been working at the day before. Presently he wanted
a reference ā a line from the PMloctetes. ' The Lemnian
fire ' ā where on earth was the passage ? He lifted his
head instinctively. If only she had been there ā it was
monstrous that she wasn't there ! ā he would just have
thrown the question across the room, and got an answer.
Her verbal memory was astonishing ā much better
He must, of course, get up and look out the reference
for himself. And the same with others. In an hour's
time he had accomplished scarcely anything, and a
settled gloom descended upon him. That was the worst
THE WAR AND ELIZABETH 157
of accustoming yourself to crutches and helps. When
they were unscrupulously and unjustly taken away, a
man was worse off than if he had never had them.
The evening post came in. The Squire looked through
it with disgust. He perceived that several letters were
answers to some he had allowed his secretary to draft
and send in his name ā generally in reply to exasperated
correspondents who had been kept waiting for months,
and trampled on to boot.
Now he supposed she would refuse to have anything
to do with this kind of thing ! She would keep to the
letter of her bargain, for the few weeks that remained.
Greek he might expect from her ā but not business.
He opened one or two. Yes, there was no doubt
she was a clever woman ā unpardonably and detestably
clever. Affairs which had been mountains for years
had suddenly become mole-hills. In this new phase
he felt himself more helpless than ever to deal with
them. She, on the contrary, might have put every-
thing straight ā she might have done anything with
him ā almost ā that she pleased. He would have got
rid of his old fool of an agent and put in another, that
she approved of, if she had wished.
But no ! ā she must try and dictate to him in public
ā on a matter of public action. She must have every-
thing her own way. Opinionated, self-conceited creature!
When tea-time came he rang for Forest, and demanded
that a cup of tea should be brought him to the library.
But as the butler was leaving the room, he recalled him.
' And tell Miss Bremerton that I shall be glad of her
company when she has finished her tea.'
' I think, sir. Miss Bremerton is out.'
158 THE WAR AND ELIZABETH
Out ! ā was she ? Her own mistress already !
' Send Miss Pamela here at once,' he commanded.
In a minute or two a girl's quick step was heard,
and Pamela ran in.
' Yes, father ? '
' Where is Miss Bremerton ? ' The Squire was stand-
ing in front of the fire, angrily erect. He had delivered
his question in the tone of an ultimatum.
' Why, father, you've forgotten I She arranged with
you that she was to go to tea at the Rectory, and I've
just got a note from Mrs. Pennington to ask if they may
keep her for the evening. They'll send her home.'
' I remember no such arrangement,' said the Squire,
in a fury.
' Oh, father ā why, I heard her speak to you ! And
I'm sure she wanted a little break. She's been looking
dead-tired lately, and she said she had a headache at
' Very well. That'll do,' said the Squire, and Pamela
departed, virtuously conscious of having stood by Eliza-
beth, though she disliked her.
The Squire felt himself generally cornered. No doubt
she was now telling her story to the Penningtons, who,
of course, would disapprove the gates affair, in any case.
The long hours before dinner passed away. The Squire
thought them interminable. Dinner was a gloomy
and embarrassed function. His daughters were afraid
of rousing a fresh whirlwind of temper, if the gates were
mentioned ; and nothing else was interesting. The
meal was short and spare, and the Squire noticed for
the first time that while meat was offered to him, the
others fed on fish and vegetables. All to put him in the
wrong, of course !
THE WAR AND ELIZABETH 159
After dinner he went back to the Hbrary. Work
was impossible. He hung over the fire smoking, or
turning over the pages of a fresh section of the catalogue
which Elizabeth had placed ā complete ā on his desk
It seemed to him that aU the powers of mischief had
risen against him. The recent investigation of his
affairs made by Elizabeth at his express wish, slight
and preliminary though it was, had shown him what he
had long and obstinately refused to see ā that the estate
had seriously gone down in value during the preceding
five years ; that he had a dozen scrapes and disputes on
his hands, more than enough to rasp the nerves of any
ordinary man ā and as far as nerves were concerned, he
knew very well that he was not an ordinary man ; that,
in short, he was impoverished and embarrassed ; his
agent was a scandal and must be dismissed, and his
new lawyers a grasping, incompetent crew. For a
moment, indeed, he had had a glimpse of a clear sky. A
woman, who seemed to have the same kind of business
faculty that many Frenchwomen possess, had laid
hands on his skein of troubles, and might have unravelled
them. But she had thrown him over. In a little while
he would have to let Mannering ā for who would buy
an estate in such a pickle ?ā sell his collections, and
go and live in a flat in West Kensington. Then he
hoped his enemies ā Chicksands in particular ā would be
But these, to do him justice, were not the chief thoughts,
not the considerations in his mind that smarted most.
