Richard Harding Davis.

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THE LION AND
THE UNICORN








'



THE LION AND
THE UNICORN



BY

RICHARD HARDING DAVIS



ILLUSTRATED BY

Howard Chandler Christy



CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
NEW YORK::::::::::::::::: 1910



COPYRIGHT, 1898, 1899, 1903, BV
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SON$



C -*







' ." '""!
' *' *



IN MEMORY OF

MANY HOT DAYS AND SOME HOT CORNERS
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO

LIEUT.-COL. ARTHUR H. LEE, R.A.

BRITISH MILITARY ATTACHE WITH THE
UNITED STATES ARMY



224032



CONTENTS

\* In this volume are included * Cinderella,** " Miss Delamar*8 Under-
Study,** "The Editor's Story,'* and "An Assisted Emigrant,** heretofore
published in the volume entitled " Cinderella and Other Stories.**

PACK

1 THE LION AND THE UNICORN ..*.*. i
CINDERELLA .*.....** 63

Miss DELAMAR'S UNDERSTUDY ....* 95
i ON THE FEVER SHIP ......... 131

v THE MAN WITH ONE TALENT .... . 159

N THE VAGRANT . . 199

V/THE LAST RIDE TOGETHER .......241

THE EDITOR'S STORY , . 253

AN ASSISTED EMIGRANT ... ...281



ILLUSTRATIONS



Instead . . . buried her face in its folds . . . Frontispiece



FACING
PAGE



Consumed tea and thin slices ot bread ..... 12

Saw her staring down at the tumult 54

"Listen," he said 148

" You are like a ring of gamblers around a gaming

table" 192

The young man stood staring up at the white figure or

the girl 236



THE LION AND THE
UNICORN



,o e : ,



The Lion and the Unicorn

PRENTISS had a long lease on the house,
and because it stood in Jermyn Street the
upper floors were, as a matter of course, turned
into lodgings for single gentlemen; and because
/Prentiss was a Florist to the Queen, he placed a
lion and unicorn over his flower-shop, just in front
of the middle window on the first floor. By stretch-
ing a little, each of them could see into the win-
dow just beyond him, and could hear all that was
said inside ; and such things as they saw and heard
during the reign of Captain Carrington, who
moved in at the same time they did ! By day the
table in the centre of the room was covered with
maps, and the Captain sat with a box of pins, with
different-colored flags wrapped around them, and
amused himself by sticking them in the maps and
measuring the spaces in between, swearing mean-
while to himself. It was a selfish amusement, but
it appeared to be the Captain's only intellectual
pursuit, for at night the maps were rolled up, and
a green cloth was spread across the table, and there
was much company and popping of soda-bottles,

3



The Lion and the Unicorn

t i < ' '

: ' ' ' : ,

auci Jittlt: heaps of gold and silver were moved this
way and that across the cloth. The smoke drifted
Dut of the open windows, and the laughter of the
Captain's guests rang out loudly in the empty
street, so that the policeman halted and raised his
eyes reprovingly to the lighted windows, and cab-
men drew up beneath them and lay in wait, dozing
on their folded arms, for the Captain's guests to
depart. The Lion and the Unicorn were rather
ashamed of the scandal of it, and they were glad
when, one day, the Captain went away with his tin
boxes and gun-cases piled high on a four-wheeler.
Prentiss stood on the sidewalk and said, "I
wish you good luck, sir." And the Captain said,
"I'm coming back a Major, Prentiss." But he
never came back. And one day the Lion remem-
bered the day very well, for on that same day the
newsboys ran up and down Jermyn Street shouting
out the news of "a 'orrible disaster" to the British
arms. It was then that a young lady came to the
door in a hansom, and Prentiss went out to meet
her and led her upstairs. They heard him un-
lock the Captain's door and say, "This is his
room, miss," and after he had gone they watched
her standing quite still by the centre-table,, She
stood there for a very long time looking slowly
about her, and then she took a photograph of the
Captain from the frame on the mantel and slipped

4



The Lion and the Unicorn

it into her pocket, and when she went out again
her veil was down, and she was crying. She must
have given Prentiss as much as a sovereign, for
he called her "Your ladyship," which he never did
under a sovereign.

And she drove off, and they never saw her again
either, nor could they hear the address she gave
the cabman. But it was somewhere up St. John's
Wood way.

