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Fyleses as typical of all English life, it is occurrence savors of Aippancy and a gento be understood that these differences did eral lack of solidity in those concerned. not affect their calling-list or their pew in in common with every one I wish this the parish church or decrease the amount story were about something else. Butthey were expected to subscribe to local When her first husband, Major charities. A specimen of their days was Topham-Hampton, died, I shall call something like this:

him Topham for euphony,- Mrs. TopColonel Fyles would breakfast on ba- ham had behaved as a widow should. And con and eggs at nine; would smoke his when the year of her mourning had expipe and read “The Times." He would pired, she had her black things put away then write a letter to “The Times" in in the camphor-chest and went to Bath. opposition to some suggested change in a It was at Bath that she had met Topham, public institution, and for two hours which formed a habit. Bath, although it would exercise his horse. Lunch and a suffers from comparison with itself in the nap would occupy him until three-thirty, days of Beau Nash, and from the modern and visitors and tea would occupy him taste for foreign watering-places, still until six, unless he motored to tea else- continues a resort for people of a certain where with Alice. He would then dress conservatism. And it is not surprising for dinner,- it is a pity I must explain to that there she met Colonel Fyles. Topyou that this meant for him a dinner- ham, too, had been a public-school man, of jacket and for her a full décolletée,-and course, – the paste of his adolescence had after that noiseless function, during which been dried in the same Etonic matrix, -they would confirm to each other what he had served in India, and he wrote his they had said at dinner the night before, objections to "The Times" on a breakfast he would play chess with Alice until she of eggs and bacon. It did not startle was defeated or he felt inclined to yawn. Alice, then, that at the same spot among You may ask what Alice was doing all the ruins of the Roman tepidarium under day. She was doing the things which I the concert hall Fyles should briefly say previously said she could do.

the same thing that Topham briefly had If this seems a quiet life, it must be said. The affair with Fyles passed along remembered that Colonel Fyles had seen with the same restraint as had the affair years of service in India. He had retired with Topham; and in a few months Coloonly after the Boer War, during which at nel Fyles had fitted into the same duties one time he had commanded three regi- under the same roof that had sheltered ments of infantry in a rather important Topham with a calm that could be apengagement that would have resulted in proached by no people on earth other than the utter rout of the enemy had the enemy those on this island. Perhaps you begin been up to public-school form or had it to appreciate, if never before, what it is acted with any sense of tradition, as Colo- to live in order and peace and propriety nel Fyles afterward explained in the Boer in the most finished civilization in the camp. But unfortunately the enemy con- world, where everything is standardized sisted of men of no class and of no breed- and where, if anything is lost, you can ing; in fact, foreigners. Such men exactly duplicate it with little delay. In Colonel Fyles are absolutely fearless, and fact, nothing happened that would affect will stand up to be shot at by anything but the outward composure of a well-trained ridicule or the accusation of seeming in butler until three years after this marriage, bad form. If there ever comes a war in when one evening Colonel Fyles tripped which all the combatants are

on the carpet at the half-landing of the Colonel Fyles, no one will be left alive on main staircase, and, being already vexed at either side, and the war will have to be having left his cigarette-case up-stairs, fought over again by a lot of cowards. swore. It was a mild oath, and there was

It seems regrettable that, after her sec- every justification for it, the carpet being ond marriage, what is so out of place as totally in the wrong. Colonel Fyles the supernatural should have introduced would have thought no more about it had itself at Glaston Angle, which Alice in- he not looked up and seen his wife's first herited early in life. The supernatural husband, the late Major Topham, gazing belongs in the Scriptures; elsewhere its at him from the head of the stairs.

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I put it to you as suddenly as it was put And surely the wife of their boson to Colonel Fyles. I can't stop to argue be on both their sides. Major T the point of probability. If you don't be- also had lived three years in this lieve in the reimbodiment of spirits, you many

of his Indian trophies as c are one who requires the evidence of his onel Fyles caught your hair or feet own senses, and you probably have no house. The situation was more tha faith in anything, which is worse than cate, even if there were to be con being a nonconformist. Colonel Fyles only the feelings of their wife. had never seen Major Topham or even If you have lived all your life any portrait of Major Topham. Alice roundings which obey fixed law had plenty of storage-room and a reason- where, within reasonable bounds. able amount of tact. But the colonel happens but the expected, and not knew at once that this was the major, expected which has not been inviti The apparition was so obviously a Briton, can understand the very great pa a public-school man, a soldier, a chess- responsibility there is in facing a si player, and a letter-writer. There the absolutely new and unheard of. major stood, as a man at the head of his

