J. Storer Clouston
Part 3 out of 5
a mountain-side. Having sent in his card, he entertained
himself by gazing out of the window and wondering
what strange operation was being conducted on
a slope above the house, where a grove of pines were
apparently being rocked to and fro by a concourse of
men with poles and pulleys. But he had not to wait
long, for with a promptitude that gave one some inkling
of the secret of Mr. Maddison's business success,
the millionaire entered.
In a rapid survey the Count perceived a tall man in
the neighborhood of sixty: gray-haired, gray-eyed,
and gray-faced. The clean-shaved and well-cut profile
included the massive foundation of jaw which Bunker
had confidently anticipated, and though his words
sounded florid in a European ear, they were uttered
in a voice that corresponded excellently with this
"I am very pleased to see you, sir, very pleased
indeed," he assured the Count not once but several times,
shaking him heartily by the hand and eyeing him with
a glance accustomed to foresee several days before his
fellows the probable fluctuations in the price of anything.
"I have taken the liberty of calling upon you in
the capacity of Lord Tulliwuddle's confidential friend,"
the Count began. "He is at present, as you may
perhaps have learned, visiting his ancestral possessions----"
"My dear sir, for some days we have been expecting
his lordship and yourself to honor us with a visit,"
Mr. Maddison interposed. "You need not trouble to
introduce yourself. The name of Count Bunker is
already familiar to us."
He bowed ceremoniously as he spoke, and the Count
with no less politeness laid his hand upon his heart
and bowed also.
"I looked forward to the meeting with pleasure,"
he replied. "But it has already exceeded my anticipations."
He would have still further elaborated these assurances,
but with his invariable tact he perceived a shrewd
look in the millionaire's eye that warned him he had to
do with a man accustomed to flowery preliminaries
from the astutest manipulators of a deal.
"I am only sorry you should find our little cottage
in such disorder," said Mr. Maddison. "The contractor
for the conservatory undertook to erect it in
a week, and my only satisfaction is that he is now
paying me a forfeit of 500 dollars a day. As for the
electricians in this country, sir, they are not incompetent
men, but they must be taught to hustle if they
are to work under American orders; and I don't quite
see how they are to find a job anyways else."
He turned to the window with a more satisfied air.
"Here, however, you will perceive a tolerably
satisfactory piece of work. I guess those trees will be ready
pretty near as soon as the capercailzies are ready for
Count Bunker opened his eyes.
"Do I understand that you are erecting a pine
"You do. That fir forest is my daughter's notion.
She thought ordinary plane-trees looked kind of
unsuitable for our mountain home. The land of Burns
and of the ill-fated Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee,
should have more appropriate foliage than that! Well,
sir, it took four hundred men just three days to remove
the last traces of the last root of the last of those
"And the pines, I suppose, you brought from a
neighboring wood?" said the Count, patriotically
endeavoring not to look too dumbfoundered.
"No, sir. Lord Tulliwuddle's factor was too slow
for me--said he must consult his lordship before
removing the timber on the estate. I cabled to Norway:
the trees arrived yesterday in Aberdeen, and I guess
half of them are as near perpendicular by now as a
theodolite can make them. They are being erected, sir,
on scientific principles."
Restraining his emotion with a severe effort, Bunker
"Very good idea. I don't know that it would have
occurred to me to land them at Aberdeen."
From the corner of his eye he saw that his composure
had produced a distinct impression, but he
found it hard to retain it through the Silver King's
"You have taken a long lease of Lincoln Lodge, I
presume?" he inquired.
"One year," said Mr. Maddison. "But I reckon to
be comfortable if I'm spending twenty minutes at a
"Ah!" responded the Count, "in that case shifting
a forest must be child's-play."
The millionaire smiled affably at this pleasantry and
invited his guest to be seated.
"You will try something American, I hope, Count
Bunker?" he asked, touching the bell.
Count Bunker, rightly conceiving this to indicate a
cock-tail, replied that he would, and in as nearly seven
and a half seconds as he could calculate, a tray
appeared with two of these remarkable compounds.
Following his host's example, the Count threw his down
at a gulp.
"The same," said Mr. Maddison simply. And in an
almost equally brief space the same arrived.
"Now," said he, when they were alone again, "I
hope you will pardon me, Count, if I am discourteous
enough to tell you that my time is uncomfortably
cramped. When I first came here I found that I was
expected to stand upon the shore of the river for two
hours on the chance of catching one salmon. But I
have changed all that. As soon as I step outside my
door, my ghillie brings me my rod, and if there ain't
a salmon at the end for me to land, another ghillie will
receive his salary. Since lunch I have caught a fish,
despatched fifteen cablegrams, and dictated nine
letters. I am only on holiday here, and if I don't get
through double that amount in the next two hours I
scarcely see my way to do much more fishing to-day.
That being so, let us come right to the point. You
bring some kind of proposition from Lord Tulliwuddle,
During his drive the Count had cogitated over a
number of judicious methods of opening the delicate
business; but his adaptability was equal to the occasion.
In as business-like a tone as his host, he replied--
"You are quite right, Mr. Maddison. Lord
Tulliwuddle has deputed me to open negotiations for a
certain matrimonial project."
Mr. Maddison's expression showed his appreciation
of this candor and delicacy.
"Well," said he, "to be quite frank, Count, I should
have thought all the better of his lordship if he had
been a little more prompt about the business."
"It is not through want of admiration for Miss
Maddison, I assure you----"
"No," interrupted Mr. Maddison, "it is because he
does not realize the value of time--which is considerably
more valuable than admiration, I can assure you.
Since I discussed the matter with Lord Tulliwuddle's
aunt we have had several more buyers--I should say,
suitors--in the market--er--in the field, Count Bunker.
But so far, fortunately for his lordship, my
Eleanor has not approved of the samples sent, and if
he still cares to come forward we shall be pleased to
consider his proposition."
The millionaire looked at him out of an impenetrable
eye; and the Count in an equally guarded tone
"I greatly approve of putting things on so sound
a footing, and with equal frankness I may tell you--
in confidence, of course--that Lord Tulliwuddle also
is not without alternatives. He would, however, prefer
to offer his title and estates to Miss Maddison,
provided that there is no personal objection to be
found on either side."
Mr. Maddison's eye brightened and his tone warmed.
"Sir," said he, "I guess there won't be much
objection to Eleanor Maddison when your friend has seen
her. Without exaggeration, I may say that she is the
most beautiful girl in America, and that is to say,
the most beautiful girl anywhere. The precise amount
of her fortune we can discuss, supposing the necessity
arrives: but I can assure you it will be sufficient to set
three of your mortgaged British aristocrats upon their
legs again. No, sir, the objection will not come from
With a gentle smile and a deprecatory gesture the
Count answered, "I am convinced that Miss Maddison
is all--indeed, more than all--your eloquence has
painted. On the other hand, I trust that you will not
be disappointed in my friend Tulliwuddle."
Mr. Maddison crossed his legs and interlocked his
fingers like a man about to air his views. This, in fact,
was what he proceeded to do.
"My opinion of aristocracies and the pampered
individuals who compose them is the opinion of an
intelligent and enlightened democrat. I see them from
the vantage-ground of a man who has made his own
way in the world unhampered by ancestry, who has
dwelt in a country fortunately unencumbered by such
hindrances to progress, and who has no personal
knowledge of their defects. You will admit that I
speak with unusual opportunities of forming a judgment?"
"You should have the impartiality of a missionary,"
said Bunker gravely.
