Part 7 out of 8
"She came back an hour or two ago. Maggy Ann saw her go past. Fancy
her seeing her father at last! It must have been an ordeal for her. I
wonder what took place."
"I think I had better go and ask her," Tommy said. He was mightily
relieved for Grizel's sake. No one need ever know now what had called
her away except Corp and Gavinia, and even they thought she had merely
been to London. How well the little gods were managing the whole
affair! As he walked to Grizel's lodgings to say what he had been
saying in the train, the thought came to him for a moment that as no
one need ever know where she had been there was less reason why he
should do this generous thing. But he put it from him with lofty
disdain. Any effect it had was to make him walk more firmly to his
sacrifice, as if to show all ignoble impulses that they could find no
home in that swelling breast He was pleased with himself, was Tommy.
"Grizel, I have come back." He said it to the night, and bowed his
head. He said it with head accompaniment to Grizel's lighted window.
He said it to himself as he reached the door. He never said it again.
For Gavinia's first words were: "It's you, Mr. Sandys! Wherever is
she? For mercy's sake, dinna say you've come without her!" And when he
blinked at this, she took him roughly by the arm and cried,
"She is here, Gavinia."
"She's no here."
"I saw her light."
"You saw my light."
"Gavinia, you are torturing me. She came back to-day."
"What makes you say that? You're dreaming. She hasna come back."
"Corp saw her come in by the afternoon train. He spoke to her."
Gavinia shook her head incredulously. "You're just imagining that,"
"He told me. Gavinia, I must see for myself," She stared after him as
he went up the stairs. "You are very cruel, Gavinia," he said, when he
came down. "Tell me where she is."
"May I be struck, Mr. Sandys, if I've seen or heard o' her since she
left this house eight days syne." He knew she was speaking the truth.
He had to lean against the door for support. "It canna be so bad as
you think," she cried in pity. "If you're sure Corp said he saw her,
she maun hae gone to the doctor's house."
"She is not there. But Elspeth knew she had come back. Others have
seen her besides Corp. My God, Gavinia! what can have happened?"
In little more than an hour he knew what had happened. Many besides
himself, David among them towards the end, were engaged in the search.
And strange stories began to fly about like night-birds; you will not
search for a missing woman without rousing them. Why had she gone off
to London without telling anyone? Had Corp concocted that story about
her father to blind them? Had she really been as far as London? Have
you seen Sandys?--he's back. It's said Corp telegraphed to him to
Switzerland that she had disappeared. It's weel kent Corp telegraphed.
Sandys came at once. He is in a terrible state. Look how white he is
aneath that lamp. What garred them telegraph for him? How is it he is
in sic a state? Fond o' her, was he? Yea, yea, even after she gave him
the go-by. Then it's a weary Sabbath for him, if half they say be
true. What do they say? They say she was queer when she came back.
Corp doesna say that. Maybe no; but Francie Crabb does. He says he met
her on the station brae and spoke to her, and she said never a word,
but put up her hands like as if she feared he was to strike her. The
Dundas lassies saw her frae their window, and her hands were at her
ears as if she was trying to drown the sound o' something. Do you mind
o' her mother? They say she was looking terrible like her mother.
It was only between the station and Gavinia's house that she had been
seen, but they searched far afield. Tommy, accompanied by Corp, even
sought for her in the Den. Do you remember the long, lonely path
between two ragged little dykes that led from the Den to the house of
the Painted Lady? It was there that Grizel had lived with her mamma.
The two men went down that path, which is oppressed with trees.
Elsewhere the night was not dark, but, as they had known so well when
they were boys, it is always dark after evenfall in the Double Dykes.
That is the legacy of the Painted Lady. Presently they saw the
house--scarcely the house, but a lighted window. Tommy remembered the
night when as a boy, Elspeth crouching beside him, he had peered in
fearfully at that corner window on Grizel and her mamma, and the
shuddersome things he had seen. He shuddered at them again.
"Who lives there now?" he asked.
"Nobody. It's toom."
"There is a light."
"Some going-about body. They often tak' bilbie in toom houses, and
that door is without a lock; it's keepit close wi' slipping a stick
aneath it. Do you mind how feared we used to be at that house?"
"She was never afraid of it."
"It was her hame."
He meant no more than he said, but suddenly they both stopped dead.
"It's no possible," Corp said, as if in answer to a question. "It's no
possible," he repeated beseechingly.
"Wait for me here, Corp."
"I would rather come wi' you."
"Wait here!" Tommy said almost fiercely, and he went on alone to that
little window. It had needed an effort to make him look in when he was
here before, and it needed a bigger effort now. But he looked.
What light there was came from the fire, and whether she had gathered
the logs or found them in the room no one ever knew. A vagrant stated
afterwards that he had been in the house some days before and left his
match-box in it.
By this fire Grizel was crouching. She was comparatively tidy and neat
again; the dust was gone from her boots, even. How she had managed to
do it no one knows, but you remember how she loved to be neat. Her
hands were extended to the blaze, and she was busy talking to herself.
His hand struck the window heavily, and she looked up and saw him. She
nodded, and put her finger to her lips as a sign that he must be
cautious. She had often, in the long ago, seen her mother signing thus
to an imaginary face at the window--the face of the man who never
Tommy went into the house, and she was so pleased to see him that she
quite simpered. He put his arms round her, and she lay there with a
little giggle of contentment. She was in a plot of heat.
"Grizel! Oh, my God!" he said, "why do you look at me in that way?"
She passed her hand across her eyes, like one trying to think.
"I woke up," she said at last. Corp appeared at the window now, and
she pointed to him in terror. Thus had she seen her mother point, in
the long ago, at faces that came there to frighten her.
"Grizel," Tommy entreated her, "you know who I am, don't you?"
She said his name at once, but her eyes were on the window. "They want
to take me away," she whispered.
"But you must come away, Grizel. You must come home."
"This is home," she said. "It is sweet."
After much coaxing, he prevailed upon her to leave. With his arm round
her, and a terrible woe on his face, he took her to the doctor's
house. She had her hands over her ears all the way. She thought the
white river and the mountains and the villages and the crack of whips
were marching with her still.
"THE MAN WITH THE GREETIN' EYES"
For many days she lay in a fever at the doctor's house, seeming
sometimes to know where she was, but more often not, and night after
night a man with a drawn face sat watching her. They entreated, they
forced him to let them take his place; but from his room he heard her
moan or speak, or he thought he heard her, or he heard a terrible
stillness, and he stole back to listen; they might send him away, but
when they opened the door he was there, with his drawn face. And often
they were glad to see him, for there were times when he alone could
interpret her wild demands and soothe those staring eyes.
Once a scream startled the house. Someone had struck a match in the
darkened chamber, and she thought she was in an arbour in St. Gian.
They had to hold her in her bed by force at times; she had such a long
way to walk before night, she said.
She would struggle into a sitting posture and put her hands over her
Her great desire was not to sleep. "I should wake up," she explained
She took a dislike to Elspeth, and called her "Alice."
These ravings, they said to each other, must have reference to what
happened to her when she was away, and as they thought he knew no more
of her wanderings than they, everyone marvelled at the intuition with
which he read her thoughts. It was he who guessed that the striking of
matches somehow terrified her; he who discovered that it was a horrid
roaring river she thought she heard, and he pretended he heard it too,
and persuaded her that if she lay very still it would run past.
Nothing she said or did puzzled him. He read the raving of her mind,
they declared admiringly, as if he held the cipher to it.
"And the cipher is his love," Mrs. McLean said, with wet eyes. In the
excitement of those days Elspeth talked much to her of Tommy's love
for Grizel, and how she had refused him, and it went round the town
with embellishments. It was generally believed now that she really had
gone to London to see her father, and that his heartless behaviour had
unhinged her mind.
By David's advice, Corp and Gavinia did not contradict this story. It
was as good as another, he told them, and better than the truth.
But what was the truth? they asked greedily.
"Oh, that he is a noble fellow," David replied grimly.
They knew that, but--
He would tell them no more, however, though he knew all. Tommy had
made full confession to the doctor, even made himself out worse than
he was, as had to be his way when he was not making himself out
"And I am willing to proclaim it all from the market-place," he said
hoarsely, "if that is your wish."
"I daresay you would almost enjoy doing that," said David, rather
"I daresay I should," Tommy said, with a gulp, and went back to
Grizel's side. It was not, you may be sure, to screen him that David
kept the secret; it was because he knew what many would say of Grizel
if the nature of her journey were revealed. He dared not tell Elspeth,
even; for think of the woe to her if she learned that it was her
wonderful brother who had brought Grizel to this pass! The Elspeths of
this world always have some man to devote himself to them. If the
Tommies pass away, the Davids spring up. For my own part, I think
Elspeth would have found some excuse for Tommy. He said so himself to
the doctor, for he wanted her to be told.
"Or you would find the excuse for her in time," David responded.
"Very likely," Tommy said. He was humble enough now, you see. David
could say one thing only which would rouse him, namely, that Grizel
was not to die in this fever; and for long it seemed impossible to say
"Would you have her live if her mind remains affected?" he asked; and
Tommy said firmly, "Yes."
"You think, I suppose, that then you would have less for which to
"I suppose that is it. But don't waste time on me, Gemmell, when you
have her life to save, if you can."
Well, her life was saved, and Tommy's nursing had more to do with it
than David's skill. David admitted it; the town talked of it. "I aye
kent he would find a wy," Corp said, though he had been among the most
anxious. He and Aaron Latta were the first admitted to see her, when
she was able once more to sit in a chair. They had been told to ask
her no questions. She chatted pleasantly to them, and they thought she
was quite her old self. They wondered to see Tommy still so sad-eyed.
