U cC -
STORIES WITHOUT TEARS
AUTHOR OF " ONE KIND AND ANOTHER,"
"STORIES IN GREY," ETC.
FREDERICK A. STOKES COMPANY
I. GREAT POSSESSIONS ..... i
II. A MODEL MAN 23
III. THE MARRIAGE OF MIRANDA ... 38
IV. THE FAILURE OF PROFESSOR PALBECK . 49
V. THE 'EIGHTY-SEVEN .... 65
VI. CLUBS AND HEARTS 73
VII. ONE STONE 81
VIII. GENERAL OBSERVATIONS .... 87
IX. THE BOY AND THE PESSIMIST . . 96
X. CHRISIMISSIMA 115
XI. A Vicious CIRCLE 129
XII. SUNNIBROW ....'.. 133
XIII. AUNT MARTHA 144
XIV. A DEVIL, A BOY, AND A TRADE DESIGNER 149
XV. THE KEY OF THE HEN-HOUSE . '. . 165
XVI. ONE HOUR OF FAME .... 181
XVII. SARA .189
XVIII. THE BLANKING BUSINESS . . . 193
XIX. THE CHEAT 201
XX. THE DIFFICULT CASE .... 207
XXI. SOME IMITATIONS 219
XXII. THE CELESTIAL'S EDITORSHIP . . . 227
THE TENWOOD WITCH .
XXIV. LOVERS ON AN ISLAND .
XXV. THE HERO AND THE BURGLAR .
II. THE PHILOSOPHER ....
III. THE LIFE OF A BUBBLE .
IV. FOR VALUE RECEIVED
V. OMNIA VANITAS ....
VI. THE LOVE PHILTER ....
VII. DOING GOOD
VIII. KIND WORDS
IX. THE WORTHLESS STONES .
XI. THE PIG AND THE JACOBY
XII. THE WRONG ELIXIR ....
XIV. BLUE ROSES
XV. THE STREET OF PERIL
XVI. THE CURATE, THE BOY, AND THE BEE
XVIII. PULL THE RIGHT STRING
XIX. Too MUCH SELF-HELP .
XX. NOT IMPERVIOUS TO DAMP
STORIES WITHOUT TEARS
STORIES WITHOUT TEARS
MR. WILFRED SANDYS, assistant master at
"Sunniholme," had a small sitting-room as-
signed to him at the top of the house. It was
rather a dark and sullen little room, furnished princi-
pally with what had been left over. Against one of
the walls stood a cottage piano in light oak, bearing
the name of an unknown German maker; its inward
parts were so full of wickedness that it had long be-
fore retired from active service. Piano was a cour-
tesy title the thing was a sideboard really. Over
the mantelpiece was a gas-bracket. The gas had
been cut off from it in order (as Mr. Worthy pointed
out) to avoid accidents. The room was illuminated in
the evening by a small lamp when Emma remembered
it. When Emma forgot it, it was idle to have recourse
to the bell-pull, though it was a tasteful bell-pull. The
bell itself had been removed because (as Mr. Worthy
explained) you cannot have the maid-servants kept
for ever running up and down stairs; this, I think,
cannot be gainsaid. In fact, there was very little in
the room that really worked except Mr. Wilfred
The supper-tray of Mr. Wilfred Sandys stood on
the piano. Emma had said when she brought it up
2 STORIES WITHOUT TEARS
that it was a funny thing she had forgotten that old
lamp again. The room was illuminated at present by
one candle, the property of a gentleman, the said can-
dle being affixed by and of itself to the lid of a
tobacco-tin. The repast which that gentleman had just
concluded had consisted of a warped slice of cold mut-
ton with blood-vessels, and, apparently, string in it;
of a portion of American cheddar, of bread, and of
two-thirds of a pint of the school beer. The tray
being removed, writing-materials and exercise-books
were now placed on the table a kitchen table veiled
by a stained cloth, with the remains of chenille blobs
round the edge of it.
Mr. Sandys opened an exercise-book and observed
that Smithson's first sentence was "dicit ut veniret."
To a pedant this hardly seemed a satisfactory render-
ing of "he says that he will come." But in times of
mental perplexity, which were frequent with him,
Smithson always gave up hope and went into the sub-
junctive. Wilfred Sandys decided suddenly that, after
all, he would not correct those exercise-books that
night; he had done enough for one day.
