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with Gideon must needs be indeed the last thing which one who prided herself on her ladyhood would dream of doing.

But it was all for Alan. In one great thing she and her mother were one.

It is not far, as all the world knows, to Fleet Street from the Strand, so that she could keep her interview easily without being long away from home, and to meet on the way anybody who knew her was happily impossible. Since she had been in London she had been out by herself on common errands dozens of times; but, naturally, never to the eastward of Temple Bar, though it was not many stones' throw. The city gate was standing in those days, and its arch, as she passed under it, seemed to her mind the symbol of another gateway on the road along which her mind was passing. She half lingered, as if the presence of a visible gateway warned her that another road than the street changed its name beyond, and that it divided two cities which were not merely London and Westminster. That is to say, her pace slackened, for she could not really linger; and she breathed more freely when she had once passed through. It was as if Helen Reid had entered the archway, and had never come out again ; and as if she who left its shadow was either not Helen Reid, or else had left a burdensome and troublesome part of herself on the other side. She felt quite certain that henceforthfor Alan's sake—she would never be troubled with scruples again about such a trumpery matter as going out without saying why or where. She must have been terribly frank and open-once-to feel so changed and hardened by what very few would regard as being so much as a mere common, every-day lie. No--she had already done enough to know that she could never feel like Alan's sister, or old Harry Reid's daughter, any more.

She had little difficulty in finding the outside of the office of the Argus, and was too well provided with an excuse for calling to feel over-shy about entering. She had absolutely no views about what sort of place a newspaper office was likely to prove. Strange as such an idea may seem to some, she would not have been astonished to find the Times itself issued from some small news-shop, so that she drew no moral from the contrast between the surroundings of the Argus and the tremendous character of the organ by means of which Spraggville ruled the world. She tapped gently at the door to which she had been guided, and was answered by a “Come in !” in an accent which reminded her a little of the voice of her enemy, Victor Waldron.

She looked round for Gideon, but she found nobody but Mr.

Crowder and Mr. Sims, whom she knew neither by sight for by name.

The face of neither moved a muscle at the unexpected appearance of a young lady in the rooms of the Argus, except for a slight frown which passed over that of Mr. Sims. His once immaculate chief, he could not help thinking, was going a great deal too farneglecting duty to dine with lords, showing unmistakable signs of it the next morning, and now visited by young women. It was becoming a case for watching in the interests of the Argus, if not for the serious consideration of the Platonic Institute of Spraggville, to which they both belonged, where young men and young women of an intellectual turn met to discuss social philosophy from a purely spiritual and sympathetic point of view, and never made love except in spectacles. Well, the blight of the aristocratic upas must produce its natural poison. From dining with lords to drinking champagne, from champagne to whisky, from whisky to assignations, were but steps in a chain which might lead at last even to smoking cigars, before it had run out to the bitter end. One can hardly tell why Helen's visit should instantly, and without the faintest evidence, have presented itself in this light to Mr. Sims. But so it was, and he wavered between waiting and watching on the one hand, and pointedly rising and leaving the office on the other, to show his colleague that he understood the situation perfectly.

“ Is this the office of the Argus ?” asked Helen. “I am Miss Reid. I came to ask if—if you had heard from my brother.” Perhaps Gideon would not come, after all.

“Be seated, Madam,” said Mr. Crowder. “I hope you are very well. Let me see-Reid-Reid. Yes; our correspondent at the siege. You will pardon me— with so many names to think of, and with such a war on my hands, it is not easy to keep my mind upon individuals. Have we heard from Reid, Mr. Sims ?"

“Wired it yourself to Spraggville yesterday,” said Mr. Sims bluntly. He was beginning to suspect his chief of being a little of an impostor, and of giving himself lordly airs, and it galled him. “That is so," said Mr. Crowder. “It was a good letter.

I am happy to tell you, Miss Reid, that your brother, under careful editing, is likely to give satisfaction to the city of Spraggville. He is the first English literary man I have happened on who seems to understand what we want and the way to put things. There were some touch in his last letter that were worthy of an American."

“I am very glad indeed," said Helen, too indifferent to wonder at her brother's sudden success in so unlikely a direction, and by no means proud of Mr. Crowder's praise. Of course, whatever Alan undertook to do he would do well—that went without saying ; but she could feel no elation at his turning out what she could only consider a first-rate travelling clerk to this fellow-countryman of her enemy. She could not be just, and would have been offended by hearing that Niagara, since it was in Waldron's hemisphere, is the largest waterfall in the world, and makes the loudest noise.

She hardly knew whether to drag out the interview till Gideon should come, or to leap at his non-appearance as a sign that he was not coming, and to hurry back through Temple Bar. But she was saved the difficulty of deciding by the voice of Gideon himself at the door. After all, the clocks were not many minutes on their way past noon.

“Miss Reid!” he said, dividing a nod between Mr. Sims and Mr. Crowder, and holding out his hand to Helen with a curious mixture, which struck even her, of eagerness and awkwardness together. He had not said, “Who would have thought of meeting you here?- certainly not I," for that would have been hypocritical, and therefore impossible for Gideon Skull. But his “Miss Reid !” had implied it all, and Helen was thankful to him for not claiming an appointment with her. “ Are you going to write for the Argus too? Well, Crowder, how's news to-day? Don't let me drive you off, Miss Reid. I am not going to stay a minute, and I have something to say to you, if you'll let me walk part of your way. I hope you're not too well off for news, Crowder, for I've picked up a crumb for you that will make the hair of all Spraggville stand on end, and glorify the old Argus for ever."

