Her Ladyship's Elephant
by David Dwight Wells
D. D. Wells
London William Heinemann 1912
A WORD TO THE
CHAPTER I. IN
WHICH THE SAME
ANSWERED IN TWO
CHAPTER II. IN
WHICH THE CONSUL
LOSES A RELATIVE
AND GAINS A WIFE
CHAPTER III. IN
WHICH THE LONDON
CHAPTER IV. IN
CHAPTER V. IN
WHICH A TRUNK IS
SENT TO MELTON
CHAPTER VI. IN
CHANGES HIS NAME
CHAPTER VII. IN
CHAPTER VIII. IN
WHICH A SERIOUS
CHARGE IS LAID
AT THE CONSUL'S
CHAPTER IX. IN
WHICH THE CONSUL
EMULATE THE KING
OF FRANCE AND
CHAPTER X. IN
CHAPTER XI. IN
WHICH THERE ARE
FOR ONE DINNER
A WORD TO THE WISE.
A well-known English novelist once told me that of all his
published worksand their name is legionone only had been founded on
fact, and that one his critics united in condemning as impossible and
unnatural. In the case of my own little book, I venture to forestall
such criticism by stating that while the characters which appear in its
pages are at the most only composite photographs, the one impossible
and unnatural figure, the elephant, had his foundation in actual
fact; and the history of its acquirement by the Consul, as hereinafter
set forth, is the truthful narration of an actual experience, one of
many episodes, stranger than fiction, which went to form the warp and
woof of my diplomatic experience.
DAVID DWIGHT WELLS.
CHAPTER I. IN WHICH THE SAME QUESTION
IS ANSWERED IN TWO WAYS
Harold Stanley Malcolm St. Hubart Scarsdale, Esq., of The Towers,
Sussex, sat uncomfortably on a very comfortable chair. His
patent-leather boots were manifestly new, his trousers fresh from the
presser, his waistcoat immaculate, while his frock coat with its white
gardenia, and his delicate grey suede gloves, completed an admirable
toilet. He was, in short, got up for the occasion, a thoroughly
healthy, muscular, well-groomed animal; good-natured too, fond in his
big-hearted boyish way of most other animals, and enough of a sportsman
to find no pleasure in winging tame or driven grouse and pheasants. He
was possessed, moreover, of sufficient brains to pass with credit an
examination which gave him a post in the War Office, and had recently
become, owing to the interposition of Providence and a restive mare,
the eldest son.
In spite of all this, he was very much out of his depth as he sat
there; for he was face to face with a crisis in his life, and that
crisis was embodied in a woman. And such a woman!quite unlike
anything his conservative British brain had ever seen or imagined
before the present London season: a mixture of Parisian daintiness and
coquetry, nicely tempered by Anglo-Saxon breeding and common sensein
a word, an American.
He had come to propose to her, or rather she had sent for him, to
what end he hardly knew. Of this only was he certain, that she had
turned his world topsy-turvy; cast down his conventional gods; admired
him for what he considered his fallings-off from the established order
of things; laughed at his great coups; cared not a whit for his most
valued possessions; and become, in short, the most incomprehensible,
bewitching, lovable woman on earth.
He had talked to her about the weather, the opera, the Court Ball,
and nownow he must speak to her of his love, unless, blessed
reprieve! she spoke firstwhich she did.
Now, Mr. Scarsdale, she remarked, I have not sent for you to talk
amiable society nonsense: I want an explanation.
Yes, Miss Vernon, he replied, nerving himself for the ordeal.
Why did you propose to Aunt Eliza at the Andersons' crush last
Because he faltered. Well, really, you see she is your only
relative in Englandyour chaperonand it is customary here to address
offers of marriage to the head of the family.
I really don't see why you want to marry her, continued his
tormentor. She is over sixty. Oh, you needn't be shocked; Aunt Eliza
is not sensitive about her age, and it is well to look these things
fairly in the face. You can't honestly call her handsome, though she is
a dear good old soul, but, I fear, too inured to Chicago to assimilate
readily with English society. Of course her private means are
Good heavens! Miss Vernon, he exclaimed, there has been some
dreadful mistake! I entertain the highest respect for your aunt, Miss
Cogbill, but I don't wish to marry her; I wish to marrysomebody
Really! Why don't you propose to Miss Somebody Else in person,
It is usual he began, but she cut him short, exclaiming:
Oh, bother! Excuse me, I didn't mean to be rude, but really, you
know, any girl who was old enough to marry would be quite capable of
giving you youranswer. The last word, after a pause for
consideration, was accompanied by a bewitching, if ambiguous, smile.
II hope you are not offended, he floundered on, in desperate
straits by this time.
Oh dear, no, she returned serenely, I'm only grieved for Aunt
Eliza. You shouldn't have done it, really; it must have upset her
dreadfully; she's too old for that sort of thing. Do tell me what she
said to you.
She said I must propose on my own account, he blurted out, and
that she could not pretend to advise me.
Clever Aunt Eliza! murmured Miss Vernon.
So you see, continued her lover, determined to have it over and
know the worst, I came to you.
For more advice? she queried, and, receiving no answer, continued
demurely: Of course I haven't the remotest idea whom you mean to
honour, but it does seem to me that the wives of Englishmen allow
themselves to be treated shamefully, and I once made out a list of
objections which I always said I would present to any Englishman who
proposed to me. Of course, she hastened to add, you will probably
marry an English girl, who won't mind.
I haven't said so! he interjected.
No, she said meditatively, you haven't. I'll tell you what they
are if you wish.
Do, he begged.
Well, in the first place, she continued, I should refuse to be a
Oh I say he began. But she went on, unheeding his
Then my husband couldn't beat me, not even once, though the law
What do you take us for? he exclaimed.
Then, she proceeded, he would have to love me better than his
horses and his dogs.
Oh I say! Mabel, he burst out, teased beyond all limits of
endurance, don't chaff me; I'm awfully in earnest, you know, and if
you will accept what little I have to offerthree thousand a year, and
'The Towers,' now poor Bob's gone He paused, but she made no
answer, only he noticed that all of a sudden she had become very
Lady Mary, my mother, you know, would of course leave the place to
you at once, but there's no title; my father was only a knight. I'm
Oh, she replied, I wouldn't have married you if you had had one;
quite enough of my countrywomen have made fools of themselves on that
Then you will marry me! he cried, and sprang towards her.
She saw her slip and tried to correct it.
I haven't said she began, but the sentence was never finished;
for Harold Stanley Malcolm St. Hubart Scarsdale, of The Towers,
Sussex, closed the argument and the lips of Miss Mabel Vernon, of
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A., at one and the same time.
* * * * *
Robert Allingford, United States Consul at Christchurch, England,
and Marion, youngest daughter of Sir Peter and Lady Steele, were seated
on the balcony of the Hyde Park Club one hot afternoon. Everybody had
gone down to the races at Goodwood, and the season was drawing its last
gasp. The Row, which they overlooked, was almost deserted, save for
an occasional depressed brougham, while the stretches of the Park
beyond were given over to nursemaids and their attendant Tommies and
Mamma was there, of course. One must be conventional in London, even
in July; but she was talking to the other man, Jack Carrington, who had
been invited especially for that purpose, and was doing his duty nobly.
The afternoon tea had been cleared away, and the balcony was
deserted. In another week Marion would go into the country, and he
would return to his consulate. He might never have such another chance.
Opportunities for a proposal are so rare in London that it does not do
to miss them. A ball affords almost the only opening, and when one
remembers the offers to which one has been a third party, on the other
side of a thin paper screenwell, it makes a man cautious.
Robert Allingford had planned and worked up this tea with patience
and success. Jack was to be best man, in consideration of his devotion
to mammaprovided, of course, that the services of a best man should
be required. On this point Allingford was doubtful. He was sure that
Lady Steele understood; he knew that Sir Peter had smiled on him
indulgently for the past fortnight; his friends chaffed him about it
openly at dinners and at the club; but Marionhe was very far from
certain if she comprehended the state of affairs in the slightest
He had given her river-parties, box-parties, dinners, flowers,
candyin short, paid her every possible attention; but then she
expected Americans to do so; it was just their way, and didn't mean
He greatly feared that his proposal would be a shock to her, and
English girls, he had been told, did not like shocks. He wondered if it
would have been better to ask Lady Steele for her daughter's hand, but
this he felt was beyond him. Proposing was bad enough anyway, but to
attempt a declaration in cold bloodhe simply couldn't. Moreover he
felt that it must be now or never. Jack had been giving him the field
for five minutes already, and he had not even made a beginning. He
would go in and get it over.
You are leaving town next week, he said. I shall miss you.
You have been very good to me, she replied simply.
Good to myself, you mean. It is the greatest pleasure I have in
life to give you pleasure, Marion.
Mr. Allingford! she said, half rising. He had used her Christian
name for the first time.
Forgive me if I call you Marion, he went on, noting with relief
that her ladyship was talking charity bazaar to Jack, and so assuring
him from interruption.
I mean, give me the right to do so. You see I'm awfully in love
with you; I can't help loving the sweetest girl I know. You must have
seen how I cared.
Lately, yesI have suspected it, she answered in a low voice.
Do you mind? I can't help it if you do. I'll love you anyway, but I
want you to be my wife, to care for me just a little; I don't ask
I think you must speak to mamma.
But I don't wishI mean, can't you give me something to go
She blushed and looked down, repeating the phrase, I think you must
speak to mamma.
Is that equivalent he began; then he saw that it was, and
added, My darling!
Her head sank lower, he had her hand in a moment, and wondered if he
might venture to kiss her, screened as they both were by her sunshade,
but hesitated to do so because of the ominous silence at the other end
of the balcony.
If you have nothing better to do this evening, said Lady Steele's
voice to him, come to us. Sir Peter and I are dining at home, and if
you will partake of a family dinner with us we shall be delighted.
He bowed his acceptance.
Come, Marion, her ladyship continued. We have spent a charming
afternoon, Mr. Allingford, thanks to your hospitality. We are at home
on Thursdays after September; Mr. Carrington, you must come and hear
more about my bazaar. And they were gone.
Jack stepped to the bell. Well, Bob, he said to Allingford, is it
brandy and soda or champagne?
Champagne, replied that gentleman.
Then, remarked Carrington, after ordering a bottle of '80
Perrierthen, Bob, my boy, let me congratulate you.
I think I deserve it, he replied, as he wrung his friend's hand;
for I believe I have won for my wife the most charming girl in
I am awfully glad for you, said Carrington, and I consider her a
very lucky young woman.
I don't know about that, returned Allingford, and I'm sure I
don't see what she can find to care for in me. Why, we hardly know each
other. I've only met her in public, and not over a couple of dozen
times at that.
Oh, you will find it much more fun becoming acquainted after you
are engaged. Our English conventions are beautifully Chinese in some
Allingford laughed, saying: I don't know that I'm going to be
engaged. I can't imagine why her family should approve of the match; I
haven't a title and never can have, and I'm only in consular service.
Now if I had been a diplomat
My dear fellow, said Carrington, you seem to forget that you have
a few dozen copper-mines at your disposal, and a larger income than you
can conveniently spend. Her people haven't forgotten it, however, as
I'll venture to prophesy that you'll find out before to-morrow morning.
As for your being an American and a Consul, that doesn't count. Just
make the settlements sufficiently large, and as long as you don't eat
with your knife or drink out of your finger-bowl they will pardon the
rest as amiable eccentricities.
You are a cynic, Carrington, and I don't believe it, said
Allingford, rising to go. Anyway, what do you know about marriage?
Nothing, and I am not likely to, rejoined his friend, but I've
lived in London.
The dinner that night at Belgrave Square did not serve to put the
Consul at his ease. True, he sat by Marion, but no word was spoken of
what had passed that afternoon, and he could not help feeling that he
was in an anomalous position. He had on his company manners, and was
not at his best in consequence. He felt he was being watched and would
be criticised in the drawing-room after dinner, which made him nervous.
Sir Peter had several married daughters, one of whom was present, and
Allingford wondered how their husbands had behaved under similar
circumstances. He gave Lady Steele, at whose right he sat, ample
opportunity to question him concerning his family history and future
plans and prospectsa chance of which she was not slow to avail
When the ladies had departed and had left the two gentlemen to their
coffee and cigars, Sir Peter lost no time in opening the question, and
said, somewhat bluntly:
So I hear that you wish to marry my daughter.
The Consul signified that such was the case.
I'm sure I don't know why, resumed her father, with true British
candour. I become so used to my children that I sometimes wonder what
other people can see in them. Marion is a good little girl, however,
I'll say that for hera good little girl and not extravagant.
Sir Peter's manner was reassuring, and Allingford hastened to say
that he was sensible of the great honour Miss Steele had done him in
considering his suit, and that he should strive to prove himself worthy
I don't doubt it, my dear fellow, I don't doubt it. And the
baronet paused, smiling so amiably that the Consul was disconcerted,
and began to fear an unpleasant surprise.
I trust, he returned, that you are not averse to me as a
Personally much the reverse; but I always ask the man who comes to
me as you have done one question, and on his answer I base my approval
or disapproval of his suit.
And that question is?
Can you support a wife, Mr. Allingford?
As a gentleman I could not have asked her hand if such were not the
Ah, replied Sir Peter, that is quite right.
As for my position continued the young man.
You hold a public office in the service of your country. I consider
that sufficient guarantee of your position, both moral and social.
Allingford, who knew something of American practical politics,
thought this by no means followed, but forbore to say so, and Sir Peter
Have you any family?
No relations in the world except my younger brother, Dick, who
manages the property at home, while I play at politics abroad.
I see, said his host. One question more and I have done. I
dislike talking business after dinnerit should be left to the
lawyers; but, seeing that you are an American and do not understand
such things, I thought
The Consul stopped him by a gesture. You are referring to the
settlements, Sir Peter, he said. Set your mind at rest on that score.
I'll do the proper thing.
Of course, my dear fellow, of course; I don't doubt that for a
moment. Buteryou won't think me mercenary if I ask you to bein
shortmore definite. I speak most disinterestedly, purely out of
consideration for my daughter's future.
Allingford frowned slightly as Carrington's prophecy came back to
him. His prospective father-in-law was quite within his rights in
speaking as he did, but why couldn't he have left it at least till
Would a copper-mine do? he said, looking up. I'd give her a
Really, I don't know what to say, replied Sir Peter, in some
perplexity. I'm quite ignorant of such matters. Areercopper-mines
The one I'm thinking of has been worth a quarter of a million since
it started, and we have only begun to work it, replied the Consul.
Bless my soul! ejaculated his host. You don't say so! Do you go
in much for that sort of thing?
Yes, I've quite a number.
Dear me! said Sir Peter dreamily, a quarter of a million. Then
waking up he added: But I'm forgetting the time. My dear
Allingforderyour Christian name escapes me.
Robert, Sir Peter.
Thanks. I was going to say, my dear Robert, that you must go
upstairs and see mamma.
CHAPTER II. IN WHICH THE CONSUL LOSES
A RELATIVE AND GAINS A WIFE
When Robert Allingford entered the smoking-room of his club, one
afternoon early in October, he was genuinely glad to find that it had
but one occupant, and that he was Harold Scarsdale. The two men had met
each other for the first time at a house-party some eighteen months
before, and their acquaintance had ripened into true friendship.
Hello! he cried, accosting that gentleman. You're enjoying to the
full your last hours of bachelor bliss, I see.
Speak for yourself, replied Scarsdale, who looked extremely bored.
You're also on the dizzy brink.
It's a fact, admitted the Consul; we are both to be married
to-morrow. But that is all the more reason why we should make the most
of our remaining freedom. You look as glum as if you'd lost your last
friend. Come, cheer up, and have something to drink.
They say, remarked the Englishman as he acquiesced in the Consul's
suggestion, that a man only needs to be married to find out of how
little importance he really is; but I've been anticipating my fate.
Miss Vernon's rooms are a wilderness of the vanities of life, and here
I am, banished to the club as a stern reality.
Quite so, replied the American. I'm in the same box. The
dressmakers have driven me clean out of Belgrave Square. But you, you
really have my sympathy, for you are to marry one of my countrywomen,
and they are apt to prove rather exacting mistresses at times like
Oh, I'm fairly well treated, said Scarsdale; much better than I
deserve, I dare say. How is it with you?
Oh, laughed Allingford, I feel as if I were playing a game of
blind man's buff with English conventionalities: at least I seem to run
foul of them most of the time. I used to imagine that getting married
was a comparatively simple matter; but what with a highly complicated
ceremony and an irresponsible best man, my cup of misery is well-nigh
I suppose you have been doing your required fifteen days of
residence in the parish? London is slow work, now every one is out of
town, remarked Scarsdale.
My second-best hand-bag has been residing for the past fortnight in
an adjacent attic, in fulfilment of the law, returned the American;
but affairs at the consulate have kept me on post more than I could
I should not think you would have much business at this season of
On the contrary, it is just the time when the migratory American,
who has spent the summer in doing Europe, returns to England dead
broke, and expects, nay, demands, to be helped home.
Do you have many cases of that sort?
Lots. In fact, one especially importunate fellow nearly caused me
to lose my train for London yesterday. I gave him what he asked to get
rid of him.
I suppose that sort of thing is a good deal like throwing money
into the sea, said Scarsdale. It never comes back.
Not often, I regret to say; but in this case my distressed
countryman put up collateral.
Indeed. I trust you can realise on it if need be.
I don't think I want to, said the Consul, seeing it's an
What! cried Scarsdale.
An elephant, or rather, to be exact, an order for one to be
delivered by the Nubian and Red Sea Line of freighters in two or three
days at Southampton Docks. My friend promises to redeem it before
arrival, expects advices from the States, &c., but meanwhile is
terribly hard up.
I hope he will be true to his promises, otherwise I wish you joy of
your elephant. You might give it to Lady Steele, suggested Scarsdale.
Yes. I think I can see it tethered to the railings in Belgrave
Square, remarked the Consul; but I am not losing sleep on that
account, for, though I've informed the steamship people that I am,
temporarily, the owner of the beast, I more than suspect that the order
and the elephant are both myths. But I have been telling you of my
affairs long enough; how go yours?
Swimmingly, replied the Englishman. Miss Vernon has only one
relative in England, thank Heaven! but my family have settled down on
me in swarms.
Is Lady Diana Melton in town for the occasion? asked Allingford.
Scarsdale flushed, and for the moment did not reply.
I beg your pardon, said the American, if I have asked an
Not at all, replied his friend. My great-aunt, who, as you know,
is a somewhat determined old person, has the bad taste to dislike
Americans. So she has confined herself to a frigid refusal of our
wedding invitation, and sent an impossible spoon to the bride.
So you are not to have her country place for your honeymoon, said
Allingford. From what I have heard of Melton Court, it would be quite
an ideal spot under the circumstances.
No, we are not going there. The fact is, I don't know where we are
going, added Scarsdale.
Yes. As you were saying just now, your countrywomen are apt to
prove exacting, and the future Mrs. Scarsdale has taken it into her
head that I am much too prosaic to plan a wedding tripthat I would do
the usual round, in fact, and that she would be bored in consequence;
so she has taken the arrangements upon herself, and the whole thing is
to be a surprise for me. I don't even know the station from which we
I'm afraid I can't commiserate you, returned Allingford, laughing,
for I'm guilty of doing the very same thing myself, and my bride elect
has no idea of our destination. She spends most of her spare time in
trying to guess it.
At this moment a card was handed to Allingford, who said: Why, here
is my best man, Jack Carrington. You know him, don't you? I wonder what
can have started him on my trail, and he requested the page to show
A moment later Carrington entered the room. He was one of the
best-dressed, most perfect-mannered young men in London, the friend of
every one who knew him, a thoroughly delightful and irresponsible
creature. To-day, however, there was a seriousness about his face that
proclaimed his mission to be of no very pleasant character.
After greeting his friends, he asked for a few words in private with
his principal, and as a result of this colloquy Allingford excused
himself to Scardsdale, saying that he must return to his lodgings at
once, as Carrington had brought him news that his brother Dick had
arrived unexpectedly from America, and was awaiting him there.
What a delightful surprise for you! exclaimed Scarsdale.
Yes, veryof course, returned Allingford drily; and after a
mutual interchange of congratulations on the events of the morrow, and
regrets that neither could be at the wedding of the other, the Consul
and his best man left the club.
He did not seem over-enthusiastic at Carrington's news, mused
Scarsdale, and then his mind turned to his own affairs.
It was not astonishing that Robert Allingford received the news of
his brother's arrival without any show of rejoicing. A family skeleton
is never an enjoyable possession, but when it is not even decently
interred, but very much alive, and in the shape of a brother who has
attained notoriety as a black sheep of an unusually intense dye, it may
be looked upon as little less than a curse.
Yet there were redeeming qualities about Dick Allingford. In spite
of his thoroughly bad name, he was one of the most kind-hearted and
engaging of men, while the way in which he had managed his own and his
brother's property left nothing to be desired. Moreover, he was quite
in his element among his miners. Indeed his qualities, good and bad,
were of a kind that endeared him to them. He loved the good things of
this life, however, in a wholly uncontrollable manner, and, as his
income afforded almost unlimited scope for these desires, his
achievements would have put most yellow-covered novels to the blush.
Dick's redeeming virtue was a blind devotion to his elder brother, from
whom he demanded unlimited advice and assistance in extricating him
from a thousand-and-one scrapes, and inexhaustible patience and
forgiveness for those peccadilloes. When Robert had taken a public
office in England it was on the distinct understanding that Richard
should confine his attentions to America, and so far he had not
violated the contract. The Consul had taken care that his brother
should not be informed of the day of his marriage until it was too late
for him to attend in person, for he shuddered to think of the rig that
Richard would run in staid and conventional English society.
Accordingly he hastened to his lodgings, full of anxious fore-bodings.
On arrival his worst fears were fulfilled. Dick received him with open
arms, very affectionate, very penitent, and very drunk. From that
gentleman's somewhat disconnected description the Consul obtained a
lurid inkling of what seemed to have been a triumphal progress of
unrestrained dissipation from Southampton to London, of which indignant
barmaids and a wrecked four-in-hand formed the most redeeming features.
Now explain yourself! cried Robert in wrath, at the conclusion of
his brother's recital. What do you mean by this disgraceful conduct,
and why are you in England at all?
Saw 'proaching marriagenewspaper, hiccoughed Dicktook first
What did you come for? demanded Allingford sternly.
Come? Congratulate yousee the bride.