After that the rooms were empty for some
months, and the Lion and the Unicorn were forced
to amuse themselves with the beautiful ladies and
smart-looking men who came to Prentiss to buy
flowers and "buttonholes," and the little round
baskets of strawberries, and even the peaches at
three shillings each, which looked so tempting as
they lay in the window, wrapped up in cotton-wool,
like jewels of great price.

Then Philip Carroll, the American gentleman, \
came, and they heard Prentiss telling him that
those rooms had always let for five guineas a week,
which they knew was not true ; but they also knew
that in the economy of nations there must always
be a higher price for the rich American, or else
why was he given that strange accent, except to
betray him into the hands of the London shop-
keeper, and the London cabby?

The American walked to the window toward

5



The Lion and the Unicorn

the west, which was the window nearest the Lion,
and looked out into the graveyard of St. James's
Church, that stretched between their street and
Piccadilly.

"You're lucky in having a bit of green to look
out on," he said to Prentiss. "I'll take these rooms
at five guineas. That's more than they're worth,
you know, but as I know it, too, your conscience
needn't trouble you."

Then his eyes fell on the Lion, and he nodded
to him gravely. "How do you do?" he said.
"I'm coming to live with you for a little time.
I have read about you and your friends over
there. It is a hazard of new fortunes with me,
your Majesty, so be kind to me, and if I win, I
will put a new coat of paint on your shield and
gild you all over again."

Prentiss smiled obsequiously at the American's
pleasantry, but the new lodger only stared at him.

"He seemed a social gentleman," said the Uni-
corn, that night, when the Lion and he were talk-
ing it over. "Now the Captain, the whole time
he was here, never gave us so much as a look.
This one says he has read of us."

"And why not?" growled the Lion. "I hope
Prentiss heard what he said of our needing a new
layer of gilt. It's disgraceful. You can see that
Lion over Scarlett's, the butcher, as far as Regent

6



The Lion and the Unicorn

Street, and Scarlett is only one of Salisbury's crea
tions. He received his Letters-Patent only two
years back. We date from Palmerston."

The lodger came up the street just at that mo-
ment, and stopped and looked up at the Lion and
the Unicorn from the sidewalk, before he opened
the door with his night-key. They heard him en-
ter the room and feel on the mantel for his pipe,
and a moment later he appeared at the Lion's
window and leaned on the sill, looking down into
the street below and blowing whiffs of smoke up
into the warm night-air.

It was a night in June, and the pavements were
dry under foot and the streets were filled with
well-dressed people, going home from the play,
and with groups of men in black and white, mak-
ing their way to supper at the clubs. Hansoms
of inky-black, with shining lamps inside and out,
dashed noiselessly past on mysterious errands,
chasing close on each other's heels on a mad race,
each to its separate goal. From the cross streets
rose the noises of early night, the rumble of the
'buses, the creaking of their brakes as they un-
locked, the cries of the "extras," and the merging
of thousands of human voices in a dull murmur.
The great world of London was closing its shut-
ters for the night and putting out the lights; and
the new lodger from across the sea listened to it

7



The Lion and the Unicorn

with his heart beating quickly, and laughed to stifle
the touch of fear and homesickness that rose in
him.

"I have seen a great play to-night," he said to
the Lion, "nobly played by great players. What
will they care for my poor wares? I see that I
have been over-bold. But we cannot go back now
not yet."

He knocked the ashes out of his pipe, and
nodded "good-night" to the great world beyond
his window. "What fortunes lie with ye, ye lights
of London town?" he quoted, smiling. And they
heard him close the door of his bedroom, and
lock it for the night.

The next morning he bought many geraniums
from Prentiss and placed them along the broad
cornice that stretched across the front of the house
over the shop-window. The flowers made a band
of scarlet on either side of the Lion as brilliant
as a Tommy's jacket.

"I am trying to propitiate the British Lion by
placing flowers before his altar," the American
said that morning to a visitor.

"The British public, you mean," said the vis-
itor; "they are each likely to tear you to pieces."

:< Yes, I have heard that the pit on the first
night of a bad play is something awful," hazarded
the American.

8



The Lion and the Unicorn

"Wait and see," said the visitor.

"Thank you," said the American, meekly.

Everyone who came to the first floor front
talked about a play. It seemed to be something
of great moment to the American. It was only
a bundle of leaves printed in red and black inks
and bound in brown paper covers. There were
two of them, and the American called them by
different names: one was his comedy and one was
his tragedy.

"They are both likely to be tragedies," the
Lion heard one of the visitors say to another, as
they drove away together. "Our young friend
takes it too seriously."

