Count Bunker
J. Storer Clouston

Part 1 out of 5

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It is only with the politest affectation of interest,
as a rule, that English Society learns the arrival
in its midst of an ordinary Continental nobleman;
but the announcement that the Baron Rudolph
von Blitzenberg had been appointed attache to the German
embassy at the Court of St. James was unquestionably
received with a certain flutter of excitement. That
his estates were as vast as an average English county,
and his ancestry among the noblest in Europe, would
not alone perhaps have arrested the attention of the
paragraphists, since acres and forefathers of foreign
extraction are rightly regarded as conferring at the most a
claim merely to toleration. But in addition to these he
possessed a charming English wife, belonging to one of
the most distinguished families in the peerage (the Grillyers
of Monkton-Grillyer), and had further demonstrated
his judgment by purchasing the winner of the
last year's Derby, with a view to improving the horse-
flesh of his native land.

From a footnote attached to the engraving of the
Baron in a Homburg hat holding the head of the steed
in question, which formed the principal attraction in several
print-sellers' windows in Piccadilly, one gathered
that though his faculties had been cultivated and exercised
in every conceivable direction, yet this was his first
serious entrance into the diplomatic world. There was
clearly, therefore, something unusual about the appointment;
so that it was rumored, and rightly, that an international
importance was to be attached to the incident,
and a delicate compliment to be perceived in the selection
of so popular a link between the Anglo-Saxon and the
Teutonic peoples. Accordingly "Die Wacht am Rhein"
was played by the Guards' band down the entire length
of Ebury Street, photographs of the Baroness appeared
in all the leading periodicals, and Society, after its own
less demonstrative but equally sincere fashion, prepared
to welcome the distinguished visitors.

They arrived in town upon a delightful day in July,
somewhat late in the London season, to be sure, yet not
too late to be inundated with a snowstorm of cards and
invitations to all the smartest functions that remained.
For the first few weeks, at least, you would suppose the
Baron to have no time for thought beyond official
receptions and unofficial dinners; yet as he looked from his
drawing-room windows into the gardens of Belgrave
Square upon the second afternoon since they had settled
into this great mansion, it was not upon such functions
that his fancy ran. Nobody was more fond of gaiety,
nobody more appreciative of purple and fine linen, than
the Baron von Blitzenberg; but as he mused there he began
to recall more and more vividly, and with an ever
rising pleasure, quite different memories of life in
London. Then by easy stages regret began to cloud this
reminiscent satisfaction, until at last he sighed--

"Ach, my dear London! How moch should I enjoy
you if I were free!"

For the benefit of those who do not know the Baron
either personally or by repute, he may briefly be
described as an admirably typical Teuton. When he first
visited England (some five years previously) he stood
for Bavarian manhood in the flower; now, you behold
the fruit. As magnificently mustached, as ruddy of
skin, his eye as genial, and his impulses as hearty; he
added to-day to these two more stone of Teutonic excellences

In his ingenuous glance, as in the more rounded contour
of his waistcoat, you could see at once that fate
had dealt kindly with him. Indeed, to hear him sigh was
so unwonted an occurrence that the Baroness looked up
with an air of mild surprise.

"My dear Rudolph," said she, "you should really
open the window. You are evidently feeling the heat."

"No, not ze heat," replied the Baron.

He did not turn his head towards her, and she looked
at him more anxiously.

"What is it, then? I have noticed a something strange
about you ever since we landed at Dover. Tell me,

Thus adjured, he cast a troubled glance in her direction.
He saw a face whose mild blue eyes and undetermined
mouth he still swore by as the standard by which
to try all her inferior sisters, and a figure whose growing
embonpoint yearly approached the outline of his ideal
hausfrau. But it was either St. Anthony or one of his
fellow-martyrs who observed that an occasional holiday
from the ideal is the condiment in the sauce of sanctity;
and some such reflection perturbed the Baron at this

"It is nozing moch," he answered.

"Oh, I know what it is. You have grown so accustomed
to seeing the same people, year after year--the
Von Greifners, and Rosenbaums, and all those. You
miss them, don't you? Personally, I think it a very
good thing that you should go abroad and be a diplomatist,
and not stay in Fogelschloss so much; and you'll
soon make loads of friends here. Mother comes to us
next week, you know."

"Your mozzer is a nice old lady," said the Baron
slowly. "I respect her, Alicia; bot it vas not mozzers
zat I missed just now."

"What was it?"

"Life!" roared the Baron, with a sudden outburst of
thundering enthusiasm that startled the Baroness completely
out of her composure. "I did have fun for my
money vunce in London. Himmel, it is too hot to eat
great dinners and to vear clothes like a monkey-jack."

"Like a what?" gasped the Baroness.

To hear the Baron von Blitzenberg decry the paraphernalia
and splendors of his official liveries was even
more astonishing than his remarkable denunciation of
the pleasures of the table, since to dress as well as play
the part of hereditary grandee had been till this minute
his constant and enthusiastic ambition.

"A meat-jack, I mean--or a--I know not vat you
call it. Ach, I vant a leetle fun, Alicia."

"A little fun," repeated the Baroness in a breathless
voice. "What kind of fun?"

"I know not," said he, turning once more to stare
out of the window.

To this dignified representative of a particularly
dignified State even the trees of Belgrave Square seemed at
that moment a trifle too conventionally perpendicular.
If they would but dance and wave their boughs he would
have greeted their greenness more gladly. A good-looking
nursemaid wheeled a perambulator beneath their
shade, and though she never looked his way, he took a
wicked pleasure in surreptitiously closing first one eye
and then the other in her direction. This might not
entirely satisfy the aspirations of his soul, yet it seemed
to serve as some vent for his pent-up spirit. He turned
to his spouse with a pleasantly meditative air.

"I should like to see old Bonker vunce more," he

"Bunker? You mean Mr. Mandell-Essington?" said
she, with an apprehensive note in her voice.

"To me he vill alvays be Bonker."

The Baroness looked at him reproachfully.

"You promised me, Rudolph, you would see as
little as possible of Mr. Essington."

"Oh, ja, as leetle--as possible," answered the Baron,
though not with his most ingenuous air. "Besides, it is
tree years since I promised. For tree years I have seen
nozing. My love Alicia, you vould not have me forget
mine friends altogezzer?"

But the Baroness had too vivid a recollection of their
last (and only) visit to England since their marriage.
By a curious coincidence that also was three years ago.

"When you last met you remember what happened?"
she asked, with an ominous hint of emotion in her
accents .

"My love, how often have I eggsplained? Zat night
you mean, I did schleep in mine hat because I had got a
cold in my head. I vas not dronk, no more zan you. Vat
you found in my pocket vas a mere joke, and ze cabman
who called next day vas jost vat I told him to his ogly
face--a blackmail."

"You gave him money to go away."

"A Blitzenberg does not bargain mit cabmen," said
the Baron loftily.

His wife's spirits began to revive. There seemed to
speak the owner of Fogelschloss, the haughty magnate
of Bavaria.

"You have too much self-respect to wish to find yourself
in such a position again," she said. "I know you
have, Rudolph!"

The Baron was silent. This appeal met with distinctly
less response than she confidently counted upon. In a
graver note she inquired--

"You know what mother thinks of Mr. Essington?"

"Your mozzer is a vise old lady, Alicia; but we do
not zink ze same on all opinions."

"She will be exceedingly displeased if you--well, if
you do anything that she THOROUGHLY disapproves of."

The Baron left the window and took his wife's plump
hand affectionately within his own broad palm.

"You can assure her, my love, zat I shall never do
vat she dislikes. You vill say zat to her if she

"Can I, truthfully?"

"Ach, my own dear!"

From his enfolding arms she whispered tenderly--

"Of course I will, Rudolph!"

With a final hug the embrace abruptly ended, and the
Baron hastily glanced at his watch.

"Ach, nearly had I forgot! I must go to ze club
for half an hour."