Not on your life! exclaimed the Consul. You are beastly drunk and
not fit for decent society.
Faultrailroad companybad whisky, explained the unregenerate
I'll take your word for it, replied his brother. You ought to be
a judge of whisky. But you won't go to my wedding unless you are
sober. And he rang for his valet.
This is my brother, Parsons, he remarked to that individual when
he entered. You may put him to bed at once. Use my room for the
purpose, and engage another for me for to-night.
Yes, sir, replied his valet, who was too well trained to betray
When you have got him settled, continued the Consul, lock him in,
and let him stay till morning. With which he straightway departed,
leaving his stupefied brother to the tender mercies of the shocked and
Allingford stood a good deal in awe of his valet, and dreaded to see
the reproachful look of outraged dignity which he knew would greet him
on his return. So he again sought the club, intending to find Scarsdale
and continue their conversation; but that gentleman had departed, and
the Consul was forced to console himself with a brandy and soda, and
settle down to a quiet hour of reflection.
He had been engaged upwards of three months, and, it is needless to
say, had learned much in that space of time. An engagement is a liberal
education to any man, for it presents a series of entirely new problems
to be solved. He ceases to think of and for himself alone, and the
accuracy with which he can adjust himself to these novel conditions
determines the success or failure of his married life. Robert
Allingford, however, was engaged to a woman of another nation; of his
own race, indeed, and speaking his own tongue, but educated under
widely differing standards and ideals, and on a plane of comparative
simplicity when viewed in the light of her complex American sister. The
little English girl was an endless mystery to him, and it was only in
later life that he discovered that he was constantly endowing her with
a complicated nature which she did not possess. He could not understand
a woman who generallyI do not say invariably, for Marion Steele was
human after all, but who generally meant what she said, whose pleasures
were healthy and direct, and who was really simple and genuinely
ignorant of most things pertaining to the world worldly. He knew that
world well enoughten years of mining had taught him thatand he had
been left to its tender mercies when still a boy, with no relatives
except his younger brother, who, as may well be imagined, was rather a
burden than a help.
But if Robert Allingford had seen the rough side of life, it had
taught him to understand human nature, and, as he had been blessed with
a large heart and a considerable measure of adaptability, he managed to
get on very well on both sides of the Atlantic. True, he seldom
appreciated what the British mind held to contain worth; but he was
tolerant, and his tolerance begat, unconsciously, sympathy. On the
other hand, the Consul was as much of a mystery to his fiancée as she
had ever been to him. In her eyes he was always doing the unexpected.
For one thing, she never knew when to take him seriously, and was
afraid of what he might do or say; but she soon learned to trust him
implicitly, and to estimate him at his true sterling worth.
In short, both had partially adjusted themselves to each other, and
were likely to live very happily, with enough of the unknown in their
characters to keep them from becoming bored. Allingford had never
spoken definitely to his fiancée concerning his younger brother, and
she knew instinctively that it was a subject to be avoided. To her
father she had said something, but Sir Peter had little interest in his
children's affairs beyond seeing that they were suitably married; and
since he was satisfied with the settlements and the man, was content to
leave well enough alone.
The Consul, therefore, thought himself justified in saying nothing
about the unexpected arrival of his brother, especially as the chances
of that gentleman's being in a fit state to appear at the wedding
seemed highly problematical.
Next morning there were no signs of repentance or of Dick; for if a
deserted bed, an open window, and the smashed glass of a neighbouring
skylight signified anything, it was that Mr. Richard Allingford was
still unregenerate and at large.
The bridal day dawned bright and clear, and Carrington lunched with
the Consul just before the ceremony, which, thanks to English law, took
place at that most impossible hour of the day, 2.30 P.M.
The bridegroom floundered through the intricacies of the service,
signed his name in the vestry, and achieved his carriage in a kind of
dream; but woke up sufficiently to the realities of life at the
reception, to endure with fortitude the indiscriminate kissing of
scores of new relations. Then he drank his own health and the healths
of other people, and at last escaped upstairs to prepare for the
journey and have a quiet fifteen minutes with his best man.
Now remember, he said to that irresponsible individual, you are
the only one who knows our destination this evening, and if you breathe
it to a soul I'll come back and murder you.
My dear fellow, replied Carrington, you don't suppose, after I've
endured weeks of cross-questioning and inquisitorial advances from the
bride and her family, that I am going to strike my colours and give the
whole thing away at the eleventh hour.
You have been a trump, Jack, rejoined the Consul, and I only wish
you may be as happy some time as I am to-day.
It is your day; don't worry about my affairs, returned Carrington,
with a forced laugh which gave colour to the popular report that the
only vulnerable point in his armour of good nature lay in his
impecunious condition and the consequent impossibility of his marrying
on his own account.
It was only a passing cloud, however, and he hastened to change the
subject, saying: Come, you are late already, and a bride must not be
Allingford was thereupon hustled downstairs, and wept upon from all
quarters, and his life was threatened with rice and old shoes; but he
reached the street somehow with Mrs. Robert in tow, and, barring the
circumstance that in his agitation he had embraced the butler instead
of Sir Peter, he acquitted himself very well under the trying ordeal.
As they drove to the station his wife was strangely quiet, and he
rallied her on the fact.
Why, he said, you haven't spoken since we started.
Her face grew troubled. I was wondering she began.
If you would be happy? he asked. I'll do my best.
No, no, I'm sure of that, onlydo tell me where we are going.
The Consul laughed. You women are just the same all the world
over, he replied, but otherwise did not commit himself; but his wife
noticed that he looked worried and anxious, and that he breathed a sigh
of unmistakable relief as their train drew out of Waterloo Station. She
did not know that the one cloud which he had feared might darken his
wedding day had now been dispelled: he had seen nothing of his brother.
CHAPTER III. IN WHICH THE LONDON AND
SOUTH WESTERN RAIL-WAY ACCOMPLISHES WHAT THE MARRIAGE SERVICE FORBIDS
It might be supposed that the heir to The Towers and Lady
Scarsdale's very considerable property would meet with some decided
opposition from his family to his proposed alliance with Mabel Vernon,
an unknown American, who, though fairly provided with this world's
goods, could in no sense be termed a great heiress. But the fact of the
matter was that the prejudices of his own people were as nothing when
compared with those of Aunt Eliza. In the first place she did not wish
her niece to marry at all, on the ground that no man was good enough
for her; and in the second place she had decided that if Mabel must
have a partner in life, he was to be born under the Stars and Stripes.
Her wrath, therefore, was great when she heard of the engagement, and
she declared that she had a good mind to cut the young couple off with
a cent, a threat that meant something from a woman who had bought
corner lots in Chicago immediately after the great fire, and still held
them. Scarsdale never forgot his first interview with her after she had
learned the news.
I mistrusted you were round for no good, she said, though I
wasn't quite certain which one of us you wanted.
He bit his lip.
There's nothing to laugh at, young man, she continued severely;
marrying me would have been no joke.
I'm sure, Miss Cogbill began Scarsdale.
You call me Aunt Eliza in the future, she broke in; that is who I
am, and if I choose to remember your wife when I'm gone she'll be as
rich as a duchess, as I dare say you know.
I had no thought of your leaving her anything, and I am quite able
to support her without your assistance, he replied, nettled by her
I am glad to hear it; it sounds encouraging, returned the aunt.
Tell me, have you ever done anything to support yourself?
Rather! As a younger son, I should have had a very poor chance if
How many towers have you got? was her next question.
I don't know, said Scarsdale, laughing at her very literal
interpretation of the name of his estate.
Have they fire-escapes?
I'm afraid not, he replied, but you must come and see for
yourself. My mother will be happy to welcome you.
No, I guess not; I'm too old to start climbing.
Oh, you wouldn't have to live in them, he hastened to assure her;
there are other parts to the house, and my mother
That's her ladyship?
You are sure you haven't any title? asked Aunt Eliza suspiciously.
No, nor any chance of having one.
Well, I do feel relieved, she commented. The Psalms say not to
put your trust in princes, but I guess if King David had ever been
through a London season he wouldn't have drawn the line there; and
what's good enough for him is good enough for me.
I think you can trust me, Aunt Eliza.
I hope so, though I never expected to see a niece of mine married
to a man of war.
Not a man of war, he corrected, only a man in the War Officea
very different thing, I assure you.
I am rejoiced to hear it, she replied. Now run along to Mabel,
and I'll write your mother and tell her that I guess you'll do. Which
she straightway did, and that letter is still preserved as one of the
literary curiosities of The Towers, Sussex.
The first meeting of Aunt Eliza and Lady Scarsdale took place the
day before the wedding. It was pleasant, short, and to the point, and
at its conclusion each parted from the other with mingled feelings of
wonder and respect. Indeed, no one could fail to respect Miss Cogbill.
Alone and unaided she had amassed and managed a great fortune. She was
shrewd and keen beyond the nature of women, and seldom minced matters
in her speech; but nevertheless she was possessed of much native
refinement and prim, old-time courtesy that did not always seem in
accordance with the business side of her nature.
As time went on she became reconciled to Scarsdale, but his lack of
appreciation of business was a thorn in her flesh, and, indeed, her
inclinations had led her in quite another direction.
Now look at that young Carrington who comes to see you once in a
while; if you had to marry an Englishman, why didn't you take him? she
said once to her niece.
Why, Aunt Eliza, replied that young lady, what are you thinking
of? According to your own standards, he is much less desirable than
Harold, for he has not a cent.
He'd make money fast enough if his training didn't get in his way,
she retorted, which is more than can be said of your future husband.
The wedding was very quiet, at Miss Vernon's suggestion and with her
aunt's approval, for neither of them cared for that lavish display with
which a certain class of Americans are, unfortunately, associated.
There was to be a reception at the hotel, to which a large number of
people had been asked; but at the ceremony scarcely a dozen were
present. Scarsdale's mother and immediate family, a brother official,
who served as best man, and Aunt Eliza made up the party.
At the bride's request, the service had been as much abbreviated as
the Church would allow, and the whole matter was finished in a
surprisingly short space of time. The reception followed, and an hour
later the happy pair were ready to leave; but their destination was
still a mystery to the groom.
I think you might just give me a hint, he suggested to Aunt Eliza,
whom he shrewdly suspected knew all about it.
Do you? she replied. Well, I think that Mabel is quite capable of
taking care of herself and you too, and that the sooner you realise it
the better. As for your being consulted or informed about your wedding
trip, why, my niece has been four times round the world already, and is
better able to plan an ordinary honeymoon excursion than a man who
spends his time turning out bombs, and nitro-glycerine, and monitors,
Aunt Eliza's notions of the duties of the War Office were still
After the bridal couple had left, Miss Cogbill and Lady Scarsdale
received the remaining guests, and, when the function was over, her
ladyship gave her American relative a cordial invitation to stay at
The Towers till after the honeymoon; but Aunt Eliza refused.
I'll come some day and be glad to, she said; but I'm off
to-morrow for two weeks in Paris. I always go there when I'm blue; it
cheers one up so, and you meet more Americans there nowadays than you
do at home.
Perhaps you will see the happy pair before you return, suggested
Now, your ladyship, said Aunt Eliza, that isn't fair; but to tell
you the truth of the matter, I've no more idea where they are going,
beyond their first stop, than you have.
And that is?
They will write you from there to-morrow, replied Miss Cogbill,
and then you will know as much as I do.
Scarsdale was quite too happy to be seriously worried over his
ignorance of their destination; in fact, he was rather amused at his
wife's little mystery, and, beyond indulging in some banter on the
subject, was well content to let the matter drop. He entertained her,
however, by making wild guesses as to where they were to pass the night
from what he had learned of their point of departure, Waterloo Station;
but soon turned to more engrossing topics, and before he realised it an
hour had passed away, and the train began to slow up for their first
stop out of London.
Is this the end of our journey? he queried.
What, Basingstoke? she cried. How could you think I'd be so
unromantic? Why, it is only a miserable, dirty railway junction!
Perhaps we change carriages here?
Wrong again; but the train stops for a few minutes, and if you'll
be good you may run out and have a breath of fresh air and something to
How do you know, he asked, that I sha'n't go forward and see how
the luggage is labelled?
That would not be playing fair, she replied, pouting, and I
should be dreadfully cross with you.
I'll promise to be good, he hastened to assure her, and, as the
train drew up, stepped out upon the platform.
His first intention had been to make straight for the
refreshment-room; but he had only taken a few steps in that direction,
when he saw advancing from the opposite end of the train none other
than Robert Allingford, who, like himself, was a bridegroom of that
Why, Benedick! he cried, who would have thought of meeting you!
Just what I was going to say, replied the Consul, heartily shaking
his outstretched hand. I never imagined that we would select the same
train. Come, let's have a drink to celebrate our auspicious meeting.
There is time enough.
Are you sure? asked the careful Englishman.
Quite, replied his American friend. I asked a porter, and he said
we had ten minutes.
They accordingly repaired to the luncheon-bar, and were soon
discussing whiskies and sodas.
Tell me, said the Consul, as he put down his glass, have you
discovered your destination yet?
Haven't the remotest idea, returned the other. Mrs. Scarsdale
insisted on buying the tickets, and watches over them jealously. If it
had not been for the look of the thing, I would have bribed the guard
to tell me where I was going. By the way, won't you shake hands with my
wife? She is just forward.
With pleasure, replied Allingford, if you will return the
compliment; my carriage is the first of its class at the rear of the
train. We have still six minutes. With which the two husbands
separated, each to seek the other's wife.
Scarsdale met with a cordial welcome from Mrs. Allingford, and was
soon seated by her side chatting merrily.
We should sympathise with each other, she said, laughing, for I
understand that we are both in ignorance of our destination.
Indeed we should, he replied. I dare say that at this moment your
husband and my wife are gloating over their superior knowledge.
Oh, well, she continued, our time will come; and now tell me how
you have endured the vicissitudes of the day.
I think you and I have no cause for complaint, rejoined Scarsdale.
You see we understand our conventions; but I fear that our respective
partners have not had such an easy time.
I shouldn't think it would have worried Mrs. Scarsdale, returned
Of course it didn't, said that lady's husband; nothing ever
worries her. But I think signing the register puzzled her a bit; she
said it made her feel as if she was at an hotel.
Robert enjoyed it thoroughly, said Mrs. Allingford.
Had he no criticisms to offer?
None, except that one seemed to get a good deal more for one's
money than in the States.
The almighty dollar! said Scarsdale, laughing, and added, as he
looked at his watch: I must be off, or your husband will be turning me
out; our ten minutes are almost up.
Once on the platform, he paused aghast. The forward half of the
train had disappeared, and an engine was backing up in its place to
couple on to the second part. Allingford was nowhere in sight.
Where is the rest of the train? cried Scarsdale, seizing an
The forward division, sir?
Yes! yes! For Heaven's sake speak, man! Where is it?
That was the Exeter division. Went five minutes ago.
But I thought we had ten minutes!
This division, yes, sir, replied the guard, indicating that
portion of the train still in the station, the forward part only
In this way, then, had Allingford unconsciously deceived him, and
without doubt the American Consul had been carried off with his,
Scarsdale's, wife. The awful discovery staggered him, but he controlled
himself sufficiently to ask the destination of the section still in the
Bournemouth, sir, Southampton first stop. Are you going? we are
No, replied Scarsdale. The guard waved his flag, the shrill
whistle blew, and the train began to move. Then he thought of Mrs.
Allingford; he could scarcely leave her. Besides, what was the use of
remaining at Basingstoke, when he did not even know his own
destination? He tore open the door of the carriage he had just left,
and swung himself in as it swept past him.
CHAPTER IV. IN WHICH LADY MELTON
FEELS THAT HER AVERSION IS JUSTIFIED
From what has been said it may be imagined that Mrs. Scarsdale,
née Vernon, was an excellent hand at light and amusing
conversation; and so pleasantly did she receive the Consul, and so
amusingly rally him on the events of the day, that he scarcely seemed
to have been with her a minute, when a slight jolt caused him to look
up and out, only to perceive the Basingstoke Station sliding rapidly
past the windows. Allingford's first impulse was to dash from the
carriage, a dangerous experiment when one remembers the rapidity with
which a light English train gets under way. In this, however, he was
forestalled by Mrs. Scarsdale, who clung to his coat-tails, declaring
that he should not desert her; so that by the time he was able to free
himself the train had attained such speed as to preclude any longer the
question of escape. The sensations which Mr. Allingford and Mrs.
Scarsdale experienced when they realised that they were being borne
swiftly away, the one from his wife and the other from her husband, may
be better imagined than described. The deserted bride threw herself
into the farthest corner of the carriage and began to laugh
hysterically, while the Consul plunged his hands into his pockets and
gave vent to a monosyllabic expletive, of which he meant every letter.
After the first moments of astonishment and stupefaction both
somewhat recovered their senses, and mutual explanations and
recriminations began forthwith.
How has this dreadful thing happened? demanded Mrs. Scarsdale, in
a voice quavering with suppressed emotion.
I'm afraid it's my fault, said Allingford ruefully. The guard
told me we had ten minutes.
That was for your division of the train, stupid! exclaimed the
I didn't know that, explained the Consul, and so I told your
husband we had ten minutes, which probably accounts for his being
Then I'll never, never forgive you, she cried, and burst into
tears, murmuring between her sobs: Poor, dear Harold! what will he
Do! exclaimed the Consul, I should think he had done enough, in
all conscience. Why, confound him, he's gone off with my wife!
Don't you call my husband names! sobbed Mrs. Scarsdale.
Well, he certainly has enough of his own, that's a fact.
If you were a man, retorted the disconsolate bride, you would do
something, instead of making stupid jokes about my poor Stanley. I'm a
distressed American citizen
No, you're not; you became a British subject when you married
Scarsdale, corrected Allingford.
Well, I won't be, so there! I tell you I'm an American woman in
distress, and you are my Consul and you've got to help me.
I'll help you with the greatest pleasure in the world. I'm quite as
anxious to recover my wife as you can be to find your husband.
Then what do you advise? she asked.
We are going somewhere at a rapid rate, he replied. When we
arrive, we will leave the train and return to Basingstoke as soon as
possible. Now do you happen to know our next stop?
How long before we get there?
About three quarters of an hour.
That will at least give us time, he said, to consider what is
best to be done. Have you a railway guide?
I think there is a South Western time-table in the pocket of dear
Malcolm's coat, she said, indicating a garment on the seat beside her.
Why don't you call him St. Hubart and be done with it? queried
Allingford, as he searched for and found the desired paper. You've
given him all his other names.
I reserve that for important occasions, she replied; it sounds so
Mabel Scarsdale, it will be noticed, was fast regaining her
composure, now that a definite course of action had been determined
upon. But she could not help feeling depressed, for it must be admitted
that it is disheartening to lose your husband before you have been
married a day. What would he do, she wondered, when he found that the
train had gone? Had he discovered its departure soon enough to warn
Mrs. Allingford to leave her carriage? and if not, where had she gone,
and had he accompanied her? The event certainly afforded ample grounds
for speculation; but her reverie was interrupted by the Consul, who had
been deeply immersed in the time-table.
There is no train back to Basingstoke before ten to-night, he
said, so we must spend the evening in Salisbury and telegraph them to
await our return.
Possibly my husband may have chased the train and caught the rear
carriage. I have seen people do that, she ventured.
The guard's van, you mean, he explained. In that case he is
travelling down with us and will put in an appearance directly we reach
Salisbury, though I don't think it's likely. However, there's nothing
to worry about, and I must beg you not to do so, unless you wish to
make me more miserable than I already am for my share in this
You don't think they would follow us to Salisbury?
No; that isand he plunged into the intricacies of the time-table
once morethey couldn't; besides, they would receive our telegram
before they could leave Basingstoke.
Could they have gone off on the other train?
Impossible, he replied. By Jove, they neither of them know where
they are bound for!
Quite true, she said, they do not. We had tickets for Exeter; but
as a joke I never let my husband see them.
We were going to Bournemouth, and here are my tickets, he
returned, holding them up, but my wife doesn't know it.
You think there is no question that they are waiting for us at
Basingstoke? she asked.
Not a doubt of it; and so we have nothing to do but kill time till
we can rejoin them, which won't be hard in your society, he replied.
I'm sorry I can't be so polite, she returned, but I want my
husband, and if you talk to me much more I shall probably cry.
The Consul at this made a dive for an adjacent newspaper, in which
he remained buried till the train slowed down for Salisbury.
I suppose, he said apologetically, as they drew up at their
destination, that you won't object to my appropriating Scarsdale's
coat and hat? I dare say he is sporting mine.
A tearful sniff was the only reply as he gathered up the various
impedimenta with which the carriage was littered, and assisted his fair
though doleful companion to alight. Returning a few moments later from
the arduous duty of rescuing her luggage, which was, of course,
labelled for Exeter, he found her still alone, there being no sign of
Scarsdale in or out of the train, and no telegram for them from
Basingstokea chance on which Allingford had counted considerably,
though he had not thought it wise to mention it. Indeed, the fact that
no inquiry had been made for them puzzled and worried him greatly, for
it seemed almost certain that were their deserted partners still at
Basingstoke, their first action would have been to telegraph to the
fugitives. However, he put the best face he could on the matter,
assured Mrs. Scarsdale that everything must be all right, and
despatched his telegram back to their point of separation. Under the
most favourable circumstances they could not receive an answer under
half an hour, and with this information the Consul was forced to return
to the disconsolate bride.
There is no use in loafing around here, he said. Suppose we go
and see the cathedral? It will be something to do, and may distract our
I don't think mine could well be more distracted than they are
now, replied she; besides, we might miss the telegram.
Oh, I'll fix that, he returned; I'll have it sent up after us.
Come, you had better go. You can't sit and look at that pea-green
engine for thirty minutes; it is enough to give you a fit of the
Well, just as you please, she said, and they started up into the
town, and made their way to the cathedral.
It is not to the point of this narrative to discourse on the
beauties of that structure; the finest shaft of Purbec marble it
contains would prove cold consolation to either a bride or a bridegroom
deserted on the wedding day. But the cool quiet of the great building
seemed unconsciously to soothe their troubled spirits, though when they
each revisited the spot in after years they discovered that it was
entirely new to them, and that they possessed not the faintest
recollection of its appearance, within or without.
At last, after having consulted their watches for the hundredth
time, they began to stroll down the great central aisle, towards the
main entrance. Suddenly Mrs. Scarsdale clutched the Consul's arm, and
pointed before her to where a messenger-boy, with a look of expectancy
on his face and an envelope in his hand, stood framed in a Gothic
doorway. Then they made a wild, scrambling rush down the church, the
bride reaching the goal first, and snatching the telegram from its
For Mr. Allingford, he began, but she had already torn open the
envelope and was devouring its contents.
