The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Harmsworth Magazine, v. 1, 1898-1899,
No. 2, by Various

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Title: The Harmsworth Magazine, v. 1, 1898-1899, No. 2

Author: Various

Release Date: August 17, 2009 [EBook #29716]

Language: English

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VOLUME 1, 1898-9. No 2.


A £10,000 TOY.

[Pg 114]


From the Painting by Marcus Stone, R.A. "WILL HE COME?"
From the Painting by Marcus Stone, R.A.

By Permission of the Berlin Photographic Co., London, W.

[Pg 115]

My travelling companion

A Complete Story

By Catherine Childar.

Illustrated by Fred. Pegram.

It was a miserable day in November—the sort of day when, according to the French, splenetic Englishmen flock in such crowds to the Thames, in order to drown themselves, that there is not standing room on the bridges. I was sitting over the fire in our dingy dining-room; for personally I find that element more cheering than water under depressing circumstances.

My eldest sister burst upon me with a letter in her hand: "Here, Tommy, is an invitation for you," she cried.

My name is Charlotte; but I am generally called Tommy by my unappreciative family, who mendaciously declare it is derived from the expression "tom-boy."

"Oh, bother invitations," was my polite answer. "I don't want to go anywhere. Why, it's a letter from Mysie Sutherland! How came you to open it?"

"If she will address it to Miss Cornwall, of course I shall open it. I've read it, too—it's very nice for you."

"Awfully jolly," put in Dick, who had followed my sister Lucy into the room.

"Oh, I don't want to go a bit."

"Well, then, you'll just have to. It's disgraceful of you, Tom; why, you may never get such a chance again. You'll meet lots of people in a big country house like that, and perhaps—who knows?—marry a rich Scotchman."

"I declare, Lucy, you are quite disgusting with your perpetual talk about marrying! Why, I shan't have the time to get fond of anyone!"

"You're asked for a month; and if that isn't time enough, I don't know what is."

"Time enough to be married and divorced again," cried Dick.

"But I shan't come to that; and besides, I have no clothes fit to be seen."

"Oh, never mind; I'll lend you my white silk for evenings." And my sister, who was always good-natured, carried me off to ransack her wardrobe.

There was no help for it; remonstrances were useless; I had to go. The invitation was from a schoolfellow of mine, Mysie Sutherland by name. She lived near Inverness, and asked me to go and stay a month with her. The idea filled me with apprehension. She was the only daughter, and lived in style in a large house: I was one of a numerous family herded together in a small house in Harley Street. Her father was a wealthy landed proprietor: mine was a struggling doctor. Altogether I was shy and nervous, and would much have preferred to remain at home; but Lucy and Dick had decided I should go, and I knew there was no appeal.

A few days afterwards I was at Euston Station, on my way to the North. My mother and sister had come to see me off, and stood at the carriage door, passing remarks upon the people.

A knot of young men standing by the bookstall attracted our attention, from their constant bursts of laughter. There was evidently a good joke amongst them, and they were enjoying it to the full. The time was up, and the train was just about to start, when one of them rushed forward [Pg 116]and jumped into my carriage. The guard slammed the door, his friends threw some papers after him in at the window, and we were off.

For some time we sat silent, then a question about the window or the weather opened a conversation. My companion was a good-looking young man, with thick, curly brown hair. He had neither moustache, beard, nor whiskers, which gave him a boyish appearance, and made me think he might be an actor. His eyes were peculiar—they were kind eyes, honest eyes, laughing eyes, but there was something about them that I could not make out. As he sat nearly opposite to me I had every opportunity of studying them, but not till we had travelled at least a hundred miles did I discover what it was. They were not quite alike. There was no cast—not the slightest suspicion of a squint—no, nothing of that kind; only they were not a pair—one eye was hazel, the other grey; and yet the difference in colour varied so much that sometimes I thought I must be mistaken. At one moment, in the sunlight, the difference was striking; but when next I saw them, in shadow, the difference was hardly perceptible. Yet there it was, and it gave a peculiar but agreeable expression to the face.

He was extremely kind and pleasant, and I must own that when an old gentleman got in at Rugby I was sorry our tête-à-tête should be interrupted. We had been talking over all sorts of subjects, from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter, exclusive—for those two subjects had not yet been discussed. (I know it is a very vulgar expression, and I ought not to use it, only I am always with the boys and I am a "Tommy" myself.)

The old gentleman, however, did not trouble us long, for he had made a mistake and had got into the wrong train. He hobbled out much quicker than he got in, and my friend the actor was most polite in helping him and handing out his parcels.

When that was over we settled down again comfortably. By the time we got to Crewe we were like old friends, and chatted together over my sandwiches, or at least while I ate them, for he had his lunch at Preston, as Bradshaw informed us the passengers were expected to do.

I fully expected we should get an influx of companions here, for the platform was crowded, but my carriage door was locked and I noticed the guard hovering near; he seemed particularly anxious to direct people elsewhere. Perhaps he thought that as I was an unprotected female I should prefer to be quite alone, and I was busy concocting a little speech about "a gentleman coming back," in case he should refuse to let my actor come into the carriage. It was quite unnecessary, however, as directly he caught sight of him in the distance he opened the door with an obsequious bow. I began to wonder if he knew him. Perhaps he was a celebrated actor, and when actors are celebrated nowadays they are celebrated indeed. I felt quite elated at having anything to do with a member of such a fashionable profession, and looked at him with more interest than ever.

I was dreadfully sorry when we reached Carlisle, for there my journey ended—for that day at least. I was to spend the night with a maiden aunt, living near Carlisle, and go on to Inverness the next morning. The station came in sight only too soon. My companion had been telling me some mountaineering experiences which had been called to his mind by the scenery we had been passing through, and the train pulled up in the middle of a most exciting story. I had to leave him clinging to a bare wall of rock in a blinding snowstorm, while I went off to spend the night with my Aunt Maria. There was no help for it. My aunt, a thin, quaint old lady, stood waiting on the platform. She wore a huge coalscuttle bonnet, which in these days of smaller head coverings looked strange and out of proportion, a short imitation sealskin jacket, and a perfectly plain skirt, which exposed her slender build in the most uncompromising (or perhaps I ought to say compromising) fashion.

I recognised her at once, and felt secretly ashamed of my poor relation. It was horrid of me, and I hated myself for it; but at that moment I really did feel ashamed of her appearance, and actually comforted myself with the thought that my companion had seen my fashionable and befrilled sister at Euston.

I was pleased to find that he was as sorry to part as I was. He broke off his story with an exclamation of disgust. "I thought you said you were going to Scotland," he cried.

"So I am," I answered; "but not till to-morrow."

Here Aunt Maria came forward. I had to get out and be folded in the embrace of[Pg 117] two bony arms. My companion (I had not found out his name) had, in the meantime, put my bag and my bundles upon the platform, and was standing, cap in hand, bowing a farewell.

He looked so pleasant, and Aunt Maria so forbidding, that my heart sank at the thought that he was going away, and that in all probability I should never see him again. Involuntarily I stretched out my hand to bid him a more friendly good-bye. Perhaps it was forward of me—Lucy always says I have such queer manners—but really I could not help it; I felt so sorry that our pleasant acquaintance should come to an end so soon.


Mysie Sutherland met me at Inverness. A pompous-looking footman came forward and condescended to carry my bag; one porter took my box to a cart in waiting, another put my rugs into the carriage, and Mysie and I went off at the rate of ten miles an hour. The pleasure of meeting her, the speed of the motion, the comfort of the well-stuffed cushions, quite raised my spirits. How different from trudging along with cross Aunt Maria!

We soon arrived at Strathnasheen House, and a very fine place it looked as we drove through the park. I began to get a little nervous again at the thought of meeting strangers; but Mysie comforted me, saying that her mother was just an angel, and her father very nice when you got used to him. As I had never been intimate with angels, and hardly expected to be there long enough to get used to an old man's peculiarities, I still trembled.


We had reached the porch. The pompous footman got down and executed a fantasia with elaborate "froisture" upon the knocker. The butler, who must have been waiting in the hall in a stunned condition till the performance was over, flung open the door, and I entered Strathnasheen House. The pompous one clung to my bag as a[Pg 119][Pg 118] dainty trifle he could carry without loss of dignity. The butler stood motionless, content with "existing beautifully," the more so as a second footman, with powdered hair, plush breeches, and unimpeachable calves, rushed forward to our assistance. He was such a magnificent and unexpected apparition that I gazed in wonder, and eventually in horror.


It was my travelling companion of the day before!

I never knew how I got through the dreaded introduction to Sir Alexander and Lady Sutherland. I have a faint recollection of going up to a tall old man in spectacles, and answering his polite inquiries in a dazed, bewildered way. I recollect, also, that Lady Sutherland made an impression of softness and warmth, and that she said something about "changing my feet," which I looked upon as a mysterious and uncomplimentary suggestion.

Then Mysie carried me off to show me my room. There was a blazing fire, which was very inviting, and I was glad to plead fatigue and sit down till dinner.

Tired I certainly was, but that was nothing to my mental condition. My hero a footman! What would Lucy say to me? And Dick? Well, they always said I had low tastes, and they turned out to be right.

Then I tried to persuade myself that I had been mistaken—that this was another man; but I soon gave that up, for I knew all the while it was a mere subterfuge. I had recognised him at once—his eyes alone were sufficient; but, in fact, I knew all his features perfectly. Had I not sat opposite them all day in the railway carriage, and thought of them half the night, as I tossed upon Aunt Maria's hard, uncomfortable bed? I grew hot from head to foot as I remembered it.

It is all very well to say class distinctions are rubbish and that all men are equal, but I could not feel flattered to find my Admirable Crichton in plush breeches. The more I thought of it the more wonderful it appeared. When I got over the first shock my brain began to steady itself. I was sure of two things: first and foremost, that the footman was the man I had[Pg 120] travelled with; secondly, that the man I had travelled with was a gentleman; but how to reconcile the two facts I did not know.

When I went down into the drawing-room I found a large party assembled for dinner: a number of men, mostly young, standing about in groups. These were some neighbours whom Sir Alexander had invited to shoot and dine. Lady Sutherland, Mysie, and myself were the only ladies.

After a painful indecision upstairs I had come to the conclusion that I must in some way acknowledge the existence of my travelling companion. After our friendly intercourse yesterday it would be snobbish to pretend I had never seen him before. And yet I was in agony to know how to do it. Young, shy, staying for the first time in a large country house, among people higher than myself in the social scale, it was not agreeable to flaunt an acquaintance with one of the men-servants. Still, it had to be done, if only for the sake of my own self-respect.

And this was the man before whom I had blushed for poor Aunt Maria yesterday! Only yesterday? It seemed a week ago!

So as I walked in to dinner on Sir Alexander's arm and passed close to my footman, I gave him a slight—a very slight—inclination of the head, it could hardly be called a bow.

I devoutly hoped nobody behind detected it, but I could see it was not lost upon my footman. He was equal to the occasion. The only acknowledgment he made was to put a still more respectful deference into the curve of his respectful, deferential back. I breathed more freely as I sat down in my place on Sir Alexander's right.


We were eleven to dinner, and a little discussion ensued as to who should sit[Pg 121] near my friend Mysie. I noticed a good deal of manœuvring on the part of a dark, middle-aged man to sit there. Mysie saw it too, and seemed pleased when he succeeded. As he drew in his chair to the table he gave her a glance which spoke volumes. I was quite excited. I wondered if anyone else had noticed it. I was certain there was something between those two.

This was the only interest I had. My host was absorbed in the carving and in the details of the day's sport; my other neighbour was evidently too hungry to waste his time in talking to a chit of a girl like myself. It was a dull and tedious meal. Lady Sutherland was gentle and polite, but not talkative. Mysie was too absorbed in her neighbour. As they were on the opposite side of the table I could catch a word now and then, though they spoke in an undertone.


The number of courses, the number of strangers, the number of servants, all confused and bewildered me; the only thing I had grasped was that my footman friend was called Peter. It was an ugly name and most unsuitable. Indeed, he appeared to think so himself, for he seldom answered to it. I cannot say my friend shone as a waiter; he was far more in his element relating mountaineering adventures. I suddenly recollected his story of having spent the night on a ledge of rock in a snowstorm. How did a footman get into such a predicament? One can only picture him carrying a picnic basket in the tamest of scenery.

The only other people that interested me besides my travelling companion were Mysie and her friend. I did not wish to act the spy, but a sort of fascination compelled me to look and listen. The gentleman was immensely empressé, yet nobody seemed to notice it but myself.

"Have you heard from your cousin Fred?" I heard him say.

"Oh, no, we never hear anything of him now. I'm afraid he'll never do any good. A rolling stone, you know——"

"I thought he was such a favourite of yours," said Mysie's dark admirer, with a world of meaning in his eyes and voice.

She was conscious of it, and blushed deeply as she replied, "You always made that mistake. I liked him when we were children; he was my cousin and I saw a good deal of him, but now——"

Here my attention was suddenly called to myself, and I heard no more. A pint of rich brown gravy was trickling down over my white silk dress! Mine, do I say? Far worse—Lucy's white silk dress!

My dismay was too great for words. Besides, all words were idle, and I knew the culprit was my friend the new footman, who would be scolded enough as it was. Sir Alexander glared furiously at him and rapped out an oath, while I mopped up the thick greasy fluid with my table-napkin and murmured sweetly that it did not signify in the least.

I was glad when the dinner, with its innumerable courses and interminable dessert, came at last to an end and we ladies were alone in the drawing-room.

"What do you think of the new importation, mamma?" said Mysie.[Pg 122]

I blushed scarlet. For one brief moment I actually thought she was alluding to me, but I soon found out it was Peter she was talking about. That did not make me feel any cooler; if possible, I grew redder and redder.

Lady Sutherland considered a few minutes in a fat, comfortable sort of way. Then she said, slowly, "Well, dear, he puzzles me a good deal. I cannot think he has been well trained. He does not wait so cleverly as the last Peter. Didn't he spill something on your dress, my dear?" turning to me.

"Oh, that's nothing," I replied, eagerly, twisting my skirt still more out of shape to hide the huge brown spot. To change the conversation I went on, "Are all your footmen called Peter?"


"Yes, at least the second one is." It was Lucy who answered me. "Our first footman is always called Charles and the second one Peter. Papa made that arrangement because he got so mixed when we changed servants. After all, mamma, the new Peter may improve. He can hardly have got over his journey yet."

I racked my brain for a change of subject. I was so afraid it should come out that we had travelled together. I was too young to see the amusing side of it, and was in terror lest Peter himself should reveal it to the kitchen. With more abruptness than was polite I turned to Mysie.

"Who was that dark man who sat by you at dinner?" I asked.

She looked a little embarrassed as she replied, "A near neighbour of ours, Colonel Witherington. We have known him for years and are great friends; I always like to talk to him, he has so much to say."

"Methinks the lady doth explain too much," was my inward comment. An owl could see that she was in love with him. (It is true that the owl is the bird of wisdom.)

After a short interval the gentlemen joined us. They were all evidently anxious to get home, and ordered their dogcarts (or whatever they had) as soon as they decently could. Colonel Witherington was the last to go. He had lingered so long that the butler and the pompous Charles had retired, leaving only Peter standing in the hall.

"Now don't come out of the warm room, Sir Alexander," said Colonel Witherington; "I shall manage very well—your man is out here."

Peter now came forward with the Colonel's greatcoat in his hand; and the drawing-room door was shut.

Suddenly a peal of laughter was heard, long, loud, and irresistible. Then another[Pg 123] voice joined in—the merriment seemed uncontrollable. The Sutherland family looked at each other in angry astonishment. Could it be the new footman indulging in this unseemly mirth? Impossible!

Sir Alexander opened the door into the hall; we followed him with one accord. What a sight met our eyes! There stood Colonel Witherington, with his hand on Peter's shoulder, the pair of them shaking with laughter.

"Go back, my dears," said Sir Alexander, with a wave of his hand towards us. With the true instinct of the British pater-familias, he was eager to send his women-kind away from anything unusual or improper; but Mysie's curiosity was too great—besides, Colonel Witherington was now dragging the footman forward.


"Come and explain yourself, you rascal. Why, Mysie"—the name slipped out unawares—"don't you see who it is? It's your cousin Fred."

An explosion of dynamite would have less upset the worthy baronet than this announcement. He stood speechless and staring; Lady Sutherland looked annoyed and incredulous. As for me, I cannot describe my feelings; I was in a perfect whirl. Mysie was the first to recover from her astonishment. She joined in the laughter of the two men.

"How like you, Fred, to do a thing like that! Do come and tell us all about it. I thought you were at the Cape. Still, that loud guffaw sounded familiar. But how different you look without your moustache—and your hair, too! Well, I should never have known you!"

"The want of a moustache made me recognise him," said Colonel Witherington. "He was just such a beardless boy when he joined the regiment. I noticed the likeness at dinner; and when I got a chance of looking into his eyes I was sure——"

"I call it most ungentlemanlike—most unpardonable," began Sir Alexander, who had now recovered his speech.

"I did it for a lark," said the supposed footman, in a hearty, cheerful voice. "I wondered what you really thought of the good-for-nothing nephew, and how you would receive him if he returned like the prodigal son in the parable."

"It was hardly fair on us, Fred," said Lady Sutherland's gentle voice.

"Perhaps not, dear Aunt Margaret; but you would never be found wanting." Mysie stepped back a few paces and took hold of my arm; her cousin went on: "Talk of Her Majesty's uniform, these togs beat all. I never was so gorgeously attired in my life."

Sir Alexander was too angry to endure[Pg 124] this any longer. He marched off to the smoking-room, and tried to soothe his nerves with the fragrant weed. The rest of us went back into the drawing-room.

"Do lock the door," whispered Mysie to Colonel Witherington; "the servants will be coming in."

Fred Sutherland (to give him his right name) then explained his strange conduct. He had been obliged to leave his regiment, and had, as they knew, gone to the Cape. Here he fell in with an old school-fellow who was going to the diamond fields. They joined forces, bought a claim for a mere song, and set to work. To the surprise of the whole camp they were successful. In the claim, which had been abandoned months before as "no go," they came upon one of the largest stones that had ever been turned up in South Africa.

Fred Sutherland turned his share into cash directly and started for home. "I'm quite a millionaire, I assure you," cried the footman, slapping his plush breeches.

It looked so impudent and familiar of him to be sitting among us dressed like that, that his aunt could not bear it.

"Do go and take off those dreadful clothes," she said; "I can't think what made you do such a thing."

"I haven't done it in vain; I've learned what I wanted to know," he said, with a light laugh and a look at Mysie and Colonel Witherington.

A wave of depression came over me. Of course he was in love with his cousin and came to see how the land lay.

Poor fellow! Still, he seemed to bear up.

He turned towards me as if expecting an introduction. He did not show the slightest sign of ever having met me before. I never was so puzzled in my life. What ought I to do?

"This is my school-fellow—Miss Cornwall—but she will prefer to make your acquaintance in other attire; won't you, Lofty?"

"I have done so before," said I, summoning up courage and holding out my hand. "We travelled together from Euston."

Everything was so astonishing that nobody seemed surprised. I was pleased to see the expression which beamed on the footman's face, and to feel the cordial grip as we shook hands.

"Now," said Colonel Witherington, "you had better come home with me. Nobody need know anything about it. You must manage your father with regard to Fred," he whispered to Mysie, "and I will call early again to-morrow."

And so ended my little adventure—or rather it did not end here, for Fred came back with me when I returned to London. And—well, my travelling companion has promised never to leave my side.


[Pg 125]


A £10,000 TOY.


By Robert Machray.

The seven beautiful illustrations which appear in this article are taken from photographs of what is without doubt one of the mechanical marvels of the day. They clearly set forth the most complete, and, at the same time, the most costly miniature model railway system in the world.

So perfect, indeed, is this line and its equipment that the first cursory glance at these pictures of it will certainly cause the beholder to imagine that he is looking at presentments of some portions of the London and North-Western Railway or of some other well-known, full-grown railway. But his eye, on gazing a little longer at these views, will take note of the curious circumstance that the entire system appears to be embraced within the four walls of a single room. Having discovered this, he will look still more closely, and then he will see other things which will immediately excite his interest, and he will forthwith "want to know" all about it.

This wonderful railway is owned, controlled, and operated by Mr. Percy H. Leigh of Brentwood, Worsley, one of the suburbs of Manchester. This gentleman has no professional connection with railroading, but for some years past he has amused himself with models of locomotives and their practical working. "Some men spend their money on racehorses, others on yachts, and so on," says Mr. Leigh, "but this railroad of mine is more to my fancy."

I am not permitted to state how much exactly this hobby of Mr. Leigh's has cost him, but I am not betraying any confidence when I say that in one way and another a sum not far short of ten thousand pounds has been spent on his Liliputian line. This large amount may be accounted for by the fact that Mr. Leigh was not to be satisfied with anything short of perfection in every detail. His instructions to the contractors who built and equipped the "road" were that there were to be no "dummies," and that everything was to be made accurately to scale. How faithfully and thoroughly Messrs Lucas and Davies, of Farringdon Road, have carried out his commands will be evident from the following statement with which they have been kind enough to supply me.

The country, if I may so term it, within which the railway runs, is a great, oblong, single-storied building, consisting of one chamber, ninety feet in length by thirty feet in breadth. It has been added on to Mr. Leigh's residence, and was specially constructed with a view to giving the line a sufficient range for its successful operation,[Pg 126] and also to afford it protection from damp and other undesirable effects of the weather. The room is provided with a double floor—a wooden one, on which stand the trestles supporting the track itself, and, two or three feet below it, another of concrete. An even temperature all the year round is secured by means of two rows of hot-water pipes. When these precautions are considered, it will be seen that this railway system probably enjoys the most perfect climate in existence.

The line has not yet been given any comprehensive name. Perhaps it is almost too soon for that, for it is hardly more than finished; indeed, the goods-engine remains to be delivered by the builders. But it might be christened, from the names of the two stations on it, the Oakgreen and Beechvale Railway.

First of all, to describe the track. The road-bed is made of pitch pine, mounted on sixty-five trestles, three feet from the floor, and the track extends to 276 feet, of a double line of rails. Of the rails all together there are 1,200 feet; and some idea of what this means may be understood from the fact that when they came from Sheffield, where they were specially rolled for Mr. Leigh, they formed two solid heaps of metal, each as high as a man. The rails are of mild steel; they are double-headed, and about an inch in height; some of them are nearly twelve feet long. They are fastened down to 2,000 pitch pine sleepers by 4,000 malleable cast-iron chairs, held in place with hard-wood wedges and 16,000 screws. All the fish plates, bolts, and nuts used in joining the rails together are exact miniatures of those to be seen on an ordinary railway. The track is ballasted with nine hundredweight of limestone chips, and the gauge is six inches.

Details which involve a large number of figures are apt to be rather dry and tiresome; but in the present case, if frequent reference be made from the letterpress to the illustrations, it will be seen with what extreme care, and with what extraordinarily minute and even loving faithfulness, all the features of a first-class modern railway have been reproduced in miniature.


The line starts from Oakgreen, the principal station, where are located the offices of the management. In front of the buildings is a platform twenty-four feet long, provided with the usual seats and other conveniences for passengers, of whom a few may be noticed waiting for the express to convey them to their destination. The[Pg 127] platform is sheltered from the elements by a glass roof, while the gates admitting to it are of the regular palisade type. At the further end is a passenger foot-bridge of trellis-work covered over; it stands high above the line, and is reached by two staircases, and everybody is warned not to venture to cross the railway by any other means. At the same time there are level crossings for the greatly daring.

Behind the station proper is the goods station and siding, forty feet long, the goods shed itself being four feet long.


Both of these stations, and indeed the other station and the whole line, are beautifully lighted up, when necessary, by electric lamps fitted with reflectors. There are in all fifty-eight of these soft, lovely lights; and a particularly tall one will be observed in the goods station for the purpose of affording sufficient light to that very busy portion of the company's undertakings. The lamps are supplied from storage batteries placed under the track, and their illuminating capacity is enough to light up the whole room without bringing the gas, with which it is also fitted up, into requisition.

The electric lamps also serve the purpose of lighting up both the signal cabins and the signal posts along the line. There are three of the former mounted at the side of the track, and they contain no less than twenty-six levers, from which stretch flexible wires and runners to the signal posts. The last-named, which are twelve in number, are three feet in height, and are fully equipped with semaphores, lamps showing red, green, and white, platforms and ladders. Besides these, there are also worked from the signal cabins sixteen sets of points, by means of rod connections and levers. Every particular with regard to the signalling and the shunting has been thought out and executed with the most laudable and painstaking thoroughness and accuracy. And these arrangements decidedly add a somewhat picturesque element to the line, while they also strengthen the effect of reality which is the chief impression given by this marvellous railway.

It is, of course, impossible to enumerate every matter of interest connected with the line itself, but it must be stated that there have been provided two turntables to take the locomotive and tender, and that the turntables have four levers for the points, and also that they have been furnished with spring buffers; and, further, that a tank, into which the boiler can be emptied, has been let into the track.

In the course of the length of the line, the train passes through a long cutting, forty feet in extent, and two feet deep. To heighten the illusion, the sides of the[Pg 128] cutting are covered with grass, and on the top of both sides there is a dwarf hedge. This portion of the road supplies it with its chief scenic attraction. Some distance from the cutting there is a road bridge across the railway, three feet long by two feet wide. Before reaching the second station, Beechvale, a long and fearsome tunnel has to be negotiated—its actual length is eighteen feet. The station-house, platform, and other accessories of Beechvale are very similar to those at Oakgreen.


The locomotive, with its tender, is five feet long and about eighteen inches in height. It is of six-inch gauge, and is an exact duplicate on a small scale of an express of the London and North-Western Railway. It is a real working locomotive, most exquisitely made. The only points in which it differs from its model are such as come from its comparatively diminutive size. Thus, its boiler has not the usual number of tubes, it has no injector, and steam is got up in it by a charcoal fire, the charcoal being kept at a great heat by a "blast."


The cost of the engine and tender was £320 or a little more, and it was made entirely by Mr. Lucas, of Lucas and Davies. It took him nearly nine months to complete it, but from this period there would have to be deducted a good many hours when he was called away to attend to some other[Pg 129] piece of business for his firm. And here I may remark that it took eighteen months to build the line, five months of which were occupied in fitting up the large room already mentioned.

The speed of the train on the straight portions of the line is six miles an hour, but it is considerably less on the curves at either end, which are twenty-six feet in diameter. The contractors experienced a great deal of difficulty in getting the curves exactly right, as the six-inch gauge of the railway, no other line being of any assistance in this particular, introduced an entirely new problem in railroad construction. The engine can travel six times round the entire length of the system without its being necessary to renew the charcoal fire.


There are both a passenger train and a goods train. The former consists of three carriages and a guard's van. One carriage is a first-class corridor, a second is a third-class corridor, and the third is a composite first-class and third-class carriage. Each of them is fitted with the usual upholstered seats found in compartments belonging to their classification; there are hat racks and blinds, mirrors and lavatories and so forth in every carriage; there are carpets, too, on the floors of the first-class. The guard's van has not been neglected, but in its dog-boxes and other appointments is a facsimile of the vans that go out daily from Euston. As a matter of fact, the whole train is panelled and painted throughout in the familiar colours of the London and North-Western Railway. The carriages are mounted on bogies, and have been completely equipped with carriage springs, grease boxes for the axles, spring buffers, draw-bars and screw couplings right and left. The two corridor carriages have the proper extending covered ways.

The goods train is quite as remarkable in its way as every other part of this railway. It is composed of ten trucks and vans, and has besides a guard's brake-van fitted with a screw-down brake of the usual sort. There are two high-side trucks, four medium, and two low; two covered-in vans and two cattle trucks, and, if a glance be taken at the illustration which exhibits the goods train most completely, it will be noticed that all of these trucks and vans are loaded with appropriate articles of freight—logs of wood, slates, casks of beer, marble, and other things, while the two bullock wagons are filled with animals.

All these trucks and vans are fitted with[Pg 130] hand lever brakes, tarpaulins, chains, hooks, stanchions, and everything necessary for the handling of the no doubt enormous goods traffic of the road. They are all mounted on carriage springs, and have grease boxes, spring buffers, and every other device in use on the London and North-Western Railway—from which they have been copied, like everything else on this Liliputian line. The greatest railway in the world took a friendly interest in the smallest, and supplied it with the drawings and models from which it and its rolling stock have been imitated.


One tiny detail I think I must mention in conclusion, and it is that the management have thoughtfully provided fourteen hand lamps for the service of the line.

In acknowledging my indebtedness to Mr. Leigh, I should like to say that he has found in his miniature railway not only a source of continual amusement, but also a means of doing good to others, for he has on more than one occasion shown it in operation to large gatherings of people, who have flocked to see it both on account of the interest naturally excited by it, and also for the sake of "sweet charity," the proceeds realised from these exhibitions being devoted to some worthy object.

For the photographs which accompany this article we are indebted to Mr. J. Ambler, of Manchester.

[Pg 131]



By John Oxenham.

Illustrated by H. M. Brock.

