J. Storer Clouston
Part 2 out of 5
It required half an hour of the Count's most artful
blandishments to persuade him that duty, honor, and
prudence all summoned him to the feast. This being
accomplished, he next endeavored to convince him that
he would feel more comfortable in the airy freedom
of the Tulliwuddle tartan. But here the Baron was
obdurate. Now that the kilt lay ready to his hand
he could not be persuaded even to look at it. In
gloomy silence he donned his conventional evening
dress and announced, last thing before they left their
"Bonker, say no more! To-morrow morning I depart!"
Their hostess had explained that a merely informal
dinner awaited them, since his lordship (she observed)
would no doubt prefer a quiet evening after his long
journey. But Mrs. Gallosh was one of those good
ladies who are fond of asking their friends to take
"pot luck," and then providing them with fourteen
courses; or suggesting a "quiet little evening together,"
when they have previously removed the drawing-
room carpet. It is an affectation of modesty apt
to disconcert the retiring guest who takes them at
their word. In the drawing-room of Mrs. Gallosh the
startled Baron found assembled--firstly, the Gallosh
family, consisting of all those whose acquaintance we
have already made, and in addition two stalwart school-
boy sons; secondly, their house-party, who comprised
a Mr. and Mrs. Rentoul, from the same metropolis of
commerce as Mr. Gallosh, and a hatchet-faced young
man with glasses, answering to the name of Mr. Cromarty-
Gow; and, finally, one or two neighbors. These
last included Mr. M'Fadyen, the large factor; the
Established Church, U.F., Wee Free, Episcopalian,
and Original Secession ministers, all of whom, together
with their kirks, flourished within a four-mile radius
of the Castle; the wives to three of the above; three
young men and their tutor, being some portion of a
reading-party in the village; and Mrs. Cameron-
Campbell and her five daughters, from a neighboring
dower-house upon the loch.
It was fortunate that all these people were prepared
to be impressed with Lord Tulliwuddle, whatever he
should say or do; and further, that the unique position
of such a famous hereditary magnate even led them to
anticipate some marked deviation from the ordinary
canons of conduct. Otherwise, the gloomy brows; the
stare, apparently haughty, in reality alarmed; the
strange accent and the brief responses of the chief
guest, might have caused an unfavorable opinion of
As it was, his aloofness, however natural, would
probably have proved depressing had it not been for
the gay charm and agreeable condescension of the
other nobleman. Seldom had more rested upon that
adventurer's shoulders, and never had he acquitted
himself with greater credit. It was with considerable
secret concern that he found himself placed at the
opposite end of the table from his friend, but his
tongue rattled as gaily and his smiles came as readily
as ever. With Mrs. Cameron-Campbell on one side,
and a minister's lady upon the other, his host two
places distant, and a considerable audience of silent
eaters within earshot, he successfully managed to
divert the attention of quite half the table from the
chieftain's moody humor.
"I always feel at home with a Scotsman," he
discoursed genially. "His imagination is so quick, his
intellect so clear, his honesty so remarkable, and"
(with an irresistible glance at the minister's lady) "his
wife so charming."
"Ha, ha!" laughed Mr. Gallosh, who was mellowing
rapidly under the influence of his own champagne.
"I'm verra glad to see you know good folks when
you meet them. What do you think now of the
Having previously assured himself that his audience
was neat Scotch, the polished Austrian unblushingly
"The Englishman, I have observed, has a slightly
slower imagination, a denser intelligence, and is less
conspicuous for perfect honesty. His womankind also
have less of that nameless grace and ethereal beauty
which distinguish their Scottish sisters."
It is needless to say that a more popular visitor
never was seen than this discriminating foreigner, and
if his ambitions had not risen above a merely personal
triumph, he would have been in the highest state of
satisfaction. But with a disinterested eye he every
now and then sought the farther end of the table,
where, between his hostess and her charming eldest
daughter, and facing his factor, the Baron had to
endure his ordeal unsupported.
"I wonder how the devil he's getting on!" he more
than once said to himself.
For better or for worse, as the dinner advanced,
he began to hear the Court accent more frequently,
till his curiosity became extreme.
"His lordship seems in better spirits," remarked
"I hope to Heaven he may be!" was the fervent
thought of Count Bunker.
At that moment the point was settled. With his
old roar of exuberant gusto the Baron announced, in
a voice that drowned even the five ministers--
"Ach, yes, I vill toss ze caber to-morrow! I vill
toss him--so high!" (his napkin flapped upwards).
"How long shall he be? So tall as my castle: Mees
Gallosh, you shall help me? Ach, yes! Mit hands so
fair ze caber vill spring like zis!"
His pudding-spoon, in vivid illustration, skipped
across the table and struck his factor smartly on the
"Sare, I beg your pardon," he beamed with a
graciousness that charmed Mrs. Gallosh even more
than his spirited conversation--"Ach, do not return it,
please! It is from my castle silver--keep it in memory
of zis happy night!"
The royal generosity of this act almost reconciled
Mrs. Gallosh to the loss of one of her own silver spoons.
"Saved!" sighed Bunker, draining his glass with
a relish he had not felt in any item of the feast
Now that the Baron's courage had returned, no
heraldic lion ever pranced more bravely. His laughter,
his jests, his compliments were showered upon the
delighted diners. Mr. Gallosh and he drank healths
down the whole length of the table "mit no tap-heels!"
at least four times. He peeled an orange for Miss
Gallosh, and cut the skin into the most diverting
figures, pressing her hand tenderly as he presented her
with these works of art. He inquired of Mrs. Gallosh
the names of the clergymen, and, shouting something
distantly resembling these, toasted them each and
all with what he conceived to be appropriate comments.
Finally he rose to his feet, and, to the surprise
and delight of all, delivered the speech they had
been disappointed of earlier in the day.
"Goot Mr. Gallosh, fair Mrs. Gallosh, divine Mees
Gallosh, and all ze ladies and gentlemans, how sorry
I vas I could not make my speech before, I cannot
eggspress. I had a headache, and vas not vell vithin.
Ach, soch zings vill happen in a new climate. Bot now
I am inspired to tell you I loff you all! I zank you
eggstremely! How can I return zis hospitality? I
vill tell you! You must all go to Bavaria and stay
"Tulliwuddle! Tulliwuddle!" shouted Bunker
frantically, to the great amazement of the company. "Allow
me to invite the company myself to stay with me
The Baron turned crimson, as he realized the abyss
of error into which he had so nearly plunged. Adroitly
the Count covered his confusion with a fit of laughter
so ingeniously hearty that in a moment he had joined
in it too.
"Ha, ha, ha!" he shouted. "Zat was a leetle joke
at my friend's eggspense. It is here, in my castle, you
shall visit me; some day very soon I shall live in him.
Meanvile, dear Mrs. Gallosh, gonsider it your home!
For me you make it heaven, and I cannot ask more
zan zat! Now let us gom and have some fon!"
A salvo of applause greeted this conclusion. At the
Baron's impetuous request the cigars were brought
into the hall, and ladies and gentlemen all trooped out
"I cannot vait till I have seen Miss Gallosh dance
ze Highland reel," he explained to her gratified mother;
"she has promised me."
"But you must dance too, Lord Tulliwuddle," said
ravishing Miss Gallosh. "You know you said you
"A promise to a lady is a law," replied the Baron
gallantly, adding in a lower tone, "especially to so
fair a lady!"