For a moment the words seemed to swim before her eyes, then, as
their meaning became clear to her, she gave a frightened gasp, dropped
the message on the floor, sat down hard on the tomb of a crusader, and
burst into tears.
Allingford gazed at her silently for a moment, and meditatively
scratched his head; then he paid and dismissed the amazed boy, and
finally picked up the crumpled bit of paper. It was from the
station-master at Basingstoke, and read as follows:
Parties mentioned left in second division for Southampton
South Coast Resorts. Destination not known.
It was incomprehensible, but he had expected it. If Mr. Scarsdale
had remained at Basingstoke he would certainly have telegraphed them
from there at their first stop, Salisbury. Evidently he, too, had been
carried away on the train; but where? It was some relief to know that
his wife was not wholly alone, but he did not at all like the idea of
her going off into space with another man, and the fact that he had
done the same thing himself was no consolation. Then his mind reverted
to Mrs. Scarsdale, who still wept on the tomb of the crusader. What in
thunder was he going to do with her? To get her back to her aunt in
London at that time of night was out of the question; but where else
could he take her?
This point, however, was settled at once, and in an unexpected
manner, by the lady herself. Drying her eyes, she remarked suddenly:
I'm a little fool!
Not at all, he replied; your emotion is quite natural under the
But crying won't get us out of this awful predicament.
Unfortunately no, or we should have arrived at a solution long
That, remarked the lady, is merely another way of making a
statement which you just now disputed. I am a little fool, and I
mean to dry my eyes and attend strictly to business. Tell me exactly
what this message implies.
It means, said the Consul, that it is impossible for you to
rejoin your husband to-night.
Her lip quivered dangerously; but she controlled herself
sufficiently to exclaim: But what are we to do?
Well, he replied, I should advise remaining here. There is a good
But we can't. Don't you see I must not remainwith you? She spoke
the last words with an effort.
Yes, he rejoined. It is awkward; but you can't spend the night in
the streets; you must have somewhere to sleep.
Let us go back to Basingstoke, then.
I can't see that that would help matters, he said gloomily; we
would have to spend the night there just the same. Besides, I think it
is going to rain. They were standing outside the church by this time.
No, he continued, our best course, our only course, in fact, is to
stay here to-night, return to Basingstoke to-morrow morning, and wait
for them there. You may be sure they are having quite as bad a time as
we are. If I only knew some one here
Bravo! she interrupted, clapping her hands, I believe you have
solved the problem. Look: do you see that carriage over there? What
coat of arms has it? Quick! your eyes are better than mine.
In the gathering twilight he saw driving leisurely by, with coachman
and footman on the box, a handsome barouche, on the panels of which a
coat of arms was emblazoned.
Well, he said, gazing hard at it, there is a helmet with a plume,
balanced on a stick of peppermint candy
Yes, yes! she cried, the crest. Go on!
Down on the ground-storey, he continued, there is a pink shield
divided in quarters, with the same helmet in the north-east division,
and a lot of silver ticket-punchers in the one below it.
Spurs, she interjected.
Well, perhaps they are, he admitted. Then there are a couple of
two-tailed blue lions swimming in a crimson lake
The Melton arms! she cried. I looked them up in 'Burke's Peerage'
when that old catawampus refused to come to our wedding. We will spend
to-night with Lady Diana!
But I thought began the Consul, when his companion interrupted
Chase that carriage as hard as you know how, and bring it here!
Allingford felt that this was a time for action and not for speech.
The days of his collegiate triumphs, when he had put his best foot
foremost on the cinder-track, rose to his mind, and he fled across the
green and into the gathering gloom, which had now swallowed up her
ladyship's chariot, with a swiftness that caused his companion to
murmur: Well, he can sprint!
Presently the equipage was seen returning with the heated and
triumphant Consul inside. It drew up before her, and the footman
alighted and approached questioningly.
Is this Lady Melton's carriage? she asked.
Then you may drive this gentleman and me to Melton Court.
I am Mrs. Scarsdale, Lady Diana's great-niece, she said quietly.
The footman touched his hat.
Was her ladyship expecting you? We were sent to meet this next
No, we are here unexpectedly ourselves; but I dare say there will
be room for all, as the carriage holds four.
There will only be Lord Cowbray, madam, and his lordship may not
arrive till the nine-thirty. If you would not mind driving to the
It is just what we wish, she replied, and calmly stepped into the
carriage and seated herself by the Consul's side, who was so amazed at
the turn affairs had taken that he remained speechless.
Shall I see to your luggage, madam? inquired the footman as they
drew up opposite the waiting-room door.
No, she replied, stepping out on the platform. We will attend to
it ourselves; it will only be necessary to take up our hand-bags for
Accompanied by the Consul she went in search of their belongings,
and at her suggestion he took a Gladstone belonging to the absent
Scarsdale, and a dressing-case which she designated as her own
I was anxious to have a word alone with you, she said as they
emerged once more on the platform, and we can't talk on personal
matters during the drive to the Court. You see my position is a little
Excuse me for asking the question, he replied, but are your
relations with your husband's great-aunt quite cordial?
On the contrary, they are quite the reverse. She detests all
Americans, and was very much put out at poor Harold for marrying me.
Her refusal to be present at our wedding was almost an insult, she
That doesn't seem to promise a pleasant reception at Melton Court,
Far from it; but any port is acceptable in a storm, and she can
hardly refuse us shelter. After all I've done nothing to be ashamed of
in marrying my husband or being carried off with you.
Oh, I'll trust you to hold your own with any dowager in the United
Kingdom; but where do I come in?
You are my Consul, and under the circumstances my national
protector; I can't do without you.
I am not at all sure that her ladyship will see it in that light;
but, as you say, it is better than nothing, and our position can't be
worse than it is at present.
Then it is agreed we stand by each other through thick and thin?
Exactly, he replied, and shook her extended hand. At this moment
the train came in, and they returned to the carriage.
Lord Cowbray did not put in an appearance, and they were soon under
way for Melton Court, which was some miles distant from the town. By
the time they entered the grounds it was quite dark, and they could
only see that the park was extensive, and that the Court seemed large
and gloomy and might have dated from the Elizabethan period.
On entering the central hall they at once saw evidences of a large
house-party, whose presence did not tend to put them more at their
ease, and Mrs. Scarsdale lost no time in sending a message to Lady
Melton, to the effect that her great-niece had arrived unexpectedly and
would much appreciate a few words with her in private.
They were shown into a little reception-room, and the footman
returned shortly to say that her ladyship would be with them soon.
After what seemed an endless time, but was in reality barely fifteen
minutes, their hostess entered. She was a fine-looking woman of sixty
or over, with a stern, hard face, and a set expression about her thin
lips, that boded little good to offenders, whatever their age or sex.
She looked her guests over through her gold eye-glasses, and, after
waiting a moment for them to speak, said coldly:
I think there is some mistake. I was told that my niece wished to
I said your great-niece, returned Mrs. Scarsdale.
Oh, my great-niece. Well? I do not recognise you.
It would be strange if you did, Lady Melton, returned the bride,
as you've never seen me. I am the wife of your great-nephew, Harold
Stanley Malcolm St. Hubart Scarsdale.
I do not see your husband present, said her ladyship, directing an
icy glare at the unfortunate Consul.
No, replied her niece, I've lost him.
Yes, at Basingstoke. He went to speak to a lady in another part of
the train. I could make it clearer to you, I think, by saying that she
was Sir Peter Steele's youngest daughter.
I never thought of knowing the Steeles when I was in London,
commented her hostess, but St. Hubart was always liberal in his
tastes. A remark which caused the Consul to flush with pent-up wrath.
Oh, he didn't know her, interjected Mabel, hastening to correct
the unfortunate turn which the conversation had taken. She was this
Her ladyship bowed very, very slightly in the Consul's direction, to
indicate that his affairs, matrimonial or otherwise, could have for her
no possible interest.
And that is the last we have heard of them, continued the bride,
except for a telegram from the station-master at Basingstoke, which
says they went to Southampton
Do I understand you to say, broke in their hostess, betraying the
first sign of interest she had so far evinced, that my nephew has
No, no! cried Mrs. Scarsdale, you do not in the least comprehend
the true state of affairs, and she poured forth a voluble if
disconnected account of their adventures.
Pardon me, exclaimed the old lady when she had finished, but what
is all this rigmarole? A most surprising affair, I must say, and quite
worthy of your nationality. I was averse to my nephew's marrying you
from the first; but I hardly expected to be justified on his wedding
In that case, said Mrs. Scarsdale, the sooner we leave your house
You will do nothing of the sort, replied her great-aunt. Your
coming to me is the only wise thing you have done. Of course you will
remain here till your husband can be found. As for this person
This gentleman, said his partner in misfortune, coming to
his rescue, is Mr. Robert Allingford, United States Consul at
Christchurch. As my husband had gone off with his wife, I thought the
least I could do was to take him with me.
I can hardly see the necessity of that course, commented her
Now that I have seen Mrs. Scarsdale in safe hands, I could not
think of trespassing longer upon your hospitality, put in the Consul;
but his companion intervened.
I am not going to be deserted twice in a day! she cried. If you
go, I go with you!
About that, said her ladyship frigidly, there can be no
question, and she rang the bell.
You will conduct this lady and this gentleman, she continued to
the footman who answered her summons, to the green room and the tower
room respectively. Then, turning to her unwilling guests, she added:
As my dinner-table is fully arranged for this evening, and my guests
are now awaiting me, you will pardon it if I have your dinner served in
my private sitting-room. We will discuss your affairs at length
to-morrow morning; but now I must bid you good-night, and with an
inclination of her head she dismissed them from her presence.
CHAPTER V. IN WHICH A TRUNK IS SENT
TO MELTON COURT
Scarcely had the sun risen the next morning when the Consul, after a
sleepless night, stole downstairs and found his way out upon the
terrace, for a quiet stroll and a breath of fresh, cool air. Moreover,
he was in need of an uninterrupted hour in which to arrange his plans
in such a manner as would most surely tend to effect the double reunion
he so earnestly desired.
It seemed well-nigh impossible, in the small space of country which
had probably been traversed by all parties, that they could lose each
other for more than a few hours. To make the situation more clear to
those who have never had the misfortune to suffer from the intricacies
of English railway travel, the following diagram is appended. The
triangle is isosceles, the sides being thirty-five miles long, the base
He reviewed his own adventures of yesterday afternoon. He had acted
on what seemed to be the only sensible and reasonable plan to pursue;
namely, to leave the train at its first stop, and return as soon as
possible to the point of divergence. It seemed fair to assume that Mr.
Scarsdale and Mrs. Allingford had done the same thing, and, such being
the case, it was easy to imagine what their course of action had been.
A glance at the time-table told him that the first point at which they
could leave their division of the train had been Southampton; from
which place they could, almost immediately, catch an express back to
the junction they had left, arriving there shortly after seven on the
His own course and that of Mrs. Scarsdale seemed clear; it was
simply a return to Basingstoke immediately after breakfast, and rejoin
their friends, who had been spending the night at that place.
It was possible that they had lost the returning express and
remained in Southampton; but if they acted in a rational manner, they
must eventually return to the junction. But supposing Mrs. Allingford
and Mr. Scarsdale had not done the obvious thing; supposing that chance
had intervened and upset their plans, as in his own case? He suddenly
found himself face to face with the startling fact that not only were
he and Mrs. Scarsdale not at Salisbury or Basingstoke, but that they
were at present at the one place where his wife and Mrs. Scarsdale's
husband would never think of looking for themMelton Court.
Allingford jammed his hat hard on the back of his head, and set off
at a brisk pace to Salisbury and the nearest telegraph station;
arriving at his destination shortly before seven, to find that he had a
good half-hour to wait before the operators arrived. The office was
opened at last, however, and he lost no time in telegraphing to
Basingstoke for information, and in a little while received an answer
from the station-master at that point which cheered him up
considerably, though it was not quite as explicit as he could have
wished. It read as follows:
Scarsdale telegraphed last evening from Southampton, saying
had left train there with Mrs. Allingford and was returning at
The Consul was pleased to find that his conjectures had been
correct. He felt that a great weight had been lifted from his mind.
Their missing partners had undoubtedly spent the night at Basingstoke
and would soon consult the station-master at that point, who would
doubtless show them the messages he had received. Allingford looked out
a good train, telegraphed the hour of their arrival, and then, as his
reception of the night before had not inclined him to trespass on Lady
Melton's grudging hospitality more than was absolutely necessary, he
had a leisurely breakfast at the hotel, and, engaging a fly, drove back
to the Court, reaching there about half-past nine.
Mrs. Scarsdale had also passed a disturbed night, but, unlike her
companion in misfortune, she did not venture out at unearthly hours in
the morning. She was up, however, and saw him depart, which was in some
ways a comfort, since it assured her that he was losing no time in
continuing their quest.
At eight a maid arrived with warm water and a message from her
ladyship that she wished Mrs. Scarsdale to breakfast with her in
private at nine o'clock, and that she would be obliged if her
great-niece would keep her room till that time. The bride was
considerably piqued by this message and the distrust it implied, but
felt it would be wise to accede to the request, and sent word
As she entered Lady Melton's boudoir an hour later, her hostess rose
to receive her, kissing her coldly on the forehead, and saying:
You will pardon my requesting you to keep your room; but your
presence is not as yet known to my guests, and your appearance among
them immediately after your marriage, without your husband, might cause
unpleasant speculation and comment. Do you agree with me?
Quite, replied Mrs. Scarsdale. She had misjudged Lady Melton, she
thought; but she disliked her nevertheless, and wished to be very
Now, said that personage, I want to hear the whole affair. No, I
do not want you to tell it, as her guest opened her mouth to speak;
not in your own way, I mean. You would probably wander from the point,
and my time is of importance. I will ask you questions, and you will be
kind enough to answer them, as plainly and shortly as possible.
Mrs. Scarsdale bowed; she was so angry at the cool insolence that
this statement implied that she did not feel she could trust herself to
Now we will begin, said her ladyship, as she proceeded to demolish
a boiled egg. What is your Christian name?
Very well. Then I shall call you Mabel in future; it is ridiculous
to address you as Mrs. Scarsdale.
I really don't see began that lady.
Excuse me, interrupted her questioner, I will make the comments
when necessary. When were you married?
Yesterday afternoon at two-thirty o'clock.
Where did you and your husband intend to pass last night?
Are you sure?
I ought to be. I bought the tickets.
You bought the tickets! Is that customary in your country?
I am not here to discuss the customs of my country, Lady Melton. I
bought the tickets because I chose to do so, and considered myself
better fitted to arrange the trip than my husband.
Really! I suppose that is the reason you selected the most
roundabout way to reach Exeter. Your husband could have told you that
you should have taken another railway, the Great Western.
My husband, said Mrs. Scarsdale stiffly, did not know our
I say that my husband did not know our destination.
Her ladyship surveyed her for a moment in shocked and silent
disapproval, and then remarked:
I think I understood you to say that you travelled together as far
Yes, and there St. Hubart met a friend.
This consular person?
Mr. Allingford? Yes. He was also married yesterday, and came to our
carriage to congratulate me.
And my nephew went to speak to Mrs. Allingford.
Exactly. And the first thing we knew the train was moving.
That is just what we did, though Mr. Allingford tried to leave the
carriage and return to his wife.
It would have been better had he never left her.
But I restrained him.
How did you restrain him?
By his coat-tails.
Excuse me. Do I understand you to say that you forcibly detained
I'm sorry if you are shocked; it was all I could catch hold of.
I shall reserve my criticism of these very astonishing
performances, Mabel; but permit me to say that you have much to learn
concerning the manners and customs of English society.
Then, said Mrs. Scarsdale, ignoring this last remark, we came to
And telegraphed to Basingstoke for information.
Exactly. But they could tell us nothing; so when I saw your
How did you know it was mine?
I looked out your coat of arms in 'Burke.'
Her ladyship smiled grimly. Perhaps something might be made of this
fair barbarianin time, a great deal of time; but still this knowledge
of the peerage sounded hopeful, and it was with a little less severity
in her voice that she demanded:
And what do you mean to do now?
Go back to Basingstoke this morning.
No, with Mr. Allingford.
Do you expect to find your husband there?
I should think he would naturally return as soon as possible to
where he lost me.
I don't know, said her ladyship. Was Mrs. Allingford pretty?
If you are going to adopt that tack, Lady Melton, the sooner we
part the better, said her visitor angrily.
We do not 'adopt tacks' in England, returned her ladyship calmly;
and as I consider myself responsible for your actions while you are
under my roof, I shall not allow you to go to Basingstoke, or anywhere
else, with a person who, whatever his official position, is totally
unknown to me.
You don't mean to keep me here against my will!
I mean to send you to your relations, wherever they are, under the
charge of my butlera most respectable married manprovided the
journey can be accomplished between now and nightfall.
Well, it can't, replied her grand-niece triumphantly. Aunt Eliza
left for Paris this morning, and all my other relations are in
Lady Melton was, however, a woman of decision, and not to be easily
Then I will send you to your mother-in-law, Lady Scarsdale; I
suppose she has returned to 'The Towers'?
I believe so. But I do not intend to go there without my husband;
it would be ignominious.
Perhaps you can suggest a better plan, said her ladyship coldly.
Well, if you refuse to let me go to Basingstoke began the
I do. Proceed.
Then Mr. Allingford might go for me, and tell St. Hubart where I
am. I know he is waiting for me there, but he would never think of my
being hereExcuse me, I mean she stammered, blushing, for she
saw she had made a slip.
We will not discuss your meaning, said her hostess, but your plan
seems feasible and proper. You may receive the consular person in my
private sitting-room and arrange matters at once.
Her niece turned to go, but she stopped her, saying:
One word more. I do not think it necessary for your friend Mr.
Allingford to return with my nephew. Pray make this clear to him.
After having been dismissed from her hostess' presence, Mrs.
Scarsdale lost no time in sending for the Consul, who had just
returned, and proceeded to work off on that unfortunate gentleman the
rage engendered by her recent interview.
I'm inclined to think, he said when she had finished, that in
this instance the catawampus is right. There is no use of your
gallivanting over the country after your husband; he ought to come to
you. I'll run down to Basingstoke at once, send him back, and with Mrs.
Allingford go on my way rejoicing. There is no need of my returning,
and I guess her ladyship won't cry her eyes out if I don't.
You haven't yet told me the result of your excursion this morning,
she said, hoping to divert the conversation from so obvious a truth.
This, he replied, holding up the telegram he had just received
from the station-master at Basingstoke.
After reading the message, Mrs. Scarsdale was most anxious that he
should lose no time in starting, and with mutual expressions of
friendship, and boundless thanks from the deserted bride, they parted:
he for the junction, she for a further interview with her great-aunt.
When her ladyship learned that Scarsdale had left Southampton for
Basingstoke, and was doubtless now in that place, she advised his wife
to remain in seclusion till the members of the house-party, which
luckily was breaking up that day, had departed; and retired herself to
prepare a few remarks with which to welcome her errant great-nephew.
Later in the day, however, she so far relented towards his wife as to
suggest that she take a stroll on the terrace while the few remaining
guests were indulging in a post-prandial siesta.
It was from this coign of vantage that she saw approaching the worn
and drooping figure of Mr. Allingford. She rushed to meet him, and
demanded, without even giving him time to get his breath:
Where is my husband?
I don't know, he gasped.
Or your wife?
Or my wife.
Aren't they in Basingstoke?
No, and haven't been there. I've turned that confounded town inside
out, and catechised every one about the station, from the divisional
superintendent to the charwoman. They did not come last night, nor
arrive this morning. Since leaving Southampton, if they did leave it,
they have entirely disappeared.
Why do you say, 'if they did leave' Southampton?
Because no one saw them go. I have learned by endless telegraphing
that they alighted at that point, told a porter they had been carried
past their destination, and wished to return at once to Basingstoke. He
indicated their train, they disappeared in the crowdand that's all.
Haven't they telegraphed again to Basingstoke?
Not since last night.
Or to Salisbury?
No. I inquired on the chance, but no message had come.
It is horrible! she exclaimed. I'm the most miserable woman on
Don't cry, he begged despairingly.
No, she said, I won't. Do you think it would be any good to
telegraph to Aunt Eliza and Lady Scarsdale?
I have already done so. Your Aunt Eliza has left for Paris. She
wouldn't have done that if she had heard about this; and it gave Lady
Scarsdale a fitthe telegram I meanbut she didn't know anything.
Is that all?
Not quite. I have telegraphed to my Vice-Consul at Christchurch,
asking for news of Scarsdale, and telling him to forward anything that
had come for me. They might have written there, you know, to
save talk in the office; but I haven't as yet had a reply.
I must consult Lady Melton; the situation is too dreadful for
words. Suppose they have had an accident; suppose she faltered.
Nonsense! he rejoined, bad news always travels quickly; don't
make yourself uneasy on that score. They've got side-tracked in some
out-of-the-way place, just as we have. I'll go to Southampton to-morrow
and work up the trail. Now you run off and consult the catawampus.
When her ladyship had heard the whole story, she summed up as
As your friend has seen fit to return, you may tell him his chamber
will be again made ready for to-night, and you will both dine in my
sitting-room as before. To-morrow I shall send you home to Lady
There is nothing more to be said on the subject. I have made up my
mind. And having pronounced sentence, she left her distracted
great-niece to her own reflections.
It was a very doleful couple who sat down to dinner that evening in
Lady Melton's private room.
It is ridiculous! said Mrs. Scarsdale. We are being treated like
naughty children. I feel as if I were about to be whipped and put to
bed. Sent home with the butler, indeed! I'd just like to see her
ladyship try to do it!
How are you going to prevent her? asked the Consul.
I'm not a child, and I won't be treated as one! If I am to be sent
home in disgrace, you will have to come with me.
Well, I like that! You seem to forget I've lost my wife. My first
duty is to find her.
Your first duty is to me. If you go to Southampton, I go with you.
I'm afraid there'll be an awful row with her ladyship.
Let there be, then; I don't care!
I really think, he expostulated, that you had better stay here
one day more. I'll get you a reprieve from the custody of the butler,
and have a try at Southampton myself. There is a cross-line from here,
and it won't take any time to run over. I've tracked horse-thieves in
Kentucky when I was sheriff, and I guess I can find a bridegroom where
it's all open country as it is round here.
