Part 2 out of 5
garage! You go and look at it, Colonel, if you understand cars.
Fellowes, the chauffeur here, had a look at the plugs when I
brought it in, and you'll find that they haven't been touched."
"I trust," the Earl intervened, "that my chauffeur offered to do
what was necessary?"
"Certainly he did, Lord Maltenby," she assured him. "I am trying
hard to be my own mechanic, though, and I have set my mind on
changing those plugs myself to-morrow morning."
"You are your own chauffeur, then, Miss Abbeway?" her inquisitor
"You can change a wheel, perhaps?"
"Theoretically I can, but as a matter of fact I have never had to
"Your tyres," Colonel Henderson continued, "are of somewhat
"They are Russian," she told him. "I bought them for that reason.
As a matter of fact, they are very good tyres."
"Miss Abbeway," the Colonel said, "I don't know whether you are
aware that my police are in search of a spy who is reported to
have escaped from the marshes last night in a small motor-car
which was left at a certain spot in the Salthouse road. I do not
believe that there are two tyres such as yours in Norfolk. How do
you account for their imprint being clearly visible along the road
to a certain spot near Salthouse? My police have taken tracings
of them this morning."
Catherine remained perfectly speechless. A slow smile of triumph
dawned upon her accuser's lips. Lord Maltenby's eyebrows were
upraised as though in horror.
"Perhaps," Julian interposed, "I can explain the tyre marks upon
the road. Miss Abbeway drove me down to Furley's cottage, where I
spent the night, late in the afternoon. The marks were still
there when I returned this morning, because I noticed them."
"The same marks?" the Colonel asked, frowning.
"Without a doubt the same marks," Julian replied. "In one place,
where we skidded a little, I recognized them."
Colonel Henderson smiled a little more naturally.
"I begin to have hopes," he acknowledged frankly, "that I have
been drawn into another mare's nest. Nevertheless, I am bound to
ask you this question, Miss Abbeway. Did you leave your room at
all during last night?"
"Not unless I walked in my sleep," she answered, "but you had
better make enquiries of my aunt, and Parkins, our maid. They
sleep one on either side of me."
"You would not object," the Colonel continued, more cheerfully
still, "if my people thought well to have your things searched?"
"Not in the least," Catherine replied coolly, "only if you unpack
my trunks, I beg that you will allow my maid to fold and unfold my
"I do not think," Colonel Henderson said to Lord Maltenby, "that I
have any more questions to ask Miss Abbeway at present."
"In which case we will return to the drawing-room," the Earl
suggested a little stiffly. "Miss Abbeway, you will, I trust,
accept my apologies for our intrusion upon you. I regret that any
guest of mine should have been subjected to a suspicion so
Catherine laughed softly.
"Not outrageous really, dear Lord Maltenby," she said. "I do not
quite know of what I have been suspected, but I am sure Colonel
Henderson would not have asked me these questions if it had not
been his duty."
"If you had not been a guest in this house, Miss Abbeway," the
Colonel assured her, with some dignity, "I should have had you
arrested first and questioned afterwards."
"You come of a race of men, Colonel Henderson, who win wars," she
declared graciously. "You know your own mind."
"You will be joining us presently, I hope?" Lord Maltenby enquired
from the door.
"In a very few minutes," she promised.
The door closed behind them. Catherine waited for a moment, then
she sank a little hysterically into a chair.
"I cannot avoid a touch of melodrama, you see," she confessed.
"It goes with my character and nationality. But seriously, now
that that is over, I do not consider myself in the slightest
danger. The poor fellow who was shot this morning belongs to a
different order of people. He has been a spy over here since the
beginning of the war."
"And what are you?" he asked bluntly.
She laughed up in his face.
"A quite attractive young woman," she declared, - "at least I feel
sure you will think so when you know me better."
It was about half-past ten on the following morning when Julian,
obeying a stentorian invitation to enter, walked into Miles
Furley's sitting room. Furley was stretched upon the couch,
smoking a pipe and reading the paper.
"Good man!" was his hearty greeting. "I hoped you'd look me up
Julian dragged up the other dilapidated-looking easy-chair to the
log fire and commenced to fill his pipe from the open jar.
"How's the leg?" he enquired.
"Pretty nearly all right again," Furley answered cheerfully.
"Seems to me I was frightened before I was hurt. What about your
"No inconvenience at all," Julian declared, stretching himself
out. "I suppose I must have a pretty tough skull."
"News enough, of a sort, if you haven't heard it. They caught the
man who sandbagged me, and who I presume sawed your plank through,
and shot him last night."
"The devil they did!" Furley exclaimed, taking his pipe from his
mouth. "Shot him?. Who the mischief was he, then?"
"It appears," Julian replied, "that he was a German hairdresser,
who escaped from an internment camp two years ago and has been at
large ever since, keeping in touch, somehow or other, with his
friends on the other side. He must have known the game was up as
soon as he was caught. He didn't even attempt any defence."
"Shot, eh?" Furley repeated, relighting his pipe. "Serves him
damned well right!"
"You think so, do you?" Julian remarked pensively.
"Who wouldn't? I hate espionage. So does every Englishman.
That's why we are such duffers at the game, I suppose."
Julian watched his friend with a slight frown.
"How in thunder did you get mixed up with this affair, Furley?" he
Furley's bewilderment was too natural to be assumed. He removed
his pipe from his teeth and stared at his friend.
"What the devil are you driving at, Julian?" he demanded. "I can
assure you that I went out, the night before last, simply to make
one of the rounds which falls to my lot when I am in this part of
the world and nominated for duty. There are eleven of us between
here and Sheringham, special constables of a humble branch of the
secret service, if you like to put it so. We are a well-known
institution amongst the initiated. I've plodded these marshes
sometimes from midnight till daybreak, and although one's always
hearing rumours, until last night I have never seen or heard of a
single unusual incident."
"You had no idea, then," Julian persisted, "what it was that you
were on the look-out for the night before last? You had no idea,
say, from any source whatever, that there was going to be an
attempt on the part of the enemy to communicate with friends on
"Good God, no! Even to have known it would have been treason."
"You admit that?"
Furley drew himself stiffly up in his chair. His mass of brown
hair seemed more unkempt than usual, his hard face sterner than
ever by reason of its disfiguring frown.
"What the hell do you mean, Julian?"
"I mean," Julian replied, "that I have reason to suspect you,
Furley, of holding or attempting to hold secret communication with
an enemy country."
The pipestem which he was holding snapped in Furley's fingers.
His eyes were filled with fury.
"Damn you, Julian!" he exclaimed. "If I could stand on two legs,
I'd break your head. How dare you come here and talk such
"Isn't there some truth in what I have just said?" Julian asked
"Not a word."
Julian was silent for a moment. Furley was sitting upright upon
the sofa, his keen eyes aglint with anger.
"I am waiting for an explanation, Julian," he announced.
"You shall have it," was the prompt reply. "The companion of the
man who was shot, for whom the police are searching at this
moment, is a guest in my father's house. I have had to go to the
extent of lying to save her from detection."
"Her?" Furley gasped.
"Yes! The youth in fisherman's oilskins, into whose hands that
message passed last night, is Miss Catherine Abbeway. The young
lady has referred me to you for some explanation as to its being
in her possession."
Furley remained absolutely speechless for several moments. His
first expression was one of dazed bewilderment. Then the light
broke in upon him. He began to understand. When he spoke, all
the vigour had left his tone.
"You'll have to let me think about this for a moment, Julian," he
"Take your own time. I only want an explanation."
Furley recovered himself slowly. He stretched out his hand
towards the pipe rack, filled another pipe and lit it. Then he
"Julian," he said, "every word that I have spoken to you about the
night before last is the truth. There is a further confession,
however, which under the circumstances I have to make. I belong
to a body of men who are in touch with a similar association in
Germany, but I have no share in any of the practical doings - the
machinery, I might call it - of our organisation. I have known
that communications have passed back and forth, but I imagined
that this was done through neutral countries. I went out the
night before last as an ordinary British citizen, to do my duty.
I had not the faintest idea that there was to be any attempt to
land a communication here, referring to the matters in which I am
interested. I should imagine that the proof, of my words lies in
the fact that efforts were made to prevent my reaching my beat,
and that you, my substitute, whom I deliberately sent to take my
place, were attacked."
"I accept your word so far," Julian said. "Please go on."
"I am an Englishman and a patriot," Furley continued, "just as
much as you are, although you are a son of the Earl of Maltenby,
and you fought in the war. You must listen to me without
prejudice. There are thoughtful men in England, patriots to the
backbone, trying to grope their way to the truth about this bloody
sacrifice. There are thoughtful men in Germany on the same tack.