"Must you?"

"To meet a friend."

"What friend?" asked the Baroness quickly.

"A man whose name you vould know vell--oh, vary
vell known he is! But in diplomacy, mine Alicia, a quiet
meeting in a club is sometimes better not to be advertised
too moch. Great wars have come from one vord of
indiscretion. You know ze axiom of Bismarck--
'In diplomacy it is necessary for a diplomatist to be
diplomatic.' Good-by, my love."

He bowed as profoundly as if she were a reigning
sovereign, blew an affectionate kiss as he went through
the door, and then descended the stairs with a rapidity
that argued either that his appointment was urgent or
that diplomacy shrank from a further test within this


For the last year or two the name of Rudolph
von Blitzenberg had appeared in the members'
list of that most exclusive of institutions,
the Regent's Club, Pall Mall; and it was
thither he drove on this fine afternoon of July. At
no resort in London were more famous personages
to be found, diplomatic and otherwise, and nothing
would have been more natural than a meeting between the
Baron and a European celebrity beneath its roof; so that
if you had seen him bounding impetuously up the steps,
and noted the eagerness with which he inquired whether
a gentleman had called for him, you would have had
considerable excuse for supposing his appointment to be
with a dignitary of the highest importance.

"Goot!" he cried on learning that a stranger was
indeed waiting for him. His face beamed with anticipatory
joy. Aha! he was not to be disappointed.

"Vill he be jost the same?" he wondered. "Ah, if he
is changed I shall veep!"

He rushed into the smoking-room, and there, instead
of any bald notability or spectacled statesman, there
advanced to meet him a merely private English gentleman,
tolerably young, undeniably good-looking, and graced
with the most debonair of smiles.

"My dear Bonker!" cried the Baron, crimsoning with
joy. "Ach, how pleased I am!"

"Baron!" replied his visitor gaily. "You cannot
deceive me--that waistcoat was made in Germany! Let
me lead you to a respectable tailor!"

Yet, despite his bantering tone, it was easy to see that
he took an equal pleasure in the meeting.

"Ha, ha!" laughed the Baron, "vot a fonny zing to
say! Droll as ever, eh?"

"Five years less droll than when we first met," said
the late Bunker and present Essington. "You meet a
dullish dog, Baron--a sobered reveller."

"Ach, no! Not surely? Do not disappoint me, dear

The Baron's plaintive note seemed to amuse his friend.

"You don't mean to say you actually wish a boon
companion? You, Baron, the modern Talleyrand, the
repository of three emperors' secrets? My dear fellow,
I nearly came in deep mourning."

"Mourning! For vat?"

"For our lamented past: I supposed you would have
the air of a Nonconformist beadle."

"My friend!" said the Baron eagerly, and yet with
a lowering of his voice, "I vould not like to engage a
beadle mit jost ze same feelings as me. Come here to
zis corner and let us talk! Vaiter! whisky--soda--
cigars--all for two. Come, Bonker!"

Stretched in arm-chairs, in a quiet corner of the room,
the two surveyed one another with affectionate and
humorous interest. For three years they had not seen
one another at all, and save once they had not met for
five. In five years a man may change his religion or lose
his hair, inherit a principality or part with a reputation,
grow a beard or turn teetotaler. Nothing so fundamental
had happened to either of our friends. The Baron's
fullness of contour we have already noticed; in Mandell-
Essington, EX Bunker, was to be seen even less evidence
of the march of time. But years, like wheels upon a road,
can hardly pass without leaving in their wake some faint
impress, however fair the weather, and perhaps his hair
lay a fraction of an inch higher up the temple, and in the
corners of his eyes a hint might even be discerned of
those little wrinkles that register the smiles and frowns.
Otherwise he was the same distinguished-looking, immaculately
dressed, supremely self-possessed, and charming
Francis Bunker, whom the Baron's memory stored
among its choicer possessions.

"Tell me," demanded the Baron, "vat you are doing
mit yourself, mine Bonker."

"Doing?" said Essington, lighting his cigar.
"Well, my dear Baron, I am endeavoring to live as I
imagine a gentleman should."

"And how is zat?"

"Riding a little, shooting a little, and occasionally
telling the truth. At other times I cock a wise eye at my
modest patrimony, now and then I deliver a lecture with
magic-lantern slides; and when I come up to town I
sometimes watch cricket-matches. A devilish invigorating
programme, isn't it?"

"Ha, ha!" laughed the Baron again; he had come
prepared to laugh, and carried out his intention
religiously. "But you do not feel more old and sober,

"I don't want to, but no man can avoid his destiny.
The natives of this island are a serious people, or if they
are frivolous, it is generally a trifle vulgarly done. The
diversions of the professedly gay-hooting over pointless
badinage and speculating whose turn it is to get
divorced next--become in time even more sobering than
a scientific study with diagrams of how to breed pheasants
or play golf. If some one would teach us the
simple art of being light-hearted he would deserve to
be placed along with Nelson on his monument."

"Oh, my dear vellow!" cried the Baron. "Do I hear
zese kind of vords from you?"

"If you starved a city-full of people, wouldn't you
expect to hear the man with the biggest appetite cry

The Baron's face fell further and Essington laughed

"Come, Baron, hang it! You of all people should
be delighted to see me a fellow-member of respectable
society. I take you to be the type of the conventional
aristocrat. Why, a fellow who's been travelling in Germany
said to me lately, when I asked about you--'Von
Blitzenberg,' said he, 'he's used as a simile for
traditional dignity. His very dogs have to sit up on their
hind-legs when he inspects the kennels!' "

The Baron with a solemn face gulped down his

"Zat is not true about my dogs," he replied, "but
I do confess my life is vary dignified. So moch is expected
of a Blitzenberg. Oh, ja, zere is moch state and

"And you seem to thrive on it."

"Vell, it does not destroy ze appetite," the Baron
admitted; "and it is my duty so to live at Fogelschloss,
and I alvays vish to do my duty. But, ach, sometimes I
do vant to kick ze trace!"

"You mean you would want to if it were not for the

Bunker smiled whimsically; but his friend continued
as simply serious as ever.

"Alicia is ze most divine woman in ze world--I respect
her, Bonker, I love her, I gonsider her my better
angel; but even in Heaven, I suppose, peoples sometimes
vould enjoy a stroll in Piccadeelly, or in some vay to
exercise ze legs and shout mit excitement. No doubt
you zink it unaccountable and strange--pairhaps ungrateful
of me, eh?"

"On the contrary, I feel as I should if I feared this
cigar had gone out and then found it alight after all."

"You say so! Ah, zen I will have more boldness to
confess my heart! Bonker, ven I did land in England ze
leetle thought zat vould rise vas--'Ze land of freedom
vunce again! Here shall I not have to be alvays ze
Baron von Blitzenberg, oldest noble in Bavaria, hereditary
carpet-beater to ze Court! I vill disguise and go
mit old Bonker for a frolic!' "

"You touch my tenderest chord, Baron!"

"Goot, goot, my friend!" cried the Baron, warming
to his work of confession like a penitent whose absolution
is promised in advance; "you speak ze vords I love to
hear! Of course I vould not be vicked, and I vould not
disgrace myself; but I do need a leetle exercise. Is it

Essington sprang up and enthusiastically shook his

"Dear Baron, you come like a ray of sunshine
through a London fog--like a moulin rouge alighting
in Carlton House Terrace! I thought my own leaves
were yellowing; I now perceive that was only an autumnal
change. Spring has returned, and I feel like a
green bay tree!"

"Hoch, hoch!" roared the Baron, to the great
surprise of two Cabinet Ministers and a Bishop who were
taking tea at the other side of the room. "Vat shall ve
do to show zere is no sick feeling?"

"H'm," reflected Essington, with a comical look.
"There's a lot of scaffolding at the bottom of St.
James's Street. Should we have it down to-night? Or
what do you say to a packet of dynamite in the two-
penny tube?"

