Puslapio vaizdai
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

“Leave it alone; don't trouble: it won't in its principal character, and the luxury
last long. And then, still keeping quiet, of contempt in its dialogues on the all-
quiet, you 'll be carted— you know where; sufficiency of virtue. "Pa-ta— tra! and
and dust will be the end of it. The busy that 's dog-French for it!” he chuckles
arm, the busy tongue-all vanity; and as he closes the book with a snap.
nothing helps."

His disdain of the lowly is chiefly inSo the old stillness settles down upon duced by their interested chatter, as born Slocum, and the grass gets time to grow fools, about the right and the wrong. His upon Rose's grave. The village resumes wrath against George, dating from the its eternal order of things, if that can be fateful outburst on the night of the meetresumed which has never suffered checking, has never cooled. He despises Liddior pause. For the real order is that Slocum cot as a weakling. He hopes to win Mary shall sometimes struggle, but always suffer yet by sheer force of will. He feels sure defeat; that the Herions and Spurrs shall that the reversion of the honors and the unfailingly return to heel after futile diva- pride and power of feudalism is to his gations, and the Grimbers, Gurts, and order. To them the country-side must Sketts never leave the path. Generations ultimately come, by right of that modern reared in dependence and submission find lordship of gold that has taken the place it easiest to go on in that way.

of the lordship of the sword. So thinks Mr. Kisbye as he sits musing His next victory promises to be at the in his library to-day over a binding and a expense of the Duke of Allonby. He has cigarette--so, and otherwise. The victory finally consented to sell, and on extremely over George is as much his victory as the reasonable terms, the piece of land which castle's. Brain has won in this skirmish, has so long spoiled the view from the as it is going to win in the final battle. Towers. The real price is an invitation to The money-lender is sure that he has made dinner. The solicitors have met once a wise choice in living from a single organ. more, and Mr. Kisbye's have suggested He has found it pay to be without heart that his client may be found tractable on and, except on the rare occasions on which these terms. The duke has undertaken to he has to call himself a fool, without con- see what can be done, and has even science. Money has given him all he needs. sounded his wife. Augusta said never a His want of ruth is quite consistent with word. taste, both in life and art. He knows a

XXXVIII painting as well as here and there a one, and will live to the end amid the harmo- It is nearly a year since Mr. Gooding left. nies of sense. He touches literature in rare Now he is at Liddicot again, and crossing covers, and sometimes, though not without the moat on his way to luncheon with the a sort of derision, in the matter they con- squire. He found the invitation waiting tain. In all, he has realized to the full for him on his arrival at Allonby last night. that prevalent conception of life as a con- The scene was pretty much the same as flict of forces for the wise satisfaction of before, the visitor on the drawbridge, a set of appetites. He is as unpitying at Mary in espial at the turret window. The need as a spike-nosed fish ripping up an- squire did the honors of reception, with other for a meal. He loves all good things his son at hand. It would have been imin sheer technical perfection as manifesta- possible to exceed their cordiality. Tom, tions of power-good music, good talk, now nearly well, has raised the young good eating and drinking; and he loathes American to the highest grade in his more heartily than ever all who try to give esteem. He has announced his deliberate them an ethical import. Canvas and conviction that Mr. Gooding is "a sports

a printed page alike, as things said, are man." Beyond this, notoriously, it is imnothing to him. They exist but for the possible to go, as it includes the lower way of saying it. He reads in many lan- degree of one who“ plays the game." He

" guages; and in ours, it may be suspected, means the game of life, though his praise not as a mother-tongue. He has just might be more precious if he meant the bought Milton's greatest poem in a two- game of polo. hundred-and-fifty-guinea edition, and he He is quite happy once more, and has is now dipping into it to find refreshment returned to his old cheery conception of


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

the terrestrial sphere as a picnic for per- "No; duty before pleasure when the sons of position. Mary has been busy with bell rings.” him in loving care of his convalescence, A certain change in him had not escaped and for him in promoting an inquisitorial Mary's eye. He was very much the man examination of his affairs by the family now. She liked him the better for it, yet solicitors. Messrs. Stallbrass, Stallbrass, it made their present footing of mere Fruhling, Jenkins & Prothero have suc- banter hard to maintain. ceeded in bringing Kisbye to something "Poor little Slocum - you won't care that may be called terms. Tom is going for it any more." to lead a new life. It is a pleasant illusion More than ever, perhaps, in a way.” for him and for his relatives. These total “But you are going back soon to look changes of heart and conduct belong to after your own villagers." the imaginative literature of resolve.