you are a compatriot of mine, if y own stairs, so slim, so iron-gray, so retired in God's own country, where your on half-pay, and so with an air of taking of being smashed up in a train, buy the presence of another retired officer for in a hotel, murdered in the stre granted, that Colonel Fyles could not in otherwise violently assisted alon good form but take the major for granted. destiny are statistically between And since they never had been introduced and twenty times as great as they to each other, Colonel Fyles, by virtue of England, then you are born inured his rank, passed up the remaining stairs, den emergencies, and I don't supp bowed to the major, who bowed in re- can understand the plight of a m turn, and then the colonel went to his Colonel Fyles, faced by perhaps t room, while the major went down-stairs, emotional situation which by no each with a calm you can imagine only of means can be reduced to poun if you have very little imagination.

ling. But not a mental calm. When I think He quietly descended the sta of what the colonel thought and what he looked through the crack of the d thought a public-school man ought to room door. Major Topham ar think and most of all of what he thought wife sat bowed and motionless c other people might think, I am not sure chess-board-the carved chessmen but that I am writing a novel. Major himself had brought from Benga Topham's presence was so irregular, so two sat motionless, staring at the uncustomary, so unprearranged,- these Alice with her pale-blue eyes and are very strong English words,--and yet, ful blankness of expression, untou so perfectly within propriety. For what suspicion that it was Topham, earlier thing should a late husband do

Fyles, who sat across from herthan call upon his wife after having should she suspect? Fyles bitter changed his damp clothes ? Colonel Fyles himself. Was not Topham all found the damp clothes in his own dress- Fyles, was? Iron-gray hair, publi ing-room, or in what he had been led by half-pay, objection to any alter the marriage-service to believe was his own existing institutions -- they were dressing-room, and the colonel's spare eve- patently there. Fyles had left hi ning suit had gone down-stairs to the bad order; he had been thinking drawing-room, where Alice was bending cigarette-case. "Rather a muddle over an unfinished game of chess. For smiled to himself, to counterbala several moments Colonel Fyles did what smile that might ever be smiled his adolescent training had taught him was He saw Topham reach for a cig certain to be good form in matters of men- the empty silver box without tu tal strain, which was nothing.

eye to it, saw his fingers huntin You must admit that the situation was within the box as accurately as if delicate. The law was on both their done this every night for the sides. Good form was on both their sides, years instead of moldering in

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Fyles would not have believed his senses things subtly are and subtly are not what had he not known that Topham was a they are called or seem on this island, public-school man and above the pretense whence foreigners have worked out of having returned from the grave when phrase, “British hypocrisy," a jealous he had not. Presently Topham leaned back. term for that good form which all other

“Rather a muddle,” Topham smiled. peoples have something too bourgeois in Fyles could see Alice's eyes examine Top their nature successfully to imitate. If ham, still without inquiry or doubt. She you have a taste for these distinctions,

conanswered as a good wife always does, sym- sider the word "England." It is spelled pathetically, even if a little tired: “Yes, "Eng”-land, it is pronounced "Ing"-land, dear." Fyles walked out of the house, and it means “Angle"-land. To rememand they did not hear him.

ber this will help you to understand many Fyles paced up and down the grass, and English equations; and if you are ascended meditated some ten or twelve pages of this from the Mayflower, it may help you to print. Through the curtains he saw their understand yourself. game go on until Topham said “Check" Colonel Fyles locked himself in and and Alice acknowledged "Checkmate." went to sleep on a lounge, hoping that Then, in the hall, he saw Topham shake somehow in the morning Topham, or the hands with their wife, saw her pick up her illusion, or whatever it is, would have blue skirts and mount the stairs, her long vanished. He slept less well than usual; train picturesquely dragging behind her: if he had been an overwrought American that was the way Alice always parted he would not have slept at all. In the from her husbands at this hour. A light morning he looked over the balusters and came from her window; then presently a heard the swish of Alice's gown, heard her light from Fyles's own window, or Top- greeting to Topham, accompanied by ham's window, or whichever window you nothing less than a kiss, -surely a legitithink it rightly was. The butler locked up mate one,--and then heard their descent for the night, leaving Alice's second hus- to the breakfast-room. Colonel Fyles band out on the damp grass. Men of less made a dash, half-dressed, to the husdelicacy would have thrown a pebble at band's room, to get into his riding-togs. Alice's window in their anxiety for a They were gone. Topham had them on. word with her as to the future; and I sup- Fyles sat on the bed and perspired until pose it will be impossible to prevent this the up-stairs maid begged his pardon, exstory falling into hands which would have plaining that she had thought she had seen heaved a brick at the Topham window, if him go down-stairs. He hurriedly dressed such a thing as a loose brick could have for town; the servants must not know. been found in those three hundred-odd He stole out when no one saw him, went acres. But Colonel Fyles was a public- to the station on foot, and ate his breakschool man, and for some time he did fast at his club in Piccadilly at eleven nothing. Then he went around to see if o'clock. the dogs would recognize him, a step in- Major Topham ate his bacon and eggs, volving no constraint upon the feelings of or their bacon and eggs; in fact, the finana delicate woman.

