dier of Napoleon, and (how, I cannot conceive) he has
been apparently accepted with favour. I ask no better
proof than the funds with which I find him literally sur-
rounded — I presume in consequence of some extravagance
of joy at the first sight of so much money. The odds ai'e
so far in your favour, but the match is not yet won.
Questions will arise of undue influence, of sequestration,
and the like : I have my witnesses ready. I tell it you
cynically, for yon cannot profit by the knowledge ; and, if
the worst come to the worst, I have good hopes of recover-
ing my own and of ruining you."
"You do what you please," answered Romaine; "but
I give it you for a piece of good advice, you had best do
nothing in the matter. You will only make yourself ri-
diculous ; you will only squander money, of which you
have none too much, and reap public mortification."
"Ah, but there you make the common mistake, Mr.
Romaine!" returned Alain. "You despise your adver-
sary. Consider, if you please, how very disagreeable 1
could make myself, if I chose. Consider the position of
your protege — an escaped prisoner ! But I play a great
game. I contemn such petty opportunities."
At this Romaine and I exchanged a glance of triumph.
It seemed manifest that Alain had as yet received no word
of Clausel's recapture and denunciation. At the same
moment the lawyer, thus relieved of tlie instancy of his
fear, changed his tactics. AVith a great air of uncoiieern.
202 ST. IVES
he secured tlie newspaper, which still lay open before him
on the table.
" I think. Monsieur Alain, that you labour under some
illusion," said he. " Believe me, this is all beside the
mark. You seem to be pointing to some compromise.
Nothing is further from my views. You suspect me of
an inclination to trifle with you, to conceal how things are
going. I cannot, on the other hand, be too early or too
explicit in giving you information which concerns you (I
must say) capitally. Your great-uncle has to-night can-
celled his will, and made a new one in favour of your
cousin Anne. Nay, and you shall hear it from his own
lips, if you choose ! I will take so much upon me,'" said
the lawyer, rising. " Fo11oa\- me, if you please, gentlemen.''
Mr. Romaine led the way out of the room so briskly,
and was so briskly followed by Alain, that I had hard ado
to get the remainder of the money replaced and the de-
spatch-box locked, and to overtake them, even by run-
ning, ere they should be lost in that maze of corridors, my
uncle's house. As it was, I went with a heart divided ;
and the thought of my treasure thus left unprotected,
save by a paltry lid and lock that any one might break or
pick open, put me in a perspiration whenever I had the
time to remember it. The lawyer brought us to a room,
begged us to be seated while he should hold a consultation
with the doctor, and, slipping out of another door, left
Alain and myself closeted together.
Truly he had done nothing to ingratiate himself ; his
every word had been steeped in unfriendliness, envy, and
that contempt which (as it is born of anger) it is possible
to support without humiliation. On my part, I had been
little more conciliating ; and yet I began to be sorry for
this man, hired spy as I knew him to be. It seemed to
me less than decent that he should have been brought up
DEVIL AND ALL AT AMERSHAM PLACE 203
in the expectation of this great inheritance, and now, at
the eleventh hour, be tumbled forth out of the house door
and left to himself, his poverty and his debts — those debts
of which I had so ungallantly reminded him so short a
time before. And we were scarce left alone ere I made
haste to hang out a flag of truce.
''My cousin," said I, '' trust me, you will not find me
inclined to be your enemy."
He paused in front of me — for he had not accepted the
lawyer^s invitation to be seated, but walked to and fro in
the apartment — took a pinch of snuff, and looked at me
while he was taking it with an air of much curiosity.
" Is it even so ? " said he. ** Am I so far favoured by
fortune as to have your pity ? Infinitely obliged, my
cousin iVnne ! But these sentiments are not always re-
ciprocal, and I warn you that the day when I set my foot
on your neck, the spine shall break. Are you acquainted
with the properties of the spine ? " he asked, with an in->
science beyond qualification.
It was too much. " I am acquainted also with theprop-
erties of a pair of pistols," said I, toising him.
