" She is in the card-room at whist,^' said Flora.
"Where she will probably stay all the evening?" I sug-
" She may," she admitted ; " she generally does ! "
" Well, then, I must avoid the card-room," said I,
" which is very much what I had counted upon doing. I
did not come here to play cards, but to contemj^late a cer-
tain young lady to my hearths content â€” if it can ever be
contented ! â€” and to tell her some good news."
â€¢ "But there are still Ronald and the Major !" she per-
sisted. " They are not card-room fixtures ! Ronald will
be coming and going. And as for Mr. Chevenix, he "
" Always sits with Miss Flora ?" I interrupted. "And
they talk of poor St. Ives ? I had gathered as much, my
EVENTS OF MONDAY 301
dear ; and Mr. Diicie has come to prevent it ! But pray
dismiss these fears ! I mind no one but your aunt/'
'' Why my aunt ? "
" Because your aunt is a lady, my dear, and a very
clever lady, and, like all clever ladies, a very rash lady,"
said I. " You can never count upon them, unless you are
sure of getting them in a corner, as I have got you, and
talking them over rationally, as I am just engaged on with
yourself ! It would be quite the same to your aunt to
make the worst kind of a scandal, with an equal indiffer-
ence to my danger and to the feelings of our good host ! "
" Well," she said, ^^and what of Ronald, then? Do you
think he is above making a scandal ? You must know him
very little ! "
" On the other hand, it is my pretension that I know
him very well!" I replied. "1 must speak to Ronald
first â€” not Ronald to me â€” that is all ! "
" Then, please, go and speak to him at once ! '' she
pleaded. '' He is there â€” do you see ? â€” at the upj^er end of
the room, talking to that girl in pink."
'' And so lose this seat before I have told you my good
news?" I exclaimed. '^ Catch me! And, besides, my
dear one, think a little of me and my good news ! I thought
the bearer of good news was always welcome ! I lioped he
might be a little welcome for himself ! Consider ! I have
but one friend ; and let me stay by her ! And there is only
one thing I care to hear ; and let me hear it ! "
'^0, Anne," she sighed, '''if I did not love you, why
should I be so uneasy ? I am turned into a coward, dear !
Think, if it were the other way round â€” if you were quite
safe and I was in, such danger ! "
She had no sooner said it than I was convicted of being
a dullard. '^ God forgive me, dear ! " I made haste to re-
ply, '^ I never saw before that there were two sides to
302 â– ST. IVES
this ! " And I told her my tale as briefly as I could, and
rose to seek Ronald. " You see, my dear, you are obeyed,"
She gave me a look that was a reward in itself ; and as I
furned away from her, with a strong sense of turning away
from the sun, I carried that look in my bosom like a caress.
The girl in jiink was an arch, ogling person, with a good
deal of eyes and teeth, and a great play of shoulders and
rattle of conversation. There could be no doubt, from
Master Ronald's attitude, that he worshipped the very
chair she sat on. But I was quite ruthless. I laid my hand
on his shoulder, as he was stooping over her like a hen
over a chicken.
^'Excuse me for one moment, Mr. Gilchrist I" said I.
lie started and span about in answer to my touch, and
exhibited a face of inarticulate wonder.
''Yes ! " I continued, ''it is even myself ! Pardon me
for interrupting so agreeable a tete-a-tete, but you know,
my good fellow, we owe a first duty to Mr. Robbie. It
would never do to risk making a scene in the man's draw-
ing-room ; so the first thing I had to attend to was to have
you warned. The name I go by is Ducie, too, in case of
" I â€” I say, you know ! " cried Ronald. " Deuce take it,
what are you doing here ? "
" Hush, hush ! " said I. " Not the place, my dear fellow
â€” not the place. Come to my rooms, if you like, to-night
after the party, or to-morrow in the morning, and we can
talk it out over a cigar. But here, you know, it really
won't do at all."
Before he could collect his mind for an answer, I had
given him my address in St. James's Square, and had
again mingled witli the crowd. Alas ! I was not fated to
get back to Flora so easily ! Mr. Robbie was in the path :
EVENTS OF MONDAr 303
he was insatiably loquacious ; and as he continued to pala-
ver I watched the insipid youths gather again about my
idol, and cursed my fate and my host. He remembered
suddenly that I was to attend the Assembly Ball on Thurs-
day, and had only attended to-night by way of a prepara*
tive. This put it into his head to present me to another
young lady ; but I managed this interview Avith so much
art that, while I was scrupulously joolite and even cordial
to the fair one, I contrived to keep Robbie beside me all
the time and to leave along with him when the ordeal was
over. We were just walking away arm in arm, when I
spied my friend the Major approaching, stiff as a ramrod
and, as usual, obtrusively clean.
