This page contains affiliate links. As Amazon Associates we earn from qualifying purchases.
Language:
Form:
Genre:
Published:
  • 1907
Collection:
Buy it on Amazon Listen via Audible FREE Audible 30 days

the dawning of this idea had frightened the girl. She was so inexperienced and ignorant that she felt it might be possible that in England one’s husband and one’s mother-in-law could do what they liked. It might be that they could take possession of one’s money as they seemed to take possession of one’s self and one’s very soul. She would have been very glad to give them money, and had indeed wondered frequently if she might dare to offer it to them, if they would be outraged and insulted and slay her in their wrath at her purse-proud daring. She had tried to invent ways in which she could approach the subject, but had not been able to screw up her courage to any sticking point. She was so overpowered by her consciousness that they seemed continually to intimate that Americans with money were ostentatious and always laying stress upon the amount of their possessions. She had no conception of the primeval simpleness of their attitude in such matters, and that no ceremonies were necessary save the process of transferring sufficiently large sums as though they were the mere right of the recipients. She was taught to understand this later. In the meantime, however, ready as she would have been to give large sums if she had known how, she was terrified by the thought that it might be possible that she could be deprived of her bank account and reduced to the condition of a sort of dependent upon the humours of her lately acquired relations. She thought over this a good deal, and would have found immense relief if she dared have consulted anyone. But she could not make up her mind to reveal her unhappiness to her people. She had been married so recently, everybody had thought her marriage so delightful, she could not bear that her father and mother should be distressed by knowing that she was wretched. She also reflected with misery that New York would talk the matter over excitedly and that finally the newspapers would get hold of the gossip. She could even imagine interviewers calling at the house in Fifth Avenue and endeavouring to obtain particulars of the situation. Her father would be angry and refuse to give them, but that would make no difference; the newspapers would give them and everybody would read what they said, whether it was true or not. She could not possibly write facts, she thought, so her poor little letters were restrained and unlike herself, and to the warm-hearted souls in New York, even appearing stiff and unaffectionate, as if her aristocratic surroundings had chilled her love for them. In fact, it became far from easy for her to write at all, since Sir Nigel so disapproved of her interest in the American mail. His objections had indeed taken the form of his feeling himself quite within his rights when he occasionally intercepted letters from her relations, with a view of finding out whether they contained criticisms of himself, which would betray that she had been guilty of indiscreet confidences. He discovered that she had not apparently been so guilty, but it was evident that there were moments when Mrs. Vanderpoel was uneasy and disposed to ask anxious questions. When this occurred he destroyed the letters, and as a result of this precaution on his part her motherly queries seemed to be ignored, and she several times shed tears in the belief that Rosy had grown so patrician that she was capable of snubbing her mother in her resentment at feeling her privacy intruded upon and an unrefined effusiveness shown.

“I just feel as if she was beginning not to care about us at all, Betty,” she said. “I couldn’t have believed it of Rosy. She was always such an affectionate girl.”

“I don’t believe it now,” replied Betty sharply. “Rosy couldn’t grow hateful and stuck up. It’s that nasty Nigel I know it is.”

Sir Nigel’s intention was that there should be as little intercourse between Fifth Avenue and Stornham Court as was possible. Among other things, he did not intend that a lot of American relations should come tumbling in when they chose to cross the Atlantic. He would not have it, and took discreet steps to prevent any accident of the sort. He wrote to America occasionally himself, and knowing well how to make himself civilly repellent, so subtly chilled his parents-in-law as to discourage in them more than once their half-formed plan of paying a visit to their child in her new home. He opened, read and reclosed all epistles to and from New York, and while Mrs. Vanderpoel was much hurt to find that Rosalie never condescended to make any response to her tentatives concerning her possible visit, Rosalie herself was mystified by the fact that the journey “to Europe” was never spoken of.

“I don’t see why they never seem to think of coming over,” she said plaintively one day. “They used to talk so much about it.”

“They?” ejaculated the Dowager Lady Anstruthers. “Whom may you mean?”

“Mother and father and Betty and some of the others.”

Her mother-in-law put up her eye-glasses to stare at her.

“The whole family?” she inquired.

“There are not so many of them,” Rosalie answered.

“A family is always too many to descend upon a young woman when she is married,” observed her ladyship unmovedly. Nigel glanced over the top of his Times.

“I may as well tell you that it would not do at all,” he put in.

“Why–why not?” exclaimed Rosalie, aghast.

“Americans don’t do in English society,” slightingly.

“But they are coming over so much. They like London so– all Americans like London.”

“Do they?” with a drawl which made Rosalie blush until the tears started to her eyes. “I am afraid the sentiment is scarcely mutual.”

Rosalie turned and fled from the room. She turned and fled because she realised that she should burst out crying if she waited to hear another word, and she realised that of late she seemed always to be bursting out crying before one or the other of those two. She could not help it. They always seemed to be implying something slighting or scathing. They were always putting her in the wrong and hurting her feelings.

The day was damp and chill, but she put on her hat and ran out into the park. She went down the avenue and turned into a coppice. There, among the wet bracken, she sank down on the mossy trunk of a fallen tree and huddled herself in a small heap, her head on her arms, actually wailing.

“Oh, mother! Oh, mother!” she cried hysterically. “Oh, I do wish you would come. I’m so cold, mother; I’m so ill! I can’t bear it! It seems as if you’d forgotten all about me! You’re all so happy in New York that perhaps you have forgotten– perhaps you have! Oh, don’t, mother–don’t! “

It was a month later that through the vicar’s wife she reached a discovery and a climax. She had heard one morning from this lady of a misfortune which had befallen a small farmer. It was a misfortune which was an actual catastrophe to a man in his position. His house had caught fire during a gale of wind and the fire had spread to the outbuildings and rickyard and swept away all his belongings, his house, his furniture, his hayricks, and stored grain, and even his few cows and horses. He had been a poor, hard-working fellow, and his small insurance had lapsed the day before the fire. He was absolutely ruined, and with his wife and six children stood face to face with beggary and starvation.

Rosalie Anstruthers entered the vicarage to find the poor woman who was his companion in calamity sobbing in the hall. A child of a few weeks was in her arms, and two small creatures clung crying to her skirts.

“We’ve worked hard,” she wept; “we have, ma’am. Father, he’s always been steady, an’ up early an’ late. P’r’aps it’s the Lord’s ‘and, as you say, ma’am, but we’ve been decent people an’ never missed church when we could ‘elp it–father didn’t deserve it–that he didn’t.”

She was heartbroken in her downtrodden hopelessness. Rosalie literally quaked with sympathy. She poured forth her pity in such words as the poor woman had never heard spoken by a great lady to a humble creature like herself. The villagers found the new Lady Anstruthers’ interviews with them curiously simple and suggestive of an equality they could not understand. Stornham was a conservative old village, where the distinction between the gentry and the peasants was clearly marked. The cottagers were puzzled by Sir Nigel’s wife, but they decided that she was kind, if unusual.

As Rosalie talked to the farmer’s wife she longed for her father’s presence. She had remembered a time when a man in his employ had lost his all by fire, the small house he had just made his last payment upon having been burned to the ground. He had lost one of his children in the fire, and the details had been heartrending. The entire Vanderpoel household had wept on hearing them, and Mr. Vanderpoel had drawn a cheque which had seemed like a fortune to the sufferer. A new house had been bought, and Mrs. Vanderpoel and her daughters and friends had bestowed furniture and clothing enough to make the family comfortable to the verge of luxury.

“See, you poor thing,” said Rosalie, glowing with memories of this incident, her homesick young soul comforted by the mere likeness in the two calamities. “I brought my cheque book with me because I meant to help you. A man worked for my father had his house burned, just as yours was, and my father made everything all right for him again. I’ll make it all right for you; I’ll make you a cheque for a hundred pounds now, and then when your husband begins to build I’ll give him some more.”

The woman gasped for breath and turned pale. She was frightened. It really seemed as if her ladyship must have lost her wits a little. She could not mean this. The vicaress turned pale also.

“Lady Anstruthers,” she said, “Lady Anstruthers, it–it is too much. Sir Nigel—-“

“Too much!” exclaimed Rosalie. “They have lost everything, you know; their hayricks and cattle as well as their house; I guess it won’t be half enough.”

Mrs. Brent dragged her into the vicar’s study and talked to her. She tried to explain that in English villages such things were not done in a manner so casual, as if they were the mere result of unconsidered feeling, as if they were quite natural things, such as any human person might do. When Rosalie cried: “But why not–why not? They ought to be.” Mrs. Brent could not seem to make herself quite clear. Rosalie only gathered in a bewildered way that there ought to be more ceremony, more deliberation, more holding off, before a person of rank indulged in such munificence. The recipient ought to be made to feel it more, to understand fully what a great thing was being done.

“They will think you will do anything for them.”

“So I will,” said young Lady Anstruthers, “if I have the money when they are in such awful trouble. Suppose we lost everything in the world and there were people who could easily help us and wouldn’t?”

“You and Sir Nigel–that is quite different,” said Mrs. Brent. “I am afraid that if you do not discuss the matter and ask advice from your husband and mother-in-law they will be very much offended.”

“If I were doing it with their money they would have the right to be,” replied Rosalie, with entire ingenuousness. “I wouldn’t presume to do such a thing as that. That wouldn’t be right, of course.”

“They will be angry with me,” said the vicaress awkwardly. This queer, silly girl, who seemed to see nothing in the right light, frequently made her feel awkward. Mrs. Brent told her husband that she appeared to have no sense of dignity or proper appreciation of her position.

