ple are arrested, in nine cases out of ten, not because the
police are astute, but because they themselves run short
of money ; and I had here before me in the despateli-box a
succession of devices and disguises that insured my liberty.
Not only so ; but, as I felt with a sudden and overpower-
ing thrill, with ten thousand pounds in my hands I was
become an eligible suitor. What advances I had made in
the past, as a private soldier in a military prison, or a fugi-
tive by the wayside, could only be qualified or, indeed, ex-
cused as acts of desperation. And now, I miglit come in by
the front door ; I might approach the dragon witli a lawyer
at my elbow, and rich settlements to offer. The poor Fi-fuch
186 ST. IVES
prisoner, Champdivers, might be in a perpetual danger of
arrest ; but the rich travelling Englishman, St. Ives, in his
post-chaise, with his despatch-box by his side, could smile
at fate and laugh at locksmiths. I repeated the proverb,
exulting. Love laughs at locTcsmitlis ! In a moment, by
the mere coming of this money, my love had become pos-
sible — it had come near, it was under my hand — and it may
be by one of the curiosities of human nature, but it burned
that instant brighter.
^' Rowley," said I, ^'^your Viscount is a made man."
*' Why, we both are, sir," said Eowley.
''Yes, both," said I ; ''and you shall dance at the wed-
ding ;" and I flung at his head a bundle of bank notes,
and had just followed it up with a handful of guineas,
when the door opened, and Mr. Romaine appeared upon
MR. ROMAINE CALLS ME KAMES
Feelij^g very much of a fool to be tlnis taken by sur-
prise, I scrambled to my feet and hastened to make my
visitor welcome. He did not refuse me his hand ; but he
gave it with a coldness and distance for which I was quite
unprepared, and his countenance, as he looked on me, was
marked in a strong degree with concern and severity.
*'So, sir, I find you here ?" said he, in tones of little
encouragement. ''Is that you, George? You can run
away; I have business with your master."
He showed Rowley out, and locked the door behind liim.
Then he sat down in an armchair on one side of tlie fire,
and looked at me with uncompromising sternness.
'•"I am hesitating how to begin," said he. *' In tin's
singular labyrinth of blunders and difficulties that you
have prepared for us, I am positively hesitating where to
begin. It will perhaps be best that you should read, first of
all, this paragraph." And he handed over to me a news-
The paragraph in question was brief. It announced the
recapture of one of the prisoners recently escaped from
Edinburgh Castle ; gave his name, Clausel, and added tliat
he had entered into the particulars of the recent revolting
murder in the Castle, and denounced the murderer : —
"It is a common soldier called Champdivers, who had himself es-
caped, and is in all probability involved in the common fate of his
188 ST. IVES
comrades. In spite of the activity along all the Forth and the East
Coast, nothing has yet been seen of the sloop which these desperadoes
seized at Grangemouth, and it is now almost certain that they have
found a watery grave,"
At the reading of this paragraph my heart turned over.
In a moment I saw my castle in the air ruined ; myself
changed from a mere military fugitive into a hunted mur-
derer, fleeing from the gallows ; my love, which had a
moment since appeared so near to me, blotted from the
field of possibility. Despair, which was my first senti-
ment, did not, however, endure for more than a moment.
I saw that my companions had indeed succeeded in their
unlikely design ; and that I was supposed to have accom-
panied and perished along with them by shipwreck — a
most probable ending to their enterprise. If they thouglit
me at the bottom of the North Sea, I need not fear much
vigilance on the streets of Edinburgh. Champdivers was
wanted : what was to connect him with St. Ives ? Major
Chevenix would recognise me if he met me ; that was be-
yond bargaining : he had seen me so often, his interest
had been kindled to so high a point, that I could hope to
deceive him by no stratagem of disguise. Well, even so ;
he Avould have a competition of testimony before him : he
knew Clausel, he knew me, and I was sure he would de-
cide for honour. At the same time, the image of Flora
shot up in my mind's eye with such a radiancy as fairly
overwhelmed all other considerations ; the blood sprang to
every corner of my body, and I vowed I would see and win
her, if it cost my neck.
*' Very annoying, no doubt," said I, as I returned the
paper to Mr. Romaine.
*' Is annoying your word for it ? " said he.
"Exasperating, if you like," I admitted.
" And true ? " he inquired.
MR. ROMAINE CALLS ME NAMES 189
''Well, true in a sense," said I. '^Biit p'?rliaps I liad
better answer that question by putting 3'ou in possession
of the facts?"