Another woman secretary or woman accountant ā for,
after all, clever women with business training are now
as thick as blackberries ā might have helped him to put
i6o THE WAR AND ELIZABETH
his affairs straight ; but she would not have been a
Miss Bremerton, with her scholarship, her taste, her
love of the beautiful things that he loved. He seemed
to see her fair skin flushing with pleasure as they went
through a Greek chorus together, or to watch her tenderly
handhng a bronze, or holding a Tanagra figure to the
Of course some stupid creatures might think he was
falling in love with her ā wanting to marry her. He
laughed the charge to scorn. No ! but he confessed
her comradeship, her friendship, had begun to mean a
good deal to him. For twenty years he had lived in
loneliness. Now, it seemed, he had found a friend, in
these days when the new independence of women opens
a thousand fresh possibilities not only to them, but to
Well, well, it was all over ! Better make up his mind
He went to the window, as it was nearing ten
o'clock, and looked out. It was foggy still, the moon
and stars scarcely visible. He hoped they would
have at least the sense at the Rectory to provide her
with a lantern, for under the trees the road was very
Oh, far in the distance, a twinkUng light ! Good !
The Squire hastily shut the window, and resumed his
pacing. Presently he thought he heard the house door
open and shut, and a little while after the library clock
Now it would be only the natural thing to go and say
good-night to his daughters, and, possibly, to inquire
after a headache.
The Squire accordingly emerged. In the haU he
THE WAR AND ELIZABETH i6i
found his three daughters engaged in hghting their
candles at the Chippendale table, where for about a
hundred and fifty years the ladies of Mannering had
been accustomed to perform that rite.
The master of the house inquired coldly whether
Miss Bremerton had returned safely. ' Oh yes,' said
his daughter Margaret, ' but she went up to bed at once.
She hasn't got rid of her headache.'
Mrs. Strang's stiff manner, and the silence of the others,
showed the Squire that he was deep in his daughters'
black books. Was he also charged with Miss Bremerton's
headache ? Did any of them guess what had happened ?
He fancied from the puzzled look in Pamela's eyes as
she said good - night to him that she guessed some-
Well, he wasn't going to tell them anything. ; He
went back to the library, and presently Pamela, in her
room upstairs, heard first the library bell, then the
steps of Forest crossing the hall, and finally a conversa-
tion between the Squire and the butler which seemed
to last some time.
It was in the very early morning ā between four and
five ā that Elizabeth was wakened, first by vague
movements in the house, and then by what seemed to
be cautious voices outside. She drew a curtain back
and looked out ā a misty morning, between darkness
and dawn, and trees standing on the grass in dim robes
of amethyst and gold. Two men in the middle distance
were going away from the house. She craned her
neck. Yes ā no doubt of it ! The Squire and Forest.
What could they be about at that hour of the morning ?
They were going, no doubt, to inspect the barricades !
i62 THE WAR AND ELIZABETH
Yet Forest himself had told her that nothing would
induce him to take a hand in the ' row.'
It was strange ; but she was too weary and depressed
to give it much thought. What was she going to do
now ? The world seemed emptily open before her once
more, chill and lonely as the autumn morning.
On the following morning the breakfast at Mannering
was a very tame and silent affair. Forest was not in
attendance, and the under-housemaid, who commonly
replaced him when absent, could not explain his non-
appearance. He and his wife lived in a cottage beyond
the stables, and all that could be said was that he ' had
not come in.'
The Squire also was absent. But as his breakfast
habits were erratic, owing to the fact that he slept
badly and was often up and working at strange seasons
of the night, neither of his daughters took any notice.
Elizabeth did not feel inclined to say anything of her
own observations in the small hours. If the Squire and
Forest had been working at the barricade together, they
were perhaps sleeping off their exertions. Or the Squire
was already on the spot, waiting for the fray ? Mean-
while, out of doors, a thick grey mist spread over the
So she sat silent like the other two ā (Mrs. Gaddesden
was of course in bed) ā wondering from time to time
when and how she should announce her departure.
