Puslapio vaizdai

or succor.

interest in Perkin Warbeck. He is a lay- see the lights of the green park, and, befigure and a poltroon. Give me one of yond these, like mystic flowers, the golden the great figures of history-"

globes that burn in clusters outside Buck"You won't do it?” interposed Hugh ingham Palace. Thus, from my prison, Janvier.

I could see the stronghold of my king "Certainly not,” said I. “Neither for without being able to call on him for aid money nor any consideration whatsoever.”

“I guess you will. If monsignor wants it done, it will be done."

III “But, Hugh—” protested monsignor. It must have been at some small hour in

"You have set your heart on this, have the morning that I was aroused and n't you?" asked Janvier.

gagged and pinioned. The sturdy manMonsignor admitted that such was the servant saw to this, and seemed thoroughly case.

to enjoy it. Hugh Janvier, in evening “This young fool here is not going to dress and a fur coat, stood over us and break your heart.”

issued his directions. "My heart will not be broken."

“We are motoring into the country," "I say it will.” Hugh Janvier touched said he. "London in the winter months the bell.

is more than I can stand.” And into the The man-servant who had let me in re- country we went. turned.

I was carried down-stairs, bundled into "Put this gentleman into one of the top the waiting car, and off we started. The attics," said Hugh Janvier, "and lock him man-servant sat on the box beside the in and feed hiin."

driver; within the limousine were Janvier "Yes, sir," said the domestic.

and I. St. James's Place was fast asleep “He had better have this bundle to and took no notice. browse on," added Janvier, indicating the Once outside London-and it was swift pile of manuscript.

and easy going at this hour—my compan"Yes, sir."

ion untied me, and I was free to speak and I was staring aghast at all three of them.

"I have a particular affection for mon“By what right—" I began. But Hugh signor," he said, offering me one of his Janvier laughed at me.

large cigars, “and there are so few things "Off with him, George!” he cried, he will accept from me. Now, you be a turning to the man-servant, and though I sensible young fellow and get busy. You struggled prodigiously, that muscular fel- can go back to where you came from as low, using some cunning grip, hoisted me soon as monsignor gives the word. I often to his shoulders as if I were a child. He

wonder what the dear old boy can see in walked up-stairs with me, up flight after I don't know why he should like Aight, and Aung me at last into a little me, but he does.” These concluding senroom on the top floor. There was elec- tences were spoken more to himself than tric light in it, a bed, and the usual furni- to a listener. ture. He put a match to the fire, turned "Extremes meet," I ventured, "and you the key in the door, and went down-stairs two are so utterly different." again. A few minutes later he came back “That 's it, I reckon,” he answered penand thrust upon me the type-written copy sively. “Say, you 're no fool, though you of monsignor's "Life of Perkin War- behave like one." beck,” which the publishers had refused "Your own behavior, judged by ordiwith good reason. I was left alone with nary civilized standards—” I began; but that ill-omened work.

he had interrupted me, and I was unable I went to the window. The fog had to finish. cleared a little, and far below me I could “By the way,” he had said, “I 've got



your box and paid the woman at your George stood in the doorway, and his lodgings; you 'll be our guest for several lips curved cynically as he surveyed me. months."

"I lay you are n't used to this," was For a reply I snorted, and that wretched what that look implied, though, as ever, car rushed forward in the dark.

he said nothing in so many words; yet the He dried up after this, and gave no

fellow's face was an open book, and I heed to my indignant questions. “You could read. keep still," was all he said; and soon I lay There was no key to my bedroom door, back in a doze from which I woke every nor any bolt. I was too tired to care now, now and then to look out of the window. too tired to think of anything but sleep. The fog had disappeared; it was a fine, When I had undressed and was all ready clear winter's night, with a moon and for bed, George paid me a good-night drifting clouds. A wind had sprung up, visit. Calmly, deliberately, he went and the air was fresh and good to breathe. through my clothes, and took away the

Our true direction I could not say, for eighteenpence that I had thrown upon the I had lost all count of the four quarters dressing-table. and even of time. A recent crisis had dis- "Mr. Janvier's orders,” he said laconipossessed me of my watch, and I only cally. knew that twice we had crossed the "Damn Mr. Janvier!" said I, and Thames, and might be going south or jumped into bed. west.