He took methodical steps for his own comfort. He
put the coal (what there was of it) on the fire. He
placed in position the easy chair, with three exercise-
books to take the place of a missing castor. He
fetched from his bedroom a glass and water-bottle.
Then he removed the lower front of the ex-piano and
took out from the interior a bottle of Scotch whisky
good whisky, but, of course, a thing prohibited.
A high standard of virtue, such as that which was
suitably maintained by Mr. Worthy in his seminary,
has many advantages too obvious for comment.
Amongst others, it enables the sinner to get a great
GREAT POSSESSIONS 3
deal of excitement out of very little sin. Wilfred
Sandys never bought his whisky in the town. There
were occasional Saturdays when he had the afternoon
and evening entirely at his disposal; then it was that
he visited a distant hostelry and returned sin-laden in
the dark. So far he had been undetected, but it was
constantly occurring to him that one night on his re-
turn he might stumble on the stone stairs, and the
bottle would break, and its contents would be spilled;
Mr. Worthy would arrive upon the scene at once, and
it would be difficult to convince him that this was
really furniture polish which Sandys had purchased
for the improvement of the German ex-piano. It is
probable that the murderer feels much the same when
disposing of the corpse of his victim as Sandys felt
when he was getting rid of an empty bottle. Once
Mr. Worthy had stopped him on his way down to the
river with the incriminating bottle concealed about his
person, as the police say. For a moment Sandys had
thought that all was lost, including honor. But Mr.
Worthy had merely observed in his fat, sad voice that
he wished Mr. Sandys would abstain from wearing
colored neckties on Sundays, and passed on unsus-
I do not wish to suggest any dark picture of a secret
drunkard. Sandys was secret enough, because he did
not wish to lose the forty-five pounds, with board and
lodging, which he received annually from Mr. Worthy ;
but he was not given to excess. He had little fear that
he would be caught in the act of drinking that nightly
glass of whisky and water, for there was a long flight
of stone stairs between the proprietor's study and the
assistant master's garret ; and Mr. Worthy was a man
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of plethoric habit. When he wanted his hireling he
rang and sent somebody to fetch him.
To-night Sandys lapsed into reverie. Had it, then,
been worth while the sacrifice made by that poor
country parson in order that his son might obtain in
the Classical Tripos the degree of Bachelor of Arts in
the University of Cambridge? The end had been
achieved. Wilfred Sandys had just, as it had been
by the skin of his teeth, managed to secure that degree,
and he had had incidentally three good years years
when he made many friends, spent his father's money,
neglected his work, and was strenuous in athletic ex-
ercises. But what was left after the achievement? His
father's death had made him the possessor of some
thirty pounds a year from gilt-edged investments. He
had no relations on his father's side to help him, and
he had nothing to expect from the Beltons, who had
resented the marriage of their daughter with a poor
curate, as the father of Wilfred was at that time.
He had suddenly felt the knife across the golden thread
of his life. Playtime was over, and work was to be
done. He was away from the pleasant sward, and
over the edge of the precipice. There was no estab-
lished business, no waiting partnership, to receive him
on a bed of down. There was good advice from peo-
ple who told him solemnly what every man of his age
and intelligence knew already. There were vague
promises and assurances from young college friends
who had slightly over-estimated their influence in the
world. The cold fact was that he had to look out for
himself. Suddenly awakened out of sleep, he saw that
there was more than one profession in which he might
succeed if he could wait. He saw also that he could
not possibly afford to wait. He must put himself into
GREAT POSSESSIONS 5
the market as he was. A clean character, a moderate
skill in tennis and cricket, and a third in Classical Hon-
ors that was what he had to offer. The demand for
such things is not feverish. It became clear to him
that he must be a schoolmaster.
Wilfred Sandys had haunted the agents' office in
Sackville Street. He had had splendid testimonials
printed, and had gradually come to realize that most
people of ordinary decency have absolutely magnifi-
cent testimonials. He had taken one post which he
had found impossible. He had afterwards waited for
a time, waited almost to the verge of fear for his daily
bread. He had closed eagerly with the offer of Mr.
Worthy, with whom he had been for three years. Mr.
Worthy printed a very dubious M.A. after his name
in his prospectus, but (with or without academic dis-
tinction) he had a fairly good connection, and his
heart was in his business. It was merely a business to
this soup-merchant, but he was no fool at it. The mid-
day dinner was not luxurious, but Mr. Worthy had
quite realized the line beneath which it was not safe to
go. He had a sufficient staff of servants, treated them
well, and paid them well, since it is often difficult to
get a housemaid. It is always easy to get an assistant
master, but even here he was moderately generous and
conscious of generosity. "Many head masters," he
had said to Sandys, "forbid smoking to the under
masters. I do not. Smoke as much as you like ex-
cept, of course, in the presence of the boys."
That is a common point of view; the boy sees every
day in the holidays that his father, his uncle, and his
elder brothers smoke, but he must not believe that his
holy schoolmaster could possibly smoke. In this, as
possibly in some other respects, the intelligence of the
6 STORIES WITHOUT TEARS
ordinary boy is frequently underrated or misunder-
stood by the gentlemen who profess to train that
intelligence. For the rest, Sandys was a safe, con-
scientious, able master, with the prestige of a real
degree. Mr. Worthy fully recognized this, and did not
wish to part with him. He could have supplied his
place in twenty- four hours, but the new-comer might
easily have been less satisfactory. He did not give him
the same consideration that he would have given to
the cook, but still he gave him some consideration; he
managed to keep him just above resignation.
Mr. Sandys, as he sipped his diluted and forbidden
whisky, could not call himself conscientious; but he
maintained that no grown man of common sense
should obey an absurd rule. He did not even call
himself an able master. It seemed to him that some-
how or other he ought to have made Smithson under-
stand more about the Oratio Obliqua. And it further
seemed to him that, summing up the situation, he had
nothing to hope for in the way of advancement, and
that he had everything to fear in the way of actual
loss. There is no chance for the under master in a
private school to advance in his profession ; the places
at the miserable top of it are taken by those who,
thanks to capital or connection, have started at the top.
As time went on, Sandys knew that he would become
less and less valuable in a principal's eyes, until finally
there would be no work for him at all. He would be
told on all sides that a younger and more active man
was required. For that evil day he ought, of course,
to make provision, but with his present salary he saw
no decent possibility of saving money at all. He
would be compelled to break into his capital the eight
hundred he had inherited from his father. Possibly,
GREAT POSSESSIONS 7
he might buy an annuity with it. It was a wretched
He was roused from his reverie by the sound of a
footstep on the stairs. It was not the well-known step
of Mr. Worthy, nor was it the light, quick step of
a boy. Sandys supposed that Mr. Worthy wanted to
see him about some school matter, and had sent Emma
to say so. That being so, it was not worth while to
conceal the whisky-bottle.
The door opened, and a blaze of light entered. Be-
hind the blaze of light was a tall female figure.
"Thanks, Emma," said Sandys. "Just put it on the
table, will you?"
The lamp was put down on the table, and revealed
that this was not Emma. He might have known, of
course, that it was not Emma ; for though Emma fre-
quently forgot the perilous task of bringing the lamp
with the supper-tray, she would never have made a
second journey up the stairs to bring it afterwards.
She was by no means the kind of girl to overdo things.
This, it appeared, was a new housemaid. She had
arrived that afternoon, and, in reply to Sandys' ques-
tion, she said that her name was Rose. She was to
have the care of his rooms in future, because she did
not mind the stairs, and Emma did. She spoke easily,
without forwardness or embarrassment. Her voice
was pleasant, and her pronunciation correct. In ap-
pearance she was young, fresh and strong, graceful in
movement. Her face was well enough kind eyes,
too large a mouth, and much dark hair with a smooth
severity. Her figure was really beautiful. As she
spoke, she did things. She drew the shabby curtain
over the window. She brushed the hearth. She
picked up the repellent supper-tray from the piano.
8 STORIES WITHOUT TEARS
"Good night, sir," she said, as she closed the door be-
Sandys had in his time said severe things about the
man who regards a maid-servant in any other than
the cold and official light, but our circumstances play
havoc with our opinions. His life had become lonely,
a life with no women in it. He taught boys in his
working hours, and sometimes chatted with the other,
non-resident, masters in his leisure. There were even
times when that dubious Master of Arts, Mr. Worthy,
unbent and spoke with Sandys of the political situation
over a glass of dubious port. Sandys did not grumble
at such things, but they left him lonely and unfulfilled.