The Baron sobered down a trifle.

"Ach, not so fast, not qvite so fast, dear Bonker.
Remember I must not get into troble at ze embassy."

"My dear fellow, that's your pull. Foreign diplomatists
are police-proof!"

"Ah, but my wife!"

"One stormy hour--then tears and forgiveness!"

The Baron lowered his voice.

"Her mozzer vill visit us next veek. I loff and respect
Lady Grillyer; but I should not like to have to ask her
for forgiveness."

"Yes, she has rather an uncompromising nose, so far
as I remember."

"It is a kind nose to her friends, Bonker," the Baron
explained, "but severe towards----"

"Myself, for instance," laughed Essington. "Well,
what do you suggest?"

"First, zat you dine mit me to-night. No, I vill take
no refusal! Listen! I am now meeting a distinguished
person on important international business--do you
pairceive? Ha, ha, ha! To-night it vill be necessary
ve most dine togezzer. I have an engagement, but he
can be put off for soch a great person as the man I am
now meeting at ze club! You vill gom?"

"I should have been delighted--only unluckily I have
a man dining with me. I tell you what! You come and
join us! Will you?"

"If zat is ze only vay--yes, mit pleasure! Who is
ze man?"

"Young Tulliwuddle. Do you remember going to a
dance at Lord Tulliwuddle's, some five and a half years

"Himmel! Ha, ha! Vell do I remember!"

"Well, our host of that evening died the other day,
and this fellow is his heir--a second or third cousin whose
existence was so displeasing to the old peer that he left
him absolutely nothing that wasn't entailed, and never
said 'How-do-you-do?' to him in his life. In
consequence, he may not entertain you as much as I should

"If he is your friend, I shall moch enjoy his society!"

"I am flattered, but hardly convinced. Tulliwuddle's
intellect is scarcely of the sparkling kind. However,
come and try."

The hour, the place, were arranged; a reminiscence or
two exchanged; fresh suggestions thrown out for the
rejuvenation of a Bavarian magnate; another baronial
laugh shook the foundations of the club; and then, as
the afternoon was wearing on, the Baron hailed a cab
and galloped for Belgrave Square, and the late Mr.
Bunker sauntered off along Pall Mall.

"Who can despair of human nature while the Baron
von Blitzenberg adorns the earth?" he reflected. "The
discovery of champagne and the invention of summer
holidays were minor events compared with his descent
from Olympus!"

He bought a button-hole at the street corner and
cocked his hat, more airily than ever.

"A volcanic eruption may inspire one to succor
humanity, a wedding to condole with it, and a general
election to warn it of its folly; but the Baron inspires one
to amuse!"

Meanwhile that Heaven-sent nobleman, with a manner
enshrouded in mystery, was comforting his wife.

"Ah, do not grieve, mine Alicia! No doubt ze Duke
vill be disappointed not to see us to-night, but I have
telegraphed. Ja, I have said I had so important an
affair. Ach, do not veep! I did not know you wanted
so moch to dine mit ze old Duke. I sopposed you vould
like a quiet evening at home. But anyhow I have now
telegraphed--and my leetle dinner mit my friend--Ach,
it is so important zat I most rosh and get dressed.
Cheer up, my loff! Good-by!"

He paused in answer to a tearful question.

"His name? Alas, I have promised not to say. You
vould not have a European war by my indiscretion?"


With mirrors reflecting a myriad lights,
with the hum of voices, the rustle of
satin and lace, the hurrying steps of
waiters, the bubbling of laughter, of life,
and of wine--all these on each side of them, and a plate,
a foaming glass, and a friend in front, the Baron and
his host smiled radiantly down upon less favored mortals.

"Tulliwuddle is very late," said Essington; "but he's
a devilish casual gentleman in all matters."

"I am selfish enoff to hope he vill not gom at all!"
exclaimed the Baron.

"Unfortunately he has had the doubtful taste to
conceive a curiously high opinion of myself. I am afraid
he won't desert us. But I don't propose that we shall
suffer for his slackness. Bring the fish, waiter."

The Baron was happy; and that is to say that his
laughter re-echoed from the shining mirrors, his tongue
was loosed, his heart expanded, his glass seemed ever

"Ach, how to make zis joie de vivre to last beyond to-
night!" he cried. "May ze Teufel fly off mit of offeecial
duties and receptions and--and even mit my vife for a
few days."

"My dear Baron!"

"To Alicia!" cried the Baron hastily, draining his
glass at the toast. "But some fun first!"

" 'I could not love thee, dear, so well,
Loved I not humor more!' "

misquoted his host gaily. "Ah!" he added, "here
comes Tulliwuddle."

A young man, with his hands in his pockets and an
eyeglass in his eye, strolled up to their table.

"I'm beastly sorry for being so late," said he; "but
I'm hanged if I could make up my mind whether to
risk wearing one of these frilled shirt-fronts. It's not
bad, I think, with one's tie tied this way. What do you

"It suits you like a halo," Essington assured him.
"But let me introduce you to my friend the Baron
Rudolph von Blitzenberg."

Lord Tulliwuddle bowed politely and took the empty
chair; but it was evident that his attention could not
concentrate itself upon sublunary matters till the shirt-
front had been critically inspected and appreciatively
praised by his host. Indeed, it was quite clear that
Essington had not exaggerated his regard for himself.
This admiration was perhaps the most pleasing feature
to be noted on a brief acquaintance with his lordship.
He was obviously intended neither for a strong man of
action nor a great man of thought. A tolerable appearance
and considerable amiability he might no doubt
claim; but unfortunately the effort to retain his eye-
glass had apparently the effect of forcing his mouth
chronically open, which somewhat marred his appearance;
while his natural good-humor lapsed too frequently
into the lamentations of an idle man that
Providence neglected him or that his creditors were too

It happens, however, that it is rather his
circumstances than his person which concern this history. And,
briefly, these were something in this sort. Born a poor
relation and guided by no strong hand, he had gradually
seen himself, as Reverend uncles and Right Honorable
cousins died of, approach nearer and nearer to
the ancient barony of Tulliwuddle (created 1475 in the
peerage of Scotland), until this year he had actually
succeeded to it. But after his first delight in this piece
of good fortune had subsided he began to realize in
himself two notable deficiencies very clearly, the lack of
money, and more vaguely, the want of any preparation
for filling the shoes of a stately courtier and famous
Highland chieftain. He would often, and with considerable
feeling, declare that any ordinary peer he
could easily have become, but that being old Tulliwuddle's
heir, by Gad! he didn't half like the job.

At present he was being tolerated or befriended by a
small circle of acquaintances, and rapidly becoming a
familiar figure to three or four tailors and half a dozen
door-keepers at the stage entrances to divers Metropolitan
theatres. In the circle of acquaintances, the humorous
sagacity of Essington struck him as the most astonishing
thing he had ever known. He felt, in fact,
much like a village youth watching his first conjuring
performance, and while the whim lasted (a period which
Essington put down as probably six weeks) he would
have gone the length of paying a bill or ordering a
tie on his recommendation alone.

To-night the distinguished appearance and genial
conversation of Essington's friend impressed him more
than ever with the advantages of knowing so remarkable
a personage. A second bottle succeeded the first, and a
third the second, the cordiality of the dinner growing
all the while, till at last his lordship had laid aside the
last traces of his national suspicion of even the most
charming strangers.

"I say, Essington," he said, "I had meant to tell
you about a devilish delicate dilemma I'm in. I want
your advice."

"You have it," interrupted his host. "Give her a
five-pound note, see that she burns your letters, and
introduce her to another fellow."

"But--er--that wasn't the thing----"

"Tell him you'll pay in six months, and order
another pair of trousers," said Essington, briskly as ever.

"But, I say, it wasn't that----"

"My dear Tulliwuddle, I never give racing tips."

"Hang it!"

"What is the matter?"

