air would do her head good, for it has been aching
badly ever since breakfast. She watches Lady Henry's
fly drive away down the avenue until it is lost in a
distant turn, and she wishes she was the driver any-
body who has his liberty.
" If I had any one to go with me," she says. " Yet
why shouldn't I go alone ? What harm ? I know
mother will be dreadfully cross about it if she knows.
But need she know ? " She sees the figure of a man
walking slowly up the avenue. "Who can it be?"
Her heart begins to beat faster. " Yes, I really believe
it is him" At that moment one of the under-garden-
ers crosses the lawn with a lawn-mower. " I'll just
run out and speak to Bridges about planting those
bulbs from Carter's. There can surely be no harm
In three minutes she is dressed and out upon the
crunching gravel of the drive. The under-gardener
" How tiresome of him ! " she says. " I can't go
back now. Perhaps he has gone this way."
Taking a side-path to avoid passing the drawing-
room windows, she gains in a roundabout way the iron
gate which opens from the grounds about the house
into the avenue, and lets herself out. Not a soul is to
be seen, nor a sound to be heard except the cawing of
the rooks as they circle about the bare tops of the
lime-trees. She walks on and on and on, at every
step thinking she hears an approaching footfall, at
every turn expecting to see an advancing figure. She
gets within sight of the lodge, and knows she is almost
a mile from the house. She looks at her watch.
Quarter past twelve. She must retrace her steps
at once or she will be late for luncheon, and her
mother know what she has been doing. A carriage
drives up to the lodge-gates and waits to be let in.
Whoever it is will see her as they pass, and that
would never do. Leaving the avenue she runs
quickly across the grass until she gains the friendly
shelter of a clump of deodaras, and sits down, out
of breath, to rest herself upon a bench under their
" How unlucky I am ! First to have been foolish
enough to come out, and then not to see er Bridges,
and last of all to be driven over here by that tiresome
carriage. I wonder who it is ? "
She becomes conscious of the smell of tobacco-
smoke, and before she can realize what it means, Allen,
hat in hand, is standing before her.
" This is a surprise. I would add what we say in
America and observe that ' mother will be pleased,"
but that I know the opposite sentiment to pleasure
would be hers could she view this interesting scene."
He stands smiling as the bright color which her
recent exercise has brought into her cheeks fades
slowly away before his gaze.
" I I really upon my word, one doesn't know
where to go to avoid you one is safe nowhere."
This is what she says to him after coming out to
see er Bridges, the under-gardener.
He is really rebuffed at last. The events of the
morning have in no way sweetened his temper. Not
only have they had a dampening effect upon his spirits,
but they have made him peculiarly sensitive to further
indignity from these people whether affected or not.
He is tired of this incessant dissimulation, if such it
be ; and if it be unassumed it is time he accepted it
at its true value. In either case he would go. He
turns upon his heel without a word and walks away.
He has not taken a dozen strides when he hears: " Mr.
Allen ! Don't go, please." .In a moment he is by her
side again. He stands waiting for her to say some-
thingone, two, three minutes they seem hours. She
sits complacently looking down at the ground. At
last he says,
She looks up with a start.
" What you here ? I thought you had gone."
He grinds his teeth with very vexation.
"Why, you called me back."
" Did I ? When ? "
"Just this moment. How can you go on like
"Like what? I don't understand you."
"You know perfectly well what I mean."
" I'm sure I do not. I really thought you had gone.
Why don't you go ? "
As he turns quickly from her he sees in her eyes
the look of the night before. The same pleading, un-
happy, yearning look, as she bends slightly forward
and puts up one hand in silent supplication. What is
he to do? He is a man who thinks he understands
women as well as most men. He has certainly had
experience enough to make him a fair judge. He has
always known just what to do with them, but this time
he acknowledges himself nonplussed. The conscious-
ness of his superior strength and her weakness the
recollection that he is a man and she a woman in
short, his innate spirit of chivalry, comes to his aid,
and molds his will. He will obey her.
As she sees him waver and remain, the old, placid
look of indifference comes back into her eyes ; but he
heeds it not.
" I know you wish me to remain," he says, hoarsely,
" although you do not say so. Stay ! Hear me out.
For no other woman on earth would I do so for no
other woman on earth would I submit to be treated in
this childish fashion."