To Ailie she spoke freely of her illness, though not of what had
occasioned it, and told her almost gleefully that David had promised
to let her sew a little next week. There was one thing only that
surprised Ailie. Grizel had said that as soon as she was a little
stronger she was going home.
"Does she mean to her father's house?" Ailie asked.
This was what started the report that, touched no doubt by her
illness, Grizel's unknown father had, after all, offered her a home.
They discovered, however, what Grizel meant by home when, one
afternoon, she escaped, unseen, from the doctor's house, and was found
again at Double Dykes, very indignant because someone had stolen the
She seemed to know all her old friends except Elspeth, who was still
Alice to her. Seldom now did she put her hands over her ears, or see
horrible mountains marching with her. She no longer remembered, save
once or twice when she woke up, that she had ever been out of Thrums.
To those who saw her casually she was Grizel--gone thin and pale and
weak intellectually, but still the Grizel of old, except for the fixed
idea that Double Dykes was her home.
"You must not humour her in that delusion," David said sternly to
Tommy; "when we cease to fight it we have abandoned hope."
So the weapon he always had his hand on was taken from Tommy, for he
would not abandon hope. He fought gallantly. It was always he who
brought her back from Double Dykes. She would not leave it with any
other person, but she came away with him.
"It's because she's so fond o' him," Corp said.
But it was not. It was because she feared him, as all knew who saw
them together. They were seen together a great deal when she was able
to go out. Driving seemed to bring back the mountains to her eyes, so
she walked, and it was always with the help of Tommy's arm. "It's a
most pitiful sight," the people said. They pitied him even more than
her, for though she might be talking gaily to him and leaning heavily
on him, they could see that she mistrusted him. At the end of a sweet
smile she would give him an ugly, furtive look.
"She's like a cat you've forced into your lap," they said, "and it
lies quiet there, ready to jump the moment you let go your grip."
They wondered would he never weary. He never wearied. Day after day he
was saying the same things to her, and the end was always as the
beginning. They came back to her entreaty that she should be allowed
to go home as certainly as they came back to the doctor's house.
"It is a long time, you know, Grizel, since you lived at Double
Dykes--not since you were a child."
"Not since I was a child," she said as if she quite understood.
"Then you went to live with your dear, kind doctor, you remember. What
was his name?"
"Dr. McQueen. I love him."
"But he died, and he left you his house to live in. It is your home,
Grizel. He would be so grieved if he thought you did not make it your
"It is my home," she said proudly; but when they returned to it she
was loath to go in. "I want to go home!" she begged.
One day he took her to her rooms in Corp's house, thinking her old
furniture would please her; and that was the day when she rocked her
arms joyously again. But it was not the furniture that made her so
happy; it was Corp's baby.
"Oh, oh!" she cried in rapture, and held out her arms; and he ran into
them, for there was still one person in Thrums who had no fear of
"It will be a damned shame," Corp said huskily, "if that woman never
has no bairns o' her ain."
They watched her crooning over the child, playing with him for a long
time. You could not have believed that she required to be watched. She
told him with hugs that she had come back to him at last; it was her
first admission that she knew she had been away and a wild hope came
to Tommy that along the road he could not take her she might be drawn
by this little child.
She discovered a rent in the child's pinafore and must mend it at
once. She ran upstairs, as a matter of course, to her work-box, and
brought down a needle and thread. It was quite as if she was at home
"But you don't live here now, Grizel," Tommy said, when she drew back
at his proposal that they should go away; "you live at the doctor's
"Do I, Gavinia?" she said beseechingly.
"Is it here you want to bide?" Corp asked, and she nodded her head
"It would be so much more convenient," she said, looking at the child.
"Would you take her back, Gavinia," Tommy asked humbly, "if she
continues to want it?"
Gavinia did not answer.
"Woman!" cried Corp.
"I'm mortal wae for her," Gavinia said slowly, "but she needs to be
waited on hand and foot."
"I would come and do the waiting on her hand and foot, Gavinia," Tommy
And so it came about that a week afterwards Grizel was reinstalled in
her old rooms. Every morning when Tommy came to see her she asked him,
icily how Alice was. She seemed to think that Alice, as she called
her, was his wife. He always replied, "You mean Elspeth," and she
assented, but only, it was obvious, because she feared to contradict
him. To Corp and Gavinia she would still say passionately, "I want to
go home!" and probably add fearfully, "Don't tell him."
Yet though this was not home to her, she seemed to be less unhappy
here than in the doctor's house, and she found a great deal to do. All
her old skill in needlework came back to her, and she sewed for the
child such exquisite garments that she clapped her hands over them.
One day Tommy came with a white face and asked Gavinia if she knew
whether a small brown parcel had been among the things brought by
Grizel from the doctor's house.
"It was in the box sent after me from Switzerland," he told her, "and
Gavinia had seen no such package.
"She may have hidden it," he said, and they searched, but fruitlessly.
He questioned Grizel gently, but questions alarmed her, and he
"It does not matter, Gavinia," he said, with a ghastly smile; but on
the following Sunday, when Corp called at the doctor's house, the
thought "Have they found it?" leaped in front of all thought of
Grizel. This was only for the time it takes to ask a question with the
eyes, however, for Corp was looking very miserable.
"I'm sweer to say it," he announced to Tommy and David, "but it has to
be said. We canna keep her."
Evidently something had happened, and Tommy rose to go to Grizel
without even asking what it was. "Wait," David said, wrinkling his
eyebrows, "till Corp tells us what he means by that. I knew it might
come, Corp. Go on."
"If it hadna been for the bairn," said Corp, "we would hae tholed wi'
her, however queer she was; but wi' the bairn I tell you it's no mous.
You'll hae to tak' her awa'."
"Whatever she has been to others," Tommy said, "she is always an angel
with the child. His own mother could not be fonder of him."
"That's it," Corp replied emphatically. "She's no the mother o' him,
but there's whiles when she thinks she is. We kept it frae you as long
as we could."
"As long as she is so good to him----" David began.
"But at thae times she's not," said Corp. "She begins to shiver most
terrible, as if she saw fearsome things in her mind, and syne we see
her looking at him like as if she wanted to do him a mischief. She
says he's her brat; she thinks he's hers, and that he hasna been well
Tommy's hands rose in agony, and then he covered his face with them.
"Go on, Corp," David said hoarsely; "we must have it all."
"Sometimes," Corp went on painfully, "she canna help being fond o'
him, though she thinks she shouldna hae had him. I've heard her
saying, 'My brat!' and syne birsing him closer to her, as though her
shame just made him mair to her. Women are so queer about thae things.
I've seen her sitting by his cradle, moaning to hersel', 'I did so
want to be good! It would be sweet to be good! and never stopping
rocking the cradle, and a' the time the tears were rolling down."
Tommy cried, "If there is any more to tell, Corp, be quick."
"There's what I come here to tell you. It was no langer syne than
jimply an hour. We thocht the bairn was playing at the gavle-end, and
that Grizel was up the stair. But they werena, and I gaed straight to
Double Dykes. She wasna there, but the bairn was, lying greetin' on
the floor. We found her in the Den, sitting by the burn-side, and she
said we should never see him again, for she had drowned him. We're
sweer, but you'll need to tak' her awa'."
"We shall take her away," David said, and when he and Tommy were left
together he asked: "Do you see what it means?"
"It means that the horrors of her early days have come back to her,
and that she is confusing her mother with herself."
David's hands were clenched. "That is not what I am thinking of. We
have to take her away; they have done far more than we had any right
to ask of them. Sandys, where are we to take her to?"
"Do even you grow tired of her?" Tommy cried.
David said between his teeth: "We hope there will soon be a child in
this house, also. God forgive me, but I cannot bring her back here."
"She cannot be in a house where there is a child!" said Tommy, with a
bitter laugh. "Gemmell, it is Grizel we are speaking of! Do you
remember what she was?"
"Well, where are we to send her?"
David turned his pained eyes full on Tommy.
"No!" Tommy cried vehemently.
"Sandys," said David, firmly, "that is what it has come to. They will
take good care of her." He sat down with a groan. "Have done with
heroics," he said savagely, when Tommy would have spoken. "I have been
prepared for this; there is no other way."
"I have been prepared for it, too," Tommy said, controlling himself;
"but there is another way: I can marry her, and I am going to do it."
"I don't know that I can countenance that," David said, after a pause.
"It seems an infernal shame."
"Don't trouble about me," replied Tommy, hoarsely; "I shall do it
And then it was the doctor's turn to laugh. "You!" he said with a
terrible scorn as he looked Tommy up and down. "I was not thinking of
you. All my thoughts were of her. I was thinking how cruel to her if
some day she came to her right mind and found herself tied for life to
the man who had brought her to this pass."
Tommy winced and walked up and down.
"Desire to marry her gone?" asked David, savagely.
"No," Tommy said. He sat down. "You have the key to me, Gemmell," he
went on quietly. "I gave it to you. You know I am a man of sentiment
only; but you are without a scrap of it yourself, and so you will
never quite know what it is. It has its good points. We are a kindly
people. I was perhaps pluming myself on having made an heroic
proposal, and though you have made me see it just now as you see it,
as you see it I shall probably soon be putting on the same grand airs
again. Lately I discovered that the children who see me with Grizel
call me 'the Man with the Greetin' Eyes.' If I have greetin' eyes it
was real grief that gave them to me; but when I heard what I was
called it made me self-conscious, and I have tried to look still more
lugubrious ever since. It seems monstrous to you, but that, I believe,
is the kind of thing I shall always be doing. But it does not mean
that I feel no real remorse. They were greetin' eyes before I knew it,
and though I may pose grotesquely as a fine fellow for finding Grizel
a home where there is no child and can never be a child, I shall not
cease, night nor day, from tending her. It will be a grim business,
Gemmell, as you know, and if I am Sentimental Tommy through it all,
why grudge me my comic little strut?"