'' No, no, no !" says he, holding up his finger. " I will
take my revenge how and when I please. We are enough
of the same family to understand each other, perhaps ; and
the reason why I have not had you arrested on your arri-
val, why I had not a picket of soldiers in the first clump
of evergreens, to await and prevent your coming — I, who
knew all, before whom that pettifogger, Romaine, has been
conspiring in broad daylight to supplant me — is simply
this : that I had not made up my mind how I was to take
At that moment he was interrupted by the tolling of a
bell. As we stood surprised and listening, it was succeeded
by tne sound pf many feet ti'QPping up the stairs aad, shut-
204 ST. IVES
fling by the door of our room. Both, I believe, had a
great curiosity to set it open, which each, owing to the
presence of the other, resisted ; and we waited instead in
silence, and without moving, until Romaine returned and
bade us to my uncle's presence.
He led the way by a little crooked passage, which brought
us out in the sick-room, and behind the bed. I believe I
have forgotten to remark that the Count's chamber was of
considerable dimensions. We beheld it now crowded with
the servants and depeiidants of the house, from the doctor
and the priest to Mr. Dawson and the housekeeper, from
Dawson down to Rowley and the last footman in white
calves, the last plump chambermaid in her clean gown and
cap, and the last ostler in a stable waistcoat. This large
congregation of persons (and I was surprised to see how
large it was) had the appearance, for the most part, of be-
ing ill at ease and heartily bewildered, standing on one
foot, gaping like zanies, and those who were in the corners
nudging each other and grinning aside. My uncle, on the
other hand, who was raised higher than I had yet seen him
on his pillows, wore an air of really imposing gravity. No
sooner had we appeared behind him, than he lifted his
voice to a good loudness, and addressed the assemblage.
" I take you all to witness — can you hear me ? — I take
you all to witness that I recognise as my heir and repre-
sentative this gentleman, whom most of jou see for the
first time, the Viscount Anne de St. -Yves, my nephew of
the younger line. And I take you to witness at the same
time that, for very good reasons known to myself, I have
discarded and disinherited this other gentleman whom you
all know, the A'iscount de St. -Yves. I have also to ex-
plain the unusual trouble to which I have put you all —
and, since your supper was not over, I fear I may even say
annoyance. It has j^leased M. Alain to make some threats
DEVIL AND ALL AT AMERSIIAM PLACE 205
of disputing my will, and to pretend tliat there are among
your number certain estimable persons who may be trusted
to swear as he shall direct them. It pleases me thus to
put it out of his power and to stop the mouths of his false
witnesses. I am infinitely obliged by your politeness, and
I have the honour to wish you all a very good evening."
As the servants, still greatly mystified, crowded out of
the sick-room door, curtseying, pulling the forelock, scrap-
ing with the foot, and so on, according to their degree, I
turned and stole a look at my cousin. He had borne this
crushing public rebuke without change of countenance.
He stood, now, very upright, with folded arms, and look-
ing inscrutably at the roof of the apartment. I could
not refuse him at that moment the tribute of my admira-
tion. Still more so when, the last of the domestics hav-
ing filed through the doorway and left us alone with my
great- uncle and the lawyer, he took one step forward tow-
ards the bed, made a dignified reverence, and addressed
the man who had just condemned him to ruin.
'*^My lord," said he, ^'^you are pleased to treat me in a
manner which my gratitude, and your state, equally forbid
me to call in question. It will be only necessary for me
to call your attention to the length of time in which I
have been taught to regard myself as your heir. In that
position, I judged it only loyal to permit myself a certain
scale of expenditure. If I am now to be cut off with a
shilling as the reward of twenty years of service, I shall be
left not only a beggar, but a bankrupt."
Whether from the fatigue of his recent exertion, or by
a well-inspired ingenuity of hate, my uncle had once more
closed his eyes ; nor did he open them now. '^ Not with
a shilling," he contented himself with replying , and there
stole, as he said it, a sort of smile over his face, that flick-
ered there conspicuously for the least moment of time, and
206 ST. IVES
then faded and left behind tlie old impenetrable mask of
years, cunning, and fatigue. There could be no mistake :
my uncle enjoyed the situation as he had enjoyed few
things in the last quarter of a century. The fires of life
scarce survived in that frail body ; but hatred, like some
immortal quality, was still erect and unabated.
Nevertheless my cousin persevered.
" I speak at a disadvantage," he resumed. ^' My sup-
planter, with perhaps more wisdom than delicacy, remains
in the room," and he cast a glance at me that might have
withered an oak tree.
I was only too willing to withdraw, and Romaine showed
as much alacrity to make way for my departure. But my
uncle was not to be moved. In the same breath of a voice,
and still without opening his eyes, he bade me remain.