"It's a pity his lordship hadn't on his kilt," put
in Mr. Gallosh genially.
"By ze Gad, I vill put him on! Hoch! Ve vill
have some fon!"
The Baron rushed from the hall, followed in a
moment by his noble friend. Bunker found him
already wrapping many yards of tartan about his
"But, my dear fellow, you must take off your
trousers," he expostulated.
Despite his glee, the Baron answered with something
of the Blitzenberg dignity--
"Ze bare leg I cannot show to-night--not to dance
mit ze young ladies. Ven I have practised, perhaps;
but not now, Bonker."
Accordingly the portraits of four centuries of
Tulliwuddles beheld their representative appear in the very
castle of Hechnahoul with his trouser-legs capering beneath
an ill-hung petticoat of tartan. And, to make
matters worse in their canvas eyes, his own shameless
laugh rang loudest in the mirth that greeted his entrance.
"Ze garb of Gaul!" he announced, shaking with
hilarity. "Gom, Bonker, dance mit me ze Highland
The first night of Lord Tulliwuddle's visit to his
ancestral halls is still remembered among his native
hills. The Count also, his mind now rapturously at
ease, performed prodigies. They danced together
what they were pleased to call the latest thing in London,
sang a duet, waltzed with the younger ladies, till
hardly a head was left unturned, and, in short, sent
away the ministers and their ladies, the five Miss
Cameron-Campbells, the reading-party, and particularly
the factor, with a new conception of a Highland
chief. As for the house-party, they felt that they
were fortunate beyond the lot of most ordinary
The Baron sat among his heirlooms, laboriously
disengaging himself from his kilt. Fitfully
throughout this process he would warble
snatches of an air which Miss Gallosh
"Whae vould not dee for Sharlie?" he trolled, "Ze
"Then you don't think of leaving to-morrow
morning?" asked Count Bunker, who was watching him
with a complacent air.
"Mein Gott, no fears!"
"We had better wait, perhaps, till the afternoon?"
"I go not for tree veeks! Gaben sie--das ist,
gim'me zat tombler. Vun more of mountain juice to
ze health of all Galloshes! Partic'ly of vun! Eh, old
The Count took care to see that the mountain juice
was well diluted. His friend had already found Scottish
hospitality difficult to enjoy in moderation.
"Baron, you gave us a marvellously lifelike
representation of a Jacobite chieftain!"
The Baron laughed a trifle vacantly.
"Ach, it is easy for me. Himmel, a Blitzenberg
should know how! Vollytoddle--Toddyvolly--whatsh
my name, Bonker?"
The Count informed him.
"Tollivoddlesh is nozing to vat I am at home!
Abs'lutely nozing! I have a house twice as big as zis,
and servants--Ach, so many I know not! Bot, mein
Bonker, it is not soch fon as zis! Mein Gott, I most
get to bed. I toss ze caber to-morrow."
And upon the arm of his faithful ally he moved
cautiously towards his bedroom.
But if he had enjoyed his evening well, his pleasure
was nothing to the gratification of his hosts. They
could not bring themselves to break up their party
for the night: there were so many delightful reminiscences
"Of all the evenings ever I spent," declared Mr.
Gallosh, "this fair takes the cake. Just to think of
that aristocratic young fellow being as companionable-
like! When first I put eyes on him, I said to myself--
'You're not for the likes of us. All lords and ladies
is your kind. Never a word did he say in the boat
till he heard the pipes play, and then I really thought
he was frightened! It must just have been a kind of
home-sickness or something."
"It'll have been the tuning up that set his teeth on
edge," Mrs. Gallosh suggested practically.
"Or perhaps his heart was stirred with thoughts of
the past!" said Miss Gallosh, her eyes brightening.
In any case, all were agreed that the development of
his hereditary instincts had been extraordinarily rapid.
"I never really properly talked with a lord before,"
sighed Mrs. Rentoul; "I hope they're all like this one."
Mrs. Gallosh, on the other hand, who boasted of
having had one tete-a-tete and joined in several general
conversations with the peerage, appraised Lord Tulliwuddle
with greater discrimination.
"Ah, he's got a soupcon!" she declared. "That's
what I admire!"
"Do you mean his German accent?" asked Mr.
Cromarty-Gow, who was renowned for a cynical wit,
and had been seeking an occasion to air it ever since
Lord Tulliwuddle had made Miss Gallosh promise to
dance a reel with him.
But the feeling of the party was so strongly against
a breath of irreverent criticism, and their protest so
emphatic, that he presently strolled off to the smoking-
room, wishing that Miss Gallosh, at least, would exercise
more critical discrimination.
"Do you think would they like breakfast in their
own room, Duncan?" asked Mrs. Gallosh.
"Offer it them--offer it them; they can but refuse,
and it's a kind of compliment to give them the opportunity."
"His lordship will not be wanting to rise early,"
said Mr. Rentoul. "Did you notice what an amount
he could drink, Duncan? Man, and he carried it fine!
But he'll be the better of a sleep-in in the morning,
him coming from a journey too."
Mr. Rentoul was a recognized authority on such
questions, having, before the days of his affluence,
travelled for a notable firm of distillers. His praise of
Lord Tulliwuddle's capacity was loudly echoed by Mr.
Gallosh, and even the ladies could not but indulgently
agree that he had exhibited a strength of head worthy
of his race.
"And yet he was a wee thing touched too," said Mr.
Rentoul sagely. "Maybe you were too far gone yourself,
Duncan, to notice it, and the ladies would just
think it was gallantry; but I saw it in his voice and his
legs--oh, just a wee thingie, nothing to speak of."
"Surely you are mistaken!" cried Miss Gallosh.
"Wasn't it only excitement at finding himself at
"There's two kinds of excitement," answered the
oracle. "And this was the kind I'm best acquaint
with. Oh, but it was just a wee bittie."
"And who thinks the worse of him for it?" cried
This question was answered by general acclamation
in a manner and with a spirit that proved how deeply
his lordship's gracious behavior had laid hold of all
Breakfast in the private parlor was laid for
two; but it was only Count Bunker, arrayed
in a becoming suit of knickerbockers, and
looking as fresh as if he had feasted last
night on aerated water, who sat down to consume it.
"Who would be his ordinary everyday self when
there are fifty more amusing parts to play," he
reflected gaily, as he sipped his coffee. "Blitzenberg
and Essington were two conventional members of society,
ageing ingloriously, tamely approaching five-
and-thirty in bath-chairs. Tulliwuddle and Bunker
are paladins of romance! We thought we had grown
up--thank Heaven, we were deceived!"
Having breakfasted and lit a cigarette, he essayed
for the second time to arouse the Baron; but getting
nothing but the most somnolent responses, he set out
for a stroll, visiting the gardens, stables, kennels, and
keeper's house, and even inspecting a likely pool or two
upon the river, and making in the course of it several
useful acquaintances among the Tulliwuddle retainers.
When he returned he found the Baron stirring a
cup of strong tea and staring at an ancestral portrait
with a thoughtful frown.
"They are preparing the caber, Baron," he
"Stoff and nonsense; I vill not fling her!" was the
wholly unexpected reply. "I do not love to play ze
"My dear Baron!"
