The Spanish Chest
Edna A. Brown
Part 2 out of 4
the saddle and turned to lift Edith from her perch as though she
was a little child. Again on firm ground, she began to utter
[Illustration: "HE'LL COME FOR US! HE MEANS US TO CLIMB THIS ROCK
"I think you must be strangers to the island," he said rather
gravely, "else you would know that the Jersey tides come in as
rapidly as they ebb. This isn't a safe coast to experiment with."
"It was the anemones," began Frances. "We never saw any before and
forgot to watch the water."
The young man smiled. "Those anemones!" he said. "I was once in a
similar fix for the same reason. Better remember that the only
safe time to watch sea anemones is when the tide is just going
out. There's a place up here where the farmer's wife is a friend
of mine. I think you'd better let me take you over to Mother Trott
and she'll dry you out."
"I'm not wet," said Edith. "Frances fell, that's why she's
"Oh, but Win!" Frances exclaimed. "He'll find that note saying
we're on the rocks and he'll see the water and be frightened. My
brother," she added to the stranger, who was looking at her
inquiringly. "He's in the meadow."
The young man's clear gray eyes grew rather stern. "And what is
this brother doing while his little sister gets into danger?" he
"Oh, it's not his fault. He was asleep and he _mustn't_ be
frightened," Fran began. She spoke rapidly, her explanation
banishing from the inquirer's face all look of disapproval.
"I'll go and tell Win," said Edith. "I'm not a bit wet. You go on
to the farm, Frances. Which house is it?"
"Do you see the long low one with the vines about half a mile up
the hill?" replied their rescuer. "That's it."
"If Win's still asleep, for goodness' sake don't wake him,"
directed Frances as Edith set off toward the castle. "Perhaps I
can get dry and be there before he need know what has happened."
"Would you be willing to ride in front of me again, Miss Frances?"
asked the young man, as Edith vanished around the wall. "We could
reach the farm much more quickly."
Without demur, Frances consented. She felt queerly shaken and ill
and to her consternation, as Saracen crossed the highroad and
entered the farm lane, a sudden burst of sobs overcame her. She
struggled bravely to control herself.
"That was a beastly experience," said the pleasant voice, "but you
were so near shore when Saracen and I saw you, that you'd probably
have made it with merely a wetting."
"We haven't really thanked you," said Frances incoherently. "I do
"Thank Saracen. He did it. It's nothing at all, and you mustn't
let it trouble you. Hello, Tylo. Been off again on your own?"
Obedient to touch, his horse stopped at the cottage gate. Frances
slid from her perch and the young man dismounted, throwing the
reins to the beach dog, whose sudden reappearance did not surprise
nor interest Frances, as ordinarily it would have done.
"Come round to the back," said her companion, opening the gate.
"Mother Trott will probably be in her kitchen. She'll put you to
rights in no time. No mess too bad for her to take on."
Frances accompanied her guide along a pebbled path neatly edged
with big scallop-shells measuring fully six inches across. Beside
the walk stretched garden borders still gay with geraniums,
japonicas and other hardy plants in full bloom. As they passed the
front door of the cottage with its whitewashed steps gleaming in
the afternoon sun, a roughly outlined heart surrounding some
initials caught Frances' attention. The design was carved in the
stone top of the door-frame and looked very old.
"That's a pretty custom of the island," said her companion,
noticing Fran's glance. "The people who first made a home had
their initials cut over the door. Many of the Jersey farmhouses
have several sets of initials on the door-stones."
Around the corner of the house lay a neat kitchen garden full of
vegetables in thrifty green rows, a patch of the curious cabbages
and in a field just over a fence, was tethered a pretty, soft-eyed
Jersey cow. Beside the entrance stood a bench glittering with
shiny copper pails and milk-cans.
Without stopping to knock, the young man stepped directly into a
clean, low-ceiled kitchen, where white sand was scattered on the
"Are you there, Mrs. Trott?" he inquired.
Hastily setting down the pan of potatoes she was peeling, a
pleasant-looking stout woman rose to her feet with a curtsy.
"If it isn't Mr. Max!" she exclaimed, her voice expressing both
surprise and delight.
"And as usual seeking help, Mrs. Trott. This young lady, Miss
Frances, has been unlucky enough to be overtaken by the tides--"
"Poor dear!" interrupted Mrs. Trott. "Bess!" she called, "come you
down. Ah, 'tis the tides that make the Jersey heartaches. Ye did
quite right to bring her, Mr. Max. Bess, be quick!"
A rosy-cheeked girl of seventeen came clattering down the tiny
stair, to smile at the visitors and drop an awkward, blushing
curtsy to each.
"Why, Bess, you're quite grown up," said the young man, smiling
back at her.
"A year does make a differ, sir," said Mrs. Trott. "Lead the young
leddy up the stair, Bess, and dry her feet and give her your
Sunday socks and shoon. Mr. Max, you'll drink tea? Sure, now, and
taste my fresh wonders. The young leddy'll be down directly and a
cup of tea will set her up."
"Indeed, I could do with some tea, Mrs. Trott, and I've not had
any wonders since--"
Frances did not hear the end of the sentence for she was following
Bess up the narrow, winding stone stairs to emerge in a little
room with slanting caves and dormer windows in its thatched roof.
The place was bare but spotlessly clean and through the open
western casement shimmered the blue sea.
"Sit down, Miss," said Bess in a soft voice with curious musical
intonations that made up for imperfect pronunciation.
With a sigh of relief, Frances sank into the straight chair. The
reaction from her late adventure was still upon her. Before she
knew what was happening, Bess approached with a basin of water and
a towel, and knelt to unfasten the soaked shoes.
"Oh, I can do that for myself," Frances protested with the
independence of an American girl.
"Sit ye still, Miss," said Bess pleasantly. "'Tis bad for the
nerves to race the tides. It shakes one a good bit."
Her deft fingers made short work of their task. Presently, Frances
was comfortable in white cotton stockings and black slippers far
too large and wide.
"Twill serve," said Bess, smiling at the way they slid around on
Fran's slender feet. "Dry at least. Now come ye down and drink
your tea. 'Tis not lately we've seen Mr. Max. Mother'll be rarely
Frances had it on her tongue's end to inquire into the identity of
her rescuer, but the difficulty of keeping on those heavy leather
shoes with their big silver buckles distracted her attention. She
came carefully down the stair to find Mr. Max seated on the big
black oak settle, his hat and riding-crop beside him and Mrs.
Trott arranging her table before the fire.
"Come, Miss, to your tea," she exclaimed. "Bess, fetch the cream."