'' It is well," said Alain. " I cannot then go on to remind
you of the twenty years that have passed over our heads
in England, and the services I may have rendered you in
that time. It would be a position too odious. Your lord-
sliip knows me too well to suppose I could stoop to such
ignominy. I must leave out all my defence — your lordship
wills it so ! I do not know what are my faults ; I know
only my punishment, and it is greater than I have the
courage to face. My uncle, I implore your pity : pardon
me so far ; do not send me for life into a debtors' jail — a
" Chat et vieux, pardonnez 9 " said my uncle, quoting
from La Fontaine ; and then, opening a pale-blue eye full
on Alain, he delivered with some emphasis :
" La jeunesse se flatte et croit tout obtenir;
La vieillesse est impitoyable."
The blood leaped darkly into Alain's face. He turned
to Romaine and me, and his eyes flashed.
DEVIL AND ALL AT AMERSHAM PLACE 207
''It is your turn now/' he said. ''At least it shall be
prison for prison with the two viscounts."
" Not so, Mr. Alain, by your leave," said Eomaine.
" There are a few formalities to be considered first."
But Alain was already striding towards the door.
"Stop a moment, stop a moment !" cried Romaine.
" Remember your own counsel not to despise an adversary."
" If I do not despise I hate you ! " he cried, giving a
loose to his passion. " Be warned of that, both of you."
" I understand you to threaten Monsieur le Vicomte
Anne," said the lawyer. " Do you know, I would not do
that. I am afraid, I am very much afraid, if you were
to do as you propose, you might drive me into extremes."
" You have made me a beggar and a bankrupt," said
Alain. " What extreme is left ? "
" I scarce like to put a name upon it in this company,"
replied Romaine. " But there are worse things than even
bankruptcy, and worse places than a debtors' j^^^-''
The words were so significantly said that there went a
visible thrill through Alain ; sudden as a swordstroke, he
fell pale again.
"I do not understand you," said he.
"0 yes, you do," returned Romaine. "I believe you
understand me very well. You must not suppose that all
this time, while you were so very busy, others were en-
tirely idle. You must not fancy, because I am an Eng-
lishman, that I have not the intelligence to pursue an in-
quiry. Great as is my regard for the honour of your
house, M. Alain de St.-Yves, if I hear of you moving
directly or indirectly in this matter, I shall do my duty,
let it cost what it will : that is, I shall communicate the
real name of the Buonapartist spy who signs his letters
Mue Gregoire de Tours."
208 ST. IVES
I confess my heart was already almost altogether on the
side of my insulted and unhappy cousin ; and if it had not
been before, it must have been so now, so horrid was the
shock with which he heard his infamy exposed. Speech
was denied him ; he carried his hand to his neckcloth ; he
staggered ; I thought he must have fallen. I ran to help
him, and at that he revived, recoiled before me, and stood
there with arms stretched forth as if to preserve himself
from the outrage of my touch.
" Hands off ! " he somehow managed to articulate.
" You will now, I hope," pursued the lawyer, without
any change of voice, ^^ understand the position in which
you are placed, and how delicately it behoves you to con-
duct yourself. Your arrest hangs, if I may so express my-
self, by a hair ; and as you will be under the perpetual
vigilance of myself and my agents, you must look to it
narrowly that you walk straight. Upon the least dubiety,
I will take action." He snuffed, looking critically at the
tortured man. ''And now let me remind you that your
chaise is at the door. This interview is agitating to his
lordship— it cannot be agreeable for you— and I suggest
that it need not be further drawn out. It does not enter
into the views of your uncle, the Count, that you should
again sleep under this roof."
As Alain turned and passed without a word or a sign
from the apartment, I instantly folloAved. I suppose I
must be at bottom possessed of some humanity ; at least,
this accumulated torture, this slow butchery of a man as
by quarters of rock, had wholly changed my sympathies.
At tluit moment I loathed both my uncle and tlie lawyer
for their cold-blooded cruelty.
Leaning over the banisters, I was but in time to hear
his hasty footsteps in that hall that had been crowded with
servants to honour his coming, and was now left empty
DEVIL AND ALL AT AMERSHAM PLACE 2U9
against his friendless departure. A moment later, and the
echoes rang and the air whistled in my ears, as he slammed
the door on his departing footsteps. The fury of the con-
cussion gave me (had one been still wanted) a measure of
the turmoil of his passions. In a sense, I felt with him ;
I felt how he would have gloried to slam that door on my
uncle, the lawyer, myself, and the whole crowd of those
who had been witnesses to his humiliation.
