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A bartered honour : a novel (Volume 2) online

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had lately fallen. Save for a little oil lamp at the
corner of the street, burning before an image of
the Madonna, who, apparently consoled by the
motto carved on the stone beneath —

He Hath Filled the Hungry with Good Things,

was beaming over the foul sight, the moon was
the only light that lit this mournful scene.
Charles, sickened, left it. Fang, in his element
among the I'ats, was prone to stay.

" Where am I to sleep to-night ? '^ said Charles,
two hours later, as he sat on a bench outside the
Yilla del Popolo, watching the ox-drawn carts,
heavily laden with all kinds of market produce,
labour along the roads into the centre of the town.
Somebody, passing behind him at the moment^.


stopped. Charles was too sleepy to notice him.
The man went on again.

" How cold and wretched it is, is it not, Fang?
but I fear we must make a night of it here on this
stone bench," continued Charles, rising to stretch
his limbs, aching with fatigue and cold. As he
stood up, he saw opposite to him, a coloured lamp
on which was written —

Qui si dorma.'

'' Any shelter in a storm," thought Charles,
making for the door ; then he stopped, and sorrow-
fully returned to his seat. He remembered. He
had not even the price of a bed in yonder refuge.

" Qui si dorma," continued he, stretching him-
self out on the bench, '^ unless a gend'arme comes


As he was laying himself out on the bench the
jingling of some coins roused him. He jumped
np, and saw a few coins lying on the pavement.
Fivepence in all.

Without stopping to think whence they came, or
•whom they belonged to, but registering a mental
I O U to the profit of their former owner, Charles
took them, walked across the street and entered
the refuge.

" Can I sleep here ? " he asked of a woman who
met him on the stairs.

" Si, Signer, there's room in number 5."

" Can my dog come in ? "



" No."

'' Then I can't."

'' Stay, if you pay for the dog you may bring*

" How n?ucli a bed ? "
" A franc each."
*' I will give yon twopence."

The ^voman led him to a long, low room, where
about thirty men and boys were lying asleep on a
row of mattresses, covered with filthy blankets.
They were all huddled together for warmth, but
the woman found Charles a place. Fang was
relegated to a corner. The woman bade Charles
stroke himself down before lying down. She gave
this order to every customer. For Neapolitans
she was perhaps right. Charles did not take her
meaning. He lay down, feeling too tired to be
ashamed, and was soon fast asleep.

It would take too long to tell how Charles fared
during the rest of the week ; suffice it to say that
by pawning his watch, and a few other gold
trinkets which, he had about him, he managed to
live. During this time be was not inactive, and
firmly resolved not to pester his few friends for
help, he set about to try to find employment. TMs
was almost impossible.

He at first thought of giving English lessons,
and indeed went to a registry office for that pur-
pose. He was, however, discouraged by the pro-
pnetor, who said, " At Naples we eat and drink,
and don't learn English. We are too lazy."


He would not go as a domestic servant, he pre-
ferred to starve. At last he found work, curious
empL.'jment, forsooth, for an Oxford under-
graduate, to row a boat for hire, but this was what
Charles did, and he did it well too, his Oxford
training helping him in the rowiiig, ani creating
much envy among the other barcaiuoli. By this
employment he earned about seven francs a day,
enough to keep himself and Fang. He rented a
small room in the Stiada Medina for twenty francs
a month, and ate his meals al Jresco, thus, per-
force, tasting the poverty to which he had pre-
viously resolved himself. I do not know if he
was happy all this time, but he looked remark-
ably well, and the exercise and fresh air freshened
his face up and made him handsomer than ever ;
indeed, he looked so well, and made such a
picturesque appearance in his quaint costume,
that he got more custom than many of his
colleagues. His pride — well, he had swallowed
that ; and though he felt the Hauberk tradition
as strongly as ever, deadened all peevish remon-
strances that he sometimes made to himself.

One day, business being very slack, he was
standing in the glonous sunshine warming himself
and smoking, leaning against the custom-house,
when he heard himself addressed in Italian.

" I have found you — come."

He looked up ; it was a stranger who had
addressed him. Ihe stranger was rather tall, and
dressed in the negligent way which artists some-
times affect. He had very dark flowing hair, large


rolling eyes, and rather an oriental type of feature,
and a most intelligent and interesting expression.
He wore spectacles, which seemed to burn with the
fire that flashed from his magnificent eyes,

" I have found you," he repeated ; " come."