"That is so, sir. Now, in proposing to marry my
daughter to a member of this class, I am actuated
solely by a desire to take advantage of the opportunities
such an alliance would confer. I am still perfectly
"Perfectly," replied Bunker, with the same
"In consequence," resumed the millionaire, with the
impressiveness of a logician drawing a conclusion from
two irrefutable premises--"in consequence, Count
Bunker, I demand--and my daughter demands--and
my son demands, sir, that the nobleman should possess
an unusual number of high-class, fire-proof, expert-
guaranteed qualities. That is only fair, you must
"I agree with you entirely."
Mr. Maddison glanced at the clock and sprang to
"I have not the pleasure of knowing my neighbor,
Mr. Gallosh," he said, resuming his brisk business
tone; "but I beg you to convey to him and to his
wife and daughter my compliments--and my daughter's
compliments--and tell them that we hope they
will excuse ceremony and bring Lord Tulliwuddle to
Count Bunker expressed his readiness to carry this
message, and the millionaire even more briskly resumed--
"I shall now give myself the pleasure of presenting
you to my son and daughter."
With his swiftest strides he escorted his
distinguished guest to another room, flung the door open,
announced, "My dears, Count Bunker!" and pressed
the Count's hand even as he was effecting this introduction.
"Very pleased to have met you, Count. Good day,"
he ejaculated, and vanished on the instant.
Raising his eyes after the profound bow
which the Count considered appropriate to
his character of plenipotentiary, he beheld
at last the object of his mission; and
whether or not she was the absolutely peerless beauty
her father had vaunted, he at once decided that she
was lovely enough to grace Hechnahoul, or any other,
Castle. Black eyes and a mass of coal-black hair, an
ivory pale skin, small well-chiselled features, and that
distinctively American plumpness of contour--these
marked her face; while as for her figure, it was the
envy of her women friends and the distraction of all
mankind who saw her.
"Fortunate Baron!" thought Bunker.
Beside her, though sufficiently in the rear to mark
the relative position of the sexes in the society they
adorned, stood Darius P. Maddison, junior--or "Ri,"
in the phrase of his relatives and friends--a broad-
shouldered, well-featured young man, with keen eyes,
a mouth compressed with the stern resolve to die richer
than Mr. Rockefeller, and a pair of perfectly ironed
"I am very delighted to meet you," declared the
"Very honored to have this pleasure," said the
"While I enjoy both sensations," replied the Count,
with his most agreeable smile.
A little preliminary conversation ensued, in the
course of which the two parties felt an increasing
satisfaction in one another's society; while Bunker had
the further pleasure of enjoying a survey of the room
in which they sat. Evidently it was Miss Maddison's
peculiar sanctum, and it revealed at once her taste and
her power of gratifying it. The tapestry that covered
two sides of the room could be seen at a glance to be
no mere modern imitation, but a priceless relic of the
earlier middle ages. The other walls were so thickly
hung with pictures that one could scarcely see the pale-
green satin beneath; and among these paintings the
Count's educated eye recognized the work of Raphael,
Botticelli, Turner, and Gainsborough among other
masters; while beneath the cornice hung a well-chosen
selection from the gems of the modern Anglo-American
school. The chairs and sofa were upholstered in a
figured satin of a slightly richer hue of green, and on
several priceless oriental tables lay displayed in ivory,
silver, crystal, and alabaster more articles of vertu
than were to be found in the entire house of an average
"Fortunate Tulliwuddle!" thought Bunker.
They had been conversing on general topics for a
few minutes, when Miss Maddison turned to her brother
and said, with a frankness that both pleased and
entertained the Count--
"Ri, dear, don't you think we had better come right
straight to the point? I feel sure Count Bunker is
only waiting till he knows us a little better, and I
guess it will save him considerable embarrassment if
"You are the best judge, Eleanor. I guess your
notions are never far of being all right."
With a gratified smile Eleanor addressed the
"My brother and I are affinities," she said. "You
can speak to him just as openly as you can to me.
What is fit for me to hear is fit for him."
Assuring her that he would not hesitate to act upon
this guarantee if necessary, the Count nevertheless
diplomatically suggested that he would sooner leave it
to the lady to open the discussion.
"Well," she said, "I suppose we may presume you
have called here as Lord Tulliwuddle's friend?"
"You may, Miss Maddison."
"And no doubt he has something pretty definite to
"Matrimony," smiled the Count.
Her brother threw him a stern smile of approval.
"That's right slick THERE!" he exclaimed.
"Lord Tulliwuddle has made a very happy selection
in his ambassador," said Eleanor, with equal cordiality.
"People who are afraid to come to facts tire me. No
doubt you will think it strange and forward of me to
talk in this spirit, Count, but if you'd had to go
through the worry of being an American heiress in a
European state you would sympathize. Why, I'm
hardly ever left in peace for twenty-four hours--am
"That is so," quoth Ri.
"What would you guess my age to be, Count
"Twenty-one," suggested Bunker, subtracting two
or three years on general principles.
"Well, you're nearer it than most people. Nineteen
on my last birthday, Count!"
The Count murmured his surprise and pleasure, and
Ri again declared, "That is so."
"And it isn't the American climate that ages one,
but the terrible persecutions of the British aristocracy!
I can be as romantic as any girl, Count Bunker; why,
Ri, you remember poor Abe Sellar and the stolen
"Guess I do!" said Ri.
"That was a romance if ever there was one! But
I tell you, Count, sentiment gets rubbed off pretty
quick when you come to a bankrupt Marquis writing
three ill-spelled sheets to assure me of the disinterested
affection inspired by my photograph, or a divorced
Duke offering to read Tennyson to me if I'll hire a
"I can well believe it," said the Count
"Well, now," the heiress resumed, with a candid
smile that made her cynicism become her charmingly,
"you see how it is. I want a man one can RESPECT,
even if he is a peer. He may have as many titles as
dad has dollars, but he must be a MAN!"
"That is so," said Ri, with additional emphasis.
"I can guarantee Lord Tulliwuddle as a model for
a sculptor and an eligible candidate for canonization,"
declared the Count.
"I guess we want something grittier than that,"
"And what there is of it sounds almost too good
news to be true," added his sister. "I don't want a
man like a stained-glass window, Count; because for
one thing I couldn't get him."
"If you specify your requirements we shall do
our best to satisfy you," replied the Count imperturbably.
"Well, now," said Eleanor thoughtfully, "I may
just as well tell you that if I'm going to take a peer--
and I must own peers are rather my fancy at present
--it was Mohammedan pashas last year, wasn't it,
Ri?" ("That is so," from Ri.)--"If I AM going to
take a peer, I must have a man that LOOKS a peer. I've
been plagued with so many undersized and round-
shouldered noblemen that I'm beginning to wonder
whether the aristocracy gets proper nourishment.
How tall is Lord Tulliwuddle?"
"Six feet and half an inch."
"That's something more like!" said Ri; and his
sister smiled her acquiescence.
"And does he weigh up to it?" she inquired.
"Fourteen, twelve, and three-quarters."
"What's that in pounds, Ri? We don't count people
in stones in America."
A tense frown, a nervous twitching of the lip,
and in an instant the young financier produced the
"Two hundred and nine pounds all but four ounces."
"Well," said Eleanor, "it all depends on how he
holds himself. That's a lot to carry for a young
"He holds himself like one of his native pine-trees,
She clapped her hands.
"Now I call that just a lovely metaphor, Count
Bunker!" she cried. "Oh, if he's going to look like
a pine, and walk like the pipers at the Torrydhulish
gathering, and really be a chief like Fergus MacIvor
or Roderick Dhu, I do believe I'll actually fall in love
"Say, Count," interposed Ri, "I guess we've heard
he's half German."
