"I am dying."
There was that in the tone of Jasmine's voice which
gave her friend a start. She eyed her suddenly with a
"And I'm not jesting," Jasmine added, with a forced
smile. "But tell me what has gone wrong with all your
plans. You don't mind what Tynemouth says. Of
course you will do as you like."
"Of course; but still Tynie has never 'issued in-
structions' before, and if there was any time I ought to
humour him it is now. He's so intense about the war!
But I can't explain everything on paper to him, so I've
written to say I'm going to South Africa to explain, and
that I'll come back by the next boat, if my reasons are not
In other circumstances Jasmine would have laughed.
"He will find you convincing," she said, meaningly.
"I said if he found my reasons convincing."
"You will be the only reason to him."
" My dear Jasmine, you are really becoming sentimental.
Tynie would blush to discover himself being silly over me.
We get on so well because we left our emotions behind
us when we married."
"Yours, I know, you left on the Zambesi," said Jas-
A dull fire came into Lady Tynemouth's eyes, and for
an instant there was danger of Jasmine losing a friend she
much needed; but Lady Tynemouth had a big heart, and
she knew that her friend was in a mood when anything
was possible, or everything impossible.
So she only smiled, and said, easily: "Dearest Jas-
mine, that umbrella episode which made me love Ian
Stafford for ever and ever without even amen came after
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
I was married, and so your pin doesn't prick, not a weeny
bit. No, it isn't Tynie that makes me sad. It's the
Climbers who won't pay."
"The Climbers? You want money for "
"Yes, the hospital-ship; and I thought they'd jump at
it; but they've all been jumping in other directions. I
asked the Steuvenfeldts, the Boulters, the Felix Fowles,
the Brutons, the Sheltons, and that fellow Mackerel, who
has so much money he doesn't know what to do with it,
and twenty others; and Mackerel was the only one who
would give me anything at all large. He gave me ten thou-
sand pounds. But I want fifty fifty, my beloved. I'm
simply broken-hearted. It would do so much good, and I
could manage the thing so well, and I could get other
splendid people to help me to manage it there's Effie
Lyndhall and Mary Meacham. The Mackerel wanted to
come along, too, but -I told him he could come out and
fetch us back that there mustn't be any scandal while
the war was on. I laugh, my dear, but I could cry my
eyes out. I want something to do I've always wanted
something to do. I've always been sick of an idle life,
but I wouldn't do a hundred things I might have done.
This thing I can do, however, and, if I did it, some of my
debt to the world would be paid. It seems to me that
these last fifteen years in England have been awful. We
are all restless; we all have been going, going nowhere;
we have all been doing, doing nothing; we have all been
thinking, thinking, thinking of ourselves. And I've been a
playbody like the rest ; I've gone with the Climbers because
they could do things for me; I've wanted more and more
of everything more gadding, more pleasure, more ex-
citement. It's been like a brass-band playing all the time,
my life this past ten years. I'm sick of it. It's only some
big thing that can take me out of it. I've got to make
some great plunge, or in a few years more I'll be a middle-
aged peeress with nothing left but a double chin, a tongue
for gossip, and a string of pearls. There must be a
"BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM' 3
bouleuersement of things as they are, or good-bye to every-
thing except emptiness. Don't you see, Jasmine, dearest ?"
"Yes yes, I see." Jasmine got up, went to her desk,
opened a drawer, took out a book, and began to write
hastily. "Go on," she said as she wrote; "I can hear
what you are saying."
"But are you really interested?"
"Even Tynemouth would find you interesting and con-
vincing. Go on."
"I haven't anything more to say, except that nothing
lies between me and flagellation and the sack-cloth," she
toyed with the sjambok "except the Climbers; and they
have failed me. They won't play or pay."
Jasmine rose from the desk and came forward with a
paper in her hand. " No, they have not failed you, Alice,"
she said, gently. "The Climbers seldom really disap-
point you. The thing is, you must know how to talk to
them, to say the right thing, the flattering, the tactful,
and the nice sentimental thing, they mostly have middle-
class sentimentality and then you get what you want.
As you do now. There. ..."
She placed in her friend's hand a long, narrow slip of
paper. Lady Tynemouth looked astonished, gazed hard
at the paper, then sprang to her feet, pale and agitated.