The wife of the farmer, John Wilson, carried away the cheque, quite stunned. She was breathless with amazement and turned rather faint with excitement, bewilderment and her sense of relief. She had to sit down in the vicarage kitchen for a few minutes and drink a glass of the thin vicarage beer.

Rosalie promised that she would discuss the matter and ask advice when she returned to the Court. Just as she left the house Mrs. Brent suddenly remembered something she had forgotten.

“The Wilson trouble completely drove it out of my mind,” she said. “It was a stupid mistake of the postboy’s. He left a letter of yours among mine when he came this morning. It was most careless. I shall speak to his father about it. It might have been important that you should receive it early.”

When she saw the letter Rosalie uttered an exclamation. It was addressed in her father’s handwriting.

“Oh!” she cried. “It’s from father! And the postmark is Havre. What does it mean?”

She was so excited that she almost forgot to express her thanks. Her heart leaped up in her throat. Could they have come over from America–could they? Why was it written from Havre? Could they be near her?

She walked along the road choked with ecstatic, laughing sobs. Her hand shook so that she could scarcely tear open the envelope; she tore a corner of the letter, and when the sheet was spread open her eyes were full of wild, delighted tears, which made it impossible for her to see for the moment. But she swept the tears away and read this:

DEAR DAUGHTER:

It seems as if we had had pretty bad luck in not seeing you. We had counted on it very much, and your mother feels it all the more because she is weak after her illness. We don’t quite understand why you did not seem to know about her having had diphtheria in Paris. You did not answer Betty’s letter. Perhaps it missed you in some way. Things do sometimes go wrong in the mail, and several times your mother has thought a letter has been lost. She thought so because you seemed to forget to refer to things. We came over to leave Betty at a French school and we had expected to visit you later. But your mother fell ill of diphtheria and not hearing from you seemed to make her homesick, so we decided to return to New York by the next steamer. I ran over to London, however, to make some inquiries about you, and on the first day I arrived I met your husband in Bond Street. He at once explained to me that you had gone to a house party at some castle in Scotland, and said you were well and enjoying yourself very much, and he was on his way to join you. I am sorry, daughter, that it has turned out that we could not see each other. It seems a long time since you left us. But I am very glad, however, that you are so well and really like English life. If we had time for it I am sure it would be delightful. Your mother sends her love and wants very much to hear of all you are doing and enjoying. Hoping that we may have better luck the next time we cross– Your affectionate father,
REUBEN L. VANDERPOEL.

Rosalie found herself running breathlessly up the avenue. She was clutching the letter still in her hand, and staggering from side to side. Now and then she uttered horrible little short cries, like an animal’s. She ran and ran, seeing nothing, and now and then with the clenched hand in which the letter was crushed striking a sharp blow at her breast.

She stumbled up the big stone steps she had mounted on the day she was brought home as a bride. Her dress caught her feet and she fell on her knees and scrambled up again, gasping; she dashed across the huge dark hall, and, hurling herself against the door of the morning room, appeared, dishevelled, haggard-eyed, and with scarlet patches on her wild, white face, before the Dowager, who started angrily to her feet:

“Where is Nigel? Where is Nigel?” she cried out frenziedly.

“What in heaven’s name do you mean by such manners?” demanded her ladyship. “Apologise at once!”

“Where is Nigel? Nigel! Nigel!” the girl raved. “I will see him–I will–I will see him!”

She who had been the mildest of sweet-tempered creatures all her life had suddenly gone almost insane with heartbroken, hysteric grief and rage. She did not know what she was saying and doing; she only realised in an agony of despair that she was a thing caught in a trap; that these people had her in their power, and that they had tricked and lied to her and kept her apart from what her girl’s heart so cried out to and longed for. Her father, her mother, her little sister; they had been near her and had been lied to and sent away

“You are quite mad, you violent, uncontrolled creature!” cried the Dowager furiously. “You ought to be put in a straitjacket and drenched with cold water.”

Then the door opened again and Nigel strode in. He was in riding dress and was breathless and livid with anger. He was in a nice mood to confront a wife on the verge of screaming hysterics. After a bad half hour with his steward, who had been talking of impending disasters, he had heard by chance of Wilson’s conflagration and the hundred-pound cheque. He had galloped home at the top of his horse’s speed.

“Here is your wife raving mad,” cried out his mother.

Rosalie staggered across the room to him. She held up her hand clenching the letter and shook it at him.

“My mother and father have been here,” she shrieked. My mother has been ill. They wanted to come to see me. You knew and you kept it from me. You told my father lies –lies–hideous lies! You said I was away in Scotland– enjoying myself–when I was here and dying with homesickness. You made them think I did not care for them–or for New York! You have killed me! Why did you do such a wicked thing!

He looked at her with glaring eyes. If a man born a gentleman is ever in the mood to kick his wife to death, as costermongers do, he was in that mood. He had lost control over himself as completely as she had, and while she was only a desperate, hysteric girl, he was a violent man.

“I did it because I did not mean to have them here,” he said. “I did it because I won’t have them here.”

“They shall come,” she quavered shrilly in her wildness. “They shall come to see me. They are my own father and mother, and I will have them.”

He caught her arm in such a grip that she must have thought he would break it, if she could have thought or felt anything.

“No, you will not have them,” he ground forth between his teeth. “You will do as I order you and learn to behave yourself as a decent married woman should. You will learn to obey your husband and respect his wishes and control your devilish American temper.”

“They have gone–gone!” wailed Rosalie. “You sent them away! My father, my mother, my sister!”

“Stop your indecent ravings!” ordered Sir Nigel, shaking her. “I will not submit to be disgraced before the servants.”

“Put your hand over her mouth, Nigel,” cried his mother. “The very scullery maids will hear.”

She was as infuriated as her son. And, indeed, to behold civilised human beings in the state of uncontrolled violence these three had reached was a sight to shudder at.

“I won’t stop,” cried the girl. “Why did you take me away from everything–I was quite happy. Everybody was kind to me. I loved people, I had everything. No one ever– ever–ever ill-used anyone—-“

Sir Nigel clutched her arm more brutally still and shook her with absolute violence. Her hair broke loose and fell about her awful little distorted, sobbing face.

“I did not take you to give you an opportunity to display your vulgar ostentation by throwing away hundred-pound cheques to villagers,” he said. “I didn’t take you to give you the position of a lady and be made a fool of by you.”

“You have ruined him,” burst forth his mother. “You have put it out of his power to marry an Englishwoman who would have known it was her duty to give something in return for his name and protection.”

Her ladyship had begun to rave also, and as mother and son were of equal violence when they had ceased to control themselves, Rosalie began to find herself enlightened unsparingly. She and her people were vulgar sharpers. They had trapped a gentleman into a low American marriage and had not the decency to pay for what they had got. If she had been an Englishwoman, well born, and of decent breeding, all her fortune would have been properly transferred to her husband and he would have had the dispensing of it. Her husband would have been in the position to control her expenditure and see that she did not make a fool of herself. As it was she was the derision of all decent people, of all people who had been properly brought up and knew what was in good taste and of good morality.

First it was the Dowager who poured forth, and then it was Sir Nigel. They broke in on each other, they interrupted one another with exclamations and interpolations. They had so far lost themselves that they did not know they became grotesque in the violence of their fury. Rosalie’s brain whirled. Her hysteria mounted and mounted. She stared first at one and then at the other, gasping and sobbing by turns; she swayed on her feet and clutched at a chair.

“I did not know,” she broke forth at last, trying to make her voice heard in the storm. “I never understood. I knew something made you hate me, but I didn’t know you were angry about money.” She laughed tremulously and wildly. “I would have given it to you–father would have given you some–if you had been good to me.” The laugh became hysterical beyond her management. Peal after peal broke from her, she shook all over with her ghastly merriment, sobbing at one and the same time.

“Oh! oh! oh!” she shrieked. “You see, I thought you were so aristocratic. I wouldn’t have dared to think of such a thing. I thought an English gentleman–an English gentleman– oh! oh! to think it was all because I did not give you money–just common dollars and cents that–that I daren’t offer to a decent American who could work for himself.”

Sir Nigel sprang at her. He struck her with his open hand upon the cheek, and as she reeled she held up her small, feverish, shaking hand, laughing more wildly than before.

“You ought not to strike me,” she cried. “You oughtn’t! You don’t know how valuable I am. Perhaps—-” with a little, crazy scream–“perhaps I might have a son.”

She fell in a shuddering heap, and as she dropped she struck heavily against the protruding end of an oak chest and lay upon the floor, her arms flung out and limp, as if she were a dead thing.