David said, "You can't take her to London."
"I shall take her to wherever she wants to go."
"There is one place only she wants to go to, and that is Double
"I am prepared to take her there."
"And your work?"
"It must take second place now. I must write; it is the only thing I
can do. If I could make a living at anything else I would give up
"She would be pleased if she could understand, and writing is the joy
of my life--two reasons."
But the doctor smiled.
"You are right," said Tommy. "I see I was really thinking what a fine
picture of self-sacrifice I should make sitting in Double Dykes at a
They talked of ways and means, and he had to admit that he had little
money. But the new book would bring in a good deal, David supposed.
"The manuscript is lost," Tommy replied, crushing down his agitation.
"Lost! When? Where?"
"I don't know. It was in the bag I left behind at St. Gian, and I
supposed it was still in it when the bag was forwarded to me here. I
did not look for more than a month. I took credit to myself for
neglecting my manuscript, and when at last I looked it was not there.
I telegraphed and wrote to the innkeeper at St. Gian, and he replied
that my things had been packed at his request in presence of my
friends there, the two ladies you know of. I wrote to them, and they
replied that this was so, and said they thought they remembered seeing
in the bottom of the bag some such parcel in brown paper as I
described. But it is not there now, and I have given up all hope of
ever seeing it again. No, I have no other copy. Every page was written
half a dozen times, but I kept the final copy only."
"It is scarcely a thing anyone would steal."
"No; I suppose they took it out of the bag at St. Gian, and forgot to
pack it again. It was probably flung away as of no account."
"Could it have been taken out on the way here?"
"The key was tied to the handle so that the custom officials might be
able to open the bag. Perhaps they are fonder of English manuscripts
than one would expect, or more careless of them."
"You can think of no other way in which it might have disappeared?"
"None," Tommy said; and then the doctor faced him squarely.
"Are you trying to screen Grizel?" he asked. "Is it true, what people
"What are they saying?"
"That she destroyed it. I heard that yesterday, and told them your
manuscript was in my house, as I thought it was. Was it she?"
"No, no. Gavinia must have started that story. I did look for the
package among Grizel's things."
"What made you think of that?"
"I had seen her looking into my bag one day. And she used to say I
loved my manuscripts too much ever to love her. But I am sure she did
not do it."
"Be truthful, Sandys. You know how she always loved the truth."
"Well, then, I suppose it was she."
After a pause the doctor said: "It must be about as bad as having a
limb lopped off."
"If only I had been offered that alternative!" Tommy replied.
"And yet," David mused, better pleased with him, "you have not cried
"Have I not! I have rolled about in agony, and invoked the gods, and
cursed and whimpered; only I take care that no one shall see me."
"And that no one should know poor Grizel had done this thing. I admire
you for that, Sandys."
"But it has leaked out, you see," Tommy said; "and they will all be
admiring me for it at the wedding, and no doubt I shall be cocking my
greetin' eyes at them to note how much they are admiring."
But when the wedding-day came he was not doing that. While he and
Grizel stood up before Mr. Dishart, in the doctor's parlour, he was
thinking of her only. His eyes never left her, not even when he had to
reply "I do." His hand pressed hers all the time. He kept giving her
reassuring little nods and smiles, and it was thus that he helped
Had Mr. Dishart understood what was in her mind he would not have
married them. To her it was no real marriage; she thought they were
tricking the minister, so that she should be able to go home. They had
rehearsed the ceremony together many times, and oh, she was eager to
make no mistake.
"If they were to find out!" she would say apprehensively, and then
perhaps giggle at the slyness of it all. Tommy had to make merry with
her, as if it was one of his boyish plays. If he was overcome with the
pain of it, she sobbed at once and wrung her hands.
She was married in gray silk. She had made the dress herself, as
beautifully as all her things were made. Tommy remembered how once,
long ago, she had told him, as a most exquisite secret, that she had
decided on gray silk.
Corp and Gavinia and Ailie and Aaron Latta were the only persons asked
to the wedding, and when it was over, they said they never saw anyone
stand up by a woman's side looking so anxious to be her man; and I am
sure that in this they did Tommy no more than justice.
It was a sad day to Elspeth. Could she be expected to smile while her
noble brother did this great deed of sacrifice? But she bore up
bravely, partly for his sake, partly for the sake of one unborn.
The ring was no plain hoop of gold; it was garnets all the way round.
She had seen it on Elspeth's finger, and craved it so greedily that it
became her wedding-ring. And from the moment she had it she ceased to
dislike Elspeth, and pitied her very much, as if she thought happiness
went with the ring. "Poor Alice!" she said when she saw Elspeth crying
at the wedding, and having started to go away with Tommy, she came
back to say again, "Poor, poor Alice!"
Corp flung an old shoe after them.
TOMMY'S BEST WORK
And thus was begun a year and a half of as great devotion as
remorseful man ever gave to woman. When she was asleep and he could
not write, his mind would sometimes roam after abandoned things; it
sought them in the night as a savage beast steals forth for water to
slake the thirst of many days. But if she stirred in her sleep they
were all dispelled; there was not a moment in that eighteen months
when he was twenty yards from Grizel's side.
He would not let himself lose hope. All the others lost it. "The only
thing you can do is to humour her," even David was reduced in time to
saying; but Tommy replied cheerily, "Not a bit of it." Every morning
he had to begin at the same place as on the previous morning, and he
was always as ready to do it, and as patient, as if this were the
"I think she is a little more herself to-day," he would say
determinedly, till David wondered to hear him.
"She makes no progress, Sandys."
"I can at least keep her from slipping back."
And he did, and there is no doubt that this was what saved Grizel in
the end. How he strove to prevent her slipping back! The morning was
the time when she was least troubled, and had he humoured her then
they would often have been easy hours for him. But it was the time
when he tried most doggedly, with a gentleness she could not ruffle,
to teach her the alphabet of who she was. She coaxed him to let her
off those mental struggles; she turned petulant and sulky; she was
willing to be good and sweet if he would permit her to sew or to sing
to herself instead, or to sit staring at the fire: but he would not
yield; he promised those things as the reward, and in the end she
stood before him like a child at lessons.
"What is your name?" The catechism always began thus.
"Grizel," she said obediently, if it was a day when she wanted to
"And my name?"
"Tommy." Once, to his great delight, she said, "Sentimental Tommy." He
quite bragged about this to David.
"Where is your home?"
"Here." She was never in doubt about this, and it was always a
pleasure to her to say it.
"Did you live here long ago?"
"And then did you live for a long time somewhere else?"
"Where was it?"
"No, it was with the old doctor. You were his little housekeeper;
don't you remember? Try to remember, Grizel; he loved you so much."
She tried to think. Her face was very painful when she tried to think.
"It hurts," she said.
"Do you remember him, Grizel?"
"Please let me sing," she begged, "such a sweet song!"
"Do you remember the old doctor who called you his little housekeeper?
He used to sit in that chair."
The old chair was among Grizel's many possessions that had been
brought to Double Dykes, and her face lit up with recollection. She
ran to the chair and kissed it.
"What was his name, Grizel?"
"I should love to know his name," she said wistfully.
He told her the name many times, and she repeated it docilely.
Or perhaps she remembered her dear doctor quite well to-day, and
thought Tommy was some one in need of his services.
"He has gone into the country," she said, as she had so often said to
anxious people at the door; "but he won't be long, and I shall give
him your message the moment he comes in."
But Tommy would not pass that. He explained to her again and again
that the doctor was dead, and perhaps she would remember, or perhaps,
without remembering, she said she was glad he was dead.
"Why are you glad, Grizel?"
She whispered, as if frightened she might be overheard: "I don't want
him to see me like this." It was one of the pathetic things about her
that she seemed at times to have some vague understanding of her
condition, and then she would sob. Her tears were anguish to him, but
it was at those times that she clung to him as if she knew he was
trying to do something for her, and that encouraged him to go on. He
went over, step by step, the time when she lived alone in the doctor's
house, the time of his own coming back, her love for him and his
treatment of her, the story of the garnet ring, her coming to
Switzerland, her terrible walk, her return; he would miss out nothing,
for he was fighting for her. Day after day, month by month, it went
on, and to-morrow, perhaps, she would insist that the old doctor and
this man who asked her so many questions were one. And Tommy argued
with her until he had driven that notion out, to make way for another,
and then he fought it, and so on and on all round the circle of her
delusions, day by day and month by month.
She knew that he sometimes wrote while she was asleep, for she might
start up from her bed or from the sofa, and there he was, laying down
his pen to come to her. Her eyes were never open for any large
fraction of a minute without his knowing, and immediately he went to
her, nodding and smiling lest she had wakened with some fear upon her.
Perhaps she refused to sleep again unless he promised to put away
those horrid papers for the night, and however intoxicating a point he
had reached in his labours, he always promised, and kept his word. He
was most scrupulous in keeping any promise he made her, and one great
result was that she trusted him implicitly. Whatever others promised,
she doubted them.
There were times when she seemed to be casting about in her mind for
something to do that would please him, and then she would bring pieces
of paper to him, and pen and ink, and tell him to write. She thought
this very clever of her, and expected to be praised for it.