He went out silently, first putting a key At length-and the dawn had not yet into the keyhole, and extinguishing all the broken-we entered the gates of a private lights save one, which I could reach from park, ran down a dim avenue of naked where I lay. trees, and then kept to a winding road

IV that went through woodland and came out on a stretch which took us to the I SLEPT, and slept till noon. Then I awoke front of a great house.

and was very happy. I looked out of the “Here we are!" cried Janvier, spring- window and loved the landscape; I flung ing to his feet.

the casement wide and breathed the fresh, “Where are we?" I answered, very clean air. I was young and hearty despite limp and drowsy.

my predicament. A worse fate might be"That 's none of your business. You fall a man than to be an unconsulted guest 've got to set about that book. George in a great house away from town. will look after you till the morning. I "Suppose I ring the bell," I thought; may see you at lunch or I may not.”

and the action went with the idea. He left me, and somehow I found my- George found me singing. self within that darkened mansion, fol- "Good morning, George!" I cried as lowing on the heels of George, who led he came in. me to my room. It was no use quarrel- "Tea or coffee, sir?" he answered, and ing with my manifest destiny, I thought. I plumped for tea. I would stay here till the morning, and There was a bath-room adjoining, and then I would take stock of the situation he turned the taps and spread the towels. and see what could be done.

“It is n't the first time I've had a Through that sleeping palace we went, bath," I shouted, answering his ironic George in front and I a little way behind, grin. until we reached a large and spacious bed- "Luncheon is at one-thirty, sir," was room looking out upon the park. It was his reply. "Miss Bettina is expecting all ready for me, with a fire still burning, you." fresh pajamas invitingly displayed, and I could get no more from him than enough electric light to satisfy a lady at that, if I except my old tin trunk, which her mirror.

miraculously had arrived from Bloomsas bad.

site me.

bury. It was not a very heavy trunk, hour as this. I forgot my awkwardness, and, as I dressed, I began to wish it had I forgot that strange environment. She been. Still, my razor was in it, with my drew me out, and I made music, and we brushes and a comb.

two, like the morning stars, were singing I was for putting on my blue serge, the together half-way through that meal. suit I wore on state occasions. It had

I remember one passage only. grown sleek and shiny, and of my three "You are going to write monsignor's shirts the best was a much-frayed affair. book for him," she said. “It is so kind of But I had reckoned without George. He you to do it for him. My brother has put his foot down heavily, or, rather, he told me all about it.” carried off my things. "Mr. Janvier's "And me as well,” said I; "but I did orders,” was all he said, and at once re- n't reckon on this." The last was a foolplaced what he had confiscated with some- ish remark, but probably the rest was just thing more suitable and quite as well-fitting.

I learned that Hugh Janvier was out "All right,” said 1-"all right.” By shooting with some neighbors, and that now I had ceased to care or wonder. Be- he was an ardent sportsman. It was the low, where I next ventured, I found a

reason why they lived so much in Enghall, a library, a ball-room, and a winter- land. He hunted, he kept a racing-stable, garden, and there was every conceivable he fished, he shot, he stalked in Scotland. kind of servant. They let me roam and But what did I care about Hugh! There gape at them until luncheon.

was this wonderful creature sitting oppoTo-day I can hardly recover the full

I am sure I lunched off her more effect of that first impression. I refer, of than off what I made pretense to eat that course, to my initial meeting with Bettina day. Janvier. I had never spoken to a beauti- "And, Mr. Loughborough," she ended, ful and high-born girl before, nor been in “Hugh says you are my prisoner. I seem the same room with one, and as for sit- to be in charge of you. He has an idea ting alone at the same table-I leave the that you may not want to write monsituation to the imaginative reader. He signor's book, and that you may try to run

do it justice; I cannot.

away from us.

