She flushed, was embarrassed and piqued, but with a
smile and a nod she left him.
In her carriage, however, her breath came quick and
fast, her tiny hand clenched, her face flushed, and there
was a devastating fire in her eyes.
" He shall not treat me so. He shall show some feeling.
He shall he shall he shall!" she gasped, angrily.
THE APPIAN WAY
to Cairo be damned!"
The words were almost spat out. The man to
whom they were addressed slowly drew himself up from
a half -recumbent position in his desk-chair, from which
he had been dreamily talking into the ceiling, as it were,
while his visitor leaned against a row of bookshelves and
beat the floor impatiently with his foot.
At the rude exclamation, Byng straightened himself,
and looked fixedly at his visitor. He had been dreaming
out loud again the dream which Rhodes had chanted in
the ears of all those who shared with him the pioneer
enterprises of South Africa. The outburst which had
broken in on his monologue was so unexpected that for
a moment he could scarcely realize the situation. It was
not often, in these strenuous and perilous days and for
himself less often than ever before, so had London and
London life worked upon him that he, or those who
shared with him the vast financial responsibilities of the
Rand, indulged in dreams or prophecies; and he re-
sented the contemptuous phrase just uttered, and the
tone of the speaker even more.
Byng's blank amazement served only to incense his
visitor further. "Yes, be damned to it, Byng!" he con-
tinued. " I'm sick of the British Empire and the All Red,
and the 'immense future.' What I want is the present.
It's about big enough for you and me and the rest of us.
I want to hold our own in Johannesburg. I want to pull
thirty-five millions a year out of the eighty miles of reef,
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
and get enough native labour to do it. I want to run
the Rand like a business concern, with Kruger gone to
Holland; and Leyds gone to blazes. That's what I
want to see, Mr. Invincible Rudyard Byng."
The reply to this tirade was deliberate and murder-
ously bitter. "That's what you want to see, is it, Mr.
Blasphemous Barry Whalen? Well, you can want it
with a little less blither and a little more manners."
A hard and ugly look was now come into the big clean-
shaven face which had become sleeker with good living,
and yet had indefinably coarsened in the three years gone
since the Jameson raid; and a gloomy anger looked out
of the deep-blue eyes as he slowly went on:
"It doesn't matter what you want not a great deal,
if the others agree generally on what ought to be done;
and I don't know that it matters much in any case.
What have you come to see me about?"
"I know I'm not welcome here, Byng. It isn't the
same as it used to be. It isn't "
Byng jerked quickly to his feet and lunged forward as
though he would do his visitor violence; but he got hold
of himself in time, and, with a sudden and whimsical toss
of the head, characteristic of him, he burst into a laugh.
"Well, I've been stung by a good many kinds of flies
in my time, and I oughtn't to mind, I suppose," he
growled. . . . "Oh, well, there," he broke off; "you say
you're not welcome here? If you really feel that, you'd
better try to see me at my chambers or at the office in
London Wall. It can't be pleasant inhaling air that chills
or stifles you. You take my advice, Barry, and save
yourself annoyance. But let me say in passing that you
are as welcome here as anywhere, neither more nor less.
You are as welcome as you were in the days when we
trekked from the Vaal to Pietersburg and on into Bechuana-
land, and both slept in the cape-wagon under one blanket.
I don't think any more of you than I did then, and I
don't think any less; and I don't want to see you any
THE APPIAN WAY
more or any fewer. But, Barry" his voice changed,
grew warmer, kinder "circumstances are circumstances.
The daily lives of all of us are shaped differently yours
as well as mine here in this pudding-faced civilization
and in the iron conventions of London town; and we must
adapt ourselves accordingly. We used to flop down on
our Louis Quinze furniture on the Vaal with our muddy
boots on in our front drawing-room. We don't do it in
Thamesfontein, my noble buccaneer not even in Barry
Whalen's mansion in Ladbroke Square, where Barry
Whalen, Esq., puts his silk hat on the hall table, and
and, 'If you please, sir, your bath is ready'! . . . Don't
be an idiot-child, Barry, and don't spoil my best sentences
when I let myself go. I don't do it often these days
not since Jameson spilt the milk and the can went
trundling down the area. It's little time we get for dream-
ing, these sodden days, but it's only dreams that do the
world's work and our own work in the end. It's dreams
that do it, Barry; it's dreams that drive us on, that make
us see beyond the present and the stupefying, deadening
grind of the day. So it '11 be Cape to Cairo in good time,
dear lad, and no damnation, if y^cm please. . . . Why,
what's got into you? And again, what have you come to
see me about, anyhow? You knew we were to meet at
dinner at Wallstein's to-night. Is there anything that's
skulking at our heels to hurt us?"