"My villagers !” he laughed. Delighted as she was, Mary met her old “What have I said wrong now?" friend with something of embarrassment. Nothing at all. And all I mean to say She was no longer the rather critical young is that they 're not exactly taking any just person trying to classify him for her pigeon- now." holes of character. He had established a Any what?.kind of mastery over her spirit, just because "Looking after." he never made the vestige of a claim. “How do they manage, I wonder ? " There he was, always efficient in an emer- “They manage for themselves, I fancy,” gency, and, to all appearance, as indeed he said. very much in reality, never in the least What a funny country!” degree aware of it. Mary began to wonder “Oh, it 's just their way. You see, they how she should carry it through, and to are all so many little Dukes of Allonby, arrange her commonplaces in advance-a ownership and all; and you can't imagine fatal portent of discomfiture in encounters the extent of their investments in false of this description.

pride." His tact, or perhaps only the mere hu- “ Five hundred villagers, five hundred man nature in him, saved them both. They masters. Does n’t it seem simpler, now, had been separated long enough to have to cut down the masters by four hundred memories in common; and, when they and ninety-nine?” found themselves alone in a walk after “Simpler for the one?” he said. “But luncheon, he, without the slightest effort, it would be sheer depopulation: the vilbecame the boy again. It gave her im- lagers would have to follow suit. Ah, you mense relief by putting her, at least for must travel if you want to see sights. I the moment, on their old footing. He had always call Slocum my new world." struck the note of the “chatter of irre- “I know why you came,” she said slyly. sponsible frivolity" as between boy and “Augusta told me. You 're the American girl.

invasion." "And the good old automatic supply?" He gave a little start, then laughed. he asked. “Still going strong ?”

“What 's that?" "Now please be intelligible."

Don't look so innocent. You want to “Raif's village-penny in the slot, and buy up things here. You 'll never do it; the figures work."

we won't sell.” "Don't be irreverent."

"Not even your match factories and "And the worst of it is, they work best your steam lines ?” when you put in pebbles. But there, I 'm “Oh, things of that sort!" not bound to criminate myself.”'

“What other things, Miss Mary?” “That 's a confession. Now I know "Well, the fine things — Westminster who brought Grimber and Job together Abbey, for instance.” on that awful day."

"We don't bid even for the pulpit, in "I can prove an alibi. I was under spite of the Christian Science and wisdom Augusta's eye all the time.”

of the East that now go with the lot.” "I hope you have n't come back to "Allonby Castle, perhaps ?" upset any more apple-carts, even Mr. The vein of irony was so unusual with Raif's.”

her that she grew discursive with the nov

[ocr errors]


elty of the sensation. “The land will soon lish people! Training them down to the be about the only thing we have left. Why level of their position, not up to the level not try that?”

of their powers and their rights. Their He was silent. It was a good shot. His education, high and low, still a joke for trust was actually meditating the greatest the competing foreigner, and a clerical venture of all — the purchase of a huge one at that! The infinite littleness of the tract of land in England for the experiment whole thing, the poverty of the issues, the of farming under modern conditions and inaccessibility to ideas!” on the grand scale. Farming as an indus- “We are not going to have our country try was their watchword, not as the mere ruled on business principles,'" she faltered. labor test of a pauper caste. And, for their "Why not, Miss Mary? Business prinprinciple, they held that not the English ciples are honor, honesty, justice from man land, but only the English land system, to man. What's the matter with them?" had broken down. Fields laid out, plowed, “Wooden


cried sown, and reaped by the square mile, with Mary, seizing the first missile that came good wages for good workers, each man to hand. straining to do his best under the induce- "Remounts,” he retorted, breaking into ments of hope; the farm-house a labora- a hearty laugh. “The men who managed tory; the farm-hands chemist's assistants; that business have not much to learn from the barn an engineer's shop; the hall abol- anybody." ished as only a more glittering poorhouse; But Mary was not beaten yet. She rethe best tools, the best brains, the best men membered what she had heard from the everywhere; the market-place a real ex- squire as to the humbleness of Mr. Goodchange, with the railways brought into ing's origin. Her pride of birth came to line, by purchase, too, if need be, as parts her aid. To think of it— this person with of the wondrous plan. And, for the glori- his masterful way with his betters, sepaous outcome, England fed without protec- rated by only two generations from a tion from her own fields, and the surplus peasant of one of her father's fields! exported at a profit to the United States. You must not talk to me like that,"

Uncle Sam as the 'squoire,'” she con- she said in her grandest manner -- the tinued—“ tail-coat, straps, and all. A sec- manner which she had caught less by preond conquest of England.”

cept than by the mere example of the pic"Why conquer when you can buy ? ” ture-gallery at Liddicot.