Could it, after all, be called unique? Hardly, perhaps, in the strict sense of the word, since others shared in it. But to us it was, and I trust ever will be, a unique experience.

We have generally spent our August holiday at the seaside in apartments, and suffered many things in consequence—an uninterrupted succession of mixed odours of cooking from early morning till late at night; fleas and other insect pests, which seemed to thrive mightily on the powders put down for their extermination; landladies afflicted with spasms and inordinate thirst, and landladies' cats with unappeasable appetites; cramped quarters, of course, which did not afflict one on fine days, but on rainy ones became pandemonium; terrible attempts at amateurish cooking and service—in which the dining-room's vegetables and tarts got mixed up with the drawing-room's vegetables and pies—and slatternly maids of all work, who killed on the spot even one's seaside appetite, the moment they appeared to set the table.

And so, after mature consideration of ways and means, we decided this time to attain to the dignity of a small furnished house—or a cottage, at all events—if by any chance such could be found within the limits of a moderate purse.

Further consideration fixed on Eastnor as the place where our holiday was to be spent.


We had, in the course of twelve years' wanderings, tried most of the South and East Coast watering-places, and found most of them a-wanting. If the atmosphere was bracing, the beach was shingle. If the beach was sandy, the atmosphere was enervating.

Somewhere in our family history a strain of Israelitish blood must have got mixed with all the other strains. It probably dates right away back to the forty years' wanderers, or even, maybe, as far back as Noah—in whose family one can conceive, at one period of its history, almost as strong a craving for sand as had again out-cropped in this present rising generation of mine.


The one thing my youngsters insist on is sand—wet sand with pools, for amateur canal-engineering; dry sand for houses and forts, and Canutish, wave-repelling castles. Sand, and plenty of it, is their one demand, and no holiday is complete without it. When they were very young, Broadstairs was all right for a time, and satisfied their inordinate cravings; but it became too crowded, and to our[Pg 132] family connoisseurs the quality of the sand has deteriorated somewhat, and has got too much mixed up with mud and buns and paper bags, and other people's babies, and so we had to try further afield.

The Great Sahara would have been just about the very thing for us, but on inquiry I found the journey to be a long and trying one, and a trifle beyond our means, and the accommodation for visitors somewhat defective.

Eastnor was named to us; we had never tried Eastnor. Was there sand?—Yes, any amount. So to Eastnor I journeyed, with a Saturday-to-Monday ticket and stringent orders from headquarters to first try the sand—as to quality, quantity, texture, depth and pools—and if up to standard measurement, I was authorised to pick up a small house for August on the most reasonable terms obtainable.

The requirements were at least one sitting-room and three bedrooms and a kitchen—if an extra room or two without extra charge, so much the better. I was to come back fully informed as to what was left in the house in the way of furnishings and utensils, and what we would be expected to take with us.

I found Eastnor all right as regards sand; the very streets were full of it, and as I stood on the Esplanade at low tide, and leaned up against a strong south-west breeze, and saw the dry sand sweeping like smoke along the flats and piling knee-deep to windward of the groins, and got my mouth and eyes and ears full of it, I decided, from the taste and smell and feel of it, that—from a sand point of view, at all events—Eastnor would do.

Now to find a lodgment for the night, and then to prowl round for a house.

I struck a neat little confectioner's for tea, and, following a plan which had acted well on previous occasions, asked, as I was paying for it, if they could accommodate me for the night.

Well, they had rooms, but they were let for the following week—being regatta week—and, yes, said the stout lady behind the counter, she thought she had better not take me; but the "Balaclava Inn," next door, put up beds—I had better try there.

Yes, at the "Balaclava" they put up beds, and they showed me to a room. "But if I should get a good let to-morrow—lots of folks come down on Sunday to stop for regatta," said the hostess—"I shall have to turn you out; but maybe I can find you a bedroom nigh handy."

This just to show the extreme independence of the aborigines.

Then I turned out to find the desirable seaside residence with the maximum of accommodation and comfort at the minimum of cost.

I rooted round till I struck the chief estate agent—who was also the chief grocer—of the town.

His shop was full, and trade was evidently booming.

I stood behind a triple row of clamorous lady visitors, who were ordering everything under the sun in the grocery line, and complaining vehemently to the badgered shop-men that their last orders had all been very inadequately fulfilled. I waited patiently till the mob, having apparently bought up the whole shop, thinned out, and a dapper London-trained young shopman smoothed down his ruffled front hair and leaned over the counter and asked, "And what can I do for you, sir?"

"I want a small furnished house," I said, meekly.

"Ah," he said, with a grin, "I'm afraid we are out of them at present; I'll ask Mr. Wilson."

"Small furnished house for August?" echoed Mr. Wilson, in aggrieved amazement. "Not such a thing to be had in Eastnor. All let a month ago. You should come in May or June to get a house for August."

I thanked him, and left depressed. I wandered through the town, and found myself back on the Esplanade. I walked the whole length of it, and then along the sea bank into the uninhabited region beyond.[Pg 133]

Not quite uninhabited, as it proved, for, about half a mile from the Esplanade, I came suddenly on a cottage with nothing between it and the sandy beach but a tiny garden plot, with a bit of grass and some nasturtiums and pinks mixed up with cabbages and potatoes and a row of scarlet-runners. It looked very clean and inviting, and I said to myself, "Now, if only that were to let, it's just exactly what I want."

There could be no harm in asking, so I went up to the door and knocked. No one came. I knocked again. Still no answer. I waited. It seemed to me there was some movement in the side room, the sliding window of which was partly open, but was covered with a white curtain.

I knocked again, and the door opened suddenly, and disclosed the small brown face of a small lame man, looking up at me with a pair of small but very sharp brown eyes, with, as I now remember, a slightly startled look in them, as of one caught in the act.

"Yes?" he said, in a sharp voice.

"Oh, I wanted to ask if this cottage is by any chance to let any time in August."

He hesitated, and then snapped, "How long for?"

"Two, three, or four weeks."

"When d'you want it?"

"About the seventh or eighth."

He pondered the matter, and barked, "Come in."

I went in. It was charming. Nicely, though plainly, furnished, and as clean as a new pin. I went all over it. Two sitting, four bedrooms, kitchen, scullery, wire spring mattresses, wool beds, two blankets to each bed, blankets very white and almost new.

"And the rent?" I asked, wondering how much above my limit I would not go to possess all this for a month.

"Well," he said, slowly, "three guineas a week is what we generally get, but if you could wait till the twelfth I'd let it go for two and a half, if you'll buy the stuff in the garden. I reckon there's a good pound's worth between the potatoes and cabbages and beans, and they'll be just about ready by the time you come in. I've made a good let for the three weeks before you come, and they don't want to go out till the eleventh, and" (dropping his voice to a confidential whisper) "my missus, she's expecting to be laid up very soon, and she wants to go to her folks at Wilborough, else I wouldn't let it go so cheap."


Diplomatically veiling my satisfaction, I closed the bargain on the spot, and sat down then and there and wrote out a couple of agreements, by which Joseph Scorer agreed to let, and John Oxenham agreed to take, for one month, from August 12th, the cottage known as Sandybank Cottage in the town of Eastnor, with the[Pg 134] furniture, etc., named in the inventory attached, for the sum of ten guineas, whereof the receipt of one pound was hereby acknowledged.

"What about the inventory?" I asked.

"I've got one ready for the other folks. If you like to check it I'll make you a copy and send it on."

It was a strange and wonderful document, that inventory, but with Mr. Scorer's assistance I succeeded in checking the main points of it. Many of the items were strange; the spelling was phonetic and curious, and at times stumped us both, and then Mr. Scorer would scratch his head and opine that it must mean so-and-so.

"One cundler" in the kitchen brought us to a dead-lock for full five minutes. At last Mr. Scorer pointed to a battered implement with its bottom full of holes, hanging on the wall, and said, triumphantly, "That's it."

"What in heaven's name is it?" I asked, gazing suspiciously at the shapeless object.

"Why, you squeedge your cabbages through it," he said.

"Oh, I see, a colander."

The humours of that inventory come upon me still in the dark night watches at times, and I laugh internally till my wife wakes up and advises me to get up and take a dose of camphor if I feel as bad as all that.

The larger articles, such as bedsteads and chairs and washstands, we easily identified, and these we triumphantly ticked off first, and then gradually worried out the smaller ones.

"One indimat" caused us some trouble in the best bedroom, but finally a strip of straw matting, two feet by one, was hauled out from its lurking-place under the washstand, whither it had crept for concealment, and reluctantly answered to its name.

The crockery was heterogeneous, and was slumped under colour-headings.

"Three cupps pink; one sosir pink; three cupps blew; four sosirs blew (one crack)," and so on.

That searching inventory went right to the root of things, and by its fiat-justitia-ruat-cœlum candour impressed me most favourably with the stark, staring, straight-forward honesty of Mr. Joseph Scorer.

"One bird in glass case, bird's leg broke—four orments, all crack—one ormlu clock (won't go)"—could transparent honesty go further than this?

Moreover Mr. Scorer asked me casually, "Did you know Mr. William Henry Sawyer, Esquire, of the 'Ome Office?"

I did not. My acquaintance does not as a rule extend to the Home Office.

"A nice gentleman, 'e is. Been 'ere in this 'ouse every year for the last five years. 'E comes early, about May, and sometimes again in October."


"It is good to be Mr. William Henry Sawyer, Esquire, of the Home Office," I said. I am a fairly truthful man as men go, and I never spoke a truer word than that, but that knowledge only came to me later.

I was delighted with Mr. Joseph Scorer, and with his receipt in my pocket and my two pounds in his, I went home on the Monday morning triumphant, and on the Monday evening whistled myself into the bosom of my family to the tune of "See, the conquering hero comes."

I gave a detailed description of my adventures to my receptive family circle, and when my wife heard Mr. Scorer's last message, "I will come over the day before you are coming in, and have the place put in order, and will have a fire on in the kitchen for you," she labelled him "treasure," and vowed we would keep on going there every year.

"I wish I had remembered to ask you to tell him to get in some coals, and milk, and bread," she said, regretfully.

"I did," I answered, triumphantly. "He suggested we would want them, and I paid him for them, and for oil for the lamps too, so that's all right."

"You have done well," said my wife, and I thought so myself.

August 12th found us duly landed at[Pg 135] Eastnor station, and furtively raking out our belongings from the piles of other people's. At last they were all collected, and I chartered a carriage and a porter's cart to convey us and our luggage to Sandybank Cottage.

Mr. Joseph Scorer met us at the door, and we forthwith took possession. The kitchen fire was lighted, the coal was there, and the milk, and the bread, and oil.

Everything was as nice as it could be.

The luggage was carried in, and we settled down to a month's solid enjoyment and undisputed possession of our new abode.

Mr. Scorer was solicitous of our comfort. He altered the inventory in one or two minor points, in respect of articles broken by our predecessors. He dug enough potatoes for next week's dinners, and cut two plump cabbages. He collected his £4 15s., half the balance of the rent, and departed, followed by the blessings of the entire family, save those members who were already knee deep in the ocean just the other side of the garden patch.

"This is simply splendid," said my wife, beaming at me in the way I like; "it seems almost too good to be true."

She was right.

Next morning was magnificent. My wife went out to buy up the town. All the rest of us plunged into the sea, except the servant, Amelia Blatt, who was rapidly converting herself into a negress over the intricacies of the strange little range in the kitchen.

One of the advantages of Sandybank Cottage was that from its proximity to the beach you could use your bedroom as a bathing machine, assume your marine costume therein, skip across the lawn, and be into the water with a hop and a jump.

It was simply delightful, really almost too good to be true, as my wife had said.

We all had a glorious bathe and a scamper on the sands, and then trooped up to the cottage to dress. As we came up over the lawn I was surprised to see a great heap of luggage, and two bicycles, lying around, evidently all just discharged from a couple of retreating carriages.


I am an unusually modest man, and it was rather over-facing. There were several ladies in the party and an elderly gentleman. They all turned and watched our advent. The ladies looked put out at something. I feared it might be at myself in my bathing costume. However, my foot was on my native heath, so to speak, which was more than could be said of theirs, so I put on as bold a face as could legitimately be expected of a modest man in nothing but a bathing costume, and went forward. The old gentleman also seemed disturbed, but he disguised his feelings to the best of his power, and addressed me suavely.

"Been enjoying a last bathe?" he asked.

There was just a hint of "What the deuce do you mean by it, sir?" in his tone.

"I beg your pardon?" I said.

"Couldn't refrain from one more dip, I suppose?" he said again, with a forced smile. "Might I ask what time you are leaving? We understood—"

"Leaving?" I said, with some force. "Why, we only got here yesterday."

He gazed at me in blank astonishment, the ladies also.

"Oh," he said, soothingly, "there must be some mistake."

"I am not aware of any," I answered, somewhat brusquely.

It was ludicrous, standing there in a[Pg 136] bathing suit, discussing the matter under the gaze of three pairs of outraged female eyes, and a blazing sun.

"But, my good sir," said the old gentleman, "I have taken this cottage—it is Sandybank Cottage, is it not?" he asked.

"It is."

"Mr. Joseph Scorer's?"



I was getting angry and the sun was blistering my neck.

"Well, I have taken it for four weeks from August 13, and have paid a deposit on it."

"And I have taken it for four weeks from August 12, and have paid a deposit and half the rent," I said. "We came in yesterday, and we go out September 9."

"And you have an agreement with Mr. Scorer?"

"Certainly I have, but I have not got it on me."

"Well, I'll be hanged," said the old gentleman, very red in the face, and turned to his women folk.

"My dears, there is evidently some mistake. An infernal nuisance, but this gentleman is evidently not to blame. Would you mind my seeing your agreement?" he asked, turning again to me.

"Certainly I would mind. My agreement has nothing to do with you, sir, and I am not in the habit of having my word doubted. Now perhaps you will permit me to go in and dress, before my neck is absolutely raw."

They hung around for a time, talking unpleasantly among themselves, and finally the old gentleman stalked off to the town, and came back with a cart for their belongings. They were loaded up, and the party disappeared in a cloud of dust on the way to Eastnor.

"That is rather a curious thing," said my wife, when I detailed the experiences of the morning to her on her return from her shopping. "I hope—"

"Oh, we're all right," I said, lightly. "They can't put us out. Possession, you know—"

"Yes, I know. I wasn't thinking of that," she said, with a far-away look in her eyes.

By evening the raw edge of the annoyance of the morning had worn off. We sat in the porch enjoying the evening breeze, and counted ourselves for the time being among the fortunate ones of the earth. Our charity even extended at odd moments to the disappointed would-be occupants of our shoes—and bedrooms, and we devoutly hoped they had found rooms somewhere, and were not occupying airy apartments in bathing machines.

"It was a stupid mistake of Mr. Joseph Scorer's," we said, "and he ought to be more careful."

"I shall write when I have time," I said, "and tell him so."

But I never had time. I was much too fully occupied with other things.

Next day, after a morning bathe and paddle on the sands and early dinner, we started for a long afternoon's ramble round Eastnor, to get some idea of the place, leaving the two youngest children with the servant, with strict injunctions not to get drowned, and to get their tea whenever they felt like it.

We did Eastnor thoroughly, and then, noticing that there was a concert on the pier that night, my wife suggested tea at a confectioner's, and an adjournment to the pier afterwards for the concert. This was carried with acclaim. We enjoyed the tea, the concert, and the stroll home, and arrived at Sandybank Cottage about ten o'clock, fully satisfied with our day's outing.

Amelia met us at the door. She was in a state of extreme nervous excitement.

"Thank goodness you come 'ome!" she burst out.

She was unfortunate in the place of her[Pg 137] birth and up-bringing, was Amelia. To judge from her accent she must have been born right up in the steeple of Bow Church. Otherwise she was a sterling girl. I will tone down her vernacular: it does not spell easily.

"Sich a dye I never had. Seems to me we'd better git away 'ome's quick's we can," she began.

"Why, Amelia, what's the matter?" asked her mistress.

"Matter?" said Amelia, with rising inflection. "Well, there's been a party of three old maiden ladies, with three dawgs, and two kinaries, and a parrick in a cage, all a-settin' cryin' on their boxes outside here all day long since half an hour after you left, a-waitin' for you to come back and go out of this 'ouse and let 'em come in. They say they took it from August 14 for a month, and paid a dee-posit, and they was to come in to-day. And the kitching fire was to be ready lighted, an'—"

"And there was to be coal, and bread, and milk in the house, and oil for the lamps, and they'd paid for them," said I.

"My! Did you hear 'em?"

"No," I said, "I didn't."

"And what did you do, Amelia?" asked my wife, anxiously.

"I just told 'em straight that we was 'ere for a month, and there must be some mistake, seein' as we wasn't a-goin' out till our time was up, and then they just set down and cried, and the parrick swore awful till they covered him up. He belonged to a nevew what was a sailor man, they said, when he begun to swear, and I told the children to run inside lest they'd catch it. Then they was so misrable settin' there, dabbin' of their poor little red noses, that I made 'em some tea, and they could 'ave kissed me, and they wanted me to take pay for it, but I wouldn't."

"You're a good girl, Amelia, and you did quite right," said her mistress, and turning to me—

"This is really very trying and very uncomfortable. What do you suppose is the meaning of it?"

She looked a little bit as though she thought it was my fault.

"I don't know what's the meaning of it," I said, feeling angry. "I'm afraid Mr. Joseph Scorer has a very short memory. If I had him here I'd try if screwing his neck round would lengthen it."

Next day being Sunday we had a genuine day of rest, and enjoyed it with quite a novel sense of freedom from the cares and worries of life.

On Monday, by the morning train and the station omnibus, arrived a family much like our own—father, mother, four children, servant, and innumerable boxes.

I had had my bathe, and was sitting in the porch armed with a pipe and my stamped agreement with Mr. Scorer, prepared to repel all intruders. So, before the grinning omnibus-man had time to dump down the baggage, I took the father on one side, showed him my agreement, and explained the situation, telling him his was the third party I had had to turn empty away.


He was very wroth, and swore, I should say, as lustily as the old maids' nephew's parrot could have done. He was a lawyer, too, and wanted to go into the legal aspects of the case. I assured him that they did not interest me, unless I had some ground of action against Mr. Joseph Scorer for the disturbance of my peaceful possession of his much-let habitation.

He was a good fellow on the whole, and he left me his name and business address, and made me promise to let him know if I ever found out where Mr. Scorer had gone to, and also to refer to him any of the outraged claimants to the cottage who wished to take legal action in the matter.

His wife and the youngsters had been[Pg 138] peering out anxiously at us from the back windows of the bus while this colloquy was taking place. The father explained the matter to them, and, with a wave of his hand to me, they drove crestfallen back to Eastnor.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, variously-composed parties arrived with their baggage, and I turned them all away, and sent them to find lodgings in Eastnor, suffering much in the doing of it from their unnatural ill-humours and chagrin.

On Saturday there arrived a rollicking reading-party of students from Oxford with a coach. I explained my painful situation and experiences, and informed them that they made the eighth party I had had to repulse.

They were merry, good-humoured fellows, and they lay flat on my patch of lawn and fairly screamed with delight at the cuteness of Mr. Joseph Scorer. "He was born an Oxford gyp," they averred.


They enjoyed the affair so much that I could hardly get rid of them. My wife gave them tea and cakes, and they sat and smoked, and laughed, and joked, till the stars were up, and then they got a carriage and drove off to the hotel, after promising to come up every day about noon to assist me in my hateful task of holding the fort against all comers.

And they did it, too, and enjoyed it immensely.

On the pier, on Sunday morning after church, we met at intervals all the families who ought to have been stopping in Sandybank Cottage.

The irate first old gentleman stopped me to ask, "Well, how are you getting on? Say, that was the nastiest trick I ever was served. If I could find Mr. Scorer I would jolly well like to wring his nasty little neck."

I said I felt that way myself, but I feared there was not much chance of laying hands on it.

I told him I had now had to send away eight different parties who all claimed the cottage, and at that he felt very much better.

My lawyer friend was just passing, and I introduced him to the old gentleman, and, catching sight of my young friends from Oxford, I introduced them all to one another, and they all had a very lively time together, and enjoyed themselves extremely.

On Monday I bethought me to go to the station, and acquaint the cabmen with the true state of matters, and beg them not to bring any more parties to Sandybank Cottage. They listened with broad grins to all I had to say, but absolutely refused to comply with my wishes. It all meant double fares for them, and all was grist that came to their mills, and it wasn't in human nature to refuse a fare when it was offered, and in fact any such refusal might invalidate their licences, and would certainly lose them their places. So, much as they regretted the annoyance it caused me, they felt in duty bound to go on dumping would-be tenants and their baggage on my front lawn as fast as they came along.

I could find no arguments to advance against all this, and so the game went merrily on.

That day two separate parties arrived within ten minutes of one another. The Oxford contingent was sitting on the lawn, and revelled in the disgust of the heads of the families when they were made acquainted with the state of affairs.

Paterfamilias number two, who I think from his manner must have been a performing Strong Man, threatened to pitch me and my belongings bodily into the sea. Young Oxford, however, came to the rescue, and Mr. Strong Man and family eventually retired amid the hootings of the crowd.

For the curious situation of matters at Sandybank Cottage could no longer be[Pg 139] hidden under a bushel. The news had got abroad, and numbers of people came up each day now, and sat round our house to enjoy the fun. In fact we had become one of the centres of attraction of Eastnor, and the folks travelled up to Sandybank Cottage as at other places they would have gone to a switchback or a nigger minstrel show.


Perhaps the funniest thing was to see the three old maiden ladies come straggling up every day in single file, each with a wheezy waddling pug dog in a lead, which was fastened round its body lest undue pressure on its neck should induce the inevitable apoplectic fit a day sooner than was assigned for it. They came panting up, and gazed mournfully at the cottage, and reproachfully at me whenever I appeared, and they looked sadly at the gradually disappearing supply of potatoes and cabbages for which they had paid, and which I was eating. For Mr. Joseph Scorer had sold and been paid for that garden produce no less than sixteen times over. It needs a genius of that kind to run a garden profitably.

In the natural course of things the local paper gave a humorous account of the affair, which was copied into one of the London dailies, and this it was that eventually brought about the climax.

Among the would-be occupants this week was a well-known actress, who came with her maid and a companion and a white poodle. We had rejoiced in her exceedingly, at a distance, for many a year, and both my wife and myself were delighted to make her more intimate acquaintance—much more delighted, in fact, than, under the circumstances, she was to make ours. We invited her in, and gave her tea, and apologised for the annoyance she was being put to through no fault of ours, and did our best to make her comfortable.

When young Oxford saw her they were with difficulty restrained from chairing her to an hotel, and on the whole I think, when the first annoyance had passed off, she rather enjoyed herself.

By Saturday night we had repelled sixteen different attempts on our tenancy of Sandybank Cottage and, by this time, if a single day, except Sunday, had passed without the arrival of one or more claimants we would have begun to suspect something had gone wrong.

There was one thing, however, that puzzled me exceedingly, and no amount of thoughtful consideration of the subject cast any light upon it. What on earth had made Mr. Joseph Scorer act in this way? If he had let the cottage in the usual manner he could have made at least £22 or £23 all told in the two months. As it was I reckoned he had made about £37 by his monstrous duplicity, and it was the utter inadequacy of the plunder which puzzled me so much.

Why would a man want to hang sixteen indictments for fraud around his neck for such a very small reward? It seemed inconceivable, especially in such a smart and far-seeing man as Mr. Joseph Scorer. It was the action of a fool; and whatever else he was, Mr. Joseph Scorer could hardly be called a fool, except in this one point of utter inadequacy of motive.


However, my eyes were to be opened, and in a somewhat unpleasant fashion—the process is not, as a rule, an enjoyable one.

On Sunday the 29th, being the third Sunday of our visit, when we returned[Pg 140] from church and the usual augmented Sabbath meeting of malcontents on the pier, we found a gentleman sitting on the bench in the porch awaiting our arrival.

Sunday had hitherto been an off day with us, and we rather resented this infraction of the rules of the game.

I went up to him and addressed him somewhat curtly.

"Well, sir, and what can I do for you?"

He looked at me whimsically, and said—

"Your name is Oxenham?"

"It is."

"Mine is Sawyer."

"Not Mr. William Henry Sawyer, Esquire, of the Home Office?"

"Yes," he said, smiling at the evidently recognised formula.

"I understood you only came down in May and October."

"So I do generally; but, seeing that the cottage is mine, I suppose I have the privilege of coming whenever I choose."

"The cottage is yours?" I said, in surprise.

"Undoubtedly. I bought it and its contents five years ago, and I run down whenever the spirit moves me."

I sat silent, looking at him.


"But if the cottage is yours," I said, at last, "how came that little scoundrel——"

"That's just what I have come down to find out," he said. "Now, tell me, Mr. Oxenham, from whom did you take the cottage?"

"From Mr. Joseph Scorer."

"William, you mean; but that is a detail."

"Joseph," said I. "Stay! I'll show you my agreement," and I went inside and got it.

"Joseph?" he said, with knitted brow, as he perused the document; and, after a pause, "Then what the deuce has become of William? What kind of a man was he?"

"Small, sharp, brown man, with one club foot."

He nodded.

"Which foot?" he asked.

I had to cast back my thoughts.

"Left," I said, at last.

"No, right," said he.

"Left; I am quite sure of it."

He tapped the folded paper against his hand, and said—

"One of us is wrong. Scorer has been in my service for fifteen years, and I ought to know."

"Suppose we ask my wife if she remembers?"

I called her and put the question.

"His left foot was the lame one," she said, after a thoughtful pause. "I can see him standing there"—she said it so decidedly that we involuntarily turned to look, but he was not there, except in her memory—"and it was his right shoulder that humped up. Yes, I am quite sure of it."

"This is very curious," said Mr. Sawyer. "I am afraid there is something wrong. Besides, Scorer never could have done such a thing. He was as honest as the day."

"And yet he let this cottage sixteen times over to sixteen different parties, and I have had the privilege, such as it is, of holding the fort against them all."

"I can't believe William Scorer would do such a thing," he said, looking at us with eyes full of puzzled suspicion, as though he were not quite sure whether I had told him all I knew of the matter.

"Joseph," said I.

He tapped his foot impatiently, and we lapsed into silence. An idea struck me suddenly.

"Is there a Joseph Scorer as well as a William?" I asked.

He looked at me abstractedly.

"There was a brother," he said at last, "and, if I remember rightly, a twin brother, but I have not heard of him for years. I do not think I ever saw him. I have an idea he went to the bad." Our eyes met and held one another, and my thought crossed his.

"What do you suspect, Mr. Oxenham?" he asked.

"I suspect that I met Joseph and you know William," I said.[Pg 141]

"But I left William in charge here."

"And I found Joseph."

"Then where is William?"

"William is the missing link. Find him, and we get to the bottom of the matter."

"Yes, that sounds common sense. Now, where is William?"

That was by no means an easy question to answer. Mr. Joseph Scorer could probably have told us, but as the discovery of William was but the first step towards the discovery of Joseph, that fact did not advance us.

The puzzle, however, solved itself in the simplest manner possible, and without any assistance from us.

As there was a spare bedroom in the cottage, the least we could do was to put it at Mr. Sawyer's disposal if he cared to make use of it. So we invited Mr. Sawyer to occupy it for a day or two, and he consented to do so, and turned out to be a very pleasant and genial companion.

The tide next morning did not serve well for bathing till about an hour after breakfast. Then Sawyer and I and some of the youngsters went in.

It was one of those absolutely still mornings when the water is as smooth as oil, and you can hear the beat of the steamers' paddles miles away, and when you shout it is like shouting inside a bell.

We were all swimming and paddling about, enjoying ourselves immensely, when I saw the three little fat pugs and the three old ladies coming along the beach path to take their regular wistful morning look at the cottage, where they ought to have been living, and were not.

Then from behind the cottage came a great tumult—the noise of many voices, mingled with groans and laughter, and there swept round the side of it a mob of people, who came to a stand on the little green plot in front.

We were still wondering what was the meaning of it, when Amelia Blatt, our servant, came tearing down the sands towards us, holding on to her square inch of cap with one hand, and to her flying skirts with the other.

"They want you up there," she panted.

"Who are they, and what do they want?"

"It's all them folks he let the house to, and they've got 'im——"

And as we made for the shore, Amelia, who was a very modest girl, fled precipitately up the slope.

"Hey, Milly!" I shouted, "bring us down a couple of those big bath towels."


Amelia made no answer, but presently the big bath-towels met us under the arms of a small boy. We twisted our ordinary towels apron-wise over our dripping bathing-suits, and draped the big bath-towels gracefully over our shoulders, and then stalked as majestically as circumstances permitted towards the noisy crowd, which resolved itself into its component elements as we drew near.

The outer fringe consisted of excited and irrepressible small boys of the town, who scampered round and round, shouting and dancing, and cuffing one another, in sheer enjoyment of living and the knowledge that something unusual was on foot. Inside them stood a number of the town loafers, all facing in towards the centre of the ring, and laughing and making jocular remarks to one another. Closer in still, came an excited circle of our friends who, like the old ladies, ought to have been living in the cottage, but were not. The irascible old gentleman was there, purple in the face and swearing frightfully; the solicitor was there, with a slightly anticipatory look in his face; the Strong Man was there, and looked as if he wanted to break something; and closer in than all these, forming a solid bodyguard of white flannels and laughing faces and briar pipes, were our young friends from Oxford.