The scowl on Barry Whalen's dissipated face cleared a
little. He came over, rested both hands on the table and
leaned forward as he spoke, Byng resuming his seat
Barry's voice was a little thick with excitement, but
he weighed his words too. "Byng, I wanted you to know
beforehand what Fleming intends to bring up to-night
a nice kind of reunion, isn't it, with war ahead as sure
as guns, and the danger of everything going to smash,
in spite of Milner and Jo?"
A set look came into Byng's face. He caught the lapels
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
of his big, loose, double-breasted jacket, and spread his
feet a little, till he looked as though squaring himself
to resist attack.
"Go on with your story," he interposed. "What is
Fleming going to say or bring up, you call it?"
"He's going to say that some one is betraying us all
we do that's of any importance and most we say that
counts to Kruger and Leyds. He's going to say that
the traitor is some one inside our circle."
Byng started, and his hands clutched at the chair-
back, then he became quiet and watchful. "And whom
does Fleming or you suspect?" he asked, with lowering
eyelids and a slumbering malice in his eyes.
Barry straightened himself and looked Byng rather
hesitatingly in the face; then he said, slowly:
" I don't know much about Fleming's suspicions. Mine,
though, are at least three years old, and you know them.
"Krool for sure."
"What would be Krool's object in betraying us, even
if he knew all we say and do?"
"Blood is thicker than water, Byng, and double pay
to a poor man is a consideration."
"Krool would do nothing that injured me, Barry. I
know men. What sort of thing has been given away to
Barry took from his pocket a paper and passed it over.
Byng scanned it very carefully and slowly, and his face
darkened as he read; for there were certain things set
down of which only he and Wallstein and one or two
others knew; which only he and one high in authority
in England knew, besides Wallstein. His face slowly
reddened with anger. London life, and its excitements
multiplied by his wife and not avoided by himself, had
worn on him, had affected his once sunny and even tem-
per, had given him greater bulk, with a touch of flabbiness
under the chin and at the neck, and had slackened the
THE APPIAN WAY
firmness of the muscles. Presently he got up, went over
to a table, and helped himself to brandy and soda, mo-
tioning to Barry to do the same. There were two or
three minutes' silence, and then he said:
"There's something wrong, certainly, but it isn't Krool.
No, it isn't Krool."
"Nevertheless, if you're wise you'll ship him back be-
yond the Vaal, my friend."
"It isn't Krool. I'll stake my life on that. He's as
true to me as I am to myself; and, anyhow, there are
things in this Krool couldn't know." He tossed the paper
into the fire and watched it burn.
He had talked over many, if not all, of these things with
Jasmine, and with no one else; but Jasmine would not
gossip. He had never known her to do so. Indeed, she
had counselled extreme caution so often to himself that
she would, in any case, be innocent of having babbled.
But certainly there had been leakage there had been
leakage regarding most critical affairs. They were mo-
mentous enough to cause him to say reflectively now, as
he watched the paper bum:
"You might as well carry dynamite in your pocket as
"You don't mind my coming to see you?" Barry asked,
in an anxious tone.
He could not afford to antagonize Byng; in any case,
his heart was against doing so; though, like an Irish-
man, he had risked everything by his maladroit and ill-
mannered attack a little while ago.
"I wanted to warn you, so's you could be ready when
Fleming jumped in," Barry continued.
"No; I'm much obliged, Barry," was Byng's reply, in
a voice where trouble was well marked, however. "Wait
a minute," he continued, as his visitor prepared to leave.
"Go into the other room" he pointed. "Glue your ear
to the door first, then to the wall, and tell me if you can
hear anything any word I say."
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
Barry did as he was bidden. Presently Byng spoke
in a tone rather louder than in ordinary conversation to
an imaginary interlocutor for some minutes. Then Barry
Whalen came back into the room.
"Well?" Byng asked. "Heard anything?"
"Not a word scarcely a murmur."
"Quite so. The walls are thick, and those big mahog-
any doors fit like a glove. Nothing could leak through.