"It was indeed in Germany that he learned his
thorough grasp of politics, statesmanship, business,
and finance, and acquired his lofty ambitions and
"He'll do, Eleanor," said the young man. "That's
to say, if he is anything like the prospectus."
His sister made no immediate reply. She seemed to
be musing--and not unpleasantly.
At that moment a motor car passed the window.
"My!" exclaimed Eleanor, "I'd quite forgot!
That will be to take the Honorable Stanley to the
station. We must say good-by to him, I suppose"
She turned to the Count and added in explanation--
"The last to apply was the Honorable Stanley
Pilkington--Lord Didcott's heir, you know. Oh, if you
could see him, you'd realize what I've had to go
Even as she spoke he was given the opportunity, for
the door somewhat diffidently opened and an unhappy-
looking young man came slowly into the room. He
was clearly to be classified among the round-shouldered
ineligibles; being otherwise a tall and slender youth,
with an amiable expression and a smoothly well-bred
"I've come to say good-by, Miss Maddison," he said,
with a mournful air. "I--I've enjoyed my visit very
much," he added, as he timidly shook her hand.
"So glad you have, Mr. Pilkington," she replied
cordially. "It has been a very great pleasure to
entertain you. Our friend Count Bunker--Mr. Pilkington."
The young man bowed with a look in his eye that
"The nest candidate, I perceive."
Then having said good-by to Ri, the Count heard
him murmur to Eleanor--
"Couldn't you--er--couldn't you just manage to
see me of?"
"With very great pleasure!" she replied in a hearty
voice that seemed curiously enough rather to damp
than cheer his drooping spirits.
No sooner had they left the room together than
Darius, junior, turned energetically to his guest, and
said in a voice ringing with pride--
"You may not believe me, Count, but I assure you
that is the third fellow she has seen to the door inside
a fortnight! One Duke, one Viscount--who will expand
into something more considerable some day--and
this Honorable Pilkington! Your friend, sir, will be
a fortunate man if he is able to please my sister."
"She seems, indeed, a charming girl."
"Charming! She is an angel in human form! And
I, sir, her brother, will see to it that she is not deceived
in the man she chooses--not if I can help it!"
The young man said this with such an air as Bunker
supposed his forefathers to have worn when they
hurled the tea into Boston harbor.
"I trust that Lord Tulliwuddle, at least, will not
fall under your displeasure, sir," he replied with an air
of sincere conviction that exactly echoed his thoughts.
"Oh, Ri!" cried Eleanor, running back into the
room, "he was so sweet as he said good-by in the hall
that I nearly kissed him! I would have, only it might
have made him foolish again. But did you see his
shoulders, Count! And oh, to think of marrying a
gentle thing like that! Is Lord Tulliwuddle a firm
man, Count Bunker?"
"Adamant--when in the right," the Count assured
A renewed air of happy musing in her eyes warned
him that he had probably said exactly enough, and with
the happiest mean betwixt deference and dignity he
bade them farewell.
"Then, Count, we shall see you all to-morrow," said
Eleanor as they parted. "Please tell your hosts that
I am very greatly looking forward to the pleasure of
knowing them. There is a Miss Gallosh, isn't there?"
The Count informed her that there was in fact such
"That is very good news for me! I need a girl
friend very badly, Count; these proposals lose half
their fun with only Ri to tell them to. I intend to
make a confidante of Miss Gallosh on the spot!"
"H'm," thought the Count, as he drove away, "I
wonder whether she will."
As the plenipotentiary approached the Castle he
was somewhat surprised to pass a dog-cart
containing not only his fellow-guest, Mr.
Cromarty-Gow, but Mr. Gow's luggage also,
and although he had hitherto taken no particular
interest in that gentleman, yet being gifted with the true
adventurer's instinct for promptly investigating any
unusual circumstance, he sought his host as soon as he
reached the house, with a view to putting a careless
question or two. For no one, he felt sure, had been
expected to leave for a few days to come.
"Yes," said Mr. Gallosh, "the young spark's off
verra suddenly. We didn't expect him to be leaving
before Tuesday. But--well, the fact is--umh'm--oh,
it's nothing to speak off."
This reticence, however, was easily cajoled away by
the insidious Count, and at last Mr. Gallosh frankly
confided to him--
"Well, Count, between you and me he seems to have
had a kind of fancy for my daughter Eva, and then his
lordship coming--well, you'll see for yourself how it
"He considered his chances lessened?"
"He told Rentoul they were clean gone."
Count Bunker looked decidedly serious.
"The devil!" he reflected. "The Baron is exceeding
his commission. Tulliwuddle is a brisk young fellow,
but to commit him to two marriages is neither Christian
nor kind. And, without possessing the Baron's remarkable
enthusiasm for the sex, I feel sorry for whichever
lady is not chosen to cut the cake."
He inquired for his friend, and was somewhat relieved
to learn that though he had gone out on the loch with
Miss Gallosh, they had been accompanied by her brothers
"We still have half an hour before dressing," he
said. "I shall stroll down and meet them."
His creditable anxiety returned when, upon the path
to the loch shore, he met the two Masters and the two
younger Misses Gallosh returning without their sister.
"Been in different boats, have you?" said he, after
they had explained this curious circumstance; "well, I
hope you all had a good sail."
To himself he uttered a less philosophical comment,
and quickened his stride perceptibly. He reached the
shore, but far or near was never a sign of boat upon
"Have they gone down!" he thought.
Just then he became aware of a sound arising from
beneath the wooded bank a short distance away. It was
evidently intended to be muffled, but the Baron's lungs
were powerful, and there was no mistaking his deep
voice as he sang--
" 'My loff she's like a red, red rose
Zat's newly sprong in June!
My loff she's like a melody
Zat's sveetly blayed in tune!
Ach, how does he end?"
Before his charmer had time to prompt him, the Count
raised his own tolerably musical voice and replied--
" 'And fare thee weel, my second string!
And fare thee weel awhile!
I won t come back again, my love,
For tis ower mony mile!
For an instant there followed a profound silence, and
then the voice of the Baron replied, with somewhat
"Vary goot, Bonker! Ha, ha! Vary goot!"
Meanwhile Bunker, without further delay, was pushing
his way through a tangle of shrubbery till in a moment
he spied the boat moored beneath the leafy bank,
and although it was a capacious craft he observed that
its two occupants were both crowded into one end.
"I am sent to escort you back to dinner," he said
"Tell zem ve shall be back in three minutes," replied
the Baron, making a prodigious show of preparation
for coming ashore.
"I am sorry to say that my orders were strictly to
escort, not to herald you," said the Count apologetically.
Fortifying himself against unpopularity by the
consciousness that he was doing his duty, this well-
principled, even if spurious, nobleman paced back towards
the house with the lady between him and the indignant
"Well, Tulliwuddle," he discoursed, in as friendly
a tone as ever, "I left your cards with our American
"So?" muttered the Baron stolidly.
"They received me with open arms, and I have taken
the liberty of accepting on behalf of Mr., Mrs., and
Miss Gallosh, and of our two selves, a very cordial
invitation to lunch with them to-morrow."
"Impossible!" cried the Baron gruffly.
Eva turned a reproachful eye upon him.
"Oh, Lord Tulliwuddle! I should so like to go."
The Baron looked at her blankly.
"I have heard they are such nice people, and have
such a beautiful place!"
"I can confirm both statements," said the Count
"Besides, papa and mamma would be very disappointed
if we didn't go."
"Make it as you please," said the Baron gloomily.
His unsuspicious hosts heard of the invitation with
such outspoken pleasure that their honored guest could
not well renew his protest. He had to suffer the
arrangement to be made; but that night when he and
Bunker withdrew to their own room, the Count perceived
the makings of an argumentative evening.