" Whither ? " answered Charles in Italian.
^' Does the gentleman want a row ? "

'^ 'No" answered the stranger in English, " not
a row, my friend. I want you. Come," he con-
tinued, " I will speak to you, but not here. Let
us go into that cafe. There, what will you
take ? "

"Your meaning," said Charles.

" You shall have that," said the artist, " but
what else ? "

" Listen," continued he, when he and Charles
had been served with a cool drink each, " I want
to tell you something. Will you sit as a model to
me ? "

Charles rose and said indignantly —

'' Yes, because you see me among a herd of
swine you take me for one too ; because you see
my hands rough and hardened you take me for a
common fellow, who wishes to pick up money as
best he can. I have to work to live, but the work
you offer is an insult to me. I am Charles

"You will not refuse me," said the artist
gently. " I meant no insult. Were you the
archangel Gabriel himself I should ask you. Do
you know that 1 have a picture to paint, a picture
that is to excel every picture yet painted, a picture


that shall be hereafter a landmark in a barren
wilderness, and shall rise from out the desert of
to-day's art like a pyramid amid the sands. I
have to redeem the nineteenth century."

" You have a great work to do," said Charles

"Yes, but I will do or I will die. I will be
with Eaffael and Botice'li or I will be not at all;
and I have in my head what, if worked out, will
give a place near his side, near Eaffael's side.
This is what I want you to help me to do.""

" A thorough man of the world," said Charles,
'^ might find your proposal not quite disin-

"With the world of to-day," answered the
artist, ''I have nothing to do. I feel as if
I was not of it, or in it. 1 want to do this
work, and then I do not care what comes of me.
Listen : I have to paint the Archangel
Gabriel himself. The idea came to me one day
as I walked the plain of Marathon alone. I do
not know why the inspiration came to me there ;
perhaps that standing where my ancestors did
such noble deeds I felt inspired to do likewise
and my victory, for I will conquer, will be as great
as theirs, bingle-handed I will put the barbarians
to flight, these beer-jug, race-day artists of to-day,
who call themselves sons of art, but whose works
are mere smears on wasted canvas, whose art,
be it, never rises above photography, indeed
never rises so far, and who personify vulgarity
for the vulgar. These genre-painters, let


them paint signboards for their living; I will
paint archangels, or I will die. Now, vivid as
my impression of the mighty angel is I
must have a model, and to find one who
would in any way be suitable I have traversed
nearly the whole earth. I have ransacked the
quarters where models congregate in London,
Paris, Rome, Berlin, in fact everywhere ; I have
sought my prototype amongst the peasants of the
Ionian and the Shetland Islands, in Zealand and
Corfu, in Brazil and Putney, but I have never
found what I sought till I found you. I'ellow-
worker, will you help me ? "

" You flatter me in offering me a share in so
certain a victory. I fear I have little of the angel
in me."

" Come.''

And holding him tight Kallandros the artist led
Charles to a carriage, and they drove away.

At the studio, Kallandros bade Charles strip
and pose, and set to work in all haste to fill in the
outlines of his sketch.

" Have you any sorrow ? Have you anything to
make you indignant ? Have you any enemy ? "
asked Kallandros after a while.

Then Charles's rage burst out —

"Enemy! " he cried. " The world. My enemy,
the whole, whole world, the bearded men^ the
smooth-faced women. I hate them all. They lie
of me ; they insult me daily."

"Yes, yes/' said Kallandros in the greatest
trepidation lest Charles should forget his anger.


for the fierce expression of his face and his dilat-
ing eyes produced the very effect that KallanJros
wanted. '' The world is insolent, I know."

" Insolent ! " said Charles, " it is a mass of in-
solence ! The son of nobody. Grocers, drapers,
sink-lifters, all say that of me. Filius nullius. No-
body's son, or the son of the mob. The offspring
of the canaille.^'

"Ah, the ca7iaiUe" said Kallandros, working
with all his might, '^ they claim you as their son
do they? Here, take this sword and hold it

" Yes, see me here an artist's model, see me
there rowing paunchy bourgeois at two soldi a
head, see me there squabbling with tipsy fish-
wives or English tourists for my wage, and then
say if my life is not one of perpetual insult."