Frances tried to protest, feeling already under great obligations
to these total strangers, but Mr. Max promptly rose to give her a
"Tea will do you good, Miss Frances," he said with a most engaging
smile. "Try Mrs. Trott's wonders. Have you ever eaten a Jersey
"It looks like a doughnut," said Frances, taking a fried cake from
the proffered plate.
A sudden, mischievous grin crossed the young man's face. "A plain
New England doughnut disguised by an old-world name," he said.
"New England!" repeated Frances, stopping with the cake halfway to
her mouth. "How do you know about New England doughnuts?"
Mr. Max seated himself, looking boyishly amused.
"'Land where our fathers died,
Land of the Pilgrims' pride,'"
he quoted, seriously enough but with gray eyes dancing with fun.
"Oh, I know the whole thing. Shall we sing it together?"
"Are you really an American?" Frances demanded in utter amazement.
"Then how--what--You don't talk--But that accounts for it."
She stopped, feeling suddenly shy of questioning him. "Well," she
added after a second, "that's the reason I didn't feel a bit
strange about coming with you. It seemed all right--just as though
you were somebody I knew."
"Thank you, Miss Frances," said her companion. "That is a very
lovely way to express your appreciation. Yes, we are fellow-
countrymen, though I have spent much of my life in Europe. In
fact, my first visit to the United States was when I was around
your age. Since then I've put in four years at Yale and one in
Washington. Now, I'm attached to the American Embassy in Paris and
came over here to spend the Christmas holidays with old friends.
Jersey has seen me many times before this. That's how I happen to
know about the sea anemones and the tides."
Mrs. Trott came bustling back with jam, followed by Bess with a
covered jar. "And how's Miss Connie?" she inquired.
"She seems very well," replied Mr. Max. "Your tea is as good as
ever, Mrs. Trott. Clotted cream, Bess? You know my weak spots,
"They do be saying that the Colonel fails since his lady died,"
went on Mrs. Trott, regarding her table anxiously. "Couldn't you
fancy an egg now, Mr. Max, or a bit of bacon?" as he raised a
Frances also declined. She did not feel hungry but after Mrs.
Trott had brought water to dilute the strong tea, she drank it
Neither did Mr. Max eat enough to satisfy his hostess. After a few
moments he rose and looked at his watch.
"I think I'll ride over to the Manor and exchange Saracen for
another horse and the trap and give myself the pleasure if I may,
Miss Frances, of driving you and the others back to St. Aubin's.
Your boots will hardly be dry for you to wear on the train. I'd
really like to do so," he added, seeing that Frances looked
disturbed. "You know it is the business of the American Embassy to
look after its fellow countrymen in a foreign land, so this is
only my plain duty."
"Best let him, Miss," said Mrs. Trott approvingly. "Mr. Max do
always take thought for others. But where happens Miss Connie to-
"Oh, Miss Connie's gone to a tea-fight of some kind," replied Mr.
Max, giving Frances another mischievous glance. "She said I
couldn't go, so I annexed her dog and her father's horse and went
out on my own. I shall be back before long."
Frances gave an anxious thought to Edith, concluded that she
probably found Win asleep and was following instructions not to
wake him. This conjecture proved correct for Edith soon came
hurrying down the path.
"I took the first note and left one saying we were at this
cottage," she explained. "Are you all right, Fran? Do you think
you've caught a chill?"
Frances explained that they were to be driven home and Mrs. Trott
pressed tea and wonders upon Edith, who accepted both gratefully.
"Is it far to the Manor--to where Mr. Max is going?" Frances
inquired of Mrs. Trott.
"Not for a good horse, Miss, though 'tis beyond St. Aubin's. I'm
thinking you must have marked the place, a big old stone house
with many a laurel tree about it and open to the cliffs beyond."
"Oh, we know it," said Fran eagerly. "There are iron gates with a
coat of arms and the grounds are lovely."
"That's Laurel Manor, Miss," assented Mrs. Trott.
The girls looked at each other in delight. In one afternoon they
had learned where lived the mistress of the beach dog and what her
"'Tis good to lay eyes on Mr. Max again," Mrs. Trott went on. "A
pity he and Miss Connie couldn't content themselves with each
other. 'Tis not to our liking to have our young leddy takin' up
with a foreign prince."
"Oh, please tell us about it," demanded Frances. "We met Miss
Connie on the beach and we think she's perfectly lovely. Is she
really to marry a prince?"
"He's not a prince of a royal house," replied Mrs. Trott. "He's an
Eyetalian and in that country, they tell me, there's a different
kind of royalty. I don't rightly know, Miss, but I'm thinking they
are Romish princes."
"Is Miss Connie marrying a Catholic?" inquired Edith in great
"That's the question," said Mrs. Trott, reflectively resting both
hands on the table. "I could see Mr. Max didn't want to talk, but
we hear considerable through the housekeeper at the Manor. This
young man that they say Miss Connie's tokened to is the son of one
of these princes. But his mother was an Englishwoman and a
Protestant and so when two boys had been baptized as Catholics,
the third son,--Miss Connie's young man,--was brought up in his
mother's faith, our English church.
"I suppose," Mrs. Trott went on meditatively, "they thought he'd
never succeed to his father's title and position, bein' the third
son. But the oldest, Prince Santo-Ponte, or some title like that,
was killed in a motor mishap--they say he was racin' something
shameful,--and soon the next brother died of pneumonia. So that
leaves the Protestant son the heir. And the story is that he's to
be made to turn Catholic."
"But they can't make him if he won't," protested the shocked
Edith. Both she and Frances were listening eagerly to this
romantic story. Their wildest flights of imagination concerning
Miss Connie fell short of the truth,--if this was truth.
"I don't know, Miss, I don't know," said Mrs. Trott doubtfully.
"Turn the young leddy's boots, Bess,--don't ye scent the smell o'
scorchin'? 'Tis hard on the poor fellow. There's his father urgin'
him to do it for the sake of the family, and there's a title and a
great fortune waitin' when he does. They'll be tellin' him it's
his duty as they tell't the Princess Alix, own granddaughter of
Queen Victoria, when she married with the Czar of all the Russias.
'Twas the Greek church she went over to."
"But will Miss Connie marry the prince if he does give up his own
church?" asked Edith eagerly.
Again Mrs. Trott shook her head. "There's no mention of any
weddin'," she admitted, "and it may be they're not even tokened,
but the prince has been visitin' a sight of times at the Manor.
Now, I'm thinkin' it's a good sign Mr. Max is here again. The
Colonel, Miss Connie's father, loves him like a son. Why, he and
Miss Connie grew up together, brother and sister-wise. The way of
it was that Mr. Max's mother died when he was but a tiny and Mrs.