CHAPTER V

ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC

In the course of twelve years the Shuttle had woven steadily and–its movements lubricated by time and custom–with increasing rapidity. Threads of commerce it caught up and shot to and fro, with threads of literature and art, threads of life drawn from one shore to the other and back again, until they were bound in the fabric of its weaving. Coldness there had been between both lands, broad divergence of taste and thought, argument across seas, sometimes resentment, but the web in Fate’s hands broadened and strengthened and held fast. Coldness faintly warmed despite itself, taste and thought drawn into nearer contact, reflecting upon their divergences, grew into tolerance and the knowledge that the diverging, seen more clearly, was not so broad; argument coming within speaking distance reasoned itself to logical and practical conclusions. Problems which had stirred anger began to find solutions. Books, in the first place, did perhaps more than all else. Cheap, pirated editions of English works, much quarrelled over by authors and publishers, being scattered over the land, brought before American eyes soft, home-like pictures of places which were, after all was said and done, the homes of those who read of them, at least in the sense of having been the birthplaces of fathers or grandfathers. Some subtle, far-reaching power of nature caused a stirring of the blood, a vague, unexpressed yearning and lingering over pages which depicted sweet, green lanes, broad acres rich with centuries of nourishment and care; grey church towers, red roofs, and village children playing before cottage doors. None of these things were new to those who pondered over them, kinsmen had dwelt on memories of them in their fireside talk, and their children had seen them in fancy and in dreams. Old grievances having had time to fade away and take on less poignant colour, the stirring of the blood stirred also imaginations, and wakened something akin to homesickness, though no man called the feeling by its name. And this, perhaps, was the strongest cord the Shuttle wove and was the true meaning of its power. Being drawn by it, Americans in increasing numbers turned their faces towards the older land. Gradually it was discovered that it was the simplest affair in the world to drive down to the wharves and take a steamer which landed one, after a more or less interesting voyage, in Liverpool, or at some other convenient port. From there one went to London, or Paris, or Rome; in fact, whither- soever one’s fancy guided, but first or last it always led the traveller to the treading of green, velvet English turf. And once standing on such velvet, both men and women, looking about them, felt, despite themselves, the strange old thrill which some of them half resented and some warmly loved.

In the course of twelve years, a length of time which will transform a little girl wearing a short frock into a young woman wearing a long one, the pace of life and the ordering of society may become so altered as to appear amazing when one finds time to reflect on the subject. But one does not often find time. Changes occur so gradually that one scarcely observes them, or so swiftly that they take the form of a kind of amazed shock which one gets over as quickly as one experiences it and realises that its cause is already a fixed fact.

In the United States of America, which have not yet acquired the serene sense of conservative self-satisfaction and repose which centuries of age may bestow, the spirit of life itself is the aspiration for change. Ambition itself only means the insistence on change. Each day is to be better than yesterday fuller of plans, of briskness, of initiative. Each to-day demands of to-morrow new men, new minds, new work. A to-day which has not launched new ships, explored new countries, constructed new buildings, added stories to old ones, may consider itself a failure, unworthy even of being consigned to the limbo of respectable yesterdays. Such a country lives by leaps and bounds, and the ten years which followed the marriage of Reuben Vanderpoel’s eldest daughter made many such bounds and leaps. They were years which initiated and established international social relations in a manner which caused them to incorporate themselves with the history of both countries. As America discovered Europe, that continent discovered America. American beauties began to appear in English drawing-rooms and Continental salons. They were presented at court and commented upon in the Row and the Bois. Their little transatlantic tricks of speech and their mots were repeated with gusto. It became understood that they were amusing and amazing. Americans “came in” as the heroes and heroines of novels and stories. Punch delighted in them vastly. Shop- keepers and hotel proprietors stocked, furnished, and provisioned for them. They spent money enormously and were singularly indifferent (at the outset) under imposition. They “came over” in a manner as epoch-making, though less war-like than that of William the Conqueror.

International marriages ceased to be a novelty. As Bettina Vanderpoel grew up, she grew up, so to speak, in the midst of them. She saw her country, its people, its newspapers, its literature, innocently rejoiced by the alliances its charming young women contracted with foreign rank. She saw it affectionately, gleefully, rubbing its hands over its duchesses, its countesses, its miladies. The American Eagle spread its wings and flapped them sometimes a trifle, over this new but so natural and inevitable triumph of its virgins. It was of course only “American” that such things should happen. America ruled the universe, and its women ruled America, bullying it a little, prettily, perhaps. What could be more a matter of course than that American women, being aided by adoring fathers, brothers and husbands, sumptuously to ship themselves to other lands, should begin to rule these lands also? Betty, in her growing up, heard all this intimated. At twelve years old, though she had detested Rosalie’s marriage, she had rather liked to hear people talk of the picturesqueness of places like Stornham Court, and of the life led by women of rank in their houses in town and country. Such talk nearly always involved the description of things and people, whose colour and tone had only reached her through the medium of books, most frequently fiction.

She was, however, of an unusually observing mind, even as a child, and the time came when she realised that the national bird spread its wings less proudly when the subject of international matches was touched upon, and even at such times showed signs of restlessness. Now and then things had not turned out as they appeared to promise; two or three seemingly brilliant unions had resulted in disaster. She had not understood all the details the newspapers cheerfully provided, but it was clear to her that more than one previously envied young woman had had practical reasons for discovering that she had made an astonishingly bad bargain. This being the case, she used frequently to ponder over the case of Rosy–Rosy! who had been swept away from them and swallowed up, as it seemed, by that other and older world. She was in certain ways a silent child, and no one but herself knew how little she had forgotten Rosy, how often she pondered over her, how sometimes she had lain awake in the night and puzzled out lines of argument concerning her and things which might be true.

The one grief of poor Mrs. Vanderpoel’s life had been the apparent estrangement of her eldest child. After her first six months in England Lady Anstruthers’ letters had become fewer and farther between, and had given so little information connected with herself that affectionate curiosity became discouraged. Sir Nigel’s brief and rare epistles revealed so little desire for any relationship with his wife’s family that gradually Rosy’s image seemed to fade into far distance and become fainter with the passing of each month. It seemed almost an incredible thing, when they allowed themselves to think of it, but no member of the family had ever been to Stornham Court. Two or three efforts to arrange a visit had been made, but on each occasion had failed through some apparently accidental cause. Once Lady Anstruthers had been away, once a letter had seemingly failed to reach her, once her children had had scarlet fever and the orders of the physicians in attendance had been stringent in regard to visitors, even relatives who did not fear contagion.

“If she had been living in New York and her children had been ill I should have been with her all the time,” poor Mrs. Vanderpoel had said with tears. “Rosy’s changed awfully, somehow. Her letters don’t sound a bit like she used to be. It seems as if she just doesn’t care to see her mother and father.”

Betty had frowned a good deal and thought intensely in secret. She did not believe that Rosy was ashamed of her relations. She remembered, however, it is true, that Clara Newell (who had been a schoolmate) had become very super-fine and indifferent to her family after her marriage to an aristocratic and learned German. Hers had been one of the successful alliances, and after living a few years in Berlin she had quite looked down upon New Yorkers, and had made herself exceedingly unpopular during her one brief visit to her relatives. She seemed to think her father and mother undignified and uncultivated, and she disapproved entirely of her sisters dress and bearing. She said that they had no distinction of manner and that all their interests were frivolous and unenlightened.

“But Clara always was a conceited girl,” thought Betty. “She was always patronising people, and Rosy was only pretty and sweet. She always said herself that she had no brains. But she had a heart.”

After the lapse of a few years there had been no further discussion of plans for visiting Stornham. Rosalie had become so remote as to appear almost unreachable. She had been presented at Court, she had had three children, the Dowager Lady Anstruthers had died. Once she had written to her father to ask for a large sum of money, which he had sent to her, because she seemed to want it very much. She required it to pay off certain debts on the estate and spoke touchingly of her boy who would inherit.

“He is a delicate boy, father,” she wrote, “and I don’t want the estate to come to him burdened.”

When she received the money she wrote gratefully of the generosity shown her, but she spoke very vaguely of the prospect of their seeing each other in the future. It was as if she felt her own remoteness even more than they felt it themselves.

In the meantime Bettina had been taken to France and placed at school there. The resulting experience was an enlightening one, far more illuminating to the quick-witted American child than it would have been to an English, French, or German one, who would not have had so much to learn, and probably would not have been so quick at the learning.

Betty Vanderpoel knew nothing which was not American, and only vaguely a few things which were not of New York. She had lived in Fifth Avenue, attended school in a numbered street near her own home, played in and been driven round Central Park. She had spent the hot months of the summer in places up the Hudson, or on Long Island, and such resorts of pleasure. She had believed implicitly in all she saw and knew. She had been surrounded by wealth and decent good nature throughout her existence, and had enjoyed her life far too much to admit of any doubt that America was the most perfect country in the world, Americans the cleverest and most amusing people, and that other nations were a little out of it, and consequently sufficiently scant of resource to render pity without condemnation a natural sentiment in connection with one’s occasional thoughts of them.

But hers was a mentality by no means ordinary. Inheritance in her nature had combined with circumstances, as it has a habit of doing in all human beings. But in her case the combinations were unusual and produced a result somewhat remarkable. The quality of brains which, in the first Reuben Vanderpoel had expressed itself in the marvellously successful planning and carrying to their ends of commercial and financial schemes, the absolute genius of penetration and calculation of the sordid and uneducated little trader in skins and barterer of goods, having filtered through two generations of gradual education and refinement of existence, which was no longer that of the mere trader, had been transformed in the great-granddaughter into keen, clear sight, level-headed perceptiveness and a logical sense of values. As the first Reuben had known by instinct the values of pelts and lands, Bettina knew by instinct the values of qualities, of brains, of hearts, of circumstances, and the incidents which affect them. She was as unaware of the significance of her great possession as werethose around her. Nevertheless it was an unerring thing. As a mere child, unformed and uneducated by life, she had not been one of the small creatures to be deceived or flattered.

“She’s an awfully smart little thing, that Betty,” her New York aunts and cousins often remarked. “She seems to see what people mean, it doesn’t matter what they say. She likes people you would not expect her to like, and then again she sometimes doesn’t care the least for people who are thought awfully attractive.”

As has been already intimated, the child was crude enough and not particularly well bred, but her small brain had always been at work, and each day of her life recorded for her valuable impressions. The page of her young mind had ceased to be a blank much earlier than is usual.

