respective homes, had begun to assemble outside the Castle-grounds:
and it became evident–now that Lady Muriel’s cousin had joined our party
that the problem, how to convey five people to Elveston, with a
carriage that would only hold four, must somehow be solved.
The Honorable Eric Lindon, who was at this moment walking up and down
with Lady Muriel, might have solved it at once, no doubt, by announcing
his intention of returning on foot. Of this solution there did not
seem to be the very smallest probability.
The next best solution, it seemed to me, was that I should walk home:
and this I at once proposed.
“You’re sure you don’t mind?’, said the Earl. “I’m afraid the carriage
wont take us all, and I don’t like to suggest to Eric to desert his
cousin so soon.”
“So far from minding it,” I said, “I should prefer it. It will give me
time to sketch this beautiful old ruin.”
“I’ll keep you company,” Arthur suddenly said. And, in answer to what
I suppose was a look of surprise on my face, he said in a low voice,
“I really would rather. I shall be quite de trop in the carriage!”
“I think I’ll walk too,” said the Earl. “You’ll have to be content
with Eric as your escort,” he added, to Lady Muriel, who had joined us
while he was speaking.
“You must be as entertaining as Cerberus–‘three gentlemen rolled into
one’–” Lady Muriel said to her companion. “It will be a grand
“A sort of Forlorn Hope?” the Captain modestly suggested.
“You do pay pretty compliments!” laughed his fair cousin. “Good day to
you, gentlemen three–or rather deserters three!” And the two young
folk entered the carriage and were driven away.
“How long will your sketch take?” said Arthur.
“Well,” I said, “I should like an hour for it. Don’t you think you had
better go without me? I’ll return by train. I know there’s one in
about an hour’s time.”
“Perhaps that would be best,” said the Earl. “The Station is quite close.”
So I was left to my own devices, and soon found a comfortable seat,
at the foot of a tree, from which I had a good view of the ruins.
“It is a very drowsy day,” I said to myself, idly turning over the
leaves of the sketch-book to find a blank page. “Why, I thought you
were a mile off by this time!” For, to my surprise, the two walkers
were back again.
“I came back to remind you,” Arthur said, “that the trains go every ten
“Nonsense!” I said. “It isn’t the Metropolitan Railway!”
“It is the Metropolitan Railway,” the Earl insisted. “‘This is a part
“Why do you talk with your eyes shut?” said Arthur. “Wake up!”
“I think it’s the heat makes me so drowsy,” I said, hoping, but not
feeling quite sure, that I was talking sense. “Am I awake now?”
“I think not, “the Earl judicially pronounced. “What do you think,
Doctor? He’s only got one eye open!”
“And he’s snoring like anything!” cried Bruno. “Do wake up, you dear
old thing!” And he and Sylvie set to work, rolling the heavy head from
side to side, as if its connection with the shoulders was a matter of
no sort of importance.
And at last the Professor opened his eyes, and sat up, blinking at us
with eyes of utter bewilderment. “Would you have the kindness to
mention,” he said, addressing me with his usual old-fashioned courtesy,
“whereabouts we are just now and who we are, beginning with me?”
I thought it best to begin with the children. “This is Sylvie. Sir;
and this is Bruno.”
“Ah, yes! I know them well enough!” the old man murmured. “Its myself
I’m most anxious about. And perhaps you’ll be good enough to mention,
at the same time, how I got here?”
“A harder problem occurs to me,” I ventured to say: “and that is, how
you’re to get back again.”
“True, true!” the Professor replied. “That’s the Problem, no doubt.
Viewed as a Problem, outside of oneself, it is a most interesting one.
Viewed as a portion of one’s own biography, it is, I must admit, very