"Sometimes you interfere too moch," the Baron
began without preamble.
"Do you mind being a little more specific?" replied
the Count with smiling composure.
"Zere vas no hurry to lonch mit Maddison."
"I didn't name the date."
"You might have said next veek."
"By next week Miss Maddison may be snapped up
by some one else."
"Zen vould Tollyvoddle be more lucky! I have nearly
got for him ze most charming girl, mit as moch money
as he vants. Ach, you do interfere! You should gonsider
ze happiness of Tollyvoddle."
"That is the only consideration that affects yourself,
"Of course! I cannot marry more zan vonce."
(Bunker thought he perceived a symptom of a sigh.)
"And I most be faithful to Alicia. I most! Ach, yes,
Bonker, do not fear for me! I am so constant as--ach,
I most keep faithful!"
As he supplied this remarkable testimony to his own
fidelity, the Baron paced the floor with an agitation
that clearly showed how firmly his constancy was based.
Nevertheless the Count was smiling oddly at something
he espied upon the mantelpiece, and stepping up
to it he observed--
"Here is a singular phenomenon--a bunch of white
heather that has got itself tied together with ribbon!"
The Baron started, and took the tiny bouquet from
his hand, his eyes sparkling with delight.
"It must be a gift from----" he began, and then laid
it down again, though his gaze continued fixed upon
it. "How did it gom in?" he mused. "Ach! she most
have brought it herself. How vary nice!"
He turned suddenly and met his friend's humorous
"I shall be faithful, Bonker! You can trust me!"
he exclaimed; "I shall put it in my letter to Alicia, and
send it mit my love! See, Bonker!"
He took a letter from his desk--its envelope still
open--hurriedly slipped in the white heather, and licked
the gum while his resolution was hot. Then, having
exhibited this somewhat singular evidence of his constancy,
he sighed again.
"It vas ze only safe vay," he said dolefully. "Vas
I not right, Bonker?"
"Quite, my dear Baron," replied the Count sympathetically.
"Believe me, I appreciate your self-sacrifice.
In fact, it was to relieve the strain upon your too
generous heart that I immediately accepted Mr. Maddison's
invitation for to-morrow."
"How so?" demanded the Baron with perhaps excusable
"You will be able to decide at once which is the most
suitable bride for Tulliwuddle, and then, if you like,
we can leave in a day or two."
"Bot I do not vish to leave so soon!"
"Well then, while you stay, you can at least make
sure that you are engaging the affections of the right
Though Bunker spoke with an air of desiring merely
to assist his friend, the speech seemed to arouse some
furious thinking in the Baron's mind.
For some moments he made no reply, and then at
last, in a troubled voice, he said--
"I have already a leetle gommitted Tollyvoddle to
Eva. Ach, bot not moch! Still it vas a leetle. Miss
Maddison--vat is she like?"
To the best of his ability the Count sketched the
charms of Eleanor Maddison--her enthusiasm for large
and manly noblemen, and the probable effects of the
Baron's stalwart form set off by the tartan which (in
deference, he declared, to the Wraith's injunctions) he
now invariably wore. Also, he touched upon her father's
colossal fortune, and the genuine Tulliwuddle's necessities.
The Baron listened with growing interest.
"Vell," he said, "I soppose I most make a goot
impression for ze sake of Tollyvoddle. For instance, ven
we drive up----"
"Drive? my dear Baron, we shall march! Leave it
to me; I have a very pretty design shaping in my head."
"Aha!" smiled the Baron; "my showman again,
His expression sobered, and he added as a final
contribution to the debate--
"But I may tell you, Bonker, I do not eggspect to
like Miss Maddison. Ah, my instinct he is vonderful!
It vas my instinct vich said. 'Chose Miss Gallosh for
While the Baron was thus loyally doing
his duty, his Baroness, being ignorant
of the excellence of his purpose, and
knowing only that he had deceived her
in one matter, and that the descent to Avernus is easy,
passed a number of very miserable days. That heart-
breaking "us both" kept her awake at nights and
distraught throughout the day, and when for a little she
managed to explain the phrase away, and tried to
anchor her trust in Rudolph once more, the vision of the
St. Petersburg window overlooking the crops would
come to shatter her confidence. She wrote a number of
passionate replies, but as the Baron in making his
arrangements with his Russian friend had forgotten to
provide him with his Scotch address, these letters only
reached him after the events of this chronicle had passed
into history. Strange to say, her only consolation was
that neither her mother nor Sir Justin was able to supply
any further evidence of any kind whatsoever. One
would naturally suppose that the assistance they had
gratuitously given would have made her feel eternally
indebted to them; but, on the contrary, she was actually
inconsistent enough to resent their head-shakings nearly
as much as her Rudolph's presumptive infidelity. So
that her lot was indeed to be deplored.
At last a second letter came, and with trembling
fingers, locked in her room, the forsaken lady tore the
curiously bulky envelope apart. Then, at the sight of
the enclosure that had given it this shape, her heart
lightened once more.
"A sprig of white heather!" she cried. "Ah, he
loves me still!"
With eager eyes she next devoured the writing
accompanying this token; and as the Baron's head happened
to be clearer when he composed this second epistle, and
his friend's hints peculiarly judicious, it conveyed so
plausible an account of his proceedings, and contained
so many expressions of his unaltered esteem, that his
character was completely reinstated in her regard.
Having read every affectionate sentence thrice over,
and given his exceedingly interesting statements of fact
the attention they deserved, she once more took up the
little bouquet and examined it more curiously and
intently. She even untied the ribbon, when, lo and
behold! there fell a tiny and tightly folded twist of paper
upon the floor. Preparing herself for a delicious bit
of sentiment, she tenderly unfolded and smoothed it out.
"Verses!" she exclaimed rapturously; but the next
instant her pleasure gave place to a look of the extremest
"What does this mean?" she gasped.
There was, in fact, some excuse for her perplexity,
since the precise text of the enclosure ran thus:
"TO LORD TULLIWUDDLE.
"O Chieftain, trample on this heath
Which lies thy springing foot beneath!
It can recover from thy tread,
And once again uplift its head!
But spare, O Chief, the tenderer plant,
Because when trampled on, it can't!
Too confounded for coherent speculation, the Baroness
continued to stare at this baffling effusion. Who
Lord Tulliwuddle and Eva were; why this glimpse into
their drama (for such it appeared to be) should be
forwarded to her; and where the Baron von Blitzenberg
came into the story--these, among a dozen other questions,
flickered chaotically through her mind for some
minutes. Again and again she studied the cryptogram,
till at last a few definite conclusions began to crystallize
out of the confusion. That the "tenderer plant"
symbolized the lady herself, that she was a person to
be regarded with extreme suspicion, and that emphatically
the bouquet was never originally intended for the
Baroness von Blitzenberg, all became settled convictions.
The fact that she knew Tulliwuddle to be an
existing peerage afforded her some relief; yet the longer
she pondered on the problem of Rudolph's part in the
episode, the more uneasy grew her mind.
Composing her face before the mirror till it resumed
its normal round-eyed placidity, she locked the letter
and its contents in a safe place, and sought out her
"Did you get any letter, dear, by the last post?"
inquired the Countess as soon as she had entered the
"Nothing of importance, mamma."
That so sweet and docile a daughter should stoop to
deceit was inconceivable. The Countess merely frowned
her disappointment and resumed the novel which she
was beguiling the hours between eating and eating
"Mamma," said the Baroness presently, "can you
tell me whether heather is found in many other European
The Countess raised her firmly penciled eyebrows.