At this moment a servant knocked and entered, saying:
Please, madam, her ladyship's orders is that you are to be ready at
seven to-morrow morning, to start with Mr. Bright, the butler, for 'The
I! began Mrs. Scarsdale, rising in wrath and indignation; but
before she could further complicate matters by a direct refusal, the
footman had turned to Allingford, and, handing him a telegram, had left
the room. Forgetful of all else, she rushed to the Consul's side as
with nervous fingers he tore it open. What joyful news might it not
contain! One look at his face, however, blasted all her hopes. Horror,
consternation, and surprise were depicted thereon as he read the
despatch. Something dreadful must have happened.
Tell me the worst! she cried. Is it Harold?
It is the last straw, he replied.
Is he dead?
I wish he was.
You wish my husband dead?
Oh, confound your husband!
No, no, I don't mean that. I'm not responsible for what I'm
saying, he replied, and groaned aloud. But his companion was not to be
Is that telegram from my husband?
From my mother-in-law?
From Aunt Eliza?
From the station-master at Basingstoke?
From your Vice-Consul?
Has he heard anything of our lost ones?
It has nothing to do with that.
Then what is the matter? What does it all mean?
It means, replied the Consul, that I've got to leave here by the
Explain yourself, she demanded.
I'll try, he replied, mopping his brow. You see, an American
applied to me to lend him some money, a few days ago, and put up as
collateral an elephant.
Harold told me the story. I thought it very amusing.
You won't when I've finished. The elephant arrived day before
yesterday at Southampton, and, as I had informed the steamship company
that I was the temporary owner of the beast, they forwarded it to my
consulate at Christchurch.
How does that affect us?
Affect us! he cried. Do you remember what I telegraphed my
Yes, almost word for word, she answered. You asked for news of
the fugitives, and, on the chance of their writing to Christchurch,
told him to forward here anything that might have come for you.
Exactly, shrieked the Consul; and the blamed fool has forwarded
What! Here? To Melton Court? she exclaimed, aghast.
That is what I said. The beast is on the way now, and ought to be
here bright and early to-morrow morning.
How awful! What will you do?
Get out, he replied laconically.
And leave me?
I don't know about you, but I mean to leave the elephant. I don't
wish to start a bigger circus than I have on hand already.
But would it be quite right to our hostess? expostulated her
If you've any conscientious scruples on the subject, you can stay
and tend the beast. I'm leaving by the first train.
But it's your elephant.
Of course it is, and I've a right to do what I choose with it. I
mean to leave it to Lady Melton, in payment for my board and lodging.
After the way she's treated me I don't want to owe her anything.
Really, Mr. Allingford began his companion.
Now look here, he retorted; would you want an elephant tagging
you round on your honeymoon?
Well, no, I don't think I should, she replied, laughing.
Besides, he continued, how am I to prosecute a search for our
missing halves with a Noah's ark in tow?
That does put the matter in a different light, she admitted.
You bet it does! he replied. As for her ladyship, she can do what
she pleases with my slight token of regard. Give it to the poor of the
parish, if she likes; I don't ask her to keep it.
But what is to become of me?
Oh, you are to be sent home with the butler early to-morrow
I won't go!
Then join me.
But supposing we don't find my husband to-morrow
Then I'll take you down to my consulate at Christchurch for the
night. I have plenty of friends there with whom you can stay.
That settles it, she replied.
So it was that they stole away from the Court in the grey dawn of
the next morning, footed it to Salisbury, recovered their baggage, and
boarded the early train for Southampton. As it moved out of the station
they passed a long line of box cars on a siding, from one of which the
angry scream of an elephant resounded.
Just in time, said the Consul with a sigh of relief. I wish her
ladyship joy of my little remembrance.
CHAPTER VI. IN WHICH MR. SCARSDALE
CHANGES HIS NAME
Mr. Scarsdale entered Mrs. Allingford's compartment with so great an
impetus, when he swung himself into her carriage at Basingstoke, that
he completely lost his balance, and shot past her on all fours, to land
in a heap on the floor. A second later the guard banged the door, and
the train was off.
What does this mean? exclaimed the Consul's wife, and where is my
Excuse me, gasped Scarsdale, picking himself up from the floor,
but I couldn't leave you.
So it appears, she replied coldly. But you have not answered my
question, and as the train began to move rapidly, it is not
possible that we are getting under way!
Yes, he said gloomily, we are off to Southampton.
Answer me instantly: where is my husband? she demanded.
Gone to Exeter, I suppose, with my wife.
What do you mean?
That he was carried off in the first division of the train, which
left five minutes ago.
But I thought we stopped ten minutes.
So you did; we stopped only five. When I left you
just now, I saw that the forward half of this train had disappeared,
and the guard told me it had gone to Exeter, and that this portion was
just leaving for Southampton. I thought it better to stay with you than
to let you go by yourself; so as the carriage was moving, and it was
impossible to get you out, I jumped in.
Thank you, she said simply; and for a moment there was silence
between them while the train rattled over the points, and, reaching the
outskirts of the town, began to increase its speed. The little
Englishwoman did not, however, emulate her fair American partner in
distress, who was at this moment indulging in hysterics in the other
train; she had been too well trained to betray her feelings before a
man whom she knew but slightly, even over the loss of a husband; so,
after remaining quiet for a little, she controlled herself sufficiently
to say, very calmly:
I do not see that we can either of us blame ourselves for what has
happened; we must try and make the best of it, and rejoin your wife and
my husband as soon as possible.
Plucky little woman! thought Scarsdale to himself; to Mrs.
Allingford he said:
I am glad you see things in so sensible a light. You must let me
help you in every way that is in my power.
You say our first stop is Southampton? she asked.
Yes, we reach there in less than an hour. They slip some carriages
at Winchester, but the train doesn't stop, he replied.
Then I think we should alight at Southampton, she said, and
return at once to Basingstoke.
That would certainly be our best course. When you lose a man in a
crowd, it is much better to wait at the point where you lost him till
he finds you than to hunt for him yourself, as you will both miss each
Then you propose to let them find us.
That is my idea. Of course I'll telegraph to the station-master at
Basingstoke that we will return there, so that if they wire for
information concerning us he can give it them.
Where do you think they have gone?
If we either of us knew our destination it would be far easier, he
said, laughing. I hope this will be a lesson to my wife.
But surely the train must stop before it reaches Exeter.
Undoubtedly; but as I have no time-table, I can't say where.
Perhaps your husband has one in his overcoat. If you will permit me,
and he proceeded to examine the garment in question.
No time-table was forthcoming, however, and they were forced to
resign themselves to waiting till they reached Southampton.
Mrs. Allingford bore up bravely, and even tried to make
conversation; but it proved to be a dreary ride, and when they drew up
at their destination they were both exceedingly thankful.
Is there a train back to Basingstoke soon? asked Scarsdale of the
first railway porter he saw.
Yes, sir, over there on the left. Express leaves in three or four
minutes, replied that individual, as he hurried away with somebody
I'll take you over, said Scarsdale.
No, replied his companion, I can find it. You attend to the
telegram and my luggage.
He dashed off accordingly, and when he returned they both entered
the train on the left.
I've sent the telegram, he said, and I have also discovered your
How? she inquired.
By the labels on the luggage. It was marked for Bournemouth, and a
jolly hard time I had to induce them to take it out of the van and send
it back with us.
It seems to me, she said after a little, that we've been waiting
here more than four minutes. I trust we are not in the wrong train. One
has just gone out.
Hi! guard! called Scarsdale from the window. Is this the express
No, sir, replied the official. It was the train beyond you, which
has just left. Sorry if you've made a mistake, sir.
Confound it, yes! cried Scarsdale. Where does this train go?
Stopping train for Winchester.
Can we go on to Basingstoke?
Not by this train, sir.
But from Winchester?
There is sure to be a train this evening, sir.
It has been a chapter of accidents, he said, explaining it to Mrs.
Allingford, but we had better go to Winchester, I think; it is on the
Yes, she assented, and then get on to Basingstoke as fast as we
can, and not be discouraged.
Quite right, he replied, and entered into a description of
Southampton docks and the varied cargoes that were received there, in
the hope of distracting her mind.
Oh, look! she cried, as, once more started on their travels, they
came in sight of the shipping, see what they are loading on that
truck! I do believe it is an elephant!
After what seemed an interminable journey, they at length arrived at
Winchester, and as soon as Scarsdale had seen Mrs. Allingford
established in the ladies' waiting-room, he hastened to ascertain their
chances of getting to Basingstoke that night. On his return he wore a
very long face, which his companion was not slow to interpret.
Are there no trains? she exclaimed, in evident dismay.
There is one, he replied, but we should not reach our destination
till very late, almost midnight in fact, and we cannot tell that we
should find your husband even then. I think our best course would be to
Oh, but that is impossible.
No, there is a very fair hotel.
I didn't mean that. But can't you see the position in which I am
He did see, and he knew that what he proposed seemed to her almost
an impossibility; but as they were now situated he considered that
circumstances altered cases.
I am sure, Mrs. Allingford, he said, that your good sense, which
has carried you through so much this afternoon, will show you the
necessity of acting as I have suggested. You must not forget that you
are now a married woman, and can do things which before were not
Still, she contended, to go to a public hotel with a gentleman
who is a comparative stranger, and pass the night there, seems to me
not the thing at all; and if we were recognised by anybody She
paused, hardly knowing how to complete her sentence.
Then go alone. There are other hotels; I will put up somewhere
else, he replied.
No, no, I couldn't be left alone; I've never been alone before in
my life. That would be worse than all else. You see, if you were only
related to me it would be so different.
I am quite willing to pass myself off as any relation you please,
for the sake of appearances.
But that would be deceitful.
I think the exigencies of the case will excuse that; besides, it is
my own affair, not yours. Will you have me as a brother for one night
only? he asked, laughing.
But I have no brother, she replied.
Then as your husband's brother, he suggested; that would be
better still, as he is an American and not known here.
Do you really think it best?
To save you annoyance, I think it is a pardonable deception. What
is his name?
Richard. But I don't know much about him.
Then we will consider that that is settled, he said cheerfully,
and, without giving her time to argue the matter, summoned a fly, which
presently deposited them bag and baggage at the hotel door. To make
assurance doubly sure, he hastened to sign their names in the visitors'
Mrs. Robert Allingford, Christchurch, England.
Mr. Richard Allingford, U.S.A.
Can you give my sister and me good rooms for to-night? he asked
Yes, sir, two nice rooms just opposite each other.
He said that that would do very well, and they were soon installed.
Once in her apartment, Mrs. Allingford indulged in a good cry, while
Scarsdale strolled out before dinner to have a smoke and think it over.
He did not see much further use in telegraphing just at that moment.
Later it would, perhaps, be well to send a message to Basingstoke,
saying that they were detained at Winchester and would come on next
morning; for he had quickly learned that Mrs. Scarsdale and Mr.
Allingford would be able to leave the train at Salisbury, and justly
surmised that they had done so.
Presently, having finished his cigar, he returned to the hotel to
find Mrs. Allingford ready for dinner, and much refreshed by her tears
and subsequent ablutions. They neither of them ate much, and after the
fish they gave up any attempt to make conversation as worse than
useless, and finished the repast in silence.
I'm afraid, she said, as she folded her napkin, that you've found
me very poor company.
I'm nothing to boast of myself, he replied.
I hope they are not as miserable as we are, she added, as they
rose to leave the table. I haven't been able to eat a thing.
Scarsdale did not reply; he had a gloomy suspicion that his wife was
making a very good meal somewhere. Not that he doubted her love; but he
did not believe her devotion included loss of appetite.
Don't you think they are miserable? she queried, uneasy at his
Not so miserable as we are, he said. They are both Americans, you
see, and Americans don't take things seriously as a rule.
What do you suppose they are doing? was her next question.
Seated swinging their feet over the edge of Salisbury platform,
finishing my five-pound box of American candy, he said.
She tried to be amused, and even forced a little laugh; but it was a
dismal failure, and, realising it, she at once excused herself and
retired to her room for the night, leaving Scarsdale to pass the
evening as best he could. He approved of her circumspection, but it was
beastly dull, and, as he sat smoking in the winter garden which the
hotel boasted, he felt that he should soon become insufferably bored.
He presently, therefore, overcame his natural reserve sufficiently
to respond to the advances of the only person in the room who seemed
inclined to be sociable. The stranger was a florid, shaggy-bearded man
of a distinctively American type, a person Scarsdale would naturally
have avoided under ordinary circumstances; but to-night he felt the
need of human society, no matter whose, and in a few moments they had
drifted into conversation. At first the subjects under discussion were
harmless enough, relating mainly to Winchester and neighbouring points
of interest, concerning which Scarsdale was forced to confess himself
ignorant, as it was his first visit to the place. Before long, however,
they began to touch on more dangerous ground, and he saw that, even
with a casual acquaintance of this sort, he must be guarded if he was
to remain consistent in his role of brother to the deserted bride.
Were you ever in America? was the first question which startled
He replied in the affirmative, as he could honestly do, having been
taken by his father to Canada when but a lad. But the stranger was not
satisfied, and began, after the manner of his nation, a series of
leading questions, which kept Scarsdale busy in trying to assimilate
with some regard to truth the character he had chosen. It was at this
moment that a waiter came to him and asked in a perfectly audible voice
if he was Mr. Richard Allingford. Scarsdale was forced to admit the
fact, and to reply to a message sent, as the waiter took unnecessary
pains to explain, By your sister, sir.
Excuse me, interjected his companion, but may I ask if your
sister's name is Mrs. Robert Allingford?
The Englishman would have given worlds to deny the fact, but in the
presence of the waiter, who still lingered, and in the face of the
evidence in the visitors' book, only one course was open to him, and he
replied reluctantly in the affirmative.
Wife of the United States Consul at Christchurch?
Yes, said Scarsdale.
Now he could once more tell the truth, he felt happier; but he had a
premonition that all was not well, and heartily wished he had never
encouraged this American, who might know more than was convenient.
Why, Dick! said that personage, leaning across the little table
that separated them, and grasping both his handsWhy, Dick! Don't you
If a thunderbolt had shattered the floor at the Englishman's feet he
could not have been more dumfounded. The one seemingly impossible thing
had come to pass. In all this great world, with every chance against
it, fate had ordained that the little provincial city in which he had
planned to play, for one night only, another man's part, should also
contain one of that man's friends, and they two had met. He was so
staggered, as the possibilities contingent on this mischance crowded
through his brain, that he could only stammer out:
You have the advantage of me.
Well, I don't much wonder, continued his new-found friend. If I
have changed as much in fifteen years as you have, it isn't strange you
didn't recognise me. Lord! I'd never have known you if you hadn't told
me who you were.
You must do me as great a favour, said Scarsdale, regaining a
little of his self-composure. If so long a time had elapsed since their
last meeting, he felt that things were not so bad after all, and that
he could reasonably hope to bluff it out.
Well, said the other, the boys used to call me Faro Charlie; now
The Englishman tried to look as if he did, and the American
proceeded to further elucidate matters by saying:
Why, surely you ain't forgotten me as was your pal out to Red Dog,
the time you was prospecting for copper and struck gold?
No, no, said Scarsdale. Of course I remember you now. He
couldn't be supposed to have forgotten such an event, he felt; but the
whole affair was most unfortunate.
I guess you've settled down and become pious, from the looks of
you, continued Faro Charlie; but you'll have a drink for old times'
sake just the same.
No, thanks, you must excuse me, he replied, feeling that he must
drop this unwelcome friend as soon as possible. But the friend had no
intention of being dropped, and contented himself by saying:
Rats! and ordering two whiskies.
Why, I've known the day, he continued, when Slippery Dickwe
used to call you Slippery Dick, you remember, 'cause you could cheat
worse at poker than any man in the camp. Scarsdale writhed. Well, as
I was saying, you'd have shot a man then who refused to drink with
The Englishman sat aghast. Little had he thought he was
impersonating a card-sharper and a wholesale murderer. The whisky came
and he drank it, feeling that he needed a bracer.
Now, said Faro Charlie, I want to hear all about what you've been
doing, first and last. Tending copper-mines, I heered, out to
This, the Englishman felt, was going too far. It was bad enough to
have to impersonate such a fellow as Slippery Dick, but to endow him
with a fictitious history that was at all comparable with Faro
Charlie's account of his earlier years required too great an effort of
imagination. And the fact that a quiet little man, who was sitting near
by, edged up his chair and seemed deeply interested in the
conversation, did not tend to put him more at his ease. No wonder, he
thought, the Consul did not talk much about his brother. He therefore
hastened to change the subject.
Have you seen much of the Indians lately? he ventured; it seemed
such a safe topic.
Thinking of that little squaw you was so chummy with down to Injun
Reservation? queried his friend, punching him jovially in the ribs.
You knew, didn't you, that they'd had her up for horse-stealing to
Fort Smith? Reckon as they'd a hung her if she hadn't been a woman. She
was a limb! Guess you had your hands full when you tackled her.
Scarsdale decided his choice of a subject had not been fortunate,
and begged Faro Charlie to have some more whisky.
Sure, replied that individual. Drink with you all night.
I'm afraid you can't do that, replied Scarsdale, hastening to rid
himself of his unwelcome friend. I have some important business to
attend to this evening.
I wish you weren't in such a rush. Come back and we'll paint the
Scarsdale thought it extremely unlikely, and shaking hands fled to
the street with a sigh of relief; for he had had a very bad quarter of
an hour. What cursed luck that he should have run across this American
horror! He must avoid him at all costs to-morrow morning.
In his hurry he had not noticed that the quiet little man had left
the winter garden with him. His one thought was to get away. He
determined to send that telegram to Basingstoke at once, and go to bed
before any one else recognised him: one of Slippery Dick's friends was
But unkind fate had not yet done with him, and a new and more
terrible surprise was in store for the unfortunate bridegroom. He had
scarcely gone a dozen yards from the hotel entrance, when a voice said
just beside him:
Excuse me, Mr. Richard Allingford, but may I have a few words with
Scarsdale turned, and finding himself face to face with the quiet
little man, who had seemed so interested in his conversation of a few
moments ago, said:
I seem to be in great demand to-night. Why do you wish to see me? I
don't know you.
No, said the man who stood beside him. No, you do not know me,
Mr. Richard Allingford; but you will.
He was a quiet, unpretending little man; but there was something
about his dress and bearing, and the snap with which he shut his jaw at
the end of a sentence, an air of decision, in short, which caused the
Englishman to feel that he would do well to conciliate this stranger,
whoever he might be, so he said shortly:
What do you want with me? Speak quickly; I'm in a hurry.
I couldn't help overhearing some of your conversation just now at
the hotel, and so I took the liberty of following you to ask you a
Yes? said Scarsdale interrogatively.
If I mistake not you are the brother of the United States Consul at
Christchurch, and came over to his wedding.
Yes, he admitted; for he did not see how he could well deny to one
man what he had just confessed to another.
You have been in England about ten days, I think?
As long as that, certainly.
May I ask what ship you came on?
By what right do you ask me these questions?
You will see presently.
But suppose I refuse to answer them?
The unknown shrugged his shoulders, and said quietly:
Now wasn't it the Paris?
Yes, said Scarsdale, who remembered with joy having seen that fact
chronicled in a London paper.
I suppose you have never been in Winchester before?
Never in my life.
Not last week?
Look here! said Scarsdale angrily, what the devil are you driving
It is a pity you should have such a good memory for past and not
for recent events, said the quiet little man, a great pity.
I tell you I have never been here!
Didn't dine at the Lion's Head last Wednesday, for instance?
No, I did not, and I've had enough of this insolence!
So have I, said the little man, blowing a little whistle. So have
I, and therefore I arrest you, Richard Allingford, in the Queen's
CHAPTER VII. IN WHICH MR. SCARSDALE
REAPS ANOTHER'S WHIRLWIND
Scarsdale was absolutely staggered by the word arrest. Arrest!
What nonsense! Who was this man who talked of arresting him,
Harold Scarsdale, peaceably engaged in trying to find his wife and
proceed on his honeymoon? The first sensations of surprise and
incredulity were quickly followed, however, by a realisation of the
horrible situation in which his own stupidity had placed him. In the
eyes of the law he was not Harold Scarsdale, but Richard Allingford,
and he shuddered to think with what crime he might be charged; for,
from what he had learned in the last half-hour, he could not doubt that
he was posing as one of the most abandoned characters that had ever
visited the town of Winchester.
A person who consorted with horse-thieves, cheated at cards, and
thought nothing of shooting friends who were not thirsty, would surely
be satisfied with no ordinary crime. Of what was he accused? He hardly
dared to ask. And how was he to get out of this dreadful dilemma? His
reflections, however, were cut short by the arrival of a burly
policeman, in answer to his captor's whistle. The little man at once
addressed the newcomer, quite ignoring Scarsdale.
Here's your man Allingford; not a doubt of it, he said.
Got your warrant? inquired the policeman, laying a detaining hand
on the prisoner's shoulder.
Here it is, replied the first speaker, producing a paper, which
the officer glanced at and returned, saying at the same time to
Now, then, come along o' me, and don't make no resistance if you
knows what's good for you.
I do not intend to offer any resistance, replied that gentleman,
and turning to the little man he asked: By what right do you arrest
me, and on what charge?
I'm Private Detective Smithers, replied his captor, and this,
again producing the paper he had already shown to the policeman, is my
warrant. You know the charge well enough.
I'm entirely ignorant of it! cried Scarsdale hotly.
Of course, said the detective. They always are, and he winked at
I tell you I don't know anything about it! reiterated the
I must caution you, remarked the policeman, that anything you
says may be used against you as evidence.
I demand to know why I am arrested. I have a right to do so.
Tell him, Bill, said the detective, and stop his row.
The officer, thus admonished, nodded his head, and replied shortly:
Two charges: 'sault and battery on the landlord of the Lion's Head,
and disturbing the peace on last Wednesday night.
I deny the charge! cried Scarsdale.
Of course you do, replied the policeman; I suppose you would. Now
you've had your say, are you coming along peaceable, or are you not?
Certainly I am, replied the prisoner, and they started up the
street, followed by a small crowd, which had already collected.
I must warn you, continued Scarsdale, when they were fairly under
way, that you are making a mistake. I am not the man you take me for.
I suppose you'll deny your name is Richard Allingford next, said
the detective, laughing.
I do deny it.
Well I'm blessed! remarked his captor.