Lisle, Miss Connie's mother, about took him for her own. He's fair
lived with them. Many's the time he and Miss Connie have run in
here for their tea or to dry their feet. You see I was parlor-maid
at the Manor before I married Trott. That was when Mr. Eichard was
living Miss Connie's brother. He was near fifteen years older and
he died in South Africa, poor lad! Ah, when he was killed it nigh
broke the Colonel's heart. Well, I've often helped out at the
Manor when extra service was needed. Far rather would I see Miss
Connie wedded to Mr. Max."
"But how did Miss Connie happen to know the prince?" asked
"In Rome. Till her mother died, they spent part of every winter
there, but the Colonel can't bear the place now and they stop here
the season. I keep hopin' Mr. Max will get her yet. Such a pretty
well-mannered boy he always was and never above passin' a friendly
word with us all.
"I suppose," Mrs. Trott concluded, "when you come to think of it,
Mr. Max is a foreigner, too, but the best I can say is that he's
just like an honest English gentleman."
Frances flushed, choking back a hot comment. She had so quickly
felt a bond of kinship with this young American. Yet, in spite of
her momentary anger, she realized that Mrs. Trott was paying the
highest compliment in her power. Well, pride in her own country
could teach Frances to value like loyalty in another.
"What is his other name?" she inquired.
"I couldn't rightly tell you, Miss. He was but a wee lad when he
first came to the Manor. He calls the Colonel, uncle, and we
forget he isn't really of the family. Yet his father has been
here, too. He's famous for something very wise indeed. Could I
speak the name, you might know, for he's well-spoken of outside
At this moment, Win appeared, strolling up the lane and looking
annoyed to find the girls so far in the opposite direction from
the railway. Nor did his vexation lessen on hearing their
adventures, softened and smoothed though the version was. In fact,
self-controlled Win was inclined to be decidedly cross and to
disapprove emphatically acceptances of further favors from a
stranger. Fran was still arguing when a smartly-appointed trap
drawn by a shiny horse turned into the lane.
"Now, you can see for yourself," declared Fran. "He's an American
and a gentleman and it's all right for us to let him drive us
"As if we couldn't hire a carriage in Gorey," Win retorted, but
with a second glance at the driver, his attention was distracted.
"Oh-h!" he said in perplexity, "that's the fellow who was in the
Royal Square that morning. Now, where in the wide world have I
seen him before?"
Thinking hard, Win stared with puckered brows. Suddenly his face
cleared. "Why, he's that young chap Father introduced me to the
time he took me to Washington," he said accusingly to Fran. "Why
didn't you tell me?"
"How on earth could I know?" demanded Fran, but her brother had
turned with a smile to greet the trap just drawing up by the gate.
Mr. Max looked at Win with a puzzled glance which gradually
changed to a look of recognition.
"I do know you, don't I?" he said. "Well, I never suspected when I
was detailed to entertain Captain Thayne's son for an hour or so,
that we'd meet again in Gorey village. Why, that makes us old
Win grasped the cordially offered hand and having bestowed Edith
and Frances in the seat behind, climbed up beside Max, his face
beaming. With many thanks to Mrs. Trott and promises to come
again, they drove off.
"Hasn't this been the most exciting afternoon?" Frances confided
to Edith. "We've learned the collie lady's name and met the boy
she told us of, and heard about her Italian prince. Look at Win!
He's crushed on Mr. Max,--I can tell by the way he's looking at
him. I should think Miss Connie would much rather marry an
"Perhaps he hasn't asked her," said Edith sensibly. "Perhaps, if
she really is engaged to the prince, she did it before Mr. Max
came back from America and he couldn't help himself because it was
Max's back did not look as though it belonged to a specially
unhappy person and the expression of his face as he talked
pleasantly with Win was not that of a young man whose enjoyment in
life has been seriously darkened, but it pleased the girls to
fancy him as a blighted being, so keenly had Mrs. Trott's rather
injudicious confidences appealed to their youthful ideas of
RICHARD LISLE'S LETTER
"Why, I've met Miss Lisle several times," said Mrs. Thayne after
hearing Fran's account of the exciting end of the picnic. "She's a
charming girl and her father is the finest type of an English
gentleman. At the lawn party this afternoon she spoke of meeting
two girls on the beach and asked if one wasn't my daughter."
"Oh, I do hope I can know her," said Frances happily. "I think
she's the sweetest thing I ever saw. But, Mother, do you suppose
what Mrs. Trott said about her and the Italian prince is true?"
"That was a bit of gossip which Mrs. Trott should not have
repeated to girls of your age," commented her mother, "but since
you have heard it, I suppose it will do no harm to say that Prince
Santo-Ponte undoubtedly does visit at the Manor, though I do not
believe that any engagement exists between him and Miss Lisle. As
for Mr. Max, as you call him, his father is Professor Rodney
Hamilton, the noted scientist. Max has been much with the Lisles
and to all purposes is the son of the house."
"The day when I really meet Miss Connie will be the happiest of my
life," declared Frances solemnly. Later, her amused mother learned
that Edith was equally smitten.
In his quiet way, Win was most anxious to see more of Max and it
was partly with this wish in mind that he set off one morning
shortly after the picnic at Orgueil, to stroll on the road leading
past the Manor. On so pleasant a day he might encounter the young
people riding or walking.
When Win reached the Manor gates, no one was in sight, and he
sauntered past, not caring to intrude on private grounds. One
longing glance he cast at the chimneys above the laurels, twelve
that he could count from that angle. What a rambling old structure
the Manor house must be! Surely in its existence stretching back
through the centuries, many interesting things had happened under
that roof. What fun it would be to try to find them out!
Absorbed in pleasant thought, Win walked farther than he realized,
lured by the blue sea and a most interesting little church almost
on the water's edge. The doors proved locked, but Win resolved to
come again when he could gain admittance, for from outward
appearance the building was extremely old.
On turning, Win was soon aware that he had overtaxed his strength
and was in no shape to walk to St. Aubin's. Pleasant as the sky
still was, a strong sea breeze had risen, bringing difficulties
for a person who required very favorable conditions for any
prolonged exercise. Only slow progress was possible and when he
again reached the iron gates of the Manor, he was really too tired
to go on. Choosing the sunny slope of the hedge, he sat down to
Before long, voices approached on the other side of the laurels,
voices speaking in French, and Max came through the arch,
accompanied by a gardener carrying tools.
"Why, Win," he said. "You're not stopping at the gate, I hope. The
house is just beyond."
[Illustration: A MOST INTERESTING LITTLE CHURCH ALMOST ON THE
Win smiled. "I sat down to get my breath," he explained. "I've
been for a stroll and the wind knocked me about a trifle."
Max looked at him keenly. "It's a bit cool to stop there," he
said. "Come up to the house. We'll slip into the library and you
can rest properly."