If, for the betterment of the world, we should seek to come into
touch with one another, I do not consider that treason, or
communicating with an enemy country in the ordinary sense of the
"I see," Julian muttered. "What you are prepared to plead guilty
to is holding communication with members of the Labour and
Socialist Party in Germany."
"I plead guilty to nothing," Furley answered, with a touch of his
old fierceness. "Don't talk like your father and his class,
Julian. Get away from it. Be yourself. Your Ministers can't end
the war. Your Government can't. They opened their mouth too wide
at first. They made too many commitments. Ask Stenson. He'll
tell you that I'm speaking the truth. So it goes on, and day by
day it costs the world a few hundred or a few thousand human
lives, and God knows how much of man's labour and brains,
annihilated, wasted, blown into the air! Somehow or other the war
has got to stop, Julian. If the politicians won't do it, the
"The people," Julian repeated a little sadly. "Rienzi once
trusted in the people."
"There's a difference," Furley protested. "Today the people are
all right, but the Rienzi isn't here - My God!"
He broke off suddenly, pursuing another train of thought. He
"Look here," he said, "we'll talk about the fate of that
communication later. What about Miss Abbeway?"
"Miss Abbeway," Julian told him, "was in imminent danger last
night of arrest as a spy. Against my principles and all my
convictions, I have done my best to protect her against the
consequences of her ridiculous and inexcusable conduct. I don't
know anything about your association, Furley, but I consider you a
lot of rotters to allow a girl to take on a job like this."
Furley's eyes flashed in sympathy.
"It was a cowardly action, Julian," he agreed. "I'm hot with
shame when I think of it. But don't, for heaven's sake, think I
had anything to do with the affair! We have a secret service
branch which arranges for those things. It's that skunk Fenn
who's responsible. Damn him!"
"Nicholas Fenn, the pacifist!" Julian exclaimed. "So you take
vermin like that into your councils!"
"You can't call him too hard a name for me at this moment," Furley
"Nicholas Fenn," Julian repeated, with a new light in his eyes.
"Why, the cable I censored was to him! So he's the arch traitor!"
"Nicholas Fenn is in it;" Furley admitted, "although I deny that
there's any treason whatever in the affair."
"Don't talk nonsense!" Julian replied. "What about your German
hairdresser who was shot this morning?"
"It was a mistake to make use of him," Furley confessed. "Fenn
has deceived us all as to the method of our communications. But
listen, Julian. You'll be able to get Miss Abbeway out of this?"
"If I don't," Julian replied, "I shall be in it myself, for I've
lied myself black in the face already."
"You're a man, for all the starch in you, Julian," Furley
declared. "If anything were to happen to that girl, I'd wring
"I think she's safe for the present," Julian pronounced. "You
see, she isn't in possession of the incriminating document. I
took it from her when she was in danger of arrest."
"What are you going to do with it?"
"You can't have much doubt about that," was the composed reply.
"I shall go to town to-morrow and hand it over to the proper
Julian rose to his feet as he spoke. Furley looked at him
"How in heaven's name, man," he groaned, "shall I be able to make
you see the truth!"
A touch of the winter sunlight was upon Julian's face which,
curiously enough, at that moment resembled his father's in its
cold, patrician lines. The mention of Nicholas Fenn's name seemed
to have transformed him.
"If I were you, Furley," he advised, "for the sake of our
friendship, I wouldn't try. There is no consideration in the
world which would alter my intentions."
There was the sound of the lifting of the outer latch, a knock at
the door. The incoming visitors stood upon no ceremony. Mr.
Stenson and Catherine showed themselves upon the threshold.
Mr. Stenson waved aside all ceremony and at once checked Furley's
attempt to rise to his feet.
"Pray don't get up, Furley," he begged, shaking hands with him.
"I hope you'll forgive such an informal visit. I met Miss Abbeway
on my way down to the sea, and when she told me that she was
coming to call on you, I asked leave to accompany her."
"You're very welcome, sir," was the cordial response. "It's an
honour which I scarcely expected."
Julian found chairs for every one, and Mr. Stenson, recognising
intuitively a certain state of tension, continued his
"Miss Abbeway and I," he said, "have been having a most
interesting conversation, or rather argument. I find that she is
entirely of your way of thinking, Furley. You both belong to the
order of what I call puffball politicians."
Catherine laughed heartily at the simile.
"Mr. Stenson is a glaring example," she pointed out, "of those who
do not know their own friends. Mr. Furley and I both believe that
some time or other our views will appeal to the whole of the
intellectual and unselfish world."
"It's a terrible job to get people to think," Furley observed.
"They are nearly always busy doing something else."
"And these aristocrats!"' Catherine continued, smiling at Julian.
"You spoil them so in England, you know. Eton and Oxford are
simply terrible in their narrowing effect upon your young men.
It's like putting your raw material into a sausage machine."
"Miss Abbeway is very severe this morning," Stenson declared, with
unabated good humour. "She has been attacking my policy and my
principles during the whole of our walk. Bad luck about your
accident, Furley. I suppose we should have met whilst I am down
here, if you hadn't developed too adventurous a spirit."
Furley glanced at Julian and smiled.
"I am not so sure about that, sir," he said. "Your host doesn't
approve of me very much."
"Do political prejudices exist so far from their home?" Mr.
"I am afraid my father is rather old-fashioned," Julian confessed.
"You are all old-fashioned-and stiff with prejudice," Furley
declared. "Even Orden," he went on, turning to Catherine, "only
tolerates me because we ate dinners off the same board when we
were' both making up our minds to be Lord High Chancellor."
"Our friend Furley," Julian confided, as he leaned across the
table and took a cigarette, "has no tact and many prejudices. He
does write such rubbish about the aristocracy. I remember an
article of his not very long ago, entitled `Out with our Peers!'
It's all very well for a younger son like me to take it lying
down, but you could scarcely expect my father to approve.
Besides, I believe the fellow's a renegade. I have an idea that
he was born in the narrower circles himself."
"That's where you're wrong, then," Furley grunted with
satisfaction. "My father was a boot manufacturer in a country
village of Leicestershire. I went in for the Bar because he left
me pots of money, most of which, by the bye, I seem to have
"Chiefly in Utopian schemes for the betterment of his betters,"
Julian observed drily.
"I certainly had an idea," Furley confessed, "of an asylum for
incapable younger sons."
"I call a truce," Julian proposed. "It isn't polite to spar
before Miss Abbeway."
"To me," Mr. Stenson declared, "this is a veritable temple of
peace. I arrived here literally on all fours. Miss Abbeway has
proved to me quite conclusively that as a democratic leader I have
missed my vocation."
She looked at him reproachfully. Nevertheless, his words seemed
to have brought back to her mind the thrill of their brief but
stimulating conversation. A flash of genuine earnestness
transformed her face, just as a gleam of wintry sunshine, which
had found its way in through the open window, seemed to discover
threads of gold in her tightly braided and luxuriant brown hair.
Her eyes filled with an almost inspired light:
"Mr. Stenson is scarcely fair to me," she complained. "I did not
presume to criticise his statesmanship, only there are some things
here which seem pitiful. England should be the ideal democracy of
the world. Your laws admit of it, your Government admits of it.
Neither birth nor money are indispensable to success. The way is
open for the working man to pass even to the Cabinet. And you are
nothing of the sort. The cause of the people is not in any
country so shamefully and badly represented. You have a
bourgeoisie which maintains itself in almost feudal luxury by
means of the labour which it employs, and that labour is content
to squeak and open its mouth for worms, when it should have the
finest fruits of the world. And all this is for want of
leadership. Up you come you David Sands, you Phineas Crosses, you
Nicholas Fenns, you Thomas Evanses. You each think that you
represent Labour, but you don't. You represent trade - the
workers at one trade. How they laugh at you, the men who like to
keep the government of this country in their own possession! They
stretch down a hand to the one who has climbed the highest, they
pull him up into the Government, and after that Labour is well
quit of him. He has found his place with the gods. Perhaps they
will make him a `Sir' and his wife a `Lady,' but for him it is all
over with the Cause. And so another ten years is wasted, while
another man grows up to take his place."
"She's right enough," Furley confessed gloomily. "There is
something about the atmosphere of the inner life of politics which
has proved fatal to every Labour man who has ever climbed. Paul
Fiske wrote the same thing only a few weeks ago. He thought that
it was the social atmosphere which we still preserve around our
politics. We no sooner catch a clever man, born of the people,
than we dress him up like a mummy and put him down at dinner
parties and garden parties, to do things he's not accustomed to,
and expect him to hold his own amongst people who are not his
people. There is something poisonous about it."
"Aren't you all rather assuming," Stenson suggested drily, "that
the Labour Party is the only party in politics worth considering?"
"If they knew their own strength," Catherine declared, "they would
be the predominant party. Should you like to go to the polls
to-day and fight for your seats against them?"