"Zat picture," said the Baron, nodding his head
solemnly towards the portrait. "It is like ze Lord
Tollyvoddle in ze print at ze hotel. I do believe he is ze
"But I explained that he wasn't Tulliwuddle."
"He is so like," repeated the Baron moodily. "He
most be ze same."
Bunker looked at it and shook his head.
"A different man, I assure you."
"Oh, ze devil!" replied the Baron.
"What's the matter?"
"I haff a head zat tvists and turns like my head
never did since many years."
The Count had already surmised as much.
"Hang it out of the window," he suggested.
The Baron made no reply for some minutes. Then
with an earnest air he began--
"Bonker, I have somezing to say to you."
"You have the most sympathetic audience outside
The Count's cheerful tone did not seem to please his
"Your heart, he is too light, Bonker; ja, too light.
Last night you did engourage me not to be seemly."
"I did get almost dronk. If my head vas not so
hard I should be dronk. Das ist not right. If I am
to be ze Tollyvoddle, it most be as I vould be Von
Blitzenberg. I most not forget zat I am not as ozzer
men. I am noble, and most be so accordingly."
"What steps do you propose to take?" inquired
Bunker with perfect gravity.
The Baron stared at the picture.
"Last night I had a dream. It vas zat man--at
least, probably it vas, for I cannot remember eggsactly.
He did pursue me mit a kilt."
"With what did you defend yourself?"
"I know not: I jost remember zat it should be a
warning. Ve Blitzenbergs have ze gift to dream."
The Baron rose from the table and lit a cigar.
After three puffs he threw it from him.
"I cannot smoke," he said dismally. "It has a
The Count assumed a seriously thoughtful air.
"No doubt you will wish to see Miss Maddison as
soon as possible and get it over," he began. "I have
just learned that their place is about seven miles away.
We could borrow a trap this afternoon----"
"Nein, nein!" interrupted the Baron. "Donnerwetter!
Ach, no, it most not be so soon. I most
practise a leetle first. Not so immediately, Bonker."
Bunker looked at him with a glance of unfathomable
"I find that it will be necessary for you to observe
one or two ancient ceremonies, associated from time
immemorial with the accession of a Tulliwuddle. You
are prepared for the ordeal?"
"I most do my duty, Bonker."
"This suggests some more inspiring vision than the
gentleman in the gold frame," thought the Count
Aloud he remarked
"You have high ideals, Baron."
"I hope so."
Again the Baron was the unconscious object of a
humorous, perspicacious scrutiny.
"Last night I did hear zat moch was to be expected
from me," he observed at length.
"From Mrs. Gallosh?"
"I do not zink it vas from Mrs. Gallosh."
Count Bunker smiled.
"You inflamed all hearts last night," said he.
The Baron looked grave.
"I did drink too moch last night. But I did not
say vat I should not, eh? I vas not rude or gross to--
"Not to Mr. Gallosh."
The Baron looked a trifle perturbed at the gravity
of his tone.
"I vas not too free, too undignified in presence of
zat innocent and charming lady--Miss Gallosh?"
The air of scrutiny passed from Count Bunker's
face, and a droll smile came instead.
"Baron, I understand your ideals and I appreciate
your motives. As you suggest, you had better rehearse
your part quietly for a few days. Miss Maddison will
find you the more perfect suitor."
The Baron looked as though he knew not whether to
feel satisfied or not.
"By the way," said the Count in a moment, "have
you written to the Baroness yet? Pardon me for
reminding you, but you must remember that your letters
will have to go out to Russia and back."
The Baron started.
"Teufel!" he exclaimed. "I most indeed write."
"The post goes at twelve."
The Baron reflected gloomily, and then slowly moved
to the writing-table and toyed with his pen. A few
minutes passed, and then in a fretful voice he asked--
"Vat shall I say?"
"Tell her about your journey across Europe--how
the crops look in Russia--what you think of St. Petersburg--
that sort of thing."
A silent quarter of an hour went by, and then the
Baron burst out
"Ach, I cannot write to-day! I cannot invent like
you. Ze crops--I have got zat--and zat I arrived safe
--and zat Petersburg is nice. Vat else?"
"Anything you can remember from text-books on
Muscovy or illustrated interviews with the Czar. Just
a word or two, don't you know, to show you've been
there; with a few comments of your own."
"Vat like comments?"
"Such as--'Somewhat annoyed with bombs this
afternoon,' or 'This caused me to reflect upon the
disadvantages of an alcoholic marine'--any little bit of
philosophy that occurs to you."
The Baron pondered.
"It is a pity zat I have not been in Rossia," he
"On the other hand, it is a blessing your wife hasn't.
Look at the bright side of things, my dear fellow."
For a short time, from the way in which the Baron
took hasty notes in pencil and elaborated them in ink
(according to the system of Professor Virchausen), it
appeared that he was following his friend's directions.
Later, from a sentimental look in his eye, the Count
surmised that he was composing an amorous addendum;
and at last he laid down his pen with a sigh which the
cynical (but only the cynical) might have attributed
"Ha, my head he is getting more clear!" he
announced. "Gom, let us present ourselves to ze ladies,
"It is necessary, Bonker--you are sure?"
"No Tulliwuddle has ever omitted the ceremony.
If you shirked, I am assured on the very
best authority that it would excite the gravest
suspicions of your authenticity."
Count Bunker spoke with an air of the most resolute
conviction. Ever since they arrived he had taken
infinite pains to discover precisely what was expected of
the chieftain, and having by great good luck made the
acquaintance of an elderly individual who claimed to
be the piper of the clan, and who proved a perfect
granary of legends, he was able to supply complete
information on every point of importance. Once the
Baron had endeavored to corroborate these particulars
by interviewing the piper himself, but they had found
so much difficulty in understanding one another's
dialects that he had been content to trust implicitly to his
friend's information. The Count, indeed, had rather
avoided than sought advice on the subject, and the
piper, after several confidential conversations and the
passage of a sum of silver into his sporran, displayed
an equally Delphic tendency.
The Baron, therefore, argued the present point no
"It is jost a mere ceremony," he said. "Ach, vell,
nozing vill happen. Zis ghost--vat is his name?"
"It is known as the Wraith of the Tulliwuddles.
The heir must interview it within a week of coming to
"Vere most I see him?"
"In the armory, at midnight. You bring one
friend, one candle, and wear a bonnet with one eagle's
feather in it. You enter at eleven and wait for an
hour--and, by the way, neither of you must speak
above a whisper."
"Pooh! Jost hombog!" said the Baron valiantly.
"I do not fear soch trash."
"When the Wraith appears----"
"My goot Bonker, he vill not gom!"
"Supposing he does come--and mind you, strange
things happen in these old buildings, particularly in
the Highlands, and after dinner; if he comes, Baron,
you must ask him three questions."
The Baron laughed scornfully.
"If I see a ghost I vill ask him many interesting
questions--if he does feel cold, and sochlike, eh? Ha,
With an imperturbable gravity that was not without
its effect upon the other, however gaily he might talk,
"The three questions are: first, 'What art thou?'
second, 'Why comest thou here, O spirit?' third,
'What instructions desirest thou to give me?' Strictly
speaking, they ought to be asked in Gaelic, but exceptions
have been made on former occasions, and Mac-
Dui--who pipes, by the way, in the anteroom--assures
me that English will satisfy the Wraith in your
The Baron sniffed and laughed, and twirled up the
ends of his mustaches till they presented a particularly
desperate appearance. Yet there was a faint intonation
of anxiety in his voice as he inquired--
"You vill gom as my friend, of course?"
