Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

22 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

Synopsis of Previous Chapters,


Synopsis of Previous Chapters, t CHAPTERS I. and II.— Mrs La Roache and daughter, Claire, drive to Castle Pi unbar. O'Keefe, the driver, refuses to bo paid night. Tbey arrive at their destination, are welcomed by Timothy Sullivan, the old servant left at the Castle, which is ^tabling into ruins. From the hall Claire and ,#r toother are taken by the crazy Sullivan to a lore olii bedroom, which has not been occupied at least over half a century. Everything ?1,1 tatters. Moths and bats aboand. Rats S?1 be heard scuttling under the wainscoting, immediate demand of the newcomers is for They partake of a miserable sapper, after the old man produces a pack of cards. 7^'re soon sees that he is a born gamester, and to play with him. He retires muttering '^geanee. .^HAP ITERS III. and IV.—Mother and daugh S? Pass a weary night ensconced in chairs. ^"6 mother sleeps, but the daughter sits listen- »°K to all the uncanny sounds, and conjuring fcr eraef the imaginary terrors of the night. They ?*e disturbed by the? arrival of two men on horso- stranded wayfarers, who believe the Castle ? "e uninhabited save by a lunatic. The two promise the help and assistance of two *°meu, which relieves the situation somewhat. p1 the morrow Claire intercepts a beautiful Irish girl carrying a can of milk. This takes Miss La Roache to the cabin of Mrs "*jeary, where the good woman gives her a Seal, and she has a wash. She accompanies ^l*ire back to the Castle, where she provides a breakfast. During the course of the morn- ^viaitors arrive. ► CHAPTERS V. and VI.—The visitors are Innisfail and Mrs Archil Browne, mother ''d daughter. With them are the two men they in the night. The Roaches show their visi- j?1* their ruin, and are afterwards taken to Mrs £ *chie Browne's home, Sunaotara. Mother and r^Kbter discuss Mr Urquhart. He is secretary Philip Trent, the millionaire, who is ex- ited shortly to be a guest. After admiring the Mrs and Miss La Roache descend to the I, where Claire converses with Major Clifton, CHAPTER VII. k. Y^re found herself seated by Mr Urquhart J^'ttnch, and before they had risen she felt that !?6 bad never vet talked with a man with whom felt on such good terms. He was more than i^Perficially sympathetic. Without the need for ?s 8Paaking a word she felt that he appreciated bbvt-r-vth i n gtb at was upon her mind. She had j^roe aware of this during the drive from ^jtetle Finnbar to Suanamara. The impression r^ich he produced was that she had known him her life—that if she were to find herself in Position of perplexity she would go to him ? the certainty that he would be able to relieve mind from all doubt as to what course she; ould adopt. tie did not convey to her the idea that he was t^azingly clever people do not believe implicitly J amazingly clever men. They have an idea v*t amazingly clever men are usually amaz- selfish, and so they are. Mr Orqubart had r'd no particular thing that impressed her, but I had never been otherwise than impressive so as she was concerned. He had never for a v^tient been commonplace, and he had rarely amusing. But, as before, he had given her Understand that in an emergency she might on him. «he could scarcely understand how it was that °?her people seemed ta refer to him as being so ^"Ver. Here and there among themselves a re- had been made bearing upon his cievar- P88, and it had been invariably followed by a b-not a laugh of derision, but a laugh that suggested that Mr TJrqubart had an Inject in view—that in tbe colloquialism of 5Hior Clifton, he knew jolly well what he was •bout." U If ahe had been aaked point blank whether she him or not she would Dot have been able to But, of course, there was no one at hand cePt her mother who had a right to put such t^Hestion tjo her and her mother being care- to make up her own judgments of persons ?8fore she had seen them, and of incidents be- they had happened was not likely to become ftllsJtorial. Bat for one thing she felt grate- f"1 to Mr Urquhart-he had said no word about r father. He bad not assumed the attitude of greater number of English speaking neople JJ*h whom she had come in contact in various ?**ta of Europe in regard to her father—an ^tude of chilling suspicion. 