" I think so, indeed," said he.
I narrated to him as much as seemed necessar}^ of tlie
quarrel, the duel, the death of Goguelat, and tlie character
of Clausel. He heard me through in a forbidding silence,
nor did he at all betray the nature of his sentiments, exce])t
that, at the episode of the scissors, I could observe his
mulberry face to turn three shades paler.
'' I suppose I may believe you ? " said he, when I had
'' Or else conclude this interview," said I.
'^ Can you not understand that we are here discussing
matters of the gravest import ? Can you not understand
that I feel myself weighed with a load of responsibility on
your account — that you should take this occasion to air
your fire-eating manners against your own attorney ?
There are serious hours in life, Mr. Anne," he said se-
verely. " A capital charge, and that of a very brutal charac-
ter and with singularly unpleasant details ; the presence of
the man Clausel, who (according to your account of it) is
actuated by sentiments of real malignity, and prepared to
swear black white ; all the other witnesses scattered and
perhaps drowned at sea; the natural prejudice against a
Frenchman and a runaway prisoner: this makes a serious
total for your lawyer to consider, and is by no ine;ins les-
sened by the incurable folly and levity of your own dispo-
^^ I beg your pardon ! " said I.
'' 0, my expressions have been selected with scrupu-
lous accuracy," he replied. '^ How did I find you, sir,
when I came to announce this catastroi)he ? You were
sitting on the hearthrug playing, like a silly baby, with a
190 ST. IVES
servant, were yon not, and the floor all scattered with gold
and bank pr,per ? There was a tableau for yon ! It was I
who came, and you were lucky in that. It might have
been any one — your cousin as well as another/'
''You have me there, sir/' I admitted. ''I had neg-
lected all precautions, and you do right to be angry.
Apropos, Mr. Komaine, how did you come yourself, and
how long have you been m the house ?" I added, surprised,
on the retrospect, not to have heard him arrive.
^' I drove up in a chaise and pair,'' he returned. '' Any
one might have heard me. But you were not listening, I
suppose ? being so extremely at your ease in the very
house of your enemy, and under a capital charge ! And
I have been long enough here to do your business for you.
Ah, yes, I did it, God forgive me !— did it before I so
much as asked you the explanatioii of the paragraph. For
some time back the will has been prepared ; now it is
signed ; and your uncle has heard nothing of your recent
piece of activity. Why ? Well, I had no fancy to bother
him on his death-bed : you might be innocent ; and at
bottom I preferred the murderer to the spy."
No doubt of it but the man played a friendly part ; no
doubt also that, in his ill-temper and anxiety, he expressed
''You will perhaps find me over-delicate," said I.
"There is a word you employed "
" I employ the words of my brief, sir," he cried, strik-
ing with his hand on the newspaper. " It is there in six
letters. And do not be so certain — you have not stood
your trial yet. It is an ugly affair, a fishy business. It
is highly disagreeable. I would give my hand oif — I mean
I would give a hundred pound down, to have nothing to
do with it. And, situated as we are, we must at once take
action. There is here no choice. You must first of all
MK. ROMAINE CALLS ME NAMES 191
quit this conntry, and get to France, or Holland, or, in-
deed, to Madagascar."
'' There may be two words to that," said I.
''Not so much as one syllable!" he retorted. ''Here
is no room for argument. The case is nakedly plain. In
the disgusting 2:)osition in which you have found means to
place yourself, all that is to be hoped for is delay. A time
may come when we shall be able to do better. It cannot
be now : now it would be the gibbet."
" You labour under a false impression, Mr. Romainc,"
said I. ''I have no impatience to figure in the dock. I
am even as anxious as yourself to postpone my first ap-
pearance there. On the other hand, I have not the slight-
est intention of leaving this country, where I please my-
self extremely. I have a good address, a ready tongue, an
English accent that passes, and, thanks to the generos-
ity of my uncle, as much money as I want. It would be
hard indeed if, with all these advantages, Mr. St. Ives
should not be able to live quietly in a private lodging,
while the authorities amuse themselves by looking for
Champdivers. You forget, there is no connection between
these two personages."
" And you forget your cousin," retorted Romaine.
" There is the link. There is the tongue of tlic buckle.
He knows you are Champdivers." He put up his hand as
if to listen. " And, for a wager, here he is himself ! " he
As when a tailor takes a piece of goods upon his counter,
and rends it across, there came to our ears from the avenue
the long tearing sound of a chaise and four api)roacliing
at the top speed of the horses. And, looking out between
the curtains, we beheld the lamps skimming on the smootli
" Ay," said Romaine, wiping the window-pane that he
192 ST. IVES
might see more clearly. " Ay, that is he, by the driving !