The American spent most of his time by his
desk at the window writing on little blue pads and
tearing up what he wrote, or in reading over one
of the plays to himself in a loud voice. In time
the number of his visitors increased, and to some
of these he would read his play; and after they
had left him he was either depressed and silent or
excited and jubilant. The Lion could always tell
when he was happy because then he would go to
the side table and pour himself out a drink and
say, "Here's to me," but when he was depressed
he would stand holding the glass in his hand, and
finally pour the liquor back into the bottle again
and say, "What's the use of that?"

9



The Lion and the Unicorn

After he had been in London a month he wrote
less and was more frequently abroad, sallying forth
in beautiful raiment, and coming home by daylight.

And he gave suppers too, but they were less
noisy than the Captain's had been, and the women
who came to them were much more beautiful, and
their yoices when they spoke were sweet and low.
Sometimes one of the women sang, and the men
sat in silence while the people in the street below
stopped to listen, and would say, "Why, that is
So-and-So singing," and the Lion and the Unicorn
wondered how they could know who it was when
they could not see her.

The lodger's visitors came to see him at all
hours. They seemed to regard his rooms as a
club, where they could always come for a bite to
eat or to write notes; and others treated it like a
lawyer's office and asked advice on all manner of
strange subjects. Sometimes the visitor wanted to
know whether the American thought she ought to
take 10 a week and go on tour, or stay in town
and try to live on 8 ; or whether she should paint
landscapes that would not sell, or race-horses that
would; or whether Reggie really loved her and
whether she really loved Reggie; or whether the
new part in the piece at the Court was better than
the old part at Terry's, and wasn't she getting too
old to play "ingenues" anyway.

10



The Lion and the Unicorn

The lodger seemed to be a general adviser, and
smoked and listened with grave consideration, and
the Unicorn thought his judgment was most sym-
pathetic and sensible.

Of all the beautiful ladies who came to call on
the lodger the one the Unicorn liked the best was
the one who wanted to know whether she loved
Reggie and whether Reggie loved her. She dis-
cussed this so interestingly while she consumed tea
and thin slices of bread that the Unicorn almost
lost his balance in leaning forward to listen. Her
name was Marion Cavendish, and it was written
over many photographs which stood in silver
frames in the lodger's rooms. She used to make
the tea herself, while the lodger sat and smoked;
and she had a fascinating way of doubling the thin
slices of bread into long strips and nibbling at
them like a mouse at a piece of cheese. She had
wonderful little teeth and Cupid's-bow lips, and
she had a fashion of lifting her veil only high
enough for one to see the two Cupid-bow lips.
When she did that the American used to laugh, at
nothing apparently, and say, "Oh, I guess Reggie
loves you well enough."

"But do I love Reggie?" she would ask, sadly,
with her teacup held poised in air.

"I am sure I hope not," the lodger would re-
ply, and she would put down the veil quickly, as

ii



The Lion and the Unicorn

one would drop a curtain over a beautiful picture,
and rise with great dignity and say, "If you talk
like that I shall not come again."

She was sure that if she could only get some
work to do her head would be filled with more im-
portant matters than whether Reggie loved her or
not.

"But the managers seem inclined to cut their
cavendish very fine just at present," she said. "If
I don't get a part soon," she announced, "I shall
ask Mitchell to put me down on the list for reci-
tations at evening parties."

"That seems a desperate revenge," said the
American; "and besides, I don't want you to get
a part, because someone might be idiotic enough
to take my comedy, and if he should, you must
play Nancy"

"I would not ask for any salary if I could play
Nancy" Miss Cavendish answered.

They spoke of a great many things, but their
talk always ended by her saying that there must
be someone with sufficient sense to see that his
play was a great play, and by his saying that none
but she must play Nancy.

The Lion preferred the tall girl with masses
and folds of brown hair, who came from America
to paint miniatures of the British aristocracy. Her
name was Helen Cabot, and he liked her because

12




Consumed tea and thin tikes of bread.