The three little old ladies, with their pugs in their arms, crept round the revolving[Pg 142] outskirts of the crowd, and joined my wife, who stood wondering in the doorway, and began timidly questioning her as to the meaning of the uproar.

Mr. Sawyer and I elbowed our way through the crowd, and the bodyguard opened to let us into the circle.

In the centre stood a little, trembling meek, brown-eyed, crooked man.

"Scorer!" said I, "by all that's wonderful!"


"William!" said Sawyer.

"Jos—-! No, by Jove! it is the other leg!"

"Now, William," said Mr. Sawyer, "what is the meaning of all this?"

The crooked little man's eyes brightened when he saw Mr. Sawyer.

"Mr. Sawyer, sir, I know no more than a babe unborn. I come in by the 10.30, and no sooner hadn't my foot touched the ground than these young gentlemen they gathered round me and began a arskin' what I meant by it, and then all them others came along. I dunno what's matter wi' em. Seems to me they're all gone crazy."

"Where's Joseph?"

"Why, ain't he 'ere? I left him 'ere when I went into h—orspital; and 'e said 'e'd keep things all shipshape till I come out."

"Where did you find him? I thought he was away."

"He come to see me just when I were sickening, Mr. Sawyer, sir, and he promised to keep things all straight and shipshape till I were right again. So I sent off the wife to her folks—for her trouble—you know, and then Joe he took me along to the h—orspital, and he said he'd keep things all—"

"I see," said Mr. Sawyer; "and how's the wife?"

"She's A1, Mr. Sawyer, sir."

"And the baby?"

"He's a reg'lar little ripper, sir, and as straight as a lath."

There was more ingenuous pride packed into those last five words than any five words ever held before; but the meek brown eyes shone suddenly moist.

One of the Oxford boys started, "Three cheers for the baby! Hip, hip, hurrah!—rah!!—rah!!!" And then they fell naturally into "He's a jolly good fellow!" and yelled it at top of their voices, while they all joined hands and danced round us till their faces were all on fire, and all their pipes were out for want of breath to keep them going, and William Scorer's eyes were like to fall out of his head. They did not quite understand matters, but they saw there had been some mistake, and they were all very healthy and very happy. They could not forget Joseph, but they heartily forgave William for his brother's sins, and they vowed they would not have missed the fun for three times the amount of Joseph's little peculations.

"What's it all mean, Mr. Sawyer, sir?" asked the bewildered William.

"It means this, William, that that scamp of a brother of yours has let this house of mine some sixteen times over to sixteen different people, and all for about the same date, and that most of them have paid him a deposit. Hence——" and he waved his hand comprehensively over the throng.

"Nay,—sure—ly!" said the little man, and it seemed to me that his stricken wonder was not absolutely untinged with admiration.[Pg 143]

There was nothing more to be said or done. Everybody recognised that fact. Joseph was not to be found, and William was not to blame.

The stout little gentleman vowed he'd be something'd if he'd ever heard of such a something'd queer business before. The Strong Man looked regretfully at William, and wished he was Joseph just for five minutes or so. The solicitor recognised the fact that a case would not lie against little "Dot-and-carry-one," as he called him, so he put it in his pipe and smoked it, and by degrees the crowd thinned away, and left us in peaceable possession. The last to go were the three little old ladies, and from their manner I should say they were by no means convinced of the existence of William's brother Joseph.

The Oxford boys, by the way, insisted on chairing little William to the "Blue Pig," down the Wilborough Road, and tried to induce him to enjoy himself, but as he declined to touch anything stronger than gingerbeer, there was no great harm done.

Mr. Sawyer stayed a couple of days with us, and offered us the cottage free for next August, to make up for the annoyances we had suffered; and, unless we hear that William Scorer has been taken ill again, and that his brother Joseph has come to nurse him, we shall accept the invitation.


[Pg 144]



By T. F. Manning.

wing to the fact that they often flatly contradict one another, medical experts do not stand very high in popular repute; nevertheless, it is a positive fact that a single medical expert is worth half Scotland Yard in the detection and prevention of crime. Thousands of rivals in love, disagreeable husbands, dangerous political agitators, harsh masters and mistresses, rich uncles, and people of that sort, would be popped off with a few grains of arsenic, or a drop of prussic acid, only that it is well known the doctor has the eyes of a hawk for poison. And, on the other hand, many and many a family is saved from the suspicion attaching to the sudden death of a member, and even many an innocent man from the scaffold, by the proof of natural death which the doctor supplies.

Although great poisoning, shooting, stabbing, and other homicidal trials have a wonderful fascination for all newspaper readers, very few fully appreciate the medical evidence, which is usually the most important link in the chain. The evidence is of three kinds—that of the ordinary medical man, who sees the patient dying, perhaps, and performs the post-mortem; that of the chemist, who, in his quiet laboratory, traces the poison or identifies the blood stain; and that of the expert, who gives his inference from the facts stated by the first two. It is these experts who often differ from one another.

In a large number of cases the post-mortem examination is the first step in unravelling a mystery.

The man who performs it is not to be envied, for the smallest scratch on his hand may admit a dose of deadly poison.


Many medical men, indeed, wear rubber gloves, and those less careful generally cover their hands with a layer of sticky ointment. It takes from two to four hours to do the job thoroughly.

But it is not all cutting up, as most people think. The first thing done is to notice the position of the body, and whether there are any weapons, bottles, or glasses near.

Then it is examined from head to toe for scratches, cuts, bruises, moles, tattoo marks. Everything about the hair, eyes, teeth, nose, ears, and other parts, is written down. The height, the age, the muscular development, are all noted.

Of course, this inspection alone often reveals the cause of death. Suppose, however, that no external injury is found and[Pg 145] no organ is diseased, the suspicion of poisoning naturally arises. In that case, the doctor looks for certain marks that the commonest poisons make, and then he places the stomach and other parts in glass jars, which are securely covered, sealed, labelled, and handed to the analyst.

Poisoning is not much favoured by the Briton as a means of killing either himself or anybody else. He generally does the deed in a more open, if more brutal, way. But it is to be feared that a great many more people get rid of undesirable contemporaries in this manner than is popularly supposed.


Probably, in most cases, the ordinary medical attendant is able to tell whether a person is dying a natural death or is being carried off by some deadly drug. His position, however, is not a pleasant one. It is impossible to be certain; and, in order to make a full investigation, he must suggest either that the victim is committing suicide, or that someone else, perhaps his wife or son, is committing murder. And, after all, the signs in the living are very obscure. Of course, if a person is foolish enough (as many are) to drink sulphuric or nitric acid, his mouth and throat are[Pg 146] burned as if he swallowed coals of fire, the former leaving black and the latter yellow stains; but when the poison is arsenic, or opium, or strychnine, the symptoms are very like those of certain diseases.

When the cholera was last in London, a father, mother, son, and daughter dined together. Immediately after dinner, all, except the son, became suddenly ill, and died in a few hours, with the symptoms of arsenic poisoning.

The son, who was always quarrelling with the rest of the family, was arrested on the doctor's report and charged with murder. But a post-mortem examination showed that cholera was the real cause of death.

Apoplexy, in the same way, is very like opium poisoning; and hydrophobia, lock-jaw, and even some cases of hysteria, closely resemble poisoning by strychnine.

Still, when a healthy man grows suddenly ill soon after a meal, the doctor keeps his eyes open, and if death follows he has a pretty shrewd idea of what caused it.

At all events, he feels perfectly justified in assuming that the case is not a normal one. He therefore hands over to the analyst the jars and other receptacles containing the portions of the subject's body likely to bear traces of the poison, knowing full well that if any poison is there the analyst will infallibly detect it.

The analyst begins by making a series of what may be called "brews," mincing, pounding, boiling, cooling, filtering, decanting, and distilling, over and over again. In these operations various solvents are used in succession, plain water separating out one class of poisons, alcohol dissolving out another group, benzol taking up a third, naphtha a fourth, ammonia a fifth, and so on. This preliminary work takes, not hours, but days to perform. At an early stage in it the operator discovers such volatile poisons as prussic acid, chloroform, carbolic acid, and phosphorus, if any of them be present. Later on he comes across the alkaloids, such as strychnine, digitalin, cantharidin, and other terrible poisons of that class.

Finally, the residue of the animal matter with which we have supposed the medical detective to be experimenting is mixed with hydrochloric acid, and distilled once again, after which it can contain no poison except one of the metals.

Thus, in the course of his examination, the analyst has made a number of decoctions, in one of which the poison is certain to be. In each decoction there may be any one of several groups of poisons.

In which is it, and what is it? After all this patient labour the solution is still far off. It may be a ptomaine from poisonous fish or decayed meat, a deadly berry, or leaf, or root, a small quantity of morphia, or phosphorus, or lead, or arsenic, or antimony.

Each brew is tested in turn. But, as illustrating the general procedure, take the last, which contains whatever metal may have had the fatal result. First, the chemist tests with "group reagents." He knows that if he puts into the glass containing the last brew certain bodies in succession, some metals, if they are there, cannot be kept from rushing into the arms of one, others will as passionately embrace another, others still will unite with a third, while some will always repudiate any alliance. There are in all cases signs of the union, when it takes place, such as a blue or white or red colour, or a powder falling to the bottom, or a fizzing of escaping gas.

In practice the analyst puts a little of the brew in a small glass test-tube, pours in some distilled water, and carefully drops in some hydrochloric acid. Now, if there is either silver, mercury, or lead, in the brew, down goes a white powder; if none of these things is there, no change follows.

Next he adds some sulphuretted hydrogen water, a sort of aerated water smelling of rotten eggs. If tin, platinum, bismuth, cadmium, arsenic, or one of several other metals, is in the brew, a coloured powder falls to the bottom. Should nothing occur, he adds other things, until he has tested for five groups of metals.

When he finds a poison belonging to a certain group, he has still to ascertain which of five or six bodies it is.

For instance, after adding the first two test-liquors, if he sees a yellow coloration or precipitate, he knows that he has either arsenic or tin or cadmium. He then adds some strong ammonia, after boiling the liquid till the smell of rotten eggs has disappeared. If the powder dissolves, and the colour goes, he is quite sure he has found arsenic.

In this business-like way the murderer is convicted.

But now arises the necessity for making doubly sure, and another kind of test altogether is employed. Life and death hanging on the result, the test must be beyond all doubt. But arsenic is one of[Pg 147] those self-assertive things about whose presence there cannot be the most infinitesimal doubt. Give a man a particle the size of a mustard-seed, and let him swallow it. When he dies bury him, and let him lie under the earth for a quarter of a century. Then gather the few remnants, give them to a chemist, and he will return you a considerable portion of the poison in the same state as that in which it was administered.


Probably the most famous special test for arsenic is Marsh's, the invention of a Woolwich chemist, and equally famous is Reinsch's, which is performed as follows: The suspected liquid is put in a little glass test-tube with some hydrochloric acid. Then a small bit of bright copper is dropped in, and the test-tube is held over a flame.

Now, arsenic has the wildest love for copper, and every trace of it in the tube flies to the slip of copper and covers it with a grey coat. Another metal does the same, certainly, but they can be distinguished subsequently.

Presently the copper is removed, washed, dried, and placed in a tough glass tube, very narrow at one end. This is held over a flame and carefully heated, and then a phenomenon, not unknown, either, in the loves of mortals, occurs. The arsenic abandons the copper, and clings in crystals to the sides of the glass tube, where it can be recognised by the aid of a magnifying-glass or microscope; and if the crystals are heated with a bit of acetate of potash the odour drives the chemist from the room.

To this curious fact, that arsenic loves copper when it is wet with warm hydrochloric acid, and hates it when it is hot and dry, is due the discovery of many a crime.

It is already plain to the reader that the analyst's task is not an easy one. Sometimes the analytical examination is of vast extent; sometimes it is greatly narrowed by hints from the family doctor. These hints are interesting, and show that the doctor is, when he knows his business, a real and a very skilful detective.

The doctor's eye is a wonderful one. When he enters a room, he not only measures the patient from head to toe, notes the colour of his face, the posture of his body, the signs of pain, stupor, or perhaps sham; but observes the manner of the other people present, and sees every bottle, glass, and cup in the place.

Now, although sudden death is usually from natural causes, when it occurs soon after food there is always suspicion, as we have said. So, if the doctor perceives great pain and nausea, he thinks of arsenic, antimony, tinned meats, mushrooms, toadstools, and other things; if the pupil of the eye is as small as a pin-head, and the sick man is drowsy, he thinks of opium; if something seems to have caught hold of the patient's heart, and to be squeezing it like a sponge, he thinks of digitalis; if the poor victim is being worked like a puppet, and his pupils are large with fear, he thinks of strychnine; if there is great thirst, colic, and cramps in the legs, he thinks of lead.


He knows that prussic acid kills like a bullet in the brain—a glass of cold water taken while hot from exercise may do the[Pg 148] same—and he smells for it. He can also tell if it is phosphorus or carbolic acid, by the smell.

He knows that relatives usually kill each other by means of particular poisons; that other poisons are used for suicidal purposes; that the photographer takes cyanide of potassium, the medical man and chemist prussic acid or morphia, the poor man vermin-killer or oxalic acid, or carbolic acid, or some such agonising destroyer of life. And thus, though all poisons lead to the same end—stoppage of the breathing and blood circulation—yet each has its own particular way of sending the soul to eternity. He can therefore often tell the analyst detective how to take a short cut.


By the way, there is no such thing as a slow poison—that is, a poison which, taken to-day, does not show its effects for weeks. This is a fiction of the novelists. On the other hand, there is—except in the case of prussic acid and nicotine—no death straight away after taking poison, as one sees it on the stage, Shakespeare notwithstanding.

An actual case will show that the discovery of murder by the doctor and analyst is not always plain sailing.

A good many years ago, a Mr. Sprague was tried for the murder of the Walker family by means of the well-known poison of the deadly nightshade. The medical evidence showed clearly that they all died from belladonna poisoning, and belladonna was found in the rabbit-pie they had for dinner. A common-sense jury, however, acquitted the prisoner; and only recently have medical men solved the mystery by discovering that rabbits can eat any quantity of this plant without suffering harm, while their flesh becomes fatally poisonous.

A second case shows what wonders the chemists can work. A surgeon's wife died from corrosive sublimate, given in a draught by her husband. He said that, in making up the draught, he mistook a bottle of mixture, which he had prepared for a sailor, for the water-bottle, and had poured some of it into his wife's draught. The sailor's mixture was analysed, and it certainly contained corrosive sublimate; but, not content with finding the poison, the analyst measured the quantity present, and, while the sailor's mixture contained only ten grains to an ounce of liquid, the wife's draught contained fifteen grains, showing that the surgeon's ingenious explanation was a lie!

Blood is so characteristic a fluid that it might be supposed a skilful analyst could never have any difficulty in recognising it. Of course, if he were given, say, a cupful in its ordinary state, he could not make a mistake. But he never gets a chance of earning his fee so easily.

When the police seek his assistance they give him, perhaps, a suit of dirty clothes, which may be stained by two or three small dark spots that might be anything.

Or perhaps he is given a rusty knife, or a perfectly clean hatchet, and is asked to say if there is blood on it. And when he comes into court he is expected to tell the jury whether the blood is human or animal, how old it is, was it spilled from a living blood vessel, and in what part of the body was this blood vessel.

Take an actual case. Years ago a celebrated murder was committed in Eltham, and in the report of Dr. Letheby, the analyst, is the following note:—

"On the evening of May 3rd I received from Mr. Mulvaney" (of the police) "a brown paper parcel containing a pair of dark trousers, a man's shirt, and a man's wide-awake hat. On the following evening I received from Mr. Mulvaney a brown paper parcel containing a lock of hair, a pair of men's boots, and a plasterer's hammer."

These were all very dirty, but that did not prevent the analyst from finding a number of blood stains and hairs, and giving valuable and decisive evidence at the trial.


What the analyst first does, when he receives such an article as a pair of trousers, is to scrutinise every inch of its sur[Pg 149]face with a magnifying glass. If he finds a little lump of dark-coloured stuff he scrapes it off and puts it into a watch glass. If he discovers merely a dark stain, he cuts out the piece of cloth and puts it into a small quantity of distilled water.

Now he has to find out whether the suspicious-looking thing is really blood, or whether it is merely red paint, or logwood, or cochineal, or madder, or iron-mould. There are three ways of doing this, and he nearly always utilises them all.

First, there is the marvellous spectroscope test. This test will reveal the presence of the minutest trace of blood, and it is practically infallible. It depends on the curious property, possessed by nearly all bodies, of absorbing certain parts of the light that passes through them. Sunlight passing through a prism is split up into the familiar seven colours of the rainbow. But if a little blood dissolved in water is placed in a glass tube, and if the light is made to pass through it on its way to the prism, the blood takes something out of it; for now among the seven bright colours are seen two dark bands near the middle of the yellow ray. Nothing but blood gives these two bands in that particular place, with the exception of two or three substances that are not likely to be found on criminals' clothes. These are cochineal, mixed with certain chemicals, hot purpurin sulphuric acid, and the red dye of the banana-eater.

Blood, however, changes after it is shed. In stains a few weeks old the colouring matter changes from what is technically called hæmoglobin to methæmoglobin, and, later still, to hæmatin. All of these give different spectra. The analyst has standard spectra already mounted, and he invariably looks at the mounted or standard specimen and the suspected liquid at the same time, placing them side by side, so that a mistake is impossible. All the red colours in the world, in fact, have been tried, and, with the exceptions named above, none of them gives a spectrum like the colouring matter of blood in any of its forms.

But though the spectroscope is a certain discoverer of blood, it can draw no distinction between human and animal blood. That duty remains to the microscope.

Man. Mouse. Horse. Camel.
Toad. Pike. Pheasant. Pigeon.

With the microscope can be seen those red corpuscles which, in some mysterious manner, seize on the oxygen of the air as it passes into the lungs, shoulder it, so to speak, and rush away with it, like so many ants, to the remotest parts of the body. Unfortunately, they can only be seen in blood that has not been very long shed—that is to say, some weeks or months. To see these, the analyst scrapes the little clot from the piece of cloth, or wood, or iron, and places it on a slip of glass; over this he carefully lays the little film called a cover-glass; and then he gently places, at the edge of the latter, the tiniest possible drop of water. This gradually insinuates itself, and soon dissolves the blood clot; and, when the mixture is placed under a microscope magnifying from 300 to 500 diameters, he sees one of several pictures. The various shapes and arrangements taken by these little bodies are illustrated on the following page. Small as they are—it[Pg 150] would take 12¼ millions to cover a square inch—they have the most peculiar way of behaving, and only the practised eye of the microscopist can recognise them in all their disguises.


Individually, the blood corpuscle is just like a tiny round biscuit, and measures 1/3200 to 1/4000 of an inch across its face. It is these two factors, the shape and measurement, which enable the medical man to say whether the blood is human. The picture above shows how a corpuscle looks under the microscope. Looking at its face, it is like a thick-edged biscuit, with a dark depression in the centre. Some are turned sideways in our illustration. These exist in blood and nothing but blood, so that, when the spectroscope fails, the microscope succeeds.

But it is not always that the analyst can get sufficient blood to place under the microscope. Perhaps he gets a piece of cloth saturated with a trifle of red fluid which he cannot scrape off, or perhaps he gets a stain some months or years old (Dr. Tidy identified a blood stain one hundred and one years old), in which the corpuscles are destroyed. Or perhaps he gets a garment which has been carefully washed, on which there is only the faintest trace of colouring matter. Even then the microscope tells whether the stain is blood.

Our detective mixes the particle of blood-stained wood, or earth, or dust, or cloth fibres, with water and caustic potash, and filters it. Then he takes a drop of the liquid and places it in the useful watch-glass. Into this he puts some glacial acetic acid and a crystal of ordinary table salt. He heats the mixture and lets it cool. And, if it is blood, he gets peculiar crystals visible under the microscope. These, by the way, differ to some extent in different animals.

Another test is so new that it has not yet been given a fair trial. It is as follows:—If a fairly large quantity of blood can be got, it is burned, and the ash is analysed. Now, there are two salts always in blood—sodium and potassium salts. But, while the quantity of the former in human blood is usually twice that of the latter, it is six times as great in the sheep's blood, eight times as great in the cow's blood, and sixteen times as great in the blood of a fowl. Very important results are expected from this principle.

Reliable as are the microscope and spectroscope, the analyst always uses the third means at his disposal—the chemical test. For instance, he gets a knife covered with dark red stains. Are they blood, or are they only the rust formed by vinegar or the juice of a lemon that has deceived so many people? Assuming that he has removed the stain, he places the matter in any kind of tiny vessel, and drops in some tincture of galls. If the thing is only rust, he has some excellent blue ink; if it is blood, he finds that a reddish powder makes its appearance.


Perhaps he gets a handkerchief with a red stain. If the cloth is white he can apply a test direct to it, but as a rule he prefers to dissolve the stain out. Now, a handkerchief may be stained with a number of different reddish things—Condy's fluid, jam, cochineal log-wood, or red paint. He puts a drop of ordinary ammonia on the cloth. If[Pg 151] the stain is caused by currant, gooseberry, or other fruit juice it turns blue or green; if it is Condy's fluid it becomes blue; if it is cochineal it becomes crimson, and so on. But if it is blood, it does not change in the least. Other tests might be described, but we have not the space.

Probably the most interesting of all his duties to the analyst is that of judging from what animal the blood stains came. This can be done only in some cases; that is, when the blood is not quite so old that the red corpuscles have entirely lost their shape.

Of course this is a matter of the greatest importance when a man is on his trial; for, in the first place, every spot of blood found on his belongings is supposed to have come from his victim, although it may be nothing more than the blood of a fish; and, in the second place, the stock explanation of blood stains on his clothing offered by a prisoner is that they came from some animal he killed. The plan is to ask him what animal. Five times out of six he will say a domestic fowl or some kind of bird especially if he is a poacher who has killed a gamekeeper—and then he is done for.

Look at the pictures on page 149 and you have the whole thing in a nutshell. It will be seen that the red corpuscles of the blood of birds, reptiles, and fishes (with the exception of the cyclostomata) are oval, while those of mammalian blood are round. Here is, at once, a sure way of differentiating mammalian blood from that of the other three great classes of animals. The only difficulty is that blood corpuscles get out of shape, under certain circumstances, and are no longer either oval or round. But there is another difference. A mammalian corpuscle is of uniform substance throughout: that of a fish, bird, or reptile has a small, dense spot near the centre, called a nucleus. Snails, slugs, worms, and other low forms of animal life do not come into the question at all, for their blood is generally colourless, and, if not, it is blue-green, violet, brown, being scarcely ever red, and then not from the presence of corpuscles.

All that remains for the analyst, therefore, supposing he finds a round corpuscle, is to say to what mammalian animal it belongs. (The llama, alpaca, camel, and their kin, by the way, have oval corpuscles.)

How are the corpuscles of different mammalia to be distinguished under the microscope? Merely by their size. They have all been measured with the greatest care, a specially small unit of length, called a micron, having been invented for the purpose. It is only 1/25000 of an inch long, and, expressed in tenths of a micron, the average diameter of a human blood corpuscle is 77; of a dog, 73; of a rabbit, 69; of a cat, 65; of a sheep, 50; of a goat, 41; and of an elephant, 94. But these are average measurements, and some corpuscles are smaller, some larger.

Cat's HairBat's HairBerlin Wool.Reindeer's Hair.Woody Fibre.
Human HairFox HairHare's HairSquirrel's Hair.Human Hair Bulb.

Therefore, when it is a question of whether the blood is that of a dog, pig, hare, rabbit, or man, he would be a daring man that would give a decided opinion. But it is certainly possible to come to a safe[Pg 152] conclusion as to whether it is that of a human being or a sheep, goat, or elephant.

Owing to the influence of disease on the blood, however, it is never really safe to say absolutely "This is human blood," and, in fact, all that is generally stated in evidence is whether it is mammalian.

There is one other important piece of work the medical detective can perform in his laboratory, in the way of tracking criminals; that is to distinguish hairs from vegetable fibres, and human hairs from animals'. Our illustrations show how it is done. He simply places the thing to be tested under the microscope, and—as he is acquainted with every description of hair, cotton, wool, silk and other fibre—he can tell at a glance what it is.

Hair is more like wool than anything else, but wool is irregular and hair is pretty regular in breadth. The hair of an adult, also, has a streak in the middle.


We append accurate illustrations, from microscopic photographs, of the hairs of many animals. Obviously, there is no difficulty to the practised eye in distinguishing them. In fact, most animals' hairs can be known by the naked eye, or with a small magnifying glass; but that of skye terriers and spaniels is wonderfully like human hair.

On all these little things hinges, very often, the terrible issue of "guilty" or "not guilty"!

Some years ago, a woman was found dead with a knife lying loosely in her hand. This fact might mislead people into thinking it was a case of suicide; but the fact that the knife was not held tight made the doctor suspicious. He examined the blood on the knife, and found woollen fibres which resembled those of the husband's clothes. This discovery so acted on the husband that he confessed his guilt.

On another occasion a Taunton man was seen last in company with a man subsequently found dead. In the Taunton man's possession was a knife with a slight film of blood on the blade. He said he had been cutting raw beef. The analyst easily showed, however, that the blood on the knife came from a living animal; and, further, he found on it some little scales from the lining of the human gullet. The Taunton man was convicted.

A remarkable instance of the analyst's power was given in a Cornwall murder case. A man was found with his head broken. On a hammer belonging to a suspect were a couple of grey hairs. This hammer, however, had been used for beating goat-skins, and, in fact, it was found in a hedge on which a goat-skin was spread out to dry.

But the medical witness swore that the two hairs came from somebody's eyebrow, and, on comparing them with the dead man's eyebrow, they corresponded!

In one case a man was very near being hanged—and in the old days, doubtless, he would have been hanged—mainly because a knife with red stains was found in his possession. The medical witness found that they were rust caused by an acid fruit; and then it was found that the prisoner[Pg 153] had actually used a knife for cutting a lemon. But, curiously, this stain is so very like blood that the naked eye of even the most skilful medical jurist would be deceived by it.



Footprints are usually left to the police to interpret. But, very probably, the result is often a miscarriage of justice. When the police are working up a case they would not be human if they did not view evidence with a certain amount of bias. The scientific witness, on the other hand, has no personal interest one way or the other. And, moreover, the comparison of a naked foot with its supposed print on the ground, or the fitting of a boot to a boot-mark, is a process requiring not only the most exact measurements, but consideration of the kind of mark made on different kinds of soil, and in the various positions taken by the foot in standing, walking, and running. In running we press mainly on the toes, and in walking the greater part of the foot comes down, and the longer the foot rests on the ground the deeper is the impress. In fact, an expert can make a pretty shrewd guess as to the rate at which the owner of the foot was travelling, by considering the size and depth of the footprint.

In order to make a comparison a cast has to be taken, if the mark is on soft ground. This is done by heating the footprint with a hot iron, and filling it in with paraffin. From this a plaster cast is taken, and it can be preserved for comparison until someone is arrested.

When the footprint is found in snow, gelatine is used to take the form of it, and from this also a plaster cast is made.

Of course, these operations have to be carried out with the greatest care, for footprints are frequently the strongest pillars of an indictment. In order to compare the foot of the suspected person, he is made to walk, stand, and run, over a surface similar to that on which the incriminating print has been found. There is one case in which the scientific detective is certain—when the person has stood still on soft, but firm and tenacious, soil.

The footprints represented in our sketch are those of course of naked feet, which give the clearest impression. But a corresponding variation occurs in all footprints made by persons wearing boots, so that the attitude or action of the wearer is easily told.

Now and again some deformity, such as the possession of six or of only four toes, leaves no room for doubt. When the mark has been made by boots, rather than with the naked foot, it is frequently easy to identify it by the arrangement and number of the nails, by a missing nail, or a patch, or a hole, or a heel worn on one side.

Nevertheless, footprints are, to the medical man, exceedingly doubtful evidence, although from this view the police, and probably the jury, differ.

Taking him altogether, the medical detective does his work with a skill, certainty, and absence of prejudice, worthy of emulation by all engaged in hunting down the criminal. The story of modern medical detective work is one of the most romantic of our times.


[Pg 154]



By Alfred Arkas.

The subject of eccentric hobbies is always fascinating, more especially when the hobby-rider need spare neither time nor expense in humouring his particular fancy.

From time to time we hope to give our readers some account of the many curious and interesting hobbies pursued by those who are distinguished in this direction, although it is doubtful if a more interesting example than the Crichel White Farm is to be found.

The White Farm belongs to Lord Alington, whose name is better known in connection with Turf matters. It was he who bred the immortal Common, one of the grandest horses that ever won the Derby. Common was sold for £15,000. The same week two other of Lord Alington's horses changed hands, the three together making a record price of £39,000. These facts are of peculiar interest in this connection, since the White Farm and the Racing Stud Farm are practically the same, one being part and parcel of the other.