"Heaven forbid!" Mr. Stenson exclaimed. "But then we've made up
our mind to one thing - no general election during the war.
Afterwards, I shouldn't be at all surprised if Unionists and
Liberals and even Radicals didn't amalgamate and make one party."
"To fight Labour," Furley said grimly.
"To keep England great," Mr. Stenson replied. "You must remember
that so far as any scheme or program which the Labour Party has
yet disclosed, in this country or any other, they are preeminently
selfish. England has mighty interests across the seas. A
parish-council form of government would very soon bring disaster."
Julian glanced at the clock and rose to his feet.
"I don't want to hurry any one," he said, "but my father is rather
a martinet about luncheon."
They all rose. Mr. Stenson turned to Julian.
"Will you go on with Miss Abbeway?" he begged. "I will catch up
with you on the marshes. I want to have just a word with Furley."
Julian and his companion crossed the country road and passed
through the gate opposite on to the rude track which led down
almost to the sea.
"You are very interested in English labour questions, Miss
Abbeway," he remarked, "considering that you are only half an
"It isn't only the English labouring classes in whom I am
interested," she replied impatiently. "It is the cause of the
people throughout the whole of the world which in my small way I
"Your own country," he continued, a little diffidently, "is
scarcely a good advertisement for the cause of social reform."
Her tone trembled with indignation as she answered him.
"My own country," she said, "has suffered for so many centuries
from such terrible oppression that the reaction was bound, in its
first stages, to produce nothing but chaos. Automatically, all
that seems to you unreasonable, wicked even, in a way, horrible -
will in the course of time disappear. Russia will find herself.
In twenty years' time her democracy will have solved the great
problem, and Russia be the foremost republic of the world."
"Meanwhile," he remarked, "she is letting us down pretty badly."
"But you are selfish, you English!" she exclaimed. "You see one
of the greatest nations in the world going through its hour of
agony, and you think nothing but how you yourselves will be
affected! Every thinking person in Russia regrets that this thing
should have come to pass at such a time. Yet it is best for you
English to look the truth in the face. It wasn't the Russian
people who were pledged to you, with whom you were bound in
alliance. It was that accursed trick all European politicians
have of making secret treaties and secret understandings, building
up buffer States, trying to whittle away a piece of the map for
yourselves, trying all the time to be dishonest under the shadow
of what is called diplomacy. That is what brought the war about.
It was never the will of the people. It was the Hohenzollerns and
the Romanoffs, the firebrands of the French Cabinet, and your own
clumsy, thick-headed efforts to get the best of everybody and yet
keep your Nonconformist conscience. The people did not make this
war, but it is the people who are going to end it."
They walked in silence for some minutes, he apparently pondering
over her last words, she with the cloud passing from her face as,
with her head a little thrown back and her eyes half-closed, she
sniffed the strong, salty air with an almost voluptuous expression
of content. She was perfectly dressed for the country, from her
square-toed shoes, which still seemed to maintain some distinction
of shape, the perfectly tailored coat and skirt, to the smart
little felt hat with its single quill. She walked with the free
grace of an athlete, unembarrassed with the difficulties of the
way or the gusts which swept across the marshy places, yet not
even the strengthening breeze, which as they reached the sea line
became almost a gale, seemed to have power to bring even the
faintest flush of colour to her cheeks. They reached the long
headland and stood looking out at the sea before she spoke again.
"You were very kind to me last night, Mr. Orden," she said, a
"I paid a debt," he reminded her.
"I suppose there is something in that," she admitted. "I really
believe that that exceedingly unpleasant person with whom I was
brought into temporary association would have killed you if I had
"I am inclined to agree with you," he assented. "I saw him very
hazily, but a more criminal type of countenance I never beheld."
"So that we are quits," she ventured.
"With a little debt on my side still to be paid."
"Well, there is no telling what demands I may make upon our
"Acquaintance?" he protested.
"Would you like to call it friendship?"
"A very short time ago;" he said deliberately, "even friendship
would not have satisfied me."
"I dislike mysteries."
"Poor me!" she sighed. "However, you can rid yourself of the
shadow of one as soon as you like after luncheon. It would be
quite safe now, I think, for me to take back that packet."
"Yes," he assented slowly, "I suppose that it would."
She looked up into his face. Something that she saw there brought
her own delicate eyebrows together in a slight frown.
"You will give it me after lunch?" she proposed.
"I think not," was the quiet reply.
"You were only entrusted with it for a time," she reminded him,
with ominous calm. "It belongs to me."
"A document received in this surreptitious fashion," he
pronounced, "is presumably a treasonable document. I have no
intention of returning it to you."
She walked by his side for a few moments in silence. Glancing
down into her face, Julian was almost startled. There were none
of the ordinary signs of anger there, but an intense white
passion, the control of which was obviously costing her a
prodigious effort. She touched his fingers with her ungloved hand
as she stepped over a stile, and he found them icy cold. All the
joy of that unexpectedly sunny morning seemed to have passed.
"I am sorry, Miss Abbeway," he said almost humbly, "that you take
my decision so hardly. I ask you to remember that I am just an
ordinary, typical Englishman, and that I have already lied for
your sake. Will you put yourself in my place?"
They had climbed the little ridge of grass-grown sand and stood
looking out seaward. Suddenly all the anger seemed to pass from
her face. She lifted her head, her soft brown eyes flashed into
his, the little curl of her lips seemed to transform her whole
expression. She was no longer the gravely minded prophetess of a
great cause, the scheming woman, furious at the prospect of
failure. She was suddenly wholly feminine, seductive, a coquette.
"If you were just an ordinary, stupid, stolid Englishman," she
whispered, "why did you risk your honour and your safety for my
sake? Will you tell me that, dear man of steel?"
Julian leaned even closer over her. She was smiling now frankly
into his face, refusing the warning of his burning eyes. Then
suddenly, silently, he held her to him and kissed her,
unresisting, upon the lips. She made no protest. He even fancied
afterwards, when he tried to rebuild in his mind that queer,
passionate interlude, that her lips had returned what his had
given. It was he who released her - not she who struggled. Yet
he understood. He knew that this was a tragedy.
Stenson's voice reached them from the other side of the ridge.
"Come and show me the way across this wretched bit of marsh,
Orden. I don't like these deceptive green grasses."
"`Pitfalls for the Politician' or `Look before you leap'." Julian
muttered aimlessly. "Quite right to avoid that spot, sir. Just
follow where I am pointing."
Stenson made his laborious way to their side.
"This may be a short cut back to the Hall," he exclaimed, "but
except for the view of the sea and this gorgeous air, I think I
should have preferred the main road! Help me up, Orden. Isn't it
somewhere near here that that little affair, happened the other
"This very spot," Julian assented. "Miss Abbeway and I were just
speaking of it."
They both glanced towards her. She was standing with her back to
them, looking out seawards. She did not move even at the mention
of her name.
"A dreary spot at night, I dare say," the Prime Minister remarked,
without overmuch interest. "How do we get home from here, Orden?
I haven't forgotten your warning about luncheon, and this air is
giving me a most lively appetite."
"Straight along the top of this ridge for about three quarters of
a mile, sir, to the entrance of the harbour there."
"I have a petrol launch," Julian explained, "and I shall land you
practically in the dining room in another ten minutes."
"Let us proceed," Mr. Stenson suggested briskly. "What a queer
fellow Miles Furley is! Quite a friend of yours, isn't he, Miss
"I have seen a good deal of him lately," she answered, walking on
and making room for Stenson to fall into step by her side, but
still keeping her face a little averted. "A man of many but
confused ideas; a man, I should think, who stands an evil chance
of muddling his career away."
"We offered him a post in the Government," Stenson ruminated.
"He had just sense enough to refuse that, I suppose," she
observed, moving slowly to the right and thereby preventing Julian
from taking a place by her side. "Yet," she went on, "I find in
him the fault of so many Englishmen, the fault that prevents their
becoming great statesmen, great soldiers, or even," she added
coolly, "successful lovers."
"And what is that?" Julian demanded.
She remained silent. It was as though she had heard nothing. She
caught Mr. Stenson's arm and pointed to a huge white seagull,
drifting down the wind above their heads.
"To think," she said, "with that model, we intellectuals have
waited nearly two thousand years for the aeroplane!"
According to plans made earlier in the day, a small shooting party
left the Hall immediately after luncheon and did not return until
late in the afternoon. Julian, therefore, saw nothing more of
Catherine until she came into the drawing-room, a few minutes
before the announcement of dinner, wearing a wonderful toilette of
pale blue silk, with magnificent pearls around her neck and
threaded in her Russian headdress. As is the way with all women
of genius, Catherine's complete change of toilette indicated a
parallel change in her demeanour. Her interesting but somewhat
subdued manner of the previous evening seemed to have vanished.