"I? Quite out of the question, I am sorry to say.
To bring a foreigner (as I am supposed to be) would
rouse the clan to rebellion. No, Baron, you have a
chance of paying a graceful compliment to your host
which you must not lose. Ask Mr. Gallosh to share
"Gallosh--he vould not be moch good sopposing--
Ach, but nozing vill happen! I vill ask him."
The pride of Mr. Gallosh on being selected as his
lordship's friend on this historic occasion was pleasant
"It's just a bit of fiddle-de-dee," he informed his
delighted family. "Duncan Gallosh to be looking for
bogles is pretty ridiculous--but oh, I can't refuse to
disoblige his lordship."
"I should think not, when he's done you the honor
to invite you out of all his friends!" said Mrs. Gallosh
warmly. "Eva! do you hear the compliment
that's been paid your papa?"
Eva, their fair eldest daughter, came into the room
at a run. She had indeed heard (since the news was
on every tongue), and impetuously she flung her arms
about her father's neck.
"Oh, papa, do him credit!" she cried; "it's like a
story come true! What a romantic thing to happen!"
"What a spirit!" her mother reflected proudly.
"She is just the girl for a chieftain's bride!"
That very night was chosen for the ceremony, and
eleven o'clock found them all assembled breathless in
the drawing-room: all, save Lord Tulliwuddle and his
"Will they have to wait for a whole hour?" asked
Mrs. Gallosh in a low voice.
Indeed they all spoke in subdued accents.
"I am told," replied the Count, "that the apparition
never appears till after midnight has struck. Any time
between twelve and one he may be expected."
"Think of the terrible suspense after twelve has
passed!" whispered Eva.
The Count had thought of this.
"I advised Duncan to take his flask," said Mr.
Rentoul, with a solemn wink. "So he'll not be so
"Papa would never do such a thing to-night!"
"It's always a kind of precaution," said the sage.
Presently Count Bunker, who had been imparting
the most terrific particulars of former interviews with
the Wraith to the younger Galloshes, remarked that he
must pass the time by overtaking some pressing correspondence.
"You will forgive me, I hope, for shutting myself
up for an hour or so," he said to his hostess. "I shall
come back in time to learn the results of the meeting."
And with the loss of his encouraging company a
greater uneasiness fell upon the party.
Meanwhile, in a vast cavern of darkness, lit only by
the solitary candle, the Baron and his host endeavored
to maintain the sceptical buoyancy with which they
had set forth upon their adventure. But the chilliness
of the room (they had no fire, and it was a misty night
with a moaning wind), the inordinate quantity of odd-
looking shadows, and the profound silence, were
immediately destructive to buoyancy and ultimately trying
"I wish ze piper vould play," whispered the Baron.
"Mebbe he'll begin nearer the time," his companion
The Baron shivered. For the first time he had been
persuaded to wear the full panoply of a Highland
chief, and though he had exhibited himself to the ladies
with much pride, and even in the course of dinner had
promised Eva Gallosh that he would never again don
anything less romantic, he now began to think that a
travelling-rug of the Tulliwuddle tartan would prove
a useful addition to the outfit on the occasion of a
midnight vigil. Also the stern prohibition against
talking aloud (corroborated by the piper with many
guttural warnings) grew more and more irksome as
the night advanced.
"It's an awesome place," whispered Mr. Gallosh.
"I hardly thought it would have been as lonesome-
There was a tremor in his voice that irritated the
"Pooh!" he answered, "it is jost vun old piece of
hombog! I do not believe in soch things myself."
"Neither do I, my lord; oh, neither do I; but--
would you fancy a dram?"
"Not for me, I zank you," said his lordship stiffly.
Blessing the foresight of Mr. Rentoul, his host
unscrewed his flask and had a generous swig. As he was
screwing on the top again, the Baron, in a less haughty
"Perhaps jost vun leetle taste."
They felt now for a few minutes more aggressively
"Ve need not have ze curtain shut," said the Baron.
"Soppose you do draw him?"
Through the gloom Mr. Gallosh took one or two
"Man, it's awful hard to see one's way," he said
The Baron took the candle, and with a martial stride
escorted him to the window. They pulled aside one
corner of the heavy curtain, and then let it fall again
and hurried back. So far north there was indeed a
gleam of daylight left, but it was such a pale and
ghostly ray, and the wreaths of mist swept so eerily
and silently across the pane, that candle-light and shadows
seemed vastly preferable.
"How much more time will there be?" whispered
Mr. Gallosh presently.
"It is twenty-five minutes to twelve."
"Your lordship! Can we leave at twelve?"
The Baron started.
"Oh, Himmel!" he exclaimed. "Vy did I not realize
before? If nozing comes--and nozing vill come--ve
most stay till one, I soppose."
Mr. Gallosh emitted something like a groan.
"Oh my, and that candle will not last more than
half an hour at the most!"
"Teufel!" said the Baron. "It vas Bonker did
give him to me. He might have made a more proper
The prospect was now gloomy indeed. An hour
of candle-light had been bad, but an hour of pitch
darkness or of mist wreaths would be many times
"A wee tastie more, my lord?" Mr. Gallosh
suggested, in a voice whose vibrations he made an effort
"Jost a vee," said his lordship, hardly more firmly.
With a dismal disregard for their suspense the minutes
dragged infinitely slowly. The flask was finished;
the candle guttered and flickered ominously; the very
shadows grew restless.
"There's a lot of secret doors and such like in this
part of the house--let's hope there'll be nothing coming
through one of them," said Mr. Gallosh in a breaking voice.
The Baron muttered an inaudible reply, and then
with a start their shoulders bumped together.
"Damn it, what's yon!" whispered Mr. Gallosh.
"Ze pipes! Gallosh, how beastly he does play!"
In point of fact the air seemed to consist of only
one wailing note.
"Bong!"--they heard the first stroke of midnight
on the big clock on the Castle Tower; and so unfortunately
had Count Bunker timed the candle that on the
instant its flame expired.
"Vithdraw ze curtains!" gasped the Baron.
"I canna, my lord! Oh, I canna!" wailed Mr.
Gallosh, breaking out into his broadest native Scotch.
This time the Baron made no movement, and in the
palpitating silence the two sat through one long dark
minute after another, till some ten of them had passed.
"I shall stand it no more!" muttered the Baron.
"Ve vill creep for ze door."
"My lord, my lord! For maircy's sake gie's a hold
of you!" stammered Mr. Gallosh, falling on his hands
and knees and feeling for the skirt of his lordship's
But their flight was arrested by a portent so
remarkable that had there been only a single witness one
would suppose it to be a figment of his imagination.
Fortunately, however, both the Baron and Mr. Gallosh
can corroborate each detail. About the middle,
apparently, of the wall opposite, an oblong of light
appeared in the thickest of the gloom.
"Mein Gott!" cried the Baron.
"It's filled wi' reek!" gasped Mr. Gallosh.
And indeed the space seemed filled with a slowly
rising cloud of pungent blue smoke. Then their horrified
eyes beheld the figure of an undoubted Being hazily
outlined behind the cloud, and at the same time the
piper, as if sympathetically aware of the crisis, burst
into his most dreadful discords. A yell rang through
the gloom, followed by the sounds of a heavy body
alternately scuffling across the floor and falling
prostrate over unseen furniture. The Baron felt for his
host, and realized that this was the escaping Gallosh.