Win demurred, thinking he would detain Max from his business.
"Uncle only asked me to direct Pierre about some planting around
the cottages," Max replied. He added some words in French to his
companion, who nodded and struck off toward the shore. "I'll not
stop for you," Max went on, taking Win's arm. "There isn't a
person at home, and you will have the library to yourself."
Win yielded at once. Aside from the pleasure of seeing Max again,
the suggestion of books acted as a magnet.
They crossed the beautiful Manor lawn,--green as in June,--not
toward the main entrance but in the direction of some big French
windows opening on the terrace. The casement yielded to Max's
touch and the two entered a room that would have made Win gasp
with pleasure had he been less exhausted. He received only the
impression of spacious beauty and countless books, as he was
established on a big old settle beside a fireplace where cheery
flames were flashing. Before he knew precisely what was happening,
Win found himself tucked among comfortable cushions.
"There, go to sleep now," said Max, flinging over him a soft blue
Italian blanket. "I've an idea this thing belongs in Connie's
room, but since she left it here we will make use of it. There's
no one at home and the only person likely to come is Yvonne, one
of the maids. If she appears to look after the fire, just tell her
you are my friend."
Max departed and Win soon fell into a reverie. He did not sleep
immediately but as his physical discomfort lessened under the
influence of rest and quiet, he began to look about him.
The three rooms composing the library were very high and opened
into one another by arches. From floor to ceiling the books
climbed, rank on rank, on the upper shelves in double tiers, in
some places overflowing window seats. Narrow stained-glass
casements threw pleasant patches of color on the polished floor.
Age had blackened the oak ceiling and the handsome wall paneling
where books did not conceal it. Here and there hung portraits,
evidently of the family, judging from certain recurring
resemblances. Their quaint costumes dated from the days of the
The utter quiet of the place, the time-faded bindings, the old
pictures, the spots of crimson and blue light, the faint odor of
leather, mingled with the scent of fresh flowers from some
invisible source, all had their effect upon Win, who sank into a
state of mind where he was neither awake nor quite asleep. His
last wholly conscious thought was for the curious coat of arms
above the fireplace, a shield that bore the date 1523.
An hour later, Win came to full consciousness and at the same time
to a sense of familiarity with his surroundings. "Of all queer
things!" he thought as he sat up and looked around him. "The first
day I was in Jersey I dreamed of this room or of some room like
it. That man up there in the picture is mighty like the old Johnny
that was around. I've been dreaming about him now, only I can't
Try as he might, Win could not recall that dream, a fantastic
jumble of persons and an impression, almost painful, of a
"This is a house where anything might have happened," his thoughts
ran. "How I wish I could have a chance at these books!"
Shelves framed even the ancient fireplace, their contents within
easy reach of Win's settle. His eye ran idly along the titles, a
History of the World, an edition of Defoe, some old hour-books.
Tucked in with these were two volumes of very modern philosophy,
their bright cloth bindings looking curiously out of place. With
their exception, nothing in sight looked less than a century old
and examination proved most to be even older. Many bore marks of
ownership by Lisles dead and gone.
His enthusiasm thoroughly aroused, Win examined volume after
volume, lingering over the quaint bookplates. Finally he took down
a book unlettered on the back, but with a rubbed leather binding
that showed marks of use. It proved a very old copy of the Psalms,
a book that some one had once read often, for its pages were worn
not only by time but by constant turning.
Opening to the front, Win searched for a bookplate. There was
none, but in fine handwriting appeared: "Richard Lisle His Valued
Book." As Win replaced the volume a paper slipped from its pages.
Picking it up, he glanced idly at the single sheet which seemed a
page perhaps lost from some letter written long before, possibly a
leaf from a diary. The penmanship was like the autograph in the
Psalter, the ink, though faded, perfectly legible on the yellowed
The extract began in the middle of a sentence. Win, who started to
decipher it from mere curiosity, ended by reading it five or six
times. It ran as follows:
"having fed my Prince and Eased him after his hard Flight we took
Counsel anent his Refuge.
"That he should lye at ye Manor looked not wise. Ye Castel seemed
ye better Place.
"Lest he be curiously viewed of Many we did furnishe Other garb
and a Strong Bigge Cloake. And those who knew did safely lead him
through ye Towne.
"Ye honoured Relicks my Sonne and I did place in ye Spanish Chest
and convey by Lantern light to that safe Place beyond ye Walls. So
shall they Reste till happier Times shall Dawne.
"Strange that this Day should bring such Honour to Mine House."
Win's eyes grew interested and excited as he studied this message
from the past. For whom was it meant and why had it lain all these
years in the old Psalter? Did the Manor family know of its
existence? The prince, the castle, the town, mentioned by a Lisle
of Laurel Manor, must refer to events of island history.
After thinking a few minutes, Win drew out his notebook and made a
careful copy. Surely that was not abusing Max's hospitality and
could do no harm. If he discovered anything interesting in looking
up the matter in some history of Jersey at the public library, he
would share his knowledge. Or there surely must be books of that
kind here at the Manor. Perhaps he would be permitted to come
again and investigate this fascinating room more thoroughly. He
wished he knew Max better. If he only did, he could show his find
at once and ask for an opinion. Well, that might come later.
Anyway, it would be great fun to study the enigmatic paper and see
what he could make of it.
When Max came quietly a few minutes later, Win made no mention of
his discovery. Surprised to find it so late, he thanked his host,
and declared himself entirely fit to walk back to Rose Villa.
"Come again," said Max as they parted at the gates. "I know you
liked the library and that will please Uncle Dick. You must come
when he's at home and he'll show you all his special treasures."
Win went on with a happy face. That meant he would certainly have
another opportunity to browse in that fascinating old book-room,
and perhaps become so well acquainted with the Manor family that
he could share his puzzle with somebody who would be equally
interested in finding out what it meant.
CHRISTMAS IN JERSEY
Fran's "happiest day" soon dawned, for not long after the Orgueil
picnic, she and Edith were walking down one of Jersey's lovely
lanes. Enclosed by high ivy-covered earthen banks, it ran, a
straight white road between green walls, and so narrow that at
regular intervals, little bays were provided that carriages might
pass. Evergreen oaks, often growing from the banks themselves, and
drooping vines made the lane a bower of beauty even on a December
afternoon. The girls had stopped to admire the old Norman gateway
leading to Vinchelez Manor, when suddenly around a corner, bounced
the beach dog. Close behind came Constance Lisle and Maxfield
[Illustration: THE OLD NORMAN GATEWAY LEADING TO VINCHELEZ MANOR]
"We've been to call on your respective mother and sister,"
declared Connie, "and were desolated not to find the little ladies.