The policeman simply said: Come on, that's too thin! and jerked
him roughly by the arm.
Scarsdale quickened his pace, saying angrily:
If you'd only give a man a chance to explain!
You'll have chance enough, when you come up to-morrow, to explain
to the court, replied the officer, and a pretty bill of damages into
Oh, if it's only a fine, remarked the prisoner, feeling much
relieved, I'll pay it and welcome, rather than have a row.
Maybe you won't have the option, replied one of his captors; while
the other added cheerfully: What you needs is thirty days, and I 'opes
you'll get it.
At the police court Scarsdale did not help his case by insisting on
giving his right name, and denying all knowledge of the charge. His
statements were entered against him, he was relieved of his watch,
purse, and jewellery, and introduced to the cold comforts of the
On being asked if he wished to communicate with any one, he replied
that the next morning would be quite time enough; for he knew that Mrs.
Allingford could give him little help in his present predicament, and
he did not wish to disturb her night's rest to no purpose.
It can be well imagined that the accommodations of an English
provincial prison are not luxurious; but the room was clean, and
fortune favoured him in that he had only two companions, both of whom
were stupid drunk, and went to sleep very peaceably on the floor.
Scarsdale improvised a bed on a settee, and, using his coat as a
pillow, passed a fairly comfortable night. Luckily he was of a somewhat
phlegmatic temperament, and withal very tired after the day's
exertions; so, in spite of the misfortunes which were crowding about
him, he was able to resign himself to the inevitable, and eventually to
drop off to sleep.
Early next morning, however, he arranged to have a note delivered to
Mrs. Allingford at the hotel, in which he informed that lady of his
unfortunate predicament, begging her not to distress herself on his
account; and assuring her that in all probability it was merely a
matter of a trifling fine, and that he should be at liberty to rejoin
her within a few hours.
He felt very little of what he wrote; but as long as there was a
chance of things coming out right, he wished to spare her all possible
His ready money procured him a better breakfast than he could have
hoped for, and by nine o'clock, when the court opened, he was refreshed
and ready for whatever might befall. His two companions in misfortune
preceded him for trial, but their cases were soon disposed of, and
Harold Scarsdale, alias Richard Allingford, was put into the
The court-room consisted of a plainly furnished apartment,
containing a raised platform at one end, on which were placed the desk
and armchair of the police magistrate, while in front were several rows
of benches for the accommodation of the public: but as the cases were
of no general interest, Scarsdale was relieved to see that the
attendance was meagre. Mrs. Allingford was present, however, looking
very white and distressed, but managing to muster up a smile to greet
him as he entered.
The proceedings were short and to the point. The police constable,
on being called and given the oath, kissed the book and deposed that at
about a quarter to nine on the previous evening, while on his
accustomed beat, he had been summoned by Private Detective Smithers to
aid in arresting the prisoner, who had professed ignorance of the
charge, the truth of which he afterwards denied, and who persisted in
asserting that he was not Richard Allingford.
Private Detective Smithers now took the stand and stated the case
from his point of view; which was, in short, that the conversation he
had overheard at the hotel between the prisoner and another person here
present, and the statement which the prisoner made to him personally,
proved that he was without doubt the Richard Allingford mentioned in
the indictment. In conclusion he begged that the person styling himself
Faro Charlie should be summoned to corroborate his testimony. Faro
Charlie was accordingly called and placed in the dock, and after the
usual preliminaries the magistrate examined him as follows:
What is your name?
Any other name?
Very well, Charles Smith; are you a citizen of the United States?
Of what occupation?
Do you recognise the prisoner as the person whom you met at the
George last evening?
Can you swear that he is Richard Allingford?
Scarsdale's heart leaped at that no; salvation was at hand after
The magistrate continued:
Do you believe this person to be Richard Allingford?
Yes, on the whole I think I do. The prisoner's heart sank. But,
continued the witness, I can't be sure. Fifteen years is a long time.
I wouldn't have known him if he hadn't owned up to his name. He might
be playing me for a sucker.
In other words, you think the prisoner to be Richard Allingford,
but are unwilling to swear to his identity?
That's the stuff, replied Faro Charlie. I swored as a man was my
uncle, three years ago at 'Frisco, and he put a bullet into me next
day, 'cause I lost him the case. After which I ain't swearing against a
pal, and he left the stand.
The case now proceeded, and the detective related how on Wednesday,
the 16th of October, the prisoner, Richard Allingford, in company with
other lawless characters, had dined at the Lion's Head, and, during a
dispute with the landlord concerning the quality of the wine, had
thrown that personage out of his own second-storey window; telling his
wife, who protested against such actions, to put her husband in the
bill, which they left without settling. Then they proceeded to paint
the town of Winchester a lurid crimson, breaking windows, beating a
policeman who interfered, and raiding a night coffee-stall in the
This recital of wrong and outrage being finished, the magistrate
addressed the prisoner as follows:
What is your name?
Harold Stanley Malcolm St. Hubart Scarsdale.
Some one in the audience murmured, O Lor'!
You refuse to admit that your name is Richard Allingford?
continued the justice.
I have just given you my name.
Are you an American?
No, I am an Englishman.
Where do you live?
'The Towers,' Sussex.
The audience again voiced its sentiments; this time to the effect
that the prisoner was a 'owling swell; but order was restored and the
case once more proceeded.
What is your profession?
I am a clerk in the War Office.
Does not that interfere with the management of your estate? asked
his interlocutor, to whom the last two statements savoured of
I have just succeeded to the estate, through the death of an elder
Ah, I see. Now in regard to last evening. Do you admit meeting at
the George the person who calls himself Charles Smith?
Did not you represent yourself to him as being Richard Allingford?
This reply caused a sensation in the court.
I suppose, said the magistrate, that you realise that this is a
It is the truth.
Perhaps you can explain it to the satisfaction of the court.
I assumed the name, said Scarsdale with an effort, to screen from
possible annoyance a lady who was under my protection. With the
permission of the court, however, I should prefer not to go into this
matter further, as it has no direct bearing on the charge. My action
was foolish, and I have been punished for it.
You certainly chose an unfortunate alias, commented the magistrate
drily, and, much to the prisoner's relief, turned to another phase of
What are you doing in Winchester?
I am on my honeymoon. I was married yesterday.
A titter of laughter ran round the court-room; but the magistrate
frowned, and continued:
I suppose that is the reason why you registered under an assumed
name, and are travelling with somebody else's wife?
There was more laughter, for the justice had a local reputation as a
wit. Scarsdale boiled inwardly, but held his peace; while his judge,
who seemed to feel that he had strayed a little from the subject in
hand, after a moment's silence asked shortly:
Do you plead guilty or not guilty to these charges?
Do you wish this matter settled here or in a superior court?
I desire that it be settled here, provided I am given an
opportunity to prove my identity.
You will be given every reasonable opportunity. What do you wish?
I wish to ask first by whom these charges are preferred.
The charge of assault and battery has been brought by the landlord
of the Lion's Head.
I infer that the landlord served Richard Allingford in person on
the night in question, and would be likely to know him if he saw him.
The magistrate conferred with the detective, and replied that such
was the case.
If the question is not out of order, resumed the prisoner, may I
ask if the landlord of the Lion's Head is a reputable witness, and one
whose testimony might be relied on?
I think you may trust yourself in his hands, replied the justice,
who had seen all along whither the case was tending.
Then, said Scarsdale, I shall be satisfied to rest my case on his
That is quite a proper request, replied the magistrate. Is the
landlord of the Lion's Head present?
At this a dapper little man jumped up in the audience, and explained
that he was the landlord's physician, and that his patient, though
convalescent, was still disabled by his injuries and unable to attend
On inquiry being made as to when he could put in an appearance, the
physician replied that he thought the landlord could come the next day.
The magistrate therefore consulted for a moment with the detective,
and then said to the prisoner:
Your case is remanded for trial until to-morrow.
Scarsdale held up his hand in token that he wished to speak.
Well, said the magistrate, what else?
If I can, by the time this court meets to-morrow, produce reputable
witnesses from London to prove my identity, asked the prisoner, will
their evidence be admitted?
If they can identify themselves as such to the satisfaction of the
The magistrate thereupon dismissed the case, and Scarsdale was
removed from the court-room.
He felt he had come off singularly well, and, except for the
annoyance and delay would have little further trouble. What he most
desired was an interview with Mrs. Allingford; but what with a change
in his quarters, owing to the deferment of the trial, and the
difficulty of getting word to her, it was the middle of the afternoon
before this was accomplished.
The unfortunate little woman seemed completely broken down by this
fresh disaster, and it was some time before she could control herself
sufficiently to talk calmly with him.
I shall never, never forgive myself, she sobbed. It is all my
fault that you have incurred this disgrace. I can never look your wife
in the face again.
Nonsense! he said, trying to cheer her up. There is no disgrace
in being arrested for what somebody else has done; and as for its being
your fault, why, it was I who proposed to pass myself off as your
But I allowed it, only I did not know anything about my
brother-in-law, except that he existed; his being in England is a
complete surprise to me. A remark which caused Scarsdale to be
thankful that he had said nothing to her about that scene at the club
when the Consul heard of Dick's arrival. He must be very wicked. I'm
so sorry. But we won't talk about him now; we will talk about you. What
can I do to retrieve myself? she continued.
Let us consider your own affairs first, he replied. I wasn't able
to send a telegram to Basingstoke last night; I was arrested on my way
to the office.
I sent one, though, this morning, right after the trial.
I didn't know that you knew where to go, he said.
I didn't, she returned; but that queer American person, who
wouldn't swear to your identity, sent it for me. He is very odd, but
I'm sure he has a good heart. He was so distressed over the whole
affair, and offered to be of any assistance he could.
Oh! said Scarsdale. He was not pre-possessed in Faro Charlie's
So I think, she went on, that if they are at Basingstoke, they
will be here in a few hours. I told them all about your arrest and
where I was staying.
So far so good. Allingford can identify me even to the satisfaction
of this magistrate, I think. But it is just as well to have two strings
to one's bow, so I have another plan to suggest; but first let me hear
if you have done anything else.
No; but I think I shall telegraph to my mother. I can't spend
another night here alone.
Why don't you wait and see if your husband does not turn up? I hate
to give our affairs more publicity than is necessary, he suggested.
Would you prefer me to do so?
Yes, very much; if you don't mind.
Then I will. I think, after my share in this unfortunate business,
you ought to have the first consideration. Now tell me your plan.
I propose that we telegraph to your husband's best man, Jack
Carrington, asking him to come to Winchester this evening. He can
identify me, and identify himself also, for he has a brother who is an
officer in one of the regiments stationed here.
Just the thing! she cried. I'll send it at once.
No, replied Scarsdale. You write it and I'll send it. He did not
wish any more of his plans to be revealed to Faro Charlie.
CHAPTER VIII. IN WHICH A SERIOUS
CHARGE IS LAID AT THE CONSUL'S DOOR
Jack Carrington, Esquire, Gentleman, sat in his snug little
sitting-room, in one of the side streets of Mayfair, shortly before
seven in the evening, feeling uncommonly blue. He was, without doubt,
in a most unfortunate position. Born and bred a gentleman; educated to
do nothing, yet debarred by lack of family influence from the two
professions he might properly have entered, the army and the diplomatic
corps; with not quite enough money to support his position as a
bachelor, and no hopes of ever having any more, the outlook,
matrimonially at least, was anything but encouraging, and there was a
ladywith whose existence this narrative has no concernwho, had
fortune smiled, might now be Mrs. Carrington: a possibility which had
brought our quondam best man almost to the point of determining,
according to those false standards which are happily fast passing away
from English society, to be no longer a gentleman, but to go
Such, then, was his condition when the door-bell rang, and a moment
later a card was brought to him bearing the name of Lady Scarsdale. He
looked at it, scarcely believing his eyes. How came it that she should
call on him at an hour so strikingly unconventional? It was therefore
with no little bewilderment that he gave orders to have her shown in.
When her ladyship, whom he had never seen before, entered his
parlour, he found himself face to face with a strikingly handsome woman
of middle age, dressed in semi-mourning. She accepted his outstretched
hand, held it a second, and, taking the seat he offered, said, with
just a glance in the direction of a demure little woman who followed
her into the room:
Carrington bowed, and Miss Wilkins, maid or attendant, whichever she
might be, retired to the remote end of the room, and promptly immersed
herself in the only volume within reach, a French novel which Jack felt
sure she had never seen before, and would not be likely to peruse to
any great extent.
You will naturally be surprised at my presence here this evening,
said Lady Scarsdale.
Her host bowed and smiled, to show that pleasure and gratification
were mingled; indeed, until she further declared her position he hardly
knew how he ought to feel.
Her ladyship continued:
My object in coming is unusual; it is, in short, to request your
aid and assistance in a very extraordinary and delicate matter.
Jack bowed again, and his visitor proceeded:
You will excuse me if I seem agitatedshe certainly did seem very
much so, if red eyes and a quivering lip meant anythingbut I have
scarcely recovered from the shock occasioned by the arrival of a
telegram received this morning from a Mr. Allingford, at whose
marriage, I think, you assisted.
I was his best man.
So I understand.
Nothing wrong, I hope?
That you shall hear. Do you know my son, Mr. Scarsdale?
You may be aware that he was married yesterday. Jack nodded, and
she continued: To a Miss Vernon, an American. You know her, I
Quite well, replied her host. She is a most charming woman.
Now this Mr. Allingford telegraphs me, resumed his visitor, from
my aunt Lady Melton's country seat, Melton Court, that he is staying
there with my son's wife, who was Miss Vernon.
Staying there with Allingford! At Melton Court! gasped Jack, to
whom this seemed the most improbable combination of circumstances. But
where is her husband?
I regret to say, replied her ladyship, that, as a result of the
two couples meeting each other at Basingstoke, they in some way became
separated and carried off in different trains; so that my
daughter-in-law and Mr. Allingford are now at my aunt's country place,
near Salisbury, while my son and Mrs. Allingford have gone off together
somewhere on the South Coast, and no trace can be found of them.
But how did it happen?
The whole affair seems to have been the result of some deplorable
blunder or accident; but in any event it is most distressing, and I
came up at once to London, thinking you might be able to help me. But I
see from your surprise that you have heard nothing from either party.
Not a word. But I am quite at your service.
Thanks. You may not know that, actuated by a spirit which I cannot
admire, my son's wife and your friend each insisted on arranging the
details of their wedding trips, and keeping the matter a profound
secret, so that neither Mrs. Allingford nor my son knew their
Yes, I have heard something of it; but I infer that you have not
honoured me by this visit without the hope that I may be able to aid
you. Pray tell me how I can be of service.
My chief desire in calling on you, Mr. Carrington, was to learn if
you had had any news of my son or his wife; but, of course, on my
journey to town I have been thinking of various expedients, and though
I hesitate to ask so great a favour from one I hardly know, you could,
I think, be of great assistance to me.
With pleasure. Do you wish me to telegraph to Allingford, or go in
search of your son?
Neither. But I should be very grateful to you if you would go for
me to Melton Court; I have not myself sufficient strength for the
journey to-night; it is already late and I have no one to send. But I
feel that my daughter-in-law is in an anomalous and probably unpleasant
position; so, as I knew you to be a friend of both parties, I thought
that perhaps you would be good enough to represent me, and see what
could be done towards the solution of this unfortunate problem. My
son's best man left for the Continent immediately after the ceremony,
or I would have gone to him instead.
There is nothing I should like better than to serve you, replied
Jack, but, to speak frankly, I have not the honour of knowing Lady
If you will permit me to use your desk, I will give you a line of
Carrington bowed his consent.
Now, she said, giving him the note, when can you leave?
At once, he replied, by the first train.
You will, of course, act as you think best, she continued. I am
staying at the Berkeley for to-night, and if Mabel's husband has not
rejoined her before you arrive, you had better bring her to me there
to-morrow. As you are going on my behalf you must, of course, let me
bear all expenses of the trip.
On this ground her ladyship was firm in spite of Carrington's
protestations, and they finally parted, with many expressions of
gratitude, on a mutual and highly satisfactory understanding.
As Jack employed a valet only on state occasions, he was, after a
hurried dinner, deep in his preparations for immediate departure, when,
about half-past eight, Mrs. Allingford's telegram from Winchester
arrived, which it is hardly necessary to say startled him considerably.
The news that Scarsdale was under arrest for the crime of another
person, and the fact that it lay in his power to free him, seemed to
prove without doubt that his first duty was to go to Winchester; but he
had promised Lady Scarsdale to go to Melton Court, and it was
impossible to do both that night. He was uncertain how to act, and what
his ultimate decision would have been it is difficult to say, had not
an outside influence decided matters for him. Another caller was
I'm not at home. Can't see anybody, said Carrington.
That's not true, young man, and you've got to see me, replied a
voice, and, as the door opened, to his astonishment Aunt Eliza advanced
into the middle of the room, which was littered with his toilet
Why, Miss Cogbill! he exclaimed, rising to greet her, I thought
you were in Paris.
So I should be if I hadn't been stopped at Calais by a telegram
from that good-for-nothing Consul of yours.
Allingford. Then you know where they are?
Yes, and of all the fools!
I've also heard from Scarsdale and Mrs. Allingford.
You have! Where are they?
Winchester! What are they doing there?
He's been arrested.
Yes. Sit down and I'll tell you about it. Which he proceeded to
do, and also about Lady Scarsdale's visit.
Just so, commented Aunt Eliza when he had finished. Now what do
you propose doing next?
I suppose the proper thing would be to put the two couples in
communication with each other, suggested Jack.
Well, I'm not so sure, she said. You and I are the only ones who
know all the facts, and we must not act in a hurry. Now there's
Allingford and Mabel down at Melton Court. They'll keep till to-morrow,
I guess. It would just spoil her night's rest to know that her husband
was in jail at Winchester, and send her over to him by the first train
to-morrow morning, like as not, to weep on his neck and complicate the
course of justice. Anyway, I don't think the two couples had better
meet till we are present to soothe their ruffled feelings; for, after
the mess that the Consul's brother has got them into, I dare say that,
left to themselves, the Scarsdales and Allingfords wouldn't be real
cordial to each other. But I see you are packing up. Now where are you
I was going down to Salisbury, at Lady Scarsdale's request.
You're needed elsewhere. You go right down to Winchester this
evening, so as you can be there when the court opens first thing
to-morrow morning, to identify my good-for-nothing nephew, liberate
him, and send him and Mrs. Allingford over to Melton Court as soon as
you can. I'll be there before you to break the news to Mabel.
Well, you see, he said, I've promised her ladyship.
Never mind that; your business is to fish these young people out of
their troubles. I'll drive at once to Lady Scarsdale's hotel, and tell
her of your change of plans, and go down myself by the first train
to-morrow morning to Salisbury.
Then, he said, closing his valise with a snap, I shall leave at
once for Winchester.
Good boy! said Aunt Eliza. It's too bad they spoiled you by
making you a gentleman; you have a first-class head for business.
It is just what I've been thinking myself, he said ruefully.
Have you? cried the old lady, her face lighting up with genuine
interest. I'm glad to hear it. You just put this matter through
successfully, and maybe it will be worth more to you than your
expenses. Now I must be off, and so must you.
Very well. I'll put up at the George, he said, as he helped her
into a hansom.
Right you are! she cried, and signalled her driver to go on.
As Carrington found that he would not reach Winchester till late, he
telegraphed Mrs. Allingford that he would see her the next morning, and
that he had received news of the whereabouts of her husband and
Scarsdale's wife, who were all right and would join them on the morrow.
On his arrival he went straight to the hotel that Mrs. Allingford
had designated in her telegram, to find that that lady had retired for
the night, leaving, however, a note for him which contained full
instructions, and stated in addition that she had received his
telegram, for which she was profoundly grateful, and that he must not
hesitate to wake her if, by so doing, he could cause her to rejoin her
husband one instant sooner.
As it was by this time close upon midnight, Carrington decided to
let matters rest as they were till morning; especially as he had before
he slept to hunt up his brother at the barracks, and so insure his
attendance at court the next day. This was easily arranged; but the two
men had much to talk over, and it was nearly daybreak when Jack set out
to return to the hotel.
The shortest way back was by a cross cut through the mysterious
darkness of the cathedral close, within which he heard the voices of
two men in heated dispute, the tone of the one shrill with rage, while
those of the other proclaimed that he had been drinking.
Carrington would have passed without noticing, so intent was he on
his own affairs, had not a name which one of them pronounced arrested
his attention and caused him to stop.
You call Robert Allingford a thief! came the thick tones of the
I say he stole it! cried the shrill voice of the other.
Call my brother a thief! reiterated the first speaker. He's
Consulgentleman. Gentlemen don't steal elephants.
I say he stole it! Right away that day! Didn't wait for me to
You dare to call my brother thief! The voice grew menacing.
Twenty pounds he gave meonly one hundred dollarsfor an
elephant. I say he's a thief!
Here the shrill voice died away in a gulp, and there was a sound of
blows and scuffling.
Carrington forced his way through the hedge, crying:
Hold on! What is this about?
At the sound of his voice the owner of elephants exclaimed: The
bobbies! and, disengaging himself from the other, fled down the road;
while his companion, who had started to follow him, was detained by
Jack, who recognised his captive as none other than Richard Allingford.
What are you doing here? he demanded.
Oh, said Allingford, it's Mr. Carrington. Delighted to see you,
I'm sure. Correcting that fellow. Says brother Robert stole elephant.
His arrest had somewhat sobered him.
Of course, said Carrington, he didn't steal the elephant.
Where is he?
At Melton Court, near Salisbury; but you must not go there.
Yes, I will, replied Slippery Dick, waxing pugnacious, Take the
elephant fellow along, toomake him eat his words. Call my brother a
thief, will he?
You'll do nothing of the kind, said his captor. You're wanted
here by the police.
Yes. For assault and battery, and disturbing the peace. They have
arrested another man, a Mr. Scarsdale, by mistake in your place.
I don't know anything about it. Never been here before to-night,
protested the unregenerate one.
Well, you must come along with me and give yourself up, or.
But Carrington never finished the sentence; for at that moment he
struck the ground very hard, and by the time he realised that Slippery
Dick had tripped him, that personage had disappeared into the darkness,
thus justifying his sobriquet.
Jack picked himself up and struggled through the hedge; but no one
was in sight, and the dull, distant sound of flying feet seemed to
indicate that the Consul's brother was seeking fresh fields and
pastures new with uncommon celerity.