So he squanders money along the king's highway, the
triple idiot ! gorging every man he meets with gold for
the pleasure of arriving — where ? Ah, yes, where but a
debtor's jail, if not a criminal prison ! "
** Is he that kind of a man ? " I asked, staring on these
lamps as though I could decipher in them the secret of my
'* You will find him a dangerous kind," answ^ered the
lawyer. " For you, these are the lights on a lee shore ! I
find I fall in a muse when I consider of him ; what a for-
midable being he once was, and what a personable ! and
how near he draws to the moment that must break him
utterly ! We none of us like him here ; we hate him,
rather ; and yet I have a sense — I don't think at my time
of life it can be pity — but a reluctance rather, to break
anything so big and figurative, as though he were a big
porcelain pot or a big jiicture of high price. Ay, there is
what I was waiting for ! " he cried, as the lights of a sec-
ond chaise swam in sight. ^^ It is he beyond a doubt. The
first was the signature and the next the flourish. Two
chaises, the second following with the baggage, which is
always copious and ponderous, and one of his valets : he
cannot go a step without a valet."
"I hear you repeat the word big," said I. **But it
cannot be that he is anything out of the way in stature."
''No," said the attorney. ^' About your height, as I
guessed for the tailors, and I see nothing Avrong with the
result. But, somehow, he commands an atmosphere ; he
has a spacious manner ; and he has kept up, all through
life, such a volume of racket about his personality, with
his chaises and his racers and his dicings, and I know not
what — that somehow he imposes ! It seems, when the
farce is done, and he locked in the Fleet prison — and no-
MR. ROMAINE CALLS ME NAMES lOli
body left but Bonaparte and Lord Wellington and tl
Hetman Platoff to make a work about— the world will l)e
in a comparison quite tranquil. But this is beside the
mark," he added, with an effort, turning again from tlie
window. 'MVe are now under fire, Mr. Anne, as you
soldiers would say, and it is high time we should prepare
to go into action. He must not see you ; that would be
fatal. All that he knows at present is that you resemble
him, and that is much more than enough. If it were pos-
sible, it would be well he should not know you were in the
" Quite impossible, depend upon it," said I. " Some of
the servants are directly in his interests, perhaps in his
pay : Dawson, for an example."
'' My own idea ! " cried Romaine. " And at least," he
added, as the first of the chaises drew up with a dash in
front of the portico, " it is now too late. Here he is."
We stood listening, with a strange anxiety, to the vari-
ous noises that awoke in the silent house : the sound of
doors opening and closing, the sound of feet near at hand
and farther off. It was plain the arrival of my cousin was
a matter of moment, almost of parade, to the household.
And suddenly, out of this confused and distant bustle, a
rapid and light tread became distinguishable. AVe hcMrd
it come upstairs, draw near along the corridor, pause at the
door, and a stealthy and hasty rapping succeeded.
*^^Mr. Anne — Mr. Anne, sir! Let me in!" said the
voice of Rowley.
We admitted the lad, and locked the door again behind
*' It's him, sir," he panted. " He've come."
'' You mean the Viscount ? " said I. " So we supposed.
But come, Rowley — out with the rest of it ! You have
more to tell us, or your face belies you ! "
194 ST. IVES
'' Mr. Anne, I do/' he said. " Mr. Romaine, sir, you're
a friend of his, ain't you ? "
" Yes, George, I am a friend of his," said Romaine,
and, to my great surprise, laid his hand upon my shoulder.
^'Well, it's this way," said Rowley— ''Mr. Fowl have
been at me ! It's to play the spy ! I thought he was at
it from the first ! From the first I see what he was
after— coming round and round, and hinting things I But
to-night he outs with it plump ! I'm to let him hear all
what you're to do beforehand, he says; and he give me
this for an arnest "—holding up half a guinea; "and 1
took it, so I did ! Strike me sky-blue scarlet ! " says he,
adducing the words of the nock oath ; and he looked
askance at me as he did so.
I saw that he had forgotten himself, and that he knew
it. The expression of his eye changed almost in the pass-
ing of the glance from the significant to the appealing—
from the look of an accomplice to that of a culprit ; and
from that moment he became the model of a well-drilled
'' Sky-blue scarlet ? " repeated the lawyer. '' Is the fool
delirious ? "
" No," said I ; " he is only reminding me of some-
^^^Vell_and I believe the felloAV will be faithful," said
Romaine. " So you are a friend of Mr. Anne's, too ?" he
added to Rowley.