At the dinner table she dominated the conversation. She displayed
an intimate acquaintance with every capital of Europe and with
countless personages of importance. She exchanged personal
reminiscences with Lord Shervinton, who had once been attached to
the Embassy at Rome, and with Mr. Hannaway Wells, who had been
first secretary at Vienna. She spoke amusingly of Munich, at
which place, it appeared, she had first studied art, but dilated,
with all the artist's fervour, on her travellings in Spain, on the
soft yet wonderfully vivid colouring of the southern cities. She
seemed to have escaped altogether from the gravity of which she
had displayed traces on the previous evening. She was no longer
the serious young woman with a purpose. From the chrysalis she
had changed into the butterfly, the brilliant and cosmopolitan
young queen of fashion, ruling easily, not with the arrogance of
rank, but with the actual gifts of charm and wit. Julian himself
derived little benefit from being her neighbour, for the
conversation that evening, from first to last, was general. Even
after she had left the room, the atmosphere which she had created
seemed to linger behind her.
"I have never rightly understood Miss Abbeway," the Bishop
declared. "She is a most extraordinarily brilliant young woman."
Lord Shervinton assented.
"To-night you have Catherine Abbeway," he expounded, "as she might
have been but for these queer, alternating crazes of hers - art
and socialism. Her brain was developed a little too early, and
she was unfortunately, almost in her girlhood, thrown in with a
little clique of brilliant young Russians who attained a great
influence over her. Most of them are in Siberia or have
disappeared by now. One Anna Katinski - was brought back from
Tobolsk like a royal princess on the first day of the revolution."
"It is strange," the Earl pronounced didactically, "that a young
lady of Miss Abbeway's birth and gifts should espouse the cause of
this Labour rabble, a party already cursed with too many leaders."
"A woman, when she takes up a cause," Mr. Hannaway Wells observed,
"always seeks either for the picturesque or for something which
appeals to the emotions. So long as she doesn't mix with them,
the cause of the people has a great deal to recommend it. One can
use beautiful phrases, can idealise with a certain amount of
logic, and can actually achieve things."
Julian shrugged his shoulders.
"I think we are all a little blind," he remarked, "to the danger
in which we stand through the great prosperity of Labour to-day."
The Bishop leaned across the table.
"You have been reading Fiske this week."
"Did I quote?" Julian asked carelessly. "I have a wretched
memory. I should never dare to become a politician. I should
always be passing off other people's phrases as my own."
"Fiske is quite right in his main contention," Mr. Stenson
interposed. "The war is rapidly creating a new class of
bourgeoisie. The very differences in the earning of skilled
labourers will bring trouble before long - the miner with his
fifty or sixty shillings, and the munition worker with his seven
or eight pounds - men drawn from the same class."
"England," declared the Earl, indulging in his favourite speech,
"was never so contented as when wages were at their lowest."
"Those days will never come again," Mr. Hannaway Wells foretold
grimly. "The working man has tasted blood. He has begun to
understand his power. Our Ministers have been asleep for a
generation. The first of these modern trades unions should have
been treated like a secret society in Italy. Look at them now,
and what they represent! Fancy what it will mean when they have
all learnt to combine! - when Labour produces real leaders!"
"Can any one explain the German democracy?" Lord Shervinton
"The ubiquitous Fiske was trying to last week in one of the
Reviews," Mr. Stenson replied. "His argument was that Germany
alone, of all the nations in the world, possessed an extra quality
or an extra sense - I forget which he called it - the sense of
discipline. It's born in their blood. Generations of military
service are responsible for it. Discipline and combination - that
might be their motto. Individual thought has been drilled into
grooves, just as all individual effort is specialised. The
Germans obey because it is their nature to obey. The only
question is whether they will stand this, the roughest test they
have ever had - whether they'll see the thing through."
"Personally, I think they will," Hannaway Wells pronounced, "but
if I should be wrong - if they shouldn't - the French Revolution
would be a picnic compared with the German one. It takes a great
deal to drive a national idea out of the German mind, but if ever
they should understand precisely and exactly how they have been
duped for the glorification of their masters - well, I should pity
"Do your essays in journalism," the Bishop asked politely, "ever
lead you to touch upon Labour subjects, Julian?"
"Once or twice, in a very mild way," was the somewhat diffident
"I had an interesting talk with Furley this morning," the Prime
Minister observed. "He tells me that they are thinking of making
an appeal to this man Paul Fiske to declare himself. They want a
leader - they want one very badly - and thank heavens they don't
know where to look for him!"
"But surely," Julian protested, "they don't expect necessarily to
find a leader of men in an anonymous contributor to the Reviews?
Fiske, when they have found him, may be a septuagenarian, or a man
of academic turn of mind, who never leaves his study. 'Paul
Fiske' may even be the pseudonym of a woman."
The Earl rose from his place.
"This afternoon," he announced, "I read the latest article of this
Paul Fiske. In my opinion he is an exceedingly mischievous
person, without the slightest comprehension of the forces which
really count in government."
The Bishop's eyes twinkled as he left the room with his hand on
his godson's arm.
"It would be interesting," he whispered, "to hear this man Fiske's
opinion of your father's last speech in the House of Lords upon
It was not until the close of a particularly unsatisfactory
evening of uninspiring bridge that Julian saw anything more of
Catherine. She came in from the picture gallery, breathless,
followed by four or five of the young soldiers, to whom she had
been showing the steps of a new dance, and, turning to Julian with
an impulsiveness which surprised him, laid her fingers
imperatively upon his arm.
"Take me somewhere, please, where we can sit down and talk," she
begged, "and give me something to drink."
He led the way into the billiard room and rang the bell.
"You have been overtiring yourself," he said, looking down at her
"Have I?" she answered. "I don't think so. I used to dance all
through the night in Paris and Rome, a few years ago. These young
men are so clumsy, though - and I think that I am nervous."
She lay back in her chair and half closed her eyes. A servant
brought in the Evian water for which she had asked and a whisky
and soda for Julian. She drank thirstily and seemed in a few
moments to have overcome her fatigue. She turned to her companion
with an air of determination.
"I must speak to you about that packet, Mr. Orden," she insisted.
"I cannot help it. You forget that with me it is a matter of life
or death. You must realise that you were only entrusted with it.
You are a man of honour. Give it to me."
"What are you thinking of doing with it, then?"
"I shall take it to London with me to-morrow," he replied, "and
hand it over to a friend of mine at the Foreign Office."
"Would nothing that I could do or say," she asked passionately,
"influence your decision?"
"Everything that you do or say interests and affects me," he
answered simply, "but so far as regards this matter, my duty is
clear. You have nothing to fear from my account of how it came
into my possession. It would be impossible for me to denounce you
for what I fear you are. On the other hand, I cannot allow you
the fruits of your enterprise."
"You consider me, I suppose," she observed after a moment's pause,
"an enemy spy?"
"You have proved it," he reminded her.
"Of Overman - my confederate," she admitted, "that was true. Of
me it is not. I am an honest intermediary between the honest
people of Germany and England."
"There can be no communication between the two countries during
wartime, except through official channels," he declared.
Her eyes flashed. She seemed in the throes of one of those little
bursts of tempestuous passion which sometimes assailed her.
"You talk - well, as you might be supposed to talk!" she
exclaimed, breaking off with an effort. "What have official
channels done to end this war? I am not here to help either side.
I represent simply humanity. If you destroy or hand over to the
Government that packet, you will do your country an evil turn."
He shook his head.
"I am relieved to hear all that you say," he told her, "and I am
heartily glad to think that you do not look upon yourself as
Overman's associate. On the other hand, you must know that any
movement towards peace, except through the authorised channels, is
treason to the country."
"If only you were not the Honourable Julian Orden, the son of an
English peer!" she groaned.' "If only you had not been to Eton and
to Oxford! If only you were a man, a man of the people, who could
"Neither my birth nor my education," he assured her, "have
affected my present outlook upon life."
"Pooh!" she scoffed. "You talk like a stiffened sheet of
foolscap! I am to leave here to-morrow, then, without my packet?"
"You must certainly leave - when you do leave - without that," he
assented. "There is one thing, however, which I very sincerely
hope that you will leave behind you."
"My forgiveness for what?" she asked, after a moment's pause.
"For my, rashness this morning."
Her eyes grew a little larger.
"Because you kissed me?" she observed, without flinching. "I have
nothing to forgive. In fact," she went on, "I think that I should
have had more to forgive if you had not"
He was puzzled and yet encouraged. She was always bewildering him
by her sudden changes from the woman of sober thoughtfulness to
the woman of feeling, the woman eager to give, eager to receive.