CHAPTER IX. IN WHICH THE CONSUL AND
MRS. SCARSDALE EMULATE THE KING OF FRANCE AND TWENTY THOUSAND OF HIS
Another day was dawning, a day that was destined to be most arduous,
eventful, and important in the lives of all those with whom this
narrative has to deal. Yet, at this hour in the morning, Carrington,
sitting shivering on his bedside; Lady Melton, listening in her chamber
for the departing footsteps of the faithful Bright; Aunt Eliza,
drinking an early cup of coffee in preparation for a long day's work;
the Consul and Mrs. Scarsdale, journeying to Southampton; Slippery
Dick, pouncing on the sometime owner of elephants at a way-side
alehouse; Scarsdale, pacing his prison cell; Mrs. Allingford, waiting,
'twixt hope and fear, for news of her husband; and the elephant,
shrieking in his box-stallthese, one and all, entered regretfully
upon this day fraught with so many complications.
Carrington had decided, as he wended his way home to the hotel after
his somewhat startling encounter with the Consul's unregenerate
brother, that he was in no wise bound to report the matter to the
authorities. His mission was to extricate Mr. Scarsdale from unjust
imprisonment, not to incriminate any one else; and he foresaw that any
attempt on his part to interfere, as an avenger of justice, might
entail subsequent attendance at the local police court whenever the
true culprit fell into the hands of the law.
When Jack had thus determined on his course of action, he resigned
himself peacefully to slumber, of which he stood much in need; but no
sooner, apparently, had his head touched the pillow than he was
awakened by a knocking at his chamber door. In reply to his sleepy
inquiries, he was informed that Mrs. Allingford was up and in the
ladies' drawing-room, and would much appreciate it if she could see him
as soon as possible.
Carrington replied that he would be happy to wait on her in a few
minutes, as soon as he was dressed, in fact, and cursed himself
heartily for having been fool enough to be any one's best man.
Half-past six! It was inhuman to call him up at such a time. He had not
had three hours' sleep. He wished himself at Melton Court more than
ever. There, at least, they rose at decent hours.
As he entered the hotel drawing-room, a few minutes later, in a
somewhat calmer frame of mind, due to a bath and a cup of coffee, Mrs.
Allingford rose to meet him, took both his hands in hers, and, holding
them tightly, stood for a moment with her upturned eyes looking fixedly
into his. He would never have known her for the happy bride of two
short days ago; she seemed more like a widow, years older, and with all
the joy of her youth crushed out by trouble.
Words cannot express what your coming means to me. It is the
kindest thing you've ever done, she said simply; but her tone and
manner told him of her gratitude and relief.
It is very little to do, he replied, feeling, all at once, that he
had been a brute not to have seen her the night before.
My husband! Oh, tell me about my husband! she exclaimed, dropping
What a child she was, in spite of her wedding-ring! he thought;
but he felt very sorry for her, and answered gently:
I blame myself for not telling you sooner. He is safe and well.'
Thank God! she murmured.
And at present at Melton Court, the country place of Lady Melton,
Mr. Scarsdale's great-aunt. And then he told her such of her husband's
adventures as he knew.
When is the first train to Salisbury? she cried, interrupting the
I dare say there is an early morning train, he returned; but I
should suggest your waiting for the one at nine-thirty, as then Mr.
Scarsdale can accompany you.
But he is in prison.
Yes, I know; but he won't be very long.
You are sure they will release him?
There's not a doubt of it. I have arranged all that.
Now tell me more about my husband, everything you know. Poor Bob!
if he has suffered as I have, he must indeed be wretched.
Jack was morally sure that the Consul had done nothing of the kind,
but he forbore to say so. Not that he doubted for a moment that
Allingford loved his wife ardently; but he knew him to be a somewhat
easy-going personage, who, when he could not have things as he wanted
them, resigned himself to making the best of things as they were. From
what he knew of Mrs. Scarsdale, moreover, he thought it safe to
conclude that she had resigned herself to the exigencies of the case,
and that both of them looked on the whole affair as a practical joke
played upon them by Fate, of which they could clearly perceive the
humorous side. He therefore turned the conversation by recounting all
he knew, even to the minutest circumstance, of her husband's
adventures; and she, in her turn, poured into his ear her tale of woe
I can't understand, he said, at the conclusion of her narrative,
why Allingford did not receive the telegram you sent to Basingstoke
As I think I told you, she replied, that strange person, Faro
Charlie, offered to send it for me, and as I had no change I gave him a
Oh! said Carrington, perhaps that solves the mystery. Did your
friend bring you back the change?
No, admitted Mrs. Allingford; that is, not yet.
I'm afraid you will never hear from your five-pound note, and that
Allingford never received his telegram from Winchester, commented
Carrington; but it has disposed of Faro Charlie as a witness, and
perhaps that was worth the money.
Do you really think he meant to take it? she asked in a shocked
I'm sure of it, he replied, and time will prove the correctness
of my theory. And time did.
They breakfasted together, and, at Carrington's suggestion, all the
baggage was sent to the station, in order that they might have every
chance of making the train. Jack's brother joined them about half-past
eight, and the three proceeded to the court, where a few words from
that officer to the magistrate, with whom he was personally acquainted,
were sufficient to bring Scarsdale's case first on the docket.
The landlord of the Lion's Head appeared, a mass of bandages, and
groaning dolefully to excite the sympathy of the court; but he
testified without hesitation that the prisoner, though somewhat
resembling Richard Allingford, was not he; and it did not need
Carrington's identification to make Scarsdale a free man. Then there
were mutual congratulations, and a hurried drive to the station, where
they just succeeded in catching the train; and, almost before he knew
it, Jack was standing alone upon the platform, while his two friends
were speeding towards the goal of all their hopes, viâ
Southampton and Salisbury.
* * * * *
I suppose, said Mrs. Scarsdale to the Consul, as their train drew
out of Salisbury in the first flush of the sunrise on the morning which
saw Mr. Scarsdale's liberation from durance vileI suppose you
realise that you have exiled me from the home of my ancestors.
How so? asked the Consul.
Why, you don't imagine that I shall ever dare to show my face at
Melton Court again. Just picture to yourself her ladyship and your
elephant! She will never forgive us, and will cut poor Harold off with
That won't hurt him much, from all I've heard of her ladyship's
finances, he replied.
I think, she resumed, that I ought to be very angry with you; but
I can't help laughing, it is so absurd. A bull in a china-shop would be
tame compared with an elephant at Melton Court. What do you think she
will do with the beast?
Pasture it on the front lawn to keep away objectionable relatives,
retorted the Consul. But, seriously speaking, have you any definite
plan of campaign?
Certainly not. What do you suppose I carry you round for, if it is
not to plan campaigns?
Which you generally alter. You will please remember that the visit
to Melton Court was entirely owing to you.
Quite, and I shall probably upset this one; but proceed.
Well, in the first place, as soon as we reach Southampton I think
we had better have a good breakfast.
That is no news. You are a man; therefore you eat. Go on.
Do you object?
Not at all. I expected it; I'll even eat with you.
Well said. After this necessary duty, I propose to go to the
station and thoroughly investigate the matter of the arrival and
departure of my wife and your husband.
If they were at Basingstoke we should have heard from them before
this, she said; and even if they were not, they should have
Very probably they did, he replied; but, as you ought to know,
there is nothing more obliging and more generally dense than an English
minor official. I dare say that the key to the whole mystery is at this
moment reposing, neatly done up in red tape, at the office of that
disgusting little junction. But here we are at Southampton. Now for
breakfast; and then the American Sherlock Holmes will sift this matter
to the bottom. And the Consul, in excellent spirits, assisted her to
Indeed, now that the elephant had been left behind, he felt that,
actually as well as metaphorically, a great weight had been lifted from
Evidently, remarked Allingford, as they were finishing a breakfast
in one of the cosy principal hotelsevidently the loss of your
husband has not included the loss of your appetite.
Of course it hasn't, replied Mrs. Scarsdale. Why shouldn't I eat
a good breakfast? I have no use for conventions which make one do
disagreeable things just because one happens to feel miserable.
Do you feel very miserable? I thought you seemed rather cheerful on
the whole, he commented.
Well, you are not to think anything so unpleasant or personal. I'm
utterly wretched; and if you don't believe it I won't eat a mouthful.
I'm sure, he returned, that your husband would be much put out if
he knew you contemplated doing anything so foolish.
Do you know, she said, that I'm beginning to have serious doubts
that I ever had a husband? Do you think he's a myth, and that you and I
will have to go through life together in an endless pursuit of what
Good Lord, I hope not! he exclaimed.
That is very uncomplimentary to me, she retorted.
In the face of that remark, he replied, pushing back his chair, I
Do you know, said his companion after a moment, as she folded her
napkin, that the keen sense of humour with which we Americans are
endowed saves a large percentage of us from going mad or committing
Are you thinking of doing either? he asked anxiously.
I am thinking, she replied, that we have had two exceedingly
amusing days, and I am almost sorry they are over.
Don't you want to find your husband? he exclaimed.
Of course I do; but it has been a sort of breathing-space before
settling down to the seriousness of married life, and that elephant
episode was funny. I think it was worth two days of any husband; don't
I don't know, returned the Consul, somewhat ruefully. I'd just as
lief that Scarsdale had had the beast.
Oh, I wouldn't! she cried. He would have spoiled all the fun.
He'd have done some stupid, rational thing. Donated it to the 'Zoo' in
London, I should think; wasted the elephant, in fact. It took the
spirit of American humour to play your colossal, practical joke. I
wonder if it has arrived at the Court yet. I can fancy it sticking its
head, trunk and all, through the great window in Lady Melton's
She called me a consular person, remarked that official stiffly.
Hence the elephant, laughed his fair companion. Cause and effect.
But, joking apart, there is a pitiful side to our adventure. When I
think of those two matter-of-fact, serious British things, your better
half and mymy husband, and of what a miserable time they have been
having, unrelieved by any spark of humour, it almost makes me cry.
Hold on! cried Allingford, You are just as bad as your
great-aunt. She calls me a consular person, and you call my wife a
British thing! I wish I had another elephant.
I beg your pardon, I do really, she replied. I classed my husband
in the same category. But don't you agree with me that it's sad? I'm
sure your poor wife has cried her eyes out; and as for my husband, I
doubt if he's eaten anything, and I'm certain he's worn his most
You are wrong there, interrupted Allingford; he packed all the
worst specimens, and I rescued them at Salisbury. I tried them on
yesterday, and there wasn't a suit I'd have had the face to wear in
There, run along and turn the station upside down; you've talked
enough, she said, laughing, and drove him playfully out of the room.
It was about half-past nine that the Consul meditatively mopped his
head, as he reached the top step of the hotel porch. He was heated by
his exertions, but exceedingly complacent. He had interviewed sixteen
porters, five guards, the station agent, three char-women, four
policemen, and the barmaidthe latter twice, once on business and once
on pleasure; and he had discovered from the thirtieth individual, and
after twenty-nine failures and a drink, the simple fact that those he
sought had gone to Winchester. He did not think he could have faced
Mrs. Scarsdale if he had failed. As it was, he returned triumphant,
and, as he approached their private parlour, he mentally pictured in
advance the scene which would await him: her radiant smile, her voluble
expression of thanks, their joyful journey to Winchester; in short,
success. He pushed open the door, and this is what really happened: an
angry woman with a flushed, tear-stained face rushed across the room,
shoved a newspaper at him, and cried:
The Consul dropped into the nearest chair. He looked at the
infuriated Mrs. Scarsdale, he looked at the crumpled newspaper, he
heard the last echo of that opprobrious monosyllable, and he said:
Well I'm jiggered!
Then, recollecting his news, he continued:
Oh, I forgot. I've found out where they have gone; it's
Is that all you've got to tell me? she cried. All, in the face of
this? And she again shoved the newspaper towards him. He looked to
where her finger pointed. He was hopelessly bewildered, and wondered if
her native humour had inopportunely failed her and she had gone mad.
Read! she commanded.
His wandering eye followed the direction of her finger, and he read
slowly, with open mouth, a short account of the arrest and partial
trial at Winchester of one Richard Allingford, who claimed to be Harold
Tell me, she thundered, is that my husband?
Well, he said, slowly, I guess it is, and he re-read the last
sentence of the paragraph in the newspaper:
The prisoner insisted that he was Harold Scarsdale, and
prove his identity. He was accompanied by a woman who claimed
Mrs. Robert Allingford, wife of the well-known United States
at Christchurch. The prisoner was remanded till this morning.
Have you a brother?
Has he ever been arrested?
Arrested! Why, I've spent most of my time for the past twenty years
in bailing him out.
But why has my husband taken his name? she demanded.
That is a matter you'll have to settle with Scarsdale; and if you
look as you do now, I'm real sorry for him, he replied.
You don't care a bit! she cried.
Oh, yes I do; but I want you to see it from its humorous side, he
At this remark Mrs. Scarsdale burst into a flood of tears, and
Allingford gave a sigh of relief, and, strolling to the window, was
soon lost in admiration of the view.
Suddenly a voice said, in the sweetness of its accustomed tones:
Why were you so pleased when I began to cry? And Mrs. Scarsdale,
calm and composed, stood beside him.
Hard storm is a good thing to clear the atmosphere after a
thunder-shower, replied the Consul laconically.
I was real mad with you, she admitted.
Great Scott! don't you suppose I knew that? he cried.
They both laughed, and peace was restored.
Do you really think it is poor Harold?
I suppose he doesn't get called St. Hubart when he's in 'quod'?
Be sensible and answer my question. Is it my husband or your
brother who is on trial at Winchester?
I don't know, he replied.
What are you going to do about it? she asked.
Go and see.
When is the next train?
The Consul pulled out his watch.
In twelve and a half minutes, he said. I've paid the hotel bill.
Here, hold on! You turn to the left for the elevator! But Mrs.
Scarsdale was half-way downstairs on her way to the station.
An hour later, as the Consul and his fair companion emerged at the
station at Winchester, the first person they saw was Carrington.
We've been found at last! cried the Consul, advancing towards Jack
with outstretched hand, exclaiming: Well, Columbus Carrington, if ever
I get lost again, I'll telegraph you first thing.
In a minute questions and answers were flying between them. Where
had they been? Where had they come from? Why was Carrington here? Why
had Scarsdale been arrested?
Jack bore up manfully, answering as best he could.
Perhaps you can tell me the whereabouts of my wife and this lady's
husband? said the Consul.
They have been staying here, he replied, but they have gone.
Gone! cried Allingford in blank amazement. Gone! Where? When?
Why, to Salisbury, replied Jack. I sent them over there early
You did, did you? spluttered the Consul. What right had you to
send them anywhere?
Why, to join you at Lady Diana's.
Join us! screamed Allingford. Why, we left Melton Court at
half-past four this morning, and have been on the road ever since
trying to join them.
It seems to be a typical example of cross-purposes, replied
It's pure cussedness! said the Consul.
But I thought my husband wasin prison, chimed in Mrs. Scarsdale;
the paper said so.
Merely a case of mistaken identity, Jack hastened to assure her.
I had him set free in no time. And that reminds me: I ran across your
brother here last evening, Allingford. It is he who has caused all the
trouble. Frankly, I am almost sorry I did not give him over to the
I wish you had, replied the Consul; I wouldn't have bailed him
out till my honeymoon was over. Where is he now?
I'm inclined to believe, replied Carrington, that he has gone to
Melton Court in search of you, in company with a man who talked some
nonsense about your having stolen an elephant from him.
Allingford and Mrs. Scarsdale both began to laugh.
I don't see anything funny about that, said Jack.
Oh, don't you? returned the Consul. Well, you would if you knew
the rest of the story. And in a few brief words he explained about the
elephant's arrival and their subsequent flight.
Heavens, man! cried Carrington, you don't seem to realise what
you have let Scarsdale and your wife in for!
Great Scott! exclaimed the Consul, I never thought of that. Why,
I reckon it's rampaging all over the place by this time, and the old
lady must be in a perfect fury. When's the next train back? We can't
get there too quickly.
One goes in five minutes, said Jack.
If I'd ever suspected, gasped Mrs. Scarsdale to Allingford as they
rushed down the platform, that you were laying such a trap for my poor
I'm sure I didn't do it on purpose, he replied; but if they
happen to meet the catawampus after she's met the elephant, they'll be
in for a pretty hot time.
Your brother was bad enough, she groaned as the train pulled out;
but as for your elephant! It's worse than being arrested!
CHAPTER X. IN WHICH LADY MELTON
RECEIVES A STRANGE VISITOR
However harassing and disturbing the events of the past few days had
been to the people particularly interested in them, to the mind of one
the proceedings of all those with whom he had come in contact had been
characterised by an ignorance, not only of the necessities of life, but
even of the very etiquette that lends a becoming dignity to existence,
which seemed almost pitiful. Not since the elephant left his native
shore had he received what he considered to be proper, or even
intelligent, attention. On the voyage, indeed, though his quarters were
crowded, and denied by the proximity of low-caste beasts, his material
wants had been considered; but since yesterday, when he had landed in
the midst of a howling wilderness of iron monsters, who could neither
see nor hear and were no respecters of persons, there had been a
scarcity even of food and water. All night he had been dragged about
the country at a speed unbecoming the dignity of a ruler of the jungle
(without even the company of his mahout, who had lost the train at
Southampton); and, now that the earth had ceased to move past him and
was once more still, he expressed his opinion of the ignorant and
degraded people of this wretched country in no uncertain voice. Then,
finding that the pen in which he was confined was cramped and dirty,
and wholly unfitted for one of his exalted position, he exerted himself
to be free, and in a short time reduced his car to kindling-wood. Being
now at liberty, he naturally desired his breakfast; but what was one to
do when men disfigured the earth with bars of steel over which one
tripped, and stored the fruits of the land in squat yellow bungalows,
with fluted iron roofs which were difficult to tear off? Therefore the
elephant lifted up his voice in rage, whereat many things happened, and
a high-caste man, clad in the blue of the sky and the gold of the sun,
ran up and down upon the earth, and declared that he should forthwith
be taken to the Court and delivered to the Damconsul.
What a Damconsul was the elephant did not know; but concluded that
it was the title these barbarous people bestowed on the Maharajah of
that district. Since he lived at a Court, it seemed certain that he
would know how to appreciate and fittingly entertain him. The elephant
therefore consented to follow his attendant slaves, though they
understood not the noble art of riding him, but were fain to lead him
like a beast of burden. On the way he found a spring of sweet water, of
which he drank his fill, despite the protestations of his leaders and
the outcries of the inhabitants of the bungalow of the well, whose
lamentations showed them to be of low caste and little sensible of the
honour done them.
The procession at length reached the gate of the Court; and while
the attendants were in the lodge explaining matters to the astonished
keeper, the elephant, realising that drink was good but food better,
determined to do a little foraging on his own account, and so moved
softly off, taking along the stake to which his keepers fondly imagined
he was tethered.
He judged that he was now in the park of the Court of the
Damconsul; and the fact that there were many clumps of familiar
plants scattered over the grass increased his belief that this was the
case. He tried a few coleus and ate a croton or two; but found them
insipid and lacking the freshness of those which bloomed in his native
land. Then turning to a grove of young palms, he tore a number up by
the roots; which he found required no expenditure of strength, and so
gave him little satisfaction. Moreover, they grew in green tubs, which
rolled about between his feet and were pitfalls for the unwary. He lay
down on a few of the beds; but the foliage was pitifully thin and
afforded him no comfortable resting-place; moreover, there were curious
rows of slanting things which glistened in the sunlight, and which he
much wished to investigate. On examination he found them quite brittle,
and easily smashed a number of them with his trunk. Nor was this all,
for in the wreckage he discovered a large quantity of most excellent
fruitgrapes and nectarines and some very passable plums. Evidently
the Damconsul was an enlightened person, who knew how to live; and,
indeed, it is not fitting for even an elephant to turn up his trunk at
espalier peaches at a guinea apiece.
Certainly, thought the elephant, things might be worse. And after a
bath in a neighbouring fountain, which cost the lives of some two score
of goldfish, he really felt refreshed, and approached the palace, which
he considered rather dingy, in order to pay his respects to its owner.
Coming round to the front of the building he discovered a marble
terrace, gleaming white in the sunshine, and flanked by two groups of
statuaryHercules with his club, and Diana with her bow: though, being
unacquainted with Greek mythology, he did not recognise them as such.
On the terrace itself was set a breakfast-table resplendent with silver
and chaste with fair linen; and by it sat a houri, holding a sunshade
over her golden head. The elephant, wishing to conciliate this vision
of beauty, advanced towards her, trumpeting gently; but his friendly
overtures were evidently misinterpreted, for the houri, giving a wild
scream, dropped her sunshade, and fled for safety to the shoulders of
Hercules, from which vantage-point she called loudly for help.
Feeling that such conduct was indecorous in the extreme, he ignored
her with a lofty contempt; and, having tested the quality of the
masonry, ventured upon the terrace and inspected the feast. There were
more nectarinesbut he had had enough of thoseand something steaming
in a silver vessel, the like of which he remembered to have encountered
once before in the bungalow of a sahib. Moreover, he had not forgotten
how it spouted a boiling liquid when one took it up in one's trunk. At
this moment a shameless female slave appeared at a window, in response
to the cries of the houri, and abused him. He could not, it is true,
understand her barbarous language; but the tone implied abuse. Such an
insult from the scum of the earth could not be allowed to pass
unnoticed. He filled his trunk with water from a marble basin near at
hand, and squirted it at her with all his force, and the scum of the
earth departed quickly.
It would be well, thought the elephant, to find the 'Damconsul'
before further untoward incidents could occur; and with this end in
view, he turned himself about, preparatory to leaving the terrace. He
forgot, however, that marble may be slippery; his hind legs suddenly
slid from under him, and he sat hurriedly down on the breakfast-table.
It was at this singularly inopportune moment that Lady Diana appeared
upon the scene.
Her ladyship awoke that morning to what was destined to be the most
eventful and disturbing day of her peaceful and well-ordered life, with
a feeling of irritation and regret that it had dawned, which, in the
light of subsequent events, would seem to have been almost a
premonition of coming evil. She was, though at this early hour she
little knew it, destined to receive a series of shocks of volcanic
force and suddenness, between sunrise and sunset, any one of which
would have served to overthrow her preconceived notions of what life,
and especially life at Melton Court, ought to be.
As yet she knew nothing of all this; but she did know that, though
it was long after the hour appointed, she had heard no sound of her
great-niece's departing footsteps. She waited till she must have missed
the train, and then rang her bedroom bell sharply to learn why her
orders had been disobeyed.