The comparing of these impressions with such as she received when her life in the French school was new afforded her active mental exercise

She began with natural, secret indignation and rebellion. There was no other American pupil in the establishment besides herself. But for the fact that the name of Vanderpoel represented wealth so enormous as to amount to a sort of rank in itself, Bettina would not have been received. The proprietress of the institution had gravely disquieting doubts of the propriety of America. Her pupils were not accustomed to freedom of opinions and customs. An American child might either consciously or unconsciously introduce them. As this must be guarded against, Betty’s first few months at the school were not agreeable to her. She was supervised and expurgated, as it were. Special Sisters were told off to converse and walk with her, and she soon perceived that conversations were not only French lessons in disguise, but were lectures on ethics, morals, and good manners, imperfectly concealed by the mask and domino of amiable entertainment. She translated into English after the following manner the facts her swift young perceptions gathered. There were things it was so inelegant to say that only the most impossible persons said them; there were things it was so inexcusable to do that when done their inexcusability assumed the proportions of a crime. There were movements, expressions, points of view, which one must avoid as one would avoid the plague. And they were all things, acts, expressions, attitudes of mind which Bettina had been familiar with from her infancy, and which she was well aware were considered almost entirely harmless and unobjectionable in New York, in her beloved New York, which was the centre of the world, which was bigger, richer, gayer, more admirable than any other city known upon the earth.

If she had not so loved it, if she had ever dreamed of the existence of any other place as being absolutely necessary, she would not have felt the thing so bitterly. But it seemed to her that all these amiable diatribes in exquisite French were directed at her New York, and it must be admitted that she was humiliated and enraged. It was a personal, indeed, a family matter. Her father, her mother, her relatives, and friends were all in some degree exactly the kind of persons whose speech, habits, and opinions she must conscientiously avoid. But for the instinct of summing up values, circumstances, and intentions, it is probable that she would have lost her head, let loose her temper and her tongue, and have become insubordinate. But the quickness of perception which had revealed practical potentialities to old Reuben Vanderpoel, revealed to her the value of French which was perfectly fluent, a voice which was musical, movements which were grace, manners which had a still beauty, and comparing these things with others less charming she listened and restrained herself, learning, marking, and inwardly digesting with a cleverness most enviable.

Among her fellow pensionnaires she met with discomforting illuminations, which were fine discipline also, though if she herself had been a less intellectual creature they might have been embittering. Without doubt Betty, even at twelve years, was intellectual. Hers was the practical working intellect which begins duty at birth and does not lay down its tools because the sun sets. The little and big girls who wrote their exercises at her side did not deliberately enlighten her, but she learned from them in vague ways that it was not New York which was the centre of the earth, but Paris, or Berlin, Madrid, London, or Rome. Paris and London were perhaps more calmly positive of themselves than other capitals, and were a little inclined to smile at the lack of seriousness in other claims. But one strange fact was more predominant than any other, and this was that New York was not counted as a civilised centre at all; it had no particular existence. Nobody expressed this rudely; in fact, it did not acquire the form of actual statement at any time. It was merely revealed by amiable and ingenuous unconsciousness of the circumstance that such a part of the world expected to be regarded or referred to at all. Betty began early to realise that as her companions did not talk of Timbuctoo or Zanzibar, so they did not talk of New York. Stockholm or Amsterdam seemed, despite their smallness, to be considered. No one denied the presence of Zanzibar on the map, but as it conveyed nothing more than the impression of being a mere geographical fact, there was no reason why one should dwell on it in conversation. Remembering all she had left behind, the crowded streets, the brilliant shop windows, the buzz of individual people, there were moments when Betty ground her strong little teeth. She wanted to express all these things, to call out, to explain, and command recognition for them. But her cleverness showed to her that argument or protestation would be useless. She could not make such hearers understand. There were girls whose interest in America was founded on their impression that magnificent Indian chieftains in blankets and feathers stalked about the streets of the towns, and that Betty’s own thick black hair had been handed down to her by some beautiful Minnehaha or Pocahontas. When first she was approached by timid, tentative questionings revealing this point of view, Betty felt hot and answered with unamiable curtness. No, there were no red Indians in New York. There had been no red Indians in her family. She had neither grandmothers nor aunts who were squaws, if they meant that.

She felt so scornfully, so disgustedly indignant at their benighted ignorance, that she knew she behaved very well in saying so little in reply. She could have said so much, but whatsoever she had said would have conveyed nothing to them, so she thought it all out alone. She went over the whole ground and little realised how much she was teaching herself as she turned and tossed in her narrow, spotlessly white bed at night, arguing, comparing, drawing deductions from what she knew and did not know of the two continents. Her childish anger, combining itself with the practical, alert brain of Reuben Vanderpoel the first, developed in her a logical reasoning power which led her to arrive at many an excellent and curiously mature conclusion. The result was finely educational. All the more so that in her fevered desire for justification of the things she loved, she began to read books such as little girls do not usually take interest in. She found some difficulty in obtaining them at first, but a letter or two written to her father obtained for her permission to read what she chose. The third Reuben Vanderpoel was deeply fond of his younger daughter, and felt in secret a profound admiration for her, which was saved from becoming too obvious by the ever present American sense of humour.

“Betty seems to be going in for politics,” he said after reading the letter containing her request and her first list of books. “She’s about as mad as she can be at the ignorance of the French girls about America and Americans. She wants to fill up on solid facts, so that she can come out strong in argument. She’s got an understanding of the power of solid facts that would be a fortune to her if she were a man.”

It was no doubt her understanding of the power of facts which led her to learn everything well and to develop in many directions. She began to dip into political and historical volumes because she was furious, and wished to be able to refute idiocy, but she found herself continuing to read because she was interested in a way she had not expected. She began to see things. Once she made a remark which was prophetic. She made it in answer to a guileless observation concerning the gold mines with which Boston was supposed to be enriched.

“You don’t know anything about America, you others,” she said. “But you WILL know!”

“Do you think it will become the fashion to travel in America?” asked a German girl.

“Perhaps,” said Betty. “But–it isn’t so much that you will go to America. I believe it will come to you. It’s like that–America. It doesn’t stand still. It goes and gets what it wants.”

She laughed as she ended, and so did the other girls. But in ten years’ time, when they were young women, some of them married, some of them court beauties, one of them recalled this speech to another, whom she encountered in an important house in St. Petersburg, the wife of the celebrated diplomat who was its owner being an American woman.

Bettina Vanderpoel’s education was a rather fine thing. She herself had more to do with it than girls usually have to do with their own training. In a few months’ time those in authority in the French school found that it was not necessary to supervise and expurgate her. She learned with an interested rapacity which was at once unusual and amazing. And she evidently did not learn from books alone. Her voice, as an organ, had been musical and full from babyhood. It began to modulate itself and to express things most voices are incapable of expressing. She had been so built by nature that the carriage of her head and limbs was good to behold. She acquired a harmony of movement which caused her to lose no shade of grace and spirit. Her eyes were full of thought, of speculation, and intentness.

“She thinks a great deal for one so young,” was said of her frequently by one or the other of her teachers. One finally went further and added, “She has genius.”

This was true. She had genius, but it was not specialised. It was not genius which expressed itself through any one art. It was a genius for life, for living herself, for aiding others to live, for vivifying mere existence. She herself was, however, aware only of an eagerness of temperament, a passion for seeing, doing, and gaining knowledge. Everything interested her, everybody was suggestive and more or less enlightening.

Her relatives thought her original in her fancies. They called them fancies because she was so young. Fortunately for her, there was no reason why she should not be gratified. Most girls preferred to spend their holidays on the Continent. She elected to return to America every alternate year. She enjoyed the voyage and she liked the entire change of atmosphere and people.

“It makes me like both places more,” she said to her father when she was thirteen. “It makes me see things.”

Her father discovered that she saw everything. She was the pleasure of his life. He was attracted greatly by the interest she exhibited in all orders of things. He saw her make bold, ingenuous plunges into all waters, without any apparent consciousness that the scraps of knowledge she brought to the surface were unusual possessions for a schoolgirl. She had young views on the politics and commerce of different countries, as she had views on their literature. When Reuben Vanderpoel swooped across the American continent on journeys of thousands of miles, taking her as a companion, he discovered that he actually placed a sort of confidence in her summing up of men and schemes. He took her to see mines and railroads and those who worked them, and he talked them over with her afterward, half with a sense of humour, half with a sense of finding comfort in her intelligent comprehension of all he said.

She enjoyed herself immensely and gained a strong picturesqueness of character. After an American holiday she used to return to France, Germany, or Italy, with a renewed zest of feeling for all things romantic and antique. After a few years in the French convent she asked that she might be sent to Germany.

“I am gradually changing into a French girl,” she wrote to her father. “One morning I found I was thinking it would be nice to go into a convent, and another day I almost entirely agreed with one of the girls who was declaiming against her brother who had fallen in love with a Californian. You had better take me away and send me to Germany.

Reuben Vanderpoel laughed. He understood Betty much better than most of her relations did. He knew when seriousness underlay her jests and his respect for her seriousness was great. He sent her to school in Germany. During the early years of her schooldays Betty had observed that America appeared upon the whole to be regarded by her schoolfellows principally as a place to which the more unfortunate among the peasantry emigrated as steerage passengers when things could become no worse for them in their own country. The United States was not mentally detached from any other portion of the huge Western Continent. Quite well-educated persons spoke casually of individuals having “gone to America,” as if there were no particular difference between Brazil and Massachusetts.