"Jasmine you this sixty thousand pounds!" she
cried. "A cheque for sixty thousand pounds Jasmine!"
There was a strange brilliance in Jasmine's eyes, a
hectic flush on her cheek.
" It must not be cashed for forty-eight hours; but after
that the money will be there."
Lady Tynemouth caught Jasmine's shoulders in her
trembling yet strong fingers, and looked into the wild
eyes with searching inquiry and solicitude.
"But, Jasmine, it isn't possible. Will Rudyard can
you afford it?"
"That will not be Rudyard's money which you will
get, It will be all my own."
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
"But you yourself are not rich. Sixty thousand
pounds why ?"
"It is because it is a sacrifice to me that I give it;
because it is my own; because it is two-thirds of what
I possess. And if all is needed before we have finished,
then all shall go."
Alice Tynemouth still held the shoulders, still gazed
into the eyes which burned and shone, which seemed to
look beyond this room into some world of the soul or
imagination. "Jasmine, you are not crazy, are you?"
she asked, excitedly. "You will not repent of this? It
is not a sudden impulse?"
"Yes, it is a sudden impulse; it came to me all at once.
But when it came I knew it was the right thing, the only
thing to do. I will not repent of it. Have no fear. It is
final. It is sure. It means that, like you, I have found
a rope to drag myself out of this stream which sweeps
me on to the rapids."
"Jasmine, do you mean that you will that you are
"Yes, I am going with you. We will do it together.
You shall lead, and I shall help. I have a gift for organi-
zation. My grandfather, he '
"All the world knows that. If you have anything of
his gift, we shall not fail. We shall feel that we are doing
something for our country and, oh, so much for our-
selves! And we shall be near our men. Tynie and
Ruddy Byng will be out there, and we shall be ready for
anything if necessary. But Rudyard, will he approve?"
She held up the cheque.
Jasmine made a passionate gesture. "There are times
when we must do what something in us tells us to do,
no matter what the consequences. I am myself. I am
not a slave. If I take my own way in the pleasures of
life, why should I not take it in the duties and the busi-
ness of life?"
Her eyes took on a look of abstraction, and her small
"BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM' 3
hand closed on the large, capable hand of her friend.
"Isn't work the secret of life? My grandfather used to
say it was. Always, always, he used to say to me, 'Do
something, Jasmine. Find a work to do, and do it. Make
the world look at you, not for what you seem to be, but
for what you do. Work cures nearly every illness and
nearly every trouble ' that is what he said. And I must
work or go mad. I tell you I must work, Alice. We will
work together out there where great battles will be
A sob caught her in the throat, and Alice Tynemouth
wrapped her round with tender arms. "It will do you
good, darling," she said, softly. " It will help you through
through it all, whatever it is."
For an instant Jasmine felt that she must empty out
her heart; tell the inner tale of her struggle; but the
instant of weakness passed as suddenly as it came, and
she only said repeating Alice Tynemouth's words:
"Yes, through it all, through it all, whatever it is." Then
she added: "I want to do something big. I can, I can.
I want to get out of this into the open world. I want to
fight. I want to balance things somehow inside my-
All at once she became very quiet. "But we must
do business like business people. This money: there
must be a small committee of business men, who "
Alice Tynemouth finished the sentence for her. "Who
are not Climbers?"
"Yes. But the whole organization must be done by
ourselves all the practical, unfinancial work. The com-
mittee will only be like careful trustees."
There was a new light in Jasmine's eyes. She felt for
the moment that life did not end in a cul de sac. She knew
that now she had found a way for Rudyard and herself to
separate without disgrace, without humiliation to him. She
could see a few steps ahead. When she gave Lablanche
instructions to put out her clothes a little while before,
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
she did not know what she was going to do; but now she
knew. She knew how she could make it easier for Rud-
yard when the inevitable hour came, and it was here
which should see the end of their life together. He need
not now sacrifice himself so much for her sake.
She wanted to be alone, and, as if divining her thought,
Lady Tynemouth embraced her, and a moment later there
was no sound in the room save the ticking of the clock
and the crackle of the fire.
How silent it was! The world seemed very far away.