AFTER THE STORM
No sooner was the house clear of my cousin, than I be-
gan to reckon up, ruefully enough, the probable results of
what had passed. Here were a number of pots broken,
and it looked to me as if I should have to pay for all !
Here had been this proud, mad beast goaded and baited
both publicly and privately, till he could neither hear nor
see nor reason ; whereupon the gate had been set open, and
he had been left free to go and contrive whatever ven-
geance he might find possible. I could not help thinking
it was a pity that, whenever I myself was inclined to be
upon my good behaviour, some friends of mine should
always determine to play a piece of heroics and cast me for
the hero — or the victim — which is very much the same.
The first duty of heroics is to be of your own choosing.
When they are not that, they are nothing. And I assure
you, as I walked back to my own room, I was in no very
complaisant humour : thought my uncle and Mr. Ro-
maine to have played knuckle-bones with my life and
prospects ; cursed them for it roundly ; had no wish more
urgent than to avoid the pair of them ; and was quite
knocked out of time, as they say in the ring, to find myself
confronted with the lawyer.
He stood on my hearthrug, leaning on the chimney-
piece, with a gloomy, thoughtful brow, as I was pleased to
see, and not in the least as though he were vain of the late
AFTER THE STORM 211
'' Well ?" said I. '' You have done it, now ! "
'' Is he gone ? " he asked.
" He is gone/^ said I. ^' We shall have the devil to pay
with him when he comes back/^
^^^ You are right/^ said the lawyer, '^and very little to
pay him with but flams and fabrications, like to-night's."
'' To-night's V I repeated.
^' Ay, to-night's ! " said he.
" To-night's what f" I cried.
'^ To-night's flams and fabrications."
^' God be good to me, sir," said I, '^ have I something
more to admire in your conduct than ever / had sus-
pected ? You cannot think how you interest me ! That
it was severe, I knew ; I had already chuckled over that.
But that it should be false also . In what sense, dear
sir ? "
I believe I was extremely offensive as I put the question,
but the lawyer paid no heed.
'' False in all senses of the word," he replied, seriously.
*^ False in the sense that they were not true, and false in
the sense that they were not real ; false in the sense that I
boasted, and in the sense that I lied. How can I arrest
him ? Your uncle burned the papers ! I told you so — but
doubtless you have forgotten — the day I first saw you in
Edinburgh Castle. It was an act of generosity ; I have
seen many of these acts, and always regretted — always re-
gretted ! ' That shall be his inheritance,' he said, as the
paj^ers burned ; he did not mean that it should have
proved so rich a one. How rich, time will tell."
" I beg your pardon a hundred thousand times, my dear
sir, but it strikes me you have the impudence — in the cir-
cumstances, I may call it the indecency — to appear cast
down ? "
'' It is true," said he : " I am. I am cast down. I am
212 ST. IVES
literally cast down. I feel myself quite helpless against
'' Now, really ! '' I asked. " Is this serious ? And is it
perhaps the reason why you have gorged the poor devil
Avith every species of insult ? and why you took such sur-
prising pains to supply me with what I had so little need
of — another enemy ? That you were helpless against him?
' Here is my last missile/ say you ; ' my ammunition is
quite exhausted : Just wait till I get the last in— it will
irritate, it cannot hurt him. There — you see ! — he is furi-
ous now, and I am quite helpless: One more prod, an-
other kick : now he is a mere lunatic ! Stand behind me ;
I am quite helpless ! ' Mr. Komaine, I am asking myself
as to the background or motive of this singular jest, and
whether the name of it should not be called treachery ?''
'' I can scarce wonder,'' said he. " In truth it has been
a singular business, and we are very fortunate to be out of
it so well. Yet it was not treachery : no, no, Mr. Anne,
it was not treachery ; and if you will do me the favour to
listen to me for the inside of a minute, I shall demonstrate
the same to you beyond cavil." He seemed to wake up to
his ordinary briskness. '' You see the point ?" he began.
'' He had not yet read the newspaper, but who could tell
when he might ? He might have had that damned jour-
nal in his pocket, and how should we know ? We were —
I may say, we are— at the mercy of the merest twopenny
'' Why, true," said I : '^ I had not thought of that."