“I wonder if you ever saw my cousin Gaston,” a French girl once asked her as they sat at their desks. “He became very poor through ill living. He was quite without money and he went to America.”

“To New York?” inquired Bettina.

“I am not sure. The town is called Concepcion.”

“That is not in the United States,” Betty answered disdainfully. “It is in Chili.”

She dragged her atlas towards her and found the place.

“See,” she said. “It is thousands of miles from New York.” Her companion was a near-sighted, rather slow girl. She peered at the map, drawing a line with her finger from New York to Concepcion.

“Yes, they are at a great distance from one another,” she admitted, “but they are both in America.”

“But not both in the United States,” cried Betty. “French girls always seem to think that North and South America are the same, that they are both the United States.”

“Yes,” said the slow girl with deliberation. “We do make odd mistakes sometimes.” To which she added with entire innocence of any ironic intention. “But you Americans, you seem to feel the United States, your New York, to be all America.

Betty started a little and flushed. During a few minutes of rapid reflection she sat bolt upright at her desk and looked straight before her. Her mentality was of the order which is capable of making discoveries concerning itself as well as concerning others. She had never thought of this view of the matter before, but it was quite true. To passionate young patriots such as herself at least, that portion of the map covered by the United States was America. She suddenly saw also that to her New York had been America. Fifth Avenue Broadway, Central Park, even Tiffany’s had been “America.” She laughed and reddened a shade as she put the atlas aside having recorded a new idea. She had found out that it was not only Europeans who were local, which was a discovery of some importance to her fervid youth.

Because she thought so often of Rosalie, her attention was, during the passing years, naturally attracted by the many things she heard of such marriages as were made by Americans with men of other countries than their own. She discovered that notwithstanding certain commercial views of matrimony, all foreigners who united themselves with American heiresses were not the entire brutes primitive prejudice might lead one to imagine. There were rather one-sided alliances which proved themselves far from happy. The Cousin Gaston, for instance, brought home a bride whose fortune rebuilt and refurnished his dilapidated chateau and who ended by making of him a well-behaved and cheery country gentleman not at all to be despised in his amiable, if light-minded good nature and good spirits. His wife, fortunately, was not a young woman who yearned for sentiment. She was a nice-tempered, practical American girl, who adored French country life and knew how to amuse and manage her husband. It was a genial sort of menage and yet though this was an undeniable fact, Bettina observed that when the union was spoken of it was always referred to with a certain tone which conveyed that though one did not exactly complain of its having been undesirable, it was not quite what Gaston might have expected. His wife had money and was good-natured, but there were limitations to one’s appreciation of a marriage in which husband and wife were not on the same plane.

“She is an excellent person, and it has been good for Gaston,” said Bettina’s friend. “We like her, but she is not–she is not—-” She paused there, evidently seeing that the remark was unlucky. Bettina, who was still in short frocks, took her up.

“What is she not?” she asked.

“Ah!–it is difficult to explain–to Americans. It is really not exactly a fault. But she is not of his world.”

“But if he does not like that,” said Bettina coolly, “why did he let her buy him and pay for him?”

It was young and brutal, but there were times when the business perspicuity of the first Reuben Vanderpoel, combining with the fiery, wounded spirit of his young descendant, rendered Bettina brutal. She saw certain unadorned facts with unsparing young eyes and wanted to state them. After her frocks were lengthened, she learned how to state them with more fineness of phrase, but even then she was sometimes still rather unsparing.

In this case her companion, who was not fiery of temperament, only coloured slightly.

“It was not quite that,” she answered. “Gaston really is fond of her. She amuses him, and he says she is far cleverer than he is.”

But there were unions less satisfactory, and Bettina had opportunities to reflect upon these also. The English and Continental papers did not give enthusiastic, detailed descriptions of the marriages New York journals dwelt upon with such delight. They were passed over with a paragraph. When Betty heard them spoken of in France, Germany or Italy, she observed that they were not, as a rule, spoken of respectfully. It seemed to her that the bridegrooms were, in conversation, treated by their equals with scant respect. It appeared that there had always been some extremely practical reason for the passion which had led them to the altar. One generally gathered that they or their estates were very much out at elbow, and frequently their characters were not considered admirable by their relatives and acquaintances. Some had been rather cold shouldered in certain capitals on account of embarrassing little, or big, stories. Some had spent their patrimonies in riotous living. Those who had merely begun by coming into impoverished estates, and had later attenuated their resources by comparatively decent follies, were of the more desirable order. By the time she was nineteen, Bettina had felt the blood surge in her veins more than once when she heard some comments on alliances over which she had seen her compatriots glow with affectionate delight.

“It was time Ludlow married some girl with money,” she heard said of one such union. “He had been playing the fool ever since he came into the estate. Horses and a lot of stupid women. He had come some awful croppers during the last ten years. Good-enough looking girl, they tell me–the American he has married–tremendous lot of money. Couldn’t have picked it up on this side. English young women of fortune are not looking for that kind of thing. Poor old Billy wasn’t good enough.’

Bettina told the story to her father when they next met. She had grown into a tall young creature by this time. Her low, full voice was like a bell and was capable of ringing forth some fine, mellow tones of irony

“And in America we are pleased,” she said, “and flatter ourselves that we are receiving the proper tribute of adoration of our American wit and beauty. We plume ourselves on our conquests.

“No, Betty,” said her father, and his reflective deliberation had meaning. “There are a lot of us who don’t plume ourselves particularly in these days. We are not as innocent as we were when this sort of thing began. We are not as innocent as we were when Rosy was married.” And he sighed and rubbed his forehead with the handle of his pen. “Not as innocent as we were when Rosy was married,” he repeated.

Bettina went to him and slid her fine young arm round his neck. It was a long, slim, round arm with a wonderful power to caress in its curves. She kissed Vanderpoel’s lined cheek.

“Have you had time to think much about Rosy?” she said.

“I’ve not had time, but I’ve done it,” he answered. “Anything that hurts your mother hurts me. Sometimes she begins to cry in her sleep, and when I wake her she tells me she has been dreaming that she has seen Rosy.”

“I have had time to think of her,” said Bettina. “I have heard so much of these things. I was at school in Germany when Annie Butterfield and Baron von Steindahl were married. I heard it talked about there, and then my mother sent me some American papers.”

She laughed a little, and for a moment her laugh did not sound like a girl’s.

“Well, it’s turned out badly enough,” her father commented. “The papers had plenty to say about it later. There wasn’t much he was too good to do to his wife, apparently.”

“There was nothing too bad for him to do before he had a wife,” said Bettina. “He was black. It was an insolence that he should have dared to speak to Annie Butterfield. Somebody ought to have beaten him.”

“He beat her instead.”

“Yes, and I think his family thought it quite natural. They said that she was so vulgar and American that she exasperated Frederick beyond endurance. She was not geboren, that was it.” She laughed her severe little laugh again. “Perhaps we shall get tired in time,” she added. “I think we are learning. If it is made a matter of business quite open and aboveboard, it will be fair. You know, father, you always said that I was businesslike.”

There was interested curiosity in Vanderpoel’s steady look at her. There were times when he felt that Betty’s summing up of things was well worth listening to. He saw that now she was in one of her moods when it would pay one to hear her out. She held her chin up a little, and her face took on a fine stillness at once sweet and unrelenting. She was very good to look at in such moments.

“Yes,” he answered, “you have a particularly level head for a girl.”

“Well,” she went on. “What I see is that these things are not business, and they ought to be. If a man comes to a rich American girl and says, `I and my title are for sale. Will you buy us?’ If the girl is–is that kind of a girl and wants that kind of man, she can look them both over and say, `Yes, I will buy you,’ and it can be arranged. He will not return the money if he is unsatisfactory, but she cannot complain that she has been deceived. She can only complain of that when he pretends that he asks her to marry him because he wants her for his wife, because he would want her for his wife if she were as poor as himself. Let it be understood that he is property for sale, let her make sure that he is the kind of property she wants to buy. Then, if, when they are married, he is brutal or impudent, or his people are brutal or impudent, she can say, `I will forfeit the purchase money, but I will not forfeit myself. I will not stay with you.’ “

“They would not like to hear you say that, Betty,” said her father, rubbing his chin reflectively.

“No,” she answered. “Neither the girl nor the man would like it, and it is their business, not mine. But it is practical and would prevent silly mistakes. It would prevent the girls being laughed at. It is when they are flattered by the choice made of them that they are laughed at. No one can sneer at a man or woman for buying what they think they want, and throwing it aside if it turns out a bad bargain.”

She had seated herself near her father. She rested her elbow slightly on the table and her chin in the hollow of her hand. She was a beautiful young creature. She had a soft curving mouth, and a soft curving cheek which was warm rose. Taken in conjunction with those young charms, her next words had an air of incongruity.

“You think I am hard,” she said. “When I think of these things I am hard–as hard as nails. That is an Americanism, but it is a good expression. I am angry for America. If we are sordid and undignified, let us get what we pay for and make the others acknowledge that we have paid.”

She did not smile, nor did her father. Mr. Vanderpoel, on the contrary, sighed. He had a dreary suspicion that Rosy, at least, had not received what she had paid for, and he knew she had not been in the least aware that she had paid or that she was expected to do so. Several times during the last few years he had thought that if he had not been so hard worked, if he had had time, he would have seriously investigated the case of Rosy. But who is not aware that the profession of multimillionaire does not allow of any swerving from duty or of any interests requiring leisure?

“I wonder, Betty,” he said quite deliberately, “if you know how handsome you are?”