The Lion and the Unicorn

she was so brave and fearless, and so determined
to be independent of everyone, even of the
lodger especially of the lodger, who, it ap-
peared, had known her very well at home. The
lodger, they gathered, did not wish her to be in-
dependent of him, and the two Americans had
many arguments and disputes about it, but she al-
ways said, "It does no good, Philip; it only hurts
us both when you talk so. I care for nothing, and
for no one but my art, and, poor as it is, it means
everything to me, and you do not, and, of course,
the man I am to marry, must." Then Carroll would
talk, walking up and down, and looking very fierce
and determined, and telling her how he loved her
in such a way that it made her look even more
proud and beautiful. And she would say more
gently, "It is very fine to think that anyone can
care for me like that, and very helpful. But unless
I cared in the same way it would be wicked of me
to marry you, and besides " She would add very
quickly to prevent his speaking again "I don't
want to marry you or anybody, and I never shall.
I want to be free and to succeed in my work, just
as you want to succeed in your work. So please
never speak of this again." When she went away
the lodger used to sit smoking in the big arm-chair
and beat the arms with his hands, and he would
pace up and down the room, while his work would

13



The Lion and the Unicorn

lie untouched and his engagements pass for-
gotten.

Summer came and London was deserted, dull,
and dusty, but the lodger stayed on in Jermyn
Street. Helen Cabot had departed on a round of
visits to country-houses in Scotland, where, as she
wrote him, she was painting miniatures of her
hosts and studying the game of golf. Miss Cav-
endish divided her days between the river and one
of the West End theatres. She was playing a
small part in a farce-comedy.

One day she came up from Cookham earlier
than usual, looking very beautiful in a white boat-
ing-frock and a straw hat with a Leander ribbon.
Her hands and arms were hard with dragging a
punting-pole, and she was sunburnt and happy, and
hungry for tea.

"Why don't you come down to Cookham and
get out of this heat?" Miss Cavendish asked.
"You need it; you look ill."

"I'd like to, but I can't," said Carroll. "The
fact is, I paid in advance for these rooms, and if
I lived anywhere else I'd be losing five guineas
a week on them."

Miss Cavendish regarded him severely. She
had never quite mastered his American humor.

"But sfive guineas why, that's nothing to
you," she said. Something in the lodger's face
made her pause. "You don't mean "



The Lion and the Unicorn

"Yes, I do," said the lodger, smiling. "You
see, I started in to lay siege to London without
sufficient ammunition. London is a large town,
and it didn't fall as quickly as I thought it would.
So I am economizing. Mr. Lockhart's Coffee
Rooms and I are no longer strangers."

Miss Cavendish put down her cup of tea un-
tasted and leaned toward him.

"Are you in earnest?" she asked. "For how
long?"

"Oh, for the last month," replied the lodger;
"they are not at all bad clean and wholesome
and all that."

"But the suppers you gave us, and this," she
cried, suddenly, waving her hands over the pretty
tea-things, "and the cake and muffins?"

"My friends, at least," said Carroll, "need not
go to Lockhart's."

"And the Savoy?" asked Miss Cavendish,
mournfully shaking her head.

"A dream of the past," said Carroll, waving
his pipe through the smoke. "Gatti's? Yes, on
special occasions; but for necessity the Chancel-
lor's, where one gets a piece of the prime roast
beef of Old England, from Chicago, and pota-
toes for ninepence a pot of bitter twopence-half-
penny, and a penny for the waiter. It's most
amusing on the whole. I am learning a little about

15



The Lion and the Unicorn

London, and some things about myself. They are
both most interesting subjects."

"Well, I don't like it," Miss Cavendish de-
clared, helplessly. "When I think of those sup-
pers and the flowers, I feel I feel like a robber."

"Don't," begged Carroll. "I am really the
most happy of men that is, as the chap says in
the play, I would be if I wasn't so damned miser-
able. But I owe no man a penny and I have as-
sets I have 80 to last me through the winter
and two marvellous plays ; and I love, next to your-
self, the most wonderful woman God ever made.
That's enough."

"But I thought you made such a lot of money
by writing?" asked Miss Cavendish.

"I do that is, I could," answered Carroll, "if
I wrote the things that sell ; but I keep on writing
plays that won't."

"And such plays!" exclaimed Marion, warmly;
"and to think that they are going begging." She
continued, indignantly, "I can't imagine what the
managers do want."

"I know what they don't want," said the Amer-
ican. Miss Cavendish drummed impatiently on
the tea-tray.

"I wish you wouldn't be so abject about it,"
she said. "If I were a man I'd make them take
those plays."

16



The Lion and the Unicorn

"How?" asked the American; "with a gun?"

"Well, I'd keep at it until they read them,"
declared Marion. "I'd sit on their front steps all
night and I'd follow them in cabs, and I'd lie in
wait for them at the stage-door. I'd just make
them take them."

Carroll sighed and stared at the ceiling. "I
guess I'll give up and go home," he said.