"In some, I believe. What a remarkable question,
"I was thinking about Russia," said Alicia with an
innocent air. "Do you suppose heather grows there?"
The Countess remembered the floral symptoms displayed
by Ophelia, and grew a trifle nervous.
"My child, what is the matter?"
"Oh, nothing," replied Alicia hastily.
A short silence followed, during which she was conscious
of undergoing a curious scrutiny.
"By the way, mamma," she found courage to ask at
length, "do you know anything about Lord Tulliwuddle?"
Lady Grillyer continued uneasy. These irrelevant
questions undoubtedly indicated a mind unhinged.
"I was acquainted with the late Lord Tulliwuddle."
"Oh, he is dead, then?"
Alicia's face clouded for a moment, and then a ray
of hope lit it again.
"Is there a present Lord Tulliwuddle?"
"I believe so. Why do you ask?"
"I heard some one speak of him the other day."
She spoke so naturally that her mother began to feel
"Sir Justin Wallingford can tell you all about the
family, if you are curious," she remarked.
Alicia recoiled from the thought of him. But presently
her curiosity prevailed, and she inquired--
"Does he know them well?"
"He inherited a place in Scotland a number of years
ago, you remember. It is somewhere near Lord
other Castle. He was very well acquainted with the
"Oh," said Alicia indifferently, "I am not really
interested. It was mere idle curiosity."
For the greater part of twenty-four hours she kept
this mystery locked within her heart, till at last she
could contain it no longer. The resolution she came
to was both desperate and abruptly taken. At five
minutes to three she was resolved to die rather than
mention that sprig of heather to a soul; at five minutes
past she was on her way to Sir Justin Wallingford's
"It may be going behind mamma's back," she said
to herself; "but she went behind mine when SHE consulted
It was probably in consequence of her urgent voice
and agitated manner that she came to be shown straight
into Sir Justin's library, without warning on either
side, and thus surprised her counsellor in the act of
softly singing a well-known hymn to the accompaniment
of a small harmonium. He seemed for a moment to be
a trifle embarrassed, and the glance he threw at his
footman appeared to indicate an early vacancy in his
establishment; but as soon as he had recovered his customary
solemnity his explanation reflected nothing but
credit upon his character.
"The fact is," said he, "that I am shortly going to
rejoin my daughter in Scotland. You are aware of her
"I have heard that she is inclined to be devotional."
"She is devotional," answered this excellent man.
"I have taken considerable pains to see to it. As your
mother and I have often agreed, there is no such safeguard
for a young girl as a hobby or mania of this
"A hobby or mania?" exclaimed the Baroness in a
Sir Justin looked annoyed. He was evidently
surprised to find that the principles inculcated by his old
friend and himself appeared to outlive the occasion for
which they were intended--to wit, the protection of
virgin hearts from undesirable aspirations till calm
reason and a husband should render them unnecessary.
"I use the terms employed by the philosophical," he
hastened to explain; "but my own opinion is inclined
to coincide with yours, my dear Alicia."
This paternal use of her Christian name, coupled
with the kindly tone of his justification, encouraged
the Baroness to open her business.
"Sir Justin," she began, "can I trust you--may I
ask you not to tell my mother that I have visited you?"
"If you can show me an adequate reason, you may
rely upon my discretion," said the ex-diplomatist
cautiously, yet with an encouraging smile.
"In some things one would sooner confide in a man
than a woman, Sir Justin."
"That is undoubtedly true," he agreed cordially.
"You may confide in me, Baroness."
"I have heard from my husband again. I need not
show you the letter; it is quite satisfactory--oh, quite,
I assure you! Only I found this enclosed with it."
In breathless silence she watched him examine
critically first the heather and then the verses.
"Lord Tulliwuddle!" he exclaimed. "Is there
anything in the Baron's letter to throw any light upon
"Not one word--not the slightest hint."
Again he studied the paper.
"Oh, what does it mean?" she cried. "I came to
you because you know all about the Tulliwuddles.
Where is Lord Tulliwuddle now?"
"I am not acquainted with the present peer," he
ansevered meditatively. "In fact, I know singularly little
about him. I did hear--yes, I heard from my daughter
some rumor that he was shortly expected to visit his
place in Scotland; but whether he went there or not I
"You can find out for me?"
"I shall lose no time in ascertaining."
The Baroness thanked him effusively, and rose to
depart with a mind a little comforted.
"And you won't tell mamma?"
"I never tell a woman anything that is of any importance."
The Baroness was confirmed in her opinion that Sir
Justin was not a very nice man, but she felt an increased
confidence in his judgment.
From the gargoyled keep which the cultured
enthusiasm of Eleanor and the purse of her
father had recently erected at Lincoln Lodge,
the brother and sister looked over a bend of
the river, half a mile of valley road, a wave of forest
country, and the greater billows of the bare hillsides
towering beyond. But out of all this prospect it was
only upon the stretch of road that their eyes were bent.
"Surely one should see their carriage soon!"
"Seems to me," said her brother, "that you're sitting
something like a cat on the pounce for this Tulliwuddle
fellow. Why, Eleanor, I never saw you so excited since
the first duke came along. I thought that had passed
"Oh, Ri, I was reading 'Waverley' again last night,
and somehow I felt the top of the keep was the only
place to watch for a chief!"
"Why, you don't expect him to be different from
"Ri! I tell you I'll cry if he looks like any one I've
ever seen before! Don't you remember the Count said
he moved like a pine in his native forests?"
"He won't make much headway like that," said Ri
incisively. "I'd sooner he moved like something more
spry than a tree. I guess that Count was talking
through his hat."
But his sister was not to be argued out of her exalted
mood by such prosaic reasoning. She exclaimed at his
sluggish imagination, reiterated her faith in the
insinuating count's assurances, and was only withheld
from sending her brother down for a spy-glass by the
reflection that she could not remember reading of its
employment by any maiden in analogous circumstances.
It was at this auspicious moment, when the heart of
the expectant heiress was inflamed with romantic fancies
and excited with the suspense of waiting, and before
it had time to cool through any undue delay, that a
little cloud of dust first caught her straining eyes.
"He comes at last!" she cried.
At the same instant the faint strains of the pibroch
were gently wafted to her embattled tower.
"He is bringing his piper! Oh, what a duck he is!"
"Seems to me he is bringing a dozen of them,"
"And look, Ri! The sun is glinting upon steel!
Claymores, Ri! oh, how heavenly! There must be fifty
men! And they are still coming! I do believe he has
brought the whole clan!"
Too petrified with delight to utter another exclamation,
she watched in breathless silence the approach of
a procession more formidable than had ever escorted
a Tulliwuddle since the year of Culloden. As they drew
nearer, her ardent gaze easily distinguished a stalwart
figure in plaid and kilt, armed to the teeth with target
and claymore, marching with a stately stride fully ten
paces before his retinue.
"The chief!" she murmured.
Now indeed she saw there was no cause to mourn, for
any one at all resembling the Baron von Blitzenberg
as he appeared at that moment she had certainly never
met before. Intoxicated with his finery and with the
terrific peals of melody behind him, he pranced rather
than walked up to the portals of Lincoln Lodge, and
there, to the amazement and admiration alike of his
clansmen and his expectant host, he burst forth into
the following Celtic fragment, translated into English
for the occasion by his assiduous friend from a hitherto
undiscovered manuscript of Ossian:
"I am ze chieftain,
Nursed in ze mountains,
Behold me, Mac--ig--ig--ig ish!
(Yet the Count had written this word very distinctly.)
"Oich for ze claymore!
Hoch for ze philabeg!
Sons of ze red deers,
Children of eagles,
I will supply you
Mit Sassenach carcases!"
At this point came a momentary lull, the chieftain's
eyes rolling bloodthirstily, but the rhapsody having
apparently become congested within his fiery heart.
His audience, however, were not given time to recover
their senses, before a striking-looking individual,
adorned with tartan trews and a feathered hat, in whom
all were pleased to recognize Count Bunker, whispered
briefly in his lordship's ear, and like a river in spate
he foamed on:
"Donald and Ronald
Avake from your slumbers!
Maiden so lovely,
Smile mit your bright eyes!
Ze heather is blooming!
Ze vild cat is growling!
Ze Lord of ze Mountains!"
Hardly had the reverberations of the chieftain's voice
died away, when the Count, uttering a series of presumably
Gaelic cries, advanced with the most dramatic
air, and threw his broad-sword upon the ground.
The Baron laid his across it, the pipes struck up a
less formidable, but if anything more exciting air, and
the two noblemen, springing simultaneously from the
ground, began what the Count confidently trusted their
American hosts would accept as the national sworddance.
This lasted for some considerable time, and gave the
Count an opportunity of testifying his remarkable
agility and the Baron of displaying the greater part
of his generously proportioned limbs, while the lung
power of both became from that moment proverbial in
At the conclusion of this ceremony the chieftain,
crimson, breathless, and radiant, a sight for gods and
ladies, advanced to greet his host.
"Very happy to see you, Lord Tulliwuddle," said
Mr. Maddison. "Allow me to offer you my very sincere
congratulations on your exceedingly interesting
exhibition. Welcome to Lincoln Lodge, your lordship!
My daughter--my son."
Eleanor, almost as flushed as the Baron by her headlong
rush from the keep at the conclusion of the sword-
dance, threw him such a smile as none of her admirers
had ever enjoyed before; while he, incapable of speech
beyond a gasped "Ach!" bowed so low that the Count
had gently to adjust his kilt. Then followed the
approach of the Gallosh family, attired in costumes of
Harris tweed and tartan selected and arranged under
the artistic eye of Count Bunker, and escorted, to their
huge delight, by six picked clansmen. Their formal
presentation having been completed by a last skirl on
the bagpipes, the whole party moved in procession to
"A complete success, I flatter myself," thought
Count Bunker, with excusable complacency.
To the banquet itself it is scarcely possible for a
mere mortal historian to pay a fitting tribute. Every
rarity known to the gourmet that telegraph could summon
to the table in time was served in course upon
course. Even the sweetmeats in the little gold dishes
cost on an average a dollar a bon-bon, while the wine
was hardly less valuable than liquid radium. Or at
least such was the sworn information subsequently supplied
by Count Bunker to the reporter of "The Torrydhulish Herald."
Eleanor was in her highest spirits. She sat between
the Baron and Mr. Gallosh, delighted with the honest
pleasure and admiration of the merchant, and all the
time becoming more satisfied with the demeanor and
conversation of the chief. In fact, the only disappointment
she felt was connected with the appearance of
Miss Gallosh. Much as she had desired a confidante,
she had never demanded one so remarkably beautiful,
and she could not but feel that a very much plainer
friend would have served her purpose quite as well--
and indeed better. Once or twice she intercepted a
glance passing between this superfluously handsome
lady and the principal guest, until at last it occurred
to her as a strange and unseemly thing that Lord Tulliwuddle
should be paying so long a visit to his shooting
tenants. Eva, on her part, felt a curiously similar
sensation. These American gentlemen were as pleasant
as report had painted them, but she now discovered an
odd antipathy to American women, or at least to their
unabashed method of making themselves agreeable to
noblemen. It confirmed, indeed, the worst reports she
had heard concerning the way in which they raided the
British marriage market.
Being placed beside one of these lovely girls and
opposite the other, the Baron, one would think, would
be in the highest state of contentment; but though still
flushed with his triumphant caperings over the broadswords,
and exhibiting a graciousness that charmed his
hosts, he struck his observant friend as looking a trifle
disturbed at soul. He would furtively glance across the
table and then as furtively throw a sidelong look at
his neighbor, and each time he appeared to grow more
thoughtful. And yet he did not look precisely unhappy
either. In fact, there was a gleam in his eye during
each of these glances which suggested that both fell
upon something he approved of.
The after-luncheon procedure had been carefully
arranged between the two adventurers. The Count was
to keep by the Baron's side, and, thus supported,
negotiations were to be delicately opened. Accordingly,
when the party rose, the Count whispered a word in
Mr. Maddison's ear. The millionaire answered with a
grave, shrewd look, and his daughter, as if perfectly
grasping the situation, led the Galloshes out to inspect
the new fir forest. And then the two noblemen and the
two Dariuses faced one another over their cigars.
"Well, gentlemen," said Mr. Maddison,
"pleasure is pleasure, and business is
business. I guess we mean to do a little
of both to-day, if you are perfectly
disposed. What do you say, Count?"
"I consider that an occasion selected by you, Mr.
Maddison, is not to be neglected."
The millionaire bowed his acknowledgment of the
compliment, and turned to the Baron, who, it may be
remarked, was wearing an expression of thoughtful
gravity not frequently to be noted at Hechnahoul.
"You desire to say a few words to me, Lord
Tulliwuddle, I understand. I shall be pleased to hear them."
With this both father and son bent such earnest
brows on the Baron and waited for his answer in such
intense silence, that he began to regret the absence of
his inspiring pipers.
"I vould like ze honor to address mine--mine----"
He threw an imploring glance at his friend, who,
without hesitation, threw himself into the breach.
"Lord Tulliwuddle feels the natural diffidence of a
lover in adequately expressing his sentiments. I understand
that he craves your permission to lay a certain
case before a certain lady. I am right, Tulliwuddle?"
"Pairfectly," said the Baron, much relieved; "to
lay a certain case before a certain lady. Zat is so, yes,
Father and son glanced at one another.
"Your delicacy does you honor, very great honor,"
said Mr. Maddison; "but business is business, Lord
Tulliwuddle, and I should like to hear your proposition
more precisely stated. In fact, sir, I like to know just
where I am."
"That's just about right," assented Ri.
"I vould perhaps vish to marry her."
"Perhaps!" exclaimed the two together.
Again the Count adroitly interposed--
"You mean that you do not intend to thrust your
attentions upon an unwilling lady?"
"Yes, yes; zat is vat I mean."
"I see," said Mr. Maddison slowly. "H'm, yes."
"Sounds what you Scotch call 'canny,' " commented
"Well," resumed the millionaire, "I have nothing
to say against that; provided--provided, I say, that
you stipulate to marry the lady so long as she has no
objections to you. No fooling around--that's all we
want to see to. Our time, sir, is too valuable."
"That is so," said Ri.
The Baron's color rose, and a look of displeasure
came into his eyes, but before he had time to make a
retort that might have wrecked his original's hopes,
Bunker said quickly--
"Tulliwuddle places himself in your hands, with the
implicit confidence that one gentleman reposes in another."
Gulping down his annoyance, the Baron assented--
"Yes, I vill do zat."
Again father and son looked at one another, and this
time exchanged a nod.
"That, sir, will satisfy us," said Mr. Maddison.
"Ri, you may turn off the phonograph."
And thereupon the cessation of a loud buzzing sound,
which the visitors had hitherto attributed to flies, showed
that their host now considered he had received a sufficient
guarantee of his lordship's honorable intentions.
"So far, so good," resumed Mr. Maddison. "I may
now inform you, Lord Tulliwuddle, that the reports
about you which I have been able to gather read kind
of mixed, and before consenting to your reception
within my daughter's boudoir we should feel obliged
if you would satisfy us that the worst of them are not
true--or, at least, sir, exaggerated."