I am responsible for you She was awaiting me in a room on the - at least, that 's what Hugh says. Will ground floor; a table there was arranged ou promise me one thing," she ran on: for two, and I was to be the other.

"you will tell me first before you try to "Mr. Loughborough?” she said, giving escape? It 'll be easier for us that way, me her hand.

won't it? Give me your hand on it." I stammered something, and I made her Hers was held out, and what could I smile. Her smile was not at all like that answer? of the disdainful man-servant.

"Escape!" I cried. “You will have to worse for it; the better, rather. That drive me away with guns and beaters." meal was one of my dreams come down “And what about monsignor's book?" to earth.

she asked, clear-headed. I do not know what she said, I do not “Ah, monsignor - I owe him anything know what I said. There was a some- he demands." thing inside of me which purred; that is "You 'll do your best for him?" the sole word for it. Or, perhaps, I

“I will do my best." was like a kettle on the hob, making some And then she was gone, and there was blissful noise which could hardly be no one in the room with me but George. I classed as conversation. And yet I know would see her again, perhaps that very that every word I spoke came from the evening. I lighted one of the large cigars, central heart of me, where all one's hot and made my way into the park, thoughts sleep and mutter until some such At the north lodge there was a gate,

or she

I felt no


which opened on the outer world. Ab- tion was the man's devotion to his sister. sently, I made for it. A man barred my A good many years lay between them, and progress.

Janvier's pride in her was almost fatherly. “Mr. Loughborough ?” he asked. She had held on to her fine breeding, and I nodded.

viewed his haste and fierce impulsiveness "I 'm afraid you can't go on, sir,” he with a whimsical humor which I soon said. “Mr. Janvier's orders.”

learned to share. They were the most He was civil, yet firmly and squarely loyal of friends, however, and at Sanborne he turned me back.

Park, where we were wintering, or at “I was n't going on," was my lame re- Wexford House in town, his will was ply, and I wheeled, and continued my law with her. She did not question it: it walk within the limits of the park.

was just Hugh's way.

At first I had no over-great intercourse V

with either of them. I was there for a During the next weeks I began to under- certain purpose; I must not disgrace the stand things. First of all there was Hugh house. When I had done what Janvier Janvier. He was American and immensely required of me, I would be free to go, wealthy, and he lived over here because and, if I wished, claim any reasonable he enjoyed the easy gentleman's life which sum as a reward. They saw to it that I England offered, and, more still, because was suitably dressed, and I had no hesiAmerica had of late years become too hot tation in accepting so much from them, to hold him. He had done something in especially as I was curious about the soconnection with a railroad, and something ciety they kept, and, without an evening else in connection with a bank, and then suit, I do not suppose I would have venthere was a trust which he had controlled, tured to their table. and an insurance company into the pockets It was my first experience of the life I of which he had dipped, and come out had spied upon in treading the London smiling. But America was not smiling streets. We were in a different theater, any longer; the days of such adventurers but the parts were filled by the same acwere past. They had developed a tenderer tors, and I at last was allowed to come conscience over there, and this had made inside. Hugh Janvier had them all at matters rather trying for the Hugh Jan- his command, these fine ladies who folviers. And, further, I discovered that he lowed his hounds so bravely, who ate his was of an old Southern family, so poor, dinners, and won his money at the cardso proud, that, as a boy, he had deter- table; these ruddy men who shot over his mined to go a different way. Poverty dis- coverts, backed his steeple-chascrs, and agreed with him, and as for pride-he had made light of ancient names and titles. I hastened to escape the pair of them. was permitted to mix with them all and

I hardly know how I divined these mat- listen. ters. Possibly by intuition; yet Hugh Jan- I remember the day when Bettina Janvier was never reticent, and he called a vier told me that she had stayed up till a spade a spade. There were, however, small hour over my book, and reveled in other and nobler sides to this outrageous the camps and battle-fields of Charles XII brigand, this modern bucaneer; for such, of Sweden. She had not been able to put indeed, he was, rather than a peaceful gen- it down, she said, eying me with a new tleman or man of business.

interest, as though she had suddenly realHis attachment to so feeble a crea- ized that there was a something in me beture as monsignor was a leading instance, yond the ordinary. and I could multiply examples of this na- “Would you like to hear a little of the ture. Where Janvier liked, he liked book I am writing now?” I answered her. whole-heartedly; and where he hated, he “So you have begun? Oh, won't monhated. A second and more natural affec- signor be pleased!" was her reply.

a man.

