time haggling over it. It isn't worth it."
" And pray, sir, who are you ? " Lord Wentworth
demands, in an angry tone. " Your face is unknown
" I dare say it is," says Allen, impatiently. " So is
yours to me."
" Come, come," shouts Lord Oaktorrington. " Let
us end this squabble. I quite agree with Mr. Allen
that it is not worth it. We are losing the best part of
Lord Wentworth turns away, muttering, and the
party return to their stations. But not another pheas-
ant can the beaters scare up.
" I thought as much," Lord Oaktorrington says.
" The birds have all taken themselves off while we have
been jawing. We'll just have time before luncheon
for a try at the covers on the home farm. Come
" Bosh ! " says Lord Wentworth, to Sir Herbert
Weymss. " The fact is the Ashwynwick preserves are
not what they used to be. They're gone to pot. Small
wonder, too, when ' pot hunters ' are let loose over
them," and he looks vindictively at Allen.
" I quite agree with you," says Sir Herbert. " I
expect he'll be giving us a load of shot to carry home
before the day is out. Did you ever see such an ass ?
Fancy trusting him with a gun ! Who is he? "
41 No idea. Oaktorrington's tailor, no doubt."
The home farm covers are productive of but two
more pheasants, one of which falls to Freddy's gun,
the other to Allen's.
" It's rather late in the season," Lord Oaktorring-
ton says, apologetically, to Allen, " and the birds are
"Hear that?" asks Lord Wentworth of Sir Her-
bert, elevating his eyebrows. " If it was me, I'd dis-
charge my gamekeeper on the spot, or shut up shop at
once. Late in the season ! Ha, ha ! "
" Don't catch me here again," replies Sir Herbert.
" I should hope not," says Lord Wentworth.
The party then wends its way across an open
meadow to the agent's lodge, where luncheon is pre-
pared. Allen is rather disappointed at not meeting
the ladies, whom he has heard make it a custom in
England to come out and join the shooting party at
luncheon. He says as much to Freddy.
" Oh, that's only in September and October, when
the partridges and pheasants are fresh, and the weather
warm," Freddy tells him. "It's too far on for that
sort of thing now, don't you know." Everybody's tem-
per is better after a plentiful meal of Irish stew and
copious draughts of home-brewed beer, with bread and
cheese and a mouthful of Scotch whisky to end up with.
But there isn't much better luck in store for anybody.
An hour and a half's more shooting results in but four
more pheasants and one hare. So, at three o'clock,
the party breaks up, and Lord Oaktorrington, Freddy,
and Allen walk slowly and silently home.
THE first person Allen sees as he enters the hall
and is about to go up to his room to change his clothes,
is Lady Edith. She is standing just within the door-
way of the library, the door of which she holds a few
inches open. Her face is pale and her eyes wide open
and anxious. She beckons silently to Allen, and he
follows her into the room.
" It's come," she whispers, hoarsely. " I've had
such a time of it keeping it from mother and Mary.
They don't know it's arrived, for I waylaid the mes-
senger in the park. I thought this the safest place to
keep it, for no one ever comes near this room."
Allen looks puzzled a minute, and is upon the point
of saying " What ? " when she goes quickly to one of
the bookshelves, takes down a large volume of Bacon's
" Essays," and from between the leaves draws out a
" Here it is," she says, and hands Allen a telegram.
" Oh, dear, I'm so frightened for fear it won't be all
right. Stop ! Don't open it yet. Just wait a moment
till I get my breath."
Allen turns the brick-dust envelope over and over
in his fingers, not without a fast beating heart him-
" Nonsense," he says, as steadily as he can. " Bet-
ter know as soon as possible. It may be all right."
" May ? " she cries. " Thenjw* only think it may ?
Oh, dear, what shall we do ? "
" Do ? Why read it, of course. But look here,"
suddenly. " Hadn't I better open it before your father
and mother ? They will suspect something crooked if
" No, no, no. Suppose your father won't consent ?
I believe they'd tear you in pieces."
There is an earnest honesty in her voice that makes
" Are you serious ? " he asks.
"Serious?" she says, bitterly. "I should think I
was. I know them better than you do."
" I thought I knew them pretty well," Allen says ;
"but I had no idea they were as bad as that."
" It's safer not to try. Come, you may open it
now," she says, putting both hands over her heart.
" I'm not overstrong here, the doctor says, but I am
" Poor child," Allen says, putting his arm about her.