Pamela meanwhUe was thinking of the letter she
would have to write to Desmond about the day's pro-
ceedings, and was impatient to be off as soon as possible
for the scene of action. Once or twice it occurred to
i64 THE WAR AND ELIZABETH
her to notice that Miss Bremerton was looking rather
pale and depressed. But the fact only made Pamela
feel prickly. ' If father does get into a row, what does
it reaUy matter to her. She's not responsible ! ā she's
not one of us ! '
Immediately after breakfast, Pamela disappeared.
She made her way quietly through the park, where the
dank mist still clung to the trees from which the leaf
was dropping silently, continuously. The grass was all
cobwebs. Every now and then the head of a deer would
emerge from the dripping fern only to be swallowed up
again in the fog.
Could a motor-plough work in a fog ?
Presently, she who knew every inch of the ground
and every tree upon it, became aware that she was close
to the Chetworth gate. Suddenly the rattle of an engine
and some men's voices caught her ear. The plough,
sure enough ! The sound of it was becoming common
in the country-side. Then as the mist thinned and
drifted she saw the thing plain ā the puf&ng engine,
one man driving and another following, while in their
wake ran the black glistening furrow, where the grass
And here was the gate. Pamela stood open-mouthed.
Where were the elaborate defences and barricades of
which rumour had been full the night before ? The big
gate swung idly on its hinges. And in front of it stood
two men placidly smoking, in company with the village
policeman. Not a trace of any obstruction ā no hurdles,
no barbed wire, only a few ends of rope lying in the road.
Then, looking round, she perceived old Perley, with
a bag of ferrets in his hand, emerging from the mist,
and she ran up to him breathlessly.
THE WAR AND ELIZABETH 165
' So they've come, Perley ! Was it they forced the
gate ? '
Perley scratched his head with his free hand.
' Well, it's an uncommon queer thing, Miss ā but I
can't tell yer who opened them gates ! I come along
here about seven o'clock this mornin', and the fog was
so thick yo couldn't see nothin' beyond a yard or two.
But when I got up to the gates, there they were open,
just as you see 'em now. At first I thought there was
summat wrong ā that my eyes wasn't what they used
to was. But they was all right.'
' And you saw the gates shut last night ? '
' Barred up, so as you couldn't move 'em. Miss ! ā
not without a crowbar or two, an' a couple of men. I
thowt it was perhaps some village chaps larkin' as had
done it. But it ain't none o' them. It beats me ! '
Pamela looked at the two men smoking by the gate
ā ^representatives, very likely, of the Inspection Sub-
Committee. Should she go up and question them ?
But some inherited instinct deterred her. She was glad
the country should have the land and the corn. She
had no sympathy with her father. And yet all the same
when she actually saw Demos the outsider forcibly in
possession of Mannering land, the Mannering spirit
kicked a little. She would find out what had happened
from some of their own people.
So after watching the County Council plough for a
while as it clove its way up and down the park under the
struggling sun which was gradually scattering the fog ā
her young intelligence quite aware aU the time of the
significance of the sight ā she turned back towards the
house. And presently, advancing to meet her, she per-
ceived the figure of Elizabeth Bremerton ā coming, no
i66 THE WAR AND ELIZABETH
doubt, to get picturesque details on the spot for the letter
she had promised to write to a certain artillery of&cer.
A quick flame of jealousy ran through the girl's mind.
Miss Bremerton quickened her step.
' So they're open ! ' she said eagerly, as she and
Pamela met. ' And there's nothing broken, or ā or lying
about ! '
She looked in bewilderment at the unlittered road
and swinging gate.
' They were open, Perley says, first thing this morning.
He came by about seven.'
' Before the plough arrived ? '
They stood still, trjdng to puzzle it out. Then a
sudden laugh crossed Ehzabeth's face.
* Perhaps there were no barricades ! Perhaps your
father was taking us all in ! '
' Not at all,' said Pamela drily, ' Perley saw the
gates firmly barred with hurdles and barbed wire, and
all tied up with rope, when he and his wife left the Lodge
late last night.'
Elizabeth suddenly coloured brightly. Why, Pamela
could not imagine. Her fair skin made it impossible
for a flush to pass unnoticed. But why should she
Elizabeth walked on rapidly, her eyes on the ground.
When she raised them it was to look rather steadily at
' I think perhaps I had better tell you at once ā I
am very sorry ! ā but I shall be leaving you in a month.