But she might also bring him writing materials at times when she hated
him very much. Then there would be sly smiles, even pretended
affection, on her face, unless she thought he was not looking, when
she cast him ugly glances. Her intention was to trick him into
forgetting her so that she might talk to herself or slip out of the
room to the Den, just as her mother had done in the days when it was
Grizel who had to be tricked. He would not let her talk to herself
until he had tried endless ways of exorcising that demon by
interesting her in some sort of work, by going out with her, by
talking of one thing and another till at last a subject was lit upon
that made her forget to brood.
But sometimes it seemed best to let her go to the Den, she was in such
a quiver of desire to go. She hurried to it, so that he had to stride
to keep up with her; and he said little until they got there, for she
was too excited to listen. She was very like her mother again; but it
was not the man who never came that she went in search of--it was a
lost child. I have not the heart to tell of the pitiful scenes in the
Den while Grizel searched for her child. They always ended in those
two walking silently home, and for a day or two Grizel would be ill,
and Tommy tended her, so that she was soon able to hasten to the Den
again, holding out her arms as she ran.
"She makes no progress," David said.
"I can keep her from slipping back," Tommy still replied. The doctor
marvelled, but even he did not know the half of all her husband did
for Grizel. None could know half who was not there by night. Here, at
least, was one day ending placidly, they might say when she was in a
tractable mood,--so tractable that she seemed to be one of
themselves,--and Tommy assented brightly, though he knew, and he
alone, that you could never be sure the long day had ended till the
Often the happiest beginning had the most painful ending. The greatest
pleasure he could give her was to take her to see Elspeth's baby girl,
or that sturdy rogue, young Shiach, who could now count with ease up
to seven, but swayed at eight, and toppled over on his way to ten; or
their mothers brought them to her, and Grizel understood quite well
who her visitors were, sometimes even called Elspeth by her right
name, and did the honours of her house irreproachably, and presided at
the tea-table, and was rapture personified when she held the baby Jean
(called after Tommy's mother), and sat gaily on the floor, ready to
catch little Corp when he would not stop at seven. But Tommy, whom
nothing escaped, knew with what depression she might pay for her joy
when they had gone. Despite all his efforts, she might sit talking to
herself, at first of pleasant things and then of things less pleasant.
Or she stared at her reflection in the long mirror and said: "Isn't
she sweet!" or "She is not really sweet, and she did so want to be
good!" Or instead of that she would suddenly go upon her knees and
say, with clasped hands, the childish prayer, "Save me from masterful
men," which Jean Myles had told Tommy to teach Elspeth. No one could
have looked less masterful at those times than Tommy, but Grizel did
not seem to think so. And probably they had that night once more to
search the Den.
"The children do her harm; she must not see them again," he decided.
"They give her pleasure at the time," David said. "It lightens your
task now and then."
"It is the future I am thinking of, Gemmell. If she cannot progress,
she shall not fall back. As for me, never mind me."
"Elspeth is in a sad state about you, though! And you can get through
so little work."
"Enough for all our wants." (He was writing magazine papers only.)
"The public will forget you."
"They have forgotten me."
David was openly sorry for him now. "If only your manuscript had been
"Yes; I never thought the little gods would treat me so scurvily as
"Did I never tell you of my little gods? I so often emerged triumphant
from my troubles, and so undeservedly, that I thought I was especially
looked after by certain tricky spirits in return for the entertainment
I gave them. My little gods, I called them, and we had quite a bowing
acquaintance. But you see at the critical moment they flew away
He always knew that the lost manuscript was his great work. "My
seventh wave," he called it; "and though all the conditions were
favourable," he said, "I know that I could run to nothing more than
little waves at present. As for rewriting that book, I can't; I have
Yet he was not asking for commiseration. "Tell Elspeth not to worry
about me. If I have no big ideas just now, I have some very passable
little ones, and one in particular that--" He drew a great breath. "If
only Grizel were better," that breath said, "I think Tommy Sandys
could find a way of making the public remember him again."
So David interpreted it, and though he had been about to say, "How
changed you are!" he did not say it.
And Tommy, who had been keeping an eye on her all this time, returned
to Grizel. As she had been through that long year, so she was during
the first half of the next; and day by day and night by night he
tended her, and still the same scenes were enacted in infinite
variety, and still he would not give in. Everything seemed to change
with the seasons, except Grizel, and Tommy's devotion to her.
Yet you know that she recovered, ever afterwards to be herself again;
and though it seemed to come in the end as suddenly as the sight may
be restored by the removal of a bandage, I suppose it had been going
on all the time, and that her reason was given back to her on the day
she had strength to make use of it. Tommy was the instrument of her
recovery. He had fought against her slipping backward so that she
could not do it; it was as if he had built a wall behind her, and in
time her mind accepted that wall as impregnable and took a forward
movement. And with every step she took he pushed the wall after her,
so that still if she moved it must be forward. Thus Grizel progressed
imperceptibly as along a dark corridor towards the door that shut out
the light, and on a day in early spring the door fell.
Many of them had cried for a shock as her only chance. But it came
most quietly. She had lain down on the sofa that afternoon to rest,
and when she woke she was Grizel again. At first she was not surprised
to find herself in that room, nor to see that man nodding and smiling
reassuringly; they had come out of the long dream with her, to make
the awakening less abrupt.
He did not know what had happened. When he knew, a terror that this
could not last seized him. He was concealing it while he answered her
puzzled questions. All the time he was telling her how they came to be
there, he was watching in agony for the change.
She remembered everything up to her return to Thrums; then she walked
into a mist.
"The truth," she begged of him, when he would have led her off by
pretending that she had been ill only. Surely it was the real Grizel
who begged for the truth. She took his hand and held it when he told
her of their marriage. She cried softly, because she feared that she
might again become as she had been; but he said that was impossible,
and smiled confidently, and all the time he was watching in agony for
"Do you forgive me, Grizel? I have always had a dread that when you
recovered you would cease to care for me." He knew that this would
please her if she was the real Grizel, and he was so anxious to make
her happy for evermore.
She put his hand to her lips and smiled at him through her tears. Hers
was a love that could never change. Suddenly she sat up. "Whose baby
was it?" she asked.
"I don't know what you mean, Grizel," he said uneasily.
"I remember vaguely," she told him, "a baby in white whom I seemed to
chase, but I could never catch her. Was it a dream only?"
"You are thinking of Elspeth's little girl, perhaps. She was often
brought to see you."
"Has Elspeth a baby?" She rose to go exultantly to Elspeth.
"But too small a baby, Grizel, to run from you, even if she wanted
"What is she like?"
"She is always laughing."
"The sweet!" Grizel rocked her arms in rapture and smiled her crooked
smile at the thought of a child who was always laughing. "But I don't
remember her," she said. "It was a sad little baby I seemed to see."
THE LITTLE GODS RETURN WITH A LADY
Grizel's clear, searching eyes, that were always asking for the truth,
came back to her, and I seem to see them on me now, watching lest I
shirk the end.
Thus I can make no pretence (to please you) that it was a new Tommy at
last. We have seen how he gave his life to her during those eighteen
months, but he could not make himself anew. They say we can do it, so
I suppose he did not try hard enough; but God knows how hard he tried.
He went on trying. In those first days she sometimes asked him, "Did
you do it out of love, or was it pity only?" And he always said it was
love. He said it adoringly. He told her all that love meant to him,
and it meant everything that he thought Grizel would like it to mean.
When she ceased to ask this question he thought it was because he had
They had a honeymoon by the sea. He insisted upon it with boyish
eagerness, and as they walked on the links or sat in their room he
would exclaim ecstatically: "How happy I am! I wonder if there were
ever two people quite so happy as you and I!"
And if he waited for an answer, as he usually did, she might smile
lightly and say: "Few people have gone through so much."
"Is there any woman in the world, Grizel, with whom you would change
"No, none," she said at once; and when he was sure of it, but never
until he was sure, he would give his mind a little holiday; and then,
perhaps, those candid eyes would rest searchingly upon him, but always
with a brave smile ready should he chance to look up.
And it was just the same when they returned to Double Dykes, which
they added to and turned into a comfortable home--Tommy trying to
become a lover by taking thought, and Grizel not letting on that it
could not be done in that way. She thought it was very sweet of him to
try so hard--sweeter of him than if he really had loved her, though
not, of course, quite so sweet to her. He was a boy only. She knew
that, despite all he had gone through, he was still a boy. And boys
cannot love. Oh, who would be so cruel as to ask a boy to love?
That Grizel's honeymoon should never end was his grand ambition, and
he took elaborate precautions against becoming a matter-of-fact
husband. Every morning he ordered himself to gaze at her with rapture,
as if he had wakened to the glorious thought that she was his wife.
"I can't help it, Grizel; it comes to me every morning with the same
shock of delight, and I begin the day with a song of joy. You make the
world as fresh and interesting to me as if I had just broken like a
chicken through the egg shell." He rose at the earliest hours. "So
that I can have the longer day with you," he said gaily.
If when sitting at his work he forgot her for an hour or two he
reproached himself for it afterwards, and next day he was more
careful. "Grizel," he would cry, suddenly flinging down his pen, "you
are my wife! Do you hear me, madam? You hear, and yet you can sit
there calmly darning socks! Excuse me," he would say to his work,
"while I do a dance."
He rose impulsively and brought his papers nearer her. With a table
between them she was several feet away from him, which was more, he
said, than he could endure.