" What have I been thinking of not to have noticed
how dreadfully you look. Come, dear, don't take it
so much to heart. We don't know that my father won't
give me the money. And even if he did refuse "
" Oh, don't even suggest such a thing," she cries.
" I believe it would kill me."
" Why should it, dear ? You could marry me all
the same. You are of age. Wouldn't you ? "
Lady Edith shakes her head slowly. " I couldn't
go against their wishes."
" What ? " A quick suspicion darts into his heart ;
he drops his arm from about her, and takes a step back-
ward. "And are you, too "
" No, no ! You misunderstand me quite. Indeed,
it is not that. In our class, in our rank, we never
marry except as our parents wish. Oh, I see you do
not believe me." Allen is silent. " What can I do to
" Marry me at all hazards," he says, quickly. " Stay.
I do not mean at once. I only ask your promise to do
so ; and that, only after I have tried every fair means
to get your father and mother's consent. That is not
so much. Will you promise ? "
A gleam of sunlight comes into her face, like the
sudden beam which darts forth from a dark and storm-
riven cloud, and illumines for the nonce, what before
was dark and desolate.
" I will ! There ! Are you satisfied ? "
He takes her in his arms, and holds her to his heart.
" I am, darling quite. And now, we can read the
telegram with less fear and trembling. At worst it will
be but a question of time."
His fingers do tremble, nevertheless, as he tears open
the envelope, and unfolds the paper within :
Not by a jugful. Come home, is all it says, but it is
enough for Allen.
" I don't understand," says Lady Edith, who reads
the obscure sentence with him. " It is some joke,
isn't it ? "
" I wish it were," Allen says, with a sigh. " Oh,
no, it is only too clear to me. It means this : that I
must go home without delay not because I am or-
dered, but because I see it is the only thing to do. I
am not disappointed. I knew he would answer so."
" He refuses, then," cries Lady Edith, bursting
into tears. " And and you must go away, all those
miles ? Oh, I can never let you do that."
" But, my darling," says Allen, " I must. Don't
you see it is the only thing to do ? I must do as he
bids me if I wish to please him, and never fear but I
shall be able to win him over. I must and I shall."
" But you won't stay long ? You will come back ?
Oh, promise me you will. I did not know how much
I loved you. I can not bear the thought of your going
away from me."
" Say that again and again to me, dearest. It turns
our misfortune into a happiness for me. But for this
I should not have known your love. That makes up
for every disappointment," and he holds her closer to
him. "And now," he says, presently, "I suppose I
must go and tell your father and mother."
" Oh, dear, what shall you tell them ? " Lady Edith
murmurs through her tears. " It seems all so hopeless
when one thinks of them."
" No, darling. Remember what you have promised
me. I shall tell them this : The reply is not so satis-
factory as I hoped, but that I can make it all right by
" I'm so afraid they will be rude to you."
" I shan't care if they are. The happiness of the
future will make ample amends for any unhappiness in
the present. Let us think of that."
When Allen tells Lord and Lady Oaktorrington of
his father's answer, couched in the modified terms he
has thought best to use, they are at first inclined to
show their resentment to him in a manner more marked
than by mere rudeness. After the first flash of ill-
temper and chagrin fades away, they take a philosophic
view of the situation, and see that Allen's return to
America is the best, nay, the only, thing to be
" Even if he doesn't succeed, it will get him out
of Edith's mind for I really believe the child is silly
enough to have feeling in the matter and that is
something to hope for, if he hasn't any money," Lady
Oaktorrington says, complacently, as she and the mar-
quis talk it over together. " I have sometimes thought,"
she adds in a whispered undertone, as if the walls had
ears to hear the treason to her class principles, " that
perhaps we are making a mistake in adhering so strongly
to the settlement, if there is so much difficulty. One
forgets the consul's telegram."
Lord Oaktorrington is already weary of the whole
subject, and is only too willing to dispose of it as easily
"Yes, suppose we do relax our demands give
up the settlement," he says. " Have no more
" And yet," says the marchioness, converted back
again as much by her husband's ready acquiescence,
as by the family considerations which arise in her mind,
" what would our relations say ? "
"Oh, bother them."
" It's easy to say that. But they have too much to
leave to make us indifferent to them. Not a farthing
should \ve get from anybody, if we broke through our
" Yes, I expect you are right," says Lord Oaktor-
rington, won over the instant money is suggested.
"You generally are."
" I know I am," Lady Oaktorrington replies. " Yes,
he must go."