Near the entrance to the White Farm there appears a long low building, over which three flags are flying. This is one of the racehorse stables; and the flags, which are of yellow silk, bear the names of three of Crichel's winners.

Mr. Bartlett, Lord Alington's trainer, is 74 years of age, and one of the most successful men the turf has ever known. In spite of his age he is as sprightly as a young man; and I should say many another "good 'un" is to be expected from his hands.

Common's stable overlooks a portion of the White Farm, and is that seen in the illustration of the white mule.

Crichel is situated six miles from Wimborne, in Dorsetshire. It is on the edge of the New Forest.

On nearing the farm one gets the impression that there is something unusual about the place. The long low stable buildings, the tall white masts and bright yellow flags, numberless white-painted cages, aviaries, outhouses, and the spotless white of the fencings and gateways, all lend it a pleasing individuality.

On turning into the big White Farm gate one encounters the spectacle of a teeming population of bird and animal life. All are pure white, spotlessly clean, and you couldn't find a dark hair or feather if you tried to do so.


The only thing that seems to be missing at a first glance is a white elephant; but the farm is that itself in a sense, as one may readily imagine, when the difficulty of keeping it stocked is considered.


Although one could hardly conceive a more complete collection of white birds and beasts, it is by no means so large or varied as in the past. The mortality among what may be termed the "hot-house"[Pg 155] species—the birds and animals from tropical countries—was very great, and the difficulty and expense of constantly replacing them was so considerable that Lord Alington decided to dispense with them altogether.

The most striking creatures on the estate—and well they know it—are the white peafowl. The many-coloured peacock with which we are familiar is a beautiful bird, but I never saw anything in my life as perfect as the white specimen at Crichel.

We were fortunate enough, by the exercise of the patience of Job, to stalk one of these birds, and snap him in full war paint.

The photograph will give some idea of the beauty of the bird, but it cannot convey any adequate notion of the rich silken texture of the plumage, or the aristocratic stateliness of this beauty among beauties. Built into the hedge close to the place where our snapshot of the white peacock was taken, are several white cages devoted to some of the rarer breeds of white pigeons and guinea pigs. At the extreme end are the white rats and mice.

One of the rarest and most interesting members of the white family is the mule—which is really much more like a pony in appearance—shown in another illustration.

The poor brute has experienced many social vicissitudes; originally he was the property of the "Shadow of God upon[Pg 156] Earth," as the Sultan of Turkey modestly styles himself.

When Lord Alington was visiting Constantinople, the Sultan, who had heard of his hobby, presented the animal to him. The mule had not long been installed at the White Farm, when a gentleman who drove a four-in-hand of these animals was ordered abroad. He had a white mule in his team which he sold to Lord Alington, and so the farm became possessed of a pair.


They were regularly used in harness till the death of the last-mentioned purchase. Then, as the survivor threatened to die of inactivity and crass laziness, he was given to the local baker, who uses him for the work of distributing bread round the country-side.


From the Yildiz Kiosk to a country cart! How are the mighty fallen!

In a little paddock on the left-hand side of the entrance, a small but most interesting collection of white animals attracts the attention of the visitor. It consists of four superb Angora sheep and a pigmy bull.


The pigmy bull has no history of any particular interest. But if he lacks history, he has a temper—a temper with which it is useless to argue. The photographer, with courage worthy of a better cause, leapt light-heartedly into the paddock, with the trigger of his hand camera at half cock. With a lightning movement he took aim, but the pigmy was too quick for him. He charged our harmless snapshotter, who, "retiring in confusion," as the war correspondents say, made for the fence and fell over it, camera and all, only half a second before the infuriated animal's head rammed furiously into the iron railings. A moment's hesitation and these photographs had never seen publication. The photograph of the bull we reproduce was taken immediately after the adventure. Tiny as the animal is, it is not a creature to be trifled with. As a matter of fact the brute had[Pg 157] a bad fit of tantrums during the rest of the day, and the last sound we heard as we wended our way through the quiet lanes that evening was the angry bellowing of offended majesty.


In endeavouring to get a snapshot of Fanny, the white deer, we had quite a different experience. With the modesty and timidity characteristic of the breed, she was strongly opposed to the idea of being photographed. She literally flew round the paddock for some time after our entrance, and I was very much afraid we should have to give her up as a hopeless job.

However, by the exercise of great patience we were enabled to get a snapshot as she stood nervously surveying us from a dark corner. Fanny is one of the beauties of the farm; she is on the most friendly terms with her keeper, and follows him about like a dog. Needless to say, she has not a dark hair in her coat.

An even greater expenditure of time and ingenuity was necessary in photographing the smaller denizens of Lord Alington's Zoo.

Your ordinary guinea pig is a nervous fellow at best; the white variety suffers from hyper-sensitiveness. Over and over again, by frequent offerings of the most tempting dainties, were the shaggy bright-eyed little creatures lured from their haunts. But no matter how stealthily stalked by the camera fiend, they were off like greased lightning long before he was near enough; which circumstance explains why only two of these interesting little pets appear in the vicinity of the runs. At one time during my visit I saw the small paddock devoted to their use simply alive with them.

The White Farm guinea pigs are much larger than the ordinary cavies kept by most of us in boyhood days, and the coat is long and shaggy. Save for the head they are more like pigmy Angora sheep than anything.

For much the same reason we were unable to photograph more than a small corner of the rabbit run. It literally teems with pure white rabbits, but they are not used to visitors, and their native modesty makes them shun the camera like the plague. Only three or four braved the ordeal, but as they are much like their companions, one has only to multiply them indefinitely to obtain some idea of what the run looks like when in full swing.

The title "King of the White Farm" undoubtedly belongs to the peacock. You have only to glance at him to realise that he is equally certain of his position.

But there is another gentleman—the white turkey cock—on the estate who obviously does not share this view, and, were it not for the fact that his consummate vanity renders him blissfully unconscious of his colleague's pretensions, I imagine there would be war. Certainly the turkey cock is a beautiful and stately creature. He was purchased by Lord Alington for £10.

Needless to say, all the ducks and fowls are of the prevailing colour, and very fine birds they are. Even the pigs must turn[Pg 158] grey or get themselves bleached if they wish to take up permanent quarters at Crichel.

The pigeons interested me more than anything else in the place, possibly on account of their number, and intelligence. The whole farm is alive with them, and the sight of the colony whirling in mid-air above their cotes is one not readily forgotten.


They cross the sun like a white cloud, and when they swoop downwards to the ground the air vibrates with the hum of whirling wings. They have a trick of sitting along the coping tiles of the roof in single file like a company of soldiers drawn up in line, and on one occasion I saw some hundreds resting so closely together in this fashion that there was not room for a sparrow between them the whole length of the roof.

They are perfectly tame, and are the most knowing-looking rascals I have ever seen. Feeding time is a great institution, and, to my mind, is the most fascinating sight on the farm.

They know their dinner hour to the second, and some time before it is due the air is white with returning stragglers.

The ceremony is interesting enough to justify several illustrations, but we can find room for only one. Preparatory to the all-important function, the birds collect in their hundreds on the roofs of the adjoining buildings. A few seconds later the more impatient spirits among them fly to the ground and move restlessly about near the door from which they know the attendant will emerge.

Directly the man appears they swarm round him as he makes his way into the middle of the grass plot where the food is scattered.

There is not a single feather in any one of the birds which is not of the purest white. A dark feather seals the doom of its unfortunate owner. However, this is a rare event. Possibly the birds conspire to preserve uniformity of colour by plucking alien shades from each other's plumage before they are noticed by the keeper.

If space would permit, one might illustrate many other interesting features of the White Farm, but enough has been said to give a general notion of the charm and interest of Lord Alington's fascinating hobby.

[Pg 159]




By Cutcliffe Hyne. Illustrated by Richard Jack.

She was not the regular Portuguese mail. She was an ancient seven-knot tramp, which had come across from Brazil to Loando, and had been lucky enough to pick up half a cargo of coffee there for Lisbon. She called in at Banana, the station on the mangrove-spit at the mouth of the Congo, where the river pilots live (and on occasion die), and where the Dutch factory used to bring trade till the Free State killed it with duties; and at Banana she had further fortune. There were two hundred and thirty negroes there, Accra men and Kroo-boys mostly, a gang that had made their fifteen or twenty pounds apiece on the railway, and were waiting to go home.

The passenger-boys had collected their chattels, and were gathering in a howling chattering mob by the surf-boats ready to go on board, when the first notion came to me of joining her. It was the Danish harbour-master who gave it. He came up, under his old white umbrella with the green lining, to the house where I was staying, and told me that the tramp was going to call in at San Thomé and the Bonny River.

"Now, we don't hanker to get rid of you here, Mr. Calvert," he said, "but if you want to climb that mountain in Fernando Po, you're not likely to get so good a chance for the next three months to come. Your place is on the road between San Thomé and Bonny, though of course you'll have to make it worth the skipper's while to stop. But that's your palaver."

"Can you put a figure on it?" I asked.

"I should take it," said the harbour-master, "that you could hustle the man into Fernando Po for ten sovereigns. He's only a Portugee. Come aboard now in my gig and see him."

The tramp's interior was not inviting. We went into the chart-house and drank the inevitable sweet champagne with the captain; and whilst the bargain was being made, a thousand cockroaches crawled thoughtfully over the yellow-white paint.

"I tell you straight," said the harbour-master in English, "she's a dirty ship, and the chop'll be bad enough to poison a spotted dog. But if you will go to these Portugee and Spanish places to sweat up mountains, that's part of the palaver."

"Oh, if the grub's good enough for them, it won't kill me."

"Then if you will go, I'll send my boy off in the boat for your boxes one-time, because the Old Man's in a hurry to be off. He's got a bishop on board below, very sick with fever, and he wants to be out of this stew and get to sea again as quick as it can be done. Thinks it'll give the ship bad luck, I suppose, if the bishop pegs out."

The harbour-master's boy was speedy, and the harbour-master himself piloted us out into the wide gulf of the river's mouth. The beer-coloured stream gave up its scent of crushed marigolds strongly enough to pierce through the smells of the ship and the smells of the crowded chattering negroes on the fore-deck, and the old steamer began to groan and creak as she lifted to the South Atlantic swell. The sun went down, and night followed like the turning[Pg 160] out of a lamp. The lighthouse flickered out on the Portuguese shore away on the port bow, and above it hung the Southern Cross, a pale faint thing, shaped like an ill-made kite.


The bumping engines stopped, and the Dane came down off the upper bridge. He stood with me for a minute on the brown, greasy deck planks, and then went down the ladder into his boat.

"Oscar-strasse, tretten, Kjobnhavn!" he shouted, as the gig dropped astern. "Mind you come. I shall be home in another nine months."

"Wanderers' Club, London; don't forget; sorry I haven't a card left," I hailed back, and wondered in my mind whether in any of the world's turnings I should ever meet that good fellow again. But the steamer was once more under way, mumbling and complaining, and the store-keeper at that moment was beginning to open the case of dried fish—baccalhao, as they call it on the coast—to which we traced back the hideous plague which in the next few days swept away her people like the fire from a battery of guns.

There were only two other passengers beside the bishop and myself—a pair of yellow-faced, yellow-fingered Portuguese from down the coast, traders both, with livers like Strasbourg geese. The Skipper was a decent, weak little chap from Lisbon, who might have been good-looking if he had sometimes washed; the Chief Engineer was a Swede, who spoke English and quoted Ibsen; and the other officers I never came specially across. There was only one of my own countrymen on board, a fireman from Hull, one of the strongest men I ever met, and certainly the most truculent ruffian. His name was Tordoff on the ship's books, but that was a "purser's name." He spoke pure English when he forgot himself, and certainly had once been a gentleman.


It was baking hot down below, and the place was alive with rats and cockroaches.[Pg 161] I rigged a wind-scoop through the port in my room, got into pyjamas, and lay down on the top of the bunk. But I can't say I did much business with sleep; the menagerie held cheerful meetings all round, and the perspiration tickled as it ran off my body in little streams; and these things keep a man awake. My room was to starboard, and when through the porthole I saw day blaze up from behind the low line of African hills, I turned out, rolled a cigarette, and went on deck. I was just in time to see the first funeral.

Four very frightened-looking men and a profane mate were fitting a couple of biscuit sacks over a twisted figure which lay on the grimy greasy deck planks. They pulled one over the head and another over the heels, and then with a palm and needle made them fast about the figure's middle. Afterwards they lashed a fire-bar along the shins, and then, with faces screwed up and turned away, they lifted the body as though it had been red-hot, and toppled it over the rail.

The dead man dived through the swell alongside almost without a splash; but, as though his coming had been a signal, a dozen streaks of foam started up from various points, each with a black triangular fin in the middle of it; and I did not feel any the happier from knowing precisely what that convoy meant.

However, the sharks and the body drifted away into the wake astern, and I rolled another cigarette and got a chair and sat on the break of the bridge deck. From there I saw the mate and his four hands fetch one by one five other bodies out of the forecastle, and prepare them for burial. Three they covered with canvas; and then the supply of biscuit sacks seemed to run out, because the last two they put over the side with the fire-bar attachment only.

The fifth man had to be content with four participators in his funeral. The remaining sailor held strangely aloof; his face turning through a prism of curious colours; his body swaying in uncouth jerks. As the fifth corpse toppled over the rail, this fellow threw himself down on the hatch cover, and lay there writhing and screaming in a torment of cramps.

At that moment a man in a white serge cassock, which reached to his heels, came out of one of the forecastle doors and walked rapidly across to the new victim. He was a long lean man with a hawk's nose, and bright large eyes. The skin of his face was like baggy yellow leather, and it was dry with fever. As he knelt beside the writhing sailor, I saw the metal crucifix nearly fall from his thin hands through sheer weakness. He was the Portuguese bishop from down-coast of course, and when I remembered that he had just been through black-water fever (which is own brother to yellow jack) I judged that from a human point of view he was behaving with exquisite foolishness in meddling with first-crop cholera patients. But I respected him a good deal for all that, and went and got opium and acetate of lead and gave the man on the hatch a swingeing dose. It was a useless thing to do, because the chap had got to die, and one incurred one's own risks by going near him; but if that bishop was a fool, I had got to be a fool too, and there was an end of it.


Mark you, I wasn't feeling a bit frightened then. I'd been through cholera-cramp in India, and knew what my chances were, and[Pg 162] was ready to face them without whimpering; though of course I'd freely have given every farthing I was worth to have been snugly back in the Congo again. But the thing had got to be seen through, and I intended to keep my end up somehow. I couldn't afford to die like a rat in a squalid hole like that.

I had breakfast all to myself that morning, because no one else turned up; and afterwards the captain did me the honour to call me into consultation. My Portuguese is off colour, but I speak enough to get along with.

"You English know so much about these things," he said.


"We keep clean ships," I answered, "and when anything goes wrong on them we do not lose our heads. Also we try to trace our way back to the root of evils. How did this plague start?"

"You must have brought it on board at Banana. We had not in the ship before you came."

"We did not bring it. There is no cholera in the Congo now. And, moreover, your passenger-boys are none of them sick. We must try back further."

We did that together laboriously; and at last traced the mischief to that fatal case of baccalhao which had been shipped at Bahia, an infected port; and had this essence of pest promptly thrown to the sharks. Next we went into the question of hands.

"I have not enough firemen and trimmers left to man a single watch," said the captain. "The cholera hit the stoke-hold first. The fellows who are working there now have stood three watches on end, and they are hardly making enough steam to give her steerage way."

"If you let your old beast of a tramp stop and drift about here like a potato-chip in a frying-pan it won't improve matters. Those of us who don't peg out with cholera will start murdering one another. The niggers will begin."

"Yes, I know. I wanted some of them to serve as firemen for good pay. But they will not listen to me. I do not think they understood. Will you come and translate?"

We took revolvers, holding them ostentatiously in our pockets. I crossed the dizzy sunshine of the lower main deck. The negroes on the forecastle head were chattering together like a fair of monkeys, but they ceased when we came up, and stared at us with faces working with excitement.

"Which be head-man?" I asked.

A big fellow stood forward, hat in hand. "I fit for head-man, sar."

I told him hands were wanted for the stoke-hold, and that the gorgeous pay of four shillings English per diem was offered.

"We no fit for stoke, sar," said he. "We gentlemen wid money, sar. We passenger-boys, sar."[Pg 163]

"Very well, daddy," said I. "But stoke you've got to. And if you won't do it civilly you'll do it the other way. Now my frien', pick me out twelve good strong boys. If you don't do it, I'll shoot you dead one-time; if they won't work, I'll shoot them. You quite savvy?"

We got the men and they went off to the stokehold, frightened and raging. Poor wretches, eight of them toppled over in the next twenty-four hours, and half-a-day later the engines stopped for the last time. I was smoking industriously under the alley-way, and Tordoff came and loafed near me.

"I'm a bally fine chief-engineer, aren't I?" said he.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, I'm the best man that's left of all our crowd, that's all. They're every sinner of them dead, black men, white men, and Portuguese. Where are we now?"

"Slap bang under the equator. That mountain-top sticking out of the water is San Thomé."

"Then I'm off there," said Tordoff. "This bloomin' steamer's played out. She can't steam, and she wouldn't sail if there was any wind, which there isn't. I shall take one of the boats and skip. You'd better come too."


"What for? Why not?"

"Because there are only two boats and they aren't enough for all hands."

"The boats will hold all the white men, or them that call themselves white. But if you are one of the missionary crowd that hold niggers as good——"

"I'm not. I know what niggers are, and therefore I'm not an Exeter Hall fool about them. I'll make free to tell you this boat-game's been thought of before; but that bishop says he won't leave the niggers to peg out alone; and if he's going to be idiot enough to stay, I am going to be another idiot. That's the size of it."

"Well," said Tordoff, "I've got no use for that kind of foolishness myself, and if you're left, you needn't come and haunt me afterwards. You've had the straight, square tip. And you'll do no good by spreading this palaver about. If anyone tries to stop us there'll be a lot of men killed. We aren't the kind of crowd that'll stick at trifles if we're meddled with. So long!"


He slouched off, and I went to the deck of the bridge and looked down on a curious scene. The main deck was a shambles. There were a score of corpses there, pitching about stiffly to the roll of the ship, with no one offering to touch them. There were a score more of sick, shrieking and knotting themselves in their agony. The survivors were in two sorts of panic—the comatose, and the madly violent. A crowd of yelling dancing negroes, most of them stark naked, had set up a ju-ju on a barrel of the fore-deck winch, and were sacrificing to it a hen which they had stolen from one of the coops. The little wooden god I knew: it was one that I had picked up in the Kasai country, and I was taking it home as a curiosity. It had been lifted from my own state-room by some prowling negro, and was now receiving fresh daubs of red blood amid the clamour of frantic worshippers. It was quite a reasonable thing to expect under the circumstances. But what threw the action of these savages into grotesque relief was the sight of another man crouched in prayer beside the bulwarks. It was the bishop. His tottering hands were pinning the crucifix to his hollow chest; his hips[Pg 164] were swaying under him with weakness; his dry cracked lips moved noiselessly; and the molten sunlight beat upon him as it pleased.


The sight of that man gave me a bad feeling. Before I knew quite how it happened, I was down on the frizzling main-deck, and the ju-ju had been plucked from the winch barrel and flung over the side, together with the tortured hen, and I was fighting for my life amongst a crowd of furies. Tordoff was there too (though I'm sure I don't know how he came), and thanks to him I got back again on to the bridge deck; but the bishop did not come with us. He stayed down there amongst those sullen animal blacks, imploring them, praying with them, soothing them. He was a braver man than I, that Portuguese.

Another night came down, and the steamer wallowed in inky blackness. In the morning we were still more helpless. The mates, the few remaining sailors, the stewards and cooks, and the two yellow traders had gone; the captain lay in the alley-way with a knife between his shoulder-blades; the bishop and I and Tordoff were the only white men remaining on board. Yes, Tordoff. I went into the pantry smoking a cigarette, and found him there, eating biscuits and raisins.

"You here?" I said, "Why, man, I thought you cleared out with the rest."

"No," he said, "I thought it would be so fine to stay behind and be able to scoff the cabin grub just as I pleased. I just stayed for the grub, it's worth it."

"You're rather a decent sort of liar," I said; "do you mind shaking hands?"

"I don't see the need," he said; "and besides, I'm using my hands to eat these raisins; but you may kick me if you like. There isn't a redder fool than me in both Atlantics. By the way, how's the padre?"

"Very sick. I looked into his room and found him lying in his bunk. He couldn't talk."

"I put him there. Found the old fool preaching to those beasts on all fours this morning, and looked on till he dropped; then I lugged him under cover."

"Any more dead?"

"Five pegged out during the night. They were lying pleasantly in and amongst the others, and there were seven more sick. I told the head-man when I went down with the padre to have them put over the side or I'd kill him. And when I came back I found he'd shoved over the whole dozen. The man-and-a-brother's a tolerable brute when he comes to handling his own kind, Mr. Calvert."

We went out then and set the passenger-boys to washing down decks. We could not give them the hose because there was no donkey working; but they drew water in buckets and holystoned and scraped and scrubbed till they cleaned the infection out of the decks, and sweated it out of themselves. The cholera seemed to have exhausted itself. There were three other cases, it is true, but they were mild, and none died. In their fright the boys would have chucked their friends overboard as soon as they were taken sick, but I promised the head-man to shoot him most punctually if any one went over the side who was not a pukka corpse, and if niggers were[Pg 165] addicted to gratitude (which they are not), there are gentlemen now living on the Kroos coast who might remember me favourably. For we did get in. A B. and A. boat picked us up three weary days later, and towed us at the end of an extremely long hawser into the very place to which I wanted to go.

Of course Fernando Po, being Spanish, kept us very much at arm's length; and we did a thirty days' most rigid quarantine, which made (after the last case had recovered) a matter of forty days in all. But we had no more deaths, and the bishop pulled up into fine form. He was not a man that I could ever bring myself to like, and as Tordoff was for the most part sullen and unwishful for talk, the time that we swung to our anchor off Port Clarence was not exhilarating.

Still it was pleasant to think that one was alive, and to realise that one had got respectably out of a very tight corner—yes, one of the tightest. The tramp's two boats never turned up again. I suppose they carried cholera away with them, and drifted about in the belt of equatorial calms, full of sun-dried corpses, till some tornado came and swamped them. So that we three were the only Europeans left out of thirty-four, and of the two hundred and thirty negroes who left Banana in the Congo, only seventy-four came to Fernando Po. It was a tolerable thinning out, but when it came to climbing the peak, that made up for all which had gone before. Indeed it is a wonderful mountain.

I saw Tordoff again just as I was going away from the island, and tried to put it to him delicately that I was not badly off, and would like to give him a lift if the thing could be managed.

"No, Mr. Calvert," he said, "thanks. I prefer to go to the devil my own gait. I don't suppose you'd ever know who I am; but if anybody describes me and asks, just say you haven't seen me."


And that is the last I have seen or heard of him. It is extraordinary how one drifts away from men. But, on the other hand, I should not be in the least surprised at stumbling across Tordoff again, in purple and fine linen for choice on the next occasion.

[Pg 166]



By Percy L. Parker.

The town of Northwich is subject to fits, and the reason is that people like salt. The existence of the fits is proved by a glance at the photos here given, and a few words will explain their cause.

A stranger who knows nothing of the town may well be alarmed as he walks down its streets, for on all sides he sees walls and houses standing at every possible angle. Houses lean against each other in a way suggestive of intoxication; doorways are all awry, and pavements and roads roll like a sea-serpent.

May & Co. photo.][Northwich.

It is not certain that you will find your horse or cow in its stall next morning even if you lock the door at night, for a great gulf may have swallowed it alive. Most people like to see their fireplaces standing above the level of the floor, but such prejudices cannot be tolerated at Northwich, and if your fireplace goes beneath the floor, well, such is one of the privileges of living in the place. It may happen that your house falls over in the night, or that its roof may come crashing down on your head. Even churches are not safe. Two at least have suffered demolition, and one is now closed as unsafe. The town bridge leads a vagrant life, and makes constant settlements, which impede the traffic on the river. Northwich cannot boast a town hall, for it also was a victim of the "moving" spirit of the place.

The details of this state of things are little known even in England, but a graphic description recently appeared in a German newspaper. It declared that so serious was the condition of Northwich that the inhabitants had fled to the neighbouring mountains, and all that could be seen on the site of the ancient town was the funnel of a passing steamer.

Some worthy people at Bradford evidently had a similar idea, for after a certain bank of that town had lent the Northwich authorities £5,000 they heard such alarming things about the place that they sent two directors to see if there was any chance of anything being left of Northwich when the repayment of the loan was due.

It is true that boats have been seen in the streets of Northwich, for every now and then they get flooded. The case of Northwich is serious enough, but there is still dry land, the people have not fled to the mountains, and the bank is pretty certain to be paid. What then is the matter?

T. Birtles, photo.][Warrington.

Northwich has the misfortune to be built on the top of a pie-crust. If you[Pg 167] cover some fruit in a pie-dish with a crust and then pump out the juice and fruit through a hole in the crust and place a heavy weight on it, you naturally expect the crust to break and the weight to fall into the dish. The pie under Northwich is made of rock salt, and on the top of the salt is a large amount of juice (or brine), and over it is the earth's crust. But a good many Jack Homers have been at this pie and have pumped the brine away. The heavy buildings on the crust have then broken through it, and in this way Northwich is subject to "fits." Locally they are called "subsidences."

The classic event at Northwich was the upsetting of a house called "Castle Chambers," occupied at the time by a solicitor. At 3 o'clock one morning in May, this house fell back into a large hole which suddenly opened at the rear of it. But not a single brick was moved nor a pane of glass broken, though the chimney was not proof against such antics and fell to the floor. This was due to the way in which the house was built.

May & Co. photo.][Northwich.

For so universal and expected are these subsidences, that the houses are now all built in wooden frames with massive timber beams screwed tightly together. This has revived a style of building common enough more than a hundred years ago, specimens of which are often seen in country places. If the house subsides it falls as a whole and does not necessarily collapse. All you have to do is to use a screw-jack to raise the house, fill in the hole, remove the jack, and sleep as before till another subsidence, when the same operation is gone through. Castle Chambers, however, were taken down and the ground made "sound." Twelve months after another subsidence took place, and the result is shown in the above photograph.

May & Co. photo.][Northwich.

Just opposite Castle Chambers stood the old "Wheat Sheaf Inn." It was built with timber to resist the dreaded subsidence, but to no purpose. Money was frequently spent in making good the damage done. One year it had to be raised no less than nine feet! A year after part of the building disappeared, then the cellars went, and as a climax a horse which was in the stable was swallowed up.

One Sunday morning a neighbouring farmer put his horse—worth £30 with its harness—into the stable, and when he returned after doing his business, he found that the beast had gone down a hole 15 ft. in diameter which had suddenly opened. The house was then pulled down and built further up the street. This shows how owners in Northwich stand to lose both buildings and the sites of them.

Next to the "Wheat Sheaf" was a butcher's shop, which was robbed one day of a sausage machine by the gaping earth. When it is mentioned that a second horse disappeared, and that a minister had a narrow escape from being swallowed, the fun of the following story will be appreciated. The minister one day in a funny mood was making some remarks at a public[Pg 168] meeting about the strange disappearance of the horses and the sausage machine. He suggested that when the people below received the first horse they naturally wanted a sausage machine, and hence the disappearance of that useful article. Then so much did they enjoy the produce of the machine that they wanted a second horse, and hence the second disappearance. At this point the chairman of the meeting rose and gravely asked whether on one occasion they did not also want a minister (referring to the funny man's escape), and the story-teller meekly ended his tale.

Another extraordinary subsidence was that which took place in a house in Tabley Street. The family were quietly seated in a room when they heard a tremendous crash, which soon brought the neighbours out to see what was the matter. An adjoining room was found to be minus its fireplace; instead there was a big hole reaching to the cellar beneath. The marble mantel-piece was smashed, and the tiled floor or hearth had fallen to the cellar. The cellar wall of the next house had given way, and there was great danger that the chimney would come smashing down. Soon after the walls cracked and the floors were drawn apart, making the house more breezy than comfortable. This was a peculiarly hard case, for the proprietor had recently spent a good deal of money in putting the property in order. In the end, the house and site were worth nothing.

T. Birtles, photo.][Warrington.

The house of a linen draper in the town sank one-fifth of its height between the years 1881 and 1891, and in the seven years since it has sunk nearly another fifth. One kitchen window looks out on the river, and the water is now but a few inches below the window sill. When I saw it the moon was shining on the water, making the scene singularly effective. At one time the kitchens were lofty rooms, now one can hardly stand upright in them, for the floors and the walls have not kept pace.

Another house I saw had eight steps of one foot each down to the front door. Not many years ago the doorstep was on the road level. An ironmonger's shop floor has sunk six feet in a similar way. One side of the floor is describing a semicircle, and the walls have long been cracked.

The "Crown and Anchor," the chief hotel in the place, had to be rebuilt, for to walk its floors was "like being at sea in a heavy gale." The floor of the dining-room had sunk so much that it was several feet below the level of the roadway, and the windows afforded a beautiful view of passing feet.