I told your father so last night.'
Pamela looked the astonishment she felt. For the
moment she was tongue-tied. Was she glad or sorry ?
THE WAR AND ELIZABETH 167
She did not know. But the instinct of good manners
came to her aid.
' Can't you stand us ? ' she said bluntly. ' I expect
Elizabeth laughed uncomfortably.
' Why, you've all been so kind to me. But I think
perhaps ' ā she paused, trying to find her words ā ' I
didn't quite understand ā when I came ā how much I
still wanted to be doing things for the war '
' Why, you might do heaps of things ! ' cried Pamela.
' You have been doing them. Taking an interest in the
farms, I mean ā and all that.'
' WeU, but ' Elizabeth's brow puckered. Then
she broke into a frank laugh ā ' After all, that wasn't
what I was engaged for, was it ? '
' No ā but you seemed to like to do it. And it's war-
work,' said Pamela inexorably.
Elizabeth was dismally conscious of her own apparent
inconsistencies. It seemed best to be frank.
' The fact is ā I think I'd better teU you ā I tried
yesterday to get your father to give up his plans about
the gates. And when he wouldn't, and it seemed likely
that there might be legal proceedings and ā and a great
fuss ā in which naturally he would want his secretary to
help him '
' You just felt you couldn't ? Well, of course I
understand that,' said Pamela fervently. ' But then,
you see,' she laughed, ' there isn't going to be a fuss.
The plough just walked in, and the fifty acres will be
done in no time.'
Elizabeth looked as she felt ā worried.
' It's very puzzling. I wonder what happened. But
I am afraid there will be other things where your father
i68 THE WAR AND ELIZABETH
and I shall disagree ā if, that is, he wants me to do so
much else for him than the Greek work '
' But you might say that you wouldn't do anything
else but the Greek work ? '
' Yes, I might,' said Elizabeth, smiling, ' but once
I've begun '
'You couldn't keep to it? ā father couldn't keep
to it ? '
Elizabeth shook her head decidedly. A little smile
played about her lips, as much as to say, ' I am a
managing woman and you must take me at that. " II
ne faut pas sortir de son caractere." ' Pamela, looking
at her, admired her for the first time. And now that
there was to be no more question ā apparently ā of
correspondence with Arthur Chicksands, her mood
' Well, I'm very sorry ! ' she said ā and then, sincerely,
' I don't know how the place will get on.'
' Thank you,' said Elizabeth. Her look twinkled a
little. ' But you don't know what I might be after if
I stayed ! '
Pamela laughed out, and the two walked home,
better friends than they had been yet, Elizabeth asking
that the news of her resignation of her post might be
regarded as confidential for a few days.
When they reached the house, Pamela went into the
morning-room to tell her sisters of the tame ending to
all their alarms, while Elizabeth hurried to the library.
She was due there at half-past ten, and she was only
just in time. Would the Squire be there ? She re-
membered that she had to apologise for her absence of
the day before.
She felt her pulse thumping a little as she opened
THE WAR AND ELIZABETH 169
the library door. There was undoubtedly something
about the Squire ā some queer magnetism ā bom perhaps
of his very restlessness and unexpectedness ā that made
life in his neighbourhood seldom less than interesting.
His temper this morning would probably be of the worst.
Something, or some one, had defeated all his schemes
for a magnificent assertion of the rights of man. His
park was in the hands of the invaders. The public
plough was impudently at work. And at the same
moment his secretary had given warning, and the new
catalogue ā ^the darling of his heart ā would be thrown
on his hands. It would not be surprising to find him
rampant. Elizabeth entered almost on tip-toe, prepared
to be all that was meek and conciliating, so far as was
compatible with her month's notice.
A tall figure rose from the Squire's table and made
her a formal bow.
' Good-morning, Miss Bremerton. I expected your
assistance yesterday afternoon, but you had, I under-
stand, made an engagement ? '
' I asked you ā a few days ago,' said Elizabeth, mildly
confronting him. ' I am sorry if it inconvenienced you.'
' Oh, all right ā all right,' said the Squire hastily.
' I had forgotten all about it. Well, anyway, we have
lost a great deal of time.' His voice conveyed reproach.
His greenish eyes were fierily bent upon her.