"Tulliwuddle! Speak!" a hollow voice muttered
out of the smoke.
The Baron has never ceased to exult over the hardihood
he displayed in this unnerving crisis. Rising to
his feet and drawing his claymore, he actually managed
to stammer out--
"Who--who are you?"
The Being (he could now perceive dimly that it was
clad in tartan) answered in the same deep, measured
"Your senses to confound and fuddle,
Behold the Wraith of Tulliwuddle!"
This was sufficiently terrifying, one would think, to
excuse the Baron for following the example of his host.
But, though he found afterwards that he must have
perspired freely, he courageously stood his ground.
"Vy have you gomed here?" he demanded in a voice
nearly as hollow as the Wraith'
As solemnly as before the spirit replied--
"From Pit that's bottomless and dark--
Methinks I hear it shrieking--Hark!"
(The Baron certainly did hear a tumult that might
well be termed infernal; though whether it emanated
from Mr. Gallosh, fiends, or the piper, he could not at
the moment feel certain.)
"I came o'er many leagues of heather
To carry back the answer whether
The noble chieftain of my clan
Conducts him like a gentleman."
After this warning, to put the third question
required an effort of the most supreme resolution. The
Baron was equal to it, however.
"Vat instroction do you give me?" he managed to
In the gravest accents the Wraith chanted--
"Hang ever kilt above the knee,
With Usquebaugh be not too free,
When toasts and sic'like games be mooted
See that your dram be well diluted;
And oh, if you'd escape from Hades,
Lord Tulliwuddle, 'ware the ladies!"
The spirit vanished as magically as he had appeared,
and with this solemn warning ringing in his ears, the
Baron found himself in inky darkness again. This
time he did not hesitate to grope madly for the door,
but hardly had he reached it, when, with a fresh sensation
of horror, he stumbled upon a writhing form that
seemed to be pawing the panels. He was, fortunately;
as quickly reassured by hearing the voice of Mr. Gallosh
exclaim in terrified accents--
"I canna find the haundle! Oh, Gosh, where's the
Being the less frenzied of the two, the Baron did
succeed in finding the handle, and with a gasp of relief
burst into the lighted anteroom. The piper had
already departed, and evidently in haste, since he had
left some portion of a bottle of whisky unfinished.
This fortunate circumstance enabled them to recover
something of their color, though, even when he felt his
blood warming again, Mr. Gallosh could scarcely speak
coherently of his terrible ordeal.
"What an awfu' night! what an awfu' night!" he
murmured. "Oh, my lord, let's get out of this!"
He was making for the door when the Baron seized
"Vait!" he cried. "Ze danger is past! Ach, vas
I not brave? Did you not hear me speak to him? You
can bear vitness how brave I vas, eh?"
"I'll not swear I heard just exactly what passed,
my lord. Man, I'll own I was awful feared!"
"Tuts! tuts!" said the Baron kindly. "Ve vill say
nozing about zat. You stood vell by me, I shall say.
And you vill tell zem I did speak mit courage to ze
"I will that!" said Mr. Gallosh.
By the time they reached the drawing-room he had
so far recovered his equanimity as to prove a very
creditable witness, and between them they gave such
an account of their adventure as satisfied even the
excited expectations of their friends; though the Baron
thought it both prudent and more becoming his dignity
to leave considerable mystery attaching to the precise
revelations of his ancestral spirit.
"Bot vere is Bonker?" he asked, suddenly noticing
the absence of his friend.
A moment later the Count entered and listened with
the greatest interest to a second (and even more
graphic) account of the adventure. More intimate
particulars still were confided to him when they had
retired to their own room, and he appeared as surprised
and impressed as any wraith-seer could desire. As
they parted for the night, the Baron started and
sniffed at him.
"Vat a strange smell you have!" he exclaimed.
"Peat smoke, probably. This fire wouldn't draw."
"Strange!" mused the Baron. "I did smell a leetle
smell of zat before to-night."
"Yes; one notices it all through the house with an
This seemed to the Baron a complete explanation of
At the house in Belgrave Square at present
tenanted by the Baron and Baroness von
Blitzenberg, an event of considerable
importance had occurred. This was nothing
less than the arrival of the Countess of Grillyer upon
a visit both of affection and state. So important was
she, and so great the attachment of her daughter, that
the preparations for her reception would have served
for a reigning sovereign. But the Countess had an
eye as quick and an appetite for respect as exacting
as Queen Elizabeth, and she had no sooner embraced
the Baroness and kissed her ceremoniously upon either
cheek, than her glance appeared to seek something that
she deemed should have been there also.
"And where is Rudolph?" she demanded. "Is he
so very busy that he cannot spare a moment even to
The Baroness changed color, but with as easy an air
as she could assume she answered that Rudolph had
most unfortunately been summoned from England.
"Indeed?" observed the Countess, and the observation
was made in a tone that suggested the advisability
of a satisfactory explanation.
This paragon among mothers and peeresses was a
lady of majestic port, whose ascendant expression and
commanding voice were commonly held to typify all
that is best in the feudal system; or, in other words,
to indicate that her opinions had never been contradicted
in her life. When one of these is a firm belief
in the holder's divine rights and semi-divine origin, the
effect is undoubtedly impressive. And the Countess
"My dear Alicia," said she, when they had settled
down to tea and confidential talk, "you have not yet
told me what has taken Rudolph abroad again so
On nothing had the Baron laid more stress than on
the necessity of maintaining the most profound secrecy
respecting his mission. "No, not even to your mozzer
most you say. My love, you vill remember?" had been
almost his very last words before departing for St.
Petersburg. His devoted wife had promised this not
once, but many times, while his finger was being shaken
at her, and would have scorned herself had she thought
it possible to break her vows.
"That is a secret, mamma," she declared.
Her mother opened her eyes.
"A secret from me, Alicia?"
"Rudolph made me promise."
"Not to tell your friends--but that hardly was
intended to include your mother."
The Baroness looked uncomfortable.
"I--I'm afraid----" she began, and stopped in
"Did he specifically include me?" demanded the
Countess in an altered tone.
"I think, mamma, he did," her daughter faltered.
And there was a world of meaning in that comment.
"Believe me, mamma, it is something very, very
important, or Rudolph would certainly have let me tell
you all about it."
Lady Grillyer opened her eyes still wider.
"Then I am to understand that he wishes to conceal
from me anything that he considers of importance?"
"Oh, no! Not that! I only mean that this thing
is very secret."
"Alicia," pronounced the Countess, "when a man
specifically conceals anything from his mother-in-law,
you may be quite certain that she ought to be informed
of it at once."
"I--I can't, mamma!"
"A trip to Germany--for it is there, I presume, he
has gone--back to the scenes of his bachelorhood,
unprotected by the influence of his wife! Do you call
that a becoming procedure?"
"But he hasn't gone to Germany."
"He has no business anywhere else!"
"You forget his diplomatic duties."
"Ah! He professes to have gone on diplomatic
"Professes, mamma?" exclaimed the poor Baroness.
"How can you say such a thing! He certainly has
gone on a diplomatic mission!"
"To Paris, no doubt?" suggested Lady Grillyer,
with an intonation that made it quite impossible not to
"Certainly not! He has gone to Russia."