A jeweller had the novel experience of seeing his fireplace sink below the level of the floor and his mantel-piece half buried. Even the police station was not safe. It was built at a cost of £2,000, repairs to the extent of £300 were soon needed, but it became so bad that it had to be abandoned.

There are several streets in Northwich where the houses are simply tobogganing into each other, and all over the place are houses which have been condemned and now are closed. One street became suddenly several feet wider than it used to be, for one side was sliding away. It was afterwards found that the houses on that side had moved three feet from their foundations, which were discovered under the kerb stones of the pavement! The Marston Road sank 15 feet in forty years, and at last had to be abandoned owing to a huge chasm many feet in width which formed across it.

It is only fair that even the buildings of the salt works in the town are not exempt from these subsidences, which, indeed, are[Pg 169] due to their activity. One photograph is given which shows a pumping shaft in a serious epileptic fit, which ended in its total collapse. Some time ago the curious sight might have been seen of a large wall travelling from three to four feet away from the building of which it was once a part. And in several of the salt works I found the walls parting in all directions, the floors in the shape of an S, and whole blocks of buildings waiting for the house-breaker.

One of the most remarkable features of these subsidences is that no loss of human life has occurred. A girl with a child was passing the "Wheat Sheaf Inn" on the occasion of a subsidence and was nearly swallowed up, but not quite. The only loss of life was that of the two horses already mentioned and a cow. A man was driving a cow through the streets and turned to speak to a friend. On looking round he found that his cow had been swallowed up. He was assured that the animal would be pumped up with the brine at some point, but the beast was never seen again!

The subsidences already mentioned are almost invariably caused by the pumping away of the brine. Other subsidences are caused by the falling in of old and disused salt mines which have not been properly worked, or worked too near the surface. The result of these subsidences is generally seen in the formation of huge lakes of water called "flashes." One of these covers 100 acres, and is 40 to 50 feet deep. They cover what were formerly fields, and the ensuing loss was very great.

One gentleman had to make a new road to his property because 100 acres were under water, and other areas were badly damaged by subsidences; another built a house costing £6,000, and the largest offer he could get for it was £1,500—it had been so much injured by subsidence.

The area over which these subsidences take place is about two square miles. Some years ago the property in Northwich was valued at £311,885, but the depreciation on it was valued at one third, or £102,945—the annual loss being £5,147. When the matter was brought before the House of Commons it was stated that damage had been done to no less than 892 buildings. But the number to-day, if it could be estimated, would be infinitely larger. These 892 buildings comprised five public buildings, 15 manufacturing works, 21 slaughter-houses and stables, 34 ware-houses and workshops, 41 public-houses, 140 shops, and 636 houses and cottages.

In ten years the pumping up of brine had excavated from beneath beneath Northwich a space large enough to form a ship canal from Northwich to Warrington 150 feet wide and 30 feet deep. And a well-known authority declares that the subsidences during the present century form an excavation very much more extensive than was required for the Manchester and Liverpool Ship Canal. For the subsidences correspond with the amount of salt taken from the earth.

May & Co. photo.][Northwich.

Every ton of white salt consumes one ton of rock salt, and a ton of rock salt represents a solid cubic yard. As 1,200,000 tons of white salt are made every year at Northwich it follows that at least 1,200,000 cubic yards of solid foundation are removed from beneath Northwich each year. This is equal to an annual uniform subsidence of 248 acres one yard thick. No wonder that Northwich has fits!

Taking the fits as proved, we will now look more closely beneath the pie-crust of Northwich. The best way to do so is to get into a big tub which will just hold two people and go down the shaft of a salt mine, lowered by a windlass. First of all you pass through 32 feet of soil[Pg 170] and drift, and then about 92 feet of what would commonly be called rock. Then below these 124 feet you come to the first bed of rock salt, which averages about 75 feet in thickness. Passing through this you come to 30 feet more of rock, and below again is found another bed of rock salt, which averages in thickness about 90 feet. It is the lower bed of rock salt which is mined. The bottom of the mine down which I went was 330 feet below the surface, but the atmosphere was delightful, being cool and dry and not in the least oppressive. A magnificent chamber, 25 feet high and 17 acres in extent, had been dug out of the salt, and its extent could easily be gauged by the help of the candles which had been lit all round the mine. Massive pillars of salt of 10 or 12 feet square are left at intervals of 25 yards to support the roof.

The rock is got largely by blasting. A hole is drilled, and into the bottom of the hole a small powder ball is put. Loose powder is placed in a piece of straw and the straw is lighted. In a few seconds it burns down to the powder ball, and the rock salt which has lain so quietly in its bed for æons breaks up, and in process of time may find itself in any quarter of the globe.

T. Birtles, photo.][Warrington.

No damage is done to the surface by the mining of this lower bed of rock salt. It is too deep for that. The subsidences are all connected with the upper bed of salt. These upper beds used to be worked because the lower beds were not known, and when they were neglected they fell in, and in this way the large sheets of water of which I have spoken were formed above the earth's crust.

T. Birtles, photo.HOUSES WHICH
T. Birtles, photo.][Warrington.

But the mining of the upper bed of salt by man does not account for the subsidences here recorded. The name of the dangerous miner is "water." When water reaches the upper bed of salt it dissolves it as water does snow. Water can take in 26 degrees of salt and no more, and then it is called brine. Underneath Northwich is a sea of brine which lies on the top of the upper bed of salt rock. From this brine white salt is made by a process of evaporation, and that is why all over Northwich you see numbers of pumping stations which pump up the brine as fast almost as it is made. As the brine is taken out fresh water flows in and takes up its 26 degrees of salt. In this way the great cavities under Northwich which cause all the subsidences are made; they will grow bigger and bigger as long as the pumping up of brine is continued.

Truly Northwich lives and moves and has its being in salt, and promises to be buried in it too.

Brine pumping is the source of a terrible in[Pg 171]justice. A man may buy a piece of land large enough to erect a pumping station, and if on that spot he can tap the brine there is nothing to prevent him from drawing brine from any part of Northwich. And though his neighbour's house is engulfed in the process, and though he is ruined thereby, he can secure no compensation. If you were to mine salt or coal under your neighbour's house you could be brought to book, but not if you take water, salt or fresh.

Such was the law till a few months ago. But after a tremendous fight a bill has been passed which gives a Compensation Board power to levy not more than three-pence a ton on all brine pumped at Northwich. This levy is to go to the compensation of those whose houses and property have suffered. But at present not a penny has been paid and in no case will a penny ever be paid for all the damage done before the passing of the Act. Such is the tragedy of salt getting.


Northwich has been called the salt metropolis of the world, and as becomes a metropolis it is unique. It has a Salt Museum, the only one in existence, which contains the finest collection of Indian and American salts in the country. It also contains some very interesting exhibits. Among them are a pair of boots and an old broom-head which were left in an old salt mine for fifteen years. They had not much beauty when they were left, but Nature has made them exquisitely beautiful, for they are encased in salt crystals which were formed upon them in those fifteen years.

No one can go down a salt mine without asking, How did this salt come here? And no one can fail to be impressed by the answer. Æons before the footfall of man was heard upon the earth there stretched across Cheshire a great salt lake; and under the hot sun of a semi-tropical age the salt crystallised out of the water and rested at the bottom of the lake. How many years it is since the first layer was deposited can hardly be imagined, for it was formed under deep waters, while now it is over 300 feet beneath the earth's crust. But there are few finer fields for the exercise of the imagination than in trying to conceive the vastness of time and change which have elapsed since then. And when one does realise something of the eternity of that time one ceases to wonder that Northwich has fits when its heart of salt is taken from it.

[Pg 172]



By Richard Marsh.

Illustrated by John H. Bacon.

To him, the idea, from all points of view, suggested nothing but objections. He told her so.

"You know, Philippa, I don't believe, as the cant of the day has it, that a woman ought to earn for herself her daily bread; and that a woman should earn her husband's daily bread as well—to me, the mere idea of such a thing is nauseous. There may be men who are content to take the good which their wives provide. Thank goodness, I am not one of them. In this matter I am old-fashioned in my notions. I look at woman from a point of view which is, perhaps, my own. To me, the woman who, urged even by necessity, works for money, soils her womanhood, falls away from her high estate. I pity her, but—not that woman, if you please, for me. Necessity, Philippa, surely does not urge you. Am I not always at your side? Believe me, my day will come—come shortly! Only wait!" Putting his arm about her waist, he looked up into her face, with, in his eyes, a certain light of laughter. "Besides, in the great army of the workers, what work do you think there is for you? Do you think that in you there is the making of a woman of letters, Philippa?"

So he kissed her, and she said nothing. She could say nothing. She could only let him fondle her, as though they still were sweethearts. For she loved him, and he loved her. But though she loved him, in her heart there was a hot remonstrance, which she allowed to remain unspoken, because she loved him. It was easy to say that there was no necessity to prick her with a spur. But there were the tradesmen's bills unpaid, the rent in arrear, and the children wanted things—not to speak of herself and of him. And there was a drawer full of his unaccepted manuscripts. They went hither and thither, from editor to editor, and then for the most part they seemed to settle in the drawer.

She understood well enough what he meant when he asked if she thought that she had in herself the making of a woman of letters. She had been a nothing and a nobody. She had not even been very pretty. Certainly no superfluity of money had been thrown away upon her education. It was not at all as it is in the story books, but, quite by chance, he met her. Before he knew it, he was wooing her. And, when things came to the worst at home, he married her—she having nothing which she could call her own except the things which she was wearing. And he had very little more. It was not strange that he should doubt if in her there was the making of a woman of letters—she, who, save in the way of love letters, had scarcely ever written a line.

Geoffrey Ford was a genius. He had given her to understand that from the very first—in the days when, in her ignorance, she scarcely understood what a genius was. He gave her to understand it still, almost every day. With him, to write was to live. To be a great writer was the dream of his life. He strove to realise his dream with that dogged pertinacity which is only to be seen in the case of a master passion. When they first were married, he was struggling to be a dramatist. He was quite conscious that, in the trade of the writer, wealth was only to be achieved by the successful playwright. He believed that his was essentially the playwright's instinct. Although his plays met with abundance of good words, they did not attain production. It seemed as if they[Pg 173] never would. When they began to be actually starving, she suggested that he should put aside playwriting for a time, and try to earn money by other products of his pen. He had acted on her suggestion. He had become that curiosity of modern civilisation—a writer for the magazines. And, in a way, he had been successful. He was earning, perhaps, an irregular hundred and fifty pounds a year. But what are an irregular, a very irregular, hundred and fifty pounds a year, when there are three babies? And yet he said that there was no spur of necessity to urge her on.

The worst of it was, she was beginning to be a doubter. She would not own it, even to herself, but she was beginning to fear that he might be mistaking the desire to be, for the power to be. What he considered his best work invariably came back. He said that this was because editors were unable to appreciate strikingly original ideas when they were presented to them by a wholly unknown man. What they desired was a commonplace, and when he said this, she—well, she said nothing. From the first she had insisted on his reading aloud to her everything he wrote. Unconsciously to herself she had become a critic. She was beginning to fear that he was only at home in the lower levels. When he soared, he floundered. It was only among the hacks that he held his own. Even then, at times, he lagged behind. So far from hinting to him her fears, she would almost rather have died than have allowed him to know she had them. Their love for each other had never faltered, even when their cupboard was emptiest. It had seemed to grow stronger with the coming of each child. And, what is more, it appeared to her that, but for him, she would have dropped into a ditch.

Lately there had been growing up within her a desire to add to the family income. And, oddly enough, it had seemed to her that the best way to do this would be by writing. She had hinted something of this desire to Geoffrey. She had suggested, playfully, that she should join her pen to his—that they should collaborate. He had received her playful suggestion in such a way that she had not ventured to repeat it in earnest. She knew him, through and through. She knew that he desired to succeed, not only for himself, but, first of all, for her. He loved his work for the work's sake. He cared nothing for fame in the sense of popularity, or its equivalent, notoriety. In that respect he was a clear-sighted man—he knew what the thing was worth. For himself he cared nothing for the material products of success. His own tastes were of the simplest kind. He desired to achieve success simply that he might pour the fruits of success into her lap. He wished her to owe nothing to anyone but to himself, to owe nothing even to her own self. He wanted to be all in all to her, to have his love her beginning, and her end.

She knew this. Yet—the rent was overdue. Of late his manuscripts seemed coming back worse than ever. He seemed to be out of the vein. And the children wanted things so badly. And so——

Well, one day he came to her with an expression of countenance which she knew so well. It meant that a new idea, some fresh project, either was germinating, or else had germinated, in his mind. In his hand he held a newspaper.


"Philippa, I am going to do what I have told you I thought that I should never do—I am going in for a prize competition. See here." He opened the paper out in front of her. "The North British Telegraph is offering £500 for the best story, £250 for the second best, and £100 for the third best. I am going to win[Pg 174] one of those prizes—mark my words, and see if I don't."


He was kneeling at the table by her chair. She had her hand upon his shoulder. She smiled as he spoke. She knew his tone so well. He was always going to do this, that, or the other. But somehow, after all, he seldom did it.

"Are you? The money would be very useful."

"Useful! I should think it would. Why, to us, it would be a fortune. But that's not the only thing. You know how ideas come to me in an instant. Directly I saw that announcement I saw the story which will be the very thing."

"Did you?" Her heart grew faint. She was beginning to be a little afraid of his sudden flashes of inspiration. "How long is the story to be?"

"It does not say exactly, but it says that it should not exceed a hundred and fifty thousand words. It will give me elbow room. I shall have a chance to let myself go—to get into my stride. I am sick of dancing in fetters, with a limit of four thousand words or so."

"But it will take you a long time to write, won't it?"

"Oh, about six weeks. It will take me no time, when I am once well into the story. You know how I do travel, when I once have got my grip. It is half mapped out in my head already. Every line of it will practically be written before I begin. There will only be the pen work to do." Putting both his hands upon her shoulders, he stooped his eager face to hers. "Philippa, you see if I don't do the trick this time."

"Geoffrey, if I were you, I wouldn't be so sanguine. You know how disappointed you have been before."

Thrusting his hands into his trousers pockets, he began to stride about the room.

"Yes, I know that is so, and I won't be sanguine. But, somehow, I feel quite certain that, this time, I have the thing—however, I'll say nothing. But don't you tell me not to be sanguine, or you'll put me clean off—you know how funny I am, that way. You keep the children quiet, and don't let me hear a sound, and you'll see—well, you'll see what you will see." He laughed, and she laughed too. "Don't you laugh at me! If I don't get the first prize, it'll be hard lines if I don't get one of the three—even a hundred pounds is not to be despised."

"But, Geoffrey, what will become of your other work during those six weeks? And you know, when you have finished a long story, you never feel inclined to start again at once."

"Don't talk to me like that, or you'll drive me off my head. Philippa, I've set my heart upon doing this thing—do let me do it. You don't want me to be a penny-a-liner all my life, sweetheart, do you? By the way, I saw The Leviathan at the library. There's a first-rate story in it, by a new man—Philip Ayre. I know good work when I see it, and that is good work. And, do you know, it might almost be a story about us—you should read it. It is called 'Two in One.'" Wandering hither and thither about the room, he did not notice that his wife's face had suddenly been bent low over her mending, and that her cheeks had paled. "Another thing, I met old Briggs." Mr. Briggs was their landlord. "I assure you, when I saw him coming, I was half inclined, Dick Swiveller fashion, to dodge down some side street. I made sure he was going to dun, and that I should have to shuffle. But, to my surprise, he was quite friendly. He asked how you were, and how the children were, and never said a word about the rent. So, of course, I said nothing either. I'm just going for a stroll, and a smoke, and a think. Mind, when you go[Pg 175] to the library, that you don't forget to read that thing in The Leviathan."

When he had gone, spreading out the paper which he had brought in front of her she began attentively to study the announcement of the North British Telegraph prize story competition. Putting down the figures—150,000—upon a scrap of paper, she began to divide and to sub-divide them, as if she were trying to find out exactly what they meant. When she had finished her calculations, she continued to sit in a brown study, quite oblivious of the heap of mending which still lay unfinished on her knee.

"If I could only help him to win it—if I only could! Poor Geoff! The day on which he gave me five hundred pounds, as the product of his own work, would be the happiest day that he had ever known. My own, own Geoff!

"I wonder if he will win it? Oh, if he only would! But supposing that he does not win it, it would be just as well that—that someone else should win it—someone in—in his own home. Oh, what a wicked wretch I am! What's that? It's baby! I do hope she won't wake up. There's all this mending, and I've only milk enough for one more bottle. There! She is waking up! You naughty, naughty, darling child!"


The next day Geoffrey Ford began his story. He began to pour it out upon the paper, white-hot from the furnace of his brain. Seldom had he seen his way so clearly. It had come, as he said, in an instant. It possessed him, as it were, body and soul and mind, as his work was wont to possess him when, as he thought, he saw his way. His ideas would come to him with the force of a mighty rushing river. He could not dam them back. He felt that he was obliged to give them instant utterance or they would overflow the banks, and so be lost. He worked best, or he thought that he worked best, at high pressure. He believed in striking the iron when the force of the fire had almost made it liquid. Not for him was the journeyman labour of hammering out tediously, and with infinite care, cold iron.

The story was to be called "The Beggar." He had even got the title! It was one of those half-psychological, half-transcendental stories, in the turnings and twistings of which he liked to give his fancy scope. His fault was not too little imagination, but too much. The task of keeping it within due bounds was not only a task which he hated, but possibly it was a task which was beyond his strength. There are impressionists in painting. He was an impressionist in literature. He was fond of large effects—effects which were dashed in by a single movement of the brush. To descend to details was, he thought, a descent indeed. He was conscious that there was a public which would read a volume which, from first to last, only dealt with the minutest particularity, with a couple of days in the life of a single individual. That was a public he despised. He preferred to deal with a whole life in the course of a couple of pages.

He was, in short, a genius. And when I say a genius, I mean, in this connection, a wholly unmanageable person. As you read his work, you felt that you were in the presence of an exceptional mind—in the presence of a man who saw things, great things, things worth seeing, which were hidden from other men—who saw them, as it were, by flashes of lightning. That was just how he did see them—by flashes of lightning. He saw them for an instant, then no more. Partially, and not[Pg 176] the whole. In a lurid light, which almost blinded the beholder. So, when you read a work of his, you were startled, first by the light, then by the darkness. It seemed strange that a man who one moment could be so light, the next could be so dull. Soon you began to be irritated. Then you were bored. When you reached the end—if you ever reached the end—you wondered if the man was mad, or if he was merely stupid. But he was neither mad nor stupid. He was a genius, who, so far, declined to allow himself to be managed. When he became manageable, he would cease to be a genius—in the sense in which the word is here being used. Then, if he wrote at all, he would write what the plainest of plain men could plainly read.

The idea of his story was not an unattractive one—to a certain sort of writer. It was to be the story of a beggar, of a man who asked for alms in the streets, and who, by the exercise of certain arts, which verged upon the marvellous, amassed a fortune. Geoffrey Ford proposed to follow the beggar, as he amassed his fortune, and to show what he did with his fortune, when he once had gained it. And in the little room upstairs, the wife sat with the children, watching over their every movement to see that they made no unnecessary sound. They were good children. When papa was writing, even the baby seemed to do her best to keep the peace. The little ones seemed willing to give up the birthright of the child—the right to enter into the heritage of life with a rush of happy noise. And, below, the husband, and the father, wrote, and wrote, and wrote, and rushed about the room, chasing his dreams, so that he might imprison them, with ink, on paper.


The days went by, and the story grew. And so wrapped up was the writer in its growth, that he failed to notice that about his wife there was something unusual, and even a little strange. She was interested in his work, there could be no doubt of that. But she did not, as he was inclined to think that she was apt to do, worry him with continual questions as to how it was getting on, and inquiries into this, or that. She let him go his own way, without making so much as even one suggestion. She was wont to be a little too free with her suggestions, he sometimes fancied. For her suggestions hampered him. And—but this he did not notice—she went her own way too. Rather an odd way it seemed to be. For one thing, she seemed to be unusually busy. She did not come into the room in which he was working even after the children had gone to bed. She seemed to have something on her mind. She became distinctly paler. It might have been illness, or it might have been anxiety, or it might have been overwork. A queer look came into her eyes. Sometimes it was almost like a look of apprehension. Then there would come a timidity in all her movements, as if she were even afraid of him. Then it would be like a look of vacancy, as if her thoughts were far away. When that vacant look was there, she seemed to be unconscious of her husband's presence—just as he had a trick, in his meditative moods, when he was thinking of his work, of becoming unconscious of her. Then again, as one looked into her eyes, one would have thought that she was possessed by some mastering excitement—a flaming fire which glowed within.

One afternoon her husband came in from his daily visit to the Library Reading Room. He was not in his happiest mood. He was a man of moods. When the black mood was upon him, all the world was black.[Pg 177]

"On my word, I do not know what things are coming to. There's Graham, of The Leviathan, sends back everything I send him. That MS. which came back this morning, he has had two months, and it's a first-rate thing. Then he goes and fills his pages with stuff which I wouldn't put my name to. The new number's out, and there's another story in it by that man Philip Ayre. I never read such rubbish in my life."

His wife had looked up at him, as he came in, with a smile of welcome. When he began to speak of The Leviathan, her face dropped again. It went paler than even it was wont to do. There was a tremor in her voice.

"I thought you said that that other story of his was rather good."

"It was good enough—of its kind. But it's a kind I hate. There's a craze about for sickly pathos, which, to me, is simply disgusting. In that man Ayre there's the making of a popular writer. Mark my words, and see if he doesn't make a hit. In a few months he will be all the rage—you see. And it is to make room for such men as Ayre that I shall be condemned to eat my heart out till I die."

Putting down her work, his wife came to him from the other side of the table.

"Geoffrey, don't say that!"

Tears were actually in her eyes.

"Philippa, what's the matter?" As he put his arms about her and drew her on to his knee, he felt that she was trembling. "Sweetheart, what is wrong?"

"Don't speak like that of Philip Ayre!"

"Not speak like that of Philip Ayre! Why, lady, do you hold a brief for him? You silly child! It's only a foolish way I have. But if you could only realise how I long, and long, and strive, and strive, to stand up with the best of them, you would understand how it galls me to find how I am thrust aside by men whose work seems to me to be so poor a thing. For their work's sake, I almost begin to hate the man."

"Geoffrey! Geoffrey! Not that! not that!"

Flinging both her arms about his neck, she burst into an hysterical flood of weeping—she who never cried.

"Dear heart!—tell me!—what is wrong!—Philippa! Philippa!—my wife."

She did not tell him what was wrong. It seemed as if she could not tell him what was wrong. Perhaps, as he told himself, it was because, after all, there was nothing wrong. She was only out of sorts that day-unusually out of sorts for Philippa.

After a while he began upon another theme.


"Sweetheart, if something doesn't come in soon—and I don't know where it's going to come from—I can't see what we shall do for money. I don't know if you are acquainted with the state of the family finances. What we must owe the people I am afraid to think. Why they don't worry us more than they do is a mystery to me. I see you've been getting new boots for the children. They wanted them. But they'll have to be paid for, I suppose. Never mind! All things come to those who wait, and luck will come to me. I'm sure I've waited. Let's hope that an unexpected cheque will come along. Anyhow, wait until the 'The Beggar' is finished. It'll be a splendid thing-you see! I'm putting some of the best work into it I ever did. If it doesn't win the first prize, it's bound to win the third. Why, Philippa, your eyes are red. The idea of your crying because I was[Pg 178] pushed against the wall to make room for an unknown ass like Mr. Philip Ayre!"

"The Beggar" was finished. It was sent in. Then came the weeks of waiting. Geoffrey Ford did scarcely any work. The larger proportion of the work he did came back again. He seemed to be in a curious frame of mind—as though he took it for granted that that five hundred pounds was already on its way to him.

"If I get that five hundred pounds," he would say, "I will do this, or that."

His wife grew sick at heart.

"Geoffrey, I wish you wouldn't think of it so much. You make me think about it, too. And then, if you don't get it, you know what a bitter disappointment it will be."

"I suppose you take it for granted that I shan't get it?"

"I don't take anything for granted. I never do. I wish you wouldn't either."

"There's one thing, I don't believe that these competitions are ever conducted fairly. I don't see how they can be. I don't see how any man, or any set of men, can wade through a cartload of MSS. in such a manner as to be able to judge, with critical nicety, which is the best one in the truckful. But I'm sure of this, I don't believe that any man sent in a better story than 'The Beggar'—a more original one, I mean. I know the sort of people who enter for these competitions-a lot of wretched amateurs."

She said nothing in reply. What could she say? She knew that it was not only conceit which prompted him to talk like that. She understood quite well the almost anguished longing which filled his heart. Her own heart throbbed pulse for pulse with his.

Returned MSS. seemed to annoy him more than usual. He was case-hardened, as a rule. When they reappeared, he simply packed them up again, and sent them off upon another journey. Especially was he irritated by the return of a MS. which he had sent to The Monthly Magazine.

"I knew that would come back. I see that Philip Ayre has something in this month's number. I don't know who he is. So far as I know, he is the very last discovery. But I believe that that man is destined to be my evil star."

His wife went white to the lips.

"Geoffrey! I wish you wouldn't talk like that. It doesn't sound like you at all."

"I suppose they're quite right in preferring his work to mine, only—" He shrugged his shoulders. "Philippa, I sometimes wish that you were a writer. Then you would understand me better. You would understand what I feel when I see the dream of my life growing dimmer and dimmer, and more dream-like, every day."

Philippa was still.

The day approached on which the conductors of the North British Herald had stated that they would announce the winners in their competition for stories. Geoffrey Ford's anxiety increased to fever heat. His heart stood still every time he heard the postman's knock. His wife knew that it was so, although he did his best to hide how it was with him.

"To-morrow," he said, "I shall know if I have won."

"Or," his wife suggested faintly, "if you have lost."


"Or, as you say, if I have lost. But[Pg 179] we won't speak of losing. I have never put my heart into anything as I have put it into this. I am sure that 'The Beggar' is the best work I have ever done—I am sure of it. I will go further, and say I believe it is as good work as I shall ever do. Upon my honour, Philippa, something tells me I shall win—it does! Oh, if I could only win!"

He had arranged that a copy of the issue of the paper containing the announcement should be sent to him by post. That morning the postman brought him two enclosures. One was a bulky parcel. When he saw it, his heart, all at once, ceased beating. He had to gasp for breath. Without a word, he began to unfasten it, with hands which trembled. Philippa bustled about the breakfast table, as if her own heart was not working like a wheezy pair of bellows.


"Philippa! it's 'The Beggar'! the manuscript—come back again!"

"Never mind." How she tried to speak in the most commonplace of voices. "You can send it somewhere else. It's sure to get accepted."

"Send it somewhere else?" She saw that his lips were twitching, that his face seemed bloodless. "But—I don't understand. Not a word of explanation is enclosed. I don't know what it means. Perhaps there's some mistake. Let's—let's see who's won."

The other enclosure which had come for him was obviously a copy of the paper. He tore it open-still with hands which trembled. He searched its columns for the announcement.

"My God!"

"Geoffrey! what's the matter? Who has won? Oh, Geoffrey, have you won?"

"Me! me!" He rose to his feet, as it were, inch by inch. "It's Philip Ayre!"

"Philip Ayre!"

Falling on her knees beside the table, Mrs. Ford covered her face with her hands.

"It's Philip Ayre! Didn't I tell you he was destined to be my evil star? Curse——"

Mrs. Ford rose up in front of him.

"Geoffrey, be careful what you say! I am Philip Ayre."

"You? What do you mean?"

She advanced to him, on tottering feet, with outstretched hands.

"Geoffrey, I am Philip Ayre!"

"You are Philip Ayre? What on earth do you mean?"

"Oh, Geoffrey, don't you understand? Philippa—Philip Ayre!"

There was a moment's pause—a pause which, probably, neither of them ever would forget.

"You—you are Philip Ayre! How dull I must have been not to have seen the pretty play upon your name before. Philippa—Philip Ayre. Of course! So you have been my rival. My wife—the mother of my children—the woman I loved better than all the world."

"Geoffrey, don't say that I have been your rival!"

"No? Not my rival? What then?"

"I did it all for you!"

"For me? I see. I am beginning, for the first time, to understand the meaning of words. You did it for me? This is not a foreign language which you are speaking—I suppose it is English?"[Pg 180]

"Geoffrey, will you listen to me for a moment?"

"Certainly; and I shall understand that I am listening to you, to your own self, for the first time. It is someone else I have listened to before. Proceed, Mr. Philip Ayre."

She seemed to find some difficulty in proceeding. Very soon she was to give another child unto the world. Perhaps it was that which made her seem so weak. She never had been very pretty. She had not grown prettier with the passage of the years. Now, as she stood trembling so that she had to clutch at the table to keep her stand, she seemed an insignificant, pale-faced, ill-shaped woman—not a thing of beauty to the eye. She seemed, also, to be in mortal terror.

"Geoffrey, I would have told you all along, only I was afraid."

"Afraid to tell me that you had set up as a rival in the business? I see. Go on."

"I wouldn't have done it at all if we hadn't been so short of money."