What luck to meet you! Max, you don't need an introduction, do
you, after playing Lord Lochinvar with both girlsat once?"
At this sweeping characterization, they all laughed and walked
along together, Tylo galloping ahead or falling behind as his
sweet will led.
"I'm giving a treat to the Sunday-school children after
Christmas," Connie confided, as at the end of a brisk walk, they
came to the parting of the ways. "I should like you girls, if you
will, to help me with the kiddies. The brothers are invited too,
if they would fancy it."
"Win would like to help," Frances said quickly, her face lighted
with pleasure at this request. "He's very good at things like
that, but Roger's only twelve, you know."
"Oh, Roger can hand buns," said Connie at once. "No harm if he
does tread on a few. I shall count on you then next week Thursday,
three days after Christmas. Take care not to stir abroad on
Christmas eve for that's when the Jersey witches hold their
meeting at the rock up by St. Clement's."
She waved a laughing adieu and the girls went back to Rose Villa,
bubbling over with pleasure and anticipation.
It was fortunate for Frances that she did have this expectation of
a visit to the Manor to buoy her spirits, for the season scarcely
seemed Christmas. Warm weather and plentiful flowers did not
appeal to one accustomed to the holiday in wintry Boston, but not
the weather alone disturbed Fran. For some foolish reason she
disliked intensely the differences of celebration that marked this
holiday in another land. Her state of mind both worried and
distressed Mrs. Thayne.
"Why, little daughter, don't you see the fun of having Christmas
under strange conditions?" she asked one evening, when she went to
investigate a sound of woe from Fran's room.
"No, I don't see any fun in it," replied Frances stubbornly. "I
could stand Thanksgiving, even though I had to go to school,
because Miss Estelle knew it was an important day to us and had a
turkey for dinner and put little American flags around. But
Christmas here in St. Aubin's, without Father, is too impossible."
Mrs. Thayne was silent for a moment. Then she sat down on the bed
and took Frances in her arms.
"Listen, now," she said. "I want you to think about somebody else
for a moment. There's Edith. Just remember how sad this season
must be for her and Estelle. Yet Estelle goes about with a smiling
face that gives me a heartache because her eyes are so pitiful.
She's planning hard to make things pleasant for us and to have it
seem Christmas to Edith. I know some of her plans, Fran. Then,
even if Father isn't with us, we know he is well and that it is
only a question of time before the _Philadelphia_ is where we can
be nearer. Win is always self-controlled and naturally he and
Roger don't miss the home conditions as you do, but their
enjoyment is going to depend largely upon their sister. Why, Fran,
you usually like new experiences and here they are looming thick
"That's just the trouble," sobbed Fran. "I don't want them all
piled on top of Christmas. I want to be with Grandmother and the
cousins. I can't believe it is Christmas when it's so green and so
"Many nice things are going to happen," her mother went on. "Just
think what fun you and Edith will have helping Miss Connie with
her school treat. You are going to find that very English."
Frances smiled. "Oh, I won't be a pig, Mother," she said at last.
"Miss Connie is a dear and of course we must make the boys have a
"The climate agrees so well with Win that I am very thankful to
spend Christmas here," replied Mrs. Thayne. "To-morrow, Nurse is
going into town to the French market and I think you will like to
go with her."
Win and Edith joined the marketing expedition next morning and
even Frances was impressed with the holiday spirit overhanging the
place. They left Nurse carefully inspecting fat geese in a
poulterer's stall and started to explore.
Any number of plump chickens and ducks hung about, together with
little pigs decorated by blue rosettes on their ears, a touch that
struck Win as extremely funny. In the vegetable market were heaped
huge piles of potatoes, scrubbed till their pink skins shone,
great ropes of red onions braided together by their dried tops,
turnips, artichokes, garlic, winter squashes, white and purple
cabbages, celery and egg plant and many varieties of greens and
early vegetables. The stalls themselves were prettily arranged and
fragrant with nice smells but their keepers were the great
attraction. Many were in charge of old women dressed in white
peasant caps and clean starched aprons above full wool skirts and
wooden sabots. Little tow-headed grandchildren, comical replicas
in miniature, smiled shyly or dropped bobbing curtsys as the girls
stopped to speak.
Fruit stalls proved even more fascinating with the hothouse
grapes, red, white, and dark purple, showing a hazy bloom. Fresh
figs and dates abounded, alternating with baskets of Italian
chestnuts and oranges, forty for a shilling. Every stall seemed to
have vied in decorations with its neighbor, being bowers of myrtle
and laurestinus. One sported a shield showing three leopards in
daffodils against a green background.
"Look at the English coat of arms," said Frances, catching sight
"That's not English," said Edith. "Those are the leopards of
Jersey, the old Norman insignia."
"I can't understand," observed Frances as they sauntered on, "why,
when Jersey belongs to England, it has a different coat of arms
and government and everything."
"Because the islands are all little self-governing communities,"
supplied Win. "It's a privilege they have always had, and even
England wouldn't dare take it from them now. Jersey is desperately
jealous of Guernsey. They say that even a Jersey toad will die if
it is taken to Guernsey."
"Neither will Guernsey flowers blossom here," Edith added. "Oh,
there's Miss Connie!"
The little lady of Laurel Manor was standing before one of the
flower-stalls, chatting in French with a very clean, rosy-cheeked
old woman in a white cap. Behind Constance stood a servant
carrying a basket and as the girls watched she purchased an
enormous bunch of daffodils, a sheaf of calla lilies, and a
quantity of narcissus.
"Isn't she sweet in that soft green suit," commented Edith
Turning from the stall, Connie saw and hailed them. "Have you seen
the fish-market?" she asked after greeting them gayly. "Oh, you
must not miss that. I always go there."
She led them past a long bench where sat several nice white-capped
old women beside huge baskets of spotlessly washed eggs or round
rolls of fresh, unsalted butter wrapped in cool green cabbage
leaves. Some of them nodded and smiled and once Connie stopped to
ask after a sick child. Everybody spoke in French and seemed most
kind and cordial.
Arrived at the fish-market, conger eels as big as Win's wrist, and
four or five feet long, crabs two feet across the shells, lobsters
blue rather than green, enormous scallops, huge stacks of oysters,
cockles and snails, the so-called winkles, greeted the astonished
eyes of the young people. In other directions were heaped piles of
smelts, plaice and unknown fish.
"These are what I dote on," said Constance, calling their
attention to piles of tiny crabs, neatly tied by the claws into
bunches. Most were alive, but owing to the fact that all chose to
walk in different directions, the bunches remained fairly
stationary. One might purchase two, four, six or a dozen,
according to the size of one's appetite.