The dogs did recog- cial situation was such that the eggs and nize him, though I do not know for what. bacon really belonged to Alice. He They barked so that the butler opened a smoked a pipe, read “The Times," and door through which the colonel strolled wrote a letter protesting against any rein as if he did not know that Topham now duction in the defenses of the empire. He was sound asleep in the Topham-Fyles lunched, napped, teaed, entertained the chamber.

canon and his lady with as much lucidity Colonel Fyles paced the carpet in a as avoids seeming to wish to appear clever ; room on the top floor in the wing farthest and if there was the slightest sense of from the servants' quarters. On no ac- altered fact in the mind of Alice, be sure count must the servants ever know; that she was too well bred to betray it. Then is, must they ever know in such a way Topham did a thing which you may think that they would seem officially to know. lies on debatable ground: he answered to There is in this a most important distinc- the name of Fyles. tion that runs all through English life: "Fyles," said the canon, standing in his

came.

was

Christian gaiters and canonical outdoor Colonel Fyles had the English faculty, head-gear, “times have changed since you which Americans well might cultivate, of and I were boys." The canon was think- being unembarrassed by his own silence, ing of religion, as he often did.

He stood seeking the reply which might “Yes," said Topham, thinking of the go down to history as a true, restrained, army. “It 's a great pity-a great pity. and accurate expression of an officer, a It 's these confounded foreigners."

gentleman, and a public-school man in a “I 'm afraid it is, Fyles,” the canon re- painful dilemma. At last his answer plied, thinking of the English estates bought up by flying monasteries since the “Yes, dear," he said. And he went up end of the French Concordat.

So they

and looked out of the attic window, parted in full agreement. Major Top

Major Top- through the curtain, at Topham galloping ham, of course, had answered to the name home in their riding-boots. Fyles heard of Fyles in order to avoiding explaining in her speak to Topham. the presence of a canon's wife.

“You are early, dear,” she said. Fyles But there was something on the mind saw the major look at her and guess that of Alice. For all institutions have human she under some stress which called imperfections, and it is not yet possible for for some right answer. “Yes, dear," he British form, tradition, and education, presently said. He went up-stairs to put which are three words for the same thing, on their afternoon suit. to produce two men so precisely alike that But even in the best society there is a the fine intuition of a gentlewoman can- limit to human endurance, and this limit not detect a difference. All that night came to Colonel Fyles at three minutes to Alice wondered, when she was not asleep, ten that evening when, not having eaten whether the servants had discovered any- for fourteen hours, he descended from the thing and whether she would be com- attic to Topham's room, put on their pelled to get in an entire new lot.

spare evening clothes, and marched down Now, although the colonel had broken another flight to the drawing-room. If his habit by going to town on Wednesday Major Topham's color had been a trifle instead of Thursday, which was extremely heightened by his resumption of morning distasteful, his habit of going the round of rides, Colonel Fyles's color had declined his tenants on Friday morning and of giv- enough to match it. Fyles's face was not ing them the best military advice on agri- exactly white: it was the shade of a shirt culture, he could not break, or perhaps that had been washed in London. This is would not, from his sense of duty. He where my story really begins; and you automatically took the train down into may be sure, as you see Colonel Fyles Sussex early Friday morning, and against steadily marching down the broad stairall that might happen to shock Alice and case, that the end is approaching. astound the servants, he walked straight Observe him more closely for a moment to Glaston Angle. He was rather sur- - his immobile countenance; his excellent, prised at himself; but no one seemed sur- square jaw and unobtrusive cranium; his prised to see him. Alice was in the hair, with its look of retirement on halfgarden. She had on a tweed skirt which

pay; his erect carriage, which spoke of a reached to various distances from the man of fifty-five in a physical condition ground, and she was busy with a trowel, you won't be able to match at forty unless undoing what the gardener had done the you change your mode of life. If you are day before. Fyles walked over to the an average quick-luncher, he could have stable. His cob was gone. Topham was punched your head-punched it, without off visiting the tenantry. At any moment losing his wind or his temper, to a nicety he might return, or the stable-boy, seeing suiting whatever mockery with which you Fyles, might come and dumbly wonder might have treated this solemn occasion. where the cob was. Fyles caught Alice And, after all, without reference to any glancing at him. Her eyes fell, and he