"Which was because you had a blundering fool for a husband. That is clear. Well?"

"The children wanted things, and—and there were the bills, and—and the rent."

"Which you paid. Now I understand Mr. Briggs' civility, the tradesmen's reticence. I have been living on my wife. What a blind worm a man who has the use of his eyes can be!"

"I—I never meant to be your rival—never, Geoffrey, never."

"Mr. Philip Ayre——"

"Don't call me Mr. Philip Ayre!"

"Why not? Aren't you Mr. Philip Ayre?"

"Oh, Geoffrey! Geoffrey!"

She knelt down before him, so that her hands fell on his knees as he was seated on his chair. He moved her hands and rose.

"Let us understand each other, quietly. Philippa, I told you, before we were married, that I objected to a woman who worked for money. I had no objection to women who worked for money. That was no affair of mine. I simply objected to make such an one my wife. I imagined, when you became my wife, that you would make my hopes and my ambitions yours. Indeed, you told me that you would. I was poor, and you were poor. You knew that I would work for you with all my strength. And so I have done. When, a little time ago, you suggested that you, too, should become a labourer for hire, I told you, with such courtesy as I could command, that, to me, the idea was nauseous. Perhaps I should have told you then, what, indeed, I had told you before, and what I tell you now again, that rather than have a wife who worked for money, I would have no wife. You were perfectly aware of this. You were well acquainted with what I thought and felt upon the matter. I do not say that my thoughts and feelings were correct. Still, they were mine. You said you loved me. You swore it every day. I never dreamed that, to you, my wishes were nothing, and less than nothing. And that you should deliberately set yourself to cheat me out of the fruits of what you well knew was the labour and the longing of my life—"

"Not cheat you, Geoffrey—no, not cheat you!"

"Yes, cheat me! cheat me! I suppose that you sat upstairs and pretended to keep the children quiet, while I sat down here and wrote. And for every page I wrote, you wrote another, the object of which was to rob me of the life-blood with which I had written mine. But far be it from me to reproach you, Mr. Philip Ayre. You have won, and I—poor devil!—I have lost. It is the fortune of war. I am without a penny. You have your five hundred pounds. And, as it is quite impossible that I can consent to be the recipient of charity from the woman who calls herself my wife, I have the pleasure, Mr. Philip Ayre, of wishing you good day."

She sprang between the door and him.

"Geoffrey! What are you going to do?"

"I am going to live my own life. I am going to earn my own living under the shelter of a roof for which I myself have paid. I am going to meet you with the gloves off, in fair and open fight, not behind a hedgerow, with a gun in my hand, Mr. Philip Ayre."

"Geoffrey, any—any hour I may be taken ill."

"What do you wish me to do? I will stay here until you are well, but only until then, on the understanding that not a penny of your money is to be used for me."

"The children are upstairs. Won't you—won't you let them in?"

"Let them stay upstairs. Philippa! What is the matter?"

Her time was come—that was the matter. By noon their fourth child was born.[Pg 181]

When the nurse came to the sitting-room door, she found Geoffrey pacing round and round like some wild creature in a cage.

"Mr. Ford, sir?"

He looked round with a start.

"Yes, nurse."

"Mrs. Ford would like to see you, sir."

"To see me? Oh! Is she well enough?"

"Well, sir, she's not so well as she might be. But she says that it would do her good to see you. Only you musn't let her talk too much, nor yet you musn't stay too long."

"I won't stay too long."

He went upstairs. He paused for a moment outside the bedroom door. Then he entered the room.

"Geoff, I'm going to die!"

Her words so frightened him that, in the suddenness of his fear, he staggered backwards.

"To die!"

"All along I knew that I should. I knew it when I was writing that wicked book—the book which has won the prize, I mean. Perhaps that was why I wrote it. It is the best way out of the trouble. I should never have been the same wife to you again. I know you so well. But, Geoffrey, you won't refuse to accept a legacy from me when I am dead. It is the only thing I have ever had to give you. For the children's sake, and the little baby's sake, and mine."

He sat on a chair by the bedside, trying to hold himself in, as it were, with every muscle of his body.

"Philippa, you musn't talk like that."

"If you'll forgive me, Geoff, I'll be content—only promise that you'll accept my legacy."

"Not if you die, I won't."


"I'll accept it if you live."

Holding the baby in his arms, he knelt beside the bed. She turned to him. They were face to face. As he began to perceive how she had wasted to a shadow, it did not seem as if he could read enough of the story which was told upon her face. She, in her turn, did not seem as if she could gaze long enough at him.

"Geoffrey, do you really mean that if I live, and get well, really and truly well, you will take me for your wife again—that I shall be to you the same wife that I have always been?"

"Philippa, if one of us is to die for the other, let me be the one to die."

"Geoff, I do believe that if there is anything which must be done, you must be the one to do it. Can't you understand, that if you love to do great things for me, I, also, love to do great things for you. I can't help it. It was that which made me Philip Ayre."

"Be Philippa—or Philip Ayre. Only—stay with baby and with me."

She was silent for some moments as she lay and looked at him with a singular intensity of gaze.

"I think, Geoffrey, I shall live."


[Pg 182]



By Sidney Gowing.

Do not believe it when you are told that bull-fighting is near its end. The great sport is as popular and deeply rooted in Spain as cricket is in Britain, and will last as long. To attempt to stop bull-fighting by law would cause a bigger revolution among the Spaniards than the most fearful disasters at home or abroad.

The great home of bull-fighting is Seville, and when the Seville fights are in their glory even Madrid takes second place. The Seville bull-ring is a little larger than that of Madrid, though it is not quite so gorgeously designed. Still, it holds over 14,000 people.

Nearly every Sunday throughout the year there is a bull-fight of sorts to be seen.

About 300,000 people go to the bull-fight every week in Spain, on an average. One must also count in an infinite number of little amateur fights in outlying villages of the provinces.


But at a pukka bull-fight in Seville, six of the finest bulls and at least forty[Pg 183] horses are provided, to say nothing of the cortège of gold-clad operators drawing terrific salaries. Fashion and the masses turn out together to hoot and whistle and shout, and nothing on earth short of Armageddon could stop a fight half-way.


Half-past two in the afternoon is the usual time for commencement. Seats in the sun cost between eighteenpence and two shillings, and in the shade anything from three shillings to five pounds. The bulk of the seats are merely stone steps, like the face of a pyramid, and above them a double row of chairs fenced in by a balcony. It is only these last that are covered from the sky. Half the ring is protected by its own height from the heat of the sun, and the other half is open to its glare.

When the amphitheatre is full of sun-hatted Spaniards, with a sprinkling of girls wearing white mantillas (only at bull-fights are white mantillas the thing), the president takes his place in a little box by the side of the big white platform that is set apart for special visitors.

Then the door at the far end of the arena opens, and the suite comes forth. There are a couple of sombre-looking cloaked horsemen mounted on rather sorry nags, and these amble forward, salute the president, and request the key of the Toril, the great stable where the bulls wait to die. Then come the matadors—they who do the killing—from two to four of them, dressed in knickerbocker attire, with short jackets, after the fashion of an Eton coat. These are generally of light pink or blue silk, hung with infinite short tassels of spun gold or silver. The cloak, which is as fine a piece of embroidery as one could find anywhere, is lapped round the back and held tight in front. The hats are not of the inverted saucepan-lid type that are always depicted in bull-fight pictures, but big black furry structures, bulging at the sides. The men are short, but well made, and carry themselves with a lithe swing that at times savours distinctly of swagger.

In a double row the banderilleros come next—they whose duty it is to place the papered darts—and behind them a few chulos, who are in the first stages of the art, and whose duties are confined to agile exercises with the red cloak.

In the rear ride the picadors—heavily clad lancers—gaily dressed somewhat after the Mexican fashion, and carrying long wooden lances that bear nothing more hurtful than a short blade, the size of a flattened tea-spoon, at the end. These lancers would look still more impressive but for the fact that their steeds are aged and weary carriage hacks, such as would[Pg 184] in Britain be sent to the knacker's yard.

Six picadors complete the cortège, with a hanger-on or two behind to help direct the horses. They, poor brutes, are bandaged over one eye—the eye that is to be nearest the bull.

The suite salutes the president, who is a Town Magnate of high degree, and he bows his stateliest in reply. The gorgeous cloaks are only for show, and they are thrown over the barrier into the little corridor that separates the ring from the tiers of seats, and held by an official. In return, the fighters receive their working cloaks—scarlet, blood-stained, and ragged—and range themselves round the walls of the ring. And here let us get rid of the word "toreador"—it is never used in Spain. All other nations seem to take kindly to it, but torero is the Spanish for bull-fighter.

The heralds at the far end of the arena lead off with a flourish of trumpets, and the great door with the iron bull's head over the top swings open and shows a gloomy cavity beyond. There is nothing to see for about ten seconds. There is a hush all round the tiers of waiting people, and presently a blurred shadow looms through the dark.


The bull trots out nimbly to the rim of the arena, glares aggressively at the empty space ahead of him, shakes his mighty head, and every line of his lithe frame says "Ready!" He is not like our British bulls, heavy and ponderous, but spry and agile as a terrier, twisting on his own axis like a small rater in stays. He was not goaded or tortured before the entry, to make him savage, as the historians of bull-fights would have us believe—there is no necessity. It is almost the finest part of the spectacle, this first entry, and those who cannot bring themselves to sit out the drama of blood and steel that comes later should witness it and then go. So the bull trots in and looks round for something to slay. This is a chance for a young and agile torero to show his skill.


The seeker of fame runs out to about the centre of the sandy arena and stands with his arms folded. His Majesty the bull waits for nothing farther, but puts all four hoofs to the ground and thunders towards the youngster at full gallop. Just as the great horns lash upwards for the toss, the boy twists himself round, and at that moment the space between the two is to be counted by inches. The bull usually puts so much vicious power into this first effort, that at the attempted toss he flings his forequarters clear of the ground, and his forefeet come down with a sounding crack on the hard floor. There is nothing left for the fighter to do but run, and he vaults the barrier into the corridor beyond. The bull frequently gathers so much impetus in following at the runner's heels, that he too must leap the fence—a goodly jump for a bull—about five feet. Then follows a wild scramble of corpulent policemen, sweetmeat-sellers, water-carriers, and so forth, and they scuffle heavily over the barrier into the deserted ring. But a door is soon[Pg 185] opened, the bull turned back into the arena, and the herd of onlookers climb feverishly back into safety.

There are three picadors on their sorry mounts standing round the fence, but before these come a little knot of chulos, men with cloaks, inviting the bull to a species of game of "touch." The chances are largely in favour of the men here, for the cloaks are large, and can be fluttered in the bull's face while the holder is two or three yards away. Besides, a bull charges with closed eyes, and always attacks the cloak, not the man. There are exceptions to this, but such exceptions give a new turn to the fight, and moreover give work to the little surgeon in the whitewashed room beyond the stables, and to the priest who attends without for the peace of soul of those that may need him before the sixth bull is slain.

Here, again, a matador, he who kills, will often take a cloak and show the audience three or four artistic passes with it, as distinct from the go-as-you-please way in which cloaks are wielded by the chulo. These passes only allow the cloaker to miss the bull by a short breadth, and are well defined and recognised by all connoisseurs. The bull has now given up those wild rushes from a distance, and fences warily, evidently much annoyed at the fruitlessness of his charges, and the impossibility of driving his horns home in solid flesh. So out comes the picador on his halting steed, and plants himself well away from the barrier, so that he may not be thrown against it in the fall. His legs are cased beneath the yellow leggings with sheet iron, for he cannot shield them from the enemy's rush. Horsemanship is absent—there is no need for it. To plant his lance, and fall without hurting himself, is the whole art of a picador, and this part is the greatest blot on the performance. It is merely an act of deliberate slaughter, for the horse is intended to be killed, and will be kept there till it is killed.


The horse always seems vaguely conscious of something wrong, though it is not generally unmanageable. The other horses, while their comrade is being done to death, often grow restive and frightened, though they are unable to see what goes on. The bull seldom appears anxious to attack the horse, but it is pushed forward under his nose, and the big picador on top poises his lance aggressively. Then comes the short, plunging charge, the shock of the short lance-point in the bull's shoulder, and the awful home drive of the great horn into the tottering horse's body. In such a case the forequarters of the mount are lifted clear from the ground, and I have even seen a strong eight-year-old bull fling horse and rider over his back, as if they had been lightly stuffed museum specimens, instead of weighty flesh and blood. The breed of bulls called Miura—one of the most dangerous to fighters—generally strike home about the horse's chest, and thus death is rapid and sudden; but the famed Muruve bulls usually attack the flanks, and the scenes that follow this are too shudderingly horrid to put down on clean paper. Even then, if the wounds allow of the horse standing at all, the stricken beast is mounted again and led forward for another fall, though the populace resent this by whistles, as a rule. Whistling, by the way, is the Spanish method of expressing disapproval.

A bull that takes the stab of the lance without flinching is usually esteemed and applauded; but a young animal may be turned by the first chilling pain of the raw steel. If the horse is overthrown, the picador falls with a crash, and wriggles aside as best he can that the poor beast may not roll on him. In the nick of time[Pg 186] a chulo flaunts his crimson rag in the bull's face and draws him away from the helpless lancer, who is hoisted to his feet by the assistants and given a lift on to his steed's back again—if the latter is still capable of bearing a man. If not, the dagger-man—"cachetero" he is called—arrives with a short arrow-headed knife, and severs the doomed beast's backbone at the neck with one short stab. There is no quicker death. The horse wilts like a rent air-balloon, and is dead without a quiver.


He is happier than the long line of his fellows that wait in the gloomy stables beyond.

On an average about three horses fall to a bull, but a single bull has often killed twenty. Some cattle seem to have a leaning towards horse-slaughter, but the majority appear not to relish it. They stand before the picador, and gaze as if considering whether it would be sportsmanlike to rend such a tottering beast. Still, three corpses usually lie about the sand, with the dark, raw pools around them, before the second trumpet-blare sounds.

This is the signal for the withdrawal of the horses. A bull must be allowed to kill as many as he likes, and then the banderilleros are rung on. One comes forward—dressed like the rest, but without any cloak as a protection—carrying a pair of gaily-papered wooden darts, pointed with a large iron barb at one end. He walks into the centre, places his feet together, and defies the bull by a rapid poise of the twin sticks, one in each hand.

If the bull charges at once it is touch and go with the holder, and he must plant his barbs exactly parallel either in the nape of the bull's neck or behind the shoulders—always well on top and within an inch or two of each other. A slight clumsiness is loudly hooted and whistled at by the audience, who are as keen critics of everything that transpires as our own crowds are of cricket.

It takes years to make a good banderillero. Three, or even four pairs of banderillas are planted in the shoulder of the bull, and they mislike him much. He tosses his head and roars angrily when the first pair are placed, but the pain of the inch-long barb, as it falls over and grips the flesh, generally bewilders the bull for a second, and allows the banderillero time to slip aside and run for the barriers.

It is one of the most perilous feats, this placing of darts, for they are never thrown, except in the accounts of bull-fights that occur in novels or newspapers, but thrust into the enemy's neck by hand.

Possibly the bull refuses to charge until the fighter runs towards him from an obtuse angle, and this is the easiest plan for the man. On the other hand, a daring matador will sometimes take a pair of darts and sit on a chair before his prey.

On the charge the slayer slips aside, plants the darts neatly, and the chair often flies twenty feet into the air. This is seldom practised, except at the great Easter fights during Holy Week.


The darts are about two feet six inches long, and merely round pieces of deal, more or less straight, with a wrought-iron semi-arrow at the extremity. The barb is thus single, like a fish-hook. There is not room on a bull for more than four pairs, if they are[Pg 187] placed properly; so the banderilleros are rung out, and the trumpets sound the entry for the last act of the red drama.

The matador comes forward. He walks up to the bedizened and top-hatted president, doffs his cap, and makes a speech. He holds a red cloth in one hand, about four feet square, and in the other a straight Toledo sword with a slightly rounded end. There is a ceremony to go through here, and ceremony is the breath of life in the nostrils of a Spaniard. He dedicates the bull to the president, or to the chief lady visitor, and waves the sword and the sable cap impressively the while. Then, with a majestic sweep, he flings the cap to the audience to hold for him—a coveted honour—and walks out to face the bull.


This latter, by loss of blood and much chasing, is glum of aspect and foot-weary. The nerve-tearing barbs rattle their wooden holders about his back as he moves. He seems to recognise that the last part of the fight has come, for all the teasing chulos have withdrawn, and he is alone with one small, wiry man with a bright sword. The time for wild rushes is past; the bull plants himself gloomily and waits his chance. There is the faena to go through first—a series of passes with the scarlet flag. There may be a dozen or so to show, each well recognised by the schools of bull-fighting, and each with its own value and technique. Alto, de pecho, derecho, and so forth—they are too numerous and intricate to explain here; but when the bull has bravely charged the last of them, and passed under the flag into space again on the other side, then comes the preparation for the death-stroke. No other beast in the world would have fought so long. Tiger, wild boar, any of the most blood-thirsty tropical brutes, steeped in vicious savagery—none of them will stand up to the enemy after such bitter dole as is the portion of a bull in the arena, and fight to the end without once turning tail.

So the matador arranges the cloak in his left hand and the sword in his right. Teasing has been the form so far, but now one or the other has to die, and it is not as invariably the bull as most people suppose. There are many ways of making the last stroke.

A short aim, a wave of the flag, and with the last blind, lunging charge the swordsman slips aside, and his blade runs up to the hilt behind the bull's shoulder. The hammered steel feels the great tired heart within, and the enemy falls—the pluckiest beast of his day.


This is what should happen, and with a first-rate swordsman it does. But often half-a-dozen lunges are made, till at last the red, tottering brute kneels down peacefully from sheer inability to stand, and the puntillero comes up behind and writes the end with one short stab of his iron dagger behind the skull. The matador walks round the barriers bowing to the cheers of the people, and behind him stalks a chulo, who picks up for him the showers[Pg 188] of cigars, hats, and so forth that are showered into the ring.

A big folding gate swings back, and two teams of gaily-ribboned mules canter in with smart teamsters running beside them. One is hitched to the bull, and with a shout and a long sweep round the reddened sand the bull is hauled out at full gallop, one horn drawing a wavy line in the yellow floor, and one stiff fore-leg wagging grimly to the long lope of the jingling mules. The dead horses are drawn out in the same way, with the same ringing whoop, and as the gates close on the slain the Toril looms open afresh, and the second bull comes forward to his death.

There are variations. Instead of receiving the charge upon the sword the matador may achieve the "volapie" (half-volley), by running towards the bull and driving the sword home as the two meet. Or, a favourite method, but a difficult one, is to sever the spinal cord behind the skull with the point of the sword as the great head goes down to toss. Yet another variation that I have seen more than once is the tinkling of the sword upon sand, a rapid leap, as it seems, of three feet into the air, by the matador, and his writhing collapse upon the floor. Then a hurried flash of red cloaks in the bull's face, to draw him from the fallen man. The fighters are vastly plucky about their mishaps, and generally manage to run out rather than be carried. Few of them, if they have seen much bull-fighting, but are scarred freely with old wounds. The horn generally enters the stomach or groin, and a terrible wound it makes. The photograph illustrating the "death-stroke" on this page shows Espartero, who was the most famous and most utterly reckless of toreros during his life. His sword is up to the hilt in the bull's left shoulder, the flag just passing over its forehead, and its right horn shaving the matador's right knee by a few inches, The upward toss, if the bull were just a little nearer, would bury the horn in Espartero's waist, but those four inches were the rim between life and death, and a second later the bull was stretched upon the sand.

Espartero was killed in the Madrid arena in July 1894. As he administered the death-stroke, the bull, a fierce and very hardy Miura called Perdigon, drove its horn home, and the two died together. Espartero was accorded by far the finest funeral that was ever seen in Spain, easily eclipsing that of any statesman or royal personage that ever died there. His loss was made almost a cause for recognised national mourning. He was an esparto-grass weaver by trade ere he took to the arena, and before his death was wont to receive between £300 and £500 for a single afternoon's work in the ring.


Bull-fighters begin as chulos, drawing about £3 a week, and when qualified as banderilleros they make from £5 to £30 a week. A first-class matador, such as Guerrita, draws about £300 or more for a single fight, and generally there are two first-class matadors in a good Seville or Madrid fight.

A really good bull-fight costs from £1,500 to £2,000 and more. Good bulls are worth between £30 and £50 apiece if full-grown and from the best flocks. The cattle are perfectly wild during their lifetime, and are allowed to run at large among the plains and marshes as they please.

The horses, poor beasts, are worn-out carriage-hacks, and cost about £2 apiece.

Without question bull-fighting is a truly loathsome sport, and the British traveller whose curiosity leads him to witness a performance is rarely tempted to repeat the experiment.[Pg 189]


By Halliwell Sutcliffe.

Illustrated by W. Rainey, R.I.

Reginald Hampton, the distinguished aeronaut, was at the mercy of any wind that chose to do him an ill turn. He had entirely lost control of his balloon—of which he was the only occupant—and, so far as he could see, the odds were fairly even as to whether he would find a watery grave in the English Channel, or a rocky one on the Kentish mainland. First came a kind of gentlemen-at-large breeze, which took him seawards; then a rival gust drove him back; finally the balloon stopped for a couple of minutes to think out the situation. Reginald Hampton, being by nature a fatalist and by training an aeronaut, awaited the decision without any appearance of impatience or anxiety; when his vehicle was ready to move on, he would try to fall on his feet if possible, but not for the world would he wish to hasten the departure.


The balloon, after profound meditation, decided in favour of land, and in no long time she began to settle quietly down, with the gentleness of a snow-flake, and finally sank gracefully into the arms of a huge pear tree, white with blossom; whereupon the aeronaut grappled her to the tree, filled and lit a comfortable-looking[Pg 190] pipe, and leaned carelessly over the edge of the car, to spy out the nakedness of this foster land. It was against his principles to seem otherwise than dispassioned on these occasions.


Below him he saw a big garden, full of yews, box, fruit trees, and spring flowers, all hobnobbing with one another in the cheeriest manner imaginable. At the far end of the garden stood a house, of ruddy complexion, prosperous bulk, and Queen Anne architecture. Immediately beneath him—the branches diverged considerately, so as to allow his vision free play—a hammock was swinging gently from side to side, and in the hammock reposed a maiden. Now the prospect of a speedy demise did not excite Reginald Hampton, but a suggestion of feminine beauty had never been known to fail in this. He nearly fell out of the car in his eagerness to distinguish the details of the girl's appearance. A girl in a hammock, he reflected, ought always to be pretty, and artistic propriety demanded that she should be a veritable Peri when he had taken the trouble to save his neck by falling into the very tree to which her hammock was attached.

So eager was he, indeed, that his teeth lost their hold of the big briar, which cannoned from branch to branch, and dropped, somewhat forcibly, into the girl's hand. The prospective Peri was naturally a little startled, and more than a little angry, because the pipe had hurt her considerably. She slipped out of the hammock and stood looking about her with an air of enraged bewilderment. And from the clouds there came, as it were, a voice independent of any human tabernacle, a vox et preterea nihil.

"I'm awfully sorry—upon my word, most careless of me—may I come down and make my apologies in proper form?"

"Please, where are you?" demanded the girl. The tree was so constructed that Hampton could more easily see her than she him; and moreover it is one of the most difficult things in the world to locate an unexpected sound.

"I'm tree'd," laughed the voice, "straight above your head."

"That sounds odd," returned the other, beginning to enter into the spirit of the situation; "how on earth did you get there, and who are you?"

"An aeronaut. If you will leave the shelter of this particularly fine tree and look up above, you will see a balloon; attached to the balloon is a car, and attached to the car is myself."

"And do you propose to stay up there indefinitely? It isn't very amusing, is it?"

"Not particularly. If you can suggest a method of escape, I shall be only too happy to descend."

"Climb out of the car, and then down the tree-trunk. Nothing could be simpler."

"Pardon me, but have you ever tried that particular form of gymnastic exercise? Directly I begin to get out of the car, she will topple over, and I wouldn't for the world give you the trouble of collecting my fragments at the bottom."

"Please don't. It would be like making one of those wretched toy-houses out of bricks, and I know I should never fit in the pieces properly. Still, you can't stay up there for ever, can you, now?"

"Not possibly. For one thing, I have not tasted food for twelve hours, and I shall expire if I don't get some presently."

"I might bring you a sandwich, if you have got a piece of string you can let down," said the girl, with the easy badinage of an old friend. It is not every day that[Pg 191] one is privileged to encounter a tree'd balloonist, and she felt that the proprieties were not particularly at home in such an al fresco environment.

"Thanks," responded the aerial voice, "but I prefer to reach firm ground, if it can any way be managed. I say, could you get me a ladder?"

"Yes. I'll hunt up the gardener, and tell him to bring one. You think you can get down that way?"


"I think so. If the gardener holds the ladder tight against my car, it should fix it pretty firmly, and then I can climb on to the ladder. By the way, you are awfully good to take all this trouble on behalf of an entire stranger. I forgot to make the observation earlier, because, you see, we grow accustomed to finding ourselves uninvited guests. I once dropped into the middle of a Royal Garden Party."

"Did you, really? Tell me all about it," said the girl, forgetting her errand of mercy.

"Oh, they thought at first I was a Nihilist or a Fenian or something, come to blow up the whole Royal Family. I escaped finally by explaining that the Prince of Wales—who was fortunately absent—had hired me to make the descent by way of affording a little relief to the tedium of the gathering. Incidentally, may I ask into what particular garden I have had the good luck to fall?"

"This is Caviare Court, Fullerton, Kent."

"No? You don't mean it?"

"Why, yes. Why shouldn't I mean it?"

"That really is odd. Then your father is Colonel Currie?"

"Yes. How ever do you come to know that?"

"Because he happens to be my mother's brother. My name is Hampton—Reginald Hampton."

There was silence for some time; then—

"You should have told me that before," said the girl, in an aggrieved tone.

"I don't see that we are responsible for parental quarrels," responded the other, warmly. "My mother married the wrong man, from Colonel Currie's point of view, and they have sworn eternal enmity. But how should that affect us? By Jove, we're cousins! To think that I have to thank the friskiness of my balloon for getting to know you."

Another silence.

"I hope father won't come home while you're here," cried the girl, suddenly. "He's never seen you, but you may be like the family, and it is not a likeness one can easily mistake. Have you a peculiar little dent in the middle of an otherwise straight nose?"[Pg 192]

The query was advanced with an eagerness ludicrously at variance with the difference of their respective situations. It seemed—as Charles Lamb said of humorous letters to distant lands—as though eagerness must grow so stale before it reached the summit of this big pear tree.

"Yes, I have," answered Hampton, laughing.

"Then your fate is sealed. Father may return at any moment, and you really musn't come down into the garden."

"But I'm awfully hungry," said Mr. Hampton, plaintively.

"I'll send you up something to eat, as I suggested at first."

"I have no string, or rope, or anything I can let down."

This was scarcely accurate, but Reginald Hampton saw too many capabilities in the situation, to let it go readily. Finally, he overcame the girl's scruples, and she departed in quest of a ladder.

As his daughter disappeared at the rear of the house, Colonel Currie came round the front. He was smoking a cheroot, the slowly curling smoke from which, as also his whole gait and mien, was suggestive of peaceful proprietorship. He paused to examine his bed of spring wallflowers, stooped to uproot an impertinent dandelion which had taken root in his otherwise irreproachable turf, gathered a fine auricula and placed it in his button-hole. Then he took a contented survey of his fruit trees, until his eyes finally rested upon the white-robed bower of the balloon. A change came o'er the spirit of the Colonel's pastoral dream. His ruddy gills assumed a purplish hue, his grizzled hair stood up in fighting attitude. He advanced to the foot of the tree and peered upwards. His inability to see the occupant of the balloon called to battle the last drop of the plentiful supply of choler wherewith Indian heats had endowed him.

"What the mischief are you doing in my pear tree?" thundered the Colonel.

His voice was suggestive of heavy artillery at short range; but masculine anger was not one of the things that ruffled the balloonist's equanimity.

"I'm sitting tight until your gardener is kind enough to bring me a ladder," he responded, imperturbably.

"Eh? What? Well, upon my soul, sir! Do you know that this is my very finest pear-tree—jargonelles, sir, I tell you, jargonelles? You and your impudent machine have ruined the crop. It's just the spirit of this confounded age—anarchy, disruption, red riot—no man's house safe—his garden a refuge for any air-climbing rascal who cares to take up his quarters in it."

The Colonel, from this point onwards, seemed to imagine that he was talking at a coolie; coolie intercourse cultivates the faculty of expression wonderfully, and Reginald Hampton's host entertained that amused aeronaut for fully ten minutes with a wealth of epithet—very old in bottle, and of a fine tawny flavour. Hampton took advantage of the panting calm that followed the outburst to put in a plea for himself.


"I can only say, sir, that I regret this contretemps as much as yourself. The fact is, I had no choice in the matter; the wind[Pg 193] got the better of me, and took me just where it pleased."