Peace seemed to have taken possession of the place, and
Jasmine's stillness as she sat by the fire staring into the
embers was a part of it. So lost was she that she was not
conscious of an opening door and of a footstep. She was
roused by a low voice.
She did not start. It was as though there had come a
call, for which she had waited long, and she appeared to
respond slowly to it, as one would to a summons to the
scaffold. There was no outward agitation now, there
was only a cold stillness which seemed little to belong to
the dainty figure which had ever been more like a decora-
tion than a living utility in the scheme of things. The
crisis had come which she had dreaded yet invited that
talk which they two must have before they went their
different ways. She had never looked Rudyard in the
eyes direct since the day when Adrian Fellowes died.
They had met, but never quite alone; always with some
one present, either the servants or some other. Now they
were face to face.
On Rudyard's lips was a faint smile, but it lacked the
old bonhomie which was part of his natural equipment;
and there were still sharp, haggard traces of the agitation
which had accompanied the expulsion of Krool.
For an instant the idea possessed her that she would
tell him everything there was to tell, and face the,
"BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM"
consequences, no matter what they might be. It was
not in her nature to do things by halves, and since
catastrophe was come, her will was to drink the whole
cup to the dregs. She did not want to spare herself.
Behind it all lay something of that terrible wilfulness
which had controlled her life so far. It was the unlovely
soul of a great pride. She did not want to be forgiven for
anything. She did not want to be condoned. There
was a spirit of defiance which refused to accept favours,
preferring punishment to the pity or the pardon which
stooped to make it easier for her. It was a dangerous
pride, and in the mood of it she might throw away every-
thing, with an abandonment and recklessness only known
to such passionate natures.
The mood came on her all at once as she stood and
looked at Rudyard. She read, or she thought she read in
his eyes, in his smile, the superior spirit condescending to
magnanimity, to compassion; and her whole nature was
instantly up in arms. She almost longed on the instant
to strip herself bare, as it were, and let him see her as
she really was, or as, in her despair, she thought she
really was. The mood in which she had talked to Lady
Tynemouth was gone, and in its place a spirit of revolt
was at work. A certain sullenness which Rudyard and
no one else had ever seen came into her eyes, and her
lips became white with an ominous determination. She
forgot him and all that he would suffer if she told him
the whole truth; and the whole truth would, in her
passion, become far more than the truth: she] was again
the egoist, the centre of the universe. What happened
to her was the only thing which mattered in all the
world. So it had ever been; and her beauty and her
wit and her youth and the habit of being spoiled had
made it all possible, without those rebuffs and that con-
fusion which fate provides sooner or later for the egoist.
"Well," she said, sharply, "say what you wish to say.
You have wanted to say it badly. I am ready."
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
He was stunned by what seemed to him the anger and
the repugnance in her tone.
"You remember you asked me to come, Jasmine, when
you took the sjambok from me."
He nodded towards the table where it lay, then went
forward and picked it up, his face hardening as he did so.
Like a pendulum her mood swung back. By accident
he had said the one thing which could have moved her,
changed her at the moment. The savage side of him
appealed to her. What he lacked in brilliance and the
lighter gifts of raillery and eloquence and mental give-
and-take, he had balanced by his natural forces from
the power-house, as she had called it long ago. Pity,
solicitude, the forced smile, magnanimity, she did not
want in this black mood. They would have made her
cruelly audacious, and her temper would have known no
license; but now, suddenly, she had a vision of him as he
stamped down the staircase, his coat off, laying the sjam-
bok on the shoulders of the man who had injured her so,
who hated her so, and had done so over all the years. It
appealed to her.
In her heart of hearts she was sure he had done it di-
rectly or indirectly for her sake; and that was infinitely
more to her than that he should stoop from the heights
to pick her up. He was what he was because Heaven
had made him so; and she was what she was because
Heaven had forgotten to make her otherwise; and he
could not know or understand how she came to do things
that he would not do. But she could know and under-
stand why his hand fell on Krool like that of Cain on
Abel. She softened, changed at once.
"Yes, I remember," she said. "I've been upset.