"Sit down for a moment, Grizel, and let me look at you. I want to
write something most splendiferous to-day, and I am sure to find it in
your face. I have ceased to be an original writer; all the purple
patches are cribbed from you."
He made a point of taking her head in his hands and looking long at
her with thoughts too deep for utterance; then he would fall on his
knees and kiss the hem of her dress, and so back to his book again.
And in time it was all sweet to Grizel. She could not be deceived, but
she loved to see him playing so kind a part, and after some sadness to
which she could not help giving way, she put all vain longings aside.
She folded them up and put them away like the beautiful linen, so that
she might see more clearly what was left to her and how best to turn
it to account.
He did not love her. "Not as I love him," she said to herself,--"not
as married people ought to love; but in the other way he loves me
dearly." By the "other way" she meant that he loved her as he loved
Elspeth, and loved them both just as he had loved them when all three
played in the Den.
"He would love me if he could." She was certain of that. She decided
that love does not come to all people, as is the common notion; that
there are some who cannot fall in love, and that he was one of them.
He was complete in himself, she decided.
"Is it a pity for him that he married me? It would be a pity if he
could love some other woman, but I am sure he could never do that. If
he could love anyone it would be me, we both want it so much. He does
not need a wife, but he needs someone to take care of him--all men
need that; and I can do it much better than any other person. Had he
not married me he never would have married; but he may fall ill, and
then how useful I shall be to him! He will grow old, and perhaps it
won't be quite so lonely to him when I am there. It would have been a
pity for him to marry me if I had been a foolish woman who asked for
more love than he can give; but I shall never do that, so I think it
is not a pity.
"Is it a pity for me? Oh, no, no, no!
"Is he sorry he did it? At times, is he just a weeny bit sorry?" She
watched him, and decided rightly that he was not sorry the weeniest
bit. It was a sweet consolation to her. "Is he really happy? Yes, of
course he is happy when he is writing; but is he quite contented at
other times? I do honestly think he is. And if he is happy now, how
much happier I shall be able to make him when I have put away all my
selfish thoughts and think only of him."
"The most exquisite thing in human life is to be married to one who
loves you as you love him." There could be no doubt of that. But she
saw also that the next best thing was the kind of love this boy gave
to her, and she would always be grateful for the second best. In her
prayers she thanked God for giving it to her, and promised Him to try
to merit it; and all day and every day she kept her promise. There
could not have been a brighter or more energetic wife than Grizel. The
amount of work she found to do in that small house which his devotion
had made so dear to her that she could not leave it! Her gaiety! Her
masterful airs when he wanted something that was not good for him! The
artfulness with which she sought to help him in various matters
without his knowing! Her satisfaction when he caught her at it, as
clever Tommy was constantly doing! "What a success it has turned out!"
David would say delightedly to himself; and Grizel was almost as
jubilant because it was so far from being a failure. It was only
sometimes in the night that she lay very still, with little wells of
water on her eyes, and through them saw one--the dream of woman--whom
she feared could never be hers. That boy Tommy never knew why she did
not want to have a child. He thought that for the present she was
afraid; but the reason was that she believed it would be wicked when
he did not love her as she loved him. She could not be sure--she had
to think it all out for herself. With little wells of sadness on her
eyes, she prayed in the still night to God to tell her; but she could
never hear His answer.
She no longer sought to teach Tommy how he should write. That quaint
desire was abandoned from the day when she learned that she had
destroyed his greatest work. She had not destroyed it, as we shall
see; but she presumed she had, as Tommy thought so. He had tried to
conceal this from her to save her pain, but she had found it out, and
it seemed to Grizel, grown distrustful of herself, that the man who
could bear such a loss as he had borne it was best left to write as he
"It was not that I did not love your books," she said, "but that I
loved you more, and I thought they did you harm."
"In the days when I had wings," he answered, and she smiled. "Any
feathers left, do you think, Grizel?" he asked jocularly, and turned
his shoulders to her for examination.
"A great many, sir," she said, "and I am glad. I used to want to pull
them all out, but now I like to know that they are still there, for it
means that you remain among the facts not because you can't fly, but
because you won't."
"I still have my little fights with myself," he blurted out boyishly,
though it was a thing he had never meant to tell her, and Grizel
pressed his hand for telling her what she already knew so well.
The new book, of course, was "The Wandering Child." I wonder whether
any of you read it now? Your fathers and mothers thought a great deal
of that slim volume, but it would make little stir in an age in which
all the authors are trying who can say "damn" loudest. It is but a
reverie about a child who is lost, and his parents' search for him in
terror of what may have befallen. But they find him in a wood singing
joyfully to himself because he is free; and he fears to be caged
again, so runs farther from them into the wood, and is running still,
singing to himself because he is free, free, free. That is really all,
but T. Sandys knew how to tell it. The moment he conceived the idea
(we have seen him speaking of it to the doctor), he knew that it was
the idea for him. He forgot at once that he did not really care for
children. He said reverently to himself, "I can pull it off," and, as
was always the way with him, the better he pulled it off the more he
seemed to love them.
"It is myself who is writing at last, Grizel," he said, as he read it
She thought (and you can guess whether she was right) that it was the
book he loved rather than the children. She thought (and you can guess
again) that it was not his ideas about children that had got into the
book, but hers. But she did not say so; she said it was the sweetest
of his books to her.
I have heard of another reading he gave. This was after the
publication of the book. He had gone into Corp's house one Sunday, and
Gavinia was there reading the work to her lord and master, while
little Corp disported on the floor. She read as if all the words meant
the same thing, and it was more than Tommy could endure. He read for
her, and his eyes grew moist as he read, for it was the most exquisite
of his chapters about the lost child. You would have said that no one
loved children quite so much as T. Sandys. But little Corp would not
keep quiet, and suddenly Tommy jumped up and boxed his ears. He then
proceeded with the reading, while Gavinia glowered and Corp senior
scratched his head.
On the way home he saw what had happened, and laughed at the humour of
it, then grew depressed, then laughed recklessly. "Is it Sentimental
Tommy still?" he said to himself, with a groan. Seldom a week passed
without his being reminded in some such sudden way that it was
Sentimental Tommy still. "But she shall never know!" he vowed, and he
continued to be half a hero.
His name was once more in many mouths. "Come back and be made of more
than ever!" cried that society which he had once enlivened. "Come and
hear the pretty things we are saying about you. Come and make the
prettier replies that are already on the tip of your tongue; for oh,
Tommy, you know they are! Bring her with you if you must; but don't
you think that the nice, quiet country with the thingumbobs all in
bloom would suit her best? It is essential that you should run up to
see your publisher, is it not? The men have dinners for you if you
want them, but we know you don't. Your yearning eyes are on the
ladies, Tommy; we are making up theatre-parties of the old entrancing
kind; you should see our new gowns; please come back and help us to
put on our cloaks, Tommy; there is a dance on Monday--come and sit it
out with us. Do you remember the garden-party where you said--Well,
the laurel walk is still there; the beauties of two years ago are
still here, and there are new beauties, and their noses are slightly
tilted, but no man can move them; ha, do you pull yourself together at
that? We were always the reward for your labours, Tommy; your books
are move one in the game of making love to us; don't be afraid that we
shall forget it is a game; we know it is, and that is why we suit you.
Come and play in London as you used to play in the Den. It is all you
need of women; come and have your fill, and we shall send you back
refreshed. We are not asking you to be disloyal to her, only to leave
her happy and contented and take a holiday."
[Illustration: He heard their seductive voices, they danced around him
He heard their seductive voices. They danced around him in numbers,
for they knew that the more there were of them the better he would be
pleased; they whispered in his ear and then ran away looking over
their shoulders. But he would not budge.
There was one more dangerous than the rest. Her he saw before the
others came and after they had gone. She was a tall, incredibly slight
woman, with eyelashes that needed help, and a most disdainful mouth
and nose, and she seemed to look scornfully at Tommy and then stand
waiting. He was in two minds about what she was waiting for, and often
he had a fierce desire to go to London to find out. But he never went.
He played the lover to Grizel as before--not to intoxicate himself,
but always to make life sunnier to her; if she stayed longer with
Elspeth than the promised time, he became anxious and went in search
of her. "I have not been away an hour!" she said, laughing at him,
holding little Jean up to laugh at him. "But I cannot do without you
for an hour," he answered ardently. He still laid down his pen to gaze
with rapture at her and cry, "My wife!"
She wanted him to go to London for a change, and without her, and his
heart leaped into his mouth to prevent his saying No; yet he said it,
though in the Tommy way.
"Without you!" he exclaimed. "Oh, Grizel, do you think I could find
happiness apart from you for a day? And could you let me go?" And he
looked with agonized reproach at her, and sat down, clutching his
"It would be very hard to me," she said softly; "but if the change did
"A change from you! Oh, Grizel, Grizel!"
"Or I could go with you?"
"When you don't want to go!" he cried huskily. "You think I could ask
it of you!"
He quite broke down, and she had to comfort him. She was smiling
divinely at him all the time, as if sympathy had brought her to love
even the Tommy way of saying things. "I thought it would be sweet to
you to see how great my faith in you is now," she said.
This was the true reason why generous Grizel had proposed to him to
go. She knew he was more afraid than she of Sentimental Tommy, and she
thought her faith would be a helping hand to him, as it was.
He had no regard for Lady Pippinworth. Of all the women he had dallied
with, she was the one he liked the least, for he never liked where he
could not esteem. Perhaps she had some good in her, but the good in
her had never appealed to him, and he knew it, and refused to harbour
her in his thoughts now; he cast her out determinedly when she seemed
to enter them unbidden. But still he was vain. She came disdainfully
and stood waiting. We have seen him wondering what she waited for; but
though he could not be sure, and so was drawn to her, he took it as
acknowledgment of his prowess and so was helped to run away.