^^0 1 there's a man I want to know," said I, taking
the bull by the horns. ^^ Won't you introduce me to Ma-
jor Chevenix ? "
^^ At a word, my dear fellow,'^ said Robbie ; and *' Ma-
jor ! " he cried, '' come here and let me present to you
my friend Mr. Ducie, who desires the honour of your ac-
The Major flushed visibly, but otherwise preserved his
composure. He bowed very low. '^ I'm not very sure,"
he said : '^ I have an idea we have met before ?"
''^Informally," I said, returning his bow; '^aiul I have
long looked forward to the pleasure of regularising our ac-
^^ You are very good, Mr. Ducie," he returned. " Per-
haps you could aid my memory a little ? Where was it
that I had the pleasure ? "
^^0, that would be telling tales out of school," said I,
with a laugh, " and before my lawyer, too ! "
'^^I'll wager," broke in Mr. Robbie, ^^that, when you
knew my client, Chevenix, the past of our friend Mr.
Ducie is an obscure chapter full of horrid secrets. I'll
304 ST. lYES
wager now you knew him as St. Ixej," says he, nudging
" I think not, sir/' said the Major, with pinched lips.
'^Well, I wisli he may prove all right ! "' continued the
lawyer, with certainly the worst-ins2:)ired jocularity in the
world. ^* I know nothing by him I He may be a swell
mobsman for me with his aliases. You must put your
memory on the rack. Major, and when ye've remembered
when and where ye met him, be sure ye tell me.''
'' I will not fail, sir," said Chevenix.
"Seek to him!" cried Kobbie, waving his hand as he
The Major, as soon as we were alone, turned upon me
his impassive countenance.
"Well," he said, " you have cotirage."
"It is undoubted as your honour, sir," I returned,
" Did you expect to meet me, may I ask ?" said he.
" You saw, at least, that I courted the presentation,"
" And you were not afraid ? " said Chevenix.
" I was perfectly at ease. I knew I was dealing with a
gentleman. Be that 3'our epitaph."
"Well, there are some other people looking for you,"
he said, "who will make no bones about the point of hon-
our. The police, my dear sir, are simply agog about you."
" And I think that that was coarse," said I.
"You have seen Miss Gilchrist ?" he inquired, chang-
ing the subject.
" With whom, I am led to understand, we are on a foot-
ing of rivalry ?" I asked. " Yes, I have seen her."
"And I was just seekin.;^ her," he replied.
I was conscious of a certain thrill of temper ; so, I sup-
pose, was he. We looked each other u]) and down.
EVENTS OF MONDAY 305
** The situation is original/' he resumed.
^^ Quite/^ said I. "But let me tell you frankly you are
blowing a cold coal. I owe you so much for your kind-
ness to the prisoner ChamjDdivers.'^
" Meaning that the lady's affections are more advan-
tageously disposed of ?" he asked, with a sneer. " Thank
you, I am sure. And, since you have given me a lead,
just hear a word of good advice in your turn. Is it fair,
is it delicate, is it like a gentleman, to compromise the
young lady by attentions which (as you know very well)
can come to nothing ? '^
I was utterly unable to find words in answer.
''^Excuse me if I cut this interview short," he went on.
^' It seems to me doomed to come to nothing, and there is
more attractive metal."
" Yes," I replied, " as you say, it cannot amount to
much. You are impotent, bound hand and foot in honour.
You know me to be a man falsely accused, and even if you
did not know it, from your position as my rival you
have only the choice to stand quite still or to be infamous."
"I would not say that," he returned, with another
change of colour. " I may hear it once too often."
With which he moved off straight for where Flora was
sitting amidst her court of A'apid youths, and I had no
choice but to follow him, a bad second, and reading my-
self, as I went, a sharp lesson on the command of tem-
It is a strange thing how young men in their teens go
down at the mere wind of the coming of men of twenty-
five and upwards ! The vapid ones fled without thought
of resistance before the Major and me ; a few dallied awhile
in the neighbourhood â€” so to speak, with their fingers in
their mouths â€” but presently these also followed the rout,
and we remained face to face before Flora, There was a
306 ST. IVES
draught in that corner by the door ; she had thrown her
pelisse over her bare arms and neck, and the dark fur of
the trimming set them off. She shone by contrast ; the
light played on her smooth skin to admiration, and the
colour changed in her excited face. For the least fraction
of a second she looked from one to the other of her pair of
rival swains, and seemed to hesitate. Then she addressed
Chevenix : â€”
^*^You are coming to the Assembly, of course, Major
Chevenix ?" said she.