"P—r—r—rh—Humph, humph!" sputtered the old gentleman. "Serves you right for getting inside such a flimsy contrivance. Can't understand how any man can be fool enough to want to career through the air when heaven has blessed him with a pair of sound legs. Perhaps you have no legs, though, for I'm hanged if I can see you," he concluded, irately, returning to his pet grievance.

"Yes, I have legs—rather long ones," returned the aeronaut, genially. "As to ballooning, it is a matter of personal taste, of course. We needn't quarrel about that, need we, Colonel Currie?"

"Eh, eh? How do you come to know my name?"

Reginald Hampton, in the privacy of his retreat, smiled beautifully to himself. He had watched the old gentleman's progress through the garden, and had guessed that he was tremendously proud of his flowers, his trees, his lawn; and an inspiration had come to this light-hearted trifler with another man's pear blossom.

"I guessed it, sir," he responded, very suavely. "I knew I had dropped somewhere in Kent, and a glance at that well-kept grass of yours, at the rare profusion of early flowers, at the extreme fulness—er—profligacy—of your fruit-blossom, told me in a moment that the garden could belong to only one man in the county. Do you suppose I have been a horticultural enthusiast all these years without knowing Colonel Currie by name? Why, the—the dahlias you exhibit are alone sufficient to make your name cling to one's memory. Sir, I am deeply sorry that I have injured your crop of jargonelles, but I cannot regret that I have been privileged to meet you."

Reginald Hampton had a cheery way of emerging with safety from any embarrassment in which he happened to find himself. His haphazard assumption of enthusiasm for the one subject on earth of which he knew least might so easily have led him astray; yet in the very nick of time that word dahlia crept into his consciousness and won the day. It chanced that dahlia-cultivation was the Colonel's most absorbing hobby. The old gentleman's anger had already begun to cool, under the influence of his enemy's persistent politeness, and this liberal application of the flattery-trowel at once set up a counter-current of positive cordiality.

"I apologise, sir, I apologise for the—ah—breadth of my language. These little accidents will happen, of course—do happen, doubtless, every day—and I had no idea that you were a grower of dahlias. Now, what soil do you consider the most suitable for the Cactus varieties?" Thus the Colonel, in tones of peace.


There was stillness in the flowery region just above the Colonel's head. A perplexed balloonist was at one and the same time suppressing an outburst of hysterical laughter, and encouraging coy soil-theories to[Pg 194] evolve themselves from the blank chambers of his brain.

"It is difficult to say off-hand," he began. "Every grower, you see, has his own views."

"So he has, so he has—and he likes to hear other people's views, if only for the sake of abusing them. What is your own candid opinion on the subject?"

"Well, as you ask me, I should say—use pretty much the same soil as you would for the other varieties. Er—ah—a suspicion of loam, not too dry, and fairly well matured, sprinkled over the surface, is not inadvisable."

"You don't say so? For my part, I stick to the old-established methods, but no doubt modern enterprise has done something in the way of development. Loam, you say, sprinkled over the surface? I must try it."

"But be careful that it just hits the happy mean in the matter of moisture. If you keep it too dry, the plant runs to leaf instead of flower; if too wet, the colour is apt to—to run a little."

The balloonist, having fairly spread the wings of his imagination, was by this time quite prepared to fly into fresh difficulties. He was enjoying himself tremendously, and had even forgotten that his prospective rescuer was rather late in coming to his aid.

"But," objected the Colonel, omitting to notice a slight horticultural mistake of the aeronaut's, "but how do you manage about the watering? The loam must be wet at some times and comparatively dry at others."

"My dear sir, you mistake; the latest method is to carefully remove the surface loam before watering, and then to replace it, moistened to the proper degree."

"This is all very interesting," quoth the Colonel. "How it does one good to talk with a genuine enthusiast on these delightful subjects! You are trying for the blue dahlia, of course?"

"I've got it, sir," responded the balloonist, with triumphant emphasis. He was now prepared to go any lengths, trusting that Fate would see the thing through satisfactorily.

The Colonel skipped about in the wildest excitement.

"Got the blue dahlia? Why, I have only got half way to it, and I thought I was farther than most men. You know, of course, that there is a prize of a thousand pounds offered for that unique production? Have you claimed it?"

"I didn't care to," said Hampton, carelessly. "Frankly, there are so many poor men trying for the prize—praiseworthy toilers who finish a hard day's work by an evening's tending of some cottage garden—that I could not bear to step in and take the prize. I have quite enough money, too; I should scarcely know what to do with more."

The airy invisibility of the stranger, the unwontedness of the scene, must have played havoc with the Colonel's credulity. He absorbed everything, as a dry sponge sucks up water. The aeronaut's car was shaking visibly.

"But that is not all," said the latter recklessly. "I promptly set to work on a new colour, and I produced——"

"Yes, yes—you produced——"

"A pea-green dahlia, twelve inches in diameter."

"My dear, my very dear sir," cried the Colonel, well-nigh hysterical with wonder and delight, "I insist on your coming down at once from that tree and partaking of luncheon with me. I have some excellent '49 port, and we'll discuss the two subjects together. Really, it is very remiss of me not to have suggested your coming down sooner; the situation is not well adapted to conversation, and doubtless you are far from comfortable."

"No apology necessary, I assure you. I took the liberty, some time ago, of requesting your daugh—your gardener to bring me a ladder. He will appear presently, I have no doubt—in fact, I see him coming at this moment."

Now Miss Currie, though apparently she had forgotten the very existence of Reginald Hampton, had in point of fact followed his fortunes with an interest bordering on trepidation. Having run the gardener to earth, she was informed by that functionary that there was not a ladder about the place sufficiently long to reach to the top of the pear tree; the Colonel's longest ladder had been broken a week ago, and of the others not one was half the necessary size.

"But you must find one somewhere," insisted the girl, with the pretty imperiousness of feminine youth; "there is a gentleman at the very top of the tree, and he is at this moment dying for want of food. What a pity the pears are not ripe! Can't you think of someone who would lend you a ladder?"

The gardener scratched his head and[Pg 195] pondered. There was one at Langbridge Farm, a good mile away, but it was a powerful hot morning to walk a mile with a heavy ladder on one's shoulder. Still, Missy seemed anxious, and Missy had had a right to have her own way ever since she was as high as one of his dwarf rose trees.


So the gardener had departed to Langbridge Farm, and Miss Currie had peeped round the corner of the house, to see how it was faring with the balloonist. She found her worst fears confirmed; her father was standing under the pear tree and abusing the poor man like a pickpocket. The girl, realising how futile it would be for her to put in an appearance and add to the already deafening hurly-burly, quietly secreted herself in a lilac-bush, and listened to what was going on. She began to laugh as the aeronaut unwound his imaginative threads; then she grew angry with him for his recklessness; then she laughed again at the astounding coolness of the man, and the skilful manner in which he avoided all difficulties in his path. Finally, at the end of what seemed to her an eternity and a half, the gardener appeared with his borrowed ladder, and proceeded in the direction of the pear tree. Miss Currie watched the old man place the ladder against the tree, under the combined directions of her father and the unconcerned occupant of the balloon-car, and then she thought the time was ripe for her to stroll up in a negligent manner.

"Why, whatever is the matter?" she cried, with innocent surprise.

"Nothing, my dear, nothing," responded the Colonel, beamingly. "A very worthy gentleman and a magnificent florist has, by good fortune, become my guest, and he is coming down in order to partake of luncheon."

"But where is he, and how did he come there?" she went on, deeming it highly prudent to disown any previous knowledge of the matter.

The old gardener looked at her with an intelligent grin, inwardly remarking that Missy was a deep one, she was. The aeronaut laughed with incontinent heartiness. The Colonel explained to her how the accident had occurred. After which Reginald Hampton climbed out of his nest, reached terra firma, and found himself[Pg 196] entirely satisfied with the slim beauty of his rescuer.

The moment might have been an embarrassing one for the average man; it was, however, precisely the kind of situation that Reginald Hampton most enjoyed.

"Delighted to make your acquaintance at closer quarters," he remarked, first raising his cap to the Colonel, and then extending his hand. "Your daughter, I presume?" he added, turning to Violet Currie. "I am glad, by the way, she did not happen to be occupying the hammock there, or my abrupt descent might have startled her somewhat."

"So it might, so it might," responded his host, urbanely. "Now, let us go indoors; you must be positively famishing, and that port of mine is itching, I know, to see the light of day."

"What a time you are going to have!" whispered the girl, as they took their places at table.

He and she managed to stave off the evil day until lunch was half over; but procrastination was not nearly as wholesale a thief of time as they wished him to be.

"Now, about those two unique dahlias of yours," began the Colonel; "you really must allow me to come and see them."

"Delighted, sir. Any time that may be convenient to you. Come and spend a week with me."

"You are very kind. I should say to-morrow if, literally, any time would do," laughed the Colonel; "but I think even you cannot induce dahlias to flower before July."

"Well, no. Of course, my 'anytime' presupposed these natural limits," said the aeronaut, aloud.

"I fancied they were spring flowers," said the aeronaut in a stage-aside. "So I can go scot-free until July. I must marry her before then."

Colonel Currie was on the point of launching well out into his favourite waters—in which case the Providence of so fatuous a trifler as Reginald Hampton must surely have deserted him—when a certain peculiarity in his guest's face arrested his attention. He gazed fixedly at him for a few moments, then frowned ominously.

"I beg your pardon, sir, but you have the family nose. I have never seen that peculiar dent in the middle in any but a Currie nose. Is it possible—"

"I also beg your pardon, Colonel," responded the balloonist, following a sudden inspiration; "but before answering your question, may I ask if you are really as devoted to flowers as you seem to be?"

"I am indeed. They are the passion of my life," said Colonel Currie, still gazing perplexedly at his companion's nasal hallmark.

"For my part, I can never forgive a florist—a true florist—who can find it in his heart to put other—other considerations first. If a man told me that he possessed a blue dahlia, for instance, I would go and see that man in the teeth of gatling guns."

"So would I. Grape-shot is a matter of no consequence by comparison."

"If the man had relations in the house whom it made my head ache to meet, I would still go. Nothing in the world, sir, ought to stand in the way of a blue dahlia."

"Nothing," responded the Colonel, forgetting everything else in a sudden fervour of sympathetic enthusiasm.

"You are quite convinced of that?"

"Quite. How can you doubt me?"

The aeronaut paused, and then planted this shot squarely in the Colonel's astonished person.

"Then, uncle, you won't mind my saying that I am Reginald Hampton, and that it will be necessary for you to see the blue dahlia and your sister in conjunction."

The Colonel grew purple, then white; he stammered, and beat upon the table with his fingers, and talked in strange languages. But he had the good sense to see that he was cornered. Besides, what had his nephew ever done to him, and how could he help being proud of so unique an horticulturist?

Finally, the Colonel reached out his hand across the table.

"Confound you, boy, you've conquered me! I must see that dahlia!" he cried.

"How to arrange matters floral when the merry month of July comes round, I can't guess," mused Reginald Hampton, as he lit a Manilla. "But sufficient for the day is the evil thereof, and my bounden duty is to marry the little girl in June."

Which he did.[Pg 197]



By H. M. Tindall.

A painter once made a miniature of King Charles II. which was more or less of a caricature. "Is that like me?" said the King when he saw it. "Then, odd's fish, I'm an ugly fellow!"

The remark recalls another made to our own Queen when she said to Chalon, the miniaturist, that photography would ruin his profession.

"Ah! non, madame; photographie cannot flattère," was the confident reply.

"KATHLEEN". [By M. Josephine Gibson.
MA BELLE." [By M. Josephine Gibson.

These comments seem to imply that miniatures make either "ugly fellows" or flattered dames, which is by no means true. But in selecting those which accompany this article, we sought for pretty faces, and decided to admit no "fellows" of any sort except one—no less than a Lord Chief Justice.

The very marked attention which the miniatures in the Royal Academy attracted this year is one of many things which show how great a revival there has been in the taste for miniatures—a revival which is one of the most significant features in the history of modern art.

When photography appeared, it had no difficulty for a time in sweeping miniatures out of the field, for many people preferred the novelty of an exact portrait to a "work of art."

But the pendulum of taste has again swung back. We no longer accept a coloured photograph as a substitute for a genuine miniature, but realise that the two things are quite distinct. At the same time, there are to-day a number of so-called miniaturists who content themselves with copying photographs. But all those whose work is here represented condemn the practice, and do their work from the life. This involves, of course, several sittings for the person to be painted—a fact sometimes resented. Two famous miniaturists wanted to paint King Charles II., so to save time he made them paint him at the same sitting.

Mr. Cecil Rhodes is a man who thinks sittings are superfluous. He gave a commission to Miss Carlisle—a clever portrait painter and miniaturist—to paint his portrait, but nothing could induce him to give a sitting. Miss Carlisle therefore had to dodge him in all sorts of ways to see what manner of man he was.

He used to pass her studio on his way[Pg 198] to the Park in the morning, so Miss Carlisle was always on the watch for him and on many other occasions, about which he knew nothing.

[By Edith Maas.

"DELIA." [By Edith Maas.    [By Maud Coleridge.    [By Annie G. Fletcher.

Miss Carlisle was born in South Africa, where her grandfather, General Sir John Bisset, was well known. Curiously enough, when Miss Carlisle was quite a young girl she came over to England on the same boat as Mr. Cecil Rhodes. He was then, she says, "a long and lanky youth, who spent all his time in reading books." He was coming to Oxford to keep his terms.

By the way, there was a famous lady miniaturist in the days of Charles I. named Carlisle, and to show his appreciation of her work the King presented her with £500 worth of ultramarine!

To paint a miniature is as arduous a task as to paint a large picture in oils, and requires quite as much skill. Miss Coleridge—whose miniature of her uncle, Chief Justice Coleridge, attracted so much attention in the Academy this year, and is reproduced on p. 202—says: "I find the work, though I love it, even harder than painting large portraits; it requires quite as much thought and care. It is only by working straight from the life, studying your model's expression and character, that you can hope to be even the most humble disciple of the art as it was in the last century.

"The great difficulty I experience is in getting people to understand that they must sit to me. They all say, 'Miss or Mr. So-and-So paints from photos—why can't you?' No doubt these artists do a very charming lightly-stippled coloured photo for them, but there can never be any life in these things, nor can they be anything else than coloured photographs, however pleasant to the eye of their owners."

The portrait of Miss Wilson, one of the beauties of the season, is also by Miss Coleridge, who works a great deal in pastels.

Many amusing stories are told by artists about their sitters, but as a rule the stories are told with this absurd restriction: "but you mustn't publish that"—which, of course, takes the point absolutely away.

Mr. Alyn Williams, the President of the Society of Miniature Painters, to whom the Society owes its origin and prosperity, tells a good story which he does not claim to be original. He tells it rather[Pg 199] to show the difficulties which an artist is sometimes made to overcome by his client.

A man who distinctly came from the provinces once went to an artist who had painted a celebrated picture of David, and said that he wanted him to paint a picture of his father.

The artist consented, and suggested that it would be necessary for the subject to come to his studio. That, however, the son declared to be impossible, and at last the fact came out that he was dead.

"Have you a photograph?" asked the artist.

No; a photograph had never been taken.

"Then I cannot paint him," declared the artist.

"But you painted David," retorted the man, "and he has been dead much longer than my father!"

This was irresistible, and so the artist consented to do his best.

When the fancy picture of the father was finished, the faithful son came to see it, and liked it very much.

"It is very good," he said. "But," he added, after a little reflection, "how he has changed!"

[By Alyn Williams.[By A. R. Merrylees.[By Mabel E. Hankin.

Miss Merrylees, whose miniatures, seven in number, make a fine show at the Academy, once had to paint a miniature of a clergyman; but the only way of getting his right expression was to make him recite long poems and dramatic scenes from Shakespeare. While he was doing this, Miss Merrylees "went on painting madly."

Another time she was painting a little boy, who was sitting very still and silent.

Suddenly he convulsed his painter by propounding this tremendous query: "Do you like your groom to sit so, or so?" And he indicated two varieties of the akimbo manner.

A charming portrait of a pretty child indicates Miss Merrylees' style of work. This was exhibited both in the Royal Academy and the Paris Salon.

Holbein, who was a great miniaturist, had a very summary method of dealing with people who troubled him while he was painting miniatures. A nobleman once came into his studio while he was painting a lady, and was promptly thrown downstairs, like Daddy Longlegs of immortal fame.

The King, Henry VIII., heard of it, but sympathised with the painter. "Of seven peasants I[Pg 200] can make as many lords, but not one Holbein," he said.

King Henry had a special reason for this sympathy. When he heard of a pretty woman he sent Holbein to paint her, with a view to making her his wife. On one occasion, at least, a flattering miniature led its unhappy subject into trouble—Anne of Cleves.

MRS. C. L. SHAND. [By Edith Maas.
MISS PAMELA PLOWDEN. [By Winifred Hope Thomson.

A word should be said about the origin of the miniature. In the first instance the word had nothing to do with the size of a painting. It comes from the Latin word minium, or red lead. In old days the capitals of illuminated missals were painted with this by great artists, while the less important work was done by minor ones. Thus the miniatura meant the picture painted by the great artist. The word miniature, in its present sense, was born in the 18th century, which was the best period of British miniature painting.

The material on which miniatures have been painted has varied from time to time. To-day ivory cut very thin is almost invariably used.

The elephant is not a graceful or artistic beast, and no particularly sentimental thoughts at first sight attach to him. But artists to-day would be at a loss without his tusks, and much sentiment is lavished on them in the form of lovers' portraits.

While love lasts the miniature will always be in vogue, for artists frankly admit that it is so convenient to carry in the pocket. It represents so much in so little. Miniature painting is especially therefore "the lovers' art." Some say that it makes the subject "beautiful for ever," and what more could Romeo want?

Ivory, however, is of comparatively modern use in the art world and the studio. Vellum, gold, silver, and enamel were the things on which miniatures were painted before the days of ivory.

The prices of these dainty pictures vary enormously. As much as £3,000 was paid for one in the Hamilton collection, while another in a diamond setting sold at Christie's for £2,000. Nowadays, £5 to £100 is easily obtained, according to the skill of the painter.

Her Majesty the Queen is a great collector of miniatures. Her collection at Windsor is of great historic as well as financial value. She has greatly encouraged the art, and has been repeatedly painted in miniature. She frequently gives these miniatures of herself away as special presents.

Miss Carlisle painted one of the Queen with which she was very pleased. She gave it to the Prince of Wales, who said that it was the best of his mother which had been painted for many years.

[Pg 201]

To deal in detail with the miniatures on these pages. Mr. Alyn Williams is the painter of the charming portrait of a lady in the Gainsborough style.

Miss Küssner, who is represented by a miniature of Lady Dudley, has already painted an enormous number of ivories. She arrived in New York in 1893 an unknown girl, with a letter of introduction to a lady of social influence, but "very exclusive."

THE PRIDE OF ENGLAND. By Esmé Collings [By Esmé Collings.

In much fear and trembling the letter was presented. The lady was too unwell to see the artist, but she sent word down that she would see the miniature she had with her.

"This was almost more than she could bear, and she sat waiting the maid's return in sadness that was near despair. But when she did come, how the little miniaturist's sinking heart leaped; for the maid brought an invitation—the lady would see her in her own room." So a friend tells the tale.

Since then Miss Küssner has pained many of the English aristocracy, and gets £100 a miniature.

This is how Miss Küssner works. First comes the study of her sitter, and perhaps one entire sitting will be devoted to this. Then follows the sketching of the face on the ivory—a transcript of the form and spirit. Lastly comes the actual painting, with infinitesimally small brushes, each stroke made under a powerful magnifying glass.

Lady Dudley's marriage was quite a romance. She was the daughter of Mr. Gurney, of Norfolk, whose business reverses caused him to resign his partnership in the well-known Gurney Bank and surrender his possessions for the benefit of his creditors.

His wife came to London and opened a milliner's shop, and in this her two daughters served. But it was not a success, and so the daughters entered the employ of a well-known West End modiste. But the Duchess of Bedford and Lady Henry Somerset became interested in them; and it was as the adopted daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Bedford that Rachel Gurney married Lord Dudley.

Miss Winifred Hope Thomson, whose miniature of Miss Pamela Plowden we give, had the place of honour in the miniature room of the Academy this year. Simplicity of style is the feature of Miss Thomson's work, and probably the reason why her miniatures are considered like those of the great Cosway.

"DAFFODIL." By E. J. Harding. [By E. J. Harding.
HON. MRS. BENYON. By Edith Maas. [By Edith Maas.

Miss Edith Maas is another lady whose miniatures are very greatly admired for their beauty and style. Her portrait of Delia, the daughter of the Rev. and Hon. Ed. Lyttelton, Head Master of Haileybury College, has been exhibited in the New Gallery. The other miniatures we give are of Mrs. Shand, wife of His Honour Judge Shand,[Pg 202] and the Hon. Mrs. Benyon, daughter of Lord North. The latter was exhibited in the '93 Academy.

The number of ladies well known as clever miniature painters is quite extraordinary, and with but few exceptions all the portraits on these pages were painted by ladies.

Miss M. Josephine Gibson sends us two charming pictures which she calls "Ma Belle" and "Kathleen." These are exquisite, both in conception and execution. Mrs. Lee Hankey, who, with Miss Gibson, is on the Council of the Society of Miniature Painters, is represented by one strong picture. "Daffodil" is by Mrs. E. W. Andrews, also known as "E. J. Harding." All these ladies have miniatures in this year's Academy.

From the studios of Mr. Esmé Collings, of Bond Street, comes the charming miniature of two girls' heads, originally painted in black and white. This gentleman has published a very dainty little brochure on "The Revival of Miniature Art," which gives some romantic stories about miniatures and their painters.

One tells how the Comte de Guiche, being in love with a daughter of Charles I., wore her portrait, mounted on a snuff box, over his heart, and owed his life to this circumstance, for the box turned aside a bullet which struck him in battle—a hint which all soldiers should take. This box is now in the possession of the Baroness Burdett-Coutts.

Other stories tell of Richard Gibson and Miss Biffin, both gifted miniaturists. But the first was a dwarf, 3 feet 10 inches high, who married another dwarf of his own height who lived till she was ninety-seven, and became the mother of nine children. As for Miss Biffin, she was limbless, but managed her paint-brush and pencil with her mouth.

LADY DUDLEY. By Miss Küssner. [By Miss Küssner.

Of course there are miniatures and miniatures. But Shakespeare, by a miniature in words, has given us an exquisite conception of what a miniature in art should be—at least when it is "Fair Portia's counterfeit."

"... Here in her hair
The painter plays the spider, and hath woven
A golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men
Faster than gnats in cobwebs; but her eyes—
How could he see to do them? having made one,
Methinks it should have power to steal both his,
And leave itself unfurnished."

But Bassanio was not an art critic—merely a lover! The miniaturist, however, who can weave on ivory "a golden mesh to entrap the hearts of men" may surely find content.

THE LATE LORD COLERIDGE. By Maud Coleridge. [By Maud Coleridge.

[Pg 203]


A Comedy by Charles Kennett Burrow.

Illustrated by Edmund J. Sullivan.

After my engagement to Lucy Vivian I took to working very hard—a man always does that or nothing at all—and the work suited me better than the idleness. I suppose we had been engaged five months, and I was beginning to grow accustomed to it, when one afternoon the amiable peer who had been of such service to me in the affair strolled into my studio. Directly I set eyes on him I knew he had something in the wind, his manner was so absolutely uninterested.

He nodded to me without speaking, crossed over to the fire (it was bitterly cold outside), and stood with his back to it. Then he pulled off his gloves slowly and invited me to come and shake hands.

"You lazy beggar!" I said; "you come here! Can't you see I'm working?"

"Working! you're always working. What's come over you?"

"You forget——"

"Oh, it's Lucy, is it?" he asked. "Well, well! she's a dear child, Phil, I admit."

"Lord St. Alleyne," I said, "you never spoke a truer word."

"Why will you always be throwing that confounded title in my face? I'm only an Irish peer; that title has been a great drawback to me."

"How?" I asked.

"It makes people take twice as long as they should to find out I'm a decent chap."

"It didn't take me long," I said.

"You're different, Phil; it's the women it troubles."

I shrugged my shoulders.

"Well, what do you want?" I asked.

"A cigar," he said.

"You know where they are, don't you?" I replied.

He went to my cigar cabinet and selected one thoughtfully. Then he lit it and drew his favourite armchair up to the hearth. His profile was towards me, and I remarked, as I had done a hundred times before, what a beautiful face it was. The lines were as clear and round as a woman's; the mouth sensitively delicate, but firmly set; the nose straight, with only the slightest indentation below the brows. It was a face of singular purity and candour. After a time he bent forward towards the blaze and looked hard into the fire's heart.

"I believe I'm done for, Phil," he said.

"What do you mean?"

"I won't tell you till you put down those brushes. You know you can't see."

"All right," I said. "If you come here to make me neglect my duty, I suppose I must put up with it."

"Pooh!" he said; "sit down then and don't be an ass."

"I'll sit down, but perhaps I can't help being an ass."

"I daresay you can't, poor dear," he said. Then he lay back in his chair and laughed. "To think of me," he chuckled, "falling in love."

I sat down at the other side of the fire and lit a pipe.

"But you've been in love ever since I knew you."

"The others didn't count; this does."

I begged him to explain.

"Well, it's like this. When I saw her often I wasn't quite sure about it, but now that I can't see her at all the thing's dead certain."[Pg 204]

I again begged him to be more explicit. "You talk in the dark," I said.

"Then why don't you light a lamp?"

I did as he suggested and sat down again.

"Is there anything else I can do for you?" I asked.

"Yes," he said, "you're coming over to Ireland with me to-morrow."

"I'll see you hanged first," I said.


"The train leaves Euston at 8.45 p.m."

"It can leave when it likes. I shan't be there."

"By eleven o'clock on Thursday we shall be in Stromore."

"Well?" I said, weakly.

"I knew you'd come!" he said.

"But I won't," I said.

He smiled tenderly upon me.

"And yet," he said, "I endured that dragon Mrs. Vivian for your sake for full ten minutes."

"If you'll explain what it's all about," I said, "I'll do anything I can to help you, but as to—"

He tapped me on the knee with the poker.

"Listen!" he said. "In my opinion, my cousin, Mrs. O'Callaghan, is mad."

"I'm not surprised to hear it," I said.

He tapped me again with the poker.

"My cousin, Mrs. O'Callaghan, has a daughter, and in any decent man's home," he added, "there'd be something to drink Norah's health in."

I got up wearily and produced what was required, and we drank solemnly to Norah O'Callaghan.

"That's better," said St. Alleyne. "Now Mrs. O'Callaghan has her heart set on Norah's going into a convent, and Norah, poor child, thinks she has a leaning towards the religious life, and that before she has seen any other life at all. When I heard of this folly I went over, but never a sight of the girl could I get except with her mother. The old woman never lets her outside the grounds, and there they walk up and down for an hour every day."

I was becoming seriously interested, and St. Alleyne saw it.

"Does Miss O'Callaghan know you care for her?" I asked.

"I suppose any girl knows," he said.

"Did you ever speak to her about it?"

"Not seriously," he said.

"Isn't it possible she thinks you were playing with her and may be playing still; and, granted she cares for you, mayn't that be driving her into the convent?"

His face was suddenly flushed with a kind of pitying shame.

"By Jove!" he said. "It may be so, Phil; I never meant to play with her, I swear that."

"I believe you," I said, "but it looks as though there might be something in what I suggest."

"It does," he answered.

"Have you written to her?"

He tapped me once more with the poker.

"No, and if I did she'd never get the letter. I know my cousin, Mrs. O'Callaghan. She thinks all the St. Alleynes are a bad lot, because, I suppose, my grandfather was a wild devil once. That's where I have to suffer for my name."

"But you could convince her otherwise, I suppose?"

"I'd undertake to do it, if I were sure of Norah."[Pg 205]

I knocked the ashes from my pipe and stood up. The situation interested me; my own happiness was so near that I was prepared to do a great deal for my friend.

"Well," I said, "suppose I go over with you, how am I to help?"

He rose and stood by my side, putting his right arm round my shoulder. He was quite his old cheerful self again.

"We'll think of that when we get there," he said. "You must draw Mrs. O'Callaghan off while I talk to the girl somehow. If I have a sure friend at hand the thing can be managed. I knew you'd come, old man. My cousin, Mrs. O'Callaghan," he added, "has burnt her own boats; if she hadn't played me this trick I might never have discovered that I wanted Norah."


"Oh, yes, you would," I said.

"You know, of course," he said, pinching my ear.

When I awoke the next morning I confess that our project did not look particularly hopeful, but I had undoubted faith in St. Alleyne's ingenuity, and it was a great satisfaction to me to see Lucy, and let her into the secret of our expedition. Her eagerness, indeed, was much greater than mine, and she made me promise to send her a telegram directly there was any good news to communicate.

It was a bitterly cold night in January when St. Alleyne and I crossed, and I am not a particularly good sailor. I remained on deck for the sake of the air, the saloon being hopeless, and made what efforts I could to keep myself warm. Every now and then I looked into the smoking-room, where my friend was consuming large cigars; I envied him his occupation, but rejected all his invitations to join him. After a time he came out and wrapped me up in half a dozen rugs on a seat. By the time we reached Dublin I was numb to the heart, and knew I was in for a violent cold.