Krool was insolent, and I ordered him to go. He would
" I've been a fool to keep him all these years. I didn't
know what he was a traitor, the slimmest of the slim, a
real Hottentot-Boer. I was pigheaded about him, because
"BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM"
he seemed to care so much about me. That counts for
much with the most of us."
"Alice Tynemouth saw a policeman help him into a cab
in Piccadilly and take him away. Will there be trouble?"
A grim look crossed his face. "I think not," he re-
sponded. "There are reasons. He has been stealing
information for years, and sending it to Kruger, he and "
He stopped short, and into his face came a look of
"Yes, he and and some one else? Who else?" Her
face was white. She had a sudden intuition.
He met her eyes. "Adrian Fellowes what Fellowes
knew, Krool knew, and one way or another, by one means
or another, Fellowes knew a great deal."
The knowledge of Adrian Fellowes' treachery and its
full significance had hardly come home to him, even
when he punished Krool, so shaken was he by the fact
that the half-caste had been false to him. Afterwards,
however, as the Partners all talked together up-stairs, the
enormity of the dead man's crime had fastened on him,
and his brain had been stunned by the terrible thought
that directly or indirectly Jasmine had abetted the crime.
Things he had talked over with her, and with no one else,
had got to Kruger's knowledge, as the information from
South Africa showed. She had at least been indiscreet,
had talked to Fellowes with some freedom, or he could
not have known what he did. But directly, knowingly
abetted Fellowes? Of course, she had not done that; but
her foolish confidences had abetted treachery, had wronged
him, had helped to destroy his plans, had injured England.
He had savagely punished Krool for insolence to her,
and for his treachery, but a new feeling had grown up
in him in the last half-hour. Under the open taunts of
his colleagues, a deep resentment had taken possession
of him that his work, so hard to do, so important and
critical, should have been circumvented by the indis-
cretions of his wife.
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
Upon her now this announcement came with crushing
force. Adrian Fellowes had gained from her she knew it
all too well now that which had injured her husband;
from which, at any rate, he ought to have been immune.
Her face flushed with a resentment far greater than that
of Rudyard's, and it was heightened by a humiliation
which overwhelmed her. She had been but a tool in
every sense, she, Jasmine Byng, one who ruled, had been
used like a she could not form the comparison in her
mind by a dependent, a hanger-on of her husband's
bounty; and it was through her, originally, that he had
been given a real chance in life by Rudyard.
"I am sorry," she said, calmly, as soon as she could
get her voice. "I was the means of your employing
"That did not matter," he said, rather nervously.
"There was no harm in that, unless you knew his char-
acter before he came to me."
"You think I did?"
"I cannot think so. It would have been too ruthless
She saw his suffering, and it touched her. "Of course
I did not know that he could do such a thing so shame-
less. He was a low coward. He did not deserve decent
burial," she added. ''He had good fortune to die as he
"How did he die?" Rudyard asked her, with a face so
unlike what it had always been, so changed by agitation,
that it scarcely seemed his. His eyes were fixed on hers.
She met them resolutely. Did he ask her in order to
see if she had any suspicion of himself? Had he done it?
If he had, there would be some mitigation of her suffering.
Or was it Ian Stafford who had done it ? One or the other
"He died without being made to suffer," she said.
"Most people who do wrong have to suffer."
"But they live on," he said, bitterly.
"BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM' 3
"That is no great advantage unless you want to live,"
she replied. "Do you know how he died?" she added,
after a moment, with sharp scrutiny.
He shook his head and returned her scrutiny with added
poignancy. "It does not matter. He ceases to do any
more harm. He did enough."
"Yes, quite enough," she said, with a withered look, and,
going over to her writing-table, stood looking at him
questioningly. He did not speak again, however.
Presently she said, very quietly, "I am going away."
"I do not understand."
"I am going to work."
"I understand still less."
She took from the writing-table her cheque-book, and
handed it to him. He looked at it, and read the counter-
foil of the cheque she had given to Alice Tynemouth.
He was bewildered. "What does this mean?" he
" It is for a hospital-ship."
"Sixty thousand pounds! Why, it is nearly all you
"It is two-thirds- of what I have."
"Why in God's name, why?"
"To buy my freedom," she answered, bitterly.