"1 fear not; I fear I shall be otherwise engaged," he
replied. ^^Even the pleasure of dancing with you. Miss
Flora, must give way to duty."
For awhile the talk ran harmlessly on the weather, and
then branched off towards the war. It seemed to be by
no one's fault ; it was in the air, and had to come.
'^'^Good news from the scene of operations," said tlie
'^ Good news while it lasts," I said. '' But will Miss
Gilchrist tell us her private thought upon the war ? In
her admiration for the victors, does not there mingle some
pity for the vanquished ?"
*' Indeed, sir," she said, with animation, ^' only too much
of it ! War is a subject that I do not think should be
talked of to a girl. I am, I have to be â€” what do you call
it ? â€” a non-combatant ? And to remind me of what others
have to do and suffer : no, it is not fair ! "
" Miss Gilchrist has the tender female heart," said Chev-
" Do not be too sure of that ! " she cried. '^ I would
love to be allowed to fight myself ! "
'' On which side ? " I asked.
''Can you ask?" she exclaimed. '' I am a Scottish
girl ! "
EVENTS OF MONDAY 307
"She is a Scottish girl \" repeated the Major, looking
at me. ''And no one grudges you her pity ! "
" And I glory in every grain of it she has to spare," said
I. *" Pity is akin to love/'
''Well, and let us put that question to Miss Gilchrist.
It is for her to decide, and for us to bow to the decision.
Is pity. Miss Flora, or is admiration, nearest love ? "
" 0, come,"" said I, " let us be more concrete. Lay be-
fore the lady a complete case : describe your man, then FU
describe mine, and Miss Flora shall decide."
" I think I see your meaning," said he, " and Fll try.
You think that pity â€” and the kindred sentiments â€” have
the greatest power upon the heart. I think more nobly of
women. To my view, the man they love will first of all
command their respect ; he will be steadfastâ€” proud, if
you please ; dry, possibly â€” but of all things steadfast.
They will look at him in doubt ; at last they will see that
stern face which he presents to all the rest of the world
soften to them alone. First, trust, I say. It is so that a
woman loves who is worthy of heroes."
" Your man is very ambitious, sir," said I, " and very
much of a hero ! Mine is a humbler, and, I would fain
tliink, a more human dog. He is one with no particular
trust in himself, with no superior steadfastness to be ad-
mired for, who sees a lady's face, who hears her voice, and,
without any phrase about the matter, falls in love. What
does he ask for, then, but pity ?â€” pity for his weakness,
pity for his love, which is his life. You would make women
always the inferiors, gaping up at your imaginary lover ;
he, like a marble statue, with his nose in the air ! But God
has been wiser than you ; and the most steadfast of your
heroes may prove human, after all. We appeal to the
queen for judgment," I added, turning and bowing before
308 ST. IVES
'^And how shall the queen judge?" she asked. ''I
must give you an answer that is no answer at all. ' The
wind bloweth where it listeth ' : she goes where her heart
Her face flushed as she said it ; mine also, for I read'in
it a declaration, and my heart swelled for joy. But Cliev-
enix grew pale.
''You make of life a very dreadful kind of a lottery,
ma'am," said he. '' But I will not despair. Honest and
unornamental is still my choice."
And I must say he looked extremely handsome and very
amusingly like the marble statue with its nose in t}ie air to
which I had compared him.
" I cannot imagine how we got upon this subject," said
" Madam, it was through the war," replied Chevenix.
'' All roads lead to Rome," I commented. '' What else
would you expect Mr. Chevenix and myself to talk of ?"
About this time I was conscious of a certain bustle and
movement in the room behind me, but did not pay to it
that degree of attention which perhaps would have been
wise. There came a certain change in Flora's face ; she
signalled repeatedly with her fan ; her eyes appealed to me
obsequiously ; there could be no doubt that she wanted
somethingâ€” as well as I could make out, that I should go
away and leave the field clear for my rival, which I had not
the least idea of doing. At last she rose from her chair
"I think it time you were saying good-night, Mr.
Ducie !" she said.
I could not in the least see why, and said so.
Whereupon she gave me this appalling answer, '' My
aunt is coming out of the card -room."
