of onsettled."
"Oh, it's an aggravating place, at the best."
"There's such an everlasting waste of resources--such tarnation bad
management. Fact is, I've noted that it's always the case wherever you
trust ministers to do business. They're sure to make a mess of it.
I've known lots of cases. Why, that's always the way with us. Look at
our stock-companies of any kind, our religious societies, and our
publishing houses--wherever they get a ministerial committee, the
whole concern goes to blazes. I _know_ that.
"Yes, _Sir_. Now that's the case here. Here's a fine country. Why,
round this here city there's a country, Sir, that, if properly
managed, might beat any of our prairies--and look at it.
"Then, again, they complain of poverty. Why, I can tell you, from my
own observation, that they've got enough capital locked up, lying
useless, in this here city, to regenerate it all, and put it on its
feet. This capital wants to be utilized. It's been lying too long
without paying interest. It's time that it stopped. Why, I tell you
what it is, if they were to sell out what they have here lying idle,
and realize, they'd get enough money to form an endowment fund for the
Pope and his court so big that his Holiness and every official in the
place might get salaries all round out of the interest that would
enable them to live like--well, I was going to say like princes, but
there's a lot of princes in Rome that live so shabby that the
comparison ain't worth nothing.
"Why, see here, now," continued the Baron, warming with his theme,
which seemed to be a congenial one; "just look here; see the position
of this Roman court. They can actually levy taxes on the whole world.
Voluntary contributions, Sir, are a wonderful power. Think of our
missionary societies--our Sabbath-school organizations in the States.
Think of the wealth, the activity, and the action of all our great
charitable, philanthropic, and religious bodies. What supports them
all? Voluntary contributions. Now what I mean to say is this--I mean
to say that if a proper organization was arranged here, they could get
annual receipts from the whole round globe that would make the Pope
the richest man on it. Why, in that case Rothschild wouldn't be a
circumstance. The Pope might go into banking himself, and control the
markets of the world. But no. There's a lot of ministers here, and
they haven't any head for it. I wish they'd give me a chance. I'd make
"Then, again, they've got other things here that's ruining them.
There's too much repression, and that don't do for the immortal mind.
My idea is that every man was created free and equal, and has a right
to do just as he darn pleases; but you can't beat that into the heads
of the governing class here. No, Sir. The fact is, what Rome wants is
a republic. It'll come, too, some day. The great mistake of his
Holiness's life is that he didn't put himself at the head of the
movement in '48. He had the chance, but he got frightened, and backed
down. Whereas if he had been a real, live Yankee, now--if he had been
like some of our Western parsons--he'd have put himself on the tiptop
of the highest wave, and gone in. Why, he could have had all Italy at
his right hand by this time, instead of having it all against him.
There's where he made his little mistake. If I were Pope I'd fight the
enemy with their own weapons. I'd accept the situation. I'd go in head
over heels for a republic. I'd have Rome the capital, myself
president, Garibaldi commander-in-chief, Mazzini secretary of state--a
man, Sir, that can lick even Bill Seward himself in a regular,
old-fashioned, tonguey, subtile, diplomatic note. And in that case,
with a few live men at the head of affairs, where would Victor Emanuel
be? Emphatically, nowhere!
"Why, Sir," continued the Baron, "I'd engage to take this city as it
is, and the office of Pope, and run the whole Roman Catholic Church,
till it knocked out all opposition by the simple and natural process
of absorbing all opponents. We want a republic here in Rome. We want
freedom, Sir. Where is the Church making its greatest triumphs to-day?
In the States, Sir. If the Catholic Church made itself free and
liberal and go-ahead; if it kept up with the times; if it was imbued
with the spirit of progress, and pitched aside all old-fashioned
traditions--why, I tell you, Sir, it would be a little the tallest
organization on this green globe of ours. Yes, _Sir!_"
While Hawbury and the Baron were thus engaged in high discourse, Mrs.
Willoughby and Minnie were engaged in discourses of a less elevated
but more engrossing character.
After the ladies had escaped they went up stairs. Lady Dalrymple had
retired some time before to her own room, and they had the apartment
to themselves. Minnie flung herself into a chair and looked
bewildered; Mrs. Willoughby took another chair opposite, and said
nothing for a long time.
"Well," said Minnie at last, "you needn't be so cross, Kitty; I didn't
bring him here."
"Cross!" said her sister; "I'm not cross."
"Well, you're showing temper, at any rate; and you know you are, and I
think it very unkind in you, when I have so much to trouble me."
"Why, really, Minnie darling, I don't know what to say."
"Well, why don't you tell me what you think of him, and all that sort
of thing? You _might_, you know."
"Think of him!" repeated Mrs. Willoughby, elevating her eyebrows.
"Yes, think of him; and you needn't go and make faces about him, at
"Did I make faces? Well, dear," said Mrs. Willoughby, patiently, "I'll
tell you what I think of him. I'm afraid of him."
"Well, then," said Minnie, in a tone of triumph, "now you know how I
feel. Suppose he saved your life, and then came in his awfully
boisterous way to see you; and got you alone, and began that way, and
really quite overwhelmed you, you know; and then, when you were really
almost stunned, suppose he went and proposed to you? Now, then!"
And Minnie ended this question with the air of one who could not be
answered, and knew it.
"He's awful--perfectly awful!" said Mrs. Willoughby. "And the way he
treated you! It was _so_ shocking."
"I know; and that's just the horrid way he _always_ does," said
Minnie, in a plaintive tone. "I'm sure _I_ don't know what to do with
him. And then he's Lord Hawbury's friend. So what _are_ we to do?"
[Illustration: "LOOK AT THE MAN!"]
"I don't know, unless we leave Rome at once."
"But I don't _want_ to leave Rome," said Minnie. "I hate being chased
away from places by people--and they'd be sure to follow me, you
know--and I don't know what to do. And oh, Kitty darling, I've just
thought of something. It would be so nice. What do you think of it?"
"What is it?"
"Why, this. You know the Pope?"
"No, I don't."