" If yon please, sir," said Rowley.
*"Tis something sudden," observed Romaine; "but it
may be genuine enough. I believe him to be honest. He
comes of honest people. Well, George Rowley, you might
embrace some early opportunity to earn that half -guinea,
by telling Mr. Fowl that your master will not leave here
till noon to-morrow, if he go even then. Tell him there
MR. ROMAINE CALLS ME NAMES 195
are a hundred things to be done here, and a linndrod more
that can only be done jn'operly at my office in llolborn.
Come to think of it — we had better see to that first of all,"
he went on, unlocking the door. " Get hold of Fowl, and
see. And be quick back, and clear me up this mess."
Mr. Rowley Avas no sooner gone than the lawyer took a
pinch of snuff, and regarded me with somewhat of a more
'' Sir," said he, " it is very fortunate for you that your
face is so strong a letter of recommendation. Here am I,
a tough old practitioner, mixing myself up with your very
distressing business ; and here is this farmer's lad, who lias
the wit to take a bribe and the loyalty to come and tell you
of it — all, I take it, on the strength of your appearance.
I wish I could imagine how it would impress a jury ! "
^* And how it would affect the hangman, sir ? '' I asked.
" Ahsit 07nen!" said Mr. Romiine devoutly.
We were just so far in our talk, when I heard a sound
that brought my heart into my mouth : the sound of some
one slyly trying the handle of the door. It had been pre-
ceded by no audible footstep. Since the departure of Row-
ley our wing of the house had been entirely silent. And
we had every right to suppose ourselves alone, and to con-
clude that the new-comer, whoever he might be, was come
on a clandestine, if not a hostile, errand.
" Who is there ? " asked Romaine.
" It's only me, sir/' said the soft voice of Dawson. " It's
the Viscount, sir. He is very desirous to speak with you
'' Tell him I shall come shortly, Dawson," said the law-
yer. ^*^ I am at present engaged."
" Thank you, sir ! " said Dawson.
And we heard his feet draw off slowly along the corridor
196 ST. IVES
^^ Yes," said Mr. Eomaine, speaking low, and maintain-
ing the attitude of one intently listening, ^' there is another
foot. I cannot be deceived ! "
'' I think there was indeed ! '* said I. ^' And what
troubles me^I am not sure that the other has gone en-
tirely aAvay. By the time it got the length of the head of
the stair the tread was plainly single."
'^ Ahem — blockaded ? " asked the lawyer.
'' A siege en regie ! " I exclaimed.
" Let us come farther from the door," said Romaine,
" and reconsider this damnable position. Without doubt,
Alain was this moment at the door. He hoped to enter
and get a view of you, as if by accident. Baffled in this,
has he stayed himself, or has he planted Dawson here by
way of sentinel ? "
" Himself, beyond a doubt," said I. '^'^ And 3'et to what
end ? He cannot think to pass the night there ! "
^'^ If it were only possible to pay no heed I " said Mr. Ro-
maine. *^ But this is the accursed drawback of your jDosi-
tion. We can do nothing openly. I must smuggle you
out of this room and out of tliis house like seizable goods ;
and how am I to set about it with a sentinel planted at
your very door ?"
" There is no good in being agitated," said I.
'' None at all," he acquiesced. '' And, come to think of
it, it is droll enough that I should have been that very
moment commenting on your personal api^earance, when
your cousin came upon this mission. I was saying, if you
remember, that your face was as good or better than a let-
ter of recommendation. I wonder if M. Alain would be
like the rest of us — I wonder Avhat he would think of
^Ir. Romaine was sitting in a chair by the fire with his
back to the windows, and I was myself kneeling on the
MK. KOMAINE CALLS ME NAMES l'J7
hearthrug and beginning mechanically to pick up the scat-
tered bills, when a honeyed voice Joined suddenly in our
''He thinks well of it, Mr. Romaine. He begs to join
himself to that circle of admirers which you indicate to ex-
THE DEVIL AND ALL AT AMERSHAM PLACE
Never did two human creatures get to their feet with
more alacrity than the lawyer and myself. We had locked
and barred the main gates of the citadel ; but unhaj^pily
we had left open the bath-room sally-port ; and here we
found the voice of the hostile trumpets sounding from
within, and all our defences taken in reverse. I took but
the time to whisper Mr. Romaine in the ear : " Here is
another tableau for you ! " at which he looked at me a mo-
ment with a kind of pathos, as who should say, '' Don't
hit a man when he's down.^' Then I transferred my eyes
to my enemy.