In the frame of mind in which he is, he gives un-
due weight and importance to what at any other time
would seem the veriest trifles. What man does not
remember how it is when the glamor is on him?
Allen at last finds himself in the plight in which it has
heretofore been his experience to see, and his pleasure
to leave the other party. In fine, the boot is on the
other leg this time, and would that a certain score or
more of American girls, who for his sake are wearing
gowns of the willow pattern, were here to see.
" You do not answer you do not speak. Have
you nothing to say ? "
She looks up with a face of utter unconcern, though
(did he but see it) there is a happy, restful, satisfied
light in her eyes, underneath the mask she shows him.
" No. What should I say ? "
" Something anything only speak. Let me hear
the sound of your voice."
At that moment the wind wafts to them the " three-
quarter " chimes from the clock in the stable-tower.
" Dear me ? It is a quarter to one. We shall be
dreadfully late for luncheon as it is, and won't mother
make a row ! "
" She is likely to do that in any event ; it doesn't
matter how long we are."
" Indeed it does to me. And look ! Another
shower is coming up and I've no umbrella. I must
really go at once. Oh, no no no," as Allen starts
on beside her. " You mustn't come. Fancy what
would be said ! I believe my mother would turn me
out of the house if I was seen walking with you."
Unaccustomed to the strict usages of the English
aristocracy, and judging everything by the customs of
his own country, Allen takes this speech as a fresh
insult. He flushes scarlet to the roots of his hair.
"And what have I done, pray, that it would be
such an overwhelming disgrace for you to be seen
walking with me ? " he asks in a trembling voice.
ARISTOCRACY. 9 !
" Done ? Nothing. What do you mean ? "
" I mean that there must be some reason why you
refuse to have me walk with you. I know there is, but
what it is I no more know than the Czar of all the Rus-
sias. I can not at all understand it. I have come to your
house as an invited guest, and am received with much
cordiality by your mother. I have not been in the
house twenty-four hours before I am treated with the
most barefaced, indecent, brutal, aristocratic rudeness
rudeness so studied and high-toned in its display that
it is difficult to lay hold of it, and say just what it is.
But I know it. I see it. Your mother is as different
to me as two women can be. She bade me good-night
like an iceberg last night, and she never spoke a word
to me at breakfast this morning, except to answer in
'Yeses,' and ' Nos,' and 'Ohs,' and 'Reallys/ what-
ever I said to her. Your brother and sister go out
hunting after asking me to join them ; Freddy goes to
London without saying a word to me, and you are
afraid to walk with me. What does it all mean?
Something. But what that something is I am as igno-
rant of as "
" The Czar of all the Russias," she cries, laughing
at his vehemence. Instead of being angry, her use of
his former simile to fill the present hiatus seems to
strike his fancy, and he joins heartily in her laugh.
" I wonder you are not too much out of breath to
laugh after that tirade," she says. " I'm afraid you
are dreadfully sensitive. You imagine people are rude
when they are not. You wouldn't want people to be
hugging and kissing you all day, would you ? "
" That would depend so much on who the people
were. I only expect to be treated with common
civility. Why, I tell you a good average American
Indian would be ashamed to behave to a stranger as
your mother is behaving to me without the faintest
" Oh, your disgraceful conduct in the drawing-room
last night is sufficient cause. I told you how it would
be. You forget that."
" I don't believe it nor do you. Now, you will
pardon me, I know, if I say this : I am not a fool "
" I suppose I must forgive you for saying that," and
she laughs again. " It's natural you should think so."
" Oh, no, don't turn everything I say into ridicule,"
and he is getting ready to mount his high horse again.
" I am serious. What I mean is this : Your mother
at first was all for my talking to you last night, and
this morning she is just the other way."
He is afraid he has gone too far, and he watches
her face narrowly to catch the first sign of indignation
it may show. Instead of that, as if by the touch of
some magician's wand, it turns from an expression of
levity to one of stern, settled obstinacy. The word
" rebellion " is written in large letters over every feat-
" Are you sure of this ? " she asks, in a quiet, serious
" Why didn't you tell me before ? "
" How could I ? I had no chance."
She thinks to herself a minute or two, and bites her
lips nervously. Then she says :
" You may walk home with me. Come."