He staggered back and leaned heavily against a book-
"Freedom from me!" he exclaimed, hoarsely.
He had had terribly bitter and revengeful feelings dur-
ing the last hour, but all at once his real self emerged, the
thing that was deepest in him. ' ' Freedom from me ? Has
it come to that?"
"Yes, absolutely. Do you remember the day you first
said to me that something was wrong with it all, the
day that Ian Stafford dined after his return from abroad?
Well, it has been all wrong cruelly wrong. We haven't
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
made the best of things together, when everything was
with us to do so. I have spoiled it all. It hasn't been
what you expected."
"Nor what you expected?" he asked, sharply.
"Nor what I expected; but you are not to blame for
Suddenly all he had ever felt for her swept through his
being, and sullenness fled away. "You have ceased to
love me, then. . . . See, that is the one thing that matters,
Jasmine. All else disappears beside that. Do you love
me? Do you love me still? Do you love me, Jasmine?
He looked like the ghost of his old dead self, pleading
to be recognized.
His misery oppressed her. "What does one know of
one's self in the midst of all this of everything that has
nothing to do with love?" she asked.
What she might have said in the dark mood which was
coming on her again it is hard to say, but from beneath
the window of the room which looked on Park Lane, there
came the voice of a street-minstrel, singing to a travelling
piano, played by sympathetic fingers, the song:
"She is far from the land where her young hero sleeps,
And lovers around her are sighing "
The simple pathos of the song had nothing to do with
her own experience or her own case, but the flood of it
swept through her veins like tears. She sank into a chair
and listened for a moment with eyes shining, then she
sprang up in an agitation which made her tremble and her
face go white.
"No, no, no, Rudyard, I do not love you," she said,
swiftly. "And because I do not love you, I will not stay.
I never loved you, never truly loved you at any time. I
never knew myself that is all that I can say. I never
was awake till now. I never was wholly awake till I saw
you driving Krool into the street with the sjambok."
"BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM"
She flung up her hands. "For God's sake, let me be
truthful at last. I don't want to hurt you I have hurt
you enough, but I do not love you ; and I must go. I am
going with Alice Tynemouth. We are going together to
do something. Maybe I shall learn what will make life
He reached out his arms towards her with a sudden
"No, no, no, do not touch me," she cried. "Do not
come near me. I must be alone now, and from now on
and on. . . . You do not understand, but I must be alone.
I must work it out alone, whatever it is."
She got up with a quick energy, and went over to the
writing-table again. "It may take every penny I have
got, but I shall do it, because it is the thing I feel I must
"You have millions, Jasmine," he said, in a low, appeal-
She looked at him almost fiercely again. "No, I have
what is my own, my very own, and no more," she re-
sponded, bitterly. "You will do your work, and I will
do mine. You will stay here. There will be no scandal,
because I shall be going with Alice Tynemouth, and the
world will not misunderstand."
"There will be no scandal, because I am going, too,"
he said, firmly.
"No, no, you cannot, must not, go," she urged.
"I am going to South Africa in two days," he replied.
"Stafford was going with me, but he cannot go for a week
or so. He will help you, I am sure, with forming your
committee and arranging, if you will insist on doing this
thing. He is still up-stairs there with the rest of them.
I will get him down now, I "
"Ian Stafford is here in this house?" she asked, with
staring eyes. What inconceivable irony it all was! She
could have shrieked with that laughter which is more
painful far than tears.
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
" Yes, he is up-stairs. I made him come and help us
he knows the international game. He will help you, too.
He is a good friend you will know how good some
She went white and leaned against the table.
"No, I shall not need him," she said. "We have
formed our committee."
"But when I am gone, he can advise you, he can "
" Oh oh !" she murmured, and swayed forward, fainting.
He caught her and lowered her gently into a chair.
"You are only mad," he whispered to ears which heard
not as he bent over her. "You will be sane some day."
' THE MENACE OF THE MOUNTAIN
FAR away, sharply cutting the ether, rise the great
sterile peaks and ridges. Here a stark, bare wall like
a prison which shuts in a city of men forbidden the blithe
world of sun and song and freedom ; yonder, a giant of a
lost world stretched out in stony ease, sleeping on, while
over his grey quiet, generations of men pass. First came