This time the Baron could not restrain an exclamation
"Vat, sir!" he cried, addressing the millionaire.
"Do you examine me on my life!"
"No, sir," said Ri, frowning his most determined
frown. "It is to ME you will be kind enough to give any
explanation you have to offer! Dad may be the spokesman,
but I am the inspirer of these interrogations.
My sister, sir, the purest girl in America, the most
beautiful creature beneath the star-spangled banner of
Columbia, is not going to be the companion of dissolute
idleness and gilded dishonor--not, sir, if _I_ know it."
Too confounded by this unusual warning to think
of any adequate retort, the Baron could only stare his
sensations; while Mr. Maddison, taking up the conversation
the instant his son had ceased, proceeded in a
deliberate and impressive voice to say--
"Yes, sir, my son--and I associate myself with him
--my son and I, sir, would be happy to learn that it
is NOT the case as here stated" (he glanced at a paper
in his hand), "namely, Item 1, that you sup rather too
frequently with ladies--I beg your pardon, Count
Bunker, for introducing the theme--with ladies of the
"I!" gasped the Baron. "I do only vish I sometimes
had ze cha----"
"Tulliwuddle!" interrupted the Count. "Don't let
your natural indignation carry you away! Mr. Maddison,
that statement is not true. I can vouch for it."
"Ach, of course it is not true," said the Baron more
calmly, as he began to realize that it was not his own
character that was being aspersed.
"I am very glad to hear it," continued Mr. Maddison,
who apparently did not share the full austerity of
his son's views, since without further question he hurried
on to the next point.
"Item 2, sir, states that at least two West End firms
are threatening you with proceedings if you do not
discharge their accounts within a reasonable time."
"A lie!" declared the Baron emphatically.
"Will you be so kind as to favor us with the name
of the individual who is thus libelling his lordship?"
demanded the Count with a serious air.
Mr. Maddison hastily put the paper back in his
pocket, and with a glance checked his son's gesture of
"Guess we'd better pass on to the next thing, Ri.
I told you it wasn't any darned use just asking. But
you boys always think you know better than your
Poppas," said he; and then, turning to the Count, "It
isn't worth while troubling, Count; I'll see that these
reports get contradicted, if I have to buy up a daily
paper and issue it at a halfpenny. Yes, sir, you can
leave it to me."
The Count glanced at his friend, and they exchanged
a grave look.
"Again we place ourselves in your hands," said
Though considerably impressed with these repeated
evidences of confidence on the part of two such
important personages, their host nevertheless maintained
something of his inquisitorial air as he proceeded--
"For my own satisfaction, Lord Tulliwuddle, and
meaning to convey no aspersion whatsoever upon your
character, I would venture to inquire what are your
views upon some of the current topics. Take any one
you like, sir, so long as it's good and solid, and let me
hear what you have to say about it. What you favor
us with will not be repeated beyond this room, but
merely regarded by my son and myself as proving that
we are getting no dunder-headed dandy for our Eleanor,
but an article of real substantial value--the kind of
thing they might make into a Lord-lieutenant or a
Viceroy in a bad year."
Tempting in every way as this suggestion sounded,
his lordship nevertheless appeared to find a little initial
difficulty in choosing a topic.
"Speak out, sir," said Mr. Maddison in an encouraging
tone. "Our standard for noblemen isn't anything
remarkably high. With a duke I'd be content
with just a few dates and something about model
cottages, and, though a baron ought to know a little more
than that, still we'll count these feudal bagpipers and
that ancestral hop-scotch performance as a kind of set-
off to your credit. Suppose you just say a few words
on the future of the Anglo-Saxon race. What you've
learned from the papers will do, so long as you seem
to understand it."
Perceiving that his Teutonic friend looked a trifle
dismayed at this selection, Count Bunker suggested the
Triple Alliance as an alternative.
"That needs more facts, I guess," said the millionaire;
"but it will be all the more creditable if you can
The Baron cleared his throat to begin, and as he
happened (as the Count was well aware) to have the
greatest enthusiasm for this policy, and to have recently
read the thirteen volumes of Professor Bungstrumpher
on the subject, he delivered a peroration so remarkable
alike for its fervor, its facts, and its phenomenal length,
that when, upon a gentle hint from the Count, he at
last paused, all traces of objection had vanished from
the minds of Darius P. Maddison, senior and junior.
"I need no longer detain you, Lord Tulliwuddle,"
said the millionaire respectfully. "Ri, fetch your sister
into her room. Your lordship, I have received an
intellectual treat. I am very deeply gratified, sir. Allow
me to conduct you to my daughter's boudoir."
Flushed with his exertions and his triumph though
the Baron was, he yet remembered so vividly the ordeal
preceding the oration that as they went he whispered
in his friend's ear
"Ah, Bonker, stay mit me, I pray you! If she should
ask more questions!
"Mr. Maddison, ze Count will stay mit me."
Though a little surprised at this arrangement, which
scarcely accorded with his lordship's virile appearance
and dashing air, Mr. Maddison was by this time too
favorably disposed to question the wisdom of any
suggestion he might make, and accordingly the two friends
found themselves closeted together in Miss Maddison's
sanctum awaiting the appearance of the heiress.
"Shall I remain through the entire interview?"
asked the Count.
"Oh yes, mine Bonker, you most! Or--vell, soppose
it gets unnecessary zen vill I cry 'By ze Gad!' and you
vill know to go."
" 'By the Gad'? I see."
"Or--vell, not ze first time, but if I say it tree times,
zen vill you make an excuse."
"Three times? I understand, Baron."
In the eye of the heiress, as in her father's, might
be noted a shade of surprise at finding two
gentlemen instead of one. But though the Count
instantly perceived his superfluity, and though
it had been his greatest ambition throughout his life
to add no shade to the dullness with which he frequently
complained that life was overburdened, yet his sense of
obligation to his friend was so strong that he preferred
to bore rather than desert. As the only compensation
he could offer, he assumed the most retiring look of
which his mobile features were capable, and pretended
to examine one of the tables of curios.
"Lord Tulliwuddle, I congratulate you on the very
happy impression you have made!" began Eleanor with
the most delightful frankness.
But his lordship had learned to fear the Americans,
even bearing compliments.
"So?" he answered stolidly.
"Indeed you have! Ri is just wild about your
"Zat is kind of him."
"He declares you are quite an authority on European
politics. Now you will be able to tell me----"
"Ach, no! I shall not to-day, please!" interrupted
the Baron hurriedly.
The heiress seemed disconcerted.
"Oh, not if you'd rather not, Lord Tulliwuddle."
She turned with a shrug and cast her eyes upon the
"How do you like this picture? It's my latest toy.
I call it just sweet!"
He cautiously examined the painting.
"It is vary pretty."
"Do you know Romney's work?"
The Baron shrank back.
"Not again to-day, please!"
Miss Maddison opened her handsome eyes to their
"My word!" she cried. "If these are Highland
manners, Lord Tulliwuddle!"
In extreme confusion the Baron stammered--
"I beg your pardon! Forgif me--but--ach, not
zose questions, please!"
Relenting a little, she inquired
"What may I ask you, then? Do tell me! You
see I want just to know all about you."
With an affrighted gesture the Baron turned to his
"Bonker," said he, "she does vant to know yet
more about me! Vill you please to tell her."
The Count looked up from the curios with an
expression so bland that the air began to clear even
before he spoke.
"Miss Maddison, I must explain that my friend's
proud Highland spirit has been a little disturbed by
some inquiries, made in all good faith by your father.