Tulliwuddle glanced at the Baron.

"I don't know whether the Baron would be interested----"

"Immensely, my goot Tollyvoddle! Supremely!
hugely! I could be interested to-night in a museum!"

"The Baron's past life makes him a peculiarly
catholic judge of indiscretions," said Essington.

Thus reassured, Tulliwuddle began--

"You know I've an aunt who takes an interest in me--
wants me to collar an heiress and that sort of thing.
Well, she has more or less arranged a marriage for me."

"Fill your glasses, gentlemen!" cried Essington.

"Hoch, hoch!" roared the Baron.

"But, I say, wait a minute! That's only the
beginning. I don't know the girl--and she doesn't know

He said the last words in a peculiarly significant tone.

"Do you wish me to introduce you?"

"Oh, hang it! Be serious, Essington. The point
is--will she marry me if she does know me?"

"Himmel! Yes, certainly!" cried the Baron.

"Who is she?" asked their host, more seriously.

"Her father is Darius P. Maddison, the American
Silver King."

The other two could not withhold an exclamation.

"He has only two children, a son and a daughter, and
he wants to marry his daughter to an English peer--or
a Scotch, it's all the same. My aunt knows 'em pretty
well, and she has recommended me."

"An excellent selection," commented his host.

"But the trouble is, they want rather a high-class
peer. Old Maddison is deuced particular, and I believe
the girl is even worse."

"What are the qualifications desired?"

"Oh, he's got to be ambitious, and a promising young
man--and elevated tastes--and all that kind of nonsense."

"But you can be all zat if you try!" said the Baron
eagerly. "Go to Germany and get trained. I did vork
twelve hours a day for ten years to be vat I am."

"I'm different," replied the young peer gloomily.
"Nobody ever trained me. Old Tulliwuddle might have
taken me up if he had liked, but he was prejudiced
against me. I can't become all those things now."

"And yet you do want to marry the lady?"

"My dear Essington, I can't afford to lose such a
chance! One doesn't get a Miss Maddison every day.
She's a deuced handsome girl too, they say."

"By Gad, it's worth a trip across the Atlantic to try
your luck," said Essington. "Get 'em to guarantee
your expenses and you'll at least learn to play poker and
see Niagara for nothing."

"They aren't in America. They've got a salmon
river in Scotland, and they are there now. It's not far
from my place, Hechnahoul."

"She's practically in your arms, then?"

"Ach. Ze affair is easy!"

"Pipe up the clan and abduct her!"

"Approach her mit a kilt!"

But even those optimistic exhortations left the peer
still melancholy.

"It sounds all very well," said he, "but my clansmen,
as you call 'em, would expect such a devil of a lot
from me too. Old Tulliwuddle spoiled them for any ordinary
mortal. He went about looking like an advertisement
for whisky, and called 'em all by their beastly
Gaelic names. I have never been in Scotland in my
life, and I can't do that sort of thing. I'd merely make
a fool of myself. If I'd had to go to America it
wouldn't have been so bad."

At this weak-kneed confession the Baron could hardly
withhold an exclamation of contempt, but Essington,
with more sympathy, inquired--

"What do you propose to do, then?"

His lordship emptied his glass.

"I wish I had your brains and your way of carrying
things off, Essington!" he said, with a sigh. "If
you got a chance of showing yourself off to Miss Maddison
she'd jump at you!"

A gleam, inspired and humorous, leaped into Essington's
eyes. The Baron, whose glance happened at the
moment to fall on him, bounded gleefully from his

"Hoch!" he cried, "it is mine old Bonker zat I see
before me! Vat have you in your mind?"

"Sit down, my dear Baron; that lady over there
thinks you are preparing to attack her. Shall we
smoke? Try these cigars."

Throwing the Baron a shrewd glance to calm his
somewhat alarming exhilaration, their host turned with
a graver air to his other guest.

"Tulliwuddle," said he, "I should like to help you."

"I wish to the deuce you could!"

Essington bent over the table confidentially.

"I have an idea."


The three heads bent forward towards a common
centre--the Baron agog with suppressed
excitement, Tulliwuddle revived with curiosity
and a gleam of hope, Essington impressive
and cool.

"I take it," he began, "that if Mr. Darius P.
Maddison and his coveted daughter could see a little
of Lord Tulliwuddle--meet him at lunch, talk to
him afterwards, for instance--and carry away a
favorable impression of the nobleman, there would not
be much difficulty in subsequently arranging a marriage?"

"Oh, none," said Tulliwuddle. "They'd be only too
keen, IF they approved of me; but that's the rub, you

"So far so good. Now it appears to me that our
modest friend here somewhat underrates his own powers
of fascination"

"Ach, Tollyvoddle, you do indeed," interjected the

"But since this idea is so firmly established in his
mind that it may actually prevent him from displaying
himself to the greatest advantage, and since he has
been good enough to declare that he would regard with
complete confidence my own chances of success were I in
his place, I would propose--with all becoming diffidence--
that _I_ should interview the lady and her parent
instead of him."

"A vary vise idea, Bonker," observed the Baron.

"What!" said Tulliwuddle. "Do you mean that
you would go and crack me up, and that sort of

"No; I mean that I should enjoy a temporary loan
of your name and of your residence, and assure them
by a personal inspection that I have a sufficient assortment
of virtues for their requirements."

"Splendid!" shouted the Baron. "Tollyvoddle,
accept zis generous offer before it is too late!"

"But," gasped the diffident nobleman, "they would
find out the next time they saw me."

"If the business is properly arranged, that would
only be when you came out of church with her. Look
here--what fault have you to find with this scheme?
I produce the desired impression, and either propose at
once and am accepted----"

"H'm," muttered Tulliwuddle doubtfully.

"Or I leave things in such good train that you can
propose and get accepted afterwards by letter."

"That's better," said Tulliwuddle.

"Then, by a little exercise of our wits, you find an
excuse for hurrying on the marriage--have it a private
affair for family reasons, and so on. You will be
prevented by one excuse or another from meeting the lady
till the wedding-day. We shall choose a darkish church,
you will have a plaster on your face--and the deed is

"Not a fault can I find," commented the Baron
sagely. "Essington, I congratulate you."

Between his complete confidence in Essington and the
Baron's unqualified commendation, Lord Tulliwuddle
was carried away by the project.

"I say, Essington, what a good fellow you are!" he
cried. "You really think it will work?"

"What do you say, Baron?"

"It cannot fail, I do solemnly assure you. Be
thankful you have soch a friend, Tollyvoddle!"

"You don't think anybody will suspect that you aren't
really me?"

"Does any one up at Hechnahoul know you?"


"And no one there knows me. They will never suspect
for an instant."

His lordship assumed a look that would have been
serious, almost impressive, had he first removed his eye-
glass. Evidently some weighty consideration had occurred
to him.

"You are an awfully clever chap, Essington," he
said, "and deuced superior to most fellows, and--er--all
that kind of thing. But--well--you don't mind my
saying it?"

"My morals? My appearance? Say anything you
like, my dear fellow."

"It's only this, that noblesse oblige, and that kind of
thing, you know."

"I am afraid I don't quite follow."

"Well, I mean that you aren't a nobleman, and do
you think you could carry things off like a--ah--like
a Tulliwuddle?"

Essington remained entirely serious.

"I shall have at my elbow an adviser whose knowledge
of the highest society in Europe is, without exaggeration,
unequalled. Your perfectly natural doubts
will be laid at rest when I tell you that I hope to
be accompanied by the Baron Rudolph von Blitzenberg."

The Baron could no longer contain himself.

"Himmel! Hurray! My dear friend, I vill go mit
you to hell!"

"That's very good of you," said Essington, "but
you mistake my present destination. I merely wish your
company as far as the Castle of Hechnahoul."

"I gom mit so moch pleasure zat I cannot eggspress!
Tollyvoddle, be no longer afraid. I have helped to
write a book on ze noble families of Germany--zat is to
say, I have contributed my portrait and some anecdote.
Our dear friend shall make no mistakes!"