“Yes,” answered Bettina. “I think so. And I am tall. It is the fashion to be tall now. It was Early Victorian to be little. The Queen brought in the `dear little woman,’ and now the type has gone out.”

“They will come to look at you pretty soon,” said Vanderpoel. “What shall you say then?”

“I?” said Bettina, and her voice sounded particularly low and mellow. “I have a little monomania, father. Some people have a monomania for one thing and some for another. Mine is for NOT taking a bargain from the ducal remnant counter.”

CHAPTER VI

AN UNFAIR ENDOWMENT

To Bettina Vanderpoel had been given, to an extraordinary extent, the extraordinary thing which is called beauty–which is a thing entirely set apart from mere good looks or prettiness. This thing is extraordinary because, if statistics were taken, the result would probably be the discovery that not three human beings in a million really possess it. That it should be bestowed at all–since it is so rare–seems as unfair a thing as appears to the mere mortal mind the bestowal of unbounded wealth, since it quite as inevitably places the life of its owner upon an abnormal plane. There are millions of pretty women, and billions of personable men, but the man or woman of entire physical beauty may cross one’s pathway only once in a life- time–or not at all. In the latter case it is natural to doubt the absolute truth of the rumours that the thing exists. The abnormal creature seems a mere freak of nature and may chance to be angel, criminal, total insipidity, virago or enchanter, but let such an one enter a room or appear in the street, and heads must turn, eyes light and follow, souls yearn or envy, or sink under the discouragement of comparison. With the complete harmony and perfect balance of the singular thing, it would be folly for the rest of the world to compete. A human being who had lived in poverty for half a lifetime, might, if suddenly endowed with limitless fortune, retain, to a certain extent, balance of mind; but the same creature having lived the same number of years a wholly unlovely thing, suddenly awakening to the possession of entire physical beauty, might find the strain upon pure sanity greater and the balance less easy to preserve. The relief from the conscious or unconscious tension bred by the sense of imperfection, the calm surety of the fearlessness of meeting in any eye a look not lighted by pleasure, would be less normal than the knowledge that no wish need remain unfulfilled, no fancy ungratified. Even at sixteen Betty was a long-limbed young nymph whose small head, set high on a fine slim column of throat, might well have been crowned with the garland of some goddess of health and the joy of life. She was light and swift, and being a creature of long lines and tender curves, there was pleasure in the mere seeing her move. The cut of her spirited lip, and delicate nostril, made for a profile at which one turned to look more than once, despite one’s self. Her hair was soft and black and repeated its colour in the extravagant lashes of her childhood, which made mysterious the changeful dense blue of her eyes. They were eyes with laughter in them and pride, and a suggestion of many deep things yet unstirred. She was rather unusually tall, and her body had the suppleness of a young bamboo. The deep corners of her red mouth curled generously, and the chin, melting into the fine line of the lovely throat, was at once strong and soft and lovely. She was a creature of harmony, warm richness of colour, and brilliantly alluring life.

When her school days were over she returned to New York and gave herself into her mother’s hands. Her mother’s kindness of heart and sweet-tempered lovingness were touching things to Bettina. In the midst of her millions Mrs. Vanderpoel was wholly unworldly. Bettina knew that she felt a perpetual homesickness when she allowed herself to think of the daughter who seemed lost to her, and the girl’s realisation of this caused her to wish to be especially affectionate and amenable. She was glad that she was tall and beautiful, not merely because such physical gifts added to the colour and agreeableness of life, but because hers gave comfort and happiness to her mother. To Mrs. Vanderpoel, to introduce to the world the loveliest debutante of many years was to be launched into a new future. To concern one’s self about her exquisite wardrobe was to have an enlivening occupation. To see her surrounded, to watch eyes as they followed her, to hear her praised, was to feel something of the happiness she had known in those younger days when New York had been less advanced in its news and methods, and slim little blonde Rosalie had come out in white tulle and waltzed like a fairy with a hundred partners.

“I wonder what Rosy looks like now,” the poor woman said involuntarily one day. Bettina was not a fairy. When her mother uttered her exclamation Bettina was on the point of going out, and as she stood near her, wrapped in splendid furs, she had the air of a Russian princess.

“She could not have worn the things you do, Betty, said the affectionate maternal creature. “She was such a little, slight thing. But she was very pretty. I wonder if twelve years have changed her much?”

Betty turned towards her rather suddenly.

“Mother,” she said, “sometime, before very long, I am going to see.”

“To see!” exclaimed Mrs. Vanderpoel. “To see Rosy!”

“Yes,” Betty answered. “I have a plan. I have never told you of it, but I have been thinking over it ever since I was fifteen years old.”

She went to her mother and kissed her. She wore a becoming but resolute expression.

“We will not talk about it now,” she said. “There are some things I must find out.”

When she had left the room, which she did almost immediately, Mrs. Vanderpoel sat down and cried. She nearly always shed a few tears when anyone touched upon the subject of Rosy. On her desk were some photographs. One was of Rosy as a little girl with long hair, one was of Lady Anstruthers in her wedding dress, and one was of Sir Nigel.

“I never felt as if I quite liked him,” she said, looking at this last, “but I suppose she does, or she would not be so happy that she could forget her mother and sister.

There was another picture she looked at. Rosalie had sent it with the letter she wrote to her father after he had forwarded the money she asked for. It was a little study in water colours of the head of her boy. It was nothing but a head, the shoulders being fancifully draped, but the face was a peculiar one. It was over-mature, and unlovely, but for a mouth at once pathetic and sweet.

“He is not a pretty child,” sighed Mrs. Vanderpoel. “I should have thought Rosy would have had pretty babies. Ughtred is more like his father than his mother.”

She spoke to her husband later, of what Betty had said.

“What do you think she has in her mind, Reuben?” she asked.

“What Betty has in her mind is usually good sense,” was his response. “She will begin to talk to me about it presently. I shall not ask questions yet. She is probably thinking: things over.”

She was, in truth, thinking things over, as she had been doing for some time. She had asked questions on several occasions of English people she had met abroad. But a school- girl cannot ask many questions, and though she had once met someone who knew Sir Nigel Anstruthers, it was a person who did not know him well, for the reason that she had not desired to increase her slight acquaintance. This lady was the aunt of one of Bettina’s fellow pupils, and she was not aware of the girl’s relationship to Sir Nigel. What Betty gathered was that her brother-in-law was regarded as a decidedly bad lot, that since his marriage to some American girl he had seemed to have money which he spent in riotous living, and that the wife, who was said to be a silly creature, was kept in the country, either because her husband did not want her in London, or because she preferred to stay at Stornham. About the wife no one appeared to know anything, in fact.

“She is rather a fool, I believe, and Sir Nigel Anstruthers is the kind of man a simpleton would be obliged to submit to,” Bettina had heard the lady say.

Her own reflections upon these comments had led her through various paths of thought. She could recall Rosalie’s girlhood, and what she herself, as an unconsciously observing child, had known of her character. She remembered the simple impressionability of her mind. She had been the most amenable little creature in the world. Her yielding amiability could always be counted upon as a factor by the calculating; sweet-tempered to weakness, she could be beguiled or distressed into any course the desires of others dictated. An ill-tempered or self-pitying person could alter any line of conduct she herself wished to pursue.

“She was neither clever nor strong-minded,” Betty said to herself. ” A man like Sir Nigel Anstruthers could make what he chose of her. I wonder what he has done to her?”

Of one thing she thought she was sure. This was that Rosalie’s aloofness from her family was the result of his design.

She comprehended, in her maturer years, the dislike of her childhood. She remembered a certain look in his face which she had detested. She had not known then that it was the look of a rather clever brute, who was malignant, but she knew now.

“He used to hate us all,” she said to herself. “He did not mean to know us when he had taken Rosalie away, and he did not intend that she should know us.”

She had heard rumours of cases somewhat parallel, cases in which girls’ lives had become swamped in those of their husbands, and their husbands’ families. And she had also heard unpleasant details of the means employed to reach the desired results. Annie Butterfield’s husband had forbidden her to correspond with her American relatives. He had argued that such correspondence was disturbing to her mind, and to the domestic duties which should be every decent woman’s religion. One of the occasions of his beating her had been in consequence of his finding her writing to her mother a letter blotted with tears. Husbands frequently objected to their wives’ relatives, but there was a special order of European husband who opposed violently any intimacy with American relations on the practical ground that their views of a wife’s position, with regard to her husband, were of a revolutionary nature.

Mrs. Vanderpoel had in her possession every letter Rosalie or her husband had ever written. Bettina asked to be allowed to read them, and one morning seated herself in her own room before a blazing fire, with the collection on a table at her side. She read them in order. Nigel’s began as they went on. They were all in one tone, formal, uninteresting, and requiring no answers. There was not a suggestion of human feeling in one of them.

“He wrote them,” said Betty, “so that we could not say that he had never written.”

Rosalie’s first epistles were affectionate, but timid. At the outset she was evidently trying to conceal the fact that she was homesick. Gradually she became briefer and more constrained. In one she said pathetically, “I am such a bad letter writer. I always feel as if I want to tear up what I have written, because I never say half that is in my heart. Mrs. Vanderpoel had kissed that letter many a time. She was sure that a mark on the paper near this particular sentence was where a tear had fallen. Bettina was sure of this, too, and sat and looked at the fire for some time.

That night she went to a ball, and when she returned home, she persuaded her mother to go to bed.

“I want to have a talk with father,” she exclaimed. “I am going to ask him something.”

She went to the great man’s private room, where he sat at work, even after the hours when less seriously engaged people come home from balls. The room he sat in was one of the apartments newspapers had with much detail described. It was luxuriously comfortable, and its effect was sober and rich and fine.

