Part 3 out of 3
"And now," he gasped, in conclusion, "what's to be done? What's
he arrested for? Is it bailable? What?"
"Good heavens!" exclaimed Sir Charles, miserably. "It is my
fault entirely. I assure you I had no idea. How could I? But I
should have known, I should have guessed it." He dismissed the
sentries with a gesture. "That will do," he said. "Return to
Mr. Collier laughed with relief.
"Then it is not serious?" he asked.
"He--he had no money, that was all," exclaimed Sir Charles.
"Serious? Certainly not. Upon my word, I'm sorry--"
The young man had released himself from his sister's embrace, and
was coming towards them; and Sir Charles, eager to redeem
himself, advanced hurriedly to greet him. But the young man did
not see him; he was looking past him up the steps to where Miss
Cameron stood in the shadow.
Sir Charles hesitated and drew back. The young man stopped at
the foot of the steps, and stood with his head raised, staring up
at the white figure of the girl, who came slowly forward.
It was forced upon Sir Charles that in spite of the fact that the
young man before them had but just then been rescued from arrest,
that in spite of his mean garments and ragged sandals, something
about him--the glamour that surrounds the prodigal, or possibly
the moonlight--gave him an air of great dignity and distinction.
As Miss Cameron descended the stairs, Sir Charles recognized for
the first time that the young man was remarkably handsome, and he
resented it. It hurt him, as did also the prodigal's youth and
his assured bearing. He felt a sudden sinking fear, a weakening
of all his vital forces, and he drew in his breath slowly and
deeply. But no one noticed him; they were looking at the tall
figure of the prodigal, standing with his hat at his hip and his
head thrown back, holding the girl with his eyes.
Collier touched Sir Charles on the arm, and nodded his head
towards the library. "Come," he whispered, "let us old people
leave them together. They've a good deal to say." Sir Charles
obeyed in silence, and crossing the library to the great oak
chair, seated himself and leaned wearily on the table before him.
He picked up one of the goose quills and began separating it into
little pieces. Mr. Collier was pacing up and down, biting
excitedly on the end of his cigar. "Well, this has
certainly been a great night," he said. "And it is all due to
you, Sir Charles--all due to you. Yes, they have you to thank
"They? " said Sir Charles. He knew that it had to come. He
wanted the man to strike quickly.
"They? Yes--Florence Cameron and Henry," Mr. Collier answered.
"Henry went away because she wouldn't marry him. She didn't care
for him then, but afterwards she cared. Now they're reunited,--
and so they're happy; and my wife is more than happy, and I won't
have to bother any more; and it's all right, and all through
"I am glad," said Sir Charles. There was a long pause, which the
men, each deep in his own thoughts, did not notice.
"You will be leaving now, I suppose?" Sir Charles asked. He was
looking down, examining the broken pen in his hand.
Mr. Collier stopped in his walk and considered. "Yes, I suppose
they will want to get back," he said. "I shall be sorry myself.
And you? What will you do?"
Sir Charles started slightly. He had not yet thought what he
would do. His eyes wandered over the neglected work, which had
accumulated on the desk before him. Only an hour before he had
thought of it as petty and little, as something unworthy of his
energy. Since that time what change had taken place in him?
For him everything had changed, he answered, but in him there had
been no change; and if this thing which the girl had brought into
his life had meant the best in life, it must always mean that.
She had been an inspiration; she must remain his spring of
action. Was he a slave, he asked himself, that he should rebel?
Was he a boy, that he could turn his love to aught but the
best account? He must remember her not as the woman who had
crushed his spirit, but as she who had helped him, who had lifted
him up to something better and finer. He would make sacrifice in
her name; it would be in her name that he would rise to high
places and accomplish much good.
She would not know this, but he would know.
He rose and brushed the papers away from him with an impatient
sweep of the hand.
"I shall follow out the plan of which I spoke at dinner," he
answered. "I shall resign here, and return home and enter
Mr. Collier laughed admiringly. "I love the way you English take
your share of public life," he said, "the way you spend
yourselves for your country, and give your brains, your lives,
everything you have--all for the empire."
Through the open window Sir Charles saw Miss Cameron half hidden
by the vines of the veranda. The moonlight falling about
her transformed her into a figure which was ideal, mysterious,
and elusive, like a woman in a dream. He shook his head wearily.
"For the empire?" he asked.
THE LAST RIDE TOGETHER
A SKETCH CONTAINING THREE POINTS OF VIEW
What the Poet Laureate wrote.
"There are girls in the Gold Reef City
There are mothers and children too!
And they cry 'Hurry up for pity!'
So what can a brave man do?