By this guarantee Lord Tulliwuddle's last doubts
were completely set at rest. His spirits rose as he
perceived how happily this easy avenue would lead him
out of all his troubles. He insisted on calling for
wine and pledging success to the adventure with the
most resolute and confident air, and nothing but a
few details remained now to be settled. These were
chiefly with regard to the precise limits up to which
the duplicate Lord Tulliwuddle might advance his
conquering arms.

"You won't formally propose, will you?" said the
first edition of that peer.

"Certainly not, if you prefer to negotiate the
surrender yourself," the later impression assured him.

"And you mustn't--well--er----"

"I shall touch nothing."

"A girl might get carried away by you," said the
original peer a trifle doubtfully.

"The Baron is the most scrupulous of men. He will
be by my side almost continually. Baron, you will act
as my judge, my censor, and my chaperon?"

"Tollyvoddle, I swear to you zat I shall use an eye
like ze eagle. He shall be so careful--ach, I shall see to
it! Myself, I am a Bayard mit ze ladies, and Bonker he
shall not be less so!"

"Thanks, Baron, thanks awfully," said his lordship.
"Now my mind is quite at rest!"

In the vestibule of the restaurant they bade good-
night to the confiding nobleman, and then turned to one
another with an adventurer's smile.

"You are sure you can leave your diplomatic
duties?" asked Essington.

"Zey vill be my diplomatic duties zat I go to do! Oh,
I shall prepare a leetle story--do not fear me."

The Baron chuckled, and then burst forth

"Never was zere a man like you. Oh, cunning Mistair
Bonker! And you vill give me zomezing to do in ze
adventure, eh?"

"I promise you that, Baron."

As he gave this reassuring pledge, a peculiar smile
stole over Mr. Bunker's face--a smile that seemed to
suggest even happier possibilities than either of his
distinguished friends contemplated.


It is at all times pleasant to contemplate thorough
workmanship and sagacious foresight, particularly
when these are allied with disinterested purpose
and genuine enthusiasm. For the next
few days Mr. Bunker, preparing to carry out to
the best of his ability the delicate commission with
which he had been entrusted, presented this stimulating

Absolutely no pains were left untaken. By the aid of
some volumes lent him by Tulliwuddle he learned, and
digested in a pocketbook, as much information as he
thought necessary to acquire concerning the history of
the noble family he was temporarily about to enter;
together with notes of their slogan or war-cry (spelled
phonetically to avoid the possibility of a mistake), of
their acreage, gross and net rentals, the names of their
land-agents, and many other matters equally to the
point. It was further to be observed that he spared no
pains to imprint these particulars in the Baron's Teutonic
memory--whether to support his own in case of need,
or for some more secret purpose, it were impossible to
fathom. Disguised as unconspicuous and harmless persons,
they would meet in many quiet haunts whose unsuspected
excellences they could guarantee from their
old experience, and there mature their philanthropic

Not only had its talented originator to impress the
Tulliwuddle annals and statistics into his ally's eager
mind, but he had to exercise the nicest tact and discernment
lest the Baron's excess of zeal should trip their
enterprise at the very outset.

"To-day I have told Alicia zat my visit to Russia vill
probably be vollowed by a visit to ze Emperor of China,"
the Baron would recount with vast pride in his inventive
powers. "And I have dropped a leetle hint zat for an
envoy to be imprisoned in China is not to be surprised.
Zat vill prepare her in case I am avay longer zan ve

"And how did she take that intimation?" asked
Essington, with a less congratulatory air than he had

"I did leave her in tears."

"My dear Baron, fly to her to tell her you are not
going to China! She will get so devilish alarmed if
you are gone a week that she'll go straight to the embassy
and make inquiries."

He shook his head, and added in an impressive

"Never lie for lying's sake, Blitzenberg. Besides,
how do you propose to forge a Chinese post-mark?"

The Baron had laid the foundations of his Russian
trip on a sound basis by requesting a friend of his in
that country to post to the Baroness the bi-weekly
budgets of Muscovite gossip which he intended to compose
at Hechnahoul. This, it seemed to him, would be a
simple feat, particularly with his friend Bunker to
assist; but he had to confess that the provision of Chinese
news would certainly be more difficult.

"Ach, vell, I shall contradict China," he agreed.

It will be readily believed that what with getting up
his brief, pruning the legends with which the Baron proposed
to satisfy his wife and his ambassador, and purchasing
an outfit suitable to the roles of peer and chieftain,
this indefatigable gentleman passed three or four
extremely busy days.

"Ve most start before my dear mozzer-in-law does
gom!" the Baron more than once impressed upon him,
so that there was no moment to be wasted.

Two days before their departure Mr. Bunker greeted
his ally with a peculiarly humorous smile.

"The pleasures of our visit to Hechnahoul are to be
considerably augmented," said he. "Tulliwuddle has
only just made the discovery that his ancestral castle is
let; but his tenant, in the most handsome spirit, invites
us to be his guests so long as we are in Scotland. A
very hospitable letter, isn't it?"

He handed him a large envelope with a more than
proportionately large crest upon it, and drawing from
this a sheet of note-paper headed by a second crest, the
Baron read this epistle:

"MY LORD,--Learning that you propose visiting
your Scottish estates, and Mr. M'Fadyen, your factor,
informing me no lodge is at present available for your
reception, it will give Mrs. Gallosh and myself great
pleasure, and we will esteem it a distinguished honor,
if you and your friend will be our guests at Hechnahoul
Castle during the duration of your visit. Should you
do us the honor of accepting, I shall send my steam
launch to meet you at Torrydhulish pier and convey
you across the loch, if you will be kind enough to advise
me which train you are coming by.

"In conclusion, Mrs. Gallosh and myself beg to
assure you that although you find strangers in your
ancestral halls, you will receive both from your tenantry
and ourselves a very hearty welcome to your native
land. Believe me, your obedient servant,

"Zat is goot news!" cried the Baron. "Ve shall have
company--perhaps ladies! Ach, Bonker, I have ze soft
spot in mine heart: I am so constant as ze needle to ze
pole; but I do like sometimes to talk mit voman!"

"With Mrs. Gallosh, for instance?"

"But, Bonker, zere may be a Miss Gallosh."

"If you consulted the Baroness," said Bunker,
smiling, "I suspect she would prefer you to be imprisoned
in China."

The Baron laughed, and curled his martial mustache
with a dangerous air.

"Who is zis Gallosh?" he inquired.

"Scottish, I judge from his name; commercial, from
his literary style; elevated by his own exertions, from
the size of his crest; and wealthy, from the fact that he
rents Hechnahoul Castle. His mention of Mrs. Gallosh
points to the fact that he is either married or would have
us think so; and I should be inclined to conclude that
he has probably begot a family."

"Aha!" said the Baron. "Ve vill gom and see,


A carefully clothed young man, with an
eyeglass and a wavering gait, walked slowly
out of Euston Station. He had just seen
the Scottish express depart, and this event
seemed to have filled him with dubious reflections. In
fact, at the very last moment Lord Tulliwuddle's
confidence in his two friends had been a trifling degree
disturbed. It occurred to him as he lingered by the door
of their reserved first-class compartment that they had
a little too much the air of gentlemen departing on their
own pleasure rather than on his business. No sooner did
he drop a fretful hint of this opinion than their affectionate
protestations had quickly revived his spirit; but
now that they were no longer with him to counsel and
encourage, it once more drooped.

"Confound it!" he thought, "I hadn't bargained on
having to keep out of people's way till they came back.
If Essington had mentioned that sooner, I don't know
that I'd have been so keen about the notion. Hang it!
I'll have to chuck the Morrells' dance. And I can't go
with the Greys to Ranelagh. I can't even dine with
my own aunt on Sunday. Oh, the devil!"