He had his hat on, a little on one side : it was a very tall
hat, raked extremely, and had a narrow curling brim. His
hair was all curled out in masses like an Italian mounte-
bank — a most unpardonable fashion. He sported a huge
tippeted overcoat of frieze, such as watchmen wear, only
the inside was lined with costly furs, and he kept it half
open to display the exquisite linen, the many-coloured
waistcoat, and the profuse jewellery of watch-chains and
brooches underneath. The leg and the ankle were turned
to a miracle. It is out of the question that I should deny
the resemblance altogether, since it has been remarked by
so many different persons whom I cannot reasonably ac-
cuse of a conspiracy. As a matter of fact, I saw little of
it and confessed to nothing. Certainly he was what some
DEVIL AND ALL AT AMERSHAM PLACE J 1)1)
might call handsome^ of a joictorial, exuberant style of
beauty, all attitude, profile, and impudence : a man wliom
I could see in fancy parade on the grand stand at a race-
meeting, or swagger in Piccadilly, staring down the women,
and stared at himself with admiration by the coal-porters.
Of his frame of mind at that moment his lace offered a
lively if an unconscious picture. He was lividly pale, and
his lip was caught up in a smile that could almost be called
a snarl, of a sheer, arid malignity that appalled me and
yet put me on my mettle for the encounter, lie looked
me up and down, then bowed and took off his hat to me.
^' My cousin, I presume ?" he said.
" I understand I have that honour," I replied.
'^ The honour is -mine," said he, and his voice shook as
he said it.
^^I should make you welcome, I believe," said I.
'' Why ? " he inquired. '' This poor house has been my
home for longer than I care to claim. That you should
already take upon yourself the duties of liost here is to
be at unnecessary pains. Believe me, that part would be
more becomingly mine. And, by the way, I must not
fail to offer you my little compliment. It is a gratifying
surprise to meet you in the dress of a gentleman, and
to see"— with a circular look upon the scattered bills—
'^hat your necessities have already been so liberally re-
I bowed with a smile that was perhaps no less hateful
than his own.
'' There are so many necessities in this world," said I.
'^ Charity has to choose. One gets relieved, and some
other, no less indigent, perhaps indebted, must go want-
'' Malice is an engaging trait," said he.
'' And envy, I think ?" was my reply.
200 ST. IVES
He must have felt that he was not getting wholly the
better of this passage at arms ; perhaps even feared that
he should lose command of his temper, which he reined in
throughout the interview as with a red-hot curb, for he
flung away from me at tlie word, and addressed the law-
yer with insulting arrogance.
*'Mr. Romaine," he said, ''since when have you pre-
sumed to give orders in this house ? ^^
" I am not prepared to admit that I have given any,"
replied Romaine ; '^ certainly none that did not fall in the
sphere of my responsibilities."
'' By whose orders, then, am I denied entrance to my
uncle's room ? " said my cousin.
'' By the doctor^ sir," replied Romaijie ; " and I think
even you will admit his faculty to give them."
" Have a care, sir," cried Alain. '' Do not be puffed
up with your position. It is none so secure. Master At-
torney. I should not wonder in the least if you were
struck off the rolls for this night's work, and the next
I should see of you were when I flung you alms at a
pothouse door to mend your ragged elbows. The doctor's
orders ? But I believe I am not mistaken ! You have
to-night transacted business with the Count ; and this
needy young gentleman has enjoyed the privilege of still
another interview, in which (as I am pleased to see) his
dignity has not prevented his doing very well for himself.
I wonder that you should care to prevaricate with me so
" I will confess so much," said Mr. Romaine, '' if you
call it prevarication. The order in question emanated
from the Count himself. He does not wish to see you."
" For which I must take the word of Mr. Daniel Ro-
maine ? " asked Alain.
" In default of any better," said Romaine.
DEVIL AND ALL AT AMERSIIAM PLACK 201
There was an instantaneous convulsion in my cousin's
face, and I distinctly heard him gnash his teeth at tliis
reply ; but, to my surprise, he resumed in tones oi' ahnost
good humour :
"Come, Mr. Romaine, do not let us be petty!" \\v
drew in a chair and sat down. " Understand you have
stolen a march upon me. You have introduced your sol-