The more the Countess learned, the more anxious
she appeared to grow.
"To Russia, on a diplomatic mission? This is
"Why should it be incredible?" demanded Alicia,
"Because he is a mere tyro in diplomacy. Because
there is a German embassy at Petersburg, and they
would not send a man from London on a mission--at
least, it is most unlikely."
"It seems to me quite natural," declared the
She was showing more fight than her mother had
ever encountered from her before, and the opposition
seemed to inflame Lady Grillyer's resentment against
the unfilial couple.
"You know nothing about it! What is this mission
"That certainly is a secret," said Alicia, relieved
that there was something left to keep her promise over.
"Has he gone alone?"
"I--I mustn't tell you, mamma."
Alicia's face betrayed this subterfuge.
"You do not know yourself, Alicia," said the
Countess incisively. "And so you need no longer
pretend to be keeping a secret from me. It now becomes
our joint business to discover the actual truth. Do
not attempt to wrangle with me further! This
investigation is necessary for your peace of mind, dear."
The unfortunate Baroness dropped a silent tear.
Her peace of mind had been serenely undisturbed till
this moment, and now it was only broken by the
thought of her husband's displeasure should he ever
learn how she had disobeyed his injunctions. Further
investigation was the very last thing to cure it, she
said to herself bitterly. She looked piteously at her
parent, but there she only saw an expression of
"Have you any reason, Alicia, to suspect an
attachment--an affair of any kind?"
"Do not jump in that excitable manner. Think
quietly. He has evidently returned to Germany for
some purpose which he wishes to conceal from us: the
natural supposition is that a woman is at the bottom
"Rudolph is incapable----"
"No man is incapable who is in the full possession
of his faculties. I know them perfectly."
"But, mamma, I cannot bear to think of such a
"That is a merely middle-class prejudice. I can't
imagine where you have picked it up."
In point of fact, during Alicia's girlhood Lady
Grillyer had always been at the greatest pains to preserve
her daughter's innocent simplicity, as being preeminently
a more marketable commodity than precocious
worldliness. But if reminded of this she would probably
have retorted that consistency was middle-class
"I have no reason to suspect anything of the sort,"
the Baroness declared emphatically.
Her mother indulged her with a pitying smile and
"What other explanation can you offer? Among
his men friends is there anyone likely to lead him into
"He promised me he would avoid Mr. Bunker--I
mean Mr. Essington."
The Countess started. She had vivid and exceedingly
distasteful recollections of Mr. Bunker.
"That man! Are they still acquainted?"
"Acquainted--oh yes; but I give Rudolph credit
for more sense and more truthfulness than to renew
The Countess pondered with a very grave expression
upon her face, while Alicia gently wiped her eyes and
ardently wished that her honest Rudolph was here to
defend his character and refute these baseless insinuations.
At length her mother said with a brisker air--
"Ah! I know exactly what we must do. I shall
make a point of seeing Sir Justin Wallingford tomorrow."
"Sir Justin Wallingford!"
"If anybody can obtain private information for us
he can. We shall soon learn whether the Baron has
been sent to Russia."
Alicia uttered a cry of protest. Sir Justin, ex-
diplomatist, author of a heavy volume of Victorian
reminiscences, and confidant of many public personages,
was one of her mother's oldest friends; but to
her he was only one degree less formidable than the
Countess, and quite the last person she would have
chosen for consultation upon this, or indeed upon any
"I am not going to intrust my husband's secrets to
him!" she exclaimed.
"I am," replied the Countess.
"But I won't allow it! Rudolph would be----"
"Rudolph has only himself to blame. My dear
Alicia, you can trust Sir Justin implicitly. When my
child's happiness is at stake I would consult no one
who was not discretion itself. I am very glad I
thought of him."
The Baroness burst into tears.
"My child, my child!" said her mother compassionately.
"The world is no Garden of Eden, however
much we may all try to make it so."
"You--you don't se--seem to be trying now,
"May Heaven forgive you, my darling,"
pronounced the Countess piously.
"Sir Justin," said the Countess firmly, "please
tell my daughter exactly what you have discovered."
Sir Justin Wallingford sat in the drawing-
room at Belgrave Square with one of these ladies on
either side of him. He was a tall, gaunt man with a
grizzled black beard, a long nose, and such a formidably
solemn expression that ambitious parents were in
the habit of wishing that their offspring might some
day be as wise as Sir Justin Wallingford looked. His
fund of information was prodigious, while his reasoning
powers were so remarkable that he had never been
known to commit the slightest action without furnishing
a full and adequate explanation of his conduct.
Thus the discrimination shown by the Countess in
choosing him to restore a lady's peace of mind will at
once be apparent.
"The results of my inquiries," he pronounced,
"have been on the whole of a negative nature. If this
mission on which the Baron von Blitzenberg professes
to be employed is in fact of an unusually delicate
nature, it is just conceivable that the answer I received
from Prince Gommell-Kinchen, when I sounded him at
the Khalifa's luncheon, may have been intended merely
to throw dust in my eyes. At the same time, his
highness appeared to speak with the candor of a man who
has partaken, not excessively, you understand, but I
may say freely, of the pleasures of the table."
He looked steadily first at one lady and then at the
other, to let this point sink in.
"And what did the Prince say?" asked the Baroness,
who, in spite of her supreme confidence in her husband,
showed a certain eager nervousness inseparable from a
"He told me--I merely give you his word, and
not my own opinion; you perfectly understand that,
"Oh yes," she answered hurriedly.
"He informed me that, in fact, the Baron had been
obliged to ask for a fortnight's leave of absence to
attend to some very pressing and private business in
connection with his Silesian estates."
"I think, Alicia, we may take that as final," said
her mother decisively.
"Indeed _I_ shan't!" cried Alicia warmly. "That
was just an excuse, of course. Rudolph's business is
so very delicate that--that--well, that you could only
expect Prince Gommell-Kinchen to say something of
"What do you say to that, Sir Justin?" demanded
With the air of a man doing what was only his duty,
"I say that I think it is improbable. In fact, since
you demand to know the truth, I may inform you that
the Prince added that leave of absence was readily
given, since the Baron's diplomatic duties are merely
nominal. To quote his own words, 'Von Blitzenberg
is a nice fellow, and it pleases the English ladies to
play with him.' "
Even Lady Grillyer was a trifle taken aback at this
description of her son-in-law, while Alicia turned scarlet
"I don't believe he said anything of the sort!" she
cried. "You both of you only want to hurt me and
insult Rudolph! I won't stand it!"
She was already on her feet to leave them, when
her mother stopped her, and Sir Justin hastened to
"No reflection upon the Baron's character was
intended, I assure you. The Prince merely meant to
imply that he represented the social rather than the
business side of the embassy. And both are equally
necessary, I assure you--equally essential, Baroness,
"In fact," said the Countess, "the remark comes to
this, that Rudolph would never be sent to Russia, whatever
else they might expect of him."
Even through their tears Alicia's eyes brightened
"But he HAS gone, mamma! I got a letter from
him this morning--from St. Petersburg!"
The satisfaction of her two physicians on hearing
this piece of good news took the form of a start which
might well have been mistaken for mere astonishment,
or even for dismay.
"And you did not tell ME of it!" cried her mother.