“I shall be pleased to hear, sir, whatever you may have to say," said Mr. Crowder.

"I dare say you would. But none of you fellows have any pluck, you see. No, not one of you. If I had the misfortune to edit a newspaper, I should make a point of coming out with a firstclass prophecy of the most tremendously unlikely sort every ninth day. Nobody remembers failures. Look at the weather almanacs ; if I brought out one of those, I'd prophesy a snowstorm in July regularly every year. It would come at last, and I should be rich and famous for ever. And in war and politics you'd have the pull that the unlikeliest forecasts are right in nine cases out of ten. No, you actual editors have no pluck; not one of you."

" It is the first time I have heard the Spraggville Argus charged with deficiency in pluck, Mr. Skull,” said Mr. Crowder.

“Yes, because there's nobody who knows what pluck means, I

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dare say. Now, if I was to tell you Bismarck was shot, you'd wire it off to Spraggville, because it might be likely even if it mightn't be true. But you wouldn't dare to fix a date for the sortie from Paris which is to break the German cordon and fix a communication between the army of the South and the capital. You wouldn't do that even if you knew. Now, I would, even if I didn't know. That's pluck, and that's the difference between me and you. By George ! Think of Spraggville if I fixed it for Tuesday week. If I wasn't Gideon Skull, I'd be owner of the Argus for twice nine days after.”

“Mr. Skull," said Mr. Crowder with dignity, "my experience as a journalist is not quite so small as you appear to conclude; and I guess you must be out and round before twelve o'clock if


wish to be beforehand with me or with Mr. Sims. Before sailing for Europe I drew up a programme of this war, the results of which might surprise you. It has often enabled me to anticipate events, as well as to correct the accounts of our correspondents on both sides. I do not say that such a sortie is inconsistent with that programme, but I do say, and Mr. Sims will confirm that view, that not to beat about the bush, Mr. Skull, which is not American, it is my duty to inquire if you intend that sortie to be taken as a fact, and, if so, what your views may be in bringing it to this journal ?”

“Ah, Crowder, there's no doing you. Yes, I do want to get that wired to Spraggville," said Gideon frankly. “The fact is, I'm engaged rather deeply in relation to the neutrality laws—you understand. In the rifle and provision line. Instincts of an old blockaderunner will out, you see. The army of the South is my customer just now, and I naturally get to know more than there can be on anybody's programme. For obvious financial reasons I want that sortie to succeed; but for equally obvious reasons I want to be very particular to the wrong day. Now, I happen to know, as a fact, that Bismarck never passes a morning without reading right through every word in the Argus about the war. He and Moltke will take that Tuesday week for granted, you may be sure ; and no doubt there'll be a rehearsal—what soldiers call a demonstration-on that day. The Argus will be out by a day or two about the real day, of course; but who'll heed a day or two when they talk of the prophecy fulfilled? There, I've made a clean breast of it. It's all in my own interest, of course, so take it or leave it as you please. I'd take it if I were you. I'm worth gratifying, I can tell you; a man who's bound up with the big French guns, and behind their scenes, can give plenty of pickings as true as this to any paper that's got pluck and go and isn't afraid of big things. Come and have another feed

with me and Ovoca on Saturday. He's taken a wonderful fancy to you. Can you forgive me for keeping you waiting all this while, Miss Reid? I'm at your service now whenever you please.”

Surmised,” said Mr. Sims as soon as their visitors had gone, “Gideon Skull didn't give you an earl for dinner without wanting to be paid."

"I am surprised, Sims," said Mr. Crowder, "that you should see in a piece of simple courtesy more than there is to be seen. It shows a want of knowledge of the world. A British lord, I take it, does not lay himself open to misconstruction when he admits himself to be no more than the equal of a plain American journalist like you and me. It does him honour, Sims."

“Some people are partial to headaches. Can't say I'm one. Wire?"

“Some people are partial, and prejudiced, and-and-jealous," said Mr. Crowder.

" That's so.

I'll wire myself, Sims.” “ Jealous ?” asked Mr. Sims, with a sudden hot look in his eyes.

“That is so," said Mr. Crowder sadly. " That is a painful fact, Sims. Some people are."

“And some people drink champagne, and receive visits from females, and smoke tobacco; and some people are as fit to represent the Argus as-as-you,” said Mr. Sims.

“I would like to see that man,” said Mr. Crowder, his voice beginning to rise at last, “who is as fit to represent the Argus asas—I. I should have a very decided opinion concerning the existence of that man. As to females, and spirits, and tobacco, I trample on the words. Perhaps you will proceed with your occupation, which is not that of slander, Mr. Sims.”

“No, nor of jealousy, Mr. Crowder. I would as soon be jealous of some people as _” His failure to find a simile gave his chief the triumph of the last word. But his having come off only second best in this terrible quarrel only made him feel the more keenly that there was at least one person better qualified to represent the Argus than Mr. Crowder. He felt he could not approve of permitting the great organ of Spraggville to become the tool of a Lord Ovoca and a Gideon Skull. His duty might become unpleasant, but it must be done.


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“It must have seemed very strange to you,” said Gideon to Helen, "all that talk in the office. Business, to an outsider, must seem a curious thing."

"It did not seem strange to me at all,” said Helen. “I was not

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