Let's try the other door, leading into the hall." They
went over to it. "You see, here's an inside baize-door as
well. There's not room for a person to stand between the
two. I'll go out now, and you stay. Talk fairly loud."
The test produced the same result.
"Maybe I talk in my sleep," remarked Byng, with a
troubled, ironical laugh.
Suddenly there shot into Barry Whalen's mind a
thought which ,startled him, which brought the colour to
his face with a rush. For years he had suspected Krool,
had considered him a danger. For years he had regarded
Byng as culpable, for keeping as his servant one whom
the Partners all believed to be a spy; but now another,
a terrible thought came to him, too terrible to put into
words even in his own mind.
There were two other people besides Krool who were
very close to Byng. There was Mrs. Byng for one; there
was also Adrian Fellowes, who had been for a long time a
kind of handy-man of the great house, doing the hundred
things which only a private secretary, who was also a
kind of master-of-ceremonies and lord-in-waiting, as it
were, could do. Yes, there was Adrian Fellowes, the
private secretary; and there was Mrs. Byng, who knew
so much of what her husband knew! And the private
secretary and the wife necessarily saw much of each other.
What came to Barry's mind now stunned him, and he
mumbled out some words of good-bye with an almost
hang-dog look to his face; for he had a chivalrous heart
and mind, and he was not prone to be malicious.
THE APPIAN WAY
"We'll meet at eight, then?" said Byng, taking out his
watch. "It's a quarter past seven now. Don't fuss,
Barry. We'll nose out the spy, whoever he is, or wherever
to be found. But we won't find him here, I think not
here, my friend."
Suddenly Barry Whalen turned at the door. "Oh,
let's go back to the veld and the Rand!" he burst out,
passionately. "This is no place for us, Byng not for
either of us. You are getting flabby, and I'm spoiling
my temper and my manners. Let's get out of this in-
fernal jack-pot. Let's go where we'll be in the thick of
the broiling when it comes. You've got a political head,
and you've done more than any one else could do to put
things right and keep them right; but it's no good.
Nothing '11 be got except where the red runs. And the
red will run, in spite of all Jo or Milner or you can do.
And when it comes, you and I will be sick if we're not
there yes, even you with your millions, Byng."
With moist eyes Byng grasped the hand of the rough-
hewn comrade of the veld, and shook it warmly.
"England has got on your nerves, Barry," he said,
gently. "But we're all right in London. The key-board
of the big instrument is here."
"But the organ is out there, Byng, and it's the organ
that makes the music, not the keys. We're all going to
pieces here, every one of us. I see it. Hen Gott, I see it
plain enough! We're in the wrong shop. We're not buy-
ing or selling; we're being sold. Baas big Baas, let's
go where there's room to sling a stone; where we can see
what's going on round us; where there's the long sight
and the strong sight; where you can sell or get sold in the
open, not in the alleyways; where you can have a run
for your money."
Byng smiled benevolently. Yet something was stir-
ring his senses strangely. The smell of the karoo was in
his nostrils. "You're not ending up as you began,
Barry," he replied. "You started off like an Israelite
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
on the make, and you're winding up like Moody and
"Well, I'm right now in the wind-up. I'm no better,
I'm no worse, than the rest of our fellows, but I'm Irish
I can see. The Celt can always see, even if he can't
act. And I see dark days coming for this old land.
England is wallowing. It's all guzzle and feed and finery,
and nobody cares a copper about anything that matters "
"About Cape to Cairo, eh?"
"Byng, that was one of my idiocies. But you think
over what I say, just the same. I'm right. We're
rotten cotton stuff now in these isles. We've got fatty
degeneration of the heart, and in all the rest of the organs
Again Byng shook him by the hand warmly. "Wsll,
Wallstein will give us a fat dinner to-night, and you can
moralize with lime-light effects after thefoie gras, Barry."
Closing the door slowly behind his friend, whom he
had passed into the hands of the dark-browed Krool,
Byng turned again to his desk. As he did so he caught
sight of his face in the mirror over the mantel-piece. A
shadow swept over it; his lips tightened.
"Barry was right," he murmured, scrutinizing himself.
"I've degenerated. We've all degenerated. What's the
matter, anyhow? What is the matter? I've got every-
thing everything everything. ' '
Hearing the door open behind him, he turned to see
Jasmine in evening dress smiling at him. She held up a
pink finger in reproof.