If you please, my lady, replied her maid in answer to her
mistress's questions, Bright did not go because we could not find Mrs.
Could not find my niece! And why not, pray? demanded her ladyship
She was not in her room, my lady, or anywhere about the Court; only
this note, directed to your ladyship, on her dressing-table.
Why didn't you say so to begin with, then? cried her mistress
testily. Open the window, that I may see what this means.
The note was short and painstakingly polite; but its perusal did not
seem to please Lady Diana, for she frowned and set her thin lips as she
re-read it. The missive ran as follows:
DEAR LADY MELTON,
I write to apologise for the somewhat unconventional manner in
which I am leaving your house; but as your plans for my
to-day did not accord with my own ideas of what is fitting, I
thought it best to leave thus early, and so avoid any
which might arise from conflicting arrangements. I wish you to
that I shall be with friends by this evening, so that you need
no anxiety about my position. Pray accept my thanks for your
hospitality, which I am sure my husband will much appreciate,
This communication her ladyship tore up into small fragments, and
then snapped out:
Is there anything more?
Yes, if you please, my lady, replied the maid; a note for you
from Mr. Allingford, left in his room.
Lady Melton took it as gingerly as if it were fresh from some
infected district, and, spreading it out on the bed before her, read it
with a contemptuous smile.
YOUR LADYSHIP, wrote the Consul, I have the honour to inform
that I am leaving at the earliest possible moment, not wishing
impose my company longer than is absolutely necessary where it
so evidently undesired. That there may be no burden of
between us, I beg you to accept a trunk belonging to me, which
arrive this morning, as compensation for my board and lodging.
Your Ladyship's Obedient Servant,
U.S. Consul, Christchurch, England.
P.S.I mail you to-day a deed of gift of the property in
question, legally attested, so that there may be no question
Insolence! gasped Lady Melton, when she comprehended the contents
of this astonishing communication. Then turning to her maid, she
If this person's trunk arrives here, have it sent back to him
instantly. And she fumed with rage at the thought.
How dare he suppose that I would for a moment accept a gratuity!
Indeed, so wrought up was she that it was with difficulty that she
controlled herself sufficiently to breakfast on the terrace. Moreover,
her interview with Bright, the butler, whom she encountered on her way
downstairs and who announced the arrival of her great-nephew and a
strange lady, was hardly soothing; for it forced her to believe that
that faithful servant, after years of probity, had at last strayed from
the temperate paths of virtue. Seeing him dishevelled and bewildered,
she had sternly rebuked him for his appearance, and from his disjointed
replies had only gathered that his astounding state was in some way due
to the Consul.
Has that insolent person's trunk arrived? she inquired; when, to
her astonishment, her old retainer, who had always observed in her
presence a respectful and highly deferential demeanour, actually
Bright! she said sternly.
Beg pardon, my lady, giggled Bright, his face still wreathed in
smiles; but the way you put it.
What have you done with this person's belongings? Have my orders
been carried out?
You mean in regard to thethe
Trunk. Yes, let it be put off the place immediately.
Please, your ladyship, he replied, with difficulty restraining his
laughter, it won't go.
Will not go?
No, my lady; it's been rampaging through the greenhouses, and is
now on the terrace, where it douched Anne most awful.
Leave me at once, Bright, and do not let me see you again till you
are in a more decent state, she commanded, and swept by him, ignoring
his protestations of innocence and respect.
She found Scarsdale awaiting her in the reception-room, and accorded
him a very frigid greeting, suggesting that they should have their
interview on the terrace, where he had left Mrs. Allingford safely
ensconced in an armchair, while he went to meet his great-aunt.
Her ladyship had been considerably ruffled both by her interview
with Bright and by the arrival of Scarsdale, towards whom, in the light
of recent events, she felt a strong resentment; and a vision of the
Consul's wife perched most indecorously on the shoulders of Hercules,
which she beheld as she emerged on the terrace, did not tend to calm
her already excited nerves. But before she could speak her eyes
followed the direction of the unknown lady's gaze, and she saw, for the
first time, her unwelcome visitor.
When you come suddenly face to face with an elephant seated amidst
the wreck of cherished Chippendale and ancestral Sèvres, it is not
calculated to increase your composure or equalise your temper; and Lady
Diana may be pardoned, as the vastness of the Consul's impudence dawned
upon her, for giving vent to expressions both of anger and amazement,
albeit her appearance produced no less of a disturbance in the breast
of him who sat amidst the ruins of the breakfast-table. The elephant
felt that in the presence of the Maharanee, for such he believed her to
be, his position was undignified. She was, without doubt, the wife of
the Damconsul, and, as such, should be paid all proper respect and
deference. He, therefore, bowed his head in submission, completing in
the process his work of destruction. Whereat Mrs. Allingford shrieked
and clung more closely to the protecting shoulders of Hercules.
Serious as the situation was, it was not without its humorous side,
and it took all Scarsdale's command of himself to control his face
sufficiently to address his relative with becoming respect.
Why, aunt, he said, I didn't know that you had gone in for pets!
Harold Stanley Malcolm St. Hubart Scarsdale, replied her
ladyshipshe prided herself on never forgetting a nameyou are one
of the most impudent and worthless young men that I have the honour to
count among my relatives; but you have been in India, and you ought to
know how to manage this monster.
I've seen enough of them, he answered. What do you want him to
Do! she cried wrathfully. I should think anybody would know that
I wished it to get up and go away.
Oh, said he, and made a remark in Hindustani to the elephant,
whereat the beast gradually and deliberately proceeded to rise from the
wreck of the breakfast, till he seemed to the spectators to be forty
feet high. Then, in response to Scarsdale's cries of Mail! mail! (Go
on) he turned himself about, and, after sending the teapot through the
nearest window with a disdainful kick of one hind leg, he lurched down
the steps of the terrace and on to the lawn, where he remained
contentedly standing, gently rocking to and fro, while he meditatively
removed from his person, by means of his trunk, the fragments of the
feast, with which he was liberally bespattered.
Scarsdale, seeing that his lordship was in an amicable frame of
mind, hastened to assist Mrs. Allingford to descend from her somewhat
St. Hubart, said Lady Melton, who, throughout this trying ordeal,
had lost none of her natural dignity, you have done me a service. I
shall not forget it.
Scarsdale thought it would be difficult to forget the elephant.
I will even forgive you, she continued, for marrying that
It was so good of you to receive my wife, he said. I trust you
are pleased with her.
I am not pleased at all, she said sharply. I consider her forward
and disrespectful, and I am glad she is gone.
Gone! he exclaimed.
You may well be surprised, said his great-aunt, but such is the
But where has she gone?
That I do not know; she left without consulting me, and against my
advice and wishes.
Did she go alone?
She went, replied her ladyship, with one of the most insolent
persons it has ever been my misfortune to meet. He is owner of that!
And she pointed to the elephant.
But who is he? demanded Scarsdale, not recognising, from her
description, his friend the Consul.
He disgraces, she continued, a public office given him by a
You are surely not talking about Allingford! he exclaimed.
That, I believe, is his name, replied Lady Melton.
What, my husband! cried the Consul's wife, who up to this point
had kept silence. You dare to call my husband a disgrace! Here
Mrs. Allingford became dumb with indignation.
If he is your husband, returned her ladyship, I am exceedingly
sorry for you. As for 'daring' to apply to him any epithet I please, I
consider myself fully justified in so doing after the indignity to
which he has condemned me. I am glad, however, to have met you, as I am
thus enabled to return you your husband's property, with the request
that you take your elephant and leave my grounds as quickly as
Do you mean to say that my husband owns that monster? gasped Mrs.
Such is the case, replied Lady Melton, and I leave it in your
hands. St. Hubart, I trust you will join me at breakfast as soon
as another can be prepared.
Excuse me, he said apologetically, but really, you know, I can't
leave Mrs. Allingford in the lurch. Besides, I must follow my wife.
His great-aunt faced round in a fury.
That is sufficient! she cried. Leave my presence at once! I never
desire to see either of you again.
Don't let us part as enemies, aunt, he said, offering her his
hand; but she swept past him into the house.
Scarsdale gloomily watched her depart, and then became conscious of
a hand laid on his arm.
I am so sorry! murmured Mrs. Allingford. I only seem to bring you
Oh, you mustn't feel badly about this, he said. We have
quarrelled ever since I was born. I'm much more worried about you.
What am I going to do with it? she exclaimed, looking hopelessly
at her husband's property as it stood rocking before her.
The first thing is to get it off the place, replied Scarsdale,
assuming a cheerfulness which he did not feel. We may find its keepers
at the lodge, and we can make our plans as we walk along.
Come on, Jehoshaphat, or whatever you may happen to be called! he
cried, addressing the elephant, and at the same time grasping the rope
bridle which still dangled from its neck; and the beast, recognising a
kindred spirit speaking to him in his native tongue, followed docilely
where he led.
I think, continued Scarsdale, as they trudged slowly across the
park, that our best course will be to take the elephant to
Christchurch. Indeed, we ought to have gone there in the first
What do you expect to gain by that? she asked quickly, ready in
this strange dilemma to catch at any straw which gave opportunity of
Why, your husband's consulate is situated there, and that is his
local habitation in this country, where he is certain to turn up sooner
or later, and where, if the laws of his consular service are anything
like ours, he would be obliged to report every few days.
You propose to go there and await his return?
Yes, he said. I don't see that we can do better. Ten to one your
husband and my wife will hear of our affair at Winchester, and may be
on their way there now to hunt us up; while if we attempted to follow
them, it is more than likely that they would return here. I, for one,
am about tired of chasing myself around the country; as a steady
occupation it is beginning to pall.
There is a group of men at the lodge, she said, as they drew near
the gates with the elephant in tow.
Then let us hope that there are some station people among them, and
that we can arrange for Jehoshaphat's transportation without loss of
time, replied Scarsdale.
His hope was, in the first instance, justified; for the
station-master at Salisbury, learning of the Consul's early departure
that morning, and beginning to doubt the wisdom of inflicting the
elephant on so important a personage as Lady Melton, had come up to the
Court himself to see how things were going, and had been horrified
beyond measure at the exaggerated reports of the lodgekeeper as to the
havoc the beast had created. He was therefore unfeignedly relieved at
Scarsdale's arrival; a relief, however, which instantly gave way to
stubborn opposition at the first hint of putting the animal again in
Elephants were not in his line, he pointed out, and he had no desire
to transport them about the country. Couldn't think of acting without
receiving advices from the main offices of the railway company in
London, an affair of several days; wouldn't assume charge of the
creature during the interval on any account; and shouldn't stir a step
in the matter till the wrecked van had been paid for.
This ended the affair, as far as Scarsdale was concerned. He had no
intention of paying damages for the Consul's elephant, but he wished to
deliver it and the Consul's wife at Christchurch as soon as possible.
If this could not be accomplished one way, it must be another. There
were plenty of horses and carriages to be had; indeed, the landau and
pair which had brought them from Salisbury was still at the gates. The
roads were good, the distance to Christchurch was not excessivesay
thirty milesand the elephant could walk. It merely remained to find a
leader or driver, and they could start at once on their journey across
All this he explained to his fair companion, and she readily
The only problem to be solved, then, is where to find a mahout, he
said in conclusion.
She threw him an inquiring glance; but he felt it was asking too
much, and said so.
If it were any other country, I'd ride the beast myself to oblige
you; but in England, and as a representative of one of the first
families of the county, I couldn't. The prejudices of the locality
would never recover from the shock, and I should not be able to show my
face in the streets of Salisbury. But perhaps we can find a substitute.
Is there any one here, he went on, addressing the little group of men,
who understands an elephant?
Tom, 'e knows the bloomin' beasts, said a member of the company;
and Tom, groom to her ladyship, and cockney every inch of him, was
pushed forward for inspection.
One glance at the trim form, concealed though it was by stable
costume, was sufficient to assure Scarsdale that he had found his man.
You have been a soldier, he said, and in India?
Yes, sir, replied the man, touching the peak of his cap in a
Do you think you could manage him? continued Scarsdale, indicating
the elephant, which, wearied with the morning's exertions, had knelt
down, and seemed on the point of taking a nap.
Do I think as 'ow I could manage 'im? I should 'ope so, if I ain't
fergot is 'eathen language, sir.
I'll give you eighteen pence a mile, said Scarsdale, quick to act
on the man's decision.
Make it two bob, sir, an' I'll ride 'im ter Inja.
That's too far, he replied, laughing; my pocket wouldn't stand
the strain; but I'll give you the price to Christchurch.
Right you are, replied the hostler, closing the bargain at once.
Me name's Tom Ropes. What d'yer call 'im, sir? pointing to his
I don't know what he was christened. I call him Jehoshaphat.
A Christian name fer a 'eathen brute, commented Tom. Give me a
leg up, one er yer.
Once astride the beast's neck, with Scarsdale's cane as an
improvised ankus, he poured out a flood of cockney-Indian jargon which
no Hindoo could ever have recognised as his native tongue, but which
evidently had a familiar sound to the elephant, who proceeded to rise,
first with his fore feet and then with his hind feet; after which his
novel mahout, who throughout these manoeuvres had retained a precarious
hold by one ear, hastened to seat himself more firmly upon him.
All right? queried Scarsdale, looking up; and on receiving an
answer in the affirmative, added: Keep your feet well under his ears,
and hit him on the head with your stick if he gets fractious. All you
need do is to follow our carriage. Trust to his judgment about bridges;
he knows what will hold him.
Arrangements, on a liberal scale, having been made for the use of
the conveyance which had brought them from the station, they were ready
to start in a very short space of time; Scarsdale stipulating that they
head towards Southampton, taking the least travelled roads, and in any
event giving Salisbury a wide berth. This was agreed to; and thereupon
commenced one of the most extraordinary progresses that had ever
stirred up a staid and conventional countryside: Scarsdale and Mrs.
Allingford leading off in the landau, since it was necessary to keep
the horse well in front of the elephant, and Tom and his charge
plodding on in their wake.
As they left the lodge behind them and came out into the open
country, the Consul's wife, turning to her companion in misfortune,
said, between tears and smiles:
What do you think is going to happen next?
CHAPTER XI. IN WHICH THERE ARE TWO
CLAIMANTS FOR ONE DINNER
The village clock was on the stroke of one when the little
procession drew up before the door of the principal inn in the main
square of a small town on the road between Salisbury and Southampton.
Scarsdale had been surprised to find how little excitement they had
created in their progress through the countryside; but then he had
chosen the most unfrequented roads, avoiding villages as he would a
pestilence. Man and beast must be fed somewhere, however, and,
according to Tom, the elephant was giving no uncertain signs that he
wanted his dinner. So, against his better judgment, Scarsdale had
turned aside into a neighbouring town, whence, after an hour's rest and
refreshment, he determined to push on that afternoon to a quiet inn he
knew of, near Fording Bridge, and thence to Christchurch the following
Both he and Mrs. Allingford had been as quiet as mice during the
last hour; indeed, the novel position in which they found themselves
inclined them rather to thought than conversation.
Their entrance into the town was effected more easily than could
have been hoped for; though, in some unknown manner, a rumour of their
coming seemed to have preceded them: for a crowd had collected along
the main street, which cheered them vociferously, under the mistaken
impression that they were the proprietors of a circus. No travelling
show that wound its course through those country lanes had ever
possessed such an attraction, and the people moved away after they had
passed, full of wonder at the appearance of this strange monster among
them, and regret that with such a beginning there was nothing more to
Once they had come to a halt, they were surrounded by a curious
crowd, and Scarsdale lost no time in entering into explanations with
the landlord of the inn, who came hurrying out to receive his novel
It was at this point that their troubles first began; for mine host,
while he professed to furnish entertainment for man and beast, was
dubious concerning the monster which it was proposed to quarter on him
so unexpectedly. The lady and gentleman, their coachman, horses, and
even the cockney mahout were more than welcome; but elephants were not
in his line of business. He didn't know if he could give satisfaction;
feared his accommodations were not sufficiently ample; would like to
oblige, but had the reputation of his house to maintain, &c., &c.
When Scarsdale happened, however, casually to mention that it was
Lady Melton's elephant a change came over the face of affairs, of which
he was not slow to take advantage.
Her ladyship was well known throughout the county, while her
reputation for severity had a still wider circulation, and the landlord
was in abject fear of her, though, nevertheless, obstinately determined
to have none of the beast.
The subject of all this altercation had meantime appropriated the
public horse-trough to his exclusive use for drinking and bathing
purposes, and was enjoying himself in consequence, which was more than
could be said of his rider, who shared unwillingly in his ablutions.
Give 'im the word to sit down, sir. S'welp me, I'll be drownded
with 'is tricks! cried Tom.
I don't speak his infernal language, returned Scarsdale testily;
that's your business.
I've told 'im all I know, sir, an' it's no use.
Then I'm afraid you'll have to stay up and get wet.
Couldn't yer 'elp me down, sir? Quit that, yer 'eathen! as he
dodged a shower of water.
Certainly not, replied Scarsdale. You can't leave him riderless
in a public place.
Then, turning to the landlord, who stood by in sore perplexity,
aimlessly rubbing his hands, he continued:
It's a beastly shame that a gentleman can't take a lady's elephant
out forexercise without running up against all this nonsense in the
first little hamlet he comes across! One would almost think you had
never seen an elephant before.
The landlord, whose eyes had up to this time been fairly bulging
with curiosity, now declared himself desolated at such an uncalled-for
Perhaps it would be better if the gentleman were to send for a
Mine host neglected to add that he had done so on his own
responsibility in his first burst of agitation.
But Scarsdale, noting the excellent effect which his rating had
produced on the landlord, determined that he should have some more of
If you are afraid, he said, of damaging your ramshackle old inn,
perhaps you'll consent to give my elephant his dinner in the square?
Mine host rolled up his eyes at this new phase of the question.
I suppose, continued Scarsdale, that the dignity of this
'tuppenny ha'penny' town won't be seriously impaired by his presence
for an hour in your elegant plaza!
The last portion of this speech was lost on the landlord, because he
did not know what a plaza was; but it sounded imposing, and he
hastened to assure his guest that the town would feel honoured by the
elephant's presence, though he would have to procure a permit from the
mayor. Should he show him the way to that functionary's house?
This, however, proved to be unnecessary, as the mayor himself was
present in the crowd, a pompous, fussy little man, full of the
importance of his office. Lady Melton's name, which he had heard
mentioned in connection with the affair, acted as a charm, and brought
him bustling forward to shake Scarsdale's hand, assure him that no
permit was required, and snub the innkeeper.
Anything I can do for a relation of her ladyship'sI think you
said a relation? he inquired.
Scarsdale had not said anything of the kind, but unwillingly
admitted that he was her nephew. Upon receiving this intelligence the
mayor positively beamed, called Scarsdale your lordship, and became
most solicitous after Lady Melton's health. Her nephew gravely assured
him that he might make his mind easy on that score, as his aunt was in
the best of health, and that as soon as he returned to Melton Court (a
most uncertain date, he thought grimly) he would be sure to convey to
her his kind inquiries.
His worship on this was positively effusive, declared himself
devoted to Scarsdale's interests, and insisted that he and her
ladyship, indicating Mrs. Allingfordanother slip which his companion
did not trouble to correctmust do him the honour of dining with Mrs.
Mayor and himself.
Scarsdale was now beginning to fear that he was doing it rather too
well, and hastened to excuse her ladyship and himself, declaring that
they could not think of trespassing on his worship's hospitality, and
that they would be quite comfortable at the inn, if only the elephant
might be permitted to have his dinner in the square.
The mayor declared that it was just what he most desired; but would
his lordship kindly indicate of what that meal must consist?
This was a poser; but Scarsdale plunged recklessly on, for, having
once entered the broad road of deception, there was no turning back,
and he was surprised himself at the facility with which he could
That is just the trouble of taking charge of other people's pets,
he said, with shameless indifference to the demands of truth. I'm sure
I don't know much more about the brute than you do; and as his mahout
was away when we started out, I had to take one of the grooms. What
does Jehoshaphat eat, Tom?
Hay, sirme lud, I mean, answered Tom, falling in with the humour
of the situation.
Oh! hay, of course, said Scarsdale.
How much, your lordship? queried the mayor.
How much? Confound it! how should I know? Do you take me for an
elephant trainer? A remark which nearly reduced his worship to chaos;
but Scarsdale, relenting, added:
Say five or six tonsI don't know.
But it is not easy, my lord, to procure such an amount at short
notice, expostulated the official.
Oh, then, get him a waggon-load or two as a first course, and we'll
find something else a little later.
It shall be procured at once. Iertrust your lordship will not
take it amiss, since you will not dine with me, if I offer you a glass
ofshall we say champagne?
With pleasure, said Scarsdale.
And her ladyship? looking towards the carriage.
Mrs. Allingford bowed, and the mayor whispered a few words in mine
Just at that moment, as Scarsdale was drawing his first easy breath,
feeling at last that things were going smoothly, the very worst
contretemps that could possibly happen occurred. Two dusty figures
shambled around the corner of a neighbouring street into the square,
and one of them in a high-pitched voice, that was distinctly heard by
every member of the crowd, exclaimed:
Hi, there! What are you doing with my elephant?
Scarsdale swung round to face the newcomers, a premonition of coming
evil strong upon him, though a careful inspection assured him that he
knew them not; yet conviction hang in every note of that challenge.
They were, in a word, the owner of elephants and the unregenerate
From early dawn they had made their way across country, in as
straight a line as possible from Winchester to Salisbury, sometimes on
foot and sometimes in such conveyances as they could hire from place to
place; but ever buoyed up by hopehope of finding that which was lost;
hope of restoring elephants to their rightful owners; hope of clearing
a brother's name. And here, unexpectedly, they had come upon the object
of their search in the hands of total strangers.
Who the devil are you? cried Scarsdale hotly, scenting danger, and
determined to face the worst at once. I don't know you.
I'm Richard Allingford, said the larger of the two men, pushing
forward till he faced the bewildered Englishman.
At this point Scarsdale, whose coolness alone could have saved the
situation, lost his head. His temper, which had been severely tried by
the vicissitudes of the day, gave way in the presence of the man whose
escapades had caused him such needless suffering and indignity, and,
regardless of results, he spoke his mind.
So you're Richard Allingford, are you? Then allow me to tell you
that you are the prettiest scoundrel that I've run across in a long
time! Curse you! Do you know I've spent two days, this week, in
Winchester jail on your account?