"I suppose we were wrong, were mad men,
Still I think at the Judgment Day,
When God sifts the good from the bad men,
There'll be something more to say."
What more the Lord Chief Justice found to say.
"In this case we know the immediate consequence of your crime.
It has been the loss of human life, it has been the
disturbance of public peace, it has been the creation of a
certain sense of distrust of public professions and of public
faith. . . . The sentence of this Court therefore is that, as to
you, Leander Starr Jameson, you be confined for a period of
fifteen months without hard labor; that you, Sir John Willoughby,
have ten months' imprisonment; and that you, etc., etc."
London Times, July 29th.
What the Hon. "Reggie" Blake thought about it.
"H. M. HOLLOWAY PRISON,
"I am going to keep a diary while I am in prison, that is, if
they will let me. I never kept one before because I hadn't the
time; when I was home on leave there was too much going on to
bother about it, and when I was up country I always came back
after a day's riding so tired that I was too sleepy to write
anything. And now that I have the time, I won't have anything to
write about. I fancy that more things happened to me today
than are likely to happen again for the next eight months, so I
will make this day take up as much room in the diary as it can.
I am writing this on the back of the paper the Warder uses for
his official reports, while he is hunting up cells to put us in.
We came down on him rather unexpectedly and he is nervous.
"Of course, I had prepared myself for this after a fashion,
but now I see that somehow I never really did think I would be in
here, and all my friends outside, and everything going on just
the same as though I wasn't alive somewhere. It's like telling
yourself that your horse can't possibly pull off a race, so that
you won't mind so much if he doesn't, but you always feel just as
bad when he comes in a loser. A man can't fool himself into
thinking one way when he is hoping the other.
"But I am glad it is over, and settled. It was a great bore
not knowing your luck and having the thing hanging over your head
every morning when you woke up. Indeed it was quite a relief
when the counsel got all through arguing over those
proclamations, and the Chief Justice summed up, but I nearly
went to sleep when I found he was going all over it again to the
jury. I didn't understand about those proclamations myself and
I'll lay a fiver the jury didn't either. The Colonel said he
didn't. I couldn't keep my mind on what Russell was explaining
about, and I got to thinking how much old Justice Hawkins looked
like the counsel in 'Alice in Wonderland' when they tried the
knave of spades for stealing the tarts. He had just the same
sort of a beak and the same sort of a wig, and I wondered why he
had his wig powdered and the others didn't. Pollock's wig had a
hole in the top; you could see it when he bent over to take
notes. He was always taking notes. I don't believe he
understood about those proclamations either; he never seemed to
"The Chief Justice certainly didn't love us very much, that's
sure; and he wasn't going to let anybody else love us either. I
felt quite the Christian Martyr when Sir Edward was speaking in
defence. He made it sound as though we were all a lot of Adelphi
heroes and ought to be promoted and have medals, but when
Lord Russell started in to read the Riot Act at us I began to
believe that hanging was too good for me. I'm sure I never knew
I was disturbing the peace of nations; it seems like such a large
order for a subaltern.
"But the worst was when they made us stand up before all those
people to be sentenced. I must say I felt shaky about the knees
then, not because I was afraid of what was coming, but because it
was the first time I had ever been pointed out before people, and
made to feel ashamed. And having those girls there, too, looking
at one. That wasn't just fair to us. It made me feel about ten
years old, and I remembered how the Head Master used to call me
to his desk and say, 'Blake Senior, two pages of Horace and keep
in bounds for a week.' And then I heard our names and the
months, and my name and 'eight months' imprisonment,' and there
was a bustle and murmur and the tipstaves cried, 'Order in the
Court,' and the Judges stood up and shook out their big red
skirts as though they were shaking off the contamination of our
presence and rustled away, and I sat down, wondering how
long eight months was, and wishing they'd given me as much as
they gave Jameson.
"They put us in a room together then, and our counsel said how
sorry they were, and shook hands, and went off to dinner and left
us. I thought they might have waited with us and been a little
late for dinner just that once; but no one waited except a lot of
costers outside whom we did not know. It was eight o'clock and
still quite light when we came out, and there was a line of four-
wheelers and a hansom ready for us. I'd been hoping they would
take us out by the Strand entrance, just because I'd like to have
seen it again, but they marched us instead through the main
quadrangle--a beastly, gloomy courtyard that echoed, and out,
into Carey Street--such a dirty, gloomy street. The costers and
clerks set up a sort of a cheer when we came out, and one of them
cried, 'God bless you, sir,' to the doctor, but I was sorry they
cheered. It seemed like kicking against the umpire's decision.