At that moment it seemed as though her sex possessed her to the
exclusion of everything outside. Her eyes were soft and filled
with the desire of love, her lips sweet and tremulous. She had
suddenly created a new atmosphere around her, an atmosphere of
bewildering and passionate femininity.
"Wont you tell me, please, what you mean?" he begged.
"Isn't it clear?" she answered, very softly but with a suspicion
of scorn in her low tones. "You kissed me because I deliberately
invited it. I know that quite well. My anger - and I have been
angry about it - is with myself."
He was a little taken aback. Her perfect naturalness was
disarming, a little confusing.
"You certainly did seem provocative," he confessed, "but I ought
to have remembered."
"You are very stupid," she sighed. "I deliberately invited your
embrace. Your withholding it would simply have added to my
humiliation. I am furious with myself, simply because, although I
have lived a great part of my life with men, on equal terms with
them, working with them, playing with them, seeing more of them at
all times than of my own sex, such a thing has never happened to
"I felt that," he said simply.
For a moment her face shone. There was a look of gratitude in her
eyes. Her impulsive grasp of his hand left his fingers tingling.
"I am glad that you understood," she murmured. "Perhaps that will
help me just a little. For the rest, if you wish to be very kind,
you will forget."
"If I cannot do that," he promised, "I will at least turn the key
upon my memories."
"Do more than that," she begged. "Throw the key into the sea, or
whatever oblivion you choose to conjure up. Moments such as those
have no place in my life. There is one purpose there more intense
than anything else, that very purpose which by some grim irony of
fate it seems to be within your power to destroy."
He remained silent. Ordinary expressions of regret seemed too
inadequate. Besides, the charm of the moment was passing. The
other side of her was reasserting itself.
"I suppose," she went on, a little drearily, "that even if I told
you upon my honour, of my certain knowledge, that the due delivery
of that packet might save the lives of thousands of your
countrymen, might save hearts from breaking, homes from becoming
destitute - even if I told you all this, would it help me in my
"Nothing could help you," he assured her, "but your whole
confidence, and even then I fear that the result would be the
"Oh,, but you are very hard!" she murmured. "My confidence
belongs to others. It is not mine alone to give you."
"You see," he explained, "I know beforehand that you are speaking
the truth as you see it. I know beforehand that any scheme in
which you are engaged is for the benefit of our fellow creatures
and not for their harm. But alas! you make yourself the judge of
these things, and there are times when individual effort is the
most dangerous thing in life."
"If you were any one else!" she sighed.
"Why be prejudiced about me?" he protested. "Believe me, I am not
a frivolous person. I, too, think of life and its problems. You
yourself are an aristocrat. Why should not I as well as you have
sympathy and feeling for those who suffer?"
"I am a Russian," she reminded him, "and in Russia it is
different. Besides, I am no longer an aristocrat. I am a
citizeness of the world. I have eschewed everything in life
except one thing, and for that I have worked with all my heart and
strength. As for you, what have you done? What is your record?"
"Insignificant, I fear," he admitted. "You see, a very promising
start at the Bar was somewhat interfered with by my brief period
"At the present moment you have no definite career," she declared.
"You have even been wasting your time censoring."
"I am returning now to my profession."
"Your profession!" she scoffed. "That means you will spend your
time wrangling with a number of other bewigged and narrow-minded
people about uninteresting legal technicalities which lead nowhere
and which no one cares about."
"There is my journalism."
"You have damned it with your own phrase 'hack journalism'!"
"I may enter Parliament."
"Yes, to preserve your rights," she retorted.
"I am afraid," he sighed, "that you haven't a very high opinion of
"It is within your power to make me look upon you as the bravest,
the kindest, the most farseeing of men," she declared.
He shook his head.
"I decline to think that you would think any the better of me for
committing a dishonourable action for your sake."
"Try me," she begged, her hand resting once more upon his. "If
you want my kind feelings, my everlasting gratitude, they are
yours. Give me that packet."
"That is impossible," he declared uncompromisingly. "If you wish
to alter my attitude with regard to it, you must tell me exactly
from whom it comes, what it contains, and to whom it goes."
"You ask more than is possible.. You make me almost sorry - "
"Sorry for what?"
"Sorry that I saved your life," she said boldly. "Why should I
not be? There are many who will suffer, many who will lose their
lives because of your obstinacy."
"If you believe that, confide in me."
She shook her head sadly.
"If only you were different!"
"I am a human being," he protested. "I have sympathies and heart.
I would give my life willingly to save any carnage."
"I could never make you understand," she murmured hopelessly. "I
shall not try. I dare not risk failure. Is this room hot, or is
it my fancy? Could we have a window open?"
"By all means."
He crossed the room and lifted the blind from before one of the
high windows which opened seawards. In the panel of the wall,
between the window to which he addressed himself and the next one,
was a tall, gilt mirror, relic of the days, some hundreds of years
ago, when the apartment had been used as a drawing-room. Julian,
by the merest accident, for the pleasure of a stolen glance at
Catherine, happened to look in it as he leaned over towards the
window fastening. For a single moment he stood rigid. Catherine
had risen to her feet and, without the slightest evidence of any
fatigue, was leaning, tense and alert, over the tray on which his
untouched whisky and soda was placed. Her hand was outstretched.
He saw a little stream of white powder fall into the tumbler. An
intense and sickening feeling of disappointment almost brought a
groan to his lips. He conquered himself with an effort, however,
opened the window a few inches, and returned to his place.
Catherine was lying back, her eyes half-closed, her arms hanging
listlessly on either side of her chair.
"Is that better?" he enquired.
"Very much," she assured him. "Still, I think that if you do not
mind, I will go to bed. I am troubled with a very rare attack of
nerves. Drink your whisky and soda, and then will you take me
into the drawing-room?"
He played with his tumbler thoughtfully. His first impulse was to
drop it. Intervention, however, was at hand. The door opened,
and the Princess entered with Lord Shervinton.
"At last!" the former exclaimed. "I have been looking for you
everywhere, child. I am sure that you are quite tired out, and I
insist upon your going to bed."
"Finish your whisky and soda," Catherine begged Julian, "and I
will lean on your arm as far as the staircase."
Fate stretched out her right hand to help him. The Princess took
possession of her niece.
"I shall look after you myself," she insisted. "Mr. Orden is
wanted to play billiards. Lord Shervinton is anxious for a game."
"I shall be delighted," Julian answered promptly.
He moved to the door and held it open. Catherine gave him her
fingers and a little half-doubtful smile.
"If only you were not so cruelly obstinate!" she sighed.
He found no words with which to answer her. The shock of his
discovery was still upon him.
"You'll give me thirty in a hundred, Julian," Lord Shervinton
called out cheerfully. "And shut that door as soon as you can,
there's a good fellow. There's a most confounded draught."
It was at some nameless hour in the early morning when Julian's
vigil came to an end, when the handle of his door was slowly
turned, and the door itself pushed open and closed again. Julian,
lying stretched upon his bed, only half prepared for the night,
with a dressing gown wrapped around him, continued to breathe
heavily, his eyes half-closed, listening intently to the
fluttering of light garments, the soft, almost noiseless footfall
of light feet. He heard her shake out his dinner coat, try the
pockets, heard the stealthy opening and closing of the drawers in
his wardrobe. Presently the footsteps drew near to his bed. For
a moment he was obliged to set his teeth. A little waft of
peculiar, unanalysable perfume, half-fascinating, half-repellent,
came to him with a sense of disturbing familiarity. She paused by
his bedside. He felt her hand steal under the pillow, which his
head scarcely touched; search the pockets of his dressing gown,
search even the bed. He listened to her soft breathing. The
consciousness of her close and intimate presence affected him in
an inexplicable manner. Presently, to his intense relief, she
glided away from his immediate neighbourhood, and the moment for
which he had waited came. He heard her retreating footsteps pass
through the communicating door into his little sitting room, where
he had purposely left a light burning. He slipped softly from the
bed and followed her. She was bending over an open desk as he
crossed the threshold. He closed the door and stood with his back
"Much warmer," he said, "only, you see, it isn't there."
She started violently at the sound of his voice, but she did not
immediately turn around. When she did so, her demeanour was
almost a shock to him. There was no sign of nervousness or
apology in her manner. Her eyes flashed at him angrily. She wore
a loose red wrap trimmed with white fur, a dishabille unusually
and provokingly attractive.
"So you were shamming sleep!" she exclaimed indignantly.
"Entirely," he admitted.
Neither spoke for a moment. Her eyes fell upon a tumbler of
whisky and soda, which stood on a round table drawn up by the side
of his easy-chair.
"I have not come to bed thirsty," he assured her. "I had another
one downstairs - to which I helped myself. This one I brought up
to try if I could remember sufficient of my chemistry to determine
its contents. I have been able to decide, to my great relief,
that your intention was probably to content yourself with plunging
me into only temporary slumber."