Warm-blooded youth and a natural love of beauty
demanded more. So now it was useless for the trained
and conventional side of Sandys to make the chilly
observation that here was a new housemaid. The nat-
ural man insisted on saying, "Here is an unusual and
delightful woman and I hope I shall see more of
A contrast with Emma suggested itself. Emma
never did her work properly, considered it as a griev-
ance that she had to do any work at all, and used a
manner of speech which was distressing. Sandys had
never known Emma to draw the curtain or to sw r eep
the hearth. Emma frequently forgot the lamp, and
always left the used, soiled, sickening supper-tray to
sit on the ex-piano until she "did" the room in the
morning. The contrast was accentuated on the follow-
ing evening. The supper-tray did not wear its cus-
tomary air of a brutal attempt to make Wilfred San-
dys give up feeding for the future. And when Rose
removed the tray she placed on the table a jug of
fresh water and a clean glass; her quick eye had de-
GREAT POSSESSIONS 9
tected the conversion of the bedroom water-bottle to
a sitting-room use on the previous evening. It seemed
to him that the lamp gave more light, and the nause-
ous smell of paraffin had gone from it. Rose had
trimmed the wick, and cleaned the lamp and the lamp-
glass. Emma had limited herself to giving the thing
"more ile" when she happened to remember it. When
in the morning Sandys lifted a book from the ex-piano
he was surprised not to see its imprint in the dust;
examination showed that there was no dust. In his
early period he had prayed Emma to remove dust,
but she had shaken her head. She had explained that
she was always so hurried of a morning. Briefly, Rose
was a real woman, and Emma was a red-headed slut.
A further portent presented itself next day. Sandys
picked up the exercise-books to place, as usual, under
the leg of the easy chair, and, behold, the missing cas-
tor had been replaced and the exercise-books were no
"Rose," said Sandys, "I see this chair has been mend-
ed at last. How did you manage to get that done?"
Rose smiled, showing white teeth. "I did that my-
"Yes; there's a box of rubbish downstairs old
curtain-rings and picture-hooks and such things, and I
found the castor there. Then I borrowed the screw-
driver that belongs to cook's sewing-machine, and I
persuaded the boot-boy to give me a few screws."
"That castor's been off for the last two years.
Thank you very much, Rose. You're a wonderful
"No; but I don't like to see things wrong that can
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be put right. It's the way I feel about it. Good
The good night had come rather abruptly. She was
gone. She never hurried, but she was always doing a
piece of work or going on to the next piece. She was
willing to talk a little, but she did not seem to want to
jabber, as Emma always did. Sandys wished she had
stayed a few moments longer. He had noticed a slight
and rather fascinating play of color in her face, some-
thing different from the solid purple blush that Emma
wore in her moments of embarrassment. There had
been a quick flush when he called her a wonderful
woman, and again before that when yes, when she
said that she had persuaded the boot-boy to give her
some screws. How, then, had she persuaded the boot-
boy? That was a dark thought.
Her splendid efficiency moved Sandys to see for the
first time that there was no such thing as contemptible
work, but that there were many contemptible workers.
Emma and many others of her kind were contemptible
workers they worked reluctantly, without intelligent
interest in the work, and were a menial class. But the
work itself domestic work was as fine as any other,
and a woman who was capable and had a good will in
such work, was far beyond the ridicule that hits the
inefficient sisterhood of the craft.
He took an early opportunity of trying to lend Rose
books. He had quite determined that she must be
fond of reading, and was disappointed with her reply :
"No, thank you, sir. Unless perhaps you've got
a book on poultry."
He misunderstood her. "Yes," he said; "I think I
have a book about poetry."
GREAT POSSESSIONS 11
She laughed a little. "It was poultry I said, sir
fowls and chickens."
Mr. Wilfred Sandys, curiously enough, had no book
on poultry. He had imagined that she would like
reading : she had seemed well educated, unlike Emma.
"But I never read just for the sake of it. If there's
a book to tell me something I want to learn, that's
different. I like doing things better than reading."
He tried a further question as to her education, but
she admitted no more than a Board School had pro-
vided. He urged that she spoke like a well-educated
"Well, if there's anything to do, I want to do it
properly it's all the same whether it's making a bed
or just talking."
Again she gave him no opportunity to converse at
length with her; her work called her away. On sec-
ond thoughts he decided that he was not disappointed
at all in her refusal of books. It was splendidly hon-
est and unaffected. A liking for stories of love and
adventure is not by any means an invariable sign of a
mind of the highest type. Emma read the feuilleton
with regularity, and had no mind at all.
