Camilla towards the set. After the dance, the ladies (who
were kind enough to compliment me on my performance)
suffered themselves to be led to the tea-room. By this
time the arrivals were following each other thick and fast ;
and, standing by the tea-table, I heard name after name
vociferated at the ball-room door, but never the name my
EVENTS OP THURSDAY 345
nerves were on the strain to echo. Surely Flora would
come : surely none of her guardians, natural or officious,
would expect to find me at the ball. But the minutes
passed, and I must convey Mrs. and Miss McBean back to
their seats beneath the gallery.
^^Mrs. Gilchristâ Miss Gilchrist â Mr. Ronald Gil-
christ ! Mr. Robbie ! Major Arthur Chevenix ! ''
The first name plumped like a shot across my bows, and
brought me up standing â for a second only. Before the
catalogue was out, I had dropped the McBeans at their
moorings and was heading down on my enemies^ line of
battle. Their faces were a picture. Flora's cheek flushed,
and her lips parted in the prettiest cry of wonder. Mr.
Robbie took snuff. Ronald went red in the face, and Ma-
jor Chevenix white. The intrepid Mrs. Gilchrist turned
not a hair.
'^ AVhat will be the meaning of this ? '' she demanded,
drawing to a stand, and surveying me through her gold-
'^ Madam," said I, with a glance at Chevenix, *^you may
call it a cutting-out expedition."
*^ Mrs. Gilchrist," he began, ^^you will surely not "
But I was too quick for him.
^' Madam, since when has the gallant Major superseded
Mr. Robbie as your family adviser ? "
-' H'mph I " said Mrs. Gilchrist ; which in itself Avas not
reassuring. But she turned to the lawyer.
^' My dear lady," he answered her look, ''this very im-
prudent young man seems to have burnt his boats, and no
doubt recks very little if, in that heroical conflagration, he
burns our fingers. Speaking, however, as your family ad-
viser " â and he laid enough stress on it to convince me that
there was no love lost between him and the interloping
Chevenix â " I suggest that we gain nothing by protracting
346 ST. ivp:s
this scene in the face of a crowded assembly. Are yon for
the card-room, Madam ?"
She took his proffered arm, and they swept from us,
leaving Master Ronald red and glum, and the Major pale
'' Four from six leaves two,'^ said I ; and promptly en-
gaged Florals arm and towed her away from the silenced
*^And now, my dear,^' I added, as w^e found two isolated
chairs, ^^you will kindly demean yourself as if we were met
for the first or second time in our lives. Open your fan â
so. Now listen : my cousin, Alain, is in Edinburgh, at
Dumbreck's Hotel. No, don't lower it.''
She held up the fan, though her small wrist trembled.
^^ There is worse to come. He has brought Bow Street
with him, and likely enough at this moment the runners
are ransacking the city hot-foot for my lodgings.'*
"And you linger and show yourself here ! â here of all
places ! 0, it is mad ! Anne, why will you be so
" For the simple reason that I have been a fool, my dear.
I banked the balance of my money in George Street, and
the bank is watched. I must have money to win my way
south. Therefore I must find you and reclaim the notes
you were kind enough to keep for me. I go to Swanston
and find you under surveillance of Chevenix, su]->ported by
an animal called Towzer. I may have killed Towzei*, by
the way. If so, transported to an equal sky, he may
shortly have the faithful Chevenix to bear him company.
I grow tired of Chevenix."
But the fan dropped : her arms lay limp in her lap ; and
she was staring up at me piteously, with a world of self-
reproacli in her beautiful eyes.