“Dear old Allonby! Dear old Lid- The real sting of the rebuke was entirely dicot!”

lost on the young man. It had never oc“Dear old China !”

curred to him that he might not approach "Now I wonder what that means! I her on a footing of perfect social equality really don't see the point."

The only degrees he knew of in his dealings "I was thinking of the worship of an- with his fellow-creatures were those of cestors,” he said.

sense, energy, and courage-faculty, in a "Well, I don't mind telling you I was word, with, of course, a due allowance for thinking of our poor aristocracy and the voluntary service of homage where gentry.”

women were concerned. Her tone now Same thing.”

made him keenly apprehensive that he “We don't worship them; we respect might have been wanting in the last. them for having made England what *I am afraid I have failed in respect," it is."

he said. “Please forgive me again." "Indeed they have."

“It is nothing for which you need care “That 's a sneer," said Mary.

to have my forgiveness," said Mary, coldly, “It is, and I ask your pardon. But quite misunderstanding him still. please consider the provocation, not from "I would not say anything displeasing you; oh, never from you! And he went to you for the world.” on with a vehemence, albeit deliberate and “I am afraid you would," said Mary, restrained, that she had never seen in him still with a good deal of heat beneath the before: “Such a country going to such surface of ice. waste! Such a system for running Eng- “Is not that rather ungenerous ?” land without the coöperation of the Eng- " It is not meant so, I assure you. You

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

a kind


might sometimes fail to understand, that to long, and especially in gentleness and is all."

never-failing courtesy. Here, once more, “That is it,” he said, with the same in- was a man! nocent audacity as before. “One does “It is for you to forgive me now," she not take the proper account of ways of said. “I am but a girl yet, and you are a thinking, ways of life."

school-boy no more." It was an apology to the woman still, “No, no,” he laughed. “I am not to not to the squire's daughter.

be dubbed into that dignity at a moment's “We are not exactly your inferiors- notice. Let me still fancy we are only boy please remember that,” she said, by way and girl together, for it has been the greatof putting him on the right track.

est happiness of my life. But since you "I know little of the others, but I shall embolden me to plead for favors, little always consider myself yours.

playmate," -and he took her hand, She began to think that he had caught “promise me that if I come to you when her meaning at last, but she was woefully I am really dubbed, and ask you a quesmistaken.

tion, you will try to give me “Do you suppose that I could so long answer." have had the privilege of your companion- She said nothing, but the blood rushed ship without feeling the superiority of your to her face as she met his look with eyes goodness, of your devotion to your father as of molten fire from rising tears. and your brother, the charm of —”

It was a reply of a sort, and it was so If he saved himself from a still more encouraging that, greatly daring, he drew

, personal compliment, it was only by a her gently toward him. hair's-breadth.

And so it came about. Mary began to understand at last, and she left the society of her ancestors and came back to her own time. The mention of her brother turned the whole current of The Saturday before the coronation, and her thoughts as with a pang of the sense glorious August weather. London was of ingratitude.

never brighter- or less severe - flags out, “My devotion! Can I ever forget yours crowds from all parts of the country and, - the long journey -"

in spite of previous disappointment, from “An outing.”