"Naughty boy," she said. "What's this I hear that
you have thrown me over me to go and dine with
the Wallstein! It's nonsense! You can't go. Ian Staf-
ford is coming to dine, as I told you."
His eyes beamed protectingly, affectionately, and yet,
somehow, a little anxiously, on her. " But I must go, Jas-
mine. It's the first time we've all been together since the
Raid, and it's good we should be in the full circle once again.
THE APPIAN WAY
There's work to do more than ever there was. There's
a storm coming up on the veld, a real jagged lightning
business, and men will get hurt, hosts beyond recovery.
We must commune together, all of us. If there's the com-
munion of saints, there's also the communion of sinners.
Fleming is back, and Wolff is back, and Melville and
Reuter and Hungerford are back, but only for a few days,
and we all must meet and map things out. I forgot about
the dinner. As soon as I remembered it I left a note on
With sudden emotion he drew her to him, and buried
his face in her soft golden hair. "My darling, my little
jasmine-flower," he whispered, softly, "I hate leaving
you, but "
"But it's impossible, Ruddy, my man. How can I
send Ian Stafford away? It's too late to put him off."
"There's no need to put him off or to send him away
such old friends as you are. Why shouldn't he dine with
you a deux? I'm the only person that's got anything to
say about that."
She expressed no surprise, she really felt none. He had
forgotten that, coming up from Scotland, he had told her
of this dinner with his friends, and at the moment she
asked Ian Stafford to dine she had forgotten it also; but
she remembered it immediately afterwards, and she had
said nothing, done nothing.
As Byng spoke, however, a curious expression emerged
from the far depths of her eyes emerged, and was in-
stantly gone again to the obscurity whence it came. She
had foreseen that he would insist on Stafford dining with
her; but, while showing no surprise- and no perplexity
there was a touch of demureness in her expression as she
"I don't want to seem too conventional, but "
"There should be a little latitude in all social rules,"
he rejoined. "What nonsense! You are prudish, Jas-
mine. Allow yourself some latitude."
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
"Latitude, not license," she returned. Having deftly
laid on him the reponsibility for this evening's episode,
this excursion into the dangerous fields of past memory
and sentiment and perjured faith, she closed the book of
her own debit and credit with a smile of satisfaction.
"Let me look at you," he said, standing her off from
Holding her hand, he turned her round like a child to
be inspected. "Well, you're a dream," he added, as she
released herself and swept into a curtsey, coquetting with
her eyes as she did so. "You're wonderful in blue a
flower in the azure," he added. "I seem to remember
that gown before years ago "
She uttered an exclamation of horror. " Good gracious,
you wild and ruthless ruffian! A gown this gown
years ago! My bonny boy, do you think I wear my
gowns for years?"
" I wear my suits for years. Some I've had seven years.
I've got a frock-coat I bought for my brother Jim's wed-
ding, ten years ago, and it looks all right a little small
now, but otherwise 'most as good as new."
"What a lamb, what a babe, you are, Ruddy! Like
none that ever lived. Why, no woman wears her gowns
two seasons, and some of them rather hate wearing them
" Then what do they do with them after the two times?"
"Well, for a while, perhaps, they keep them to look at
and gloat over, if they like them ; then, perhaps, they give
them away to their poor cousins or their particular
"Their particular friends ?"
"Why, every woman has some friends poorer than her-
self who love her very much, and she is good to them.
Or there's the Mart'
" Wait. What's ' the Mart ' ?"
"The place where ladies can get rid of fine clothes at a
THE APPIAN WAY
"And what becomes of them then?"
"They are bought by ladies less fortunate."
"Ladies who wear them?"
"Why, what else would they do? Wear them of
course, dear child."
Byng made a gesture of disgust. "Well, I call it sicken-
ing. To me there's something so personal and intimate
about clothes. I think I could kill any woman that I saw
wearing clothes of yours of yours."
She laughed mockingly. "My beloved, you've seen
them often enough, but you haven't known they were
mine; that's all."
"I didn't recognize them, because no one could wear
your clothes like you. It would be a caricature. That's
a fact, Jasmine."
She reached up and swept his cheek with a kiss. "What
a darling you are, little big man! Yet you never make
very definite remarks about my clothes."
