said, had been a real unofficial valet to Rhodes, being an
authority on cooking, and on brewing a punch, and a master
of commissariat in the long marches which Rhodes made
in the days when he trekked into Rhodesia.
It was in-
deed said that he had made his first ten thousand pounds
out of two trips which Rhodes made en route to Lobengula,
and had added to this amount on the principle of com-
pound multiplication when the Matabele war came; for
here again he had a collateral interest in the commis-
Rhodes, with a supreme carelessness in regard to money,
with an indifference to details which left his mind free for
the working of a few main ideas, had no idea how many
cheques he gave on the spur of the moment to De Lancy
Scovel in this month or in that, in this year or in that, for
this thing or for that cheques written very often on the
backs of envelopes, on the white margin of a newspaper,
on the fly-leaf of a book or a blank telegraph form. The
Master Man was so stirred by half -contemptuous humour
at the sycophancy and snobbery of his vain slave, who
could make a salad out of anything edible, that, caring
little what men were, so long as they did his work for him,
he once wrote a cheque for two thousand pounds on the
starched cuff of his henchman's "biled shirt" at a dinner
prepared for his birthday.
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
So it was that, with the marrow-bones thrown to him,
De Lancy Scovel came to a point where he could follow
Wallstein's and Rhodes' lead financially, being privy to
their plans, through eavesdropping on the conferences of
his chiefs. It came as a surprise to his superiors that one
day's chance discovery showed De Lancy Scovel to be
worth fifty thousand pounds; and from that time on they
used him for many a purpose in which it was expedient
their own hands should not appear. They felt confident
that a man who could so carefully and secretly build up
his own fortune had a gift which could be used to ad-
vantage. A man who could be so subterranean in his
ownfaffairs would no doubt be equally secluded in their
business. Selfishness would make him silent. And so
it was that "the dude" of the camp and the kraal, the
factotum, who in his time had brushed Rhodes' clothes
when he brushed his own, after the Kaffir servant had
messed them about, came to be a millionaire and one of
the Partners. For him South Africa had no charms. He
was happy in London, or at his country-seat in Leicester-
shire, where he followed the hounds with a temerity which
was at base vanity; where he gave the county the best
food to be got outside St. Petersburg or Paris; where his
so-called bachelor establishment was cared for by a coarse,
grey-haired housekeeper who, the initiated said, was De
Lancy's South African wife, with a rooted objection to
being a lady or "moving in social circles"; whose pleas-
ure lay in managing this big household under De Lancy's
guidance. There were those who said they had seen her
brush a speck of dust from De Lancy's coat-collar, as she
emerged from her morning interview with him; and others
who said they had seen her hidden in the shrubbery
listening to the rather flaccid conversation of her splendid
poodle of a master.
There were others who had climbed to success in their
own way, some by happy accident, some by a force which
disregarded anything in their way, and some by sheer
THE PARTNERS MEET
honest rough merit, through which the soul of the true
There was also Barry Whalen, who had been educated
as a doctor, and, with a rare Irish sense of adaptability
and amazing Celtic cleverness, had also become a
mining engineer, in the days when the Transvaal was
emerging from its pioneer obscurity into the golden light
of mining prosperity. Abrupt, obstinately honest, and
sincere; always protesting against this and against that,
always the critic of authority, whether the authority was
friend or foe; always smothering his own views in the
moment when the test of loyalty came; always with a
voice like a young bull and a heart which would have
suited a Goliath, there was no one but trusted Barry, none
that had not hurried to him in a difficulty; not because he
was so wise, but because he was so true. He would never
have made money, in spite of the fact that his prescience,
his mining sense, his diagnosis of the case of a mine, as
Byng called it, had been a great source of wealth to others,
had it not been for Wallstein and Byng.
Wallstein had in him a curious gentleness and human
sympathy, little in keeping with the view held of him by
that section of the British press which would willingly
have seen England at the mercy of Paul Kruger for Eng-
land's good, for her soul's welfare as it were, for her needed
chastisement. He was spoken of as a cruel, tyrannical,
greedy German Jew, whose soul was in his own pocket
and his hand in the pockets of the world. In truth he was
none of these things, save that he was of German birth,
and of as good and honest German origin as George of
Hanover and his descendants, if not so distinguished.