"Oh, yes, do, run away before you are beaten,"
said Miss Cavendish, scornfully. "Why, you
can't go now. Everybody will be back in town
soon, and there are a lot of new plays coming on,
and some of them are sure to be failures, and that's
our chance. You rush in with your piece, and
somebody may take it sooner than close the thea-



tre."



"I'm thinking of closing the theatre myself,"
said Carroll. "What's the use of my hanging
on here?" he exclaimed. "It distresses Helen to
know I am in London, feeling about her as I do
and the Lord only knows how it distresses me.
And, maybe, if I went away," he said, consciously,
"she might miss me. She might see the differ-



ence.'



Miss Cavendish held herself erect and pressed
her lips together with a severe smile. "If Helen
Cabot doesn't see the difference between you and
the other men she knows now," she said, "I doubt

17



The Lion and the Unicorn

if she ever will. Besides " she continued, and
then hesitated.

"Well, go on," urged Carroll.

"Well, I was only going to say," she explained,
"that leaving the girl alone never did the man
any good unless he left her alone willingly. If
she's sure he still cares, it's just the same to her
where he is. He might as well stay on in London
as go to South Africa. It won't help him any.
The difference comes when she finds he has stopped
caring. Why, look at Reggie. He tried that. He
went away for ever so long, but he kept writing
me from wherever he went, so that he was per-
fectly miserable and I went on enjoying myself.
Then when he came back, he tried going about
with his old friends again. He used to come to
the theatre with them oh, with such nice girls !
but he always stood in the back of the box and
yawned and scowled so I knew. And, anyway,
he'd always spoil it all by leaving them and waiting
at the stage entrance for me. But one day he got
tired of the way I treated him and went off on a
bicycle-tour with Lady Hacksher's girls and some
men from his regiment, and he was gone three
weeks, and never sent me even a line; and I got
so scared ; I couldn't sleep, and I stood it for three
days more, and then I wired him to come back or
I'd jump off London Bridge; and he came back

18



The Lion and the Unicorn

that very night from Edinburgh on the express,
and I was so glad to see him that I got confused,
and in the general excitement I promised to marry
him, so that's how it was with us."

"Yes," said the American, without enthusiasm;
"but then I still care, and Helen knows I care."

"Doesn't she ever fancy that you might care
for someone else? You have a lot of friends,
you know."

:< Yes, but she knows they are just that
friends," said the American.

Miss Cavendish stood up to go, and arranged
her veil before the mirror above the fireplace.

"I come here very often to tea," she said.

"It's very kind of you," said Carroll. He was
at the open window, looking down into the street
for a cab.

"Well, no one knows I am engaged to Reg-
gie," continued Miss Cavendish, "except you and
and he isn't so sure. She doesn't know



it."



"Well?" said Carroll.

Miss Cavendish smiled a mischievous kindly
smile at him from the mirror.

"Well?" she repeated, mockingly. Carroll
stared at her and laughed. After a pause he said :
"It's like a plot in a comedy. But I'm afraid I'm
too serious for play-acting."

19



The Lion and the Unicorn

"Yes, it is serious," said Miss Cavendish. She
seated herself again and regarded the American
thoughtfully. "You are too good a man to be
treated the way that girl is treating you, and no
one knows it better than she does. She'll change
in time, but just now she thinks she wants to be
independent. She's in love with this picture-paint-
ing idea, and with the people she meets. It's all
new to her the fuss they make over her and
the titles, and the way she is asked about. We
know she can't paint. We know they only give
her commissions because she's so young and pretty,
and American. She amuses them, that's alL Well,
that cannot last; she'll find it out. She's too clever
a girl, and she is too fine a girl to be content with
that long. Then then she'll come back to you.
She feels now that she has both you and the others,
and she's making you wait; so wait and be cheer-
ful. She's worth waiting for; she's young, that's
all. She'll see the difference in time. But, in the
meanwhile, it would hurry matters a bit if she
thought she had to choose between the new friends
and you."

"She could still keep her friends and marry
me," said Carroll; "I have told her that a hun-
dred times. She could still paint miniatures and
marry me. But she won't marry me."

"She won't marry you because she knows she

20



The Lion and the

can whenever she wants to," cried Marion. "Can't
you see that? But if she thought you were going
to marry someone else now?"

"She would be the first to congratulate me,"


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Online LibraryRichard Harding DavisThe lion and the unicorn → online text (page 1 of 15)