'' I warrant you," cried Romaine, '' you had supposed it
was nothing to be the hero of an interesting notice in the
journals ! You had supposed, as like as not, it was a form
of secrecy ! But not so in the least. A part of England
is already buzzing with the name of Champdivers ; a day
or two more and the mail will have carried it everywhere •
AFTER THE STORK 213
SO wonderful a machine is this of ours for disseminating
intelligence ! Think of it ! When my father was born
but that is another story. To return : we had here
the elements of such a combustion as I dread to think of
— your cousin and the journal. Let him but glance an
eye upon that column of print, and where were we ? It is
easy to ask ; not so easy to answer, my young friend.
And let me tell you, this sheet is the Viscount's usual
reading. It is my conviction he had it in his pocket."
" I beg your pardon, sir," said I. " I have been unjust.
I did not appreciate my danger."
'^ I think you never do," said he.
'' But yet surely that public scene " I began.
" It was madness. I quite agree with you," Mr. Ro-
maine interrupted. " But it was your uncle's orders, Mr.
Anne, and what could I do ? Tell him you were the mur-
derer of Goguelat ? I think not."
^^No, sure !" said I. "That would but have been to
make the trouble thicker. We were certainly in a very ill
" You do not yet appreciate how grave it was," he re-
plied. " It was necessary for you that your cousin should
go, and go at once. You yourself had to leave to-night
under cover of darkness, and how could you have done that
with the Viscount in the next room ? He must go, then ;
he must leave without delay. And that was the diffi-
'' Pardon me, Mr. Romaine, but could not my uncle
have bidden him go ? " I asked.
" Why, I see I must tell you that this is not so simple
as it sounds," he replied. "You say this is your uncle's
house, and so it is. But to all effects and purposes it is
your cousin's also. He has rooms here ; has had them
coming on for thirty years now, and they are filled with a
214 ST. IVES
prodigious accumulation of trash — stays, I daresay, and
powder-puffs, and such eifeminate idiocy — to which none
could disjiute his title, even supj^ose any one wanted to.
AVe had a perfect right to bid him go, and he had a per-
fect right to reply, ' Yes, I will go, but not without my
stays and cravats. I must first get together the nine-hun-
dred-and-ninety-nine chestsfull of insufferable rubbish,
that I have spent the last thirty years collecting — and may
very well spend the next thirty hours a-packing of.^ And
what should we have said to that P^"
*^By way of repartee ?^^ I asked. *^Two tall footmen
and a pair of crabtree cudgels, I suggest."
"The lord deliver me from the wisdom of laymen I"
cried Romaine. ^^Put myself in the wrong at the begin-
ning of a law-suit ? No, indeed ! There was but one
thing to do, and I did it, and burned my last cartridge in
the doing of it. I stunned him. And it gave us three
hours, by which we should make haste to profit ; for if
there is one thing sure, it is that he will be up to time again
to-morrow in the morning."
''Well," said I, ''I own myself an idiot. Well do they
say, an old soldier^ an old innooent ! For I guessed noth-
ing of all this."
'' And, guessing it, have you the same objections to leave
England ? " he inquired.
''The same," said I.
" It is indispensable," he objected.
" And it cannot be," I rejolied. "Reason has nothing
to say in the matter ; and I must not let you squander any
of yours. It will be enough to tell you this is an affair of
"Is it even so ?" quoth Romaine, nodding his head.
" And I might have been sure of it. Place them in a hos-
pital, put them in a jail in yellow overalls, do what you
Al^TER THE STORM 215
will, young Jessamy finds young Jenny. 0, have it your
own way ; I am too old a hand to argue with young gentle-
men who choose to fancy themselves in love ; I have too
much experience, thank you. Only, be sure that you appre-
ciate what you risk : the prison, the dock, the gallows, and
the halter — terribly vulgar circumstances, my young friend ;
grim, sordid, earnest ; no poetry in that ! "
'^ And there I am warned, ^^ I returned gaily. '' No man
could be warned more finely or with a greater eloquence.
And .1 am of the same opinion still. Until I have again
seen that lady, nothing shall induce me to quit Great
Britain. I have besides ''
And here I came to a full stop. It was upon my tongue
to have told him the story of the drovers, but at the first
word of it my voice died in my throat. There might be a
limit to the lawyer^s toleration, I reflected. I had not been
so long in Britain altogether ; for the most part of that time
I had been by the heels in limbo in Edinburgh Castle ; and
already I had confessed to killing one man with a pair of
scissors ; and now I was to go on and plead guilty to having