"I'm so glad we met," said Connie, when in addition they had made
the round of the flower market and exclaimed over its treasures of
color and fragrance. "I thought of you this morning and wondered
if you young people wouldn't like to help decorate the church.
There are never too many helpers and we have ordered such lovely
greens and flowers. Several of us are to be at the church at two
this afternoon and you'll be very welcome if you care to come.
It's pretty work and we always have a nice time."
"Indeed, we should like to help," said Frances promptly. "Is it
Mr. Angus's church at St. Aubin's?"
"No, the one I mean is a tiny stone church not far beyond the
Manor. Just take the highroad inland from the village and turn
once to the left,"
"Oh, I know," said Win quickly. "It stands almost on the shore."
"That's it," said Connie. "I'll expect you then."
Win declared himself quite equal to helping with the decorations
that afternoon. When they arrived, the beach dog lay in the porch,
thumping his tail by way of welcome, so they knew his mistress was
already within. For a few moments, the three lingered to look at
the quaint French inscriptions on the churchyard stones, but
finally entered rather shyly. They were not given one moment to
feel themselves strangers.
"I'm delighted to see you," exclaimed Constance, coming down the
aisle with a long vine trailing after. "So glad you came. Rose,"
she called to a pretty young girl working near by, "here are some
helpers for your windows. Oh, you know Rose LeCroix, don't you?
She goes to your school. Win," she added quickly, "won't you come
and help struggle with this tiresome pulpit?"
Win followed at once, glad to see Max already busy over the
designated task, but Constance sent him to seek a certain wire
frame reputed to exist in the sacristy. Win found himself twining
myrtle wreaths around the pillars of the stone pulpit, yet
stealing constant glances at the interior of the old church.
Part of it was very ancient, with round Norman pillars and a
rounded vault, speaking of very distant days. Everything save pews
and choir stalls was of granite, its rosy color making the stone
seem warm rather than cold. Vines, holly and flowers heaped about
the interior emphasized by their ephemeral beauty the solemn
enduring majesty of the church itself. Ten or twelve young people
were working more or less steadily to the accompaniment of much
"Oh, Max, that's the wrong frame," Constance said suddenly.
Win turned to see her sorting lilies where she knelt on the
"This isn't Easter, ducky," she added. "We want a star, not a
Max smiled at Win, an indulgent, rather amused smile, and when the
proper frame had been substituted, came back to the pulpit.
"Tell me," said Win, indicating the stone vault. "What are those
little pointed things up there?"
"You mean the limpet shells?" asked Max, looking up.
"Are they shells?" said Win in amazement. "They looked it, but I
couldn't imagine how shells could be scattered about up there."
"Some thousand years ago when the original builders quarried this
stone from the Jersey shore, they didn't trouble to scrape off the
limpets that clung to it. Nobody has removed them since; now it
would seem sacrilege to do so."
"A thousand years!" repeated Win in awe. He stopped work for a
moment to look at the pointed shells on the roof.
"Does jar a fellow and makes him feel mighty transitory and
insignificant, doesn't it?" commented Max, with a friendly glance
of understanding. "I think there's no place quite like this
church. The Manor lies in its parish and Uncle Dick would know if
a single limpet was knocked off. The only time I ever saw him
really angry was once when some Americans--I'm an American, too,
you know, so I can tell this story--tried to bribe the verger to
scrape one down for them. There was rather a row and Uncle was in
a fine fizz.
"There's one interesting thing common to all these old churches,"
Max went on, seeing that Win appreciated the place. "The island is
divided into twelve parishes. From the church of each there was
originally a road, leading directly to the sea. In feudal times, a
criminal was safe if he took sanctuary in the church and by the
old custom, after he had abjured his crime, he could go down by
this one road to the shore and leave the island. But if he strayed
never so little aside, he lost the benefit of the sanctuary and
was liable to the law. Just imagine some old robber or cut-throat
marching down his path to the sea, escorted by the churchwardens,
with other men watching his every step, ready to seize him if he
swerved. Some of these sanctuary roads are still the main
"I think the island history is so interesting," said Win. "I
suppose it is a fact that Prince Charles did take refuge here?"
"No doubt of it," Max replied, looking critically at the almost
completed pulpit decorations. "Indeed, there is a story that he
was entertained at Laurel Manor. Ask Uncle about it," he added,
not noticing Win's start of interest. "He's awfully keen on that
legend. I suppose it is very likely true though I don't know that
there is any real proof. There, do you think her ladyship will
approve our efforts? Excuse me,--Connie wants her star put in
Left alone, Win stood thinking hard. So Prince Charles was reputed
to have visited Laurel Manor! What if that chance letter were the
proof? If so, was there not more in its message than confirmation
of the prince's stay? One thing was certain--he _must_ get
acquainted with Colonel Lisle.
So many industrious hands soon completed their task. After the gay
workers departed, Connie lingered for a last look.
"Come and see it to-morrow morning," she said to the three.
"Probably you'll wish to go into town at eleven, but come here for
the early service at six."
Edith looked doubtful. "Sister planned to go to St. Aubin's," she
"I couldn't come alone," said Frances, her disappointment showing
in her face.
"I'll come with you," offered Win so unexpectedly that his sister
"Good!" said Constance. "There'll be no music and only candle-
light, but you'll love it. I wouldn't miss it for the world."
That very evening Fran was forced to admit that a Jersey Christmas
had its compensations. The doors of the back parlor, mysteriously
locked for days, were opened and in the room, gay with holly,
mistletoe, and laurestinus, appeared a most delightful little
Christmas tree, itself rather foreign in appearance since it was a
laurel growing in a big pot. Real English holly concealed the base
and merry tapers twinkled a welcome.
Estelle had spent much time and thought, coupled with anxious
fears lest these young Americans whose lives seemed so sunny,
might not care for so simple a pleasure. Their appreciation, not
in the least put on for the occasion, quite repaid her.
Inexpensive little gifts adorned the tree, each bearing a number.
"Draw a slip," commanded Roger, appearing before his mother with a
box. "Take a chance and see what you'll get."
When all the slips were distributed, Roger as instructed by
Estelle, took a gift at random from the tree and called its
"Who has eight?" he demanded.
"Here," said Win, giving up his slip in exchange for the tiny
package, and presently laughing heartily over an absurd mechanical
mouse. Ridiculous misfits in the presents made the distribution
all the funnier, and the rejoicing was great when Roger, who
didn't believe in washing his hands without being told to do so,
drew a wee cake of soap. He took it good-naturedly and considered
as an added joke, Estelle's hasty and shocked assurance that it
was not meant especially for him.
Strange to say, some packages appeared on that tree of which
Estelle was ignorant, conveyed by Roger to the proper persons.