" You are a gentleman by birth^ of course ? "

" No, I tell you, I am nobody's son. I am no

"There," said Kallandros, " I have finished; it
is enough.'^

'' Now offer me money," said Charles, " and
complete it."

" My poor fellow," said the artist kindly,
*' whatever your suffering may be, and your indig-
nation can arise from no small suffering, do not
mind. If you despise the world, rise above it.
Eise from dirty materialism to art. You may be
an artist, and not know how to draw a line ; you
may be a poet, and never have rhymed one word
to another. But for this perception of the beau-


tiful all men are equal, from emperors down to
tlie filthy crowd where first I saw jou. Leave
them and join the bright choirs of beautiful souls,
and happiness will come to you. Here," continued
he, drawing a beautiful sapphire ring from his
finger, " take this as a souvenir of me.^'

" I can offer you no souvenir in exchange," said

" This is my souvenir of you," said Kalian dros,
pointing to the canvas.

At this moment the servant entered and said
that two gentlemen wished to see Mr. Kallandros.

" Who are they? " asked the artist.

"I do not know," said the servant." "Two
well-dressed gentlemen. They particularly wish
to see you."

" Let them enter," said Kallandros.

Charles, who had not finished dressing, depre-
cated, but it was too late. Kallandros had for-
gotten that it was no ordinary model he had with,

The door opened and there entered —

The Chevalier de la Vigne and Mr. Mangles !

With a cry of shame Charles gathered his
clothes about him, dashed the sapphire ring on
the ground, and fled from the room.

It was too late, and as he was rushing down
the passage, he heard Mangles say in his vulgar
English —

"Well, here's a jolly come-down; Benson an
artist's model, eh ? "


To whicli tlie Chevalier added —

"And he has had the presTimption to shake
hands with Alphonse de le Yigne, and to sit at the
same table as Placide, Baroness de Bienaimee. Ld
canaille ! "



^ '' What medicines cannot cure, iron cures ; what
iron cannot cure, fire cures." So said Hippocrates.
It is by our failings that we suffer most, for, as
these always prove stumbling-blocks to us in our
path of life, we learn that our sufferings come
most often from them. Sometimes, but rarely,
we are sufiiciently wise to draw benefit from the
hard knocks they cause us to receive ; oftener we
only tighten our lips, shrug our shoulders, and
from very obstinacy continue to foster what we
know will bring us pain and punishment.
Medicines, hot irons, and fire are all successively
applied by the world to cure us, and nearly always
fail, for corporal and mental maladies have little
in common beyond producing pain. Each appli-
cation either cures us or intensifies our malady.

How was it with Charles ? Surely his pride had
been attacked so severely as to make him wish to
abandon it. Look at the graduated tumbles it had
received — his leaving Oxford with the attending
circumstances, the different rebuffs he had received
from the commonest of people, the suspicion he
had been met with everywhere, the final, total
collapse he had suffered in purse, his night amongst
the poorest of the poor, sleeping in one bed with


tlie outcasts and offscourings of society, his forced
menial employment, and finally his being found
posing for an artist by these two men, whom he had
always treated as positive inferiors.

As he himself said, as he got back into the
street —

" What further humiliations can there be for
me ? I have drunk the cup to its dregs."

And then he sorrowfully fell a-thiuking of his
life, of what he might have made of his past, of
his dreadful present, and of the future which
presented no hope, and at last he saw how much
of wilfulness and folly he had to reproach himself

" I have brought all this on myself,'^ he cried
bitterly, sinking on to a seat by the roadside, and
burying his face in his hands. " I have broken
my life."

What was he to do ? The life he had led so far
during the last week could surely not last. He
could not bring himself to the prospect of always
rowing for a livelihood ; he, with his brain teem-
ing with vitality and straining always after fuller,
ampler knowledge, to live always a machine ! And
yet there seemed nothing else for him to do. He,
who had hoped some day to overcome all obstacles,
and plape on his head again the coronet which he
claimed as his own, to earn his livelihood always
by /owing a boat. The option was starvation.
N<?w that the novelty and the romance of his
position had worn off, how very sorry it seemed.
And then, strong and lithe as he was, he was not



strong enough to bear continually the hot noon-
day sun, and the endless, severe toil, that the
clumsy, heavy boat inflicted on him. He had
swallowed his pride, yes, indeed he had, and had
for the time being cheerfully done the work that
had come to his hand, with a strength and courage
that surprised even himself.