When Bettina came in, Vanderpoel, looking up to smile at her in welcome, was struck by the fact that as a background to an entering figure of tall, splendid girlhood in a ball dress it was admirable, throwing up all its whiteness and grace and sweep of line. He was always glad to see Betty. The rich strength of the life radiating from her, the reality and glow of her were good for him and had the power of detaching him from work of which he was tired.

She smiled back at him, and, coming forward took her place in a big armchair close to him, her lace-frilled cloak slipping from her shoulders with a soft rustling sound which seemed to convey her intention to stay.

“Are you too busy to be interrupted?” she asked, her mellow voice caressing him. “I want to talk to you about something I am going to do.” She put out her hand and laid it on his with a clinging firmness which meant strong feeling. “At least, I am going to do it if you will help me,” she ended.

“What is it, Betty?” he inquired, his usual interest in her accentuated by her manner.

She laid her other hand on his and he clasped both with his own.

“When the Worthingtons sail for England next month,” she explained, “I want to go with them. Mrs. Worthington is very kind and will be good enough to take care of me until I reach London.”

Mr. Vanderpoel moved slightly in his chair. Then their eyes met comprehendingly. He saw what hers held.

“From there you are going to Stornham Court!” he exclaimed.

“To see Rosy,” she answered, leaning a little forward. “To SEE her.

“You believe that what has happened has not been her fault?” he said. There was a look in her face which warmed his blood.

“I have always been sure that Nigel Anstruthers arranged it.”

“Do you think he has been unkind to her?”

“I am going to see,” she answered.

“Betty,” he said, “tell me all about it.”

He knew that this was no suddenly-formed plan, and he knew it would be well worth while to hear the details of its growth. It was so interestingly like her to have remained silent through the process of thinking a thing out, evolving her final idea without having disturbed him by bringing to him any chaotic uncertainties.

“It’s a sort of confession,” she answered. “Father, I have been thinking about it for years. I said nothing because for so long I knew I was only a child, and a child’s judgment might be worth so little. But through all those years I was learning things and gathering evidence. When I was at school, first in one country and then another, I used to tell myself that I was growing up and preparing myself to do a particular thing–to go to rescue Rosy.”

“I used to guess you thought of her in a way of your own,” Vanderpoel said, “but I did not guess you were thinking that much. You were always a solid, loyal little thing, and there was business capacity in your keeping your scheme to yourself. Let us look the matter in the face. Suppose she does not need rescuing. Suppose, after all, she is a comfortable, fine lady and adores her husband. What then?”

“If I should find that to be true, I will behave myself very well–as if we had expected nothing else. I will make her a short visit and come away. Lady Cecilia Orme, whom I knew in Florence, has asked me to stay with her in London. I will go to her. She is a charming woman. But I must first see Rosy–SEE her.”

Mr. Vanderpoel thought the matter over during a few moments of silence.

“You do not wish your mother to go with you?” he said presently.

“I believe it will be better that she should not,” she answered. “If there are difficulties or disappointments she would be too unhappy.”

“Yes,” he said slowly, “and she could not control her feelings. She would give the whole thing away, poor girl.”

He had been looking at the carpet reflectively, and now he looked at Bettina.

“What are you expecting to find, at the worst?” he asked her. “The kind of thing which will need management while it is being looked into?”

“I do not know what I am expecting to find,” was her reply. “We know absolutely nothing; but that Rosy was fond of us, and that her marriage has seemed to make her cease to care. She was not like that; she was not like that! Was she, father?”

“No, she wasn’t,” he exclaimed. The memory of her in her short-frocked and early girlish days, a pretty, smiling, effusive thing, given to lavish caresses and affectionate little surprises for them all, came back to him vividly. “She was the most affectionate girl I ever knew,” he said. “She was more affectionate than you, Betty,” with a smile.

Bettina smiled in return and bent her head to put a kiss on his hand, a warm, lovely, comprehending kiss.

“If she had been different I should not have thought so much of the change,” she said. “I believe that people are always more or less LIKE themselves as long as they live. What has seemed to happen has been so unlike Rosy that there must be some reason for it.”

“You think that she has been prevented from seeing us?”

“I think it so possible that I am not going to announce my visit beforehand.”

“You have a good head, Betty,” her father said.

“If Sir Nigel has put obstacles in our way before, he will do it again. I shall try to find out, when I reach London, if Rosalie is at Stornham. When I am sure she is there, I shall go and present myself. If Sir Nigel meets me at the park gates and orders his gamekeepers to drive me off the premises, we shall at least know that he has some reason for not wishing to regard the usual social and domestic amenities. I feel rather like a detective. It entertains me and excites me a little.”

The deep blue of her eyes shone under the shadow of the extravagant lashes as she laughed.

“Are you willing that I should go, father?” she said next.

“Yes,” he answered. “I am willing to trust you, Betty, to do things I would not trust other girls to try at. If you were not my girl at all, if you were a man on Wall Street, I should know you would be pretty safe to come out a little more than even in any venture you made. You know how to keep cool.”

Bettina picked up her fallen cloak and laid it over her arm. It was made of billowy frills of Malines lace, such as only Vanderpoels could buy. She looked down at the amazing thing and touched up the frills with her fingers as she whimsically smiled.

“There are a good many girls who can he trusted to do things in these days,” she said. “Women have found out so much. Perhaps it is because the heroines of novels have informed them. Heroines and heroes always bring in the new fashions in character. I believe it is years since a heroine `burst into a flood of tears.’ It has been discovered, really, that nothing is to be gained by it. Whatsoever I find at Stornham Court, I shall neither weep nor be helpless. There is the Atlantic cable, you know. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why heroines have changed. When they could not escape from their persecutors except in a stage coach, and could not send telegrams, they were more or less in everyone’s hands. It is different now. Thank you, father, you are very good to believe in me.”

CHAPTER VII

ON BOARD THE “MERIDIANA”

A large transatlantic steamer lying at the wharf on a brilliant, sunny morning just before its departure is an interesting and suggestive object to those who are fond of following suggestion to its end. One sometimes wonders if it is possible that the excitement in the dock atmosphere could ever become a thing to which one was sufficiently accustomed to be able to regard it as among things commonplace. The rumbling and rattling of waggons and carts, the loading and unloading of boxes and bales, the people who are late, and the people who are early, the faces which are excited, and the faces which are sad, the trunks and bales, and cranes which creak and groan, the shouts and cries, the hurry and confusion of movement, notwithstanding that every day has seen them all for years, have a sort of perennial interest to the looker-on.

This is, perhaps, more especially the case when the looker-on is to be a passenger on the outgoing ship; and the exhilaration of his point of view may greatly depend upon the reason for his voyage and the class by which he travels. Gaiety and youth usually appear upon the promenade deck, having taken saloon passage. Dulness, commerce, and eld mingling with them, it is true, but with a discretion which does not seem to dominate. Second-class passengers wear a more practical aspect, and youth among them is rarer and more grave. People who must travel second and third class make voyages for utilitarian reasons. Their object is usually to better themselves in one way or another. When they are going from Liverpool to New York, it is usually to enter upon new efforts and new labours. When they are returning from New York to Liverpool, it is often because the new life has proved less to be depended upon than the old, and they are bearing back with them bitterness of soul and discouragement of spirit.

On the brilliant spring morning when the huge liner Meridiana was to sail for England a young man, who was a second-class passenger, leaned upon the ship’s rail and watched the turmoil on the wharf with a detached and not at all buoyant air.

His air was detached because he had other things in his mind than those merely passing before him, and he was not buoyant because they were not cheerful or encouraging subjects for reflection. He was a big young man, well hung together, and carrying himself well; his face was square-jawed and rugged, and he had dark red hair restrained by its close cut from waving strongly on his forehead. His eyes were red brown, and a few dark freckles marked his clear skin. He was of the order of man one looks at twice, having looked at him once, though one does not in the least know why, unless one finally reaches some degree of intimacy.

He watched the vehicles, heavy and light, roll into the big shed-like building and deposit their freight; he heard the voices and caught the sentences of instruction and comment; he saw boxes and bales hauled from the dock side to the deck and swung below with the rattling of machinery and chains. But these formed merely a noisy background to his mood, which was self-centred and gloomy. He was one of those who go back to their native land knowing themselves conquered. He had left England two years before, feeling obstinately determined to accomplish a certain difficult thing, but forces of nature combining with the circumstances of previous education and living had beaten him. He had lost two years and all the money he had ventured. He was going back to the place he had come from, and he was carrying with him a sense of having been used hardly by fortune, and in a way he had not deserved.

He had gone out to the West with the intention of working hard and using his hands as well as his brains; he had not been squeamish; he had, in fact, laboured like a ploughman; and to be obliged to give in had been galling and bitter. There are human beings into whose consciousness of themselves the possibility of being beaten does not enter. This man was one of them.

The ship was of the huge and luxuriously-fitted class by which the rich and fortunate are transported from one continent to another. Passengers could indulge themselves in suites of rooms and live sumptuously. As the man leaning on the rail looked on, he saw messengers bearing baskets and boxes of fruit and flowers with cards and notes attached, hurrying up the gangway to deliver them to waiting stewards. These were the farewell offerings to be placed in staterooms, or to await their owners on the saloon tables. Salter–the second-class passenger’s name was Salter–had seen a few such offerings before on the first crossing. But there had not been such lavishness at Liverpool. It was the New Yorkers who were sumptuous in such matters, as he had been told. He had also heard casually that the passenger list on this voyage was to record important names, the names of multi-millionaire people who were going over for the London season.