Elizabeth sat down at her table without reply, and
chose a pen. The morning's work generally consisted
of descriptions of vases and bronzes in the Mannering
collection, dictated by the Squire, and illustrated often
by a number of references to classical writers, given both
in Greek and English. The labour of looking out and
170 THE WAR AND ELIZABETH
verifying the references was considerable, and the Squire's
testy temper was never more testy than when it was
quarrelHng with the difficulties of translation.
' Kindly take down,' he said peremptorily.
Elizabeth began :
' " No. 190. Greek vase, from a tomb excavated at
Mitylene in 1902. Fine work of the fifth century B.C.
Subject : Penelope's Web. Penelope is seated at the
loom. Beside her are the figures of a young man and
two females ā probably Telemachus and two hand-
maidens. The three male figures in the background
may represent the suitors. Size, 23 inches high ;
diameter, 11 inches. Perfect, except for a restoration
in one of the handles."
' Have you got that ? '
' Go on, please. " This vase is of course an illustration
of the well-known passage in the Odyssey, Book 21. 103.
I take Mr. Samuel Butler's translation, which is lively
and modem and much to be preferred to the heavy
archaisms of the other fellows." '
Elizabeth gave a slight cough. The Squire looked
at her sharply.
' Oh, you think that's not dignified ? Well, have it
as you like.'
Elizabeth altered the phrase to ā ' other translators.'
The Squire resumed. ' " Antinous, one of the suitors, is
speaking : ' We could see her working on her great web
all day long, but at night she would unpick the stitches
again by torchlight. She fooled us in this way for three
years, and we never found her out, but as time wore on,
and she was now in her fourth year, one of her maids,
who knew what she was doing, told us, and we caught
THE WAR AND ELIZABETH 171
her in the act of undoing her work, so she had to finish
it, whether she would or no. . . ,' I tell you, we never
heard of such a woman ; we know all about Tyro,
Alcmena, Mycene, and the famous women of old, but
they were nothing to your mother ā any one of them." ā
And yet she was only undoing her own work ! ā she was
not forcing a grown man to undo his ! ' said the Squire,
with a sudden rush of voice and speech.
Elizabeth looked up astonished.
' Am I to put that down ? '
The Squire threw away the book he was holding.
His shining white hair seemed positively to bristle on
his head, his long legs twined and untwined themselves.
' Don't pretend, please, that you don't know what
part you've been playing in this affair ! ' he said with
sarcasm. * It took Forest and me three good hours this
morning to take down as fine a barricade as ever I saw
put up. I'm stiff with it still. British liberties have
been thrown to the dogs ā yvvaiKo<; ovveKa ā all because
of a woman ! And there you sit, as though nothing had
happened ! Yet I chanced to see you just now, coming
back with Pamela ! '
Elizabeth's flush this time dyed her aU crimson. She
sat, pen in hand, staring at her employer.
' I don't understand what you mean, Mr. Mannering.'
At which her conscience whispered to her sharply,
' You guessed it already ā in the park ! '
The Squire jumped to his feet, and came to stand
excitedly in front of her, his hands thrust into the high
pockets of his waistcoat.
' I am extremely sorry ! ' he said, with that grand
seigneur politeness he could put on when he chose ā ' but
I am not able to credit that statement. You make it
172 THE WAR AND ELIZABETH
honestly, of course, but that a person of your intelligence,
when you saw those gates, failed to put two and two
together, well ! ' ā the Squire shook his head, and
shrugged his shoulders, became, in fact, one protesting
gesture ā ' if you ask me to believe it,' he continued
witheringly, ' I suppose I must, but '
' Mr. Mannering ! ' said Elizabeth earnestly, ' it would
really be kind of you to explain,'
Her blush had died away. She had fallen back in
her chair, and was meeting his attack with the steady,
candid look that betrayed her character. She was now
entirely self-possessed ā neither nervous nor angry.
The Squire changed his tone. Folding his arms, he
leant against a pedestal which supported a bust of a
' Very well, then ā I will explain. I told you yesterday
of a step I proposed to take by way of testing how far
the invasion of personal freedom had gone in this country.
I was perfectly justified in taking it. I was prepared
to suffer for my action. I had thought it all out. Then
you came in ā and \>y force majeure compelled me to give
it all up ! '
Elizabeth could not help laughing.
' I never heard any account of an incident which
fitted less with the facts ! ' she said with vivacity.
' It exactly fits them ! ' the Squire insisted. ' When