LADY EDITH and Allen, both occupied with their
own thoughts, walk on side by side across the grass
and among the park trees for some minutes in silence.
Each is following out a train of thought, and Allen is
the first to arrive at a conclusion. As they leave the
grass and step into the broad roadway of the avenue,
he stops short.
" I don't think I shall go any farther with you," he
says, decisively. " It is better not."
" What ! After begging me to let you, and my giv-
ing in to please you ? So like a man ! You're afraid
of the consequences," and Lady Edith gives a slight
" Yes, I am for you."
" Oh, pray don't think of me."
" Yes, I must. I didn't quite realize the situation
in all its bearings at first ; but I see now what it would
bring upon you. No ; for the sake of ten minutes
more alone with you I can not subject you to the con-
sequences of what it would entail. I am not so ut-
" Nonsense. I don't mind. At all events, you can
walk on as far as the iion gate. We shan't be seen
from the house until we get there, if we keep close un-
der the trees on this side."
There is more silence as they walk on, and then
Allen' says :
" Yes, I've made up my mind. I shall go at once."
" Oh, we're not half-way to the gate yet."
" I mean leave here leave the house."
As he says this, and before Lady Edith can answer,
the rumble of wheels comes from the direction of the
house, and before they have time to escape to the
grass again and get out of sight behind a tree, a one-
horse fly rounds a bend and comes toward them. As
it turns out it is the carriage which Lady Edith saw at
the gate, returning empty after leaving some one at the
" This is most opportune," Allen continues. " I
shall keep it to take me to the station."
" You are not in earnest ? " she asks, quickly.
" Indeed I am."
" Going to run away and leave me to face it all
alone ! That is your idea of manliness, is it ? "
" No, it is not. But my going will so gratify your
mother, that she will quite overlook your being late
for luncheon and unable to account for it."
" Oh, I shall be able to account for it, no fear."
" I'll tell her I turned on my ankle getting over a
stile. It will be rather a bore, though, having to keep
up a limp for the rest of the day, but there is no way
Allen is regarding her with eyes full of wonder and
regret. He is no " prig " ; there is no man less one,
as his rousing Saturday-night stag-parties in Frisco
can amply testify. He doesn't mind or question what
a woman is if she be but truthful. That is his one
hobby, his single requirement in woman given, of
course, that she be fairly, reasonably well-looking to
" Pray don't say that," he says, earnestly.
" Why not ? "
" Because it is not true."
" Rubbish ! Who is to find out ? Who will know ? "
It is neither Allen's custom nor inclination to preach.
He is one of the last men in the world to lay down
rules for anybody except himself, and he has never
cultivated the habit of inveighing against vice or ex-
tolling virtue. But it is doubtful if a sermon, couched
in the most elaborate diction, and embellished with the
most ornate verbiage of some acknowledged ecclesi-
astical light of the Established Church, could have ap-
pealed more eloquently and directly to Lady Edith's
sense of right than this single, earnestly-spoken word.
She reddens and bites her lip, and looks confused, as
the monition goes straight home to her heart. But the
taint of worldliness, the baneful influence of a life of
daily association with high-bred artifice and dissimula-
tion, where self-interest is the paramount, if not only
sentiment, taught and fostered and encouraged by fre-
quent example, is too deeply rooted in her nature to
be shattered by one blow. She is not to be won over
by a word.
" Dear me, how particular we are to be sure ! I
am sure I can not see the faintest harm in shielding
protecting one's self against injustice."
" By just means yes. But is deception just ? "
" Yes. Under some circumstances."
" You are a sophist, and I do not wonder. The
life of the average English aristocrat is one of sophis-
try, pure and simple. In everything he does his con-
clusion is drawn from false premises ; he finds a jus-
tifiable reason and excuse for the most mean and petty,
the most dishonorable and unprincipled actions. His
sole aim and object in life is the conservation of him-
self as an individual member of a certain class and
through him of that class in the aggregate. To this
end it matters not what he does, so long as he can jus-
tify it on the ground of class custom, usage, mainte-
nance, or protection. He is always doing (or willing to
do) evil that good may come in the cause of his class."
" I'm afraid you'll think me very stupid, but I can't
quite follow or understand all you say. You see, I
have never heard anything we do questioned or criti-
cised by any one."