most parts of the earth. Every other conAnd in that train of thought came the script in this huge army of pleasure looked memory of his supreme service to herself as though he carried the marshal's baton in the affair of the card-table, the one in his knapsack-th is to say, as one crisis of her simple life. It came with just still hoping for a ticket for Westminster such a rush of feeling as had kept her Abbey. silent and abashed in his presence when The central point, as the great meetingfirst she realized the immensity of the place for plebs and aristocracy, was the obligation. Was it for her to give him Marble Arch. All else in London is for one lessons, when in all their relations his had or the other. This is for both. Here rank ever been the guiding hand and brain, the and wealth and fashion taking the air, surer for his lightness of touch and his yonder their deadly opposites commendunconscious avoidance of all vestige of a ing them most heartily to the devil, in perclaim? Beside such appeals, what gross- petual public meeting, under the friendly ness in any other, and especially in her guardianship of the police. No other own of mere social position! She rejoiced scene in the world to match this for the that this blunder had escaped him by the hate of hate, the toleration of policy and accidents of nature and training, and she contempt. The police know what they are felt the full force of his homage to her about. This assumption that the devil is womanhood, and to that alone. She was ever ready to anticipate is one of the most conquered by his sheer faculty-the only persistent errors of the vulgar. He is a thing, happily, thank God, that wins at great student of history, and he bides his last, or where would be the hopes of the time. For those who refuse to bide theirs, race ? Here was the strength, in all its the site of the busy old gallows of Hofinest attributes, for which she had learned garth's day is close at hand, with its memorial stone: “Here stood Tyburn Gate.” right-hand side. It was dismissed there, It is a gentle hint to the disaffected that with orders to call again in an hour. valor must still be tempered by discretion. The person who alighted was Augusta,

A street preacher, who naturally enjoyed Duchess of Allonby, in town with the rest the same liberty as the others, held forth for the coming ceremony. The place was on the late postponement of the ceremony her favorite retreat for meditation, and it as a judgment on the nation for its slack had been provided by the munificence of attendance at church. The ballad-mon- an estimable woman, now dead. It was a gers were in full cry, one of them on the small chapel, or a large monastic cell, just subject of imperial emigration. With its as you chose to take it, but a chapel withburden of “I mye be a millionhair,” his out a service or other hindrance to pure song was quite a battle-hymn of the de- spiritual contemplation. Outside, the great mocracy, at need. The cheap jacks bawled roaring thoroughfare; within, the peace of their wares - coronation medals, and biog- the desert, a house of reverie. raphies of the royal pair. The grass was Thus spoke an inscription on its gate: black with recumbent loafers sunning themselves through the long hours between the Passengers through the busy streets of closing of the casual wards in the morning London, enter this sanctuary for rest and and their opening at night.

silence and prayer.. Lord Ogreby and his family occupied

And again : a carriage in the drive. That nobleman was at once cheerful and depressed. His

Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? house had for generations claimed the Come and rest awhile. Commune with your right of offering a toothpick to the mon- own hearts, and be still. arch, after dinner, on coronation day. It was done on bended knee. The right had The duchess did not immediately enter not been denied on the present occasion the chapel. Nodding to the solitary attenby the Lord Chancellor, the Earl Marshal, dant at the door, she passed through a the Lord Chief Justice, and other mem- passage to a large garden at the back, bers of the Court of Claims; but, as the well hidden from the road. It was quite Lord Chancellor had observed in giving in the note, being a garden of the cozy judgment, after counsel had raised many dead. For years they had been disturbed points of antiquarian and feudal lore, the by no newcomer of their own recumbent question was, in this instance, beyond the order. They must have relished their expurview of the court. Since there would clusiveness: they were the dead of St. be no state dinner, there could be no tooth- George's, Hanover Square. Posterity had pick in active demand as part of the pa- not been unmindful of their comfort. geant. The right was therefore in abeyance Their gravestones had been removed from on the present occasion. The applicant the original sites, as though to lighten the submitted, with the sense of duty done: indispensable labors of the last day; and at any rate, he had fought the good fight. all was now in readiness for either the “I have my children to think of," he said trump of the archangel or the pick of with spirit, “and one day the banquet the speculative builder. One monument may be revived." He was now bearing showed that poor Laurence Sterne had home a brand-new instrument of this here found a bed, after the weariness of description, ordered perhaps precipitately; his closing pilgrimage. It was but a bed and, with its inner and outer casings, it for the night. The flowery inscription, occupied no small part of the roof of his however, said nothing about the bodycoach.

snatchers who, in due course of business, He had just exchanged bows with a lady had stolen him away. Not for that merdriving in the opposite direction and curial spirit even the rest of the grave! toward the arch. Her fine face wore an Augusta took a turn round the cemeair of weariness that heightened the refine- tery, and then entered the chapel. At first ment of its beauty. After passing the gate, she had it all to herself, for London sets her carriage turned down the Bayswater small store by this particular bounty of Road, and drew up before a small turfed the pious founder. At a later stage she inclosure a few hundred yards on the was joined, on tiptoe, by a gray-headed

[ocr errors]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »