is conscious that, however unwarrantable and lacking
in the first principles of hospitality has been the be-
havior of his entertainers, his conduct as a guest ac-
cepting their food and shelter has been equally atro-
cious. Not only has he overstepped in one sudden
stride the limits of the common proprieties of polite
society, but he has oh, spirit of chivalry within him !
measured lengths with and treated with rudeness
a woman. He feels that he has not merely disgraced
himself but his country. His sense of degradation and
humiliation is deep, and his eyes once more seek those
of her whose displeasure, if not loss of respect, he is
confident he has incurred, that he may look, if he can
not speak, the contrition he feels. He has expected
to find indignation and disgust written in her every
feature ; but great is his relief, supreme his joy, to find
she is regarding him with a soft, regretful gaze, that
says as plain as words can speak, " I am so sorry, oh,
do forgive me."
Naturally no one replies to the question which forms
the terminal point of his remarkable speech. An awk-
ward constrained silence ensues, which is broken by
Lady Oaktorrington rising with her daughters from the
" I think I shall go, too," Lord Beyndour says, and
follows his mother and sisters to the door.
Allen holds the door open for them, and as they pass
out Lady Oaktorrington smiles kindly at him, and says :
" Don't let Freddy keep you too long. We shall
expect you in the drawing-room very soon."
He needs no appeasing or mollifying, yet while he
is grateful for the kind, unresentful speech which
smooths over much that had seemed awkward and
difficult for him in the immediate future, he can not
but wish that the marchioness's " soft word " had been
" Look here, old chap," Freddy says, as soon as
the door is shut " Sit down and have a glass of wine.
And don't you bother about this little tiff."
" I'm awfully ashamed of myself," Allen answers.
" I don't know what to do about it. I ought to apolo-
gize to your mother, of course."
" Nonsense, man. You'll do nothing of the sort.
You were quite right to stick up for your country, and
it's a deuced shame for Edith. But mother will give
her a good rowing for it, don't you fear, when she gets
" I'm sure I hope she won't. I don't in the least
mind her, and it was most absurd of me to get angry
about such a trifle. It's your brother who riles me.
He's got such an irritating, insulting manner, and it
was his fault that I said what I did."
" Oh, he's a beast. He goes on that way with every-
body who is not one of his own particular pals. It's
not only you. He's cordially hated about here. You
see, he's the eldest son, and everything will belong to
him some day, so he gives himself airs in advance.
Like enough, he'll clear out to-morrow. I hope he
will. Sure you won't have anything more? Well,
then, let's go to the drawing-room."
WHEN Lord Frederick and Allen get to the draw-
ing-room, Lady Oaktorrington and her daughters are
having tea. The marchioness and Lady Mary are in
arm-chairs on each side of the fire, with their cups in
their hands, while Lady Edith sits far away by herself
on the end of a sofa in a distant part of the room.
Lord Beyndour is nowhere to be seen.
Lady Oaktorrington beckons Allen to a chair be-
side her :
" I have been giving Edith a good scolding for that
rude, silly remark of hers to you," she says, in a con-
fidential undertone. " I refrained from noticing it and
reproving her at the time, because I didn't wish to
draw the attention of the servants to it more than it
was already. One can not be too careful what one
says or does before servants. She is very much
ashamed of herself, as you may see."
" I am so sorry you should have said anything to
pain her," Allen replies, and his heart aches at the
thought. " It was really too absurd cf me to get so
cross about it, and I am the one \vho should feel
" It was really too absurd of her to say such a thing.
Why, we know loads of American ladies. There is
Lady Rudolph Campbell, and Lady Sanduval, and
Mrs. Alfred Dodget, and Lady Haskell, and a score
of others, all countrywomen of yours, and most charm-
ing ones they are. Ladies in America ? The idea of
such a question ! "
Her ladyship's indignation would strike Allen as
more sincere and consistent, did he not remember her
own slurring observations about American society
within a couple of hours. It is pretty evident to him
that for some reason she has thought it advisable to
take the opposite tack all of a sudden, and his belief
in that respect is in no way lessened when she adds :
" You mustn't mind Beyndour. What he says and
does seems uncivil, I dare say. But he doesn't mean
them. It's only his way only chaff."
"Indeed. Where is he?"
" He said he'd go for a pipe to the smoking-room,
and then go to bed, as he was very tired."
It is a quarter to ten by the chimney-piece clock.
" He's an invalid, is he not ? "
" An invalid ? Dear me, no. What made you think
that ? "
" Oh, I don't know exactly. I seem to have got
the idea somehow."
After that Allen lets the conversation flag, and
finally, after a pause of three minutes, he gets up and
saunters over to Lady Edith's sofa. She is leaning
back with her eyes shut, but opens them as he ap-
" Oh, you mustn't come over here," she says, quick-
ly, in a low voice, " and talk to me by myself."
" And why not, pray."
" Mother won't like it."
" If that's the only reason, I'm willing to risk her
" Oh, please go back. It's not our way in England,
I assure you."
" But it's our way in America my way, at all
" That doesn't matter. We're not in America."
" I wish to Heaven we were."
" I'm sure I don't. Will you go, please ? There's
" Is she, really, for a fact ? "
" Yes, she is. She'll be awfully cross with me.
She's given me one scolding already to-night on your
account, and I don't want another."
" Yes, I heard about it. I'm so awfully sorry. I've
come to ask forgiveness."
" I think you ought to, indeed. Aren't you going?
It's most unkind of you to stay when I ask you not."
" Is it? I am unkind sometimes, people say."
" Oh, will you go ? "
" No, I won't. There."
" Not when I ask you ? Won't you do what I
" N yes if you ask anything else."
" I hate to have men talk to me. I never let them."
" But you will me."
" You ? " with haughty disdain. " Of all people ! "
Allen is an old hand in the business, and he knows
as well as most men, how much value to place on what
he calls " female preliminary skittishness." But some-
how this last remark rather staggers him. A man
will stand a good deal of rebuff if his self-love isn't
" Can she really mean it ? " he asks himself, as the
first flush of wounded pride fades out of his face. His
self-love is not so badly hurt that it can not come to
his rescue. " No ; how could she ? I'll try again.
Thanks for the compliment."
" What compliment ? "
" Then you didn't intend it for one?"
" If it was for you, certainly not. Please go."
" I ought to feel very proud."
" What of, pray ? "
" Your good opinion of me."
" If that's all you have to be proud of, I'm afraid
" Then you have a good opinion of me ! Thanks,
a thousand times."
" There ! I saw mother look over and frown.
She's in an awful rage."
As a matter of fact Lady Oaktorrington has been
taking in the scene through the side of her eye with a
smile of satisfaction. It is all one to her which of her
daughters it is to be, and she has already settled that
Lady Mary shall fall to the Duke of Harborough.
" Do you hear me ? Mother's in an awful rage
" Is she ? I hope she'll soon recover."
" How you try me ! If you were an Englishman I
shouldn't have to ask you twice."
" I've no doubt of that. They are awfully behind
the times in this sort of thing, American girls say."
" What sort of thing ? I don't know what you
" Don't you ? How queer ! "
" Oh, now you're talking rubbish. I wish you'd
go. I was so comfortable before you came bothering
" Oh, very well, then. I'll go," and he makes the
slightest step backward.
" I'm so glad," she says, with her tongue, but in
pleading eyes and quivering lips, never did woman
more plainly look " stay ! "
Allen's heart gives a great big throb and a bound
into his throat. Without a word, he seats himself
quickly on the sofa beside her.
" Oh, please don't do that. That's worse than ever.
Get up, please. See, mother is complaining to Freddy
about it. There'll be an awful row, you'll see. You
don't seem to understand."
" No, I confess I don't. I've heard of English
mothers being strict with their daughters, but I didn't
think it went to the length of forbidding their being
spoken to by a gentleman in their own house, with
their mother close by. Is she afraid I'll carry you off,
eat you up, before her face and eyes ? I do not won-
der," he adds, softly, while a tender look creeps into
his eyes, " that she should consider my temptation to
do either so great as to be almost impossible to with-
" If you talk like that I must go away myself. Oh,
dear, I know they are talking about us, for I just saw
them both look over here."
"He is really very nice," Lady Oaktorrington is
saying to Freddy, "and we must not let Beyndour
quiz him any more. I'm so glad you brought him,
dear. He seems quite taken with Edith. She might
" Do worse ? I should think so. His father's got
I don't know how many millions."
" Does he depend solely on his father ? Has he
no money of his own ? " she asks, quickly, as a shade
crosses her features.
" I don't really know. I suppose so. Sons don't
have regular settled allowances in America as they do
here, but their fathers give them what they want, and pay
up their bills, and all that. They generally start them
in some business give 'em the capital to begin, don't
you see. Allen doesn't seem to be in any business
that I ever heard him mention. But you see he's an
only child, so it isn't likely his father will want him to
work at anything. He's got no one else to leave his
" How do you know these things, my dear ? "
" What things ? American usages ? "
" No, no. About this Mr. Allen's means, and his
" How do I know them ? " Freddy asks, not with-
out some suddenly raised inward misgivings himself.
" Why, if you come to that, I don't know anything, ex-
cept what I've heard."
" What ! Hasn't he ever said anything about
them himself? " and Lady Oaktorrington's voice, held
in check through fear of being overheard, attains the
shrill treble of a bargaining fishwife. " What then
made you suppose his father was so rich ? " Her
breath comes and goes with suppressed anxiety as she
awaits the answer.
" Eh ? A man I met in the train told me, a man
from California, who knew all about the Aliens."
" And is that all you had to base your your assur-
ance upon in bringing him here? A nice state of
affairs, truly ! A man under our roof by our own in-
vitation, that we positively know nothing about, and
who, for all we know, may be a penniless chimney-
" He looks like a chimney-sweep, doesn't he ? "
Freddy answers, quietly. " No, he's not that."
" Well, an adventurer of some sort, a nobody with-
out a farthing in his pocket, and nothing to his name
but the clothes on his back, and a glib tongue in his
head. Your father was right. He was all against his
coming. And so was Beyndour. What shall we do ? "
" Nothing. Let things remain as they are. I'm
morally certain you'll find he's all right. You see, I
got into the American way of looking at things while I
was there. They don't care for mcney as we do. If
a man's clever and behaves himself, and pays his way
that's enough for them. They don't run about fussing
to know what money he's got before they are civil to
him. Certainly Allen is all that. He's clever, he be-
haves himself, and he has paid his way not only his
own, but mine, since I met him. Don't forget that.
He must have money to do that. Just wait. Don't
act in haste and repent at leisure. I'll tell you what
I'll do. There's a man who came over in the " Etruria "
with us who was a great swell on board. He was from
San Francisco, and he's at the Metropole. He's sure
to know all about the Aliens, and I'll just run up to
town to-morrow, and find out from him. In the
mean time "
"I'll stop that at all events. Edith dear, it is past
eleven. Come, dear."
"Didn't I tell you?" Lady Edith says, as she
catches a glimpse of her mother's face, and believes
she is offended at her for having been conversing with
Allen. " I knew how it would be."
" Good night, Mr. Allen," Lady Oaktorrington says,
in such an icy tone and with such a frosty look that
Allen thinks Lady Edith was right after all.
He fancies, too, that Freddy is rather awkward and
preoccupied with him as they have a brandy-and-soda
and a cigarette together in the smoking-room before
going to bed.
"What curious people these aristocrats are ! " he
says to himself. " Imagine any one being offended at
a trifle like that ! "
Lady Oaktorrington lies awake on mental pins and
needles, wondering how she shall ever be able to hold
up her head again before the marquis if he finds it
out. " But why need he find it out ? " she asks herself
as the clocks strike three. " How can he find it out
unless I tell him ? Shall I ? I must think about it
The last words that Lady Edith says before she
drops asleep are those which she has been saying to
herself all the evening : " What a fool I was to send
that telegram ! "
NEXT morning Lord Frederick breakfasts before
any of the others are down, and goes up to town by an
early train on his mission of inquiry, leaving as a rea-
son for his hasty departure that his father had tele-
graphed to him to meet him in London. As not only
the Bouveries, but several other guests arrive at Ash-
wynwick, Lady Oaktorrington has not as much time
to sit and brood over what she is pleased to regard as
the "misfortune which has befallen the family," as she
otherwise would have had. She nevertheless devotes
every moment she can spare to a mental rtsumJ of the
pros and cons of the case as they suggest themselves
to her. A dozen times does she go over the same
ground and arrive at the same conclusion, only to
begin again, follow out the old course of reasoning,
and reach the identical determination once more, viz.,
to wait until she hears from Freddy and not to say a
word about it to Lord Oaktorrington when he comes
" It will be no use to tell him," she argues. " It
would only make a row, and I should never be able to
hold my own with him again. It will be dreadfully hard
to wear the mask of civility to this man Allen, believing
him all the time to be an impostor. But if difficult now
when I only suspect his worthlessness, how will it be
when I know it, should Freddy return with an adverse
report, for even then it must be kept a secret from my
husband. Was ever woman tormented so ! "
There is a formal, chilling, silent breakfast. The
overnight's frost having broken into a southwest wind
and drizzling rain, Lord Beyndour and Lady Mary
come to the table in " pink " and habit, eat in silence
(beyond a few interchanges of sentiment on horses,
etc.), and depart hurriedly for the meet at the Crown
and Castle Inn. Lady Oaktorrington though polite is
cold and monosyllabic in her replies to Allen, the only
one who tries to talk. He gets no more encourage-
ment from Lady Edith, who, under her mother's eye,
never oversteps the constrained decorum of the high-
Breakfast over, Lady Oaktorrington says :
"Edith, come to my room with me. There are
several invitations to answer," and Allen, who learns
by the merest accident that Freddy has gone to town,
is left solitary and alone to his own devices. It is true
that the marchioness hesitates half-way up the stairs
as she thinks of the plate there is about in the dining-
room. Beyond that she gives no thought to the for-
lorn condition in which she leaves her stranger guest.
On one pretext or another she keeps Lady Edith with
her all the morning, the arrival of Lady Henry Tolle-
mache, who comes, accompanied by her maid, just
before luncheon, driving over from the station in
a fly covered with boxes, causing the first inter-
Lady Henry is a " Frisky " of the most approved
pattern. She is young (about seven and twenty),
pretty, and bright as a new sixpence ; always dressed
in the latest fashion, and thoroughly self-possessed.
" I have no patience with shy women," she fre-
quently says. " But fancy a shy man ! Ach ! / don't
know what the word means."
And she is right. She doesn't. She is the daugh-
ter of a Yorkshire baronet, and the wife of a clerk
in the Foreign Office, who is withal a younger son of
the fabulously rich Duke of Westmoreland, a peer who
doesn't believe in idle sons, notwithstanding his wealth,
to his credit be it spoken.
Lord Henry Tollemache is a young man of fashion,
one year his wife's senior, good-looking, loquacious (as
all Foreign Office understrappers are), and fast. One
year after marriage he decided to go his own way and
let his wife go hers, and he has kept his word. That
she has gone her way almost to the jumping-off point,
is no secret. How far beyond that no one knows yet.
As a matter of fact the number of times she has been
upon the threshold of the divorce court she can not
count upon the fingers of both her little, well-shaped
hands, and people say it is only a question of time
when she gets dragged inside the door. In the mean
time she is asked and goes about here, there, and
everywhere a welcome guest in every house worth
visiting in England. They have a house in town her
husband and herself ; in Hill Street, Mayfair, it is ; a
little bijou of a house. But it is let most of the year,
and she and Lord Henry seldom meet except by the
merest chance at a ball in town during the season, or
at a country-house during the winter. Lady Henry
knows every one worth knowing, many of her closest
and dearest friends never having seen her husband,
and is full to the brim of the slang, gossip, and scandal
of the hour. Lord Henry and she have about three
thousand a year between them, counting everything ;
and there are some ill-natured old dowagers with
marriageable daughters fast approaching spinsterhood,
who will tell you that her dress must cost double that,
and look a large-sized? when they add : "Where does
the rest come from ?"
But all the same, though she is cordially hated by
women she is ardently admired by men. That she is
considered an addition of great value to every house
party is shown by the number of invitations she re-
ceives ; and that she is altogether a charming person
is the verdict of every one who meets her.
"So good of you, dear Lady Oaktorrington," she
tells the marchioness after the first interchanges of
greeting. "I am always so very happy here. I've
just come on from the Stanvilles' Wixstead Abbey,
you know and though they had no end of things
going on all over the shop from morning till night,
don't you know, and two men for every woman (sotto
voce^ the correct thing, you know), yet it was most
awfully slow and dull. They're going to have ' Tum-
my ' down next month, and have grand doings, and
perhaps then it will be more lively. They asked me
to meet his Royal Highness, but I don't think I shall
go. One doesn't care to go, don't you know, without
the princess. One can't, in fact. You see, the Stan-
villes are so awfully new. The old chap only got his
peerage during the summer, and they say he began life
as a pawnbroker's clerk, and got on to be a great
money-lender in the city. You'd be surprised to hear
the swells he has yet in his books, for he keeps on the
business, they say, under a different name. That's the
way he got his peerage, you know. I won't mention
names, of course, but two members of the Cabinet owed
him such a lot of money, and they threatened to resign
unless he was made a peer. You see they squared
their bills in that way. I call it shameful, don't you ? "
Lady Henry stops at last to breathe.
" One isn't surprised at anything in these days,
my dear," says Lady Oaktorrington. "But fancy
the prince staying with such people ! "
" Oh, he goes wherever he's sure to get good drinl:
and meet pretty women. I expect any day to hear
he's visiting Poole, the tailor, or Cross and Blackwell,
or Marshall and Snellgrove. It's only a matter of
proper bait for the hook they throw."
" It's too bad of him. How can he expect us to
keep up the dignity of the higher classes when he does
such things ? "
"How, indeed? By-the-by, I hear you have an
American staying with you."
Lady Oaktorrington gives a start at being brought
thus suddenly back to a subject which she had for the
" Oh, yes. A friend of Freddy's."
" How awfully jolly. I think Americans are such
capital fun, don't you know. They say such odd
things, and seem so pleased with everything. It's as
good as going to Moore and Burgess's Minstrels to
meet one, don't you think ? "
" I really can't say. I never met one before. That
is to say, a man."
"I was going to say I thought you knew Lady Ru-
dolph Campbell. Of course you do. Isn't she awfully
sweet, and she dresses so well."
"How on earth, dear, did you know we had an
American here ? " Lady Oaktorrington asks, after
casting about in her mind unsuccessfully for a
" Oh, let me see. Yes. Lord Bouverie told me.
I met him at the Saturday Pop."
" Really ? Tiresome old fool, how did he know ? "
she adds to herself.
"He's awfully rich so he said."
" Y yes, I believe so."
" What ? Don't you know ? "
An idea fraught with much relief to her distressed
mind suddenly strikes the marchioness.
" Oh, of course he is. I was only joking. He's
" I thought you must be. And nice, too, is he ? "
" I think so. But you can find that out for your-
self at luncheon."
"And that reminds me. I must go and get ready."
" That's not a bad idea," Lady Oaktorrington says
to herself, as five minutes later she follows Lady Henry
up the stairs and goes to her boudoir in search of
Lady Edith. She is not there. The marchioness rings
the bell, and orders her maid to tell Lady Edith she
wishes to speak to her. In five minutes the woman
comes back and says :
" Lady Edith is not to be found, m'lady. She
must have gone out."
" Gone out ? "
" Yes, m'lady."
" Send Lady Edith's maid, Scovill, to me."
When Scovill comes she knows no more than any
one else, except that her young mistress's hat, walking-
boots, and sealskin jacket are missing. The conclusion
is, therefore, irresistible that Lady Edith has gone out.
But where ? And why ? Never before has Lady Oak-
torrington known her to do such a thing unattended.
" It all comes of having this this Yankee advent-
urer in the house ! " she exclaims, throwing herself
into a chair, when Scovill is gone. " He has been
undermining her principles already with his independ-
ent, rubbishy, democratic ideas. Fancy, before the
servants! What must they think? I can't make a
scene by sending after her. But just wait ! "
No sooner has Lady Oaktorrington gone down to
receive Lady Henry Tollemache than Lady Edith, for
the first time released from her mother's eye since
breakfast, walks to the window of the boudoir and
looks out. The rain has stopped, and broken clouds
are flying across the sky before a fresh, warm, south
wind. Every now and then the sun peeps out, throw-
ing long shadows across the grass-lawn beneath the
window, and changing the dingy rain-drops which
hang upon the outer sash into sparkling diamonds.
The sparrows chirp gleefully in the ivy, and a venture-
some thrush or two hop hither and thither in search of
the worms which come up in earthy circles to the sur-
face of the lawn every minute. As she looks out it
seems a sin to be stewing in-doors on such a day, she
thinks, and she feels as though a breath of out-of-door