The perturbed young peer waved his umbrella and
climbed into a hansom.

"Well, anyhow, I can still go on seeing Connie.
That's some consolation," he told himself; and without
stopping to consider what would be the thoughts of his
two obliging friends had they known he was seeking
consolation in the society of one lady while they were
arranging his nuptials with another, the baptismal
Tulliwuddle drove back to the civilization of St. James's.

Within the reserved compartment was no foreboding,
no faint-hearted paling of the cheek. As the train
clattered, hummed, and presently thundered on its way, the
two laughed cheerfully towards one another, delighted
beyond measure with the prosperous beginning of their
enterprise. The Baron could not sufficiently express his
gratitude and admiration for the promptitude with which
his friend had purveyed so promising an adventure.

"Ve vill have fon, my Bonker. Ach! ve vill," he
exclaimed for the third or fourth time within a dozen miles
from Euston.

His Bunker assumed an air half affectionate, half

"I only regret that I should have the lion's share of
the adventure, my dear Baron."

"Yes," said the Baron, with a symptom of a sigh,
"I do envy you indeed. Yet I should not say zat----"
Bunker swiftly interrupted him.

"You would like to play a worthier part than merely
his lordship's friend?"

"Ach! if I could."

Bunker smiled benignantly.

"Ah, Baron, you cannot suppose that I would really
do Tulliwuddle such injustice as to attempt, in my own
feeble manner, to impersonate him?"

The Baron stared.

"Vat mean you?"

"YOU shall be the lion, _I_ the humble necessary jackal.
As our friend so aptly quoted, noblesse oblige. Of
course, there can be no doubt about it. You, Baron,
must play the part of peer, I of friend."

The Baron gasped.


"Quite simple, my dear fellow."

"You--you don't mean so?"

"I do indeed."

"Bot I shall not do it so vell as you."

"A hundred times better."

"Bot vy did you not say so before?"

"Tulliwuddle might not have agreed with me."

"Bot vould he like it now?"

"It is not what he likes that we should consider,
it's what is good for his interests."

"Bot if I should fail?"

"He will be no worse off than before. Left to
himself, he certainly won't marry the lady. You give him
his only chance."

"Bot more zan you vould, really and truthfully?"

"My dear Baron, you are admitted by all to be
an ideal German nobleman. Therefore you will certainly
make an ideal British peer. You have the true
Grand-Seigneur air. No one would mistake you for
anything but a great aristocrat, if they merely saw
you in bathing pants; whereas I have something a
little different about my manner. I'm not so impressive--
not so hall-marked, in fact."

His friend's omniscient air and candidly eloquent
tone impressed the Baron considerably. His ingrained
conviction of his own importance accorded admirably
with these arguments. His thirst for "life" craved
this lion's share. His sanguine spirit leaped at the
appeal. Yet his well-regulated conscience could not
but state one or two patent objections.

"Bot I have not read so moch of the Tollyvoddles
as you. I do not know ze strings so vell."

"I have told you nearly everything I know. You
will find the rest here."

Essington handed him the note-book containing his
succinct digest. In intelligent anticipation of this
contingency it was written in his clearest handwriting.

"You should have been a German," said the Baron

He glanced with sparkling eyes at the note-book,
and then with a distinctly greater effort the Teutonic
conscience advanced another objection.

"Bot you have bought ze kilt, ze Highland hat, ze
brogue shoes."

"I had them made to your measurements."

The Baron impetuously embraced his thoughtful
friend. Then again his smile died away.

"Bot, Bonker, my voice! Zey tell me I haf nozing
zat you vould call qvite an accent; bot a foreigner--
one does regognize him, eh?"

"I shall explain that in a sentence. The romantic
tincture of--well, not quite accent, is a pleasant little
piece of affectation adopted by the young bloods about
the Court in compliment to the German connections of
the Royal family."

The Baron raised no more objections.

"Bonker, I agree! Tollyvoddle I shall be, by Jove
and all!"

He beamed his satisfaction, and then in an eager
voice asked--

"You haf not ze kilt in zat hat-box?"

Unfortunately, however, the kilt was in the van.

Now the journey, propitiously begun, became more
exhilarating, more exciting with each mile flung by.
The Baron, egged on by his friend's high spirits and
his own imagination to anticipate pleasure upon pleasure,
watched with rapture the summer landscape whiz
past the windows. Through the flat midlands of
England they sped; field after field, hedgerow after
hedgerow, trees by the dozen, by the hundred, by the
thousand, spinning by in one continuous green vista.
Red brick towns, sluggish rivers, thatched villages and
ancient churches dark with yews, the shining web of
junctions, and a whisking glimpse of wayside stations
leaped towards them, past them, and leagues
away behind. But swiftly as they sped, it was all
too slowly for the fresh-created Lord Tulliwuddle.

"Are we not nearly to Scotland yet?" he inquired
some fifty times.

" 'My heart's in the Highlands a-chasing the
dears!' " hummed the abdicated nobleman, whose
hilarity had actually increased (if that were possible)
since his descent into the herd again.

All the travellers' familiar landmarks were hailed by
the gleeful diplomatist with encouraging comments.

"Ach, look! Beauteeful view! How quickly it is
gone! Hurray! Ve must be nearly to Scotland."

A panegyric on the rough sky-line of the north
country fells was interrupted by the entrance of the
dining-car attendant. Learning that they would dine,
he politely inquired in what names he should engage
their seats. Then, for an instant, a horrible confusion
nearly overcame the Baron. He--a von Blitzenberg--
to give a false name! His color rose, he stammered,
and only in the nick of time caught his companion's

"Ze Lord Tollyvoddle," he announced, with an
effort as heroic as any of his ancestors' most warlike

Too impressed to inquire how this remarkable title
should be spelled, the man turned to the other
distinguished-looking passenger.

"Bunker," said that gentleman, with smiling assurance.

The man went out.

"Now are ve named!" cried the Baron, his courage
rising the higher for the shock it had sustained.
"And you vunce more vill be Bonker? Goot!"

"That satisfies you?"

The Baron hesitated.

"My dear friend, I have a splendid idea! Do you
know I did disgover zere used to be a nobleman in
Austria really called Count Bonker? He vas a famous
man; you need not be ashamed to take his name. Vy
should not you be Count Bonker?"

"You prefer to travel in titled company? Well,
be hanged--why not! When one comes to think of
it, it seems a pity that my sins should always be
attributed to the middle classes."

Accordingly this history has now the honorable task
of chronicling the exploits of no fewer than two


Late that evening they reached a city which
the home-coming chieftain in an outburst of
Celtic fervor dubbed "mine own bonny
Edinburg!" and there they repaired for the
night to a hotel. Once more the Baron (we may still
style him so since the peerage of Tulliwuddle was
of that standing also) showed a certain diffidence
when it came to answering to his new title in public;
but in the seclusion of their private sitting-room he
was careful to assure his friend that this did not arise
from any lack of nerve or qualms zof conscience, but
merely through a species of headache--the result of
railway travelling.

"Do not fear for me," he declared as he stirred
the sugar in his glass, "I have ze heart of a lion."

The liquid he was sipping being nothing less potent
than a brew of whisky punch, which he had ordered
(or rather requested Bunker to order) as the most
romantically national compound he could think of,
produced, indeed, a fervor of foolhardiness. He insisted
upon opening the door wide, and getting Bunker
to address him as "Tollyvoddle," in a strident
voice, "so zat zey all may hear," and then answering
in a firm "Yes, Count Bonker, vat vould you say to

It is true that he instantly closed the door again,
and even bolted it, but his display seemed to make a
vast impression upon himself.

"Many men vould not dare so to go mit anozzer
name," he announced; "bot I have my nerves onder
a good gontrol."

"You astonish me," said the Count.

"I do even surprise myself," admitted the Baron.