A broad grin broke over Richard's face.
I guess you must be Scarsdale, he said. But what in thunder are
you doing with my brother's elephant?
It's mine! arose the shrill voice of his companion. I tell you he
stole it from me!
This was too much for Mrs. Allingford, and, to make a bad matter
worse, she cried from the carriage:
The Consul did not steal the elephant! It is his property, and I'm
A voice from the crowd chimed in:
But 'e said it was 'er ladyship's helephant!
The mayor's face was a study in its various shades of
suspicionanger at being, as he very naturally supposed, duped; and
certainty of the duplicity of all concerned, as the contradictory
conversation continued. And there is no knowing how quickly he might
have precipitated the final catastrophe, if the elephant had not chosen
this opportunity for creating a diversion on his own account, which,
for the time being, distracted every one's thoughts. He had had, it
will be remembered, a very light breakfast, which only served to whet
the edge of his appetite. It therefore took him but a short time to
locate the whereabouts of a lad who, emerging from the inn with an
appetising dinner of bacon and greens arranged in a basket balanced on
his head, stood gaping on the outskirts of the crowd, unmindful of the
cooling viands. Some playful breeze must have wafted the savoury odour
of cabbage to the elephant's nostrils; for suddenly, and without
previous warning, flinging his trunk in the air with a joyous trumpet,
he pounded down the road, nearly unseating his rider, and scattering
the crowd to right and left.
Wait for me when you get to Christchurch! Scarsdale called to Tom
as the latter shot past him, and then joined in the rush which followed
close on the elephant's heels, the mayor and the landlord well to the
fore; while Mrs. Allingford's driver, who was only human, increased the
confusion by whipping up his horses and joining in the chase.
Ahead of the excited beast and the noisy throng which followed it,
holding on like grim death to his dinner-basket, fled the worse-scared
boy that had ever been seen in that town. Fortunately the chase was of
short duration, for the cubicle of the telegraph-clerk at the railway
station was just ahead, and offered a ready refuge. Into it flew the
lad, dinner and all, and slammed the door, just in time to escape from
the elephant's curling trunk.
The beast, despoiled of his meal, circled the building trumpeting
with rage, and finally took up a position across the rails, where he
stood guard, prepared to fall upon any one who should venture out.
All the station attendants and officials were now added to the crowd
which swarmed about the elephant, and the business of the town
practically came to a standstill.
The station-master only added to the excitement by declaring that a
train for Salisbury was due, and that the line must be cleared; while
the telegraph-clerk announced from an upper storey that wild horses,
let alone elephants, would not drag him forth from the shelter of his
office, and the blubbering of the unfortunate boy made a monotonous
accompaniment to his speech. The mayor blustered, the navvies swore,
Tom addressed floods of unintelligible jargon to the obstinate beast,
and, as a last resort, Scarsdale coaxed and wheedled him in very
defective Hindustani. But it was all useless; not an inch would the
elephant budge, and no one in all that assemblage was clever enough to
think of giving him the telegraph-clerk's dinner.
In the midst of this confusion, a shrill whistle was heard in the
distance, and some one with a clearer head than the rest cried out to
set the signals against the traina suggestion which was at once
acted upon, and in a moment more the engine drew up, panting, within a
dozen feet of the elephant, who was so intent on the contents of the
cubicle that he never noticed its arrival.
As a general thing, it is the American tourist who alights from a
train on no provocation, while his English cousin is content to sit
quiet, and leave the affairs of the line in the hands of the company.
In this case, however, some subtle sense of the unusual obstacle seemed
to have communicated itself to the passengers; for no sooner had the
engine halted than heads were thrust out of every window, and the
greatest excitement prevailed.
I don't know if Scarsdale and my wife are here, said Allingford,
who, in company with Carrington and Mrs. Scarsdale, occupied one of the
forward carriages, but there is her ladyship's elephant!
You're right, cried his fair companion, taking his place at the
window. Then, as she caught sight of Scarsdale, she exclaimed St.
Hubart! and pushing open the door, jumped out, and fled down the line.
By Jove! that's my wife! exclaimed the Consul, fleeing after her,
and upsetting a porter in his haste.
From a distance Carrington saw a confused mingling of four persons,
and sighed as he caught himself wondering if he would ever be fool
enough to do that sort of thing in public.
As he slowly approached them he heard scraps of their conversation.
By the way, Allingford, Scarsdale was saying, I brought you back
your elephant, which it seems you were careless enough, in the hurry of
departure, to leave behind you at Melton Court. I hope you are properly
Oh, it isn't mine, replied the Consul; it belongs to her
Well, she said it was yours, returned her nephew.
Ah, that was merely her excessive amiability, said Allingford.
It had not struck me in that light before, replied Scarsdale.
Anyway, I've brought it back to you, and a nice time I've had of it.
Did you pilot it all the way from Melton Court? queried the
I did, replied the Englishman, through the main streets of this
town; that is where my Indian training stood me in good stead; but it
has ruined my charactermost of the inhabitants look on me with
Was your holding up of our train intentional?
No, said Scarsdale regretfully, it wasn't. There are lots of
damages to pay, I assure you.
You must settle them with Lady Melton.
But what am I to do with the beast?
My dear fellow, returned the Consul, I've been your wife's
devoted slave for the last two days, and I have restored her safe and
sound to your arms, but I really can't undertake to manage your aunt's
elephants into the bargain.
But at least you might advise me.
Turn him over to Cassim.
Why, to his own mahout, the little brown man who is dancing round
him now. I discovered him tearing his hair at Southampton station,
where he was left by mistake yesterday, and brought him along.
Then for heaven's sake make him get his beast off the line! cried
Scarsdale, dragging Allingford up to the native keeper.
My lord desireth his mid-day meal, and the sahib of the watch-tower
hath it within, explained that functionary.
Tell his lordship that he'll have a great deal better dinner if he
will go back to the square, said Allingford.
Just what the mahout said to the elephant will never be known, but
it proved convincing: for, with a grunt of dissatisfaction, the beast
consented to retrace his steps.
And now that we have settled this little matter, said the Consul,
there is nothing left for us but to express our unbounded gratitude
towell, to the elephant for reuniting us all, and start once more on
our honeymoons; for which this train is mighty convenient.
I have a word to say about that, cried the mayor. I'm by no means
satisfied about the ownership of this elephant. I've been given to
understand that it belongs to Lady Melton. Is this so?
Yes, said the Consul and Mr. and Mrs. Scarsdale.
No, said Mrs. Allingford, Carrington, Tom, and the original owner,
in one and the same breath.
I say, Bob, did you steal it after all? queried the graceless
I took it in payment of a debt, replied his brother hotly.
Only twenty pounds! groaned the elephant man. It's as good as a
And I gave it to Lady Melton, continued the Consul, in payment
for my board and lodging.
And she gave it to me, said Mrs. Allingford.
I lost my lord at the place of docks, wailed the mahout.
'E 'ired me to ride hit, cried Tom, indicating Scarsdale.
And what right have you to it, sir? blustered the mayor, turning
to that gentleman.
I don't know, replied Scarsdale.
I consider this most unsatisfactory, continued his worship. I
think I may define the actions of those who have had a hand in this
affair asahem!contradictory and open to question. I shall telegraph
Lady Melton, and pending her reply I must detain you all as suspicious
* * * * *
So it came to pass that the nine, gathered together in the chief
parlour of the inn, with a constable on duty, awaited for some hours a
response to the mayor's telegram. It arrived finally, embodied in the
person of Aunt Eliza, who had gone to Melton Court that morning, and
was now fresh from an interview with the mayor, which had resulted in
the freedom of all concerned.
The old lady looked the couples over through her eye-glasses, and
gave vent to an expressive Humph!
To her niece alone did she deign to express herself more fully, nor
did she scruple to mince her words.
Well, Mabel, she remarked, you ought to be ashamed of yourself. I
gave you a first-class recommendation only two days ago, as being well
fitted to plan and carry out a honeymoon, and look what a mess you've
made of it! Where did you come from last?
From Winchester, replied her niece, where I was looking for my
husband, who had been arrested for impersonating Mr. Allingford's
brother, and she pointed to Dick, who joined the group on hearing his
What business have you to be holding a public office, with a
brother like that? Miss Cogbill demanded sternly of the Consul; but
noting his evident discomfiture, she had the grace to add:
You're by no means a fool, however, barring your habit of losing
things. That deed of gift you presented to Lady Melton was a clever
stroke of business, and has helped you all out of a bad hole.
Have you seen her ladyship? What did she say? cried the Consul.
She said a good deal, replied Aunt Eliza. Naturally she was
pretty mad, for the beast had done a heap of damage, but she was bound
to admit you weren't to blame for its getting loose, and, as I pointed
out to her, you had a right to pay for your board and lodging if you
chose, though, from the looks of her ramshackle old place, I thought
you'd given more than the accommodation was worth. Besides which there
were grievances and plenty on your side of the question. By her own
showing she hadn't been decently civil to you, and had turned over that
monster to your deserted and defenceless wife, and cast my nephew
adrift, and tried to send my niece home with the butler. Her ladyship
saw the justice of my remarks. She means well, but her training's
against her. When I came to the elephant, though, I struck a snag, for
she gave me to understand that she'd turned it off the place and never
wanted to hear of it again. 'Now, your ladyship,' says I, 'turning an
elephant adrift in the world isn't like casting your bread upon the
waters; you're bound to find it before many days.' And I hadn't more
than got the words out of my mouth when in came that telegram from the
mayor, saying that traffic was blocked on the railway in both
directions, and nine people arrested, all along of that beast. Her
ladyship's lawyer, continued Aunt Eliza, indicating a gentleman of
unmistakably legal appearance who had followed her into the room,
backed me up by pointing out that the deed of gift was good, and the
elephant her property, and that she'd be obliged to pay for any damage
it might do; after which she climbed down from her ancestral tree quick
enough, and was willing to listen to reason. So here I am, and here is
the lawyer; and now, if you please, we will attend to business.
This she proceeded to do, and in an amazingly short space of time,
with the authority of the lawyer, had settled the scruples of the
mayor; received a release of indebtedness from the Consul, who
willingly surrendered his papers, declaring that he had had more than
twenty pounds' worth of fun out of the elephant; and transferred the
documents to the lawyer, with instructions to sell the beast to the
original consignees at Southampton, and to remit the purchase-money to
the elephant man, less the twenty pounds for damages, which, she added,
Just cancels his debt to the Consul, making him square on the
The lawyer patted his hands, saying:
Very well argued, Miss Cogbill.
Lady Melton, said Aunt Eliza, turning to Mr. and Mrs. Scarsdale
and Mr. and Mrs. Allingford, has authorised me to say, on her behalf,
that she overlooks and regrets the events of the last few days, and
wishes them to be forgotten. In token of which she requests you four to
dine with her, and spend the night at Melton Court; and I may add that
you'll be fools if you don't accept. After which dissent was
And I want to tell you, said Miss Cogbill, turning to Carrington,
that you've managed this affair very well; and as I'm in want of a
likely young man as my business agent, if you call on me to-morrow in
town, we'll see if we can't find something more profitable for you to
do than hunting up stray honeymooners.
Say! interjected the graceless Richard, who was far from pleased
at the turn affairs had takenSay, where do I come in?
Young man, said Aunt Eliza, turning on him like a flash, did you
buy a return ticket to America?
Well, then, she interrupted, you use it, the first chance you
get. And as for you, addressing the two married couples, the sooner
you start for Melton Court the better; and don't let me hear of your
being lost again.
Aren't you coming with us, Miss Cogbill? asked Scarsdale.
The lawyer and I, replied that lady, are the only two responsible
persons in this crowd, and we'll stay right here and look afterHer
A LITTLE LIST OF DELIGHTFUL BOOKS TO READ BY
Sir G. Parker, M.P.
H. G. Wells
E. F. Benson
H. de Vere Stacpoole
R. L. Stevenson
Richard Harding Davis
D. D. Wells
Baroness von Hutten
Florence C. Price
Mrs. Henry Dudeney
Justin Huntly McCarthy
Flora Annie Steel
Mrs. Hodgson Burnett
E. L. Voynich
On all Bookstalls and of all Booksellers
LONDON WILLIAM HEINEMANN MCMXII
HEINEMANN'S 1s NET NOVELS
By ELEANOR HALLOWEL ABBOTT
A New Novel
Was that boy a fool? Or did he behave a trifle imprudently in trying
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By Sir GILBERT PARKER
Author of The Ladder of Swords, etc.
Sir Gilbert Parker is one of our finest romance writers of the
present day. This is a story of Egyptfull of rich colour, brilliant
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the indefinable sense of immortality that belongs to the land of the
By H. DE VERE STACPOOLE
Author of The Blue Lagoon, etc.
Written with that verve and wonderfully infectious humour
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* * * * *
By BARONESS VON HUTTEN
Pam is a classic before her time so to speak. People are compared
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WHAT BECAME OF PAM
Whether we have or have not read 'Pam,' we shall certainly find
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Crowded with thrilling incident the narrative races along. The book
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By FRANK DANBY
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This brilliant caustic writer here gives one of her vividest
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THE COUNTRY HOUSE
By JOHN GALSWORTHY
Author of A Man of Property, etc.
This problem of the country family, the county family, is such that
it concerns every one of us vitally. What they had to solve we have to
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LORD KENTWELL'S LOVE AFFAIR
By FLORENCE C. PRICE
A good story of London society and of political society. Lord
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besides a background of big happenings very cleverly drawn.
THE SEA WOLF
By JACK LONDON
Author of The Call of the Wild.
A gruesome, thrilling story of the sea. Mr. London brings always the
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THE NIGGER OF THE NARCISSUS
By JOSEPH CONRAD
Author of Typhoon, etc.
Mr. Conrad is a writer to whom the public instinctively turn
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THE MAGNETIC NORTH
By ELIZABETH ROBINS
Author of Come and Find Me, etc.
A story of the ever-calling North.
It is all so excellently written, so vividly realised, so
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be attracted. WESTMINSTER GAZETTE.
TWO NOVELS by E. F. BENSON
Author of Sheaves, etc. etc.
THE BLOTTING BOOK
A murder story, most ingeniously worked out. Mr. Benson carries the
reader along full speed to a truly dramatic ending.
THE BABE B.A.
A very differed story from the Blotting Book. It is a light,
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already ranks with Verdant Green among University classics.
By Mrs. HENRY DUDENEY
THE MATERNITY OF HARRIET WICKEN
A picture in low tones, but of whole-hearted conviction and quiet
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THE ORCHARD THIEF
A charming country tale with, in particular, one great scene of
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THE TIME MACHINE
By H. G. WELLS
Author of The War of the Worlds, Kips, etc.
You pull certain levers, having seated yourself in the saddle, and
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This clever idea has given Mr. Wells opportunity for full play of his
IF I WERE KING
By JUSTIN HUNTLY MCCARTHY
A mediaeval romance of love and chivalry in which the poet Francois
Villon plays the leading part. It has drama, this story, and it seizes
MARCIA IN GERMANY
By SYBIL SPOTTISWOODE
Author of Hedwig in England, etc.
Marcia is a bright, pleasant English girl, who goes to stay with her
German relations. As others before she finds it difficult to grasp a
different point of view, a different civilisation. The result is
amusingly set forth by this author, whose dialogue is always good.
GODFREY MARTIN: School Boy
By CHARLES TURLEY
One of the very best of boys' books. It is one of the rarest of all
rare thingsa thoroughly sensible school story. The boys are human,
neither saints nor super-sinners, and the masters for once behave in a
totally reasonable way. And that doesn't prevent it being a rattling
THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE
By STEPHEN CRANE
Author of The Open Boat, etc.
The thunders of war, the life of regiments, the soul of humanity in
stress and dangers, its qualities and shortcomings are all written on
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Simply unapproached in intimate knowledge and sustained imaginative
The STREET of ADVENTURE
By PHILIP GIBBS
The Street is Fleet Street of course, for in what other are so
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HEINEMANN'S 2s NET NOVELS
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Mrs. Hodgson Burnett's new book alongside the best work of George
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A remarkable novel, for it is written with a sincerity and glow and
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Mrs. Burnett has the gift of a narrator to a high degree, and in
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A novel of the highest rank.DAILY GRAPHIC.
Mrs. Burnett is a past-master in drawing her own countrywomen, and
Betty is a dazzling vision of youthful charm combined with
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The story is rich and spacious; it illustrates human nature, both
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By ROBERT HICHENS
Author of The Londoners, Flames, An Imaginative Man, etc.
This is the excellent novel on which the excellent play of the same
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passion in the desert, full of the strange sinister fatalism of Eastern
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AND ST. JAMES'S GAZETTE.
It is particularly interesting; its characters are drawn with
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unmasking of the hidden springs of selfish desire.THE GLOBE.
THE BOOK OF A BACHELOR
By DUNCAN SCHWANN
Author of The Magic of the Hill
Mr. Duncan Schwann has recently been acclaimed as one of the four
great humourists in England at the present time. This Book of a
Bachelor is delightful reading of a light kind, but it carries weight
also, for Mr. Schwann has picked out the little feeblenesses and
frailty of this world as a background to his airy frivolity.
A picturesque romance of modern life is this story by Duncan
Schwann.... There is, indeed, a good deal of cleverness in the
... Is decidedly entertaining. Mr. Schwann is an admirable
journalist who has already given proof of his power, but he has done
nothing so good as this ... which is intelligent, humorous, and on the
side of the angels.BRITISH WEEKLY.
There is knowledge of the world and some mild philosophy to be
found in this pleasant romance of modern life.GLOBE.
A SHIP OF SOLACE
By ELEANOR MORDAUNT
Author of The Garden of Contentment
The Garden of Contentment, those charming letters to Mr. Nobody,
has never ceased to sell from the moment it was published. The same may
be said of A Ship of Solace, which is filled with the breath of the
sea, and the pleasing state of mind of complete idleness. It is a book
for quiet hours, to which one can turn with pleasurable anticipation of
repose and refreshment.
Readers who like the scent of real sea air will revel in this truly
delightful book.DAILY TELEGRAPH.
THE GIFT OF THE GODS
By FLORA ANNIE STEEL
Author of On the Face of the Waters, The Potter's Thumb, From
the Five Rivers, etc. etc.
She has that gift, rare now among novelists, of being interested,
first of all, in the story she has to tell. She is herself so strongly
interested that her readers are carried along with her and share in her
vitality and freshness.STANDARD.
Mrs. Steel gives us one admirably dramatic scene,the death of an
old woman from shock at a sudden disillusion while on her way to the
Communion Table.... The squalid and starveling lot of crofters living
on barren soil in or towards the last decade of the 19th century is
THE NOVELS OF
E. F. BENSON
Uniform Edition. Crown 8vo. With coloured
Frontispiece and Wrapper. Each vol. 2s net
* * * * *
The readers of Mr. Benson's book will delight in this story. It is
full of interest and cleverness.Pall Mall Gazette.
We would recommend this to our readers. It has vivid characters
staged cleverly and a subtle charm which make the work thoroughly
Bright, witty dialogues and gay fascinating scenes. Full of
humorous sayings and witty things.Daily Telegraph.
THE LUCK OF THE VAILS
This is a really thrilling and exciting tale of crime and mystery.
It is readable all through and full of entertainment.Times.
SCARLET AND HYSSOP
Must be accounted a really brilliant piece of work, unsurpassed by
anything Mr Benson has given us.Pall Mall Gazette.
THE BOOK OF MONTHS &A REAPING
The Bock of Months' is full of charmreal, persuasive, penetrating
charmthere rings the sincerity of real feeling and purpose.
'The Challoners' must be pronounced not only the best book he has
given us but one of the best novels.Daily Mail.
THE ANGEL OF PAIN
An admirably constructed story, brilliant character sketches,
flashes of good talka remarkably clever book.Guardian.
THE IMAGE OF THE SAND
Even the sceptic must admit the grim power of the book.
Mr. Benson at his gayest and best. Nothing could be more natural or
more amusing than most of the dialoguefull of admirable portraiture
and an abundance both of humour and humanity.Outlook.
Brilliant, clever, full of wise observations and sage counsels.
His story is written with striking effect, and the author's
wonderful power of observation is to be found in almost every page.
Delightful in its literary brightness and charm, it is also full of
exquisite and appealing humanity ... a fine achievement.Liverpool
This is an admirably written study of English modern life. Lovers
of Mr. Benson's work will be charmed with his latest novel.T.P.'s
As human and sincere as anything in 'Sheaves' or the 'Challoners.'
A charming story.Observer.
HEINEMANN'S 7d NET NOVELS
By HALL CAINE
Mr. Hall Caine has in this work placed himself beyond the front
rank of the novelists of the day. He has produced a story which is
distinctly ahead of all the fictional literature of our time, and fit
to rank with the most powerful fictional writing of the past
By HALL CAINE
There are passages in 'The Scapegoat' which entitle Mr. Hall Caine
to a high place amongst contemporary writers of fiction.DAILY
By R. L. STEVENSON (In conjunction with LLOYD-OSBOURNE)
The master storyteller is apparent to the reader of this book. It
is full of freshness, incident and character. It is a splendid
THE CALL OF THE WILD
By JACK LONDON
It is impossible not to recognise the skill with which Mr. London
follows out point by point the training of a sledge dog. 'The Call of
the Wild' is a very remarkable book.DAILY TELEGRAPH.
THE WAR OF THE WORLDS
By H. G. WELLS
Original and ingenious romance which attests strongly the variety
and fertility of Mr. Wells' imagination.DAILY CHRONICLE.
By ROBERT HICHENS
The picturesque charm of Mr. Hichens' style and his indisputable
command of the weird and mysterious will hold attention fixed from the
first chapter of this powerful story to the last.GRAPHIC.
By E. L. VOYNICH
It is more interesting and rich in promise than ninety-nine out of
every hundred novels that pass through the reviewer's hand.ACADEMY.
SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE
By RICHARD HARDING DAVIS
Mr. Davis has the dramatic gifthe carries you along with him. One
need not wish for a better story of action than this.ACADEMY.
THE LAST SENTENCE
By MAXWELL GRAY
Any reader who wants an absorbing story, full of cleverness and
excitement, should read this book.DAILY NEWS.
HER LADYSHIP'S ELEPHANT
By D. D. WELLS
It is an admirable piece of humour with not a dull page in it from
beginning to end.ATHENÆUM.
* * * * *
London: WILLIAM HEINEMANN, 21 Bedford St., W.C.