Edith was rendered speechless with joy over several lovely gifts,
and tears filled Estelle's eyes. Nor were Nurse and Annette
forgotten. The Thaynes had certainly lived up to the American
reputation for generosity.
Then Nurse brought a big bowl filled with darting blue flames. The
courageous shut one or both eyes, stuck in a fearful finger and
extracted a fig or a fat raisin. Egg-nog and roasted Italian
chestnuts completed Estelle's entertainment save for the holiday
dinner of roast beef and plum pudding to follow on the morrow.
Unexpected by Estelle, her plans were supplemented by a group of
parish school-children, led by the old organist, who came through
the streets, singing Christmas carols: "God save you, merry
gentlemen," "Good King Wenceslaus" and "As Joseph was a-waukin'"
In fascination Fran lingered on the steps long after the singers
were gone, pleased with her distribution of pennies from her
mother's purse and biscuit provided by Estelle. Far in the
distance she could hear their voices. Yes, after all, an English
Christmas had its points.
Next morning, Nurse's call seemed incredibly early to Frances,
though she found the whole household awake and exchanging
greetings. Mrs. Thayne decided to accompany Win and Fran, and
Roger alone remained in bed.
The stars still shone brightly, making it seem the middle of the
night, save for the hurrying groups bound for church, some still
singing carols or hymns.
"It's like October weather at home, isn't it, Mother?" said
Frances as they walked on through the crisp, clear air. "See,
there are lights in the windows and people leaving lanterns in the
The moment she entered, Frances understood what Connie meant by
not missing that service for "anything in the world," and Win felt
it even more keenly, being by nature more impressionable.
The utter quiet, broken only by a distant wash of waves,--waves
that sometimes broke over the stones in the churchyard,--the
candles in the chancel, throwing into high relief Constance's
Christmas star and touching with light the jonquils banking steps
and altar rail; the dusk in the nave of the church half-revealing
scattered groups of people as they knelt in silence under the
arched vault where clung the limpets dead a thousand years,--all
contributed to the age-old Christmas miracle.
"I feel as though I'd never realized what Christmas meant before,"
thought Win, and somewhat the same feeling came to Frances as her
eyes became accustomed to the gloom and she discerned among the
kneeling figures her fellow-workers of the day before. Half-way
down the nave was the family from the Manor, Constance and Max on
either side of a tall gray-haired gentleman. Fran recognized him
as the one who had spoken to Win that day in the Royal Square.
Win recognized him also, knew him to be Colonel Lisle and was
quickly reminded of that curious old document, as yet a mystery.
How he hoped Miss Connie's school treat would afford an
opportunity to meet the owner of the Manor and to take some step
toward the solution of that puzzle.
As the service began, Frances stole a glance at the windows banked
with glossy laurel and holly, over which she and Edith had worked
with Rose LeCroix and her sister Muriel. Just because she had
helped do something for that little church in a foreign land, Fran
experienced a sudden blessed feeling of belonging a bit. A
pleasant glow crept into her heart, a sense of the spirit that
makes the world akin at Christmas.
THE BUN WORRY
"I have helped you very nicely all the morning, Connie, and I hope
you appreciate my goodness. But as for messing about the lawn with
a bun worry in full blast,--thank you, Maxfield is not on. One
doesn't want to let one's self in for everything."
"Your goodness isn't such as to alarm me," sighed Constance,
casting a worried glance about the Manor green. "You're in no
danger of acquiring saintship. Dad has balked, too. What'll I do
"Being on toast yourself, why do you want to have me there?" said
Max mischievously. "Aren't all the Sunday school mistresses coming
to help and didn't you ask those nice American kiddies?"
"I did, and that's another reason why I want you," retorted
Connie, flying to adjust to her better satisfaction the basket of
narcissus decorating the chief table. "Max, I don't know where to
have you. Since you came from the States, I can't make out whether
you are English or American. Here you are shying either at an
English school treat or at some nice American children. Which is
"Neither, I think," Max replied after a survey of the close-
clipped lawn, boasting that velvety turf which only centuries of
care can perfect. Great groups of laurel proudly proclaimed the
right of the Manor to its name; carefully trimmed hedges of yew
and box protected borders already gay with spring flowers, and
beyond the grounds shimmered the sea. Max's glance was one of
affection, for this was the scene of many happy boyhood days.
"I think I'd shy just as quickly at an American tea-fight," he
said at length. "As for being neither English nor American, I love
both countries. I would certainly be loyal to my own, but I would
also take up arms for England, if the time ever came that she
needed me and the two duties didn't conflict."
"You're a duck," said Constance promptly. "Come, take up arms and
carry a basket of buns for me this afternoon."
"Too many petticoats coming," said Max. "I'm afraid of those
freaks from the rectory. But I'll agree to furnish a substitute
who will more than take my place. The kiddies will be thrilled to
a peanut. Come now, let me off?"
"I suppose so," agreed Constance. "Don't bother about letting me
down softly. Trot off and do anything you think you have to do.
Here are the Marqué children already. And there come the Thaynes."
"I will perform a vanishing act," said Max quickly. "Connie, I
really am booked for an hour with Uncle Dick, but I'll send that
substitute. Watch for him."
Constance looked after him suspiciously, but Max was already half
across the sunken garden, whistling to Tylo as he went.
"Are we too early, Miss Connie?" asked Frances as they came up.
"Just on the dot," replied Connie, greeting them all. "The
children are arriving. We will play games first and then have tea.
Excuse me, please, while I go and speak to the Reverend Fred."
Constance departed to greet the curate thus disrespectfully
designated, a youthful individual of rather prepossessing
appearance. Just behind him appeared Rose and Muriel LeCroix and
other girls whom Frances knew at school.
Soon the children came thick and fast, shy youngsters propelled by
older brothers and sisters, independent groups, a few babies in
arms, a scattering of older people.
Two white-draped tables by the yew hedge were the target for the
children's eyes as they wondered what those linen-covered baskets
concealed. There would be tea of course, buns in plenty, possibly
Presently the children, poked and pulled into line were started
playing London Bridge, two of the biggest girls forming the
For a moment Frances stood apart, watching the marching, shouting
youngsters, scrubbed till they shone, clothed in clean though
often clumsy garments and heavy shoes. No great poverty was
indicated by their apparel, and some, evidently of French origin,
were dressed with real taste and daintiness. These were also
remarkable for a more vivacious appearance than the stolid little
Anglo-Saxons. Some few were of striking beauty.
As one game succeeded another, the children grew less stiff and
self-conscious. The Reverend Fred was joining in the sport with
conscientious zeal, as were his two sisters and Edith and Miss
Connie. Fran caught the contagion and found herself flying about
the Manor lawn, tying a handkerchief over one child's eyes to lead
in Blindman's Buff, helping another group play King of the Castle,
finally organizing a game of Drop the Handkerchief.