"I wanted you out of the way whilst I searched your rooms," she
told him coolly. "If you were not such an obstinate, pig-headed,
unkind, prejudiced person, it would not have been necessary."
"Dear me!" he murmured. "Am I all that? Won't you sit down?"
For a moment she looked as though she were about to strike him
with the electric torch which she was carrying. With a great
effort of self-control, however, she changed her mind and threw
herself into his easy-chair with a little gesture of recklessness.
Julian seated himself opposite to her. Although she kept her face
as far as possible averted, he realised more than ever in those
few moments that she was really an extraordinarily beautiful
person. Her very attitude was full of an angry grace. The
quivering of her lips was the only sign of weakness. Her eyes
were filled with cold resentment.
"Well," she said, "I am your prisoner. I listen."
"You are after that packet, I suppose?"
"What sagacity!" she scoffed. "I trusted you with it, and you
behaved like a brute. You kept it. It has nothing to do with
you. You have no right to it."
"Let us understand one another, once and for all," he suggested.
"I will not even discuss the question of rightful or wrongful
possession. I have the packet, and I am going to keep it. You
cannot cajole it put of me, you cannot steal it from me.
To-morrow I shall take it to London and deliver it to my friend at
the Foreign Office. Nothing could induce me to change my mind."
She seemed suddenly to be caught up in the vortex of a new
emotion. All the bitterness passed from her expression. She fell
on her knees by his side, sought his hands, and lifted her face,
full of passionate entreaty, to his. Her eyes were dimmed with
tears, her voice piteous.
"Do not be so cruel, so hard," she begged. "I swear before Heaven
that there is no treason in those papers, that they are the one
necessary link in a great, humanitarian scheme. Be generous, Mr.
Orden. Julian! Give it back to me. It is mine. I swear - "
His hands gripped her shoulders. She was conscious that he was
looking past her, and that there was horror in his eyes. The
words died away on her lips. She, too, turned her head. The door
of the sitting room had been opened from outside. Lord Maltenby
was standing there in his dressing gown, his hand stretched out
behind him as though to keep some one from following him.
"Julian," he demanded sternly, "what is the meaning of this?"
For a moment Julian was speechless, bereft of words, or sense of
movement. Catherine still knelt there, trembling. Then Lord
Maltenby was pushed unceremoniously to one side. It was the
Princess who entered.
"Catherine!" she screamed. "Catherine!"
The girl rose slowly to her feet. The Princess was leaning on the
back of a chair, dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief and sobbing
hysterically. Lord Shervinton's voice was heard outside.
"What the devil is all this commotion?" he demanded.
He, too, crossed the threshold and remained transfixed. The Earl
closed the door firmly and stood with his back against it.
"Come," he said, "we will have no more spectators to this
disgraceful scene. Julian, kindly remember you are not in your
bachelor apartments. You are in the house over which your mother
presides. Have you any reason to offer, or excuse to urge, why I
should not ask this young woman to leave at daybreak?"
"I have no excuse, sir," Julian answered, "I certainly have a
"Because you would be putting an affront upon the lady who has
promised to become my wife. I am quite aware that her presence in
my sitting room is unusual, but under the circumstances I do not
feel called upon to offer a general explanation. I shall say
nothing beyond the fact that a single censorious remark will be
considered by me as an insult to my affianced wife."
The Princess abandoned her chorus of mournful sounds and dried her
eyes. Lord Waltenby was speechless.
"But why all this mystery?" the Princess asked pitifully. "It is
a great event, this. Why did you not tell me, Catherine, when you
came to my room?"
"There has been some little misunderstanding," Julian explained.
"It is now removed. It brought us," he added, "very near tragedy.
After what I have told you, I beg whatever may seem unusual to you
in this visit with which Catherine has honoured me will be
Lord Maltenby drew a little breath of relief. Fortunately, he
missed that slight note of theatricality in Julian's demeanour
which might have left the situation still dubious.
"Very well, then, Julian," he decided, "there is nothing more to
be said upon the matter. Miss Abbeway, you will allow me to
escort you to your room. Such further explanations as you may
choose to offer us can be very well left now until the morning."
"You will find that the whole blame for this unconventional
happening devolves upon me," Julian declared.
"It was entirely my fault," Catherine murmured repentantly. "I am
so sorry to have given any one cause for distress. I do not know,
even now - "
She turned towards Julian. He leaned forward and raised her
fingers to his lips.
"Catherine," he said, "every one is a little overwrought. Our
misunderstanding is finished. Princess, I shall try to win your
The Princess smiled faintly.
"Catherine is so unusual," she complained.
Julian held open the door, and they all filed away down the
corridor, from which Lord Shervinton had long since beat a hurried
retreat. He stood there until they reached the bend. Catherine,
who was leaning on his father's arm, turned around. She waved her
hand a little irresolutely. She was too far off for him to catch
her expression, but there was something pathetic in her slow,
listless walk, from which all the eager grace of a few hours ago
seemed to have departed.
It was not until they were nearing London, on the following
afternoon, that Catherine awoke from a lethargy during which she
had spent the greater portion of the journey. From her place in
the corner seat of the compartment in which they had been
undisturbed since leaving Wells, she studied her companion through
half-closed eyes. Julian was reading an article in one of the
Reviews and remained entirely unconscious of her scrutiny. His
forehead was puckered, his mouth a little contemptuous. It was
obvious that he did not wholly approve of what be was reading.
Catherine, during those few hours of solitude, was conscious of a
subtle, slowly growing change in her mental attitude towards her
companion. Until the advent of those dramatic hours at Maltenby,
she had regarded him as a pleasant, even a charming acquaintance,
but as belonging to a type with which she was entirely and
fundamentally out of sympathy. The cold chivalry of his behaviour
on the preceding night and the result of her own reflections as
she sat there studying him made her inclined to doubt the complete
accuracy of her first judgment. She found something unexpectedly
intellectual and forceful in his present concentration, - in the
high, pale forehead, the deep-set but alert eyes. His long, loose
frame was yet far from ungainly; his grey tweed suit and well-worn
brown shoes the careless attire of a man who has no need to rely
on his tailor for distinction. His hands, too, were strong and
capable. She found herself suddenly wishing that the man himself
were different, that he belonged to some other and more congenial
Julian, in course of time, laid down the Review which he had been
studying and looked out of the window.
"We shall be in London in three quarters of an hour," he announced
She sat up and yawned, produced her vanity case, peered into the
mirror, and used her powder puff with the somewhat piquant
assurance of the foreigner. Then she closed her dressing case
with a snap, pulled down her veil, and looked across at him.
"And how," she asked demurely, "does my fiance propose to
entertain me this evening?"
He raised his eyebrows.
"With the exception of one half-hour," he replied unexpectedly, "I
am wholly at your service."
"I am exacting," she declared. "I demand that half-hour also."
"I am afraid that I could not allow anything to interfere with one
brief call which I must pay."
"In Downing Street?"
"You go to visit your friend at the Foreign Office?"
"Immediately I have called at my rooms."
She looked away from him out of the window. Beneath her veil her
eyes were a little misty. She saw nothing of the trimly
partitioned fields, the rolling pastoral country. Before her
vision tragedies seemed to pass, - the blood-stained paraphernalia
of the battlefield, the empty, stricken homes, the sobbing women
in black, striving to comfort their children whilst their own
hearts were breaking. When she turned away from the window, her
face was hardened. Once more she found herself almost hating the
man who was her companion. Whatever might come afterwards, at
that moment she had the sensations of a murderess.
"You may know when you sleep to-night," she exclaimed, "that you
will be the blood-guiltiest man in the world!"
"I would not dispute the title," he observed politely, "with your
friend the Hohenzollern." "
"He is not my friend," she retorted, her tone vibrating with
passion. "I am a traitress in your eyes because I have received a
communication from Germany. From whom does it come, do you think?
>From the Court? From the Chancellor or one of his myrmidons?
Fool! It comes from those who hate the whole military party. It
comes from the Germany whose people have been befooled and
strangled throughout the war. It comes from the people whom your
politicians have sought to reach and failed."
"The suggestion is interesting," he remarked coldly, "but
"Do you know," she said, leaning a little forward and looking at
him fixedly, "if I were really your fiancee - worse! if I were
really your wife - I think that before long I should be a
"Do you dislike me as much as all that?"
"I hate you! I think you are the most pigheaded, obstinate,
self-satisfied, ignorant creature who ever ruined a great cause."
He accepted the lash of her words without any sign of offence, -
seemed, indeed, inclined to treat them reflectively.
"Come," he protested, "you have wasted a lot of breath in abusing
me. Why not justify it? Tell me the story of yourself and those
who are associated with you in this secret correspondence with
Germany? If you are working for a good end, let me know of it.