And so on the following Saturday Allen sailed in
the " Umbria " from Liverpool for New York.
IT is the height of the London season. Town was
never fuller ; society never gayer ; the summer sky
never brighter; the season never better; Parliament
" The Marquis and Marchioness of Oaktorrington
and the Ladies Mary and Edith Vesey have ar-
rived at 999 Eaton Square from Ashwynwick Park,
Herts, for the season," announced the "Morning
Post " in its columns of " Fashionable News," on the
ist of May, and at 999 they are still.
On this particular June afternoon the inmates of
the said mansion are scattered. Lord Oaktorrington
is either at the Carlton Club in Pall Mall, a Horse
Show at Islington, Tattersall's, or (the odds on the
last) smoking cigarettes and shipping shandygaff with
Miss Valerie Trefusis of the Gaiety Theatre in the
honeysuckle-covered summer-house of a neat villa
near Lords' Cricket-Ground in St. John's Wood
Road; Lord Frederick Vesey, who is now M. P. for
Bridgeleigh, is playing in a cricket-match, at Hunting-
ton Oval, for his county against the " Players " ; Lady
Mary and Lady Edith have gone to a garden-party at
Marlborough House under the chaperonage of their
aunt the Duchess of Kensington ; and Lady Oaktor-
rington, kept indoors by a slight cold (of her own
manufacture) caught at Ascot on the cup day last week,
is sitting at her writing table in the drawing-room.
" My father has consented at last" she reads aloud
to herself for the dozenth time from a letter she holds
open in her hand, " to do all that you wish. I shall
leave at once for England, and take the first steamer
from New York I can get. At latest I should be with
you the end of this month, after which there need be no
further delay in the marriage. I am anxious it should
take place at once. I shall let you know by cable of my
sailing from New York. It's curious we haven't
heard, for there are only two days of June left," she
says, putting down the letter to consult the framed
calendar before her. " I hope there can be no new
trouble." Even as she speaks the butler enters with a
telegram on a silver waiter. It is from Allen, dated
Have just arrived here, it says, Will be in Lon-
don Thursday evening. No time to cable from New
York. Everything all right.
" Thursday ? That's to-morrow. Dear me, what
a relief it is to have this business arranged at last ! "
Lady Oaktorrington says, leaning back in her chair,
and folding her hands in her lap. "And to get Edith
so comfortably settled, with Maud coming on so fast !
Fancy two pass/e girls for next season ! It is not
quite the match I should have chosen for her, but one
can't pick and choose in these days like our mothers
used. He's as good as Grubbings the brewer's son, or
young Caper the pickle-maker's nephew, and they've
each married a duke's daughter within the month.
Dear me, no. He's most gentlemanlike and present-
able, I'm sure. What a sell it will be for the Bouver-
ies ! How I wish I could let them know. Yes, I
think I am quite safe in doing that now."
She reads the letter and telegram over again, put-
ting special emphasis on My father has consented at
last to do everything you wish and everything all right ',
to reassure herself, and then takes up her pen and
A marriage is arranged and will shortly take place
between Lady Edith Vesey, second daughter of the Mar-
quis and Marchioness of Oaktorrington, and Mr. Philip
Allen, of San Francisco, U. S. A.
She copies this, signs her name at the bottom of
each, addresses one to the " Morning Post " and the
other to the " Court Journal," rings the bell, and dis-
patches them to catch the afternoon post for the even-
ing's delivery. She has barely done so when Lady
Henry Tollemache is announced, followed shortly by
" Gone to Marlborough House, have they ? " Lady
Henry says. "I'm sorry now that I didn't go. But
really Tummy's parties are such dreadful crushes that
no one sees your frock however swell it is ; and then
they are so awfully mixed, don't you know. Fancy
Henry Irving and Toole were at the last I'm told. I
think that is carrying things a trifle too far, don't
you ? "
" I hope I'm not disloyal, dear, in saying so," says
Lady Oaktorrington, "but I'm not surprised at any-
thing the prince does. It's a great pity he doesn't
take a real interest in something useful. The army,
" He does. He's a field-marshal and I don't know
how many colonels of regiments," says Montie Vereker.