Two stewards talking near him, earlier in the morning, had been exulting over the probable largesse such a list would result in at the end of the passage.

“The Worthingtons and the Hirams and the John William Spayters,” said one. “They travel all right. They know what they want and they want a good deal, and they’re willing to pay for it.”

“Yes. They’re not school teachers going over to improve their minds and contriving to cross in a big ship by economising in everything else. Miss Vanderpoel’s sailing with the Worthingtons. She’s got the best suite all to herself. She’ll bring back a duke or one of those prince fellows. How many millions has Vanderpoel?”

“How many millions. How many hundred millions!” said his companion, gloating cheerfully over the vastness of unknown possibilities. “I’ve crossed with Miss Vanderpoel often, two or three times when she was in short frocks. She’s the kind of girl you read about. And she’s got money enough to buy in half a dozen princes.”

“There are New Yorkers who won’t like it if she does,” returned the other. “There’s been too much money going out of the country. Her suite is crammed full of Jack roses, now, and there are boxes waiting outside.”

Salter moved away and heard no more. He moved away, in fact, because he was conscious that to a man in his case, this dwelling upon millions, this plethora of wealth, was a little revolting. He had walked down Broadway and seen the price of Jacqueminot roses, and he was not soothed or allured at this particular moment by the picture of a girl whose half-dozen cabins were crowded with them.

“Oh, the devil!” he said. “It sounds vulgar.” And he walked up and down fast, squaring his shoulders, with his hands in the pockets of his rough, well-worn coat. He had seen in England something of the American young woman with millionaire relatives. He had been scarcely more than a boy when the American flood first began to rise. He had been old enough, however, to hear people talk. As he had grown older, Salter had observed its advance. Englishmen had married American beauties. American fortunes had built up English houses, which otherwise threatened to fall into decay. Then the American faculty of adaptability came into play. Anglo- American wives became sometimes more English than their husbands. They proceeded to Anglicise their relations, their relations’ clothes, even, in time, their speech. They carried or sent English conventions to the States, their brothers ordered their clothes from West End tailors, their sisters began to wear walking dresses, to play out-of-door games and take active exercise. Their mothers tentatively took houses in London or Paris, there came a period when their fathers or uncles, serious or anxious business men, the most unsporting of human beings, rented castles or manors with huge moors and covers attached and entertained large parties of shooters or fishers who could be lured to any quarter by the promise of the particular form of slaughter for which they burned.

“Sheer American business perspicacity, that,” said Salter, as he marched up and down, thinking of a particular case of this order. “There’s something admirable in the practical way they make for what they want. They want to amalgamate with English people, not for their own sake, but because their women like it, and so they offer the men thousands of acres full of things to kill. They can get them by paying for them, and they know how to pay.” He laughed a little, lifting his square shoulders. “Balthamor’s six thousand acres of grouse moor and Elsty’s salmon fishing are rented by the Chicago man. He doesn’t care twopence for them, and does not know a pheasant from a caper-cailzie, but his wife wants to know men who do.”

It must be confessed that Salter was of the English who were not pleased with the American Invasion. In some of his views of the matter he was a little prehistoric and savage, but the modern side of his character was too intelligent to lack reason. He was by no means entirely modern, however; a large part of his nature belonged to the age in which men had fought fiercely for what they wanted to get or keep, and when the amenities of commerce had not become powerful factors in existence.

“They’re not a bad lot,” he was thinking at this moment. “They are rather fine in a way. They are clever and powerful and interesting–more so than they know themselves. But it is all commerce. They don’t come and fight with us and get possession of us by force. They come and buy us. They buy our land and our homes, and our landowners, for that matter– when they don’t buy them, they send their women to marry them, confound it! “

He took half a dozen more strides and lifted his shoulders again.

“Beggarly lot as I am,” he said, “unlikely as it seems that I can marry at all, I’m hanged if I don’t marry an Englishwoman, if I give my life to a woman at all.”

But, in fact, he was of the opinion that he should never give his life to any woman, and this was because he was, at this period, also of the opinion that there was small prospect of its ever being worth the giving or taking. It had been one of those lives which begin untowardly and are ruled by unfair circumstances.

He had a particularly well-cut and expressive mouth, and, as he went back to the ship’s side and leaned on his folded arms on the rail again, its curves concealed a good deal of strong feeling.

The wharf was busier than before. In less than half an hour the ship was to sail. The bustle and confusion had increased. There were people hurrying about looking for friends, and there were people scribbling off excited farewell messages at the telegraph office. The situation was working up to its climax. An observing looker-on might catch glimpses of emotional scenes. Many of the passengers were already on board, parties of them accompanied by their friends were making their way up the gangplank.

Salter had just been watching a luxuriously cared-for little invalid woman being carried on deck in a reclining chair, when his attention was attracted by the sound of trampling hoofs and rolling wheels. Two noticeably big and smart carriages had driven up to the stopping-place for vehicles. They were gorgeously of the latest mode, and their tall, satin-skinned horses jangled silver chains and stepped up to their noses.

“Here come the Worthingtons, whosoever they may be,” thought Salter. “The fine up-standing young woman is, no doubt, the multi-millionairess.”

The fine, up-standing young woman WAS the multi-millionairess. Bettina walked up the gangway in the sunshine, and the passengers upon the upper deck craned their necks to look at her. Her carriage of her head and shoulders invariably made people turn to look.

“My, ain’t she fine-looking!” exclaimed an excited lady beholder above. “I guess that must be Miss Vanderpoel, the multi-millionaire’s daughter. Jane told me she’d heard she was crossing this trip.”

Bettina heard her. She sometimes wondered if she was ever pointed out, if her name was ever mentioned without the addition of the explanatory statement that she was the multi-millionaire’s daughter. As a child she had thought it ridiculous and tiresome, as she had grown older she had felt that only a remarkable individuality could surmount a fact so ever present.

It was like a tremendous quality which overshadowed everything else.

“It wounds my vanity, I have no doubt,” she had said to her father. “Nobody ever sees me, they only see you and your millions and millions of dollars.”

Salter watched her pass up the gangway. The phase through which he was living was not of the order which leads a man to dwell upon the beautiful and inspiriting as expressed by the female image. Success and the hopefulness which engender warmth of soul and quickness of heart are required for the development of such allurements. He thought of the Vanderpoel millions as the lady on the deck had thought of them, and in his mind somehow the girl herself appeared to express them. The rich up-springing sweep of her abundant hair, her height, her colouring, the remarkable shade and length of her lashes, the full curve of her mouth, all, he told himself, looked expensive, as if even nature herself had been given carte blanche, and the best possible articles procured for the money.

“She moves,” he thought sardonically, “as if she were perfectly aware that she could pay for anything. An unlimited income, no doubt, establishes in the owner the equivalent to a sense of rank.”

He changed his position for one in which he could command a view of the promenade deck where the arriving passengers were gradually appearing. He did this from the idle and careless curiosity which, though it is not a matter of absolute interest, does not object to being entertained by passing objects. He saw the Worthington party reappear. It struck Salter that they looked not so much like persons coming on board a ship, as like people who were returning to a hotel to which they were accustomed, and which was also accustomed to them. He argued that they had probably crossed the Atlantic innumerable times in this particular steamer. The deck stewards knew them and made obeisance with empressement. Miss Vanderpoel nodded to the steward Salter had heard discussing her. She gave him a smile of recognition and paused a moment to speak to him. Salter saw her sweep the deck with her glance and then designate a sequestered corner, such as the experienced voyager would recognise as being desirably sheltered. She was evidently giving an order concerning the placing of her deck chair, which was presently brought. An elegantly neat and decorous person in black, who was evidently her maid, appeared later, followed by a steward who carried cushions and sumptuous fur rugs. These being arranged, a delightful corner was left alluringly prepared. Miss Vanderpoel, after her instructions to the deck steward, had joined her party and seemed to be awaiting some arrival anxiously.

“She knows how to do herself well,” Salter commented, “and she realises that forethought is a practical factor. Millions have been productive of composure. It is not unnatural, either.”

It was but a short time later that the warning bell was rung. Stewards passed through the crowds calling out, “All ashore, if you please–all ashore.” Final embraces were in order on all sides. People shook hands with fervour and laughed a little nervously. Women kissed each other and poured forth hurried messages to be delivered on the other side of the Atlantic. Having kissed and parted, some of them rushed back and indulged in little clutches again. Notwithstanding that the tide of humanity surges across the Atlantic almost as regularly as the daily tide surges in on its shores, a wave of emotion sweeps through every ship at such partings.

Salter stood on deck and watched the crowd dispersing. Some of the people were laughing and some had red eyes. Groups collected on the wharf and tried to say still more last words to their friends crowding against the rail.

The Worthingtons kept their places and were still looking out, by this time disappointedly. It seemed that the friend or friends they expected were not coming. Salter saw that Miss Vanderpoel looked more disappointed than the rest. She leaned forward and strained her eyes to see. Just at the last moment there was the sound of trampling horses and rolling wheels again. From the arriving carriage descended hastily an elderly woman, who lifted out a little boy excited almost to tears. He was a dear, chubby little person in flapping sailor trousers, and he carried a splendidly-caparisoned toy donkey in his arms. Salter could not help feeling slightly excited himself as they rushed forward. He wondered if they were passengers who would be left behind.

They were not passengers, but the arrivals Miss Vanderpoel had been expecting so ardently. They had come to say good-bye to her and were too late for that, at least, as the gangway was just about to be withdrawn.