You blame me for judging you, for maintaining a certain definite
poise. You are not reasonable, you know."
"I blame you for being what you are," she answered breathlessly.
"If you were a person who understood, who felt the great stir of
humanity outside your own little circle, who could look across
your seas and realise that nationality is accidental and that the
brotherhood of man throughout the world is the only real fact
worthy of consideration - ah! if you could realise these things, I
could talk, I could explain."
"You judge me in somewhat arbitrary fashion."
"I judge you from your life, your prejudices, even the views which
you have expressed."
"There are some of us," he reminded her, "to whom reticence is a
national gift. I like what you said just now. Why should you
take it for granted that I am a narrow squireen? Why shouldn't
you believe that I, too, may feel the horror of these days?"
"You feel it personally but not impersonally," she cried. "You
feel it intellectually but not with your heart. You cannot see
that a kindred soul lives in the Russian peasant and the German
labourer, the British toiler and the French artificer. They are
all pouring out their blood for the sake of their dream, a
politician's dream. Freedom isn't won by wars. It must be won,
if ever, by moral sacrifice and not with blood."
"Then explain to me," he begged, "exactly what you are doing?
What your reason is for being in communication with the German
Government? Remember that the dispatch I intercepted came from no
private person in Germany. It came from those in authority."
"That again is not true," she replied. "I would ask for
permission to explain all these things to you, if it were not so
"The case of your friends will probably be more hopeless still,"
he reminded her, "after to-night."
She shrugged her shoulders.
"We shall see," she said solemnly. "The Russian revolution
surprised no one. Perhaps an English revolution would shake even
He made no reply. Her blood tingled, and she could have struck
him for the faint smile, almost of amusement, which for a moment
parted his lips. He was already on his feet, collecting their
"Can you help me," he asked, "with reference to the explanations
which it will be necessary to make to your aunt and to my own
people? We left this morning, if you remember, in order that you
might visit the Russian Embassy and announce our betrothal. You
are, I believe, under an engagement to return and stay with my
"I cannot think about those things to-day," she replied. "You may
take it that I am tired and that you had business. You know my
address. May I be favoured with yours?"
He handed her a card and scribbled a telephone number upon it.
They were in the station now, and their baggage in the hands of
separate porters. She walked slowly down the platform by his
"Will you allow me to say," he ventured, "how sorry I am - for all
The slight uncertainty of his speech pleased her. She looked up
at him with infinite regret. As they neared the barrier, she held
out her hand.
"I, too, am more sorry than I can tell you;" she said a little
tremulously. "Whatever may come, that is how I feel myself. I am
They separated almost upon the words. Catherine was accosted by a
man at whom Julian glanced for a moment in surprise, a man whose
dress and bearing, confident though it was, clearly indicated some
other status in life. He glanced at Julian with displeasure, a
displeasure which seemed to have something of jealousy in its
composition. Then he grasped Catherine warmly by the hand.
"Welcome back to London, Miss Abbeway! Your news?"
Her reply was inaudible. Julian quickened his pace and passed out
of the station ahead of them.
The Bishop and the Prime Minister met, one afternoon a few days
later, at the corner of Horse Guards Avenue. The latter was
looking brown and well, distinctly the better for his brief
holiday. The Bishop, on the contrary, was pale and appeared
harassed. They shook hands and exchanged for a moment the usual
"Tell me, Mr. Stenson," the Bishop asked earnestly, "what is the
meaning of all this Press talk, about peace next month? I have
heard a hint that it was inspired."
"You are wrong," was the firm reply. "I have sent my private
secretary around to a few of the newspapers this morning. It just
happens to be the sensation, of the moment, and it's fed all the
time from the other side."
"There is nothing in it, then, really?"
"Nothing whatever. Believe me, Bishop - and there is no one
feeling the strain more than I am - the time has not yet come for
"You politicians!" the Bishop sighed. "Do you sometimes forget, I
wonder, that even the pawns you move are human?"
"I can honestly say that I, at any rate, have never forgotten it,"
Mr. Stenson answered gravely. "There isn't a man in my Government
who has a single personal feeling in favour of, or a single
benefit to gain, by .the continuance of this ghastly war. On the
other hand, there is scarcely one who does not realise that the
end is not yet. We have pledged our word, the word of the English
nation, to a peace based only upon certain contingencies. Those
contingencies the enemy is not at present prepared to accept.
There is no immediate reason why he should."
"But are you sure of that?" the Bishop ventured doubtfully. "When
you speak of Germany, you speak of William of Hohenzollern and his
clan. Is that Germany? Is theirs the voice of the people?"
"I would be happy to believe that it was not," Mr. Stenson
replied, "but if that is the case, let them give us a sign of it."
"That sign," declared the Bishop, with a gleam of hopefulness in
his tone, "may come, and before long."
The two men were on the point of parting. Mr. Stenson turned and
walked a yard or two with his companion.
"By the bye, Bishop," he enquired, "have you heard any rumours
concerning the sudden disappearance of our young friend Julian
The Bishop for a moment was silent. A passer-by glanced at the
two men sympathetically. Of the two, he thought, it was the man
in spiritual charge of a suffering people who showed more sign of
"I have heard rumours," the Bishop acknowledged. "Tell me what
"Singularly little," Mr. Stenson replied. "He left Maltenby with
Miss Abbeway the day after their engagement, and, according to the
stories which I have heard, arranged to dine with her that night.
She came to call for him and found that he had disappeared.
According to his servant, he simply walked out in morning clothes,
soon after six o'clock, without leaving any message, and never
returned. On the top of that, though, there followed, as I expect
you have heard, some very insistent police enquiries as to Orden's
doings on the night he spent with his friend Miles Furley. There
is no doubt that a German submarine was close to Blakeney harbour
that night and that a communication of some sort was landed."
"It seems absurd to connect Julian with any idea of treasonable
communication with Germany," the Bishop said slowly. "A more
typical young Englishman of his class I never met."
"Up to a certain point I agree with you," Mr. Stenson confessed,
"but there are some further rumours to which I cannot allude,
concerning Julian. Orden, which are, to say the least of it,
The two men came to a standstill once more.
Stenson laid his hand upon his companion's shoulder. "Come," he
went on, "I know what is the matter with you, my friend. Your
heart is too big. The cry of the widow and the children lingers
too long in your ears. Remember some of your earlier sermons at
the beginning of the war. Remember how wonderfully you spoke one
morning at St. Paul's upon the spirituality to be developed by
suffering, by sacrifice. `The hand which chastises also
purifies.' Wasn't that what you said? You probably didn't know
that I was one of your listeners, even - . I myself, in those
days, scarcely looked upon the war as I do now. I remember
crawling in at the side door of the Cathedral and sitting
unrecognised on a hard chair. It was a great congregation, and I
was far away in the background, but I heard. I remember the
rustle, too, the little moaning, indrawn breath of emotion when
the people rose to their feet. Take heart, Bishop. I will remind
you once more of your own words `These are the days of
The two men separated. The Bishop walked thoughtfully towards the
Strand, his hands clasped behind his back, the echo of those
quoted words of his still in his ear. As he came to the busy
crossing, he raised his head and looked around him.
"Perhaps," he murmured, "my eyes have been closed. Perhaps there
are things to be seen."
He called a taxicab and, giving the man some muttered directions,
was driven slowly down the Strand, looking eagerly first on one
side of the way and then on the other. It was approaching the
luncheon hour and the streets were thronged. Here seemed to be
the meeting place of the Colonial troops, - long, sinewy men, many
of them, with bronzed faces and awkward gait. They elbowed their
way along, side by side with the queerest collection of people in
the world. They stopped and talked in little knots, they entered
and left the public houses, stood about outside the restaurants.
Here and there they walked arm in arm with women. Taxicabs were
turning in at the Savoy, taxicabs and private cars. Young ladies
of the stage, sometimes alone, very often escorted, were
everywhere in evidence. The life of London was flowing on in very
much the same channels. There were few, if any signs of that
thing for which he sought. The taxicab turned westwards, crossed
Piccadilly Circus and proceeded along Piccadilly, its solitary
occupant still gazing into the faces of the people with that same
consuming interest. It was all the same over again - the smiling
throngs entering and leaving the restaurants, the smug
promenaders, the stream of gaily dressed women and girls. Bond
Street was even more crowded with shoppers and loiterers. The
shop windows were as full as ever, the toilettes of the women as
wonderful. Mankind, though khaki-clad, was plentiful. The narrow
thoroughfare was so crowded that his taxicab went only at a
snail's crawl, and occasionally he heard scraps of conversation.
Two pretty girls were talking to two young men in uniform.
"What a rag last night! I didn't get home till three!"
"Dick never got home at all. Still missing!"