To walk away would be the more exact term, for his favourite method of
exorcising this lady was to rise from his chair and take a long walk
with Grizel. Occasionally if she was occupied (and a number of duties
our busy Grizel found to hand!) he walked alone, and he would not let
himself brood. Someone had once walked from Thrums to the top of the
Law and back in three hours, and Tommy made several gamesome attempts
to beat the record, setting out to escape that willowy woman, soon
walking her down and returning in a glow of animal spirits. It was on
one of these occasions, when there was nothing in his head but
ambition to do the fifth mile within the eleven minutes, that he
suddenly met her Ladyship face to face.
We have now come to the last fortnight of Tommy's life.
A WAY IS FOUND FOR TOMMY
The moment for which he had tried to prepare himself was come, and
Tommy gulped down his courage, which had risen suddenly to his mouth,
leaving his chest in a panic. Outwardly he seemed unmoved, but within
he was beating to arms. "This is the test of us!" all that was good in
him cried as it answered his summons.
They began by shaking hands, as is always the custom in the ring.
Then, without any preliminary sparring, Lady Pippinworth immediately
knocked him down; that is to say, she remarked, with a little laugh:
"How very stout you are getting!"
I swear by all the gods that it was untrue. He had not got very stout,
though undeniably he had got stouter. "How well you are looking!"
would have been a very ladylike way of saying it, but his girth was
best not referred to at all. Those who liked him had learned this long
ago, and Grizel always shifted the buttons without comment.
Her malicious Ladyship had found his one weak spot at once. He had a
reply ready for every other opening in the English tongue, but now he
could writhe only.
Who would have expected to meet her here? he said at last feebly. She
explained, and he had guessed it already, that she was again staying
with the Rintouls; the castle, indeed, was not half a mile from where
"But I think I really came to see you," she informed him, with
It was very good of her, he intimated stiffly; but the stiffness was
chiefly because she was still looking in an irritating way at his
Suddenly she looked up. To Tommy it was as if she had raised the
siege. "Why aren't you nice to me?" she asked prettily.
"I want to be," he replied.
She showed him a way. "When I saw you steaming towards the castle so
swiftly," she said, dropping badinage, "the hope entered my head that
you had heard of my arrival."
She had come a step nearer, and it was like an invitation to return to
the arbour. "This is the test of us!" all that was good in Tommy cried
once more to him.
"No, I had not heard," he replied, bravely if baldly. "I was taking a
smart walk only."
"Why so smart as that?"
He hesitated, and her eyes left his face and travelled downward.
"Were you trying to walk it off?" she asked sympathetically.
He was stung, and replied in words that were regretted as soon as
spoken: "I was trying to walk you off."
A smile of satisfaction crossed her impudent face.
"I succeeded," he added sharply.
"How cruel of you to say so, when you had made me so very happy! Do
you often take smart walks, Mr. Sandys?"
"And always with me?"
"I leave you behind."
"With Mrs. Sandys?"
Had she seemed to be in the least affected by their meeting it would
have been easy to him to be a contrite man at once; any sign of shame
on her part would have filled him with desire to take all the blame
upon himself. Had she cut him dead, he would have begun to respect
her. But she smiled disdainfully only, and stood waking. She was
still, as ever, a cold passion, inviting his warm ones to leap at it.
He shuddered a little, but controlled himself and did not answer her.
"I suppose she is the lady of the arbour?" Lady Pippinworth inquired,
with mild interest.
"She is the lady of my heart," Tommy replied valiantly.
"Alas!" said Lady Pippinworth, putting her hand over her own.
But he felt himself more secure now, and could even smile at the woman
for thinking she was able to provoke him.
"Look upon me," she requested, "as a deputation sent north to discover
why you have gone into hiding."
"I suppose a country life does seem exile to you," he replied calmly,
and suddenly his bosom rose with pride in what was coming. Tommy
always heard his finest things coming a moment before they came. "If I
have retired," he went on windily, "from the insincerities and glitter
of life in town,"--but it was not his face she was looking at, it was
his waist,--"the reason is obvious," he rapped out.
She nodded assent without raising her eyes.
Yet he still controlled himself. His waist, like some fair tortured
lady of romance, was calling to his knighthood for defence, but with
the truer courage he affected not to hear. "I am in hiding, as you
call it," he said doggedly, "because my life here is such a round of
happiness as I never hoped to find on earth, and I owe it all to my
wife. If you don't believe me, ask Lord or Lady Rintoul, or any other
person in this countryside who knows her."
But her Ladyship had already asked, and been annoyed by the answer.
She assured Tommy that she believed he was happy. "I have often
heard," she said musingly, "that the stout people are the happiest."
"I am not so stout," he barked.
"Now I call that brave of you," said she, admiringly. "That is so much
the wisest way to take it. And I am sure you are right not to return
to town after what you were; it would be a pity. Somehow it"--and
again her eyes were on the wrong place--"it does not seem to go with
the books. And yet," she said philosophically, "I daresay you feel
just the same?"
"I feel very much the same," he replied warningly.
"That is the tragedy of it," said she.
She told him that the new book had brought the Tommy Society to life
again. "And it could not hold its meetings with the old enthusiasm,
could it," she asked sweetly, "if you came back? Oh, I think you act
most judiciously. Fancy how melancholy if they had to announce that
the society had been wound up, owing to the stoutness of the Master."
Tommy's mouth opened twice before any words could come out. "Take
care!" he cried.
"Of what?" said she, curling her lip.
He begged her pardon. "You don't like me, Lady Pippinworth," he said,
watching himself, "and I don't wonder at it; and you have discovered a
way of hurting me of which you make rather unmerciful use. Well, I
don't wonder at that, either. If I am--stoutish, I have at least the
satisfaction of knowing that it gives you entertainment, and I owe you
that amend and more." He was really in a fury, and burning to go
on--"For I did have the whip-hand of you once, madam," etc., etc.; but
by a fine effort he held his rage a prisoner, and the admiration of
himself that this engendered lifted him into the sublime.
"For I so far forgot myself," said Tommy, in a glow, "as to try to
make you love me. You were beautiful and cold; no man had ever stirred
you; my one excuse is that to be loved by such as you was no small
ambition; my fitting punishment is that I failed." He knew he had not
failed, and so could be magnanimous. "I failed utterly," he said, with
grandeur. "You were laughing at me all the time; if proof of it were
needed, you have given it now by coming here to mock me. I thought I
was stronger than you, but I was ludicrously mistaken, and you taught
me a lesson I richly deserved; you did me good, and I thank you for
it. Believe me, Lady Pippinworth, when I say that I admit my
discomfiture, and remain your very humble and humbled servant."
Now was not that good of Tommy? You would think it still better were I
to tell you what part of his person she was looking at while he said
He held out his hand generously (there was no noble act he could not
have performed for her just now), but, whatever her Ladyship wanted,
it was not to say good-bye. "Do you mean that you never cared for me?"
she asked, with the tremor that always made Tommy kind.
"Never cared for you!" he exclaimed fervently. "What were you not to
me in those golden days!" It was really a magnanimous cry, meant to
help her self-respect, nothing more; but it alarmed the good in him,
and he said sternly: "But of course that is all over now. It is only a
sweet memory," he added, to make these two remarks mix.
The sentiment of this was so agreeable to him that he was half
thinking of raising her hand chivalrously to his lips when Lady
"But if it is all over now, why have you still to walk me off?"
"Have you never had to walk me off?" said Tommy, forgetting himself,
and, to his surprise, she answered, "Yes."
"But this meeting has cured me," she said, with dangerous
"Dear Lady Pippinworth," replied Tommy, ardently, thinking that his
generosity had touched her, "if anything I have said----"
"It is not so much what you have said," she answered, and again she
looked at the wrong part of him.
He gave way in the waist, and then drew himself up. "If so little a
thing as that helps you----" he began haughtily.
"Little!" she cried reproachfully.
He tried to go away. He turned. "There was a time," he thundered.
"It is over," said she.
"When you were at my feet," said Tommy.
"It is over," she said.
"It could come again!"
She laughed a contemptuous No.
"Yes!" Tommy cried.
"Too stout," said she, with a drawl.
He went closer to her. She stood waiting disdainfully, and his arms
"Too stout," she repeated.
"Let us put it in that way, since it pleases you," said Tommy,
heavily. "I am too stout." He could not help adding, "And be thankful,
Lady Pippinworth, let us both be thankful, that there is some reason
to prevent my trying."
She bowed mockingly as he raised his hat. "I wish you well," he said,
"and these are my last words to you"; and he retired, not without
distinction. He retired, shall we say, as conscious of his waist as if
it were some poor soldier he was supporting from a stricken field. He
said many things to himself on the way home, and he was many Tommies,
but all with the same waist. It intruded on his noblest reflections,
and kept ringing up the worst in him like some devil at the telephone.
No one could have been more thankful that on the whole he had kept his
passions in check. It made a strong man of him. It turned him into a
joyous boy, and he tingled with hurrahs. Then suddenly he would hear
that jeering bell clanging, "Too stout, too stout." "Take care!" he
roared. Oh, the vanity of Tommy!
He did not tell Grizel that he had met her Ladyship. All she knew was
that he came back to her more tender and kind, if that were possible,
than he had gone away. His eyes followed her about the room until she
made merry over it, and still they dwelt upon her. "How much more
beautiful you are than any other woman I ever saw, Grizel!" he said.