In truth the ordeal of carelessly carrying off an
alias is said by those who have undergone it (and the
report is confirmed by an experienced class of public
officials) to require a species of hardihood which,
fortunately for society, is somewhat rare. The most
daring Smith will sometimes stammer when it comes
to merely answering "Yes" to a cry of "Brown!"
and Count Bunker, whose knowledge of human nature
was profound and remarkably accurate, was careful to
fortify his friend by example and praise, till by the
time they went to bed the Baron could scarcely be
withheld from seeking out the manager and airing
his assurance upon him. Or, at least, he declared he
would have done this had he been sure that the manager
was not already in bed himself.

Unfortunately at this juncture the Count committed
one of those indiscretions to which a gay spirit is
always prone, but which, to do him justice, seldom
sullied his own record as a successful adventurer. At
an hour considerably past midnight, hearing an
excited summons from the Baron's bedroom, he laid down
his toothbrush and hastened across the passage, to
find the new peer in a crimson dressing-gown of quilted
silk gazing enthusiastically at a lithograph that hung
upon the wall.

"See!" he cried gleefully, "here is my own
ancestor. Bonker, I feel I am Tollyvoddle indeed."

The print which had inspired this enthusiasm
depicted a historical but treasonable Lord Tulliwuddle
preparing to have his head removed.

Giving it a droll look, the Count observed--

"Well, if it inspires you, my dear Baron, that's all
right. The omen would have struck me differently."

"Ze omen!" murmured the Baron with a start.

It required all Bunker's tact to revive his ally's
damped enthusiasm, and even at breakfast next morning
he referred in a gloomy voice to various premonitions
recorded in the history of his family, and the
horrible consequences of disregarding them.

But by the time they had started upon their journey
north, his spirits rose a trifle; and when at length
all lowland landscapes were left far behind them, and
they had come into a province of peat streams and
granite pinnacles, with the gloom of pines and the
freshness of the birch blended like a May and December
marriage, all appearance, at least, of disquietude
had passed away.

Yet the Count kept an anxious eye upon him. He
was becoming decidedly restless. At one moment he
would rave about the glorious scenery; the next,
plunge into a brown study of the Tulliwuddle rent-
roll; and then in an instant start humming an air and
smoking so fast that both their cases were empty while
they were yet half an hour from Torrydhulish Station.
Now the Baron took to biting his nails, looking at his
watch, and answering questions at random--a very different
spectacle from the enthusiastic traveller of

"Only ten minutes more," observed Bunker in his
most cheering manner.

The Baron made no reply.

They were now running along the brink of a
glimmering loch, the piled mountains on the farther shore
perfectly mirrored; a tern or two lazily fishing; a
delicate summer sky smiling above. All at once Count
Bunker started--

"That must be Hechnahoul!" said he.

The Baron looked and beheld, upon an eminence
across the loch, the towers and turrets of an imposing
mansion overtopping a green grove.

"And here is the station," added the Count.

The Baron's face assumed a piteous expression.

"Bonker," he stammered, "I--I am afraid! You
be ze Tollyvoddle--I cannot do him!"

"My dear Baron!"

"Oh, I cannot!"

"Be brave--for the honor of the fatherland. Play
the bold Blitzenberg!"

"Ach, ja; but not bold Tollyvoddle. Zat picture--
you vere right--it vas omen!"

Never did the genius of Bunker rise more audaciously
to an occasion.

"My dear Baron," said he, assuming on the instant
a confidence-inspiring smile, "that print was a hoax; it
wasn't old Tulliwuddle at all. I faked it myself."

"So?" gasped the Baron. "You assure me

Muttering (the historian sincerely hopes) a petition
for forgiveness, Bunker firmly answered--

"I do assure you!"

The train had stopped, and as they were the only
first-class passengers on board, a peculiarly magnificent
footman already had his hand upon the door.
Before turning the handle, he touched his hat.

"Lord Tulliwuddle?" he respectfully inquired.

"Ja--zat is, yes, I am," replied the Baron.


From the platform down to the pier was only
some fifty yards, and before them the travellers
perceived an exceedingly smart steam-
launch, and a stout middle-aged gentleman,
in a blue serge suit and yachting cap, advancing from
it to greet them. They had only time to observe that
he had a sanguine complexion, iron-gray whiskers, and
a wide-open eye, before he raised the cap and, in a
decidedly North British accent, thus addressed them--

"My lord--ahem!--your lordship, I should say--
I presume I've the pleasure of seeing Lord Tulliwuddle?"

The Count gently pushed his more distinguished
friend in front. With an embarrassment equal to their
host's, his lordship bowed and gave his hand.

"I am ze Tollyvoddle--vary pleased--Mistair Gosh,
I soppose?"

"Gallosh, my lord. Very honored to welcome you."

In the round eyes of Mr. Gallosh, Count Bunker
perceived an unmistakable stare of astonishment at the
sound of his lordship's accented voice. The Baron,
on his part, was evidently still suffering from his
attack of stage fright; but again the Count's gifts
smoothed the creases from the situation.

"You have not introduced me to our host,
Tulliwuddle," he said, with a gay, infectious confidence.

"Ah, so! Zis is my friend Count Bunker--gom all
ze vay from Austria," responded the Baron, with no
glimmer of his customary aplomb.

Making a mental resolution to warn his ally never
to say one word more about his fictitious past than
was wrung by cross-examination, the distinguished-
looking Austrian shook his host's hand warmly.

"From Austria via London," he explained in his
pleasantest manner. "I object altogether to be
considered a foreigner, Mr. Gallosh; and, in fact, I often
tell Tulliwuddle that people will think me more English
than himself. The German fashions so much in vogue
at Court are transforming the very speech of your
nobility. Don't you sometimes notice it?"

Thus directly appealed to, Mr. Gallosh became
manifestly perplexed.

"Yes--yes, you're right in a way," he pronounced
cautiously. "I suppose they do that. But will ye
not take a seat? This is my launch. Hi! Robert,
give his lordship a hand on board!"

Two mariners and a second tall footman assisted the
guests to embark, and presently they were cutting the
waters of the loch at a merry pace.

In the prow, like youth, the Baron insisted upon
sitting with folded arms and a gloomy aspect; and
as his nerve was so patently disturbed, the Count
decidedly approved of an arrangement which left his
host and himself alone together in the stern. In his
present state of mind the Baron was capable of any
indiscretion were he compelled to talk; while, silent and
brooding in isolated majesty, he looked to perfection
the part of returning exile. So, evidently, thought
Mr. Gallosh.

"His lordship is looking verra well," he confided to
the Count in a respectfully lowered voice.

"The improvement has been remarkable ever since
his foot touched his native heath."

"You don't say so," said Mr. Gallosh, with even
greater interest. "Was he delicate before?"

"A London life, Mr. Gallosh."

"True--true, he'll have been busy seeing his
friends; it'll have been verra wearing."

"The anxiety, the business of being invested,
and so on, has upset him a trifle. You must put
down any little--well, peculiarity to that, Mr. Gallosh."

"I understand--aye, umh'm, quite so. He'll like
to be left to himself, perhaps?"

"That depends on his condition," said the Count

"It's a great responsibility for a young man; yon's
a big property to look after," observed Mr. Gallosh
in a moment.

"You have touched the spot!" said the Count
warmly. "That is, in fact, the chief cause of Tulliwuddle's
curious moodiness ever since he succeeded to
the title. He feels his responsibilities a little too

Again Mr. Gallosh ruminated, while his guest from
the corner of his eye surveyed him shrewdly.

"My forecast was wonderfully accurate," he said
to himself.

The silence was first broken by Mr. Gallosh. As
if thinking aloud, he remarked--

"I was awful surprised to hear him speak! It's
the Court fashion, you say?"

"Partly that; partly a prolonged residence on the
Continent in his youth. He acquired his accent then;
he has retained it for fashion's sake," explained the
Count, who thought it as well to bolster up the weakest
part of his case a little more securely.