No offence, I am certain, was intended; erroneous
information--a little hastiness in jumping to conclusions
--a sensitive nature wounded by the least insinuation--
such were the unfortunate causes of Tulliwuddle's
excusable reticence. Believe me, if you knew
all, your opinion of him would alter very, very
The perfectly accurate peroration to this statement
produced an immediate effect.
"What a shame!" cried Eleanor, her eyes sparkling
brightly. "Lord Tulliwuddle, I am so sorry!"
The Baron looked into these eyes, and his own mien
altered perceptibly. For an instant he gazed, and then
in a low voice remarked--
"By ze Gad!"
"Once!" counted the conscientious Bunker.
"Lord Tulliwuddle," she continued, "I declare I
feel so ashamed of those stupid men, I could just wring
their necks! Now, just to make us quits, you ask me
anything in the world you like!"
Over his shoulder the Baron threw a stealthy glance
at his friend, but this time he did not invoke his
assistance. Instead, he again murmured very distinctly--
"By ze Gad!"
"Twice!" counted Bunker.
"Miss Maddison," said the Baron to the flushed and
eager girl, "am I to onderstand zat you now are satisfied
zat I am not too vicked, too suspeecious, too unvorthy
of your charming society? I do not say I am
yet vorthy--bot jost not too bad!"
Had the Baroness at that moment heard merely the
intonation of his voice, she would undoubtedly have
preferred a Chinese prison.
"Indeed, Lord Tulliwuddle, you may."
"By ze Gad!" announced the Baron, in a voice
braced with resolution.
"May I take the liberty of inspecting the aviary?"
said the Count.
"With the very greatest pleasure," replied the
His last distinct impression as he withdrew was of
the Baron giving his mustache a more formidable
"A very pretty little scene," he reflected, as he
strolled out in search of others. "Though, hang me,
I'm not sure if it ended in the right man leaving the
This "second-fiddle feeling," as he styled it
humorously to himself, was further increased by the demeanor
of Miss Gallosh, to whom he now endeavored to make
himself agreeable. Though sharing the universal respect
felt for the character and talents of the Count,
she was evidently too perturbed at seeing him appear
alone to appreciate his society as it deserved. Ever
since luncheon poor Eva's heart had been sinking.
The beauty, the assurance, the cleverness, and the
charm of the fabulously wealthy American heiress had
filled her with vague misgivings even while the gentlemen
were safely absent; but when Miss Maddison was
summoned away, and her father and brother took her
place, her uneasiness vastly increased. Now here was
the last buffer removed between the chieftain and her
audacious rival (so she already counted her). What
drama could these mysterious movements have been
In vain did Count Bunker exercise his unique
powers of conversation. In vain did he discourse on the
beauties of nature as displayed in the wooded valley
and the towering hills, and the beauties of art as
exhibited in the aviary and the new fir forest. Eva's
thoughts were too much engrossed with the beauties
of woman, and their dreadful consequences if improperly
"Is--is Miss Maddison still in the house?" she
inquired, with an effort to put the question carelessly.
"I believe so," said the Count in his kindest voice.
"And--and--that isn't Lord Tulliwuddle with my
father, is it?"
"I believe not," said the Count, still more sympathetically.
She could no longer withhold a sigh, and the Count
tactfully turned the conversation to the symbolical
eagle arrived that morning from Mr. Maddison's native
They had passed from the aviary to the flower
garden, when at last they saw the Baron and Eleanor
appear. She joined the rest of the party, while he,
walking thoughtfully in search of his friend, advanced
in their direction. He raised his eyes, and then, to
complete Eva's concern, he started in evident
embarrassment at discovering her there also. To do him
justice, he quickly recovered his usual politeness. Yet
she noticed that he detained the Count beside him and
showed a curious tendency to discourse solely on the
fine quality of the gravel and the advantages of having
a brick facing to a garden wall.
"My lord," said Mr. Gallosh, approaching them,
"would you be thinking of going soon? I've noticed
Mr. Maddison's been taking out his watch verra frequently."
"Certainly, certainly!" cried my lord. "Oh, ve
have finished all ve have come for."
Eva started, and even Mr. Gallosh looked a trifle
"Yes," added the Count quickly, "we have a very
good idea of the heating system employed. I quite
agree with you: we can leave the rest to your engineer."
But even his readiness failed to efface the effects of
his friend's unfortunate admission.
Farewells were said, the procession reformed, the
pipers struck up, and amidst the heartiest expressions
of pleasure from all, the chieftain and his friends
marched off to the spot where (out of sight of Lincoln
Lodge) the forethought of their manager had
arranged that the carriages should be waiting.
"Well," said Bunker, when they found themselves
in their room again, "what do you think of Miss
The Baron lit a cigar, gazed thoughtfully and with
evident satisfaction at the daily deepening shade of
tan upon his knees, and then answered slowly--
"Vell, Bonker, she is not so bad."
"Ah," commented Bunker.
"Bot, Bonker, it is not vat I do think of her. Ach,
no! It is not for mein own pleasure. Ach, nein!
How shall I do my duty to Tollyvoddle? Zat is vat
I ask myself."
"And what answer do you generally return?"
"Ze answer I make is," said the Baron gravely and
with the deliberation the point deserved--"Ze answer
is zat I shall vait and gonsider vich lady is ze best for
"The means you employ will no doubt include a
further short personal interview with each of them?"
"Vun short! Ach, Bonker, I most investigate
mit carefulness. No, no; I most see zem more zan zat."
"How long do you expect the process will take
For the first time the Baron noticed with surprise a
shade of impatience in his friend's voice.
"Are you in a horry, Bonker?"
"My dear Baron, I grudge no man his sport--
particularly if he is careful to label it his duty. But, to
tell the truth, I have never played gamekeeper for so
long before, and I begin to find that picking up your
victims and carrying them after you in a bag is less
exhilarating to-day than it was a week ago. I wouldn't
curtail your pleasure for the world, my dear fellow!
But I do ask you to remember the poor keeper."
"My dear friend," said the Baron cordially, "I shall
remember! It shall take bot two or tree days to do
my duty. I shall not be long."
"A day or two of sober duty,
Then, Hoch! for London, home, and beauty!"
trolled the Count pleasantly.
The Baron did not echo the "Hoch"; but after
retaining his thoughtful expression for a few moments,
a smile stole over his face, and he remarked in an
"Vun does not alvays need to go home to find
"Yes," said the Count, "I have always held it to
be one of the advantages of travel that one learns to
tolerate the inhabitants of other lands."
"Ach, you are onfair," exclaimed the Baron.
"Really?" said Eva, with a sarcastic
intonation he had not believed possible in so
sweet a voice.
It was the day following the luncheon at Lincoln
Lodge, and they were once more seated in the shady
arbor: this time the Count had guaranteed not only to
leave them uninterrupted by his own presence, but to
protect the garden from all other intruders. Everything,
in fact, had presaged the pleasantest of tete-a-
tetes. But, alas! the Baron was learning that if
Amaryllis pouts, the shadiest corner may prove too
warm. Why, he was asking himself, should she exhibit
this incomprehensible annoyance? What had he done?
How to awake her smiles again?
"I do not forget my old friends so quickly," he
protested. "No, I do assure you! I do not onderstand
vy you should say so."
"Oh, we don't profess to be old FRIENDS, Lord
Tulliwuddle! After all, there is no reason why you
shouldn't turn your back on us as soon as you see a
newer--and more amusing--ACQUAINTANCE."
"But I have not turned my back!"
"We saw nothing else all yesterday."
"Ah, Mees Gallosh, zat is not true! Often did I
look at you!"
"Did you? I had forgotten. One doesn't treasure
every glance, you know."
Back to Full Books