Most certainly I had begun, and that It extended to Hugh Janvier, who became very afternoon I read her my opening each king in turn; it embraced even chapters. And every day after this there George the man-servant. My Perkin bewas an instalment waiting her pleasure if came a hero. I let chance play with him she would listen. She rarely failed me. at first, just as it had played with me; but Once free of the tea-table, she came down once that mile-stone passed, he grew into to the library, where I worked, and asked

The adventure had produced the me to go on.

arch-adventurer. Henceforth he was to Hugh Janvier smiled broadly when he run his own race and win or lose as desheard the news.

tiny decreed. I led his enterprises, his haz“I said he 'd get busy. People always ardous descents and landings on a foreign do what I tell them to do,” he cried; and coast; I claimed the English crown for he telegraphed an exclamatory despatch him with a brazen hardihood. I was the to monsignor. That watery biographer true, unmurdered prince who had escaped had ceased to trouble me. He was now cold Crookback's treachery in the Tower, somewhere in Italy, making a long stay and at my word the crafty Henry tremwith his cousin, the Earl of Chart.

bled. There was fighting, combat on com

bat, I ever in the van and princely in VI

swordsmanship. I was beaten, wounded, The public is familiar with my story of and cast down, never outgeneraled, always Perkin Warbeck; the public welcomed it, outnumbered. I fell to rise again. My raved about it, and one can hardly discuss hairbreadth 'scapes made Bettina Janvier's it as a book, for during the best part of a heart stand in her mouth. Can you not year it was more an epidemic.

hear her exclaiming, her words of wonder It is a dishonest book from beginning and encouragement? to end; yet viewed solely as romance, as And about the house I had become hewhat might have been, but never was, I roic, too, all aware of my power; so that take it to be the sincerest thing that I now I looked with a royal gaze upon behave donc. It springs right out of the ings as lowly as George, the trusted manheart of youth. It is a bath of youth, if servant, nor did I quail before the dark I may quote old fogies whose praises fell and eagle glance of Hugh Janvier. True, about me like a shower. How could it I wore his clothes, slept in his bed, and ate have been otherwise, given the conditions? his dinners. It was the man's privilege so Yet the story of its writing is a better to entertain me, I discovered, the one outstory still, and certainly more honest. standing act of his life that would surely

During those winter mornings I had survive. gone down-stairs to the library with mon- And Bettina Janvier, who was followsignor's ill-fated manuscript, which I was ing where I led--what of Bettina Janlearning to know by heart. It had pur- vier? I wrote that book to her, and she sued me here; I seemed never to be rid had become its heroine. The Lady Kathof it. And then on one morning I began crine Gordon, Perkin's wife, instead of to write something, and on the next morn- espousing four successive husbands, looked ing to add to it, and the same the day only to me; and, moreover, it was I who after. There was little else to do. I had encouraged her cousin the King of Scotforgotten all about monsignor and most land, I who planned the invasion from the about Perkin Warbeck, for I was writing north, and, when he failed me, -of course, about myself rather than of that hero. in reality, it was Perkin who failed him,

I was writing of myself, poor, lonely, set out alone for Ireland, and thence and obscure, adventuring here among the for Cornwall, where I put all to the test. powerful, much as he had adventured at I

say “alone,” yet

Bettina came with me. the French, the Burgundian, and Scottish We called her Katherine in the book, but, ourts. There was a remote resemblance. inside of us, we knew better. She would

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