1 Who is he ? .mea Lord Medway. iL^glish-speaking people who habitually visit ^Continent are, she bad noticed, inwiably JrfWcious of English-speaking people who aJ^^Hilly reside on the Continent, Most of whom she had met had put a few questions »her aD^ her mother respecting their 'people, hearing at the outset that their family name 2? Roache. and that it had acquired the definite through Colonel La Roache s connection the French Army, they had forthwith tt¡llmed that Colonel La Roache had been an adventurer on the Continent, and that his and daughter were trying to carry on the profession. iw*he result bad been that neither she nor her had succeeded in forming many firm among English-speaking people on Continent of Europe. Least of all had they tJ? much to do with English mothers with ?5|*&-up daughters. These were the most chill- of aj] K^he wondered if in crossing the Channel to .a she had come into a new state of life-a. I h of life in which only nice people would play All the people around her were quite Nice people are those who ask no quea- Site had long ago learned to hate the Jj^'ioning people—and so many people had re- lied her mother and herself as questionable. nt m Ireland everybody seemed to take-every- for granted. k^nla jt be, she aaked herself, that Irish were sufficiently adventurous to admit tjnt1U:ers into their circle without inquiry? the past year or two she had come to I t* of her mother and herself as successors IQ J father in the profession of adventure, and w^l that she should feel in some measure Of^atQed of it. Sbe wa3 never actually ashamed V fact that her father had been inclined to She was not even ashamed when it leaked 4( Vfhat he had been a Chevalier of the Legion K5*°nour in France before he had forsaken the service for the Austrian, which, in turn, Vetted for the Bulgarian. She had never °f his being lower in rank-or higher— tC^colonel, but she had been told that only in vL^nitea States is a man's holding of bis rank I VJ?ted a guarantee o^ extraordinary per- &*eru so she had neVer allowed herself to into the thought that the fact of her being a colonel in the Bulgarian Army itia>ded him from holding high rank among rS,adventurers on the Continent. as has been said, she had never qcute felt W t of his adventurous career. In fact, in Vij moments, when she became con- of being the descendant of an ancient race *btine men, she had felt a thrill of P^de, upon some of the things that had done. He had fought under his ^countryman MacMahon, on the disband- Of Garibaldi's army; but it was not in Sa?&thy with his genius to jom with any °f enthusiasm in the reorganisation o J^ch Army. After a year or two he would l'*U» f°nnd. if anyone had been sufficiently ^»!l6!ted in him to look for him, m the Aus- i ^'my. He himself could never explain I jk'ooeht him there but he frankly ad- b^^d that he had gone to Bulgaria because he I 4 to*!611 that that State would be the centre of J Jj*do of war within a year or two. A heen disappointed in this respect. Of there had been a scrimmage two, but j Were scrimmages to a man who looked for 06PPreach of a Russian Army from one 1 r and of a German from another What s xp3ettinK °f an applc-eart to a man who -j a collision between express trains J the twirl of a Japanese fan to a man tft^^eorological register forces him to think ^i^adoes ? There had been an unworthy or two and in order to wile away the he was tapping his nolitica- aneroid, he had got married. it ers- tsuiiton was the daughter of a S^h-^hose name was certainly not %L ,f5.3" He had wandered about the Balkan r some years obtaining concessions v10? he 8) between the Revolutions, and pfc had died. The fact that she was an constituted in the eyes of Colonel La her supreme qualification for becoming iv ^he fact that she had never been one moinent of her father's death had pre- *»auy another ineligible man from pro- l her- J: J?** ahjo pretty and penniless and these l "q t'O her- J?** also pretty and penniless and these ij II whiefa tbe •Irtitaman in Bolgari* could not resist. He made no attempt to do so. I He married her within a month of her father's aeath-a space of time which seemed to pass very slowly, for it included as many attempts to assassinate him as an ordinary man meets in the course of a long lifetime. Miss Villiers- Staunton, in common with a good many Bul- garian ladies. skilled in the use of the knife, not exclusively for domestic purposes, was des- perately in love with him, and she was content to accept all that he had to give her. It was not much beyond his devotion, but .when a woman really loves a man she will be ready to resign herself even to a life of opulence for his sake, and Colonel La Roache and his wife were very happy together, nor did the lawyer's letter which the lady received from England six months after her mairiage, informing her that her father's will had been duly proved, and that it was found that so far from being penniless she was entitled to an income of five hundred pounds a year out of her father's estate, diminish from the happi- ness of their union. No one was more surprised than Mrs La Roache at such a result of the administration of her father's estate. Colonel La Roache had always suspected Mr Villiers-Staunton of being an adventurer, be wore so many orders Mrs Li Roache knew him to be one. But he bad died leaving the sum of 110,000 admirably invested in English securities, and his daughter had in- herited it all, less the cost of probate and ad- ministration. It appeared that Mr Villiers- Staunton had always bad a morbid dread of his daughter falling into the hands of an adventurer, and thus bad been prudent enough to conceal from everyone the result of his prudence in monev matters. He had no difficulty whatever in posing as a man who lived by his wits. His daughter's income, however, jojned to her hus- band's enabled them to make something of an appearance in Sofia, and though the Irishman had often talked of the castle of his ancestors, and of the longing that he had to return to it, he was too true to his nationality ever to make an attempt to divest himself cf the interest which attaches to an exile. He knew that the Irish- man (with a castle) in the object of universal pity at home, but an [rish exile (with a castle, either in Ireland or SDain) is the object of uni- versal admiration elsewhere. After thirty year. of fascinating exile he died and his wife bad for long been aware of the fact that in spite of all that she could do to make him happy he cherished a secret sorrow— the country was settling down, and he was weary, waiting for the approach of the Russian army from the North and the German army from the South. "I am killed because no one will come to slaughter me," he had once said, and his wife, who after twenty-two years passed by his side had begun to understand him, know what he meant. That was all the story. Only on the death of the head of the household, Claire and her mother had lived in various parts ot Europe, and once, for a month or two, in England. Then that strange yearning had come upon Mrs La Roache to inhabit the Irish castle which had once been her husband's. She had entered into correspondence with Mr Sullivan without in the least knowing what Mr Sullivan was like, and now- Well, she was sitting on a very comfortable sofa in her dressing-room watching the sunset sending its windmill fans flying high in the sky over the Atlantic and te right and left of the purple mountains.before her. There was a red mist in the air, with here and there a flare of old; then a crimson sponge of cloud dropping blood into the waters--7% convulsive motion of gold flakes falling upon the heather-a. puspicion of saffron and pink—a band of rose petals twining round the peak of Slieve Gorm-blne- ness among the nearer glens. The silent silver tarn slept like an uncut jewel in the hollow of the hills. The riband of the sunset's weaving was seen by Mrs La Roache's daughter the fact being that when the party in the hall had separated I after tea she had seated herself in a too com- fortable place in the hollow of a convex window just where the curtain which ciossed the half- circle was draped against the oak at one side. She had laid her head upon the leathern back of the window seat and enjoyed a tranquil view of the scene before her eyes, for the sun had not yet touched the topmost twigs of the Ard- shean pines, and the rocks had not yet begun to give notice of their sunset flight to the far-off woods of Innishtorrig. It was a tranquil hour. The murmur of the voices of a couple of men who were smoking on a terrace, exchanging briar root stories, a sentence or two between puffs, and a longer murmur following the tapping of the rim of an empty bowl on the seat, only added to the general impression of tranquility of which she was conscious. Then in the fullness of her en joyment, and with a sense of the dimming of the evening, she ventured to put ber feet up on the window seat. Then the son went down to the feathery tufts of the distant firs, and shone through the interstices, giving an effect of golden osierwork -peeled-osiers interlaced with black; and all T?as very tranquil. Of coarse she fell aslsep. To talk of love is to make love. ro watch a sleeping landscape is to become sleepy. Claire had only had an hour or two of sleep daring the previous two nichts, and now slumber came upon her and took possession of her in an instant. She woke suddenly, in the blue shadow of the twilight. Murmurous voices were closer to her, and before she knew that they were confidential voices she was in their confidence, and it was unnecessary for her to stir, even if she had thought of stirring. a year ago," were the words-they were uttered in a baritone—at which she became an unseen listener. "Yes, it must have been a year ago, just," came an acquiescent treble. Just. And then you said that, perhaps, you were not sure of yourself," came the other. And I was not sure of myself. That was a year ago." "The way you say that makes me feel hope- less, Evey." There was a:long silence. And that long silence makes me feel more hopeless still." "Alasl Alas You are not sure of yourself yet ?" Alas I Alas I" What do you mean ? Give me a chance, Evelyn. Let it be as it was before-you have not yet made up your mind." II So sorry, Lord Medway I I have made up my mind." ogainst me ?" "Ah! How can you or anyone say whether it is for you or against you?" How can anyon3 say;?, Well, I think I could manage to say whether it is for or against me, Evey." Not you. If I were to tell you that I love you sufficiently well to marry you, it might be the worst thing that ever happened to yon." It would be the best." Ah, that is the way men speak. They are all so certain. We are not so certain. Good heavens I If girls thought only of themselves— their own happiness I But they don't, they think of you." ,I That makes me feel hocefal. If yon think of my happiness you will- "Oh, it will not do for as to talk, except straight, Lord Medway," Lord Medway—Lord—that makes me most hopeless. You used to call me Brick." I will talk to you straight, Brick. A year ago I think I cared a good deal for you--I know that I did, because I care a great deal for you now. But I told you that I was not certain that I loved you enough to satisfy you, and myself. I admit uiat I thought of myself. Well, during the year I have found out that I cannot love you as you must be loved by the girl you are to marry. I thought a year ago, six month# ago, that I could do it. I swear to you, Brick, that I hoped with all my heart—prayed, prayed even to God, that I might be ableito do it. Ob, I must go away now, it's getting so dark and only the end of September How the even- ings are Don't go, Evey. Don't leave me alone. Are you sure of yourself in regard to-to the other man ?" There was another long pause. It really seemed to Claire that the girl was sobbing. There was a feeling of sobbing in the silence. Don't you mind me," said Lord Medway. Don't think of my feelings. Only tell me straight, Evey. Are you sure of yourself in re- gard to the ether man ?" Don't ask me--oh, don't ask me, Brick," she said in a pitiful whisper. I tell you that I am conscious of being moved against my own will-" moved in one direction when I am longing to go in another. I suppose that is what love means. A tyranny—a dreadful, hateful tyranny. Bnt, oh, my God it is love, love, love, and I am a feather upon billows—a feather of down. I sup- pose it's the same with other ''girls—perhaps all other girls—against our will, mind—that's the r^ueer thing. That u why there are so many wrecks-fest,bars upon billows." She walked up and down the room. Claire heard her, and held her breath. And then the heavy drapery which concealed Claire and the end of the window seat on which she sat swayed until the drapery actually touched the back of her head. The rings at the top rattled on their bar. She knew that the girl on the other side bad thrown herself into the curtain, a hand clutching the tapestry on each side. Claire somehow was as well aware of the pose as if the curtain had not been between her and the other. And then came the girl's whisper. It was scarcely audible. Brick, I would give everything in the world to be able to love you. Not like this, not like this, but in the way you would want to be loved by a good woman." ( And you will, Evey, some day," said he. I cannot—I cannot j I love someone else," she cried once again, almost piteously. That does not matter," said he, doggedly. You will come to know that you love me, not another. I can wait, Evey. You are worth waiting for." There was another pause; then the curtain was suddenly released from .the figure of the girl who bad been folding it and holding it about her. Claire heard the little laugh that she gave—it had the sound of a gasp-a laugh at the end of a long breath. pkwmo beard bei say. Oh. yes," be said I'll go away. Bat 111 come back to you don't doubt that. ni come back to yon to help you out of your difficulty,and you will welcome me." Oh, go away," she said. Poor Evey. My poor little Evey," said he, and Claire heard the door close behind him. The next moment there was toe sound of a iittlecry; it was just like the pathetic little plaint of a lamb that has strayed from its mother the curtain was flung aside and the girl threw herself—not down upon the window seat which sha had meant to throw herself on, but into the arms of Claire. She started back with a barely stifled shriek. Who are you ?" elie said, after a moment's recovery. I am your sister," said Claire. I heard everything. I could not help hearing every- thing. I was asleep when you came into the room. You had both spoken before I was aware of it, What could I do ?" You could do nothing,of course. Well, Miss La. Roache, you have been present at a very funny scene. Were you not amused ? I know that if I had been in your place I should have betrayed my presence by my roars of laughter." Oh, for heaven's sake, do not talk in that way," cried Claire. "Laughter? Ob, I wept; I weot. I am weeping now. I never thought that there was anything so full of pathos in the world. I was never in the presence of a woman — a woman —before. Oh, don't let us talk about it. I will think of it as a dream that I have had. You told him to pray for you. He will do it—so will I I am your sister." She was standing up face to face in the dark- ness—the room was now in complete darkness- with the other girl, who put both hands out to the other girl. She did not respond at once. After a few seconds of distrust, however, she threw her arms about Claire and kissed her twice, thrice, on the face. My name is Evelyn Carnaleigh," said she. I am the most; wretched girl in the world, but somehow I feel better for knowing that yon over- heard my secret. It is no secret now." It is your secret still it is my secret oar secret," said Claire. Oh, I need not make any affirmation, You would not have kissed me unless you had folt assured that you could trust me." I 1 Claire could hear every word. That is true," said the girl. u, I will show I yon how far I can trust you, for I will tell you more than I told him. I will tell you the name of the other man—the man who made me lov% him. No, no for pity's sake, no," cried Claire. I will not hear it—never—never." The other laughed. I feel much better for knowing that you overheard all that you did," said she. "You will Dray for me." I will pray that you may be happy," said Claire. Not that—not that," she cried. Do not pray for my happiness—my happiness is nothing. Pray for his happiness." His ? His ? Lord Medway's or the other's ? Whose happiness am I to pray for ?" God knows-God knows," said the girl. And then the dressing gong sent forth its mild thunder. CHAPTER VIII. It had been a delightful day, although Mr Marvin had been present. This was, roughly, the result of a consensus of opinion among the party who had dined with Philip Trent aboard his yacht, swinging at her moorings in Lough Suanagorm, Mr Philip Trent had steamed into the loagh a few days before, his approach being heralded by about a thousand telegrams addressed to him. Mr Trent was one of those modern business men who conduct all their correspondence by wire- telegraphic kncl telephonic and his private sec- retary's private secretary was ikkept pretty busy replying to these communications. They related mostly to certain minor transactions in the busi- ness--trivia,hties involving at the very most a profit of twenty thousand pounds a year but it is just over such pettyfogging affairs that some people are most fussy and some of Mr Trent's correspondents were very fussy. Mr Uiquhart knew bow to deal with him. He was never dis- courteous, he was merely discouraging. And thus he kept his employer's correspondence within reasonable limits When he had been at Suanamara for a couple of days, doing a little shooting, fighting a salmon or two and sending off telegrams by the thousand—the telegraph operator at the village— a young lady who had sent off as many as fifteen telegrams during the previous six months—despatched II. mesRage-on her own account to the Poetmaster-General ask- ing him if he could spare her six assistants—Mr Trent took a party from the honse for a day's cruise in the Curlew, They had steamed outof the lough and along the magnificent coast for fifty or sixty miles, thereby enabling Miss Fos- berry to get a capital snapshot of the majestic headlands of Ardreagh—quite a notable result of the day's excursion- and in the evening they had dined together on the yacht. Of course, they could not expect anything but the simple fare of yachtsmen, but they were content to rough it with a refrigerator and a chef whose name was known in every part of the dining world. It was generally admitted by his guests aboard the Curlew that Mr Trent's chef managed with great adroitness to take the rough edge of roughing it. The dinner to which he ventured to call their a ttention was worthy to be placed as a work of allegorical art alongside the Bar- berini Vase or the friezes of the Pantheon. It was not symbolic, it was allegorical—as anyone could preceive who studied every canto of the carte. It dealt with the mystery of human life —its mingling of tragedy and comedy—from the cradle to the tomb—nay, beyond it; for one of the incidents of the menu was a certain Creme de Vanille a la Portes de Perle," which more than suggested a beatified hereafter. How could any company lail to be in a con- tented state of mind—Monsieur Adolphe's plats, like all inspirations, were spiritual rather than mental; but still they gave a tender animation to the mind-the delicate brush as of a butterfly's wing—after dining off metaphors ? That is what someone inquired over a peach—from which the stone had been extracted, crushed and replaced in frozen form with a flavouring which, though partly spirituous, was entirely spiritual. But Mr Marvin had been present. He rarely neglected a function that had any possibilities in it, and dinner aboard a millionaire's yacht had many. Mr Marvin was known as the Inter- preter of the Primeval; and he sometimes did succeed in making people uncomfortable. He saw everything in the world of to-day as it ex- isted some hundreds of thousands of years ago— he was not particular as to a few hundreds of thousands, it made no difference, he said. He could not perceive any change in anything of nature, the fact being that nature was unchange- able. There were no men in the world who were not savage, and no women who were not pre-his- toric. They were still animals of the trees and caves—yes,he thought that a recent ancestor was probably arboreal; and the first thing that a man child, or for that matter a woman child, did on getting into the open air was to climb a tree. Climbing trees and robbing the birds' nests of eggs—eggs which were quite useless to|the boy or gj £ j were the natural instinct of tbe child. The I child did not know why it found a tree irresist- ible, horrid though it was to climb owing to me unhappy dropping of a tail- a prehensile tail of an ancestor who took his ease swinging from a bough and not sitting on a rock. It was a disgrace to whip boys for bird-nesting and for robbing orchards, he declared, and the boys were on his side to a man. Boys now and again collected eggs, until the eggs became a nuisance to their relations; but they rarely col- lected apples or nuts—ah, nuts-n-ate. Why should nuts be so popular among boys This was the arboreal instinct. And girls—did it ever strike anyone that women still wore their hair long ? Yes, it did not require the adventitious aid of a coiffeur's advertisement to make everyone aware that both men and women had a great admiration for long hair in the latter. Yes, but why ? Why, simply because another ancestor—a hun- dred thousand years or so advanced in civilisa- tion from the" probably arboreal," was ac- customed, when he had chosen a certain wonwii to be his wife, to carry her to his cave by the hair of the bead,which formed a most convenient medium of towage. This was a very horrid revelation for Mr Mar- vin to make to Mrs Archie Browne and her guests, several of whom had very beautiful hair.and they did not hesitate to say so; which was very femin- ine, and to be very feminine was, as Mr Marvin was careful to explain, to be very contradictory. And therefore very charming," Mr Urquhart suggested. But Mr Marvin was not so sure of this. He said it was very feminine to pretend not to want to be haled to a eaie, and yet to wear the tresses of primeval woman. "Depend upon it," said be. if the women did not want to be dragged to a cave by a total stranger they would have worn their hair short. But as it is they still wear long hair. That is because women are still pre-his tone. And men still look on women's tresses with admiration. That is becanBe the world only contains primeval That is because the world only contains primeval men." Thank heaven," said Lady Innisfail, quite piously, I Mrs Archie Browne, who had spent all her earlier years trying to keep her mother from saying these things PiooslJ. œi«1,. WPWVWgly > Oh, mother," [ And then Philip Trent,, making an attempt to save the situation, said gaily Mr Marvin, come for a cruise in my boat on Wednesday, and I will guarantee that for one [ day at least you do not find anything that is prehistori&or primeval." Mr Marvin had accepted the invitation with the smile of a man who knows. And that was how it came about that the other people declared on returning from the cruise and the dinner that the day had been a delight- ful one in spite of the presence of Mr Marvin. It was really not until tiffin was over—a tiffin in sympathy with the splendid swing of the Atlantic swell-that Mr Marvin had become horrid. You will smoke one of my Partagas, you will find nothing primeval about my Partagas at any rate," said Philip Trent, offering him the box of cigars. There were only fifty boxes of such, cigars in Europe, and forty-nine of them were in the possession of Philip Trent. Not in the individual cigar," said Mr Mar- vin, who knew a good cigar, and enjoyed con- suming it with the best of ignoramuses. "No, not in the individual cigar, perhaps but, of coarse, you knaw why men took so eagerly to the idea of smoking." I suppose it was because they bad been told not to," said Mr Urquhart. I know that is why I took so kindly to it." Mr Marvin. smiled that pitying smile of his which made him so many enemies. It was re- ported in Royal Society circles that that sncile of Mr Marvin's had retarded by quite half a century the advance of the theory of Evolution. "It is rather extraordinary that no monograph on the origin of smoking has yet been written," said he. It has puzzled many people who only look at things superficially that men should adopt a practice which-looked at saperticiall-v- seems objectless, if not objectionab lt.f not ab- solutely ridiculous and quite disagreeable. It is quite disagreeable, you know." "I have never smoked one of your cigars," said Archie. Tell us, now, is there a catch in it." But smoking has become all but universal," continued Mr Marvin. "Why?" Grateful—comforting," suggested Mr Trent. You won't go so far as to deny that it is com- forting, Mr Maryin ?" Certainly not," said Mr Marfsn. But why ?*' „ I don't suppose you know after all, said Archie. Tell as now, is there a catch in it ? Do you want to lay a trap for an innocent juggins, like that one about the man who had twenty-six sheep one of them died—how many were left ?" Having a lighted pipe or cigar at nand con- veys to one a sense of comfort and contentment simply because the earliest man who experienced something of the difficulty of obtaining fire, and yet knew that a fire was indispensable to his comfort, had a feeling of contentment when a fire-a single spark of fire that could at any moment be fanned into a flame was beside.hi m. The fire was the most precious of the possessions of primitive man, and our contentment with a pipe is merely a survival of his cherishing a Bpark." _> Did he piay skittles ?" asked Archie Browne in a fine spirit of derision. There is every reason to believe that oar skittle is merely a survival of some game played with an enemy's skull," said Mr Marvin, calmly. Bravo," said Archie. You read a paper on that subject, and the tobacco trust will give you a medal." That reminds me that the war medal is un. doubtedly the modern eauivalent of the early scalp," said Mr Marvin. The warrior who possessed the largest number of scalps was natur- ally the most highly honoured in the tribe. But civilisation came in its train, and the wearing of human skin, ins perfectly tanned,was discouraged. But the original impression was far too strong to be eradicated, hence the metal medal was in- vented, and men are agreed in honouring the wearer, on the same principle that people have an instinctive respect for a man who wears a coat lined with fur. The fur meant the successful hunter and the successful hunter was nearly as highly esteemed in the days of primeval man as he is in an English county to-day." All this is new to me." said Archie. But I suppose it will be taught in all the nurseries in another fifty years—it will take quite fifty years, I should say." You need not think that for a moment," said Mr Marvin. No, my dear Archie, women, 1 regret to say, women--especially mothers-are just the same to-day as they were fifty thousand years ago. I have listened at the door of a nur- sery, in no spirit of idle curiosity but in a purely scientific spirit, and what did I hear that mother telling her year-old child." I know," shouted Archie. "It was the story of the pigs that went to market." That was the story that followed," said Mr Marvin. Between the first communication to the infant and the second, there was an interval of at least ten thousand years." Don't tell us that you waited all that time at the nursery door," said Lady Innisfail. You really are a very naughty man, Mr Marvin—oh, you know that you are." "It is very kind of you to say so," said Mr Marvin. But what I heard at the nursery door was what might have been beard by any cave-dwelling husband on returning from the jungle for the night. The mother was teaching her offspring the various sounds of the jungle. What does the cow say ?' she cried. The cow says moo-moo now what does the cow say In Borne cases with the adroitness of a mother anxious to make her offspring appear in a favourable light she hyphened the name of the animal of the jungle to the sound it nro- duces. What does the moo-cow say ?' What does the baa-lamb say ?' Nay, she went even further and actually referred to some animals not under their names, but by the sound they emit. What does the bow-wow say ?' she cried. Then she asked, What does the donkey say ?' Oh, I say, that was a home- thrust. You went off like a tennis ball then, I'll swear," said Archie. I waited nntil I actually heard that mother try to frighten her child to sleep by assuring it that if it didn't lie still a great big bear would come round and eat it-' gobble it up I- that was the phrase," said Mr Marvin. Just think of it. There was that jungle mother in- structing her infant, not in the elements of civilisation, but in the common wisdom of the jangle." All this is very interesting," s*id Mr Trent; bat where does it lead one ?" It leads one back to the jungle from the higher mathematics and the American gum trust," said Lord Medway, "And what is the good of being led back to the jungle—unless Mr Marvin is led there and gets eaten by a tiger ?" asked Lady Innisfail. Did your mother ever teach you what the tiger says, Mr Marvin ?" said Archie. I have made these investigations in no par- ticular interest, I can assure you, said Mr Mairvin. Only now and again in the midst of that veneer, that transparent varnish, which we call civilisation, it is as well to recall the fact that men and women are the same now, funda- mentally, as they were, say, a hundred thousand years' a.go-that man is simply the head of the brute creation." Oh, we all knew that, said Lady Innisfail, with joyful alacrity. Yes, and that modern woman possesses and rejoices at possessing all the original instincts of the jungie mother," said Mr Marvin, com- placently. There was a murmur of disapproval from tha women—a chorus of disapproval from the men." I believe in religion-they had no religion in those days," said Mrs Archie Brown, gravely. What people call religion in one age is what people call superstition in the next," said Mr Marvin. "The growth of religion is one of the most easily traced of all developments. Why do people sing in church ?" You don' old reprobate, and I shouldn't care to hear you if you di d." remarked Archie. Singing as part of a religious service had its origin in the jungle," said Mr Marvin. "The idea was, of course, that the Being whom it was thought advantageous to placate, being invisible, was far off consequently the medium of nlaca- tion was shouting, accompanied by the tom-tom. Well,singing and the organ are the modern equi- valents of the shouting and the tom-tom." This is shocking, said Mrs Archie. And I don't believe a word of it. The religion of the jungle was sorcery and witchcraft, and dreadful things like that. I have heard that there are still devil-worshippers in some of those dreadful places in the interior of Africa. I read all about it in some book the other day. But, of course, Africa is Africa." "Africa is Europe as far as that is concerned," said Mr Marvin. There is not much to choose between the continents in the matter of super. stition. Your most civilised people would wor- ship the devil if they thoagnt they could get anything out of bim." Oh. Mr Marvin, that is unscientific. It's unworthy of von to make a bare statement like that. Yon have hitherto been quite scientific but now you have become simply Polemical" -said Philip Trent. T L I admit," said Mr Marvin. I have not yet collected sufficient data to justify my speaking with confidence-my usual confidence Ahen," came in an acquiescent chorus from right and left. "My usral confidence, on that point," con- tinued Mr Marvin. My thoughts were turned to what is called witchcraft and devil-worship as a field of investigation only the other day, when I chanced to be writing in a room in a house where I was staving, and one of my fel- low guests-a religious woman-stole in with another—also religions—and began to arrange packs of cards in a corner, after the most ap- proved fashion of mediaeval witches, and one of them interpreted them quite solemnly for the other, talking sotto voce, about the approach of a dark man with a large fortune, and equally solemnly—about the possible unfaithfulness of a young man, fair, anJ inclined to be under- sized. How delightful. I have seen really wonder- ful things done with cards," cried Lady Innis- fail. 11 Thinps have come out exactly as they were predicted. Archie, I remember now dis- tinctly hearing that there is a witch in the neighbourhood. You must nnd her out for us- you must indeed. It will be such a novelty. I have often heard of Irish witches, but I never actually eaw one. You really must find her out for no. She is sure to be uncanny, and I simply adore uncanny things. Goodness knows what we may get out of her. She may be able to tell us what to do to win always at Bridge." I Oh, mother, I really cannot allow you to talk in this way," said Mrs Archie, in her most distressful voice. Nonsense. A witeh will be a complete novelty and we are simply dying of ennui," said her mother. Archie,you must find that witch." Philip Trent laughed and begged of M-r Urqu- hart to pass round the cigars. Mr Marvin, taking another cigar, smiled the smileth of e savant, and murmured j This is not primeval woman, only mediaeval woman. But the witch is a link—a distinct and tangible link." H« had««9a interest on the -face-a of'afl the women present at-the men- tion of the word" witch," He knew that be had not succeeded in interesting them by all his lore. (To be Continued.)

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