And it was not only true, but he knew it was true. What was Lady
Pippinworth beside this glorious woman? what was her damnable coldness
compared to the love of Grizel? Was he unforgivable, or was it some
flaw in the making of him for which he was not responsible? With
clenched hands he asked himself these questions. This love that all
his books were about--what was it? Was it a compromise between
affection and passion countenanced by God for the continuance of the
race, made beautiful by Him where the ingredients are in right
proportion, a flower springing from a soil that is not all divine? Oh,
so exquisite a flower! he cried, for he knew his Grizel. But he could
not love her. He gave her all his affection, but his passion, like an
outlaw, had ever to hunt alone.
Was it that? And if it was, did there remain in him enough of humanity
to give him the right to ask a little sympathy of those who can love?
So Tommy in his despairing moods, and the question ought to find some
place in his epitaph, which, by the way, it is almost time to write.
On the day following his meeting with Lady Pippinworth came a note
from Lady Rintoul inviting Grizel and him to lunch. They had been to
Rintoul once or twice before, but this time Tommy said decisively, "We
sha'n't go." He guessed who had prompted the invitation, though her
name was not mentioned in it.
"Why not?" Grizel asked. She was always afraid that she kept Tommy too
much to herself.
"Because I object to being disturbed during the honeymoon," he replied
lightly. Their honeymoon, you know, was never to end. "They would
separate us for hours, Grizel. Think of it! But, pooh! the thing is
not to be thought of. Tell her Ladyship courteously that she must be
But though he could speak thus to Grizel, there came to him
tempestuous desires to be by the side of the woman who could mock him
and then stand waiting.
Had she shown any fear of him all would have been well with Tommy; he
could have kept away from her complacently. But she had flung down the
glove, and laughed to see him edge away from it. He knew exactly what
was in her mind. He was too clever not to know that her one desire was
to make him a miserable man; to remember how he had subdued and left
her would be gall to Lady Pippinworth until she achieved the same
triumph over him. How confident she was that he could never prove the
stronger of the two again! What were all her mockings but a beckoning
to him to come on? "Take care!" said Tommy between his teeth.
And then again horror of himself would come to his rescue. The man he
had been a moment ago was vile to him, and all his thoughts were now
heroic. You may remember that he had once taken Grizel to a seaside
place; they went there again. It was Tommy's proposal, but he did not
go to flee from temptation; however his worse nature had been stirred
and his vanity pricked, he was too determinedly Grizel's to fear that
in any fierce hour he might rush into danger. He wanted Grizel to come
away from the place where she always found so much to do for him, so
that there might be the more for him to do for her. And that week was
as the time they had spent there before. All that devotion which had
to be planned could do for woman he did. Grizel saw him planning it
and never admitted that she saw. In the after years it was sweet to
her to recall that week and the hundred laboriously lover-like things
Tommy had done in it. She knew by this time that Tommy had never tried
to make her love him, and that it was only when her love for him
revealed itself in the Den that desire to save her pride made him
pretend to be in love with her. This knowledge would have been a great
pain to her once, but now it had more of pleasure in it, for it showed
that even in those days he had struggled a little for her.
We must hasten to the end. Those of you who took in the newspapers a
quarter of a century ago know what it was, but none of you know why he
climbed the wall.
They returned to Thrums in a week. They had meant to stay longer, but
suddenly Tommy wanted to go back. Yes, it was Lady Pippinworth who
recalled him, but don't think too meanly of Tommy. It was not that he
yielded to one of those fierce desires to lift the gauntlet; he had
got rid of them in fair fight when her letter reached him, forwarded
from Thrums. "Did you really think your manuscript was lost?" it said.
That was what took Tommy back. Grizel did not know the reason; he gave
her another. He thought very little about her that day. He thought
still less about Lady Pippinworth. How could he think of anything but
it? She had it, evidently she had it; she must have stolen it from his
bag. He could not even spare time to denounce her. It was alive--his
manuscript was alive, and every moment brought him nearer to it. He
was a miser, and soon his hands would be deep among the gold. He was a
mother whose son, mourned for dead, is knocking at the door. He was a
swain, and his beloved's arms were outstretched to him. Who said that
Tommy could not love?
The ecstasies that came over him and would not let him sit still made
Grizel wonder. "Is it a book?" she asked; and he said it was a
book--such a book, Grizel! When he started for the castle next
morning, she thought he wanted to be alone to think of the book. "Of
it and you," he said; and having started, he came back to kiss her
again; he never forgot to have an impulse to do that. But all the way
to the Spittal it was of his book he thought, it was his book he was
kissing. His heart sang within him, and the songs were sonnets to his
beloved. To be worthy of his beautiful manuscript--he prayed for that
as lovers do; that his love should be his, his alone, was as wondrous
to him as to any of them.
But we are not noticing what proved to be the chief thing. Though
there was some sun, the air was shrewd, and he was wearing the old
doctor's coat. Should you have taken it with you, Tommy? It loved
Grizel, for it was a bit of him; and what, think you, would the old
doctor have cared for your manuscript had he known that you were gone
out to meet that woman? It was cruel, no, not cruel, but thoughtless,
to wear the old doctor's coat.
He found no one at the Spittal. The men were out shooting, and the
ladies had followed to lunch with them on the moors. He came upon
them, a gay party, in the hollow of a hill where was a spring suddenly
converted into a wine-cellar; and soon the men, if not the ladies,
were surprised to find that Tommy could be the gayest of them all. He
was in hilarious spirits, and had a gallantly forgiving glance for the
only one of them who knew why his spirits were hilarious. But he would
not consent to remain to dinner. "The wretch is so hopelessly in love
with his wife," Lady Rintoul said, flinging a twig of heather at him.
It was one of the many trivial things said on that occasion and long
remembered; the only person who afterwards professed her inability to
remember what Tommy said to her that day, and she to him, was Lady
Pippinworth. "And yet you walked back to the castle with him," they
"If I had known that anything was to happen," she replied indolently,
"I should have taken more note of what was said. But as it was, I
think we talked of our chance of finding white heather. We were
looking for it, and that is why we fell behind you."
That was not why Tommy and her Ladyship fell behind the others, and it
was not of white heather that they talked. "You know why I am here,
Alice," he said, as soon as there was no one but her to hear him.
She was in as great tension at that moment as he, but more anxious not
to show it. "Why do you call me that?" she replied, with a little
"Because I want you to know at once," he said, and it was the truth,
"that I have no vindictive feelings. You have kept my manuscript from
me all this time, but, severe though the punishment has been, I
deserved it, yes, every day of it."
Lady Pippinworth smiled.
"You took it from my bag, did you not?" said Tommy.
"Where is it, Alice? Have you got it here?"
"But you know where it is?"
"Oh, yes," she said graciously, and then it seemed that nothing could
ever disturb him again. She enjoyed his boyish glee; she walked by his
side listening airily to it.
"Had there been a fire in the room that day I should have burned the
thing," she said without emotion.
"It would have been no more than my deserts," Tommy replied
"I did burn it three months afterwards," said she, calmly.
He stopped, but she walked on. He sprang after her. "You don't mean
"I do mean it."
With a gesture fierce and yet imploring, he compelled her to stop.
"Before God, is this true?" he cried.
"Yes," she said, "it is true"; and, indeed, it was the truth about his
manuscript at last.
"But you had a copy of it made first. Say you had!"
"I had not."
She seemed to have no fear of him, though his face was rather
terrible. "I meant to destroy it from the first," she said coldly,
"but I was afraid to. I took it back with me to London. One day I read
in a paper that your wife was supposed to have burned it while she was
insane. She was insane, was she not? Ah, well, that is not my affair;
but I burned it for her that afternoon."
They were moving on again. He stopped her once more.
"Why have you told me this?" he cried. "Was it not enough for you that
I should think she did it?"
"No," Lady Pippinworth answered, "that was not enough for me. I always
wanted you to know that I had done it."
"And you wrote that letter, you filled me with joy, so that you should
gloat over my disappointment?"
"Horrid of me, was it not!" said she.
"Why did you not tell me when we met the other day?"
"I bided my time, as the tragedians say."
"You would not have told me," Tommy said, staring into her face, "if
you had thought I cared for you. Had you thought I cared for you a
"I should have waited," she confessed, "until you cared for me a great
deal, and then I should have told you. That, I admit, was my
She had returned his gaze smilingly, and as she strolled on she gave
him another smile over her shoulder; it became a protesting pout
almost when she saw that he was not accompanying her. Tommy stood
still for some minutes, his hands, his teeth, every bit of him that
could close, tight clenched. When he made up on her, the devil was in
him. She had been gathering a nosegay of wild flowers. "Pretty, are
they not?" she said to him. He took hold of her harshly by both
wrists. She let him do it, and stood waiting disdainfully; but she was
less unprepared for a blow than for what came.
"How you love me, Alice!" he said in a voice shaking with passion.
"How I have proved it!" she replied promptly.
"Love or hate," he went on in a torrent of words, "they are the same
thing with you. I don't care what you call it; it has made you come
back to me. You tried hard to stay away. How you fought, Alice! but
you had to come. I knew you would come. All this time you have been
longing for me to go to you. You have stamped your pretty feet because
I did not go. You have cried, 'He shall come!' You have vowed you
would not go one step of the way to meet me. I saw you, I heard you,
and I wanted you as much as you wanted me; but I was always the
stronger, and I could resist. It is I who have not gone a step towards
you, and it is my proud little Alice who has come all the way. Proud
little Alice!--but she is to be my obedient little Alice now."