Wallstein's eye was an eye of kindness, save in the vision
of business; then it saw without emotion to the advan-
tage of the country where he had made his money, and to
the perpetual advantage of England, to whom he gave an
honourable and philanthropic citizenship. His charities
were not of the spectacular kind; but many a poor and
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
worthy, and often unworthy, unfortunate was sheltered
through bad days and heavy weather of life by the im-
mediate personal care of "the Jew Mining Magnate, who
didn't care a damn what happened to England so long as
his own nest was well lined!"
It was Wallstein who took heed of the fact that, as he
became rich, Barry Whalen remained poor; and it was he
who took note that Barry had a daughter who might any
day be left penniless with frail health and no protector;
and taking heed and note, it was he made all the Partners
unite in taking some financial risks and responsibilities for
Barry, when two new mines were opened to Barry's
large profit. It was characteristic of Barry, however, that,
if they had not disguised their action by financial devices,
and by making him a Partner, because he was needed
professionally and intellectually and for other business
reasons, nicely phrased to please his Celtic vanity, he
would have rejected the means to the fortune which came
to him. It was a far smaller fortune than any of the others
had; but it was sufficient for him and for his child. So
it was that Barry became one of the Partners, and said
things that every one else would hesitate to say, but were
glad to hear said.
Others of the group were of varying degrees of ability
and interest and importance. One or two were poltroons
in body and mind, with only a real instinct for money-
making and a capacity for constructive individualism.
Of them the most conspicuous was Clifford Melville, whose
name was originally Joseph Sobieski, with habitat Poland,
whose small part in this veracious tale belongs elsewhere.
Each had his place, and all were influenced by the great
schemes of Rhodes and their reflection in the purposes and
actions of Wallstein. Wallstein was inspired by the
dreams and daring purposes of Empire which had driven
Rhodes from Table Mountain to the kraal of Lobengula
and far beyond; until, at last, the flag he had learned to
love had been triumphantly trailed from the Cape to Cairo.
THE PARTNERS MEET
Now in the great crisis, Wallstein, of them all, was the
most self-possessed, save Rudyard Byng. Some of the
others were paralyzed. They could only whine out ex-
ecrations on the man who had dared something; who, if
he had succeeded, would have been hailed as the great
leader of a Revolution, not the scorned and humiliated
captain of a filibustering expedition. A triumphant re-
bellion or raid is always a revolution in the archives of a
nation. These men were of a class who run for cover
before a battle begins, and can never be kept in the fight-
ing-line except with the bayonet in the small of their
backs. Others were irritable and strenuous, bitter in
their denunciations of the Johannesburg conspirators, who
had bungled their side of the business and who had
certainly shown no rashness. At any rate, whatever the
merits of their case, no one in England accused the
Johannesburgers of foolhardy courage or impassioned
daring. They were so busy in trying to induce Jameson
to go back that they had no time to go forward them-
selves. It was not that they lost their heads, their
hearts were the disappearing factors.
At this gloomy meeting in his house, Byng did not join
either of the two sections who represented the more ex-
treme views and the unpolitical minds. There was a
small section, of which he was one, who were not cleverer
financially than their friends, but who had political sense
and intuition; and these, to their credit, were more con-
cerned, at this dark moment, for the political and national
consequences of the Raid, than for the certain set-back to
the mining and financial enterprises of the Rand. A few
of the richest of them were the most hopeless politically
ever ready to sacrifice principle for an extra dividend of a
quarter per cent.; and, in their inmost souls, ready to
bow the knee to Oom Paul and his unwholesome, un-
democratic, and corrupt government, if only the dividends
moved on and up.
Byng was not a great genius, and he had never given
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
his natural political talent its full chance; but his soul
was bigger than his pocket. He had a passionate love for
the land for England which had given him birth; and
he had a decent pride in her honour and good name. So
it was that he had almost savagely challenged some of the
sordid deliberations of this stern conference. In a full-
blooded and manly appeal he begged them "to get on
higher ground." If he could but have heard it, it would
have cheered the heart of the broken and discredited
pioneer of Empire at Capetown, who had received his
death-warrant, to take effect within five years, in the
little cottage at Muizenberg by the sea; as great a soul
in posse as ever came from the womb of the English
mother; who said as he sat and watched the tide flow in
and out, and his own tide of life ebbed, "Life is a three
days' trip to the sea-shore: one day in going, one day in
settling down, and one day in packing up again."
Byng had one or two colleagues who, under his in-
spiration, also took the larger view, and who looked ahead
to the consequences yet to flow from the fiasco at Doorn-
kop, which became a tragedy. What would happen to
the conspirators of Johannesburg? What would happen
to Jameson and Willoughby and Bobby White and Raleigh
Grey? Who was to go to South Africa to help in holding
things together, and to prevent the worst happening, if
possible ? At this point they had arrived when they saw
. . . The dull dank morn stare in,
Like a dim drowned face with oozy eyes.
A more miserable morning seldom had broken, even in
" I will go. I must go," remarked Byng at last, though
there was a strange sinking of the heart as he said it.
Even yet the perfume of Jasmine's cloak stole to his
senses to intoxicate them. But it was his duty to offer
to go ; and he felt that he could do good by going, and that
he was needed at Johannesburg. He, more than all of
THE PARTNERS MEET
them, had been in open conflict with Oom Paul in the
past, had fought him the most vigorously, and yet for
him the old veldschoen Boer had some regard and much
respect, in so far as he could respect a Rooinek at all.
"I will go," Byng repeated, and looked round the table
at haggard faces, at ashen faces, at the faces of men who
had smoked to quiet their nerves, or drunk hard all night
to keep up their courage. How many times they had done
the same in olden days, when the millions were not yet
arrived, and their only luxury was companionship and
champagne or something less expensive.
As Byng spoke, Krool entered the room with a great
coffee-pot and a dozen small white bowls. He heard
Byng's words, and for a moment his dark eyes glowed
with a look of evil satisfaction. But his immobile face
showed nothing, and he moved like a spirit among them,
his lean hand putting a bowl before each person, like a
servitor of Death passing the hemlock-brew.
At his entrance there was instant silence, for, secret
as their conference must be, this half-caste, this Hot-
tentot-Boer, must hear nothing and know nothing. Not
one of them but resented his being Byng's servant.
Not one but felt him a danger at any time, and
particularly now. Once Barry Whalen, the most out-
wardly brusque and apparently frank of them all, had
urged Byng to give Krool up, but without avail; and now
Barry eyed the half-caste with a resentful determination.
He knew that Krool had heard Byng's words, for he
was sitting opposite the double doors, and had seen the
malicious eyes light up. Instantly, however, that light
vanished. They all might have been wooden men, and
Krool but a wooden servitor, so mechanical and con-
centrated were his actions. He seemed to look at no-
body; but some of them shrank a little as he leaned over
and poured the brown, steaming liquid and the hot milk
into the bowls. Only once did the factotum look at any-
body directly, and that was at Byng just as he was about
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
to leave the room. Then Barry Whalen saw him glance
searchingly at his master's face in a mirror, and again that
baleful light leaped up in his eyes.
When he had left the room, Barry Whalen said, im-
pulsively: " Byng, it's all damn foolery your keeping that
fellow about you. It's dangerous, 'specially now."
"Coffee's good, isn't it? Think there's poison in it?"
Byng asked with a contemptuous little laugh. "Sugar
what?" He pushed the great bowl of sugar over the
polished table towards Barry.
"Oh, he makes you comfortable enough, but "
"But he makes you uncomfortable, Barry? Well,
we're bound to get on one another's nerves one way or
another in this world when the east wind blows; and if
it isn't the east wind, it's some other wind. We're living
on a planet which has to take the swipes of the universe,
because it has permitted that corrupt, quarrelsome, and
pernicious beast, man, to populate the hemispheres.
Krool is staying on with me, Barry."
"We're in heavy seas, and we don't want any wreckers on
the shore," was the moody and nervously indignant reply.
"Well, Krool's in the heavy seas, all right, too with
Barry Whalen persisted. "We're in for complications,
Byng. England has to take a hand in the game now with
a vengeance. We don't want any spies. He's more
Boer than native."
"There'll be nothing Krool can get worth spying for.
If we keep our mouths shut to the outside world, we'll
not need fear any spies. I'm not afraid of Krool. We'll
not be sold by him. Though some one inside will sell
us perhaps as the Johannesburg game was sold by some
There was a painful silence, and more than one man
looked at his fellows furtively.
"We will do nothing that will not bear the light of day,
and then we need not fear any spying," continued Byng.
THE PARTNERS MEET
" If we have secret meetings and intentions which we don't
make public, it is only what governments themselves have;
and we keep them quiet to prevent any one taking ad-
vantage of us; but our actions are justifiable. I'm going
to do nothing I'm ashamed of; and when it's necessary,
or when and if it seems right to do so, I'll put all my cards
on the table. But when I do, I'll see that it's a full hand
if I can."
There was a silence for a moment after he had ended,
then some one said:
"You think it's best that you should go? You want
to go to Johannesburg?"
"I didn't say anything about wanting to go. I said I'd
go because one of us or two of us ought to go. There's
plenty to do here; but if I can be any more use out there,
why, Walletein can stay here, and "
He got no further, for Wallstein, to whom he had just
referred, and who had been sitting strangely impassive,
with his eyes approvingly fixed on Byng, half rose from
his chair and fell forward, his thick, white hands sprawling
on the mahogany table, his fat, pale face striking the
polished wood with a thud. In an instant they were all
on their feet and at his side.
Barry Whalen lifted up his head and drew him back
into the chair, then three of them lifted him upon a sofa.
Barry's hand felt the breast of the prostrate figure, and
Byng's fingers sought his wrist. For a moment there was
a dreadful silence, and then Byng and Whalen looked at
each other and nodded.
"Brandy!" said Byng, peremptorily.
"He's not dead?" whispered some one.
"Brandy quick," urged Byng, and, lifting up the
head a little, he presently caught the glass from Whalen's
hand and poured some brandy slowly between the bluish
lips. "Some one ring for Krool," he added.
A moment later Krool entered. ' ' The doctor my doc-
tor and his own and a couple of nurses," Byng said,
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
sharply, and Krool nodded and vanished. "Perhaps it's
only a slight heart-attack, but it's best to be on the safe
"Anyhow, it shows that Wallstein needs to let up for
a while," whispered Fleming.
"It means that some one must do Wallstein's work
here," said Barry Whalen. "It means that Byng stays
in London," he added, as Krool entered the room again
with a rug to cover Wallstein.
Barry saw Krool's eyes droop before his words, and he
was sure that the servant had reasons for wishing his master
to go to South Africa. The others present, however, only
saw a silent, magically adept figure stooping over the sick
man, adjusting the body to greater ease, arranging skil-
fully the cushion under the head, loosening and removing
the collar and the boots, and taking possession of the
room, as though he himself were the doctor; while Byng
looked on with satisfaction.
"Useful person, eh?" he said, meaningly, in an under-
tone to Barry Whalen.
"I don't think he's at home in England," rejoined
Barry, as meaningly and very stubbornly. "He won't
like your not going to South Africa."
"Am I not going to South Africa?" Byng asked, me-
chanically, and looking reflectively at Krool.
"Wallstein's a sick man, Byng. You can't leave Lon-
don. You're the only real politician among us. Some
one else must go to Johannesburg."
"You know I can't, Byng there's my girl. Besides,
I don't carry enough weight, anyhow, and you know
Byng remembered Whalen's girl stricken down with
consumption a few months before. He caught Whalen's
arm in a grip of friendship. "All right, dear old man,"
he said, kindly. "Fleming shall go, and I'll stay.
I'll stay here, and do Wallstein's work,"
THE PARTNERS MEET
He was still mechanically watching Krool attend to the
sick man, and he was suddenly conscious of an arrest of
all motion in the half-caste's lithe frame. Then Krool
turned, and their eyes met. Had he drawn Krool's eyes
to his the master-mind influencing the subservient in-
"Krool wants to go to South Africa," he said to himself
with a strange, new sensation which he did not under-
stand, though it was not quite a doubt. He reassured
himself. "Well, it's natural he should. It's his home. . . .
But Fleming must go to Johannesburg. I'm needed most
There was gratitude in his heart that Fate had decreed
it so. He was conscious of the perfume from Jasmine's
cloak searching his senses, even in this hour when these
things that mattered the things of Fate were so enor-
A WOMAN TELLS HER STORY
SOON he will speak you. Wait here, madame."
Krool passed almost stealthily out.