In less time than it takes to tell, I had made my bow
EVENTS OF MONDAY o09
and my escape. Looking back from the doorwa}^ I was
privileged to see, for a moment, tlie august profile and gold
eyeglasses of Miss Gilchrist issuing from the card-room ;
and the sight lent me wings. I stood not on the order of
my going ; and a moment after, I was on the pavement of
Castle Street, and the lighted windows shone down on mo,
and were crossed by ironical shadows of those who had re-
EVENTS OF TUESDAY : THE TOILS CLOSING
This day began with a surprise. I found a letter on my
breakfast-table addressed to Edward Ducie. Esquire ; and
at first I was startled beyond measure. " Conscience doth
make cowards of us all ! " When I had opened it, it
l^roved to be only a note from the lawyer, enclosing a card
for the Assembly Ball on Thursday evening. Shortly after,
as I was composing my mind with a cigar at one of the
windows of the sitting-room, and Eowley, having finished
the light share of work that fell to him, sat not far off
tootling with great spirit and a marked preference for tlie
upper octave, Konald Avas suddenly shown in. I got him
a cigar, drew in a chair to the side of the fire, and installed
him there â€” I was going to say, at his ease, but no expres-
sion could be farther from the truth. He was plainly on
pins and needles, did not know whether to take or to re-
fuse the cigar, and, after he had taken it, did not know
whether to light or to return 't. I saw he had something
to say ; I did not think it was his own something ; and I
was ready to offer a large bet it was really something of
" AVell, and so here you are ! " I observed, with pointless
cordiality, for I was bound I should do nothing to help
him out. If he were, indeed, here running errands for my
rival, he might have a fair field, but certainly no favour.
" The fact is/' he began, '' I would rather see you alone/
EVENTS OF TUESDAY 311
''^Wliy, certainly/^ I replied. ^''Rowley, you can step
into the bedroom. My dear fellow/' I continued, ^^tliis
sounds serious. Nothing wrong, I trust."
^' Well, I'll be quite honest," said he. '' I am a good
^' And I bet I know why ! " I exclaimed. " And I bet I
can put you to rights, too ! "
'' What do you mean ? " he asked.
*^ You must be hard up," said I, ^^and all I can say is,
you've come to the right place. If you have the least
use for a hundred pounds, or any such trifling sum as that,
please mention it. It's here, quite at your service."
" I am sure it is most kind of you," said Ronald, '^ and
the truth is, though I can't think how you guessed it, that
I really am a little behind board. But I haven't come to
talk about that."
'^ No, I daresay ! " cried I. "^ Not worth talking about !
But remember, Ronald, you and I are on different sides of
the business. Remember that you did me one of those
services that make men friends for ever. And since I have
had the fortune to come into a fair share of money, just
oblige me, and consider so much of it as your own."
" No," he said, " I couldn't take it ; I couldn't, really.
Besides, the fact is, I've come on a very different matter.
It's about my sister, St. Ives," and he shook his head men-
acingly at me. Â»
'' You're quite sure ? " I persisted. '' It's here, at your
serviceâ€” up to five hundred pounds, if you like. Well, all
right ; only remember where it is, when you do want it."
" 0, please let me alone ! " cried Ronald : '' I've come
to say something unpleasant ; and how on earth can I do
it, if you don't give a fellow a chance ? It's about my sis-
ter, as I said. You can see for yourself that it can't be
allowed to go on. It's compromising ; it don't lead to
312 ST. IVES
anything ; and you're not the kind of man (you must feel
it yourself) that I can allow my female relatives to have
anything to do with. I hate saying this, St. Ives ; it looks
like hitting a man when he's down, you know ; I told the
Major I very much disliked it from the first. However, it
had to be said ; and now it has been, and, between gentle-
men, it shouldn't be necessary to refer to it again."
*^ It's compromising ; it doesn't lead to anything ; not
the kind of man," I repeated thoughtfully. ^' Yes, I be-
lieve I understand, and shall make haste to put myself en
regie." I stood up, and laid my cigar down. '^Mr. Gil-
christ," said I, with a bow, " in answer to your very natu-
ral observations, I beg to offer myself as a suitor for your
sister's hand. I am a man of title, of which we think
lightly in France, but of ancient lineage, which is every-
where prized. I can display thirty-two quarterings with-
out a blot. My expectations are certainly above the aver-
age : I believe my uncle's income averages about thirty
thousand pounds, though I admit I was not careful to in-
form myself. Put it anywhere between fifteen and fifty
thousand ; it is certainly not less."
*' All this is very easy to say," said Ronald, with a pity-
ing smile. ^' Unfortunately, these things are in the air."
*^ Pardon me, â€” in Buckinghamshire," said I, smiling.