For what young English gentleman, blue-blooded
and refined, would, taken from a comfortable and
refined life, from an obsequious crowd of servants,
from the society of intelligent men and refined
women, be able to buckle themselves down to the
coarse, hard, undignified life of a common ferry-
man, and know how to take the copper coins they
earned with grace. Charles had done this, but he
felt he could do it no more. But what was he to
do? Charles lighted a cigarette.

Just then somebody ran up to him, crying — •

" My dear fellow, I've found you at last."

It was Herbert Lovell.

Charles was not very pleased, but he took Her-
bert's hand.

" Why, Hauberk," continued he, " what have
you been doing ? Money bothers, eh ? Well, you
know, you ought to have come to me about that,
and not go away like you did.'^

" I have not yet said that I left the Grande
Sentinelle Hotel for financial reasons," answered

"Financial reasons? " said Herbert, laughing.
"What stiff terms."

" I feel anything^ but stiff," said Charles, re-


gaining his good humour under the genial influence
of the American's laugh. " Quite the contrary."

" Well," said the Ameiican^ " where are jou

" Strada Medina, No. 9, 8th story, on the back."

*' What are you doing ? "

"Talking to you."

" No, but what do you do all day ? "

" Eow a boat."

" Eow a boat, all day ? In this heat ? "

*' 1 don't row for pleasure, I live by it."


" Nonsense or not here is my licence, and here
is my number as barcaiaolo, and here is my

" But you surely don't mean to say you are
forced to do this ? "

" I am forced to do nothing, I prefer it to
blacking boots."

" Have you no money ? "

" Yes, five francs ; I earned them this morning. "

"But that is all nonsense, and can't go on.
Come back with me to Sorrento, and be my

" Your guest, for the rest of my natural life ? "

" If you like."

" Thank you, you are very kind. I prefer to
row a boat."


" I mean I could not think of accepting your
offer ; I am obliged to work, and do not mind it.
It is only temporary."


" Then if only temporary, come and tide your
difficulties over with me."

" No, Lovell, don't press me. I am suffering now
the effects of a very great folly, and enjoy my
punishment. I feel it does me good. Do not tempt

" But, my dear fellow, how can I see a friend,
and a friend like you, in such a position ? "

" Do I look so very miserable ? "

" No ; on the contrary, you look remarkably
well. Quite the type of the handsome boatman."

'-' I was taken for the archangel Gabriel just

" And look it. But do listen to reason."

"I do ; I listen to my own reason, and I prefer
to work to increasing ray obligations to you. If
you want to befriend me recommend your friends
to patronize my boat."

Herbert renewed his invitation, but Charles was
firm. At last Herbert asked him to accompany
him to the post-offi.ce.

Charles answered —

" You will be ashamed to be seen with me."

Herbert took his arm in answer.

As they were walking up the street to the post-
of&ce Herbert told Charles that they had a new
jpensionnaire at the hotel.

" Whom ? " asked Charles.

" A very objectionable young man.'-*

" What is his name ? "

" Mangles."

" Ohj oh, I knew him at Oxford. A brewer's


son, a very unpleasant fellow ; very low and com-

" Botli. He knows yon. He has made a lot of
evil talk about you/^

"Indeed. I owe him money. Hinc illae

The post-ofB.ce was now reached, and Herbert
went to o-et his letters. Charles waited for him in
tlie yard.

Standing thus, the thought came that there
might be something for him. So he went to the
H counter and asked for letters for Hauberk.
There were three, and one which the official would
not give up unless he produced his passport.

" I have none,^' said Charles.

" Then," said the official, " the letter must be
brought to your lodging. Where do you live? "

" Strada Medina, No. 9, 8th floor."

The first letter bore the superscription office^
"Telegram, Poste Eestante." The stamp on the
envelope was several days old.

Charles tore it open. It was a telegram from
Keswick, from Miss Crosthwaite —

^* Charles Hauberk, Post Restante, Naples, Dear
Clias. Received most imjfortant communication
from John Elp/dnstone. Am writing to-night.
" Dorothy Crosthwaite'^

What could this be ? With beating heart and
trembling hand he tore open the second packet, a,
letter from Doiothy.