" Is he really ? "
" Oh, by-the-bye, I hear that Beyndour is going
out to the Soudan with the Camel Corps. Awful hard
lines to be dragged away in the middle of the season
like that, isn't it ? "
" It's a great shame, I think, the way men of rank
who go into the army are expected to rough it like
common people," says Lady Oaktorrington. " It's all
Lord Wolseley's fault, of course. He is a Radical, and
hates people whose titles are older than his. So he
has got up this Camel Corps as a special thing for
noblemen, and he's had it put into the papers in such
a way that they can't refuse to go into it. It was his
doing sending the Blues and Life Guards to Egypt.
Just fancy ! Regiments that hadn't left London since
Waterloo. I call it shameful. Don't you ? "
" Of course, I do. I'm sure he'll ruin the army if
he goes on. He'll drive gentlemen out of it."
" That he will. I know Beyndour was on the
point of sending in his papers a week or two ago, and,
several of his brother officers, as well as other men in
the Household Cavalry, were going to do the same,
when this Camel Corps was announced. Of course,
they couldn't leave then without all sorts of things be-
ing said about them, like what was said of the poor
Duke of Cambridge in the Crimea."
" What was that ! " asks Lady Henry. " That was
before my time."
" That he showed the white feather by coming
home on sick-leave in the most important part of the
campaign. They said he shammed illness to get
" The beasts ! Because he was a royalty of
" One can hardly blame them sometimes," says
Vereker. "Now look at Connaught. The Queen
wouldn't let him expose himself to any danger that
time at Tel-el-Kebir. He was kept safely in the line
of reserves, by her orders."
" But mightn't the reserves have been called upon,"
suggests the marchioness, loyally.
" They weren't, as a matter of fact ; and no doubt
Lord Wolseley knew they wouldn't be. Of course, as
I say, you can't blame people after that for talking."
'* But don't you think it's rather hard upon the
Duke of Connaught ? He had to obey the Queen's
" Oh, yes, it's very nice to put it in that way. It's
awfully jolly, though, to be a prince whose mother's
" Betty's a lady and wears a gold ring,
And Johnny's a drummer and drums for the king,"
sings Lady Henry. "By-the-by, talking of princes,
reminds me. They say Tummy had a most awful row
with the princess the other night because he danced
four times running with Miss Chancellor. Their voices
could be heard at the Marlborough Club having it out."
" How dreadful ! " cries the marchioness. " And
who is Miss Chancellor, pray? An actress?"
" Actress ? No. You don't know who Miss Chan-
cellor is ? You can't mean it. Why, she's the new
" I thought the young person they call the Jersey
Lily was," says Lady Oaktorrington.
" What, Mrs. Langtry ? Oh, she's done for herself
by going on the stage."
" Chancellor, did you say ? " asks the marchioness.
"Chancellor? I'm sure there is no peer with such a
" Oh, dear, no. She's not
' English, you know,"
sings Lady Henry. She's an American."
" Oh, I say, Lady Oaktorrington ! " Vereker calls
out suddenly, keeping his eye on Lady Henry, who
turns all sorts of colors. " Whatever became of that
hum that American gentleman you had staying with
you last year? "
" Do you mean Mr. Allen ? " Lady Oaktorrington
asks, drawing herself up.
" Yes. That was his name. Is he in England still,
do you know ? "
" No, he's not. But he soon will be. We expect
him to-morrow night."
" I'm so awfully sorry," Lady Henry says, rising
hurriedly, " but I've done a most awfully silly thing.
I've actually forgotten an engagement. I promised to
go to tea at Lady Darrell's, and I shall just be able to
get there before it's too late, if I start at once. You'll
forgive me for running away like this, I'm sure, dear
Lady Oaktorrington. By-the-by, are you going to the
Argenton's ball to-night ? Yes ? How awfully jolly.
They're dreadfully new, I know coronet smells of
paint, and all that, of course but they give awfully
swell balls, don't you know. Good-by."
" Poor thing," says Montie Vereker, as Lady Henry's
footsteps fade away down the broad staircase. " She's
irrevocably up a tree this time, I'm afraid. What!
You haven't heard ? Why, it's all over the clubs. Even
" Truth " had a very broad hint last week."
Lady Oaktorrington is as fond of a bit of scandal
as any one, for all her straight-laced ways before the
world's eyes. She pricks up her ears immediately.
" Pray tell me what it is."
" I'm rather afraid it's an awkward tale to recite in
a lady's hearing," Vereker goes on. " But if you don't
" Oh, no, I shan't mind in the least, only hurry, for
I expect Mary and Edith in every minute. Pray go
" Well, then, they say that Lord Henry has begun
proceedings for a divorce that is, the papers are not
filed in court, but they have been made out at his
solicitor's for some time, waiting to find the where-
abouts of one of the co-respondents."