"And I locked up the notes at home to-night â wlion I
EVENTS OF THURSDAY 347
dressed for the ball â tlie first time they have left my
heart ! 0, false ! â false of trust that I am ! "
'^Why, dearest, that is not fatal, I hope. You reach
home to-night â you slip them into some hiding â say in
the corner of the wall below the garden "
^' Stoj"* : let me think." She picked up her fan again,
and behind it her eyes darkened while I watched and she
considered. " You know the hill we i^ass before we reach
Swanston? it has a clumii of firs above it, like a fin. There
is a quarry on the east slope. If you will be there at eight
â I can manage it, I think, and bring the money. '^
^' But why should you run the risk ?"
'' Please, Anne â 0, please let me do something I If
you knew what it is to sit at home while your â your
"The Viscount of Saint- Yves !"
The name, shouted from the doorway, rang down her
faltering sentence as with the clash of an alarm bell. I
saw Eonald â in talk with Miss McBean but a few yards
away â spin round on his heel and turn slowly back on me
with a face of sheer bewilderment. There was no time to
conceal myself. To reach either the tea-room or the card-
room, I must traverse twelve feet of open floor. We sat in
clear view of the main entrance ; and there already, with
eyeglass lifted, raffish, flamboyant, exuding pomades and
bad style, stood my detestable cousin. He saw us at once ;
wheeled right-about-face, and spoke to some one in the
vestibule ; wheeled round again, and bore straight down, a
full swagger Tarnishing his malign triumph. Flora caught
her breath as I stood up to accost him.
" Good evening, my cousin ! The newspaper told me
you were favouring this city with a stay."
''At Dumbreck's Hotel: where, my dear Anne, you
have not yet done me the pleasure to seek me out."
:S48 ST. IVES
*' I gathered/' said I, '' that you were forestalling the
I'omiiliment. Our meeting, then, is unexpected ?"
" Why, no ; for, to tell the truth, the secretary of the
Ball Committee, this afternoon, allowed me a glance over
liis list of invites. I am apt to be nice about my com-
Ass that I was ! I had never given this obvious danger
so much as a thought.
" I fancy I have seen one of your latest intimates about
He eyed me, and answered, with a bluff laugh. *^ Ah !
You gave us the very devil of a chase. You appear, my
dear Anne, to have a hare's propensity for running in your
tracks. And begad, I don't wonder at it ! " he wound up,
ogling Flora with an insolent stare.
Him one might have hunted by scent alone. He reeked
" Present me, mon hrave."
'^'11 be shot if I do."
'^ I believe they reserve that privilege for soldiers," he
*^ At any rate they don't extend it to " I pulled up
on the word. He had the upper hand, but I could at least
play the game out with decency. ^^ Come," said I, ^' a
contre-clanse will begin presently. Find yourself a partner,
and I promise you shall be our vis-a-vis."
'' You have blood in you, my cousin."
He bowed, and went in search of the Master of Ceremo-
nies. I gave an arm to Flora. " Well, and how does
Alain strike you ? " I asked.
'' He is a handsome man," she allowed. '^ If your uncle
had treated him differently, I believe "
" And I believe that no woman alive can distinguish
between a gentleman and a dancing-master ! A posture
EVENTS OF THURSDAY 349
or two, and you interpret worth. My dear girl â that fel-
She was silent. 1 have since learned why. It seems, if
yon please, that the very same remark had been made to
her by that idiot Chevenix, upon me !
We were close to the door : we passed it, and I flung a
glance into the vestibule. There, sure enough, at the
head of the stairs, was posted my friend of the moleskin
waistcoat, in talk with a confederate by some shades
uglier than himself â a red-headed, loose-legged scoundrel
I was fairly in the trap. I turned, and between the
moving crowd caught Alain's eye and his evil smile. lie
had found a partner : no less a personage than Lady Fra-
zer of the lilac sarsnet and diamond bandeau.