As he handed her a copy of "Poultry for Profit" on
the following evening, he observed that he found he
had got such a book, after all. He had got it, as a
matter of fact, from the station bookstall that after-
"It is very kind of you, sir," she said; "but I did
not mean you to buy the book for me. I don't like
But he persuaded her to take it and to keep it.
She had made him so much more comfortable than he
had been under the reign of Emma. The book was the
12 STORIES WITHOUT TEARS
merest trifle a mark of grateful recognition of her
services. And, by the way, how did she come to be
interested in that subject?
"We kept fowls at home, and so I got to know
something about them but not enough. I shall
learn more from the book in odd minutes. It will be
useful to me one day. I'm not always going on with
my present work."
She came back to his room an hour later with a
message: "Mr. Worthy told me to say, sir, that he
wished to see you in his study at once."
"Very well, Rose. Thanks."
He laid down his pipe. Mr. Worthy had possibly
invented a new schedule of work a thing to which he
was very liable. Whatever else may be urged against
Mr. Worthy's attainments, it must be said in fairness
that he could rule lines in red ink as well as any man
in the kingdom. The new schedule of work as drawn
out by Mr. Worthy was nearly as pretty as a map.
But there was not any schedule which required dis-
cussion at the present time it was a more serious
matter. Sandys recognized that as soon as he entered
"Sit down, if you please, Mr. Sandys," said Mr.
Worthy, in his sad, slow voice, and continued the
letter which he was writing.
He was rather a bloated and small-eyed gentleman,
dressed, as was his invariable custom, in a dark gray
suit, with a black bow necktie. Silence was one of the
weapons in his armory when it was necessary to
quell the refractory. The small boy who had been
guilty of any great crime was brought into Mr.
Worthy's study, and Mr. Worthy would then proceed
as now, to the letter-writing trick. Occasionally he
GREAT POSSESSIONS 13
would look up and glare steadily at the boy, and then
resume his letter in silence. With every moment the
stare and the silence grew more awful; sometimes the
small boy would be so affected by it that he would
begin to weep even before the principal of "Sunni-
holme" had opened his mouth a result of which the
heroic Mr. Worthy was proud.
But as Mr. Wilfred Sandys was not a little boy, the
impressive silence did not impress him in that way;
it merely seemed to him disgustingly uncivil on the
part of that boor-pig, his employer. He noticed that
Mr. Worthy's black bow was not quite straight, and
wished he would put it straight. His eye strayed to the
lavish apparatus of the writing-table (four kinds of
ink and rubber stamps in great variety), and upwards
to the engravings, framed in oak, of English cathe-
drals. What could be more reassuring to a hesitat-
ing parent than an engraving of a cathedral?
"And now, Mr. Sandys," said his employer, "I am
sorry to say that I have some unpleasant matters to
speak of to you. The other day I picked up Penning-
ton's exercise-book, and wrote in it a correction of one
of his sentences; I find to-day that you have crossed
out my correction and substituted a rendering of your
"Yes," said Sandys genially, "it was a bit awkward.
You see, you'd er made a slip, and I had to give
the boy the correct Latin, but I put it all right for you,
I think. I told Pennington that he must have given
you the wrong English."
"The boy did not believe you. Quite by accident, I
overheard him say that he did not believe you." Mr.
Worthy went about in rubber-soled shoes, and often
overheard things by accident "He told the elder
14 STORIES WITHOUT TEARS
Robinson that he was sure he had given me the right
English, that the blunder was mine, and that I knew
no more Latin than er his foot."
"Sorry," said Sandys. "Nuisance, isn't it?"
"It is something more than that. It is either a
gross act of insubordination or a stupid want of judg-
ment, and in either case I do not see how we are to go
on together. I do not profess to be a classical scholar,
but that is not the point. Right or wrong, I will not
be corrected by any man that I employ. Least of all
will I be corrected to one of my own pupils. You have
behaved badly. And that is not the worst !"
Sandys perceived that he was meant to ask what
the worst was. So he carefully refrained from ask-
"The worst," said Mr. Worthy impressively, "is that
you, Mr. Sandys, are a secret drunkard."
"That's a lie!" said Sandys, with unpardonable
"And you would not dare to address me in that
way if you were not under the influence of liquor at
this very moment. I er had occasion to see if the
piano in your sitting-room could be adapted for prac-
tice-work by the junior pupils "
"Yes, I see," said Sandys. "But I'm not going to
be spoken to in this way, all the same." He rose
"You understand that you leave at the end of this