Dorothy's letter was short.

144 a baeteeed honotjr.

'^ Dearest Chaeles,

" THngs are coming right. Elphinstone
has got back some of your funds, and has acted
honestly. Eead his letter. I wish you all success
and happiness, only don't like addressing to Poste

" Your affectionate^

" Doeotht/'

"P.S. — Don't forget Spider Harrison and

The third letter was from John Elphin stone,
addressed to Charles at Keswick, and forwarded
"by Dorothy.

"My Dearest Chaeles,

''I have much pleasure in writing to tell
you that I can now in some measure redeem my
promise of restitution, made to you when I was
bound to confess that I had wasted all the money
left with me in trust for you.

Some of the investments which I made in your
name, and which at the period of my bankruptcy
seemed only so much waste paper, have been
looking up lately in a remarkable manner, and are
paying good dividends. At that time they were
absolutely worthless, besides being taken in your
name, they escaped the trustees of my creditors.

"I have managed to save about £3,000, and the
interest of this, from the time since I stopped
paying your allowance, I forward to you through
Miss Crosthwaite. The sum of £3^000 is at your


disposal, and on hearing from you I will either
forward you the papers, or sell out and pay the
money into any bank you please.

" I shall be glad to hear from you what arrange-
ments you propose,

" Charlotte and the children are well, and send

" Believe me, with sineerest congratulations, my
dear Charles,

" Tour affectionate Guardian,

"John Luke Elphinstone.

" Devizes."

"What is the matter with you ? " said Herbert,,
•who had finished his business, and seeing Charles
reel against one of the courtyard pillars, pale and
breathliess, had hurried to his friend's side..
''What is the matter ? No bad news ? "

Charles as a pauper, and Charles with an income,,
were two different men.

"No," said Charles, "the heat rather overcame
me, but excuse me, Mr. Lovell, I must go to my
apartment. I have some business to do."

" But where shall we meet, Hauberk ? You
know I positively refuse to allow my friend to con-
tinue in the state I found you in. You must come
back to the hotel with me until things are

"My dear Mr. Lovell, do not disturb 3'ourselfon
my account. I have odd whims at times, but do
not, when they are foolish, care to be reminded



about them. I pulled a boat out of romantic folly.
Please do not remind me of it, and please do not
repeat an offer I have already declined -with,
thanks. I stall probably return to the Grande
Sentinelle, or perhaps, as the society there is not
of the best, put up at the Yictoria or Tramontane

*' Well," said Lovell, "I can't tell you how glad
I am, but, dear Charles, don't indulge in wbims of
that sort again. You cannot imagine how dis-
tressed I was to bear yon had left so suddenly, and
under sucb circumstances. I did my best to find
you, and have not bad a day's quiet till I found
you, but have been running up and down Naples
asking everywhere for you. Do promise me not
to do so again. For you know, Charles," said he,
v^ith tenderness, " we are to be good friends."

"Yes," said Charles, ''but do not let us re-
Tiearse Orestes and Pylades here. People are
looking. I am extremely obliged to you for your
kind expressions of sympathy towards myself, but,
as I stated, I have business to attend to. An

And he walked away hastily. Herbert stood
still looking sadly after him. Then turning slowly
away, he said, in a half-whisper, " And I love him
as a brother."

Charles got to the door of the house where he
lived, feeling very excited and happy at the
wonderful and sudden change in his fortunes, and
yet imbued with that essentially human feeling
of irritation that comes to all people whose unjust


sufferings liave been removed, thattliis relief came
late and did not at all compensate for tlie pain he
had endured. But deeper still lay another feel-
ing that had grown stronger and stronger as he
had walked away from Herbert. Struggling with
this, he stood in silence outside the door of the
house for a few moments, then suddenly he
tightened his belt, and ran at full speed back to
the post-office.

Herbert was no longer there, and, after search-
ing for him in vain, Charles went to the telegraph
office, and wrote hastily the following short tele-
gram : —

" Bear Herbert I am a d — d cad. Forgive me.

^' Charles^'

Having done this, he walked slowly back again,
proud, erect as ever. When he got home he went
upstairs to his room and lay down, and closing his
eyes tried to realise that all his sufferings were
now at an end, and that although still poor he
had a competence, and need never again be exposed
to the insults of a class which he despised. His

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