For some unaccountable reason, in this infernal impasse
my spirits began to rise, to soar. I declare it : I led Flora
forward to the set with a gaiety which may have been un-
natural, but was certainly not factitious. A Scotsman
would have called me fey. As the song goes â and it
matters not if I had it then, or read it later in my wife's
" Sae rantingly, sae wantonly
Sae dauntingly gaed he ;
He played a spring and danced it round
never mind what. The band played the spring and I
danced it round, while my cousin eyed me with extorted
approval. The quadrille includes an absurd figureâ called,
I think. La PastoureUe. You take a lady with either hand
and jig them to and fro, for all the world like an English-
man of legend parading a couple of wives for sale at Smith-
field ; while the other male, like a timid purchaser, backs
and advances with his arms dangling.
350 ST. IVES
" I've lived a life of sturt and strife,
I die by treacherie â "
I challenged Alain with an open smile as he backed before
us; and no sooner was the dance over, than I saw him
desert Lady Frazer on a hurried excuse, and seek the door
to satisfy himself that his men were on guard.
I dropped laughing into a chair beside Flora. '' Anne/'
slie whispered, " who is on the stairs ? "
" Two Bow Street runners. '''
If you have seen a dove â a dove caught in a gin ! ^^ The
back stairs ! " she urged.
" Tiiey will be watched too. But let us make sure/' I
crossed to the tea-room, and, encountering a waiter, drew
him aside. Was there a man watching the back entrance ?
lie could not tell me. For a guinea would he find out ?
lie went and, returned in less than a minute. Yes, there
was a constable below. " It's just a young gentleman to
be put to the haw for debt," I explained, recalling the bar-
barous and, to me, still unmeaning phrase. " I'm no
speiring," replied the waiter.
I made niy way back, and Avas not a little disgusted to
find my chair occupied by the unconscionable Chevenix.
" My dear Miss Flora, you are unwell I " Indeed, she
was pale enough, poor child, and trembling. " Major, she
will be swooning in another minute. Get her to the tea-
room, quick ! while I fetch Mrs. Gilchrist. She must be
''It is nothing," she faltered : "it will pass. Pray do
not " As she glanced up, she caught my meaning.
" Yes, yes : I will go home."
She took the Major's arm, while I hurried to the card-
room. As luck would have it, the old lady was in the act
of rising from the green table, having just cut out from a
rubber. Mr. Uobbie was her partner ; and I saw (and
EVENTS OF THURSDAY 351
blessed my star for the first time that night) the little heap
of silver which told that she had been wiiiiiiiifr.
'' Mrs. Gilchrist," I whispered, " Miss Flora is faint : the
heat of the room ''
"I've not observed it. The ventilation is considered
pairf ect. "
" She wishes to be taken home."
AVith fine composure she counted back her money, piece
by piece, into a velvet reticule.
''Twelve and sixpence,'' she proclaimed. "Ye held
good cards, Mr. Robbie. Well, Mosha the Viscount, we'll
go and see about it."
I led her to the tea-room : Mr. Tiobbie followed. Flora
rested on a sofa in a truly dismal state of collapse, while
the Major fussed about her with a cup of tea. ''I have
sent Ronald for the carriage," he announced.
" H'm," said Mrs. Gilchrist, eyeing him oddly, " well,
it's 3"our risk. Ye'd best hand me the teacup, and get our
shawls from the lobby. You have the tickets. Be ready
for us at the top of the stairs."
No sooner was the Major gone than, keeping an eye on
her niece, this imperturbable lady stirred the tea and drank
it down herself. As she drained the cup â her back for
the moment being turned on Mr. Robbie â I was aware of a
facial contortion. Was the tea (as children say) going the
wrong way ?
No : I believe â aid me Apollo and the Nine I I believe
â though I have never dared, and shall never dare to ask
â that Mrs. Gilchrist was doing her best to wink !