With this prudent purpose, he added, with a flattering
air of taking his host into his aristocratic confidence--

"You will perhaps be good enough to explain this
to the friends and dependants Lord Tulliwuddle is
about to meet? A breath of unsympathetic criticism
would grieve him greatly if it came to his ears."

"Quite, quite," said Mr. Gallosh eagerly. "I'll
make it all right. I understand the sentiment pairfectly.
It's verra natural--verra natural indeed."

At that moment the Baron started from his reverie
with an affrighted air.

"Vat is zat strange sound!" he exclaimed.

The others listened.

"That's just the pipes, my lord," said Mr. Gallosh.
"They're tuning up to welcome you."

His lordship stared at the shore ahead of them.

"Zere are many peoples on ze coast!" he cried.
"Vat makes it for?"

"They've come to receive you," his host explained.
"It's just a little spontaneous demonstration, my

His lordship's composure in no way increased.

"It was Mrs. Gallosh organized a wee bit entertainment
on his lordship's landing," their host explained
confidentially to the Count. "It's just informal, ye
understand. She's been instructing some of the tenants--
and ma own girls will be there--but, oh, it's
nothing to speak of. If he says a few words in
reply, that'll be all they'll be expecting."

The strains of "Tulliwuddle wha hae" grew ever
louder and, to an untrained ear, more terrific. In
a moment they were mingled with a clapping of hands
and a Highland cheer, the launch glided alongside the
pier, and, supported on his faithful friend's arm, the
panic-stricken Tulliwuddle staggered ashore. Before
his dazed eyes there seemed to be arrayed the vastest
and most barbaric concourse his worst nightmare had
ever imagined. Six pipers played within ten paces
of him, each of them arrayed in the full panoply of
the clan; at least a dozen dogs yelped their exultation;
and from the surrounding throng two ancient
men in tartan and four visions in snowy white stepped
forth to greet the distinguished visitors.

The first hitch in the proceedings occurred at this
point. According to the unofficial but carefully
considered programme, the pipers ought to have ceased
their melody; but, whether inspired by ecstatic loyalty
or because the Tulliwuddle pibroch took longer to perform
than had been anticipated, they continued to skirl
with such vigor that expostulations passed entirely
unheard. Under the circumstances there was nothing
for it but shouting, and in a stentorian yell Mr.
Gallosh introduced his wife and three fair daughters.

Thereupon Mrs. Gallosh, a broad-beamed matron
whose complexion contrasted pleasantly with her costume,
delivered the following oration--

"Lord Tulliwuddle, in the name of the women of
Hechnahoul--I may say in the name of the women of
all the Highlands--oor ain Heelands, my lord" (this
with the most insinuating smile)--"I bid you welcome
to your ancestral estates. Remembering the conquests
your ancestors used to make both in war and in a
gentler sphere" (Mrs. Gallosh looked archness itself),
"we ladies, I suppose, should regard your home-
coming with some misgivings; but, my lord, every
bonny Prince Charlie has his bonny Flora Macdonald,
and in this land of mountain, mist, and flood, where
'Dark Ben More frowns o'er the wave,' and where
'Ilka lassie has her laddie,' you will find a thousand
romantic maidens ready to welcome you as Ellen welcomed
Fitz-James! For centuries your heroic race has
adorned the halls and trod the heather of Hechnahoul,
and for centuries more we hope to see the offspring
of your lordship and some winsome Celtic maid rule
these cataracts and glens!"

At this point the exertion of shouting down six
bagpipes in active eruption caused a temporary cessation
of the lady's eloquence, and the pause was filled
by the cheers of the crowd led by the "Hip-hip-hip!"
of Count Bunker, and by the broken and fortunately
inaudible protests of the embarrassed father of future
Tulliwuddles. In a moment Mrs. Gallosh had resumed--

"Lord Tulliwuddle, though I myself am only a
stranger to your clan, your Highland heart will feel
reassured when I mention that I belong through my
grandmother to the kindred clan of the Mackays!"
("Hear, hear!" from two or three ladies and gentlemen,
evidently guests of the Gallosh.) "We are but
visitors at Hechnahoul, yet we assure you that no more
devoted hearts beat in all Caledonia! Lord Tulliwuddle,
we welcome you!"

"Put your hand on your heart and bow," whispered
Bunker. "Keep on bowing and say nothing!"

Mechanically the bewildered Baron obeyed, and for
a few moments presented a spectacle not unlike royalty
in procession.

But as some reply from him had evidently been
expected at this point, and the pipers had even ceased
playing lest any word of their chief's should be lost,
a pause ensued which might have grown embarrassing
had not the Count promptly stepped forward.

"I think," he said, indicating two other snow-white
figures who held gigantic bouquets, "that a pleasant
part of the ceremony still remains before us."

With a grateful glance at this discerning guest,
Mrs. Gallosh thereupon led forward her two youngest
daughters (aged fifteen and thirteen), who, with an
air so delightfully coy that it fell like a ray of
sunshine on the poor Baron's heart, presented him with
their flowery symbols of Hechnahoul's obeisance to its

His consternation returned with the advance of the
two ancient clansmen who, after a guttural panegyric
in Gaelic, offered him further symbols--a claymore and
target, very formidable to behold. All these gifts
having been adroitly transferred to the arms of the
footmen by the ubiquitous Count, the Baron's emotions
swiftly passed through another phase when the
eldest Miss Gallosh, aged twenty, with burning eyes
and the most distracting tresses, dropped him a sweeping
courtesy and offered a final contribution--a fiery
cross, carved and painted by her own fair hands.

A fresh round of applause followed this, and then
a sudden silence fell upon the assembly. All eyes were
turned upon the chieftain: not even a dog barked:
it was the moment of a lifetime.

"Can you manage a speech, old man?" whispered

"Ach, no, no, no! Let me escape. Oh, let me fly!"

"Bury your face in your hands and lean on my
shoulder," prompted the Count.

This stage direction being obeyed, the most effective
tableau conceivable was presented, and the climax was
reached when the Count, after a brief dumb-show
intended to indicate how vain were Lord Tulliwuddle's
efforts to master his emotion, spoke these words in the
most thrilling accents he could muster

"Fair ladies and brave men of Hechnahoul! Your
chief, your friend, your father requests me to express
to you the sentiments which his over-wrought emotions
prevent him from uttering himself. On his behalf
I tender to his kind and courteous friends, Mr.,
Mrs., and the fair maids Gallosh, the thanks of a long-
absent exile returned to his native land for the welcome
they have given him! To his devoted clan he not
only gives his thanks, but his promise that all rents shall
be reduced by one half--so long as he dwells among
them!" (Tumultuous applause, disturbed only by a
violent ejaculation from a large man in knickerbockers
whom Bunker justly judged to be the factor.)

"With his last breath he shall perpetually thunder:

The Tulliwuddle slogan, pronounced with the most
conscientious accuracy of which a Sassenach was capable,
proved as effective a curtain as he had anticipated;
and amid a perfect babel of cheering and bagpiping
the chieftain was led to his host's carriage.


"Well, the worst of it is over," said Bunker

The Baron groaned. "Ze vorst is
only jost beginning to gommence."

They were sitting over a crackling fire of logs in
the sitting-room of the suite which their host had
reserved for his honored visitors. How many heirlooms
and dusky portraits the romantic thoughtfulness
of the ladies had managed to crowd into this apartment
for the occasion were hard to compute; enough,
certainly, one would think, to inspire the most sluggish-
blooded Tulliwuddle with a martial exultation.
Instead, the chieftain groaned again.

"Tell zem I am ill. I cannot gom to dinner. To-
morrow I shall take ze train back to London. Himmel!
Vy vas I fool enof to act soch dishonorable lies! I
deceive all these kind peoples!"

"It isn't that which worries me," said Bunker
imperturbably. "I am only afraid that if you display
this spirit you won't deceive them."

"I do not vish to," said the Baron sulkily.


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