However, we made no delay, but caught the mail for the south. The carriage was warmer than the boat, and by a judicious arrangement of rugs I managed to bring back some heat into my blood, and with it came a revived interest in our expedition. St. Alleyne had said nothing about his plan since starting, but as I looked across at him I could see that he was thinking hard. He caught my eye and smiled.

"Feel better?" he asked.

"Much," I said.

"You look a poor starved rat of a man, even now."

"I'm sorry," I said, "that I haven't your terrific constitution."

"It hasn't been much good to me so far," he said, "and I'll thank you, Mr. Mildmay, for one of those excellent cigars of yours."

"I think I could manage one myself," said I, sitting up.

"Bravo! Now we can talk seriously.... I've been thinking, Phil."

"I could see that!"

"You could, could you? Well, I've hit on a plan—a beautiful plan."

"Capital!" I said.

"But the carrying through depends upon you."

"Am I in fit condition?" I asked.

"Faith, you'll be in too good condition presently. It depends on your sickness."

It was always necessary to beg St. Alleyne to explain: I did this forcibly, and he brought his head close to mine.

"I told you, I think," he said, "that in my opinion my cousin, Mrs. O'Callaghan, is mad?"

"You did."

"Well," he said, "she's not so mad,[Pg 206] neither. She has some idea of true charity. Now Norah is a great hand with the sick; she has a way with her, as we say over here, and Mrs. O'Callaghan encourages her to visit them; it's all part of the convent scheme."

"I begin to see," I said; "I'm to be sick."

"And who," said he, "would you rather see in your suffering than an angel like Norah?"

"I'd rather see Lucy," I said.

"Well, well, you're a constant creature. I have a little place over here near Stromore, as you know; but you mustn't be ill there; you must go to the hotel." He paused and looked at me.

"Go on," I said.

"And being very low," he continued, very slowly, "you'll speak to Biddy about it."

"Who's Biddy?" I asked.

"Mahony's daughter; he runs the hotel. And you'll say that you'd like to see someone—a woman for choice—as you have something weighing on your mind; and then you might drop Miss O'Callaghan's name. Now Biddy was Norah's maid for a time, and what more natural than that she should suggest bringing her old mistress to the poor sick guest?"

"You're a rogue," I said.

"Then Norah will come to you," he went on, "and I shall be in the next room, and after a time you'll speak of me, and then—"

"We must wait for the rest," I said, "But what will your cousin, Mrs. O'Callaghan, be doing all the time?"

"She'll be talking to Mahony about the price of oats downstairs."

"This is a very charming plan," I said, "but will it work? And do you think me humbug enough to mix myself up in such an affair?"

"You're humbug enough for anything," he said, "but have you the nerve?"

"It doesn't need much nerve," I said.

"You haven't seen Norah," he replied.

"Well, I'll risk it; I came over here to help you, and I may as well do it, little as the job suits me."

"Oh," he laughed, "it'll be grand to see my cousin Mrs. O'Callaghan's face!"

It was important to our plan that St. Alleyne and I should not seem to be together, so he gave me final instructions before we reached Stromore Station. "You must get the bedroom over the door," he said, "because there's a sitting-room next to it, and we must have them both."

"Suppose it's already occupied?" I said.


"You don't know Stromore in the winter," he said; "there won't be a soul in the place, and Mahony will kneel at your feet."

"I hope he won't," I said, "because I might feel inclined to kick him."

"Kick Mahony!" he cried, "the man's six feet two, and as strong as an ox. You'd better begin to be sick almost at once, hadn't you?"

"I feel bad enough," I said.

We shook hands in the carriage as the train pulled up at Stromore; on the platform we did not know each other.

I secured a car at once, and told the man to drive to the St. Alleyne Arms, and as we swung up the road from the station I looked back and saw his lordship coming slowly down the steps.[Pg 207]

"Do ye know," asked my driver, "how long his lordship's come for?"

"His lordship!—whose lordship?"

"Lord St. Alleyne," he said, looking at me incredulously.

"What do I know about the man?" I asked. "Where is he?"

"He's there, sure, comin' down the shteps."

"Indeed," I said, and told the man to hurry, as I was cold.

I had no difficulty in securing the two rooms I wanted, and as I took possession of them I felt some of the pangs of a conspirator. I was also, as a matter of fact, quite sufficiently unwell to see things rather gloomily, and as I sat by my window after lunch, and looked out into the grey street, I confess that I wished myself engaged in a less dubious enterprise.

And then, as I sat there, I heard the brisk sound of wheels, and a carriage drove by, and in it there sat a lady of a rather severe aspect and a girl. The girl glanced up at the inn as she passed; from out of a nest of white fur, there looked a face that made me come nearer to forgetting Lucy than anything I could have imagined. "That," said I to myself, "is Norah, and the other is Mrs. O'Callaghan. My dear St. Alleyne, I'll begin my part of the game this minute if it's to help you to win that child."

And indeed there was no time to be lost, for we had arranged that St. Alleyne was to call at eleven o'clock the next morning to see how things were getting on. I accordingly looked for a bell-rope, but, being unable to find one, I opened the door and called downstairs. Biddy came up light as a bird, and with a merry engaging smile on her face.


"Biddy," I said, "I feel ill, and I think I'll go to bed. I've caught a bad cold, and it may turn to fever with me."

"Lord save us!" she cried, "will I send for the docther?"

"No, I'll see how I am later. And, Biddy, at six o'clock, I might try to eat some dinner."

"To be sure, sorr," she said. "Can I do anythin' for ye now?"

"No," said I, pressing my hand against my forehead, "but if I want anything I'll ring."

"There's no bell," she said, "so you must just knock on the flure, an' I'll hear ye."

With that she departed, and I made up the fire and got slowly into bed. My head did ache a little, but not enough to make me unhappy, and it seemed to me, as I lay in the midst of that apparently dead Irish town, that I was coming perilously near to playing the fool. But my confidence in St. Alleyne was unbounded, and under all his lightness of manner it was plain that he was in deadly earnest; so presently, thinking of him and of the face I had seen, and being horribly tired after the previous night, I fell comfortably asleep.

When I awoke it was dark outside and there was only the red glow of firelight in the room. I got up to light a candle, and felt rather lightheaded and feverish; it gave me some satisfaction to realise that I should not have to altogether act my part. I looked at my watch and found that it was a quarter to six. I lay down again and listened; beyond the slight movement in the house there was not a sound to be heard; I might have been in a lodge in the wilderness.

Presently I heard Biddy's light step on the stairs, and there was a tentative knock at the door.

"Come in," I cried, and she entered with dinner and a lamp.

"Are you betther, sorr?" she asked.[Pg 208]

"No," said I, "but worse."

"Will I send for Docther Nolan now?"

"No, Biddy, I'll try to eat some dinner."

"Do, poor soul!" she said. She drew a little table to the bedside, and, having set the food on it, left me. It was not a good dinner; a healthy appetite and an easy conscience might have been satisfied with it, but neither of these was mine at the moment, so I did no more than just play with it. Then I knocked on the floor for Biddy, who came up at once. She was always smiling; she had one of those faces to which only laughter or tears seem natural.

"Have ye done, sorr?" she asked, in undisguised surprise.

"Yes," I said, "I can't eat."

She suggested Doctor Nolan again.

"No, I'm afraid a doctor could do no good until I've got something off my mind."

"Will I sind for a priest, thin?" she asked.

"At present, Biddy, it's not a matter for a priest, but if you knew of some good woman, not a nun, but still in the world—" I paused from sheer inability to go on; I was so unused to this kind of thing that any sign of suspicion on Biddy's part would have meant disaster. But Biddy had a kind heart, and instantly scented a romance.

"Ah," she said, "I see how it is wid ye."

I said nothing, but lay still, watching her face. I tried once or twice to mention Miss O'Callaghan's name, but my lips refused to approach it without a weakness that might have betrayed me. And then, all at once, Biddy did it for me.

"I might ast Miss O'Callaghan to see ye," she said.

My face burned. "And who's Miss O'Callaghan?" I asked.

"A dear, dear heart," said Biddy, "an' just the lady to help ye if it's love you're throubled about. She's had throuble herself," she added, "an' may his lordship be made to pay for it!"

"What do you mean about Miss O'Callaghan and his lordship?"

"Was I her maid for three years and not know her secrets?"

I begged Biddy to explain, which she refused to do; but I gathered enough from her to judge that my surmise had been correct, and that Norah was wholly his lordship's if he could get fair speech with her.

"Biddy," said I, "you're a good girl, and if you can bring Miss O'Callaghan to see me at half-past eleven to-morrow I'll dance at your wedding."

"I'll go to her now," she said; "rest quiet, now, till I come back."

When Biddy had gone I was almost sorry that I had not taken her completely into my confidence, but her interest seemed so deeply engaged on my behalf that I felt sure she would work strongly on Miss O'Callaghan's feelings; and so it proved, for she returned in an hour to say that the lady would come on the following morning. After this piece of news I calmly went to sleep again, and only awoke to find Biddy once more at my bedside with breakfast.

I assured her that I felt somewhat better, and would be ready for Miss O'Callaghan when she came. Just as I had finished breakfast I heard St. Alleyne's voice below. Presently Biddy came up with curiosity shining from her face.

"Why didn't ye tell me," she said, "that ye knew his lordship?"

"Biddy, can I trust you?" I asked.

She tossed her head. "Thrust me," she said, "an' why not, sure?"


[Pg 209]

"I knew I could. Well, you'll show Lord St. Alleyne up, and he won't go down again until after Miss O'Callaghan has seen me."

"Lord save us!" cried Biddy.

"I know," I went on, "that you have your late mistress's happiness at heart, and this will make it safe. It depends upon you whether there is to be a great wedding at Stromore, or the convent for Miss O'Callaghan."


"Lord save us!" Biddy cried again, between laughter and tears.

"Mrs. O'Callaghan," I said, "is a strange woman, I understand."

"She is that!" Biddy interjected.

"And therefore this interview must be arranged as best it can. On your life, don't say a word to either of them about his lordship being here!"

Biddy's hesitation was only momentary; she promised, and fled from the room.

When St. Alleyne came in I saw he had not had much sleep and that his nerves were on the rack, but his manner was as unperturbed as ever. He sat down on the side of my bed and looked at me curiously.

"How are you?" he asked.

"Perfectly well," I answered; "don't I look it?"

"You look a bit flushed, that's all."

"And with good cause. Miss O'Callaghan will be here in half an hour."

"Thank God!" he said, and walked to the window. He stood silently with his back to me for some time, looking down into the street. Then he said, "How are you going to manage the interview?"

"I don't know; if you worry me I shall make a mess of it."

"I'm not going to worry you, old chap," he said; "you must just do it your own way."

"I saw her yesterday."

He swung round and faced me.

"What did you think of her?" he asked.

"I think," said I, "that you must have been born for each other."

His face lit up with a sudden, boyish smile.

"Thanks," he said, and turned to the window again. A moment later he stepped back quickly.

"There she is," he said, "and my cousin, Mrs. O'Callaghan, with her."

"It was just like you," I cried, "to stand there where the whole street could see you."

"Don't be angry, Phil," he said, humbly, "she didn't look up."

"For heaven's sake get into the next room and shut the door."

He came over to me swiftly and rested his hands on my shoulders.

"Play up, Phil," he whispered, "for the sake of old times." Then he left me, and the door of the sitting-room closed softly behind him.

When I heard footsteps on the stairs and realised that the game had really commenced, the ambiguity of my position overwhelmed me; I wished myself, for a moment, well out of the affair at any price. But the thought of the greater strain upon[Pg 210] St. Alleyne, and what it meant to him, restored my composure, and I waited with closed eyes. The door opened, and I heard Biddy's voice say, "Here's Miss O'Callaghan to see ye, sorr." When I looked up, a vision of loveliness greeted my eyes.

Miss O'Callaghan came towards me with a face full of the tenderest solicitude. She was wearing a tailor-made dress that fitted her to perfection, and on her head she had a large hat, from under which tiny tendrils of dark hair had escaped; her skin was of the whiteness of rose petals except where the blood flushed, her eyes had the look of wet violets in spring. My lips murmured incoherent thanks and welcome. I could not force my mind away from the waiting figure in the next room.

"You wished to see me," she said, in a soft voice that had an under-note of sadness. "If I can help you, please be quite free with me. It's to be my life's work to help those who are in trouble."

"Your life's work?" I repeated.

"Yes," she said, "I'm to go into a convent."

"My trouble will seem very small to you, but to me it seems great, and it has to do with so worldly a thing as love."

Her face flushed and paled again before she answered—

"True love can never be small—it is always beautiful."

"That is my thought of it, too," I said; "but however much one wants to do the right thing, it is sometimes terribly hard to decide."

"I know," she said, "I know."

"Now suppose," I said, "that I loved a girl with all my heart—as I do," I added, thinking of Lucy, "but had never told her so; and suppose that her friends, for some foolish reason, did not like me, and wished her to devote her life to a calling which she herself had some leaning to——"

"Yes," she said, breathlessly, and I could see she was applying the case to herself.

"And suppose," I went on, "I had been blind in the past, and perhaps unknowingly allowed the time to go by when I should have spoken: would I be justified in coming into her life again, drawing her away from the peace that this calling might already have given her, and asking her to come back with me into the world where love is?"

For an instant she turned her head aside, and I saw the tears heavy under her eyelids.

"It would be for her to decide," she said; "you should tell her."

"That's just what my friend Lord St. Alleyne thinks," I said.

"You know him?" she cried. The look in her eyes at that moment was certainly not for me.

"He is my very dear friend," I said, "and I have often heard him speak of you. I know him for one of the best men alive."

She slipped down on her knees by the bed, and if I had not already known all about the matter her eyes would have told me.

"I believe he is, I believe he is," she said. "Tell me about him. Is he well? When did you see him last?"

"No longer ago than this morning," I said.


She hid her face and was silent for a time; I could see that she loved him[Pg 211] beyond the ordinary love of women, and the sight sent such a wave of content through me that I believe I laughed softly. At any rate she looked up and I could not bear to see her unhappy any longer.

"My dear Miss O'Callaghan," I said, taking into my hand the warm little gloved fingers that lay on the coverlid, "will you forgive me for being a conspirator and a humbug? Remember I did it for the sake of my friend, and I knew he was worth it. I spoke of him and not of myself."

"What do you mean?" she cried. And then, with a hand at her bosom, "Oh, tell me, tell me!"

"St. Alleyne," I said, "loves you, and he's here to tell you himself." And with that I raised my voice and called his name. The door opened instantly—he must have had his hand on the latch the whole time—and there he stood, with his arms stretched out to her and the name, "Norah," on his lips. She sprang to her feet and ran to him with so joyful a cry that I knew my part in the comedy was over, and just as they embraced I turned away and closed my eyes.

Ten minutes later they came back; she was leaning on his shoulder and he had an arm about her waist.

"This conspiracy has been so successful," I said, "that I shall never engage in another. It would never do to spoil my record."

"You have two friends now instead of one," Miss O'Callaghan said.

"Phil," said St. Alleyne, "get up, you old dear, while Norah and I go downstairs to see my cousin, Mrs. O'Callaghan."

They left me once more, and as I dressed I felt so absurdly light-hearted that I had to sing to myself; I forget what the song was, but I know, there was something about lovers' meetings in it. As I reached the foot of the stairs I heard voices in the dining-room; one of them was rather high-pitched and hard, but it sounded pleasant enough as it said, "Well, St. Alleyne, you've beaten me this time, and I suppose I must give in, but it will take you long years to make me believe in your family."

And I concluded it was the voice of his lordship's cousin, Mrs. O'Callaghan.


Here is an interesting photograph of a pair of "dog gates" which may be seen at Slyfield Manor, near Leatherhead, in Surrey.


Slyfield Manor, Leatherhead, Surrey.

These gates were very common in country houses in the days of Queen Elizabeth, but there are not many to be seen to-day. Dogs know how to behave now, and there is no need for them.

As their name implies, the gates were used to keep the dogs of the house from wandering upstairs into bedrooms and other places where they had no right.

But many people like to hear their dogs scratching at the door in the morning.

The gates shown in our photograph are in excellent condition. They were photographed by Mr. S. H. Wrightson, of Aldershot.[Pg 212]


Pictures by Mr. "Rip."

Words by M. Randall Roberts

Why is it, in these days of up-to-date cricket reporting, no one has noticed the most striking characteristic of Ranjitsinhji's play? The pose of W. G. Grace's tip-tilted foot as he stands at the wicket, Abel's serio-comic expression as he cocks his eye and ambles from the pavilion, and Mr. Key's rotundity, are as familiar as Mr. Chamberlain's eye-glass even to the non-cricketing public; but the ballooning of Prince Ranjitsinhji's silk shirt has hitherto been allowed to lie in obscurity.


About the silk shirt itself there is no particular mystery; dozens of other cricketers wear one exactly like it; but none of these garments "balloon" with the same unvarying persistence as Ranji's. Whether half a gale is blowing on the Hove ground, or there is not enough wind to move the flag at Lord's, the Indian prince's cricket shirt always presents the appearance of the mainsail of a six-tonner on a breezy day in the Solent. Anyone can satisfy himself as to the truth of this assertion by glancing at the first illustration on page 213. The batsman's face is concealed by his arm, and his attitude in playing the ball is almost identical with that of hundreds of other cricketers. Yet there is no mistaking the player. It's Ranji as plainly as if his name was printed all over it; the curve in his shirt gives him away at once. Unkind critics, indeed, declared that the secret of his success in Australia was that, while the rest of Mr. Stoddart's team were panting for a breath of fresh air with the thermometer at 100° in the shade, some mysterious Indian deity was perpetually blowing on Ranji with a thousand cooling zephyrs. Nowadays, Ranjitsinhji's critics are becoming more sane; but when first he burst into splendour, many of his weird strokes were attributed to some supernatural agency. Ranji's most telling stroke, as every cricketer knows, is what is technically known as the "hook" stroke. Most fine batsmen are content to stop short straight balls on a fast wicket. Ranji is more ambitious. When he sees a ball of this kind coming, he stands directly in front of his wicket, and at the moment when the ball is apparently on the point of going through his body, he "hooks" it round to leg.

How hazardous this proceeding is may be gathered from the obvious fact that if the batsman fails to get his bat exactly in the proper place in exactly the proper fraction of a second, he will infallibly have to retire either with a fractured skull or "leg before wicket."

While the cricket scribes used to regard Ranjitsinhji's good fortune in escaping a violent end while playing this speciality of his as a supernatural gift, practical cricketers consider the stroke bad form. "That leg stroke of yours," said an old player to him[Pg 213] in the pavilion at Lord's, "is all very well now and then, but it's not cricket; it's far too risky. If you miss the ball, you're bound to be out leg before." "Quite so," replied Ranji; "but one would be out pretty frequently, clean bowled, if one missed the ball—every time a straight ball came, in fact."

Ranjitsinhji's batting has been variously described as satanic, electric, and elusive. "Serpentine" would be far more accurate. Anyone in the least familiar with the famous Indian's style will at once see the point of the epithet.

The line of beauty, we all know, is a curve; and the real secret of the attractiveness of Ranji's batting (from the spectators' point of view) is that every position he assumes seems to be laid out in a curve.

In the illustration on page 215. "Rip" has but very slightly exaggerated the effect of the sinuous curves into which Ranji's body resolves itself before he makes a stroke. That he can unbend faster than any other cricketer past or present is an incontestable fact. The yarn of how in a match at Cambridge he once brought off a catch with such amazing rapidity that the batsman, under the impression that the ball had travelled near the boundary, continued running till Ranji extracted the ball from his pocket, is most likely apocryphal; but to anyone who has seen him fielding slip the feat ascribed to him won't seem impossible.


By the way, it's an odd thing that while Ranjitsinhji's batting owes its attractiveness to the "curves" of the batsman, an equally graceful player—to wit, the lengthy William Gunn—is built on uncompromisingly straight lines. Somebody said that if Gunn were to model his style on Ranji's the result would be a sea-serpent—six and a half feet of curves.

Briggs has so many attitudes and antics of his own that he can't be said to have any characteristic pose. In everything he does he's "Johnny." Briggs may be said to have just missed greatness by a lack of seriousness. According to George Giffen, if he had only taken batting more seriously Briggs would have been, after W. G. Grace, the second best all-round cricketer in England. There's a deadly earnestness about his bowling and fielding, but as a batsman he always seems more anxious to amuse the spectators than to improve his average. Like other famous men, Johnny Briggs may be often misunderstood, but at any rate this is the impression he creates. About six years ago, in the middle of the cricket season, Briggs appeared to have suddenly gone "stale," and the Lancashire Committee suggested to him that he should take a week's holiday. Briggs selected[Pg 214] a remote village in Wiltshire; but, as luck would have it, the villagers were particularly keen cricketers, and when the news got about that the great Briggs was in their midst, the captain of the local team at once waited on him to ask what would be his terms for playing in a match against a neighbouring town.


"I asked," says Briggs, "what I thought were absolutely prohibitive terms, namely, £10; but the terms were accepted, so of course I had to play. My side lost the toss, and I had to begin the bowling. My first ball was hit out of the ground for six, and in a short time 100 went up with no wicket down. I suggested to the captain that he had better let someone else bowl, but he said that if he took me off, the spectators who kept pouring into the ground would want their money back, and would see that they got it, too. Finally, I had two wickets for about 120 runs. The crowd looked a trifle nasty, but what finished them was when I went in to bat and was bowled second ball.

"As I left the ground I heard, 'That's him. 'E's no blooming Briggs, 'e's a blooming fraud. Let's give him a jolly hiding.' Only the railway station and a couple of stalwart policemen saved me from the jolly good hiding, and I have never tried village cricket since."


A. G. Steel declares that the secret of Dr. Grace's phenomenal success against young batsmen is the terror inspired by the sight of his beard. Batsmen meeting the champion for the first time see an enormous man, with a great black beard waving in the breeze, rushing up to the wickets. They expect something quite different from the gently lobbed-up ball which this black-bearded giant delivers; before they can recover from the shock of surprise they find themselves clean bowled.

But W. G.'s beard does something more than frighten young cricketers. As Maurice Read says, "it talks to you." Other human beings wag their heads; Grace wags his beard when things are going wrong. It is even said that, with a team that knows him, he can indicate to the fieldsmen to change their positions by merely moving his beard.


There are dozens of persons all over the country[Pg 215] who pose as cricket authorities on the strength of having once watched the champion practising at the nets. At a cricket match in a small Welsh town one of these gentlemen was acting as umpire, and could not agree with his fellow umpire as to whether a certain batsman was run out.

The argument waxed very fierce, until the umpire of the visiting team called out—

"What do you know about cricket? You 'aven't shook 'ands with Lord Hawke, 'ave yer?"


"Well, I 'ave," triumphantly declared the other, as the crowd dispersed.

And the batsman was declared out.

"Ranji" A STUDY IN CURVES. "Ranji"

[Pg 216]


What souvenir of a great man can compete with the knocker of his door? A door-knocker is to a man's house what a sign is to a shop or tavern; but it is also something more. Take, for instance, the knocker on the door of the official residence of the Prime Minister, No. 10, Downing Street. No less a person than Lord Beaconsfield once described to a friend this particular knocker as having a marked resemblance to the features of his political opponent, Mr. Gladstone. There is no knocker in existence, we may fairly state, that has been handled by so many distinguished people as this one. If only the friends of Mr. Gladstone were enumerated, they would make up a long list of illustrious names, and many Prime Ministers have resided at the unpretentious, old-fashioned mansion so conveniently situated for the Houses of Parliament.

THE PRIME MINISTER'S (10, Downing Street, Westminster.) THE PRIME MINISTER'S (10, Downing Street, Westminster.)
THOMAS CARLYLE'S. (Cheyne Row, Chelsea.) THOMAS CARLYLE'S. (Cheyne Row, Chelsea.)
MR. ALMA TADEMA'S. (St. John's Wood.) MR. ALMA TADEMA'S. (St. John's Wood.)

The knocker on the door of Carlyle's house, Cheyne Row, Chelsea, a house which was occupied by him for half a century, is another very interesting specimen. Scarcely was the young ex-schoolmaster and author of "Sartor Resartus" well settled in his new abode than he began to receive callers, who, if not very famous then, have since achieved considerable renown.

Among them was young Mr. Charles Dickens, then the blushing "Boz," who, with Mrs. Dickens, stepped out of a gorgeous green hackney coach to administer a knock on the door, having driven all the way from Doughty Street, Brunswick Square, to pay a call. Forster, Serjeant Talfourd, Maclise, Macready, Landor, Leigh Hunt, and Thackeray were frequent knockers during the first decade.

It is not difficult to imagine some youthful admirer of Carlyle giving a timid knock at the door, and then wishing that he had the courage to run away from the house before being ushered into the presence of the irascible Philosopher. Mr. Alma Tadema's knocker is forbidding enough in[Pg 217] appearance, and holds out but little promise of the beauties of that wonderful house where the artist resides in St. John's Wood. No doubt it is, like everything else about his home, from a design by the great painter himself.


(Piccadilly.) THE DUKE OF DEVONSHIRE'S. (Piccadilly.)

The most beautiful knocker in this collection, if not the most beautiful in London, is that of the Duke of Devonshire, at No. 80, Piccadilly. It represents a head of classic contour set in a circular disc, chiselled with an exquisite border. Not a few among the Duke's guests have so far expressed their admiration of this work of art as to desire duplicates for themselves, but it is not known if any exist, it having been done by the Duke's own command from his own designs.

It is to be wished that the Duke would follow up his artistic success in this particular by designing a wall for Devonshire House to replace the existing hideous structure.

(17, Doughty Street.)
(Bolt Court, Fleet Street.)

Dickens' door-knocker recalls the residence of the happy couple who removed to Doughty Street from Furnival's Inn shortly after their marriage. It was here that Charles Dickens the younger was born, and where the author of "Pickwick" first became on terms of friendship with many of the brilliant men of letters of his day. The knocker is held in its place by a fleur-de-lis of the same metal, and it was Serjeant Talfourd who humorously rallied Dickens on his supposed predilection for the French, who at that time were in the midst of preparing that series of more or less revolutionary movements which preceded the downfall of Louis Philippe and the ascendency of the third Napoleon.

But an older and more characteristic door-knocker may be found well within a mile of Doughty Street, still on the door of a house once inhabited by the great sage Dr. Samuel Johnson himself. Surely if any knocker is characteristic of its owner this one is. It represents a sturdy fist clenching a baton from which depends a bulky wreath of laurel fastened in the middle by a lion's head. The worthy doctor, as we are told by Boswell, carried no key, nor did he permit any member of his oddly-selected household to possess one. At all times and seasons the house in Bolt Court was[Pg 218] inhabited, and unquestionably the burly knocker resounded in the ears of the inhabitants of the court often enough, and at unseemly hours, for the sage was not at all scrupulous as to what hours he kept, and many a time would talk irregularly on at the club until some of his neighbours had serious thoughts of rising.

(Hampstead Road, N.W.)
(8, Craven Street, Strand.)

The contemporaries of the great caricaturist George Cruikshank during a fruitful period of his life will gaze not without feelings of emotion on the accompanying representation of the familiar knocker on his house in the Hampstead Road.

It was Clarkson Stanfield who, calling upon his friend Cruikshank one day, had much ado in making the artist's aged servant aware that a visitor awaited at the portals; again and again he knocked, but in vain; the servant's deafness was proof against the onslaughts of a vigorous if not wholly artistic door implement. At last, losing all patience, he picked up the foot-scraper and was about to impetuously hammer away at the panels, when the caricaturist, hastily throwing up an upper window sash, recognised and appeased his indignant visitor.

"You should," remarked Stanfield, "get a younger servant, or a heavier knocker, or else build your house in Turkish fashion—that is, without doors."

In every article which deals with the curiosities of London, the name of Dickens must figure very largely. The last knocker of our collection is the most remarkable one of all, inasmuch as Dickens derived his idea of Scrooge in "A Christmas Carol" from its hideous lineaments. Look at our photograph and then read Dickens' own description of the unamiable Scrooge:

"Oh! but he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge; a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old Sinner! Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster. The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shrivelled his cheek, stiffened his gait.... He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dog-days; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas."

[Pg 219]


[By Permission of the Berlin Photographic Co., London, W.
From the Painting by Gabriel Ferrier.

[Pg 220]

[By permission of the Berlin Photographic Co., London, W.
From the Painting by W. Reynolds Stephens.

[Pg 221]

[By permission of the Berlin Photographic Co., London, W.
From the Painting by A. T. Vernon.

[Pg 222]

[By permission of the Berlin Photographic Co., London, W.
From the Painting by J. W. Godward.

[Pg 223]

[By permission of the Berlin Photographic Co., London, W.
From the Painting by Arthur J. Elsley.

[Pg 224]

[By permission of the Berlin Photographic Co., London, W.
From the Painting by N. Sichel.


[1] Copyrighted in the U.S.A. by Cutcliffe Hyne, 1898.

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of The Harmsworth Magazine, v. 1,
1898-1899, No. 2, by Various


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