On the instant entered Master Ronnld with word that
the carriage was ready. I slipj^ed to the door and recon-
noitred. The crowd was thick in the ball-room ; a dance
in full swing ; my cousin gambolling vivaciously, and, for
the moment, with his back to us. Flora leaned on Ron-
352 f^T. IVES
aid, aiul, skirting the wall, our party gained the great door
and the vestibule, where Chevenix stood with an armful of
" You and Ronald can return and enjoy yourselves/'
said the old lady, '' as soon as ye've packed us off. Ye'll
find a hackney coach, no doubt, to bring ye home." Her
eye rested on the two runners, who were putting tlieir
heads together behind the Major. She turned on me with
a stiff curtsey. ''Good-night, sir, and I am obliged for
your services. Or stay â you may see us to the carriage, if
ye'll be so kind. Major, hand Mr. AVhat-d'ye-call some of
My eyes did not dare to bless her. We moved down the
stairs â Mrs. Gilchrist leading. Flora supported by her
brother and Mr. Robbie, the Major and I behind. As I
descended the first step, the red-headed runner made a
move forward. Though my gaze was glued upon the pat-
tern of Mrs. Gilchrist's Paisley shawl, I saw his finger
touch my arm. Yes, and I felt it, like a touch of hot iron.
The other manâ Moleskin â plucked him by the arm : they
whispered. They saw me bare-headed, without my over-
coat. They argued, no doubt, that I was unaware ; was
seeing the ladies to their carriage ; would of course return.
They let me pass.
Once in the boisterous street, I darted round to the dark
side of the carriage. Ronald ran forward to the coachman
(whom I recognised for the gardener, Robie). " Miss
Flora is faint. Home, as fast as you can ! " He skipped
back under the awning. " A guinea to make it faster ! "
I called up from the other side of the box-seat ; and out of
the darkness and rain T held up the coin and pressed it
into Robie's damp palm. " What in the name !" He
peered round, but I was back and close against the step.
The door was slammed. " Right away ! "
EVENTS OF THURSDAY 353
It may have been fancy : but with the shout I seemed
to hear the voice of Alain lifted in imprecation on the
Assembly Room stairs. As Robie touched up the grey, I
whipped open the door on my side and tumbled in â upon
Mrs. Gilchrist's lap.
Flora choked down a cry. I recovered myself, dropped
into a heap of rugs on the seat facing the ladies, and puUed-
to the door by its strap.
Dead silence from Mrs. Gilchrist !
I had to apologise, of course. The wheels rumbled and
jolted over the cobbles of Edinburgh ; the windows rat-
tled and shook under the uncertain gusts of the city.
When we passed a street lamp it shed no light into the
vehicle, but the awful profile of my protectress loomed out
for a second against the yellow haze of the pane, and sank
back into impenetrable shade.
'â¢'Madam, some explanation â enough at least to mitigate
your resentment â natural, I allow " Jolt, jolt ! And
still a mortuary silence within the coach ! It was discon-
certing. Robie for a certainty was driving his best, and
already we were beyond the last rare outposts of light on
the Lothian Road.
''I believe, madam, the inside of five minutes â if you
will allow "
I stretched out a protesting hand. In the darkness it
encountered Flora's. Our fingers closed upon the thrill-
For five, ten beatific seconds our pulses sang together, ^' I
love you ! I love you ! " in the stuffy silence.
" Mosha Saint Yvey ! " spoke up a deliberate voice
(Flora caught her hand away), " as far as I can make head
and tail of your business â supposing it to have a modicum
of head, which I doubt â it appears to me that I have just
done you a service ; and that makes twice."
'' A service, madam, I shall ever remember,"
354 ST. IV Ks
*' I'll cliunce that, sir; if yell kindly not forget your-
In resumed silence we must have travelled a mile and a
half, or two miles, when Mrs. Gilchrist let down the sash
with a clatter, and thrust her head and mamelone cap
for til into the night.
Robie pulled up.
*' The gentleman will alight."
It was only wisdom, for we were nearing Swanston. I
rose. ''Mrs. Gilchrist, you are a good woman; and I
think the cleverest I have met." ''Umph,'' replied she.