He put his hands on his hips and looked her up and
down approvingly. "Because I only see a general effect,
but I always remember colour. Tell me, have you ever
sold your clothes to the Mart, or whatever the miserable
coffin-shop is called?"
"Well, not directly."
"What do you mean by 'not directly'?"
"Well, I didn't sell them, but they were sold for me."
She hesitated, then went on hurriedly. "Adrian Fellowes
knew of a very sad case a girl in the opera who had had
misfortune, illness, and bad luck; and he suggested it.
He said he didn't like to ask for a cheque, because we were
always giving, but selling my old wardrobe would be a
sort of lucky find that's what he called it."
Byng nodded, with a half-frown, however. "That was
ingenious of Fellowes, and thoughtful, too. Now, what
does a gown cost, one like that you have on?"
"This let me see. Why, fifty pounds, perhaps. It's
not a ball gown, of course."
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
He laughed mockingly. ' ' Why, ' of course !' And what
does a ball gown cost perhaps?" There was a cynical
kind of humour in his eye.
"Anything from fifty to a hundred and fifty maybe,"
she replied, with a little burst of merriment.
"And how much did you get for the garments you had
worn twice, and then seen them suddenly grow aged in
their extreme youth?"
"Ruddy, do not be nasty or scornful. I've always
worn my gowns more than twice some of them a great
many times, except when I detested them. And anyhow,
the premature death of a gown is very, very good for
trade. That influences many ladies, of course."
He burst out laughing, but there was a satirical note
in the gaiety, or something still harsher.
"'We deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us,'"
he answered. "It's all such a hollow make-believe."
She gazed at him inquiringly, for this mood was new to
her. She was vaguely conscious of some sort of change
in him not exactly toward her, but a change, never-
"The life we rich people lead is a hollow make-believe,
Jasmine," he said, with sudden earnestness. "I don't
know what's the matter, but we're not getting out of life
all we ought to get; and we're not putting into it all we
ought to put in. There's a sense of emptiness of famine
He caught the reflection of his face in the glass again,
and his brow contracted. "We get sordid and sodden,
and we lose the proportions of life. I wanted Dick Wilber-
force to do something with me the other day, and he de-
clined. 'Why, my dear fellow,' I said, 'you know you
want to do it?' 'Of course I do,' he answered, 'but I
can't afford that kind of thing, and you know it.' Well,
I did know it, but I had forgotten. I was only thinking
of what I myself could afford to do. I was setting up my
THE APPIAN WAY
own financial standard, and was forgetting the other fel-
lows who hadn't my standard. What's the result? We
drift apart, Wilberforce and I well, I mean Wilberforce
as a type. We drift into sets of people who can afford
to do certain things, and we leave such a lot of people
behind that we ought to have clung to, and that we would
have clung to, if we hadn't been so much thinking of
ourselves, or been so soddenly selfish."
A rippling laugh rang through the room. "Boanerges
oh, Boanerges Byng! 'Owever can you be so helo-
Jasmine put both hands on his shoulders and looked
up at him with that look which had fascinated him and
so many others in their day. The perfume which had
intoxicated him in the first days of his love of her, and
steeped his senses in the sap of youth and Eden, smote
them again, here on the verge of the desert before him.
He suddenly caught her in his arms and pressed her to
him almost roughly.
"You exquisite siren you siren of all time," he said,
with a note of joy in which there was, too, a stark cry of
the soul. He held her face back from him. . . . "If you
had lived a thousand years ago you would have had a
thousand lovers, Jasmine. Perhaps you did who knows!
And now you come down through the centuries purified
by Time, to be my jasmine-flower."
His lip trembled a little. There was a strange melan-
choly in his eyes, belying the passion and rapture of his
In all their days together she had never seen him in
this mood. She had heard him storm about things at
times, had watched his big impulses working; had drawn
the thunder from his clouds; but there was something
moving in him now which she had never seen before.
Perhaps it was only a passing phase, even a moment's
mood, but it made a strange impression on her. It was
remembered by them both long after, when life had cat-
THE JUDGMENT HOUSE
tered its vicissitudes before their stumbling feet and they
had passed through flood and fire.
She drew back and looked at him steadily, reflectively,
and with an element of surprise in her searching look.
She had never thought him gifted with perception or in-
sight, though he had eloquence and an eye for broad
effects. She had thought him curiously ignorant of hu-
man nature, born to be deceived, full of child-like illusions,
never understanding the real facts of life, save in the way