The Colonel and I got into a hansom together and we trotted
off into Chancery Lane and turned into Holborn. Most of the
shops were closed, and the streets looked empty, but there was a
lighted clock-face over Mooney's public-house, and the hands
stood at a quarter past eight. I didn't know where Holloway was,
and was hoping they would have to take us through some decent
streets to reach it; but we didn't see a part of the city that
meant anything to me, or that I would choose to travel through
"Neither of us talked, and I imagined that the people in the
streets knew we were going to prison, and I kept my eyes on the
enamel card on the back of the apron. I suppose I read, 'Two-
wheeled hackney carriage: if hired and discharged within the
four-mile limit, 1s.' at least a hundred times. I got more
sensible after a bit, and when we had turned into Gray's Inn Road
I looked up and saw a tram in front of us with 'Holloway Road and
King's X,' painted on the steps, and the Colonel saw it about the
same time I fancy, for we each looked at the other, and the
Colonel raised his eyebrows. It showed us that at least the
cabman knew where we were going.
"'They might have taken us for a turn through the West End first,
I think,' the Colonel said. 'I'd like to have had a look around,
wouldn't you? This isn't a cheerful neighborhood, is it?'
"There were a lot of children playing in St. Andrew's Gardens,
and a crowd of them ran out just as we passed, shrieking and
laughing over nothing, the way kiddies do, and that was about the
only pleasant sight in the ride. I had quite a turn when we came
to the New Hospital just beyond, for I thought it was Holloway,
and it came over me what eight months in such a place meant. I
believe if I hadn't pulled myself up sharp, I'd have jumped out
into the street and run away. It didn't last more than a few
seconds, but I don't want any more like them. I was afraid,
afraid--there's no use pretending it was anything else. I was in
a dumb, silly funk, and I turned sick inside and shook, as I have
seen a horse shake when he shies at nothing and sweats and
trembles down his sides.
"During those few seconds it seemed to be more than I could
stand; I felt sure that I couldn't do it--that I'd go mad if they
tried to force me. The idea was so terrible--of not being master
over your own legs and arms, to have your flesh and blood and
what brains God gave you buried alive in stone walls as though
they were in a safe with a time-lock on the door set for eight
months ahead. There's nothing to be afraid of in a stone wall
really, but it's the idea of the thing--of not being free to move
about, especially to a chap that has always lived in the open as
I have, and has had men under him. It was no wonder I was in a
funk for a minute. I'll bet a fiver the others were, too, if
they'll only own up to it. I don't mean for long, but just when
the idea first laid hold of them. Anyway, it was a good lesson
to me, and if I catch myself thinking of it again I'll whistle,
or talk to myself out loud and think of something cheerful. And
I don't mean to be one of those chaps who spends his time in jail
counting the stones in his cell, or training spiders, or
measuring how many of his steps make a mile, for madness
lies that way. I mean to sit tight and think of all the good
times I've had, and go over them in my mind very slowly, so as to
make them last longer and remember who was there and what we
said, and the jokes and all that; I'll go over house-parties I
have been on, and the times I've had in the Riviera, and scouting
parties Dr. Jim led up country when we were taking Matabele Land.
"They say that if you're good here they give you things to read
after a month or two, and then I can read up all those
instructive books that a fellow never does read until he's laid
up in bed.
"But that's crowding ahead a bit; I must keep to what happened
to-day. We struck York Road at the back of the Great Western
Terminus, and I half hoped we might see some chap we knew coming
or going away: I would like to have waved my hand to him. It
would have been fun to have seen his surprise the next morning
when he read in the paper that he had been bowing to jail-birds,
and then I would like to have cheated the tipstaves out of just
one more friendly good-by. I wanted to say good-by to
somebody, but I really couldn't feel sorry to see the last of any
one of those we passed in the streets--they were such a dirty,
unhappy-looking lot, and the railroad wall ran on forever
apparently, and we might have been in a foreign country for all
we knew of it. There were just sooty gray brick tenements and
gas-works on one side, and the railroad cutting on the other, and
semaphores and telegraph wires overhead, and smoke and grime
everywhere, it looked exactly like the sort of street that should
lead to a prison, and it seemed a pity to take a smart hansom and
a good cob into it.
"It was just a bit different from our last ride together--when we
rode through the night from Krugers-Dorp with hundreds of horses'
hoofs pounding on the soft veldt behind us, and the carbines
clanking against the stirrups as they swung on the sling belts.
We were being hunted then, harassed on either side, scurrying for
our lives like the Derby Dog in a race-track when every one hoots
him and no man steps out to help--we were sick for sleep, sick
for food, lashed by the rain, and we knew that we were
beaten; but we were free still, and under open skies with the
derricks of the Rand rising like gallows on our left, and
Johannesburg only fifteen miles away."