"Rudolph did not wish me to. I have only told you
now to prove how utterly wrong you both are."
"Let me see this letter!"
"Indeed, mamma, I won't!"
The two ladies looked at one another with such
animosity that Sir Justin felt called upon to interfere.
"Suppose the Baroness were to read us as much as
is necessary to convince us that there is no possibility
of a mistake," he suggested.
So profoundly did the Countess respect his advice
that she graciously waived her maternal rights so far
as actually following the text with her eyes went; while
her daughter, after a little demur, was induced to
depart this one step further from her husband's injunctions.
"You have no objections to my glancing at the
post-mark?" said Sir Justin when this point was
With a toss of her head the Baroness silently handed
him the envelope.
"It seems correct," he observed cautiously.
"But post-marks can be forged, can't they?"
inquired the Countess.
"I fear they can," he admitted, with a sorrowful air.
Scorning to answer this insinuation, the Baroness
proceeded to read aloud the following extracts
" 'I travelled with comfort through Europe, and
having by many countries passed, such as Germany
and others, I arrived, my dear Alicia, in Russia.' "
"Is that all he says about his journey?" interrupted
"It is certainly a curiously insufficient description
of a particularly interesting route," commented Sir
"It almost seems as if he didn't know what other
countries lie between England and Russia," added the
"It only means that he knows geography doesn't
interest me!" replied Alicia. "And he does say more
about his journey--'Alone by myself, in a carriage
very quietly I travelled.' And again--'To be observed
not wishing, and strict orders being given to me, with
no man I spoke all the way.' There!"
"That certainly makes it more difficult to check his
statements," Sir Justin admitted.
"Ah, he evidently thought of that!" said the
Countess. "If he had said there was anyone with him, we
could have asked him afterwards who it was. What a
pity! Read on, my child--we are vastly interested."
Thus encouraged, the Baroness continued
" 'In Russia the crops are good, and from my
window with pleasure I observe them. Petersburg is a
nice town, and I have a pleasant apartment in it!' "
"What!" exclaimed the Countess. "He is looking
at the crops from his window in St. Petersburg!"
Sir Justin grimly pursed his lips, but his silence was
more ominous than speech. In fact, the Baron's
unfortunate effort at realism by the introduction of his
window struck the first blow at his wife's implicit trust
in him. She was evidently a little disconcerted, though
she stoutly declared--
"He is evidently living in the suburbs, mamma."
"Will you be so kind as to read on a little farther?"
interposed Sir Justin in a grave voice.
" 'The following reflections have I made. Russia is
very large and cold, where people in furs are to be
seen, and sledges. Bombs are thrown sometimes, and
the marine is not good when it does drink too much.'
Now, mamma, he must have seen these things or he
wouldn't put them in his letter."
The Baroness broke of somewhat hurriedly to make
this comment, almost indeed as though she felt it to
be necessary. As for her two comforters, they looked
at one another with so much sorrow that their eyes
gleamed and their lips appeared to smile.
"The Baron did not write that letter in Russia,"
said Sir Justin decisively. "Furs are not worn in
summer, nor do the inhabitants travel in sledges at this
time of the year."
"But--but he doesn't say he actually saw them,"
pleaded the Baroness.
"Then that remark, just like the rest of his reflections,
makes utter nonsense," rejoined her mother.
"Is that all?" inquired Sir Justin.
"Almost all--all that is important," faltered the
"Let us hear the rest," said her mother inexorably.
"There is only a postscript, and that merely says--
'The flask that you filled I thank you for; it was so
large that it was sufficient for----' I can't read the
"Let me see it, Alicia."
A few minutes ago Alicia would have torn the
precious letter up rather than let another eye fall upon
it. That her devotion was a little disturbed was proved
by her allowing her two advisers to study even a single
sentence. Keeping her hand over the rest, she showed
it to them. They bent their brows, and then simultaneously
" 'Us both!' "
"Oh, it can't be!" cried the poor Baroness.
"It is absolutely certain," said her mother in a
terrible voice--" 'It was so large that it was sufficient
for us both!' "
"There is no doubt about it," corroborated Sir
Justin sternly. "The unfortunate young man has
inadvertently confessed his deception."
"It cannot be!" murmured the Baroness. "He
said at the beginning that he travelled quite alone."
"That is precisely what condemns him," said her
"Precisely," reiterated Sir Justin.
The Baroness audibly sobbed, while the two patchers
of her peace of mind gazed at her commiserately.
"What am I to do?" she asked at length. "I can't
believe he really---- But how am I to find out?"
"I shall make further investigations," promptly
replied Sir Justin.
"And I also," added the Countess.
"Meanwhile," said Sir Justin, "we shall be
exceedingly interested to learn what further particulars of
his wanderings the Baron supplies you with."
"Yes," observed the Countess, "he can fortunately
be trusted to betray himself. You will inform me,
Alicia, as soon as you hear from him again."
Her daughter made no reply.
Sir Justin rose and bade them a grave farewell.
"In my daughter's name I thank you cordially,"
said the Countess, as she pressed his hand.
"Anything I have done has been a pleasure to me,"
he assured them with a sincerity there was no mistaking.
In an ancient and delightful garden, where glimpses
of the loch below gleamed through a mass of
summer foliage, and the gray castle walls looked
down on smooth, green glades, the Baron slowly
paced the shaven turf. But he did not pace it quite
alone, for by his side moved a graceful figure in a
wide, sun-shading hat and a frock entirely irresistible.
Beneath the hat, by bending a little down, you could
have seen the dark liquid eyes and tender lips of Eva
Gallosh. And the Baron frequently bent down.
"I am proud of everyzing zat I find in my home,"
said the Baron gallantly.
The lady's color rose, but not apparently in anger.
"Ach, here is a pretty leetle seat!" he exclaimed in
a tone of pleased discovery, just as though he had not
been leading her insidiously towards it ever since they,
came into the garden.
It was, indeed, a most shady and secluded bench, an
ideal seat for any gallant young Baron who had left
his Baroness sufficiently far away. He glanced down
complacently upon his brawny knees, displayed (he
could not but think) to great advantage beneath his
kilt and sporran, and then with a tenderer complacency,
turned his gaze upon his fair companion.
"You say you like me in ze tartan?" he murmured.
"I adore everything Highland! Oh, Lord Tulliwuddle,
how fortunate you are!"
Nature had gifted Miss Gallosh with a generous
share of romantic sentiment. It was she who had
egged on her father to rent this Highland castle for
the summer, instead of chartering a yacht as he had
done for the past few years; and ever since they had
come here that sentiment had grown, till she was
ready to don the white cockade and plot a new Jacobite
uprising. Then, while her heart was in this
inspired condition, a noble young chief had stepped in
to complete the story. No wonder her dark eyes
"What attachment you must feel for each stone of
the Castle!" she continued in a rapt voice. "How
your heart must beat to remember that your great-
grandfather--wasn't his name Fergus?"
"Fergus: yes," said the Baron, blindly but
"No, no; it was Ian, of course."
"Ach, so! Ian he vas."
"You were thinking of his father," she smiled.
"Yes, his fazzer."
She reflected sagely.
"I am afraid I get my facts mixed up some
times. Ian--ah, Reginald came before him--not
"Reginald--oh yes, so he did!"
She looked a trifle disappointed.