" No. I dare say not. Not even in the pulpit.
The clergy know too well on which side their bread is
buttered, to have them admonish the nobility of their
" I expect you are quite right. I really never
thought about it much. One sees every one do just
the same. But, of course, when one looks at it prop-
erly, it must be all wrong."
" It is all wrong, and it is the easiest thing in the
world to fall into such ways one's self without being
aware of it. Now, I myself, with all my talk, was
going to do a mean, dishonest thing, a minute ago, cal-
culated to deceive and .mislead. I have changed my
mind ; I will walk on with you to the house. And then
but I declare if the fly hasn't driven past and gone
without my knowing it."
" I don't wonder," Lady Edith says, with a smile.
" I saw it while you were talking."
" How unkind of you not to tell me or stop it for
" I am not such a f fussy person as to interrupt
people when they are talking."
Allen smiles to himself. " Of course, I can have
one sent for. They'll be too glad to get rid of me, I
should think. There's a train at 3.27 I can just catch.
I know, for I've looked it out in Bradshavv."
" You are very silly," Lady Edith says, after a long
pause, as they walk on.
" Because I am doing what is straightforward and
honest in walking home with you ? "
" No. Because you are going away. Would
would you stay if I asked you begged of you to ? "
They have all but reached the gate of the iron fence
that incloses the grounds about the house from the
park-land, and she stops, and turning, places her hand
upon his arm. In her eyes is the old pleading look,
while tears tremble upon their lids. A flush of ex-
citement suffuses her cheeks, and her lips, half open,
disclose the tips of the whitest teeth. To Allen (with
all the circumstances combining to make it so) it is
the loveliest face his eyes have ever rested upon. The
climax of a passion, which has been growing steadily
in his heart, is reached sooner than even he expected.
His heart beats, and his temples throb with the sudden
ecstacy of love, which seizes and takes possession of
him. He is about to answer in words of intensest love
and devotion when prosaic destroyer of his short-
spanned bliss ! a voice sounds behind them, and a
striding, lumbering step comes quickly on.
" HELLO, Sissy ! Fancy you being out like this ! "
The new-comer is a tall, raw-boned youth with
short, sandy-brown hair, and a smooth, sunburned,
shiny face. He wears a check tweed jacket and
knickerbockers, long, coarse brown-yarn stockings,
and thick-soled shooting-boots. In his hand is a stout
ash walking-stick, on his head a small tweed cap, and
in his mouth a short briarwood pipe. He strides up
to Lady Edith, grasps her by the hand, and stoops
down and kisses her on the cheek before she can col-
lect her wits to speak. Allen's first impulse is to knock
the fellow down for his astounding behavior, and he
has sprung toward him with that intent, when Lady
Edith stays his uplifted arm :
" Bertie, of all people ! What on earth brings you
home ? I thought your vacation didn't begin till just
Her surprise is not unmixed with vexation as she
says this vexation for the future as well as for the
" No more it does," the youth answers, a grin slowly
taking the place of the frown with which he has been
regarding Allen. " The fact is, a pair of confounded
bull-dogs hauled me up for smoking in the street yes-
terday, and this morning the blackguard old proctor
sent me a polite note saying I was to pay him six
or seven bob. ' No fear,' says I, and I hooked it
home the first train. Beastly jolly sell for the proc-
" Father will be very angry, I'm sure."
" Can't be helped. Don't catch me chucking money
away like that, to keep the jolly dons in old port. But
I say," lowering his voice, " Who's this duffer? Never
saw him before."
" Oh, I beg your pardon. How stupid of me !
Mr. Allen, my brother Bertie."
Allen looks at the youth a moment and mutters to
" Another brother ! " and then puts out his hand,
which the other " pump-handles " in sulky silence.
" I say, what are you doing out here like this ? "
Bertie asks his sister, as he drops Allen's hand and
turns away. " It's uncommonly strange, isn't it ?
Who's this chap ? It isn't possible that he's staying
here ? " and he gives Allen an impertinent look over
from head to foot. " Looks like a foreigner."