In the act of stepping forth I turned for a final handsluike
with Flora, and my foot caught in something and dragged
it out upon the road. I stooped to pick it up, and heard
the door bang by my ear.
'' Madam â your shawl I "
But the coach lurched forward ; the wheels splashed
me ; and I was left standing, alone on the inclement high-
While yet I watched the little red eyes of the vehicle,
and almost as they vanished, I 'heard more rumbling of
wheels, and descried two pairs of yellow eyes upon tl
road, towards Edinburgh. There was just time enou
to plunge aside, to leap a fence into Ji rain-soaked pasture ;
and there I crouched, the water squishing over my danc-
ing-shoes, while with a flare, a slant of rain, and a glimpse
of flogging drivers, two hackney carriages pelted by at a
EVENTS OF FRIDAY MORNING : THE CUTTING OF THE
I PULLED out my watch. A fickle ray â the merest
filtration of moonlight â glimmered on the dial. Fourteen
minutes past one ! " Past yin o'clock, and a dark, haary
moarniii." I recalled the bull voice of the watchman as
he had called it on the night of our escape from the Cas-
tle â its very tones : and this echo of memory seemed to
strike and reverberate the hour closing a long day of fate.
Truly since that night the hands had run full circle, and
were back at the old starting-point. I had seen dawn,
day : I had basked in the sunshine of men's respect ; I
was back in the Stygian night â back in tlie shadow of that
infernal Castle â still hunted by the law â with possibly a
smaller chance than ever of escape â the cockshy of tlie
elementsâ with no shelter for my head but a Paisley shawl
of violent pattern. It occurred to me that I had travelled
much in the interval, and run many risks, to exchange a
suit of mustard yellow for a Paisley shawl and a ball dress
that matched neitlier it nor the climate of the Pentlands.
The exhilaration of the ball, the fighting spirit, tlie last
communicated thrill of Flora's hand, died out of me. In
the thickening envelope of sea fog I felt like a scpiirrel in
a rotatory cage. That was a lugubrious hour.
To speak precisely, those were seven lugubrious hours ;
since Flora would not be due before eight o'clock, if, in-
deed, I might count on her eluding her double cordon of
356 ST. IVES
spies. The question was, whither to tarn in the mean-
time ? Certainly not back to the town. In the near
neighbourhood I knew of no roof but The Hunters' Tryst,
by Alexander Hendry. Suppose that I found it (and the
chances in that fog were perhaps against me), would
Alexander Hendry, aroused from his bed, be likely to ex-
tend his hospitality to a traveller with no more luggage
than a Paisley shawl '' He might think I had stolen it.
I had borne it down the staircase under the eyes of the
runners, and the pattern was bitten upon my brain. It
was doubtless unique in the district, and familiar : an ori-
flamme of battle over the barter of dairy produce and malt
liquors. Alexander Hendry must recognise it, and with
an instinct of antagonism. Patently it formed no part of
my proper wardrobe : hardly could it be explained as a
gage tV amour. Eccentric hunters trysted under Hendry's
roof : the Six- Foot Club, for instance. But a hunter in
a frilled shirt and w^aistcoat sprigged with forget-me-nots !
And the house would be watched, perhaps. Every house
around would be watched.
The end was that I wore through the remaining hours
of darkness upon the sodden hillside. Superlative Mrs.
Gilchrist! Folded in the mantle of that Spartan dame;
huddled upon a boulder, while the rain descended upon
my bare head, and coursed down my nose, and filled my
shoes, and insinuated a playful trickle down the ridge of
my spine ; I hugged the lacerating fox of self-reproach,
and hugged it again, and set my teeth as it bit upon my
vitals. Once, indeed, I lifted an accusing arm to heaven.
It was as if I had pulled the string of a douche-bath.
Heaven flooded the fool with gratuitous tears ; and the
fool sat in the puddle of them and knew his folly. But
heaven at the same time mercifully veiled that figure of
abasement ; and I will lift but a corner of the sheet.