Her eyes fell, and he particular head, perhaps that is the thing believed her color rose.

most worth being able to do in all the "You are early, dear,” she said to the world at fifty-five. So Major Topham worm she had just bisected with her could have. And if you are still disintrowel.

clined to view Colonel Fyles seriously, which I hope is not the case, and if you down near it, as if on guard until the are an average American, then let me tell scene was over through which she knew you that in all his life he had accepted less she had to pass. They watched her with insolence, less personal indignity, and less such intentness that -- please read carecivic wrong than you put up with in a fully—they forgot to note which of the week of crowded travel in your daily chairs they then chose for themselves. One trolley-car. So had Major Topham. of them took the Hepplewhite occasional

When you have recovered from this, do chair, and one of them took the Chippennot imagine that Colonel Fyles paused an dale occasional chair, and both seated instant at the threshold, where the salmon themselves to show how well in control Turkish rug stretched to receive his foot- their emotions were.

But which was fall. He strode to the middle of it. Alice which -- which of them took the Heppleand the major were bent over their chess- white and which the Chippendale I do not board. The butler was in the act of set- know. For convenience I attach some of ting down a tray of whisky and soda-water the subsequent speeches to Fyles and others close at hand. The butler let down the to Topham, but I cannot vouch for which tray with a jingle that gave the true note was actually the speech of either one. of sound to the note of astonishment that After an appropriate silence, during which tore his long-trained face. Alice rose to I wish to say that Alice had slightly proher feet. Major Topham of course must tuberant teeth, her nurse having neglected when a lady did. There was a pause of to keep Alice's mouth closed when not five heart-beats.

engaged in its proper offices—and that Then the butler's face swallowed the Alice's feet were capable of supporting her gleam of his intelligence, and he retired without discomfort on a plowed fieldwithout breaking anything and in the most after a silence which would have caused faultless form. There was

a longer any three underbred people to burst to silence until the three heard the door close atoms, Fyles said that which he had come that led from the dining-room across the down-stairs to say. He looked at Major wide hall to the pantry beyond. Her hus- Topham, who looked back at him as if bands turned to their wife. She gasped Fyles was looking in a mirror, and then what any well-bred woman would. Fyles turned his gaze steadily upon Alice,

“Before the servants !” she said, accus- whose face showed unmistakable suffering ing Fyles. She turned away to hide her now, as if she could not forget the butler. feelings from the men and thus to throw And Fyles came out with it: them into confusion.

“There are more than two of us in this Here followed a silence so long that I room!" could give you the impression of it only by I think it was Fyles who said this, beseveral paragraphs of irrelevant matter. cause it sounds so much like Topham. If you like, picture Major Topham mean- Anyway, it was an accusation to their while, his face betraying no emotion, his wife. It was good, blunt English, withstrong jaw and retreating brow; his iron- out irony or indirection - English such as gray hair, with its look of half-retirement; Richard Cour de Lion might have used his soldierly bearing, which spoke of a on the battle-field, or brave Anne Boleyn physical life never relinquished since the in her boudoir. Alice could make no playing-fields of Eton. And be careful to denial either as a good wife or with regard distinguish him from my portrait of Col

to fact.

And yet how fat the accusation onel Fyles, for now both their faces were fell to a woman who could wave two marquite pink.

riage-certificates, both from the EstabThen occurred something which never lished Church! But she did not grow can be cleared up. Alice suddenly went vulgarly superb. She only bowed her and flung open the drawing-room door, head to the suffering which she felt it is and her husbands for a moment wilted as a woman's duty to discover. one man- at what this might forbode for “I have suspected this,” she began to both of them. But she wished only to be quiver. She turned away from them for certain that the butler had not come back the purpose hereinbefore described. What and found something to do in the hall. brought her back was the assertion made Her husbands watched her close it and sit by her other husband.

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