" Then there are more than one ? How dreadful ! "
" Yes. Harborough "
" Oh, really," and there is a gleam of satisfaction in
Lady Oaktorrington's eyes. " One can't be surprised,
can one ? "
" No one can't. But you will be astonished when
I tell you that the other is just guess if you can I'll
give you three chances."
" Lord Swansdale ? "
" Sir Charles Chatfield ? "
" No. Once more."
" Colonel Delancy-Vere ? "
" No. It's your American friend Mr> Allen."
Lady Oaktorrington starts forward in her chair
and puts up both her hands, while the blood recedes
slowly from her face and leaves her pale and wan.
" Impossible," she gasps.
" Not a bit of it. t Only too true. And that's not
the worst of it. But fancy your not having heard !
Lord Oaktorrington and Beyndour must have known
it ages ago."
"They never tell one anything. Oh, I can't be-
lieve it. She only met him that one day at Ashwyn-
" It seems that that was quite enough. Lady
Henry is no dawdler, you know, and I believe
Americans are not given to being over slow on such
" You don't mean to say that she had the audacity
while under our roof to "
" I'm afraid I do."
Lady Oaktorrington falls back in her chair, her eyes
close, and her hands drop limp on her lap. Were it
not for the quivering eyelids Vereker would think she
had fainted. He is about to ring, but waits a minute
to make sure.
Lady Oaktorrington's eyes open again, slowly, and
she whispers, "Go on."
" There isn't much more to tell. It's the usual
thing servants. Lady Henry quarreled with her maid,
and then the maid went straight to Lord Henry. Har-
borough, it appears, he didn't mind so much. It's such
an old story with him, and as a co-respondent he's
rather threadbare. But he couldn't stand the Ameri-
can that was too much for his sensitive nerves. The
evidence, I believe, is pretty conclusive, one of the chief
corroborating circumstances being that Lady Henry's
pocket-handkerchief an elaborate lace one was
found in the pocket of Allen's dress-coat by the foot-
man who brushed his clothes. He bagged it at once,
and gave it to Lady Henry's maid as a present from
himself. She twigged it all in a moment, and has kept
it ever since. Then, among Lady Henry's letters,
which she received at Ashwynwick, and which her
maid regularly opened, was one inclosing, in a blank
sheet of paper, a check on Smith, Payne, and Smith's
bank for two hundred pounds. He thought himself
awfully sharp in not writing to her, but the check can
always be proved at the bank."
" Of course, it will all come out in the papers," cries
Lady Oaktorrington aghast, as she thinks of her two
letters gone to the post. " What a fool I was," she
thinks, " to be so hasty ! But it may not be too late
to stop them."
She makes a dash at the bell and rings it.
" I wonder what the deuce is up now ? " thinks
" Yes, m'lady, George posted them directly," the
butler tells her.
She throws herself into a chair. " What am I to
do ? What is to be done ? " she inwardly exclaims,
twisting her fingers together. " Poor dear Edith ! Oh,
what a fool I was ! I ought to have known better than
to rely on a foreigner. How disgraceful of him ! Of
course, it is not true ? " she asks Vereker, who has been
watching her narrowly, and thinks he can guess the
cause of her perturbation.
"Ah, only too true, I'm afraid," he says, with a
cruel glitter in his eyes. " Of course, that's the reason
she wasn't asked to Tummy's garden-party. I could
hardly help laughing outright when she said she didn't
care to go."
" Oh, I don't mean about her. I mean about Mr.
"Didn't you see her confusion and haste to get
away when you said he was coming to-morrow ? She
thinks it will all come out now."
" Yes of course of course," Lady Oaktorrington
cries, in piteous tones.
" You seem to take your friend's difficulty a good
deal to heart," Vereker says, carelessly.
" I do." A sudden thought brings salve to her
wounds. " I wish we could get him out of it. Is
Lord Henry in town ? " She leans forward eagerly
with the look of a drowning man, who thinks he sees
a straw within reach.
" Yes. I saw him at the opera last night." Then,
after a pause. " You are thinking of interceding with
him in behalf of your friend ? It will be quite useless,
I assure you. Between you and I, his real object is to
get money. He doesn't care a farthing about his wife's
honor, and all that sort of thing. He's most awfully
hard up, as everybody knows, and he thinks to get a
lot of money out of this American, who is said to be
" All the better," thinks Lady Oaktorrington, smil-