15VENTS OF FRIDAY MORNING 357
Wind in hidden gullies, and the talk of lapsing waters
on the hillside, filled all the spaces of the night. The
high road lay at my feet, fifty yards or so below my boul-
der. Soon after two o^clock (as I made it) lamps appeared
in the direction of Swanston, and drew nearer ; and two
hackney coaches passed me at a jog-trot, towards the opa-
line haze into which the fog had subdued the lights of
Edinburgh. I heard one of the drivers curse as he went
by, and inferred that my open-handed cousin had shirked
the weather and gone comfortably from the Assembly
llooms to Dumbreck's Hotel and bed, leaving the chase to
After this you are to believe that I dozed and woke by
snatches. I watched the moon descending in her foggy
circle ; but I saw also the mulberry face and minatory
forefinger of Mr. Eomaine, and caught myself explaining
to him and Mr. Robbie that their joint proposal to mort-
gage my inheritance for a flying broomstick took no ac-
count of the working model of the whole Kock and Castle
of Edinburgh, which I dragged about by an ankle-chain.
Anon I was pelting with Rowley in a claret-coloured chaise
through a cloud of robin-redbreasts ; and with that I
awoke to the veritable chatter of birds and the white light
of dawn upon the hills.
The truth is, I had come very near to the end of my en-
durance. Cold and rain together, supervening in that
hour of the spirit's default, may well have made me light-
headed ; nor was it easy to distinguish the tooth of self-
reproach from that of genuine hunger. Stiff, qualmish,
vacant of body, heart and brain, I left my penitential
boulder and crawled down to the road. Glancing along it
for sight or warning of the runners, I spied, at two gun-
shots' distance or less, a milestone with a splash of white
upon it â a draggled placard. Abhorrent thought ! Did
358 ST. IVES
it announce the price upon the head of Champdivers ?
^^ At least I will see how they describe him"â this I told
myself ; but that which tugged at my feet was the baser
fascination of fright. I had thought my spine inured by
the night's experiences to anything in the way of cold
shivers. I discovered my mistake while approaching that
scrap of paper.
'^AERIAL ASCENSION EXTRAORDINARY ! ! !
THIi MONSTER BALLOON,
' LUNARDI '
Professor Byfikld (by diploma), the world-renowned
Exponent of Aerostatics and Aeronautics,
Has the honour to inform the nobility and gentry of Edinburgh and
the neighbourhood -"
The shock of it â the sudden descent upon sublimity ac-
cording to Byfield â took me in the face. I put up my hands.
I broke into elfish laughter^ and ended with a sob. Sobs
and laughter together shook my fasting body like a leaf ;
and I zigzagged across the fields, buffeted this side and
that by a mirth as uncontrollable as it was idiotic. Once
I pulled up in the middle of a spasm to marvel irrespon-
sibly at the sound of my own voice. You may w^onder
that I had Avill and wit to be drifted towards Flora's tryst-
ing-place. But in truth there was no missing it â the low
chine looming through the weather, the line of firs top-
ping it, and, towards the west, diminishing like a fish's
dorsal fin. I had conned it often enough from the other â¢
side ; had looked right across it on the day when she stood
beside me on the bastion and pointed out the smoke of
Swanston Cottage. Only on this side the fish-tail (so to
speak) had a nick in it ; and through that nick ran the
path to the old quarry.
I reached it a little before eight. The quarry lay to the
EVENTS OF FRIDAY MORNING 359
left of the path, which passed on and out upon tlie hill's
northern slope. Upon that slope there was no need to
show myself. I measured out some fifty yards of the path,
and paced it to and fro, idly couiiting my steps ; for the
chill crept back into my bones if I halted for a minute.
Once or twice I turned aside into the quarry, and stood
there tracing the veins in the hewn rock : then back to my
quarterdeck tramp and the study of my watch. Ten