"Evie and I are worn out with shopping. Everything's twice as
expensive, but one simply can't do without."
"I shouldn't do without anything, these days. One never knows how
long it may last."
The taxicab moved on, and the Bishop's eyes for a moment were
half-closed. The voices followed him, however. Two women,
leading curled and pampered toy dogs, were talking at the corner
of the street.
"Sugar, my dear?" one was saying. "Why, I laid in nearly a
hundredweight, and I can always get what I want now. The
shopkeepers know that they have to have your custom after the war.
It's only the people who can't afford to buy much at a time who
are really inconvenienced."
"Of course, it's awfully sad about the war, and all that, but one
has to think of oneself. Harry told me last night that after
paying all the income tax he couldn't get out of, and excess
profits; he is still - "
The voices dropped to a whisper. The Bishop thrust his head out
of the window.
"Drive me to Tothill Street, Westminster," he directed. "As
quickly as possible, please."
The man turned up a side street and drove off. Still the Bishop
watched, only by now the hopefulness had gone from his face. He
had sought for something of which there had been no sign.
He dismissed his taxicab in front of a large and newly finished
block of buildings in the vicinity of Westminster. A lift man
conducted him to the seventh floor, and a commissionaire ushered
him into an already crowded waiting room. A youth, however, who
had noticed the Bishop's entrance, took him in charge, and,
conducting him through two other crowded rooms, knocked reverently
at the door of an apartment at the far end of the suite. The door
was opened, after a brief delay, by a young man of unpleasant
appearance, who gazed suspiciously at the distinguished visitor
through heavy spectacles.
"The Bishop wishes to see Mr. Fenn," his guide announced.
"Show him in at once," a voice from the middle of the room
directed. "You can go and have your lunch, Johnson."
The Bishop found himself alone with the man whom he had come to
visit, - a moderately tall, thin figure, badly-dressed, with a
drooping moustache, bright eyes and good forehead, but peevish
expression. He stood up while he shook hands with the Bishop and
motioned him to a chair.
"First time you've honoured us, Bishop," he remarked, with the air
of one straining after an equality which he was far from feeling.
"I felt an unconquerable impulse to talk with you," the Bishop
admitted. "Tell me your news?"
"Everything progresses," Nicholas Fenn declared confidently. "The
last eleven days have seen a social movement in this country,
conducted with absolute secrecy, equivalent in its portentous
issues to the greatest revolution of modern times. For the first
time in history, Bishop, the united voice of the people has a
chance of making itself heard."
"Mr. Fenn," the Bishop said, "you have accomplished a wonderful
work. Now comes the moment when we must pause and think. We must
be absolutely and entirely certain that the first time that voice
is heard it is heard in a righteous cause."
"Is there a more righteous cause in the world than the cause of
peace?" Fenn asked sharply.
"Not if that peace be just and reasonable," the Bishop replied,
"not if that peace can bring to an end this horrible and bloody
"We shall see to that," Fenn declared, with a self-satisfied air.
"You have by now, I suppose, the terms proposed by your - your
kindred body in Germany?"
Nicholas Fenn stroked his moustache. There was a frown upon his
"I expect to have them at any moment," he said, "but to tell you
the truth, at the present moment they are not available."
"But I thought - "
"Just so," the other interrupted. "The document, however, was not
where we expected to find it."
"Surely that is a very serious complication?"
"It will mean a certain delay if we don't succeed in getting hold
of it," Fenn admitted. "We intend to be firm about the matter,
The Bishop's expression was troubled.
"Julian Orden," he said, "is my godson."
"Necessity knows neither friendship nor relationship," Fenn
pronounced didactically. "Better ask no questions, sir. These
details do not concern you."
"They concern my conscience," was the grave reply. "Ours is an
earnest spiritual effort for peace, a taking away from the hands
of the politicians of a great human question which they have
proved themselves unable to handle. We should look, therefore,
with peculiar care to the means we adopt."
Nicholas Fenn nodded. He lit a very pungent cigarette from a
paper packet by his side.
"You and I, Bishop," he said, "are pacifists in the broadest
meaning of the word, but that does not mean that we may not
sometimes have to use force to attain our object. We have a
department which alone is concerned with the dealing of such
matters. It is that department which has undertaken the
forwarding and receipt of all communications between ourselves and
our friends across the North Sea. Its operations are entirely
secret, even from the rest of the Council. It will deal with
Julian Orden. It is best for you not to interfere, or even to
have cognisance of what is going on."
"I cannot agree," the Bishop protested. "An act of unchristian
violence would be a flaw in the whole superstructure which we are
trying to build up."
"Let us discuss some other subject," Fenn proposed.
"Pardon me," was the firm reply. "I have come here to discuss
Nicholas Fenn looked down at the table. His expression was not
"Your position with us, sir," he said, "although much appreciated,
does not warrant your interference in executive details."
"Nevertheless," the Bishop insisted, "you must please treat me
reasonably in this matter, Mr. Fenn. Remember I am not altogether
extinct as a force amongst your followers. I have three mass
meetings to address this week, and there is the sermon next Sunday
at Westminster Abbey, at which it has been agreed that I shall
strike the first note of warning. I am a helper, I believe, worth
considering, and there is no man amongst you who risks what I
"Exactly what are you asking from me?" Fenn demanded, after a
"I wish to know the whereabouts and condition of Julian Orden."
"The matter is one which is being dealt with by our secret service
department," Fenn replied, "but I see no reason why I should not
give you all reasonable information. The young man in question
asked for trouble, and to a certain extent he has found it."
"I understand," the Bishop reminded his companion, "that he has
very nearly, if not altogether, compromised himself in his efforts
to shield Miss Abbeway."
"That may be so," Fenn admitted, "but it doesn't alter the fact
that he refuses to return to her the packet which she entrusted to
"And he is still obdurate?"
"Up to now, absolutely so. Perhaps," Fenn added, with a slightly
malicious smile, "you would like to try what you can do with him
The Bishop hesitated.
"Julian Orden," he said, "is a young man of peculiarly stubborn
type, but if I thought that my exhortations would be of any
benefit, I would not shrink from trying them, whatever it might
"Better have a try, then," Fenn suggested. "If we do not succeed
within the next twenty-four hours, I shall give you an order to
see him. I don't mind confessing," he went on confidentially,
"that the need for the production of that document is urgent,
apart from the risk we run of having our plans forestalled if it
should fall into the hands of the Government."
"I presume that Miss Abbeway has already done her best?"
"She has worn herself out with persuasions."
"Has he himself been told the truth?"
Fenn shook his head.
"From your own knowledge of the young man, do you think that it
would be of any use? Even Miss Abbeway is forced to admit that
any one less likely to sympathise with our aims it would be
impossible to find. At the same time, if we do arrange an
interview for you, use any arguments you can think of. To tell
you the truth, our whole calculations have been upset by not
discovering the packet upon his person. He was on his way to
Downing Street when our agents intervened, and we never doubted
that he would have it with him. When will it be convenient for
you to pay your visit?"
"At any time you send for me," the Bishop replied. "Meanwhile,
Mr. Fenn, before I leave I want to remind you once more of the
original purpose of my call upon you."
Fenn frowned a little peevishly as he rose to usher his visitor
"Miss Abbeway has already extorted a foolish promise from us," he
said. "The young man's safety for the present is not in
The Bishop, more from custom than from any appetite, walked across
the Park to the Athenaeum. Mr. Hannaway Wells accosted him in the
"This is a world of rumours," he remarked with a smile. "I have
just heard that Julian Orden, of all men in the world, has been
shot as a German spy."
The Bishop smiled with dignity.
"You may take it from me," he said gravely, "that the rumour is
Nicholas Fenn, although civilisation had laid a heavy hand upon
him during the last few years, was certainly not a man whose
outward appearance denoted any advance in either culture or taste.
His morning clothes, although he had recently abandoned the habit
of dealing at a ready-made emporium, were neither well chosen nor
well worn. His evening attire was, if possible, worse. He met
Catherine that evening in the lobby of what he believed to be a
fashionable grillroom, in a swallow-tailed coat, a badly fitting
shirt with a single stud-hole, a black tie, a collar which
encircled his neck like a clerical band, and ordinary walking
boots. She repressed a little shiver as she shook hands and tried
to remember that this was not only the man whom several millions
of toilers had chosen to be their representative, but also the
duly appointed secretary of the most momentous assemblage of human
beings in the world's history.
"I hope I am not late," she said. "I really do not care much
about dining out, these days, but your message was so insistent."
"One must have relaxation," he declared. "The weight of affairs
all day long is a terrible strain. Shall we go in?"
They entered the room and stood looking aimlessly about them, Fenn
having, naturally enough, failed to realise the necessity of
securing a table. A maitre d'hotel, however, recognised Catherine