her neck, and to hide it away under the edge of her frock. “It’s for
you to keep you know he said in a low voice, not for other people to see.
You’ll remember how to use it?
Yes, I’ll remember, said Sylvie.
“And now darlings it’s time for you to go back or they’ll be missing
you and then that poor Gardener will get into trouble!”
Once more a feeling of wonder rose in my mind as to how in the world we
were to get back again–since I took it for granted that wherever the
children went I was to go–but no shadow of doubt seemed to cross
their minds as they hugged and kissed him murmuring over and over again
“Good-bye darling Father!” And then suddenly and swiftly the darkness
of midnight seemed to close in upon us and through the darkness
harshly rang a strange wild song:–
He thought he saw a Buffalo
Upon the chimney-piece:
He looked again, and found it was
His Sister’s Husband’s Niece.
‘Unless you leave this house,’ he said,
‘I’ll send for the Police!’
[Image…’He thought he saw a buffalo’]
“That was me!” he added, looking out at us, through the half-opened
door, as we stood waiting in the road.’ “And that’s what I’d have
done–as sure as potatoes aren’t radishes–if she hadn’t have
tooken herself off! But I always loves my pay-rints like anything.”
“Who are oor pay-rints?” said Bruno.
“Them as pay rint for me, a course!” the Gardener replied.
“You can come in now, if you like.”
He flung the door open as he spoke, and we got out, a little dazzled
and stupefied (at least I felt so) at the sudden transition from the
half-darkness of the railway-carriage to the brilliantly-lighted
platform of Elveston Station.
A footman, in a handsome livery, came forwards and respectfully touched
his hat. “The carriage is here, my Lady,” he said, taking from her the
wraps and small articles she was carrying: and Lady Muriel,
after shaking hands and bidding me “Good-night!” with a pleasant smile,
It was with a somewhat blank and lonely feeling that I betook myself to
the van from which the luggage was being taken out: and, after giving
directions to have my boxes sent after me, I made my way on foot to
Arthur’s lodgings, and soon lost my lonely feeling in the hearty
welcome my old friend gave me, and the cozy warmth and cheerful light
of the little sitting-room into which he led me.
“Little, as you see, but quite enough for us two. Now, take the
easy-chair, old fellow, and let’s have another look at you! Well, you
do look a bit pulled down!” and he put on a solemn professional air.
“I prescribe Ozone, quant. suff. Social dissipation, fiant pilulae
quam plurimae: to be taken, feasting, three times a day!”
“But, Doctor!” I remonstrated. “Society doesn’t ‘receive’ three times a
“That’s all you know about it!” the young Doctor gaily replied.
“At home, lawn-tennis, 3 P.M. At home, kettledrum, 5 P.M.
At home, music (Elveston doesn’t give dinners), 8 P.M. Carriages at 10.
There you are!”
It sounded very pleasant, I was obliged to admit. “And I know some of
the lady-society already,” I added. “One of them came in the same
carriage with me”
“What was she like? Then perhaps I can identify her.”
“The name was Lady Muriel Orme. As to what she was like–well, I
thought her very beautiful. Do you know her?”
“Yes–I do know her.” And the grave Doctor coloured slightly as he
added “Yes, I agree with you. She is beautiful.”
“I quite lost my heart to her!” I went on mischievously. “We talked–”
“Have some supper!” Arthur interrupted with an air of relief, as the
maid entered with the tray. And he steadily resisted all my attempts to
return to the subject of Lady Muriel until the evening had almost worn
itself away. Then, as we sat gazing into the fire, and conversation was
lapsing into silence, he made a hurried confession.
“I hadn’t meant to tell you anything about her,” he said (naming no
names, as if there were only one ‘she’ in the world!) “till you had