His passion hurled him along, and it had its effect on her. She might
curl her mouth as she chose, but her bosom rose and fell.
"Obedient?" she cried, with a laugh.
"Obedient!" said Tommy, quivering with his intensity. "Obedient, not
because I want it, for I prefer you as you are, but because you are
longing for it, my lady--because it is what you came here for. You
have been a virago only because you feared you were not to get it. Why
have you grown so quiet, Alice? Where are the words you want to
torment me with? Say them! I love to hear them from your lips. I love
the demon in you--the demon that burned my book. I love you the more
for that. It was your love that made you do it. Why don't you scratch
and struggle for the last time? I am half sorry that little Alice is
to scratch and struggle no more."
"Go on," said little Alice; "you talk beautifully." But though her
tongue could mock him, all the rest of her was enchained.
"Whether I shall love you when you are tamed," he went on with
vehemence, "I don't know. You must take the risk of that. But I love
you now. We were made for one another, you and I, and I love you,
Alice--I love you and you love me. You love me, my peerless Alice,
don't you? Say you love me. Your melting eyes are saying it. How you
tremble, sweet Alice! Is that your way of saying it? I want to hear
you say it. You have been longing to say it for two years. Come, love,
say it now!"
It was not within this woman's power to resist him. She tried to draw
away from him, but could not. She was breathing quickly. The mocking
light quivered on her face only because it had been there so long. If
it went out she would be helpless. He put his hands on her shoulders,
and she was helpless. It brought her mouth nearer his. She was
offering him her mouth.
"No," said Tommy, masterfully. "I won't kiss you until you say it."
If there had not been a look of triumph in his eyes, she would have
said it. As it was, she broke from him, panting. She laughed next
minute, and with that laugh his power fell among the heather.
"Really," said Lady Pippinworth, "you are much too stout for this kind
of thing." She looked him up and down with a comic sigh. "You talk as
well as ever," she said condolingly, "but heigh-ho, you don't look the
same. I have done the best I could for you for the sake of old times,
but I forgot to shut my eyes. Shall we go on?"
And they went on silently, one of them very white. "I believe you are
blaming me," her Ladyship said, making a face, just before they
overtook the others, "when you know it was your own fault for"--she
suddenly rippled--"for not waiting until it was too dark for me to see
They strolled with some others of the party to the flower-garden,
which was some distance from the house, and surrounded by a high wall
studded with iron spikes and glass. Lady Rintoul cut him some flowers
for Grizel, but he left them on a garden-seat--accidentally, everyone
thought afterwards in the drawing-room when they were missed; but he
had laid them down, because how could those degraded hands of his
carry flowers again to Grizel? There was great remorse in him, but
there was a shrieking vanity also, and though the one told him to be
gone, the other kept him lagging on. They had torn him a dozen times
from each other's arms before he was man enough to go.
It was gloaming when he set off, waving his hat to those who had come
to the door with him. Lady Pippinworth was not among them; he had not
seen her to bid her good-bye, nor wanted to, for the better side of
him had prevailed--so he thought. It was a man shame-stricken and
determined to kill the devil in him that went down that long
avenue--so he thought.
A tall, thin woman was standing some twenty yards off, among some
holly-trees. She kissed her hand mockingly to him, and beckoned and
laughed when he stood irresolute. He thought he heard her cry, "Too
stout!" He took some fierce steps towards her. She ran on, looking
over her shoulder, and he forgot all else and followed her. She darted
into the flower-garden, pulling the gate to after her. It was a gate
that locked when it closed, and the key was gone. Lady Pippinworth
clapped her hands because he could not reach her. When she saw that he
was climbing the wall she ran farther into the garden.
He climbed the wall, but, as he was descending, one of the iron spikes
on the top of it pierced his coat, which was buttoned to the throat,
and he hung there by the neck. He struggled as he choked, but he could
not help himself. He was unable to cry out. The collar of the old
doctor's coat held him fast.
They say that in such a moment a man reviews all his past life. I
don't know whether Tommy did that; but his last reflection before he
passed into unconsciousness was "Serves me right!" Perhaps it was only
a little bit of sentiment for the end.
Lady Disdain came back to the gate, by and by, to see why he had not
followed her. She screamed and then hid in the recesses of the garden.
He had been dead for some time when they found him. They left the gate
creaking in the evening wind. After a long time a terrified woman
stole out by it.
THE PERFECT LOVER
Tommy has not lasted. More than once since it became known that I was
writing his life I have been asked whether there ever really was such
a person, and I am afraid to inquire for his books at the library lest
they are no longer there. A recent project to bring out a new edition,
with introductions by some other Tommy, received so little support
that it fell to the ground. It must be admitted that, so far as the
great public is concerned, Thomas Sandys is done for.
They have even forgotten the manner of his death, though probably no
young writer with an eye on posterity ever had a better send-off. We
really thought at the time that Tommy had found a way.
The surmise at Rintoul, immediately accepted by the world as a fact,
was that he had been climbing the wall to obtain for Grizel the
flowers accidentally left in the garden, and it at once tipped the
tragedy with gold. The newspapers, which were in the middle of the
dull season, thanked their gods for Tommy, and enthusiastically set to
work on him. Great minds wrote criticisms of what they called his
life-work. The many persons who had been the first to discover him
said so again. His friends were in demand for the most trivial
reminiscences. Unhappy Pym cleared Lll 10s.
Shall we quote? It is nearly always done at this stage of the
biography, so now for the testimonials to prove that our hero was
without a flaw. A few specimens will suffice if we select some that
are very like many of the others. It keeps Grizel waiting, but Tommy,
as you have seen, was always the great one; she existed only that he
might show how great he was. "Busy among us of late," says one, "has
been the grim visitor who knocks with equal confidence at the doors of
the gifted and the ungifted, the pauper and the prince, and twice in
one short month has he taken from us men of an eminence greater
perhaps than that of Mr. Sandys; but of them it could be said their
work was finished, while his sun sinks tragically when it is yet day.
Not by what his riper years might have achieved can this pure, spirit
now be judged, and to us, we confess, there is something infinitely
pathetic in that thought. We would fain shut our eyes, and open them
again at twenty years hence, with Mr. Sandys in the fulness of his
powers. It is not to be. What he might have become is hidden from us;
what he was we know. He was little more than a stripling when he
'burst upon the town' to be its marvel--and to die; a 'marvellous boy'
indeed; yet how unlike in character and in the nobility of his short
life, as in the mournful yet lovely circumstances of his death, to
that other Might-Have-Been who 'perished in his pride.' Our young men
of letters have travelled far since the days of Chatterton. Time was
when a riotous life was considered part of their calling--when they
shunned the domestic ties and actually held that the consummate artist
is able to love nothing but the creations of his fancy. It is such men
as Thomas Sandys who have exploded that pernicious fallacy....
"Whether his name will march down the ages is not for us, his
contemporaries, to determine. He had the most modest opinion of his
own work, and was humbled rather than elated when he heard it praised.
No one ever loved praise less; to be pointed at as a man of
distinction was abhorrent to his shrinking nature; he seldom, indeed,
knew that he was being pointed at, for his eyes were ever on the
ground. He set no great store by the remarkable popularity of his
works. 'Nothing,' he has been heard to say to one of those gushing
ladies who were his aversion, 'nothing will so certainly perish as the
talk of the town.' It may be so, but if so, the greater the pity that
he has gone from among us before he had time to put the coping-stone
upon his work. There is a beautiful passage in one of his own books in
which he sees the spirits of gallant youth who died too young for
immortality haunting the portals of the Elysian Fields, and the great
shades come to the portal and talk with them. We venture to say that
he is at least one of these."
What was the individuality behind the work? They discussed it in
leading articles and in the correspondence columns, and the man proved
to be greater than his books. His distaste for admiration is again and
again insisted on and illustrated by many characteristic anecdotes. He
owed much to his parents, though he had the misfortune to lose them
when he was but a child. "Little is known of his father, but we
understand that he was a retired military officer in easy
circumstances. The mother was a canny Scotchwoman of lowly birth,
conspicuous for her devoutness even in a land where it is everyone's
birthright, and on their marriage, which was a singularly happy one,
they settled in London, going little into society, the world
forgetting, by the world forgot, and devoting themselves to each other
and to their two children. Of these Thomas was the elder, and as the
twig was early bent so did the tree incline. From his earliest years
he was noted for the modesty which those who remember his boyhood in
Scotland (whither the children went to an uncle on the death of their
parents) still speak of with glistening eyes. In another column will
be found some interesting recollections of Mr. Sandys by his old
schoolmaster, Mr. David Cathro, M.A., who testifies with natural pride
to the industry and amiability of his famous pupil. 'To know him,'
says Mr. Cathro, 'was to love him.'"
According to another authority, T. Sandys got his early modesty from
his father, who was of a very sweet disposition, and some instances of
this modesty are given. They are all things that Elspeth did, but
Tommy is now represented as the person who had done them. "On the
other hand, his strong will, singleness of purpose, and enviable
capacity for knowing what he wanted to be at were a heritage from his
practical and sagacious mother." "I think he was a little proud of his
strength of will," writes the R.A. who painted his portrait (now in
America), "for I remember his anxiety that it should be suggested in
the picture." But another acquaintance (a lady) replies: "He was not
proud of his strong will, but he liked to hear it spoken of, and he
once told me the reason. This strength of will was not, as is
generally supposed, inherited by him; he was born without it, and
acquired it by a tremendous effort. I believe I am the only person to
whom he confided this, for he shrank from talk about himself, looking