^' Well, what I mean is, my dear St. Ives, that you can^t
prove them," he continued. ^' They might just as w^ell
not be : do you follow me ? You can't bring us any third
party to back you up."
'^ 0, come ! " cried I, springing up and hurrying to the
table. '^ You must excuse me ! " I wrote Romaine's ad-
dress. " There is my reference, Mr. Gilchrist. Until you
have written to him, and received his negative answer, I
have a right to be treated, and I shall see that you treat
me, as a gentleman."
EVENTS OF TUESDAY 313
He was brought np with a round turn at that.
^'I beg your pardon, St. Ives," said he. '^ Believe me,
I had no wish to be offensive. But there's the difficulty
of this affair ; I can't make any of my points without
offence ! You must excuse me, it's not my fault. But, at
any rate, you must see for yourself this proposal of mar-
riage is â€” is merely impossible, my dear fellow. It's non-
sense ! Our countries are at war ; you are a prisoner."
^^My ancestor of the time of the Ligue," I replied,
^' married a Huguenot lady out of the Saintonge, riding
two hundred miles through an enemy's country to bring
off his bride ; and it was a happy marriage."
" Well ! " he began ; and then looked down into the fire,
and became silent.
'^ Well, there's this business of â€” Goguelat," said he, still
looking at the coals in the grate.
^' What ! " I exclaimed, starting in my chair. '' What's
that you say ? "
" This business about Goguelat," he repeated.
'' Ronald," said I, " this is not your doing. These are
not your own words. I know where they came from : a
coward put them in your mouth."
" St. Ives ! " he cried, ''^ why do you make it so hard for
me ? and where's the use of insulting other people ? Tlie
plain English is, that I can't hear of any proposal of mar-
riage from a man under a charge like that. You must see it
for yourself, man ! It's the most absurd thing I ever heard
of ! And you go on forcing me to argue with you, too ! "
'' Because I have had an affair of honour wliich termi-
nated unhappily, youâ€” a young soldier, or next-door to it-
refuse my offer ? Do I understand you aright ? " said I.
'^My dear fellow ! " he wailed, " of course you can twist
my words, if you like. You sai/ it was an affair of honour.
314 ST. IVES
Well, I can't, of course, tell you that â€” I can't I mean,
vou must see that that's just the point ! Was it ? I don't
'^ I have the honour to inform you/' said I.
^' Well, other people say the reverse, you see ! "
" They lie, Ronald, and I will prove it in time."
" The short and the long of it is, that any man who is so
unfortunate as to have such things said about him is not
the man to be my brother-in-law ! " he cried.
*^ Do you know who will be my first witness at the
court ? Arthur Chevenix !" said I.
^' I don't care !" he cried, rising from his chair and be-
ginning to pace outrageously about the room. " What do
you mean, St. Ives ? What is this about ? It's like a
dream, I declare ! You made an offer, and I have refused
it. I don't like it, I don't want it ; and whatever I did,
or didn't, wouldn't matter â€” my aunt wouldn't hear of it
anyway ! Can't you take your answer, man ? "
*' You must remember, Ronald, that we are playing
with edged tools," said I. ^' An offer of marriage is a deli-
cate subject to handle. You have refused, and you have
justified your refusal by several statements. First, that I
was an impostor ; second, that our countries were at war ;
and third No, I will speak," said I ; '^you can an-
swer when I have done, â€” and third, that I had dishonoura-
bly killed â€” or was said to have done so â€” the man Gogue-
lat. Now, my dear fellow, these are very awkward grounds
to be taking. From any one else's lips I need scarce tell
you how I should resent them ; but my hands are tied. I
have so much gratitude to you, without talking of the
love I bear your sister, that you insult me, when you do so,
under the cover of a complete impunity. I must feel the
pain â€” and I do feel it acutely â€” I can do nothing to protect
EVENTS OF TUESDAY 315
He had been anxious enough to interrupt me in the be-
ginning ; but now, and after I had ceased, he stood a long
''St. Ives," he said at last, ''I think I had better go
away. This has been very irritating. I never at all meant
to say anything of the kind, and I apologise to you. I have
all the esteem for you that one gentleman sliould have for
another. I only meant to tell you â€” to show you what had
influenced my mind ; and that, in short, the thing was im-
possible. One thing you may be quite sure of : /shall do
nothing against you. Will you shake hands before I go
away ? " he blurted out.
^' Yes," said I, ''I agree with you â€” the interview has been
irritating. Let bygones be bygones. Good-bye, Ronald."
"Good-bye, St. Ives!" he returned. " Tm heartily
And with that he was gone.
The windows of my own sitting-room looked towards the