Al'mah looked round the rather formal sitting-room,
with its somewhat incongruous furnishing leopard-skins
from Bechuanaland; lion-skins from Matabeleland; silver-
mounted tusks of elephants from Eastern Cape Colony
and Portuguese East Africa; statues and statuettes of
classical subjects; two or three Holbeins, a Rembrandt,
and an El Greco on the walls; a piano, a banjo, and a
cornet; and, in the corner, a little roulette-table. It was
a strange medley, in keeping, perhaps, with the incongru-
ously furnished mind of the master of it all; it was expres-
sive of tastes and habits not yet settled and consistent.
ATmah's eyes had taken it all in rather wistfully, while
she had waited for Krool's return from his master; but
the wistfulness was due to personal trouble, for her eyes
were clouded and her motions languid. But when she
saw the banjo, the cornet, and the roulette-table, a deep
little laugh rose to her full red lips.
"How like a subaltern, or a colonial civil servant!" she
said to herself.
She reflected a moment, then pursued the thought
further: "But there must be bigness in him, as well as
presence of mind and depth of heart yes, I'm sure his
nature is deep."
She remembered the quick, protecting hands which had
wrapped her round with Jasmine Grenfel's cloak, and the
great arms in which she had rested, the danger over.
A WOMAN TELLS HER STORY
"There can't be much wrong with a nature like his,
though Adrian hates him so. But, of course, Adrian
would. Besides, Adrian will never get over the drop in
the mining-stock which ruined him Rudyard Byng's
mine. . . . It's natural for Adrian to hate him, I suppose,"
she added with a heavy sigh.
Mentally she took to comparing this room with Adrian
Fellowes' sitting-room overlooking the Thames Embank-
ment, where everything was in perfect taste and order,
where all was modulated, harmonious, soigne and artistic.
Yet, somehow, the handsome chambers which hung over
the muddy river with its wonderful lights and shades, its
mists and radiance, its ghostly softness and greyness,
lacked in something that roused imagination, that stirred
her senses here the vital being in her.
It was power, force, experience, adventure. They were
all here. She knew the signs: the varied interests, the
primary emotions, music, art, hunting, prospecting, fight-
ing, gambling. They were mixed with the solid achieve-
ment of talent and force in the business of life. Here was
a model of a new mining-drill, with a picture of the stamps
working in the Work-and- Wonder mine, together with a
model of the Kaffir compound at Kimberley, with the
busy, teeming life behind the wire boundaries.
Thus near was Byng to the ways of a child, she thought,
thus near to the everlasting intelligence and the busy soul
of a constructive and creative Deity' if there was a Deity.
Despite the frequent laughter on her tongue and in her
eyes, she doubted bitterly at times that there was a Deity.
For how should happen the awful tragedies which encom-
passed men and peoples, if there was a Deity. No be-
nign Deity could allow His own created humanity to be
crushed in bleeding masses, like the grapes trampled in
the vats of a vineyard. Whole cities swallowed up by
earthquake; islands swept of their people by a tidal
wave; a vast ship pierced by an iceberg and going down
with its thousand souls; provinces spread with the vile
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
elements of a plague which carpeted the land with dead;
mines flooded by water or devastated by fire; the little
new-born babe left without the rightful breast to feed it;
the mother and her large family suddenly deprived of the
breadwinner; old men who had lived like saints, giving
their all to their own and to the world, driven to the
degradation of the poorhouse in the end ah, if one did
not smile, one would die of weeping, she thought.
Al'mah had smiled her way through the world; with a
quick word of sympathy for any who were hurt by the
blows of life or time; with an open hand for the poor and
miserable, now that she could afford it and hiding her
own troubles behind mirth and bonhommje; for her hu-
mour, as her voice, was deep and strong like that of a man.
It was sometimes too pronounced, however, Adrian Fel-
lowes had said; and Adrian was an acute observer, who
took great pride in her. Was it not to Adrian she had
looked first for approval the night of her triumph at Co-
vent Garden why, that was only a few days ago, and
it seemed a hundred days, so much had happened since.
It was Adrian's handsome face which had told her then
of the completeness of her triumph.
The half-caste valet entered again. "Here come,
madame," he said with something very near a smile; for
he liked this woman, and his dark, sensual soul would