"If I were you I should know them all by heart,"
"I vill learn zem. Oh yes, I most not make soch
Indeed he registered a very sincere vow to study his
family history that afternoon.
"What was I saying? Oh yes--about your brave
great-grandfather. Do you know, Lord Tulliwuddle,
I want to ask you a strange favor? You won't think
it very odd of me?"
"Odd? Never! Already it is granted."
"I want to hear from your own lips--from the lips
of an actual Lord Tulliwuddle--the story of your
ancestor Ian's exploit."
With beseeching eyes and a face flushed with a sense
of her presumption, she uttered this request in a voice
that tore the Baron with conflicting emotions.
"Vich exploit do you mean?" he asked in a kindly
voice but with a troubled eye.
"You must know! When he defended the pass, of
The Baron looked at her, and though he boasted of
no such inventive gifts as his friend Bunker, his ardent
heart bade him rather commit himself to perdition than
"You will tell it to me?"
Making as much as possible of the raconteur's
privileges of clearing his throat, settling himself into good
position, and gazing dreamily at the tree-tops for
inspiration, he began in a slow, measured voice--
"In ze pass he stood. Zen gomed his enemies. He
fired his gon and shooted some dead. Zen did zey run
avay. Zat vas vat happened."
When he ventured to meet her candid gaze after
thus lamely libelling his forefather, he was horrified to
observe that she had already recoiled some feet away
from him, and seemed still to be in the act of recoiling.
"It would have been kinder to tell me at once that
I had asked too much!" she exclaimed in a voice
affected by several emotions. "I only wanted to hear
you repeat his death-cry as his foes slew him, so that
it might always seem more real to me. And you snub
me like this!"
The Baron threw himself upon one knee.
"Forgive me! I did jost lose mine head mit your
eyes looking so at me! I get confused, you are so
lovely! I did not mean to snob!"
In the ardor of his penitence he discovered himself
holding her hand; she no longer seemed to be recoiling;
and Heaven knows what might have happened next if
an ostentatious sound of whistling had not come to
"Bot you vill forgive?" he whispered, as they
sprang up from their shady seat.
"Ye-es," she answered, just as the serene glance of
Count Bunker fell humorously upon them.
"You seem to have been plucking flowers,
Tulliwuddle," he observed.
"Flowers? Oh, no."
The Count glanced pointedly at his soiled knee.
"Indeed!" said he. "Don't I see traces of a
"I think I should go in," murmured Eva, and she
was gone before the Count had time to frame a compensating
His friend Tulliwuddle looked at him with marked
displeasure, yet seemed to find some difficulty in
adequately expressing it.
"I do not care for vat you said," he remarked
stiffly. "Nor for ze look now on your face."
"Baron," said the Count imperturbably, "what did
you tell me the Wraith said to you--something about
'Beware of the ladies,' wasn't it?"
"You do not onderstand. Ze ghost" (he found
some difficulty in pronouncing the spirit's chosen name)
"did soppose naturally zat I vas ze real Lord Tollyvoddle,
who is, as you have told me yourself, Bonker,
somezing of a fast fish. Ze varning vas to him
obviously, so you should not turn it upon me."
Bunker opened his eyes.
"A deuced ingenious argument," he commented.
"It wouldn't have occurred to me if you hadn't
explained. Then you claim the privilege of wooing whom
"Wooing! You forget zat I am married, Bonker."
"Oh no, I remember perfectly."
His tone disturbed the Baron. Taking the Count's
arm, he said to him with moving earnestness--
"Have I not told you how constant I am--like ze
magnet and ze pole?"
"I have heard you employ the simile."
"Ach, bot it is true! I am inside my heart so
constant as it is possible! But I now represent
Tollyvoddle, and for his sake most try to do my
Again Count Bunker glanced at his knee.
"And that is your best, then?"
"Listen, Bonker, and try to onderstand--not jost
to make jokes. It appears to me zat Miss Gallosh vill
make a good vife to Tollyvoddle. She is so fair, so
amiable, and so rich. Could he do better? Should I
not lay ze foundations of a happy marriage mit
her? Soppose ve do get her instead of Miss Maddison,
His artful eloquence seemed to impress his friend,
for he smiled thoughtfully and did not reply at once.
More persuasively than ever the Baron continued--
"I do believe mit patience and mit--er--mit
kindness, Bonker, I might persuade Miss Gallosh to listen
to ze proposal of Tollyvoddle. And vould it not be
better far to get him a lady of his own people, and not
a stranger from America? Ve vill not like Miss Maddison,
I feel sure. Vy troble mit her--eh, Bonker?"
"But don't you think, Baron, that we ought to give
Tulliwuddle his choice? He may prefer an American
heiress to a Scottish."
"Not if he sees Eva Gallosh!"
Again the Count gently raised his eyebrows in a
way that the Baron could not help considering unsuitable
to the occasion.
"On the other hand, Baron, Miss Maddison will
probably have five or ten times as much money as Miss
Gallosh. In arranging a marriage for another man,
one must attend to such trifles as a few million dollars
more or less."
For the moment the Baron was silenced, but
evidently not convinced.
"Supposing I were to call upon the Maddisons
as your envoy?" suggested Bunker, who, to tell the
truth, had already begun to tire of a life of luxurious
"Pairhaps in a few days we might gonsider it."
"We have been here for a week already."
"Ven vould you call?"
"To-morrow, for instance."
The Baron frowned; but argument was difficult.
"You only jost vill go to see?"
"And report to you."
"And suppose she is ogly--or not so nice--or so
on----zen vill I not see her, eh?"
"But suppose she is tolerable?"
"Zen vill ve give him a choice, and I vill continue
to be polite to Miss Gallosh. Ah, Bonker, she is so
nice! He vill not like Miss Maddison so vell!
Himmel, I do admire her!"
The Baron's eyes shone with reminiscent affection.
"To how many poles is the magnet usually
constant?" inquired the Count with a serious air.
The Baron smiled a little foolishly, and then, with
a confidential air, replied--
"Ach, Bonker, marriage is blessed and it is happy,
and it is everyzing that my heart desires; only I jost
sometimes vish it vas not qvite--qvite so uninterruptable!"
In a dog-cart borrowed from his obliging host,
Count Bunker approached the present residence
of Mr. Darius P. Maddison. He saw, and--in
his client's interest--noted with approval the
efforts that were being made to convert an ordinary
fishing-lodge into a suitable retreat for a gentleman
worth so many million dollars. "Corryvohr," as the
house was originally styled, or "Lincoln Lodge," as
the patriotic Silver King had re-named it, had already
been enlarged for his reception by the addition of four
complete suites of apartments, each suitable for a
nobleman and his retinue, an organ hall, 10,000 cubic
yards of scullery accommodation, and a billiard-room
containing three tables. But since he had taken up
his residence there he had discovered the lack of
several other essentials for a quiet "mountain life" (as
he appropriately phrased it), and these defects were
rapidly being remedied as our friend drove up. The
conservatory was already completed, with the exception
of the orchid and palm houses; the aviary was
practically ready, and several crates of the rarer
humming-birds were expected per goods train that
evening; while a staff of electricians could be seen
erecting the private telephone by which Mr. Maddison
proposed to keep himself in touch with the silver
The Count had no sooner pressed the electric bell
than a number of men-servants appeared, sufficient to
conduct him in safety to a handsome library fitted with
polished walnut, and carpeted as softly as the moss on
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