" How rude you are, Bertie ! I'm positively
ashamed of you," Lady Edith whispers, as she sees
Allen flush with anger and knows he must have over-
heard. " Yes, he is staying here. Why shouldn't he ? "
" I'll back the gov'ner's away," Bertie says, with a
" You may consider yourself lucky that he is. I
don't think you'll stay long after he returns."
" Two to one in half-crowns on it. Come, do you
take me ? "
Lady Edith does not answer, but turns to Allen
and says :
" We shall never get home like this," and walks on
with him beside her.
" By jove, no. You don't shake me off like that.
I'm not quite so green," and Bertie, with another wink
and a knowing nod, strides on by her other side.
" After all, perhaps it's just as well, if not better,"
Lady Edith muses. " His coming will distract mother's
attention from us, and she will think I have really been
with him. Happy thought ! I will be civil to him
and get him to say so." She is about to broach the sub-
ject to Bertie, when Allen's recent warning comes back
to her. No she won't. She will begin being honest,
straightforward, and truthful from that moment. Allen's
words have borne their first fruit already.
As they come in sight of the house a telegraph mes-
senger passes them going away.
" I hope it isn't anything bad," Lady Edith says,
very pale ; " I never can see a telegraph messenger
without being anxious and nervous until I know what
he is fetching. Do hurry on. Perhaps father is ill."
With a heart beating from a now double source she
runs up the steps followed closely by Allen.
" Now for it," he says, as the first person they en-
counter is Lady Oaktorrington, telegram in hand,
standing just inside the open drawing-room door. He
braces himself, and is about to shut his eyes to receive
the first outburst, when, before he can do so, Lady
Oaktorrington comes forward with a beaming smile
and outstretched hands :
" Mr. Allen Edith. I am so glad to see you
together. Had I known that you were with her, Mr.
Allen, I should have been spared much anxiety. You
naughty girl to go out without telling me," and she
shakes her finger good-naturedly at her daughter.
Allen and Lady Edith exchange puzzled glances. In
their state of mingled bewilderment and satisfaction of
mind at the unexpected and unaccountable turn affairs
have taken, they have time to do that.
" I must apologize for being so late," Allen begins.
" Oh, yes, mother, I'm afraid we're awfully late for
"It doesn't signify in the least. We have come
out, but everything is being kept hot for you. Will
you please ring the dining-room bell, Mr. Allen, when
ARISTOCRACY. 1O I
you go in? I hope you'll find something to eat," and
the marchioness smiles again graciously.
In the revulsion of feeling from anxious anticipa-
tion to relieved realization, which Lady Edith has just
experienced, she has quite forgotten her fears about
the telegram. She sees it in her mother's hand. " Any-
thing unpleasant, mother ? " she asks. " I was afraid
father might be ill, or that there had been some acci-
dent on the railway or in the hunting-field."
" No, my dear," her mother says, soothingly. " It's
only a telegram from Redfern to say the jackets have
been sent off. Hadn't you better go and have some
food. You must be very hungry."
" What on earth can it all mean ? " Lady Edith says
to Allen as they wait in the dining-room for the dishes
to be brought in again. " It is past my comprehen-
" And mine," Allen replies. " She is not like the
They have grown upon a very familiar footing, these
two, in their short acquaintance, without seeming to
be aware of it.
" I can't help thinking," Lady Edith says, presently,
" that it might be that " she stops short.
" That what ? "
" Oh, never mind, now. Perhaps I'll tell you some
other time. By-the-by, what's become of Bertie ? I
had quite forgotten him."
" Not a very direful disaster if you had," Allen says,
with a trifle of impatience in his voice. " I fancy he
is old enough to look out for himself. In my opinion
the less a girl sees and thinks of her brothers the bet-
ter after they're grown up."
"Do you? Why?"
" Oh, they are always in the way, loafing and idling
about I am talking only of England, mind, for in
America all your three brothers would be in some busi-
ness, or have some occupation that would keep them
busy away from home."
" My three brothers ! I've got four."
" Great Scott ! another ! "
" I'm sure you ought not to find so much fault with
them. If it hadn't been for Freddy we should never
" True. And for that one reason I forgive them
everything else. You want to know what became of
Bertie? I will tell you. When we came to a path
near the iron gate he left us abruptly and turned into
it. I saw him."
" Do you mean just inside the iron gate on the
left ? "
"Oh, that is the short cut to the stables. He's