With amused surprise she saw Roger actually helping Muriel LeCroix
with a number of the smallest children, and this fact so impressed
Frances that she failed to note Win's absence.
Her brother was not far away. Had Frances been nearer the opening
in the hedge, leading into the sunken garden in its season full of
roses, she might have seen an interesting picture, for with great
glee, Win was helping prepare for appearance Max's promised
Down in the rose-garden, where an old sundial marked "only the
sunny hours," the afternoon shadows grew long. The older people,
somewhat exhausted by strenuous play, seated the children in a big
circle ready for tea. From the Manor emerged Yvonne, Pierre, and
Paget, Constance's old nurse, armed with shiny copper cans, to
fill cups for distribution.
Frances seized a basket of buns and for a time was so occupied
with playing Lady Bountiful to a host of little hands, now rather
grimy, that it seemed quite natural to be sharing in this unusual
festivity. But as she was hurrying back to the table to refill her
empty basket, she met Edith on a similar errand. Suddenly it
struck her as very odd that she should be helping.
"This is the funniest affair I ever saw," she confided merrily.
"Why?" asked the puzzled Edith, lifting grave eyes to look at her.
"Don't you give the Sunday school children treats in America?"
"Oh, yes," admitted Frances, "but we'd never fill them up on weak
tea and buns. They'd expect ice-cream and cake."
Edith looked much shocked. "Ices are very dear," she remarked,
"and not fitting for these children. Would you really serve ices
in winter?" she asked incredulously.
"On the very coldest day of the year," asserted Frances
emphatically. "Oh, America is so _different_, Edith! Why there's
scarcely a town so tiny that you can't buy ice-cream any time of
the day or any time of year."
"It must indeed be different," Edith agreed. Basket refilled, she
returned to her charges.
For a minute Frances lingered, looking around at the circle of
hilarious children, each with a mug, more or less precariously
clasped, each stuffing big plummy buns; looked at the older people
so anxiously attending to them. Yes, it was very different, very
English, but also very interesting.
As Frances passed the entrance to the sunken garden, her basket
filled this time by solid-looking pieces of cake, she heard her
"Fran," came Win's voice, "call Tylo. Get him to come out on the
Frances called. She could see no one in the garden, only hear
amused voices trying to induce Tylo to answer the summons.
"He won't start," said Win again. "Ask Miss Connie to whistle for
On receiving Fran's message, Constance looked puzzled.
"I'd as soon Tylo would stop away," she said. "The kiddies may not
fancy him begging for their cake. Still, I'll call."
At the summons from his mistress, Tylo instantly came, causing a
sudden silence among the chattering children, silence succeeded by
wild shrieks of pleasure.
The beach dog emerged from the garden wearing a wreath of roses
around his neck, with an open pink silk parasol fastened to his
collar and tipped at a fashionable and coquettish angle over his
head and holding firmly in his mouth the handle of a basket filled
with as varied an assortment of English "sweets" as Max could
secure in his hasty gallop into St. Helier's.
Connie, too, gave an exclamation of laughter. "Oh, look at my best
Paris brelly!" she groaned. "Max stole that. Yvonne never gave it
Fully conscious that he held the center of the stage, Tylo
advanced, waving his tail and casting amiable glances upon the
children as they came crowding around, buns and cake forgotten. He
seemed perfectly to understand what was expected and held the
basket until the last sugar plum was secured by little searching
hands, then employed to caress the bearer. Max's substitute
certainly scored the greatest hit of the Manor "bun worry."
From their seclusion in the rose-garden, the two conspirators
watched Tylo's successful appearance.
"Let's come in and wash," said Max, seeing that no further
responsibility remained to them. "Or are you keen on a bun worry?
I like them, like them awfully, you know, but somehow, I'm afraid
Uncle Dick may be lonely. I feel it's my duty to look him up."
Win would have seen through this flimsy excuse without the
betrayal of Max's merry eyes, but the proposal chanced to be what
he most wished to do. Very gladly he followed Max through the
gardens to a side entrance to the house, where they went up to
Max's room, a high oak-paneled chamber that would have been sombre
were it not for three sunny mullioned casements overlooking the
sea. Cases crowded with books stood by the fireplace, fishing
rods, cricket bats and oars decorated the walls.
"Those aren't mine," said Max, noticing Win's glance as he stood
drying his hands; "only the skiis and racquets. This was Richard's
room, Uncle Dick's only son. He was a subaltern in the British
army, just twenty when he was killed in the charge on Majuba Hill.
They have always given me his room at the Manor. I fancy Uncle
liked to have it occupied by a boy again."
"Colonel Lisle himself must have done some fighting," observed
Win. "How did he lose his arm?"
"For years he was an officer in India. He lost his arm defending
the Khyber Pass against the Afghans."
Max took his guest down the main staircase to the great entrance
hall, with its high raftered roof, and stone floor half covered by
valuable Oriental rugs. Suits of shining armor lent glints of
light; curious spears, ancient swords and firearms, many of them
very old, were fastened on walls dark with age. Win stopped to
look at the carved mantel over the great fireplace, sporting the
leopards of Jersey, the Lisle coat of arms and the date 1509.
"Imagine living in a house built all those centuries ago," he
sighed. "This is older than the library, isn't it?"
"Somewhat," replied Max. "The wing here is the oldest part of the
house. Let's come to Uncle's study. I fancy he'll be there."
Colonel Lisle was lounging near the fire, but appeared very
willing to put aside his book and welcome the two.
"And have you had tea, Uncle?" Max inquired. "We haven't, and I
could do nicely with a cup."
"With all those gallons of tea on the lawn, it is a pity if an
able-bodied young gentleman couldn't secure one cup," said the
Colonel smiling. "Now you mention it, I believe I have had none
either. Ring the bell by all means and order it. I was absorbed in
verifying some points of old Norman law," he added to Win. "Our
islands have an interesting history."
"Win is pleased that Prince Charles has left his mark on Jersey,"
observed Max, giving the bell-pull a vigorous twitch. "Tell him,
Uncle, about his stopping here."
"Such is the legend handed down from father to son," replied the
Colonel. "The story goes that the prince was brought to the Manor
immediately after landing in Jersey. Just where he landed and how
he was conveyed here is not known, but his stay was short. The
owner of the Manor at that date, another Richard Lisle,--he whose
portrait hangs in the library,--was an ardent Royalist who would
have risked everything to serve his prince. Authorities agree that
Charles spent the period of his stay in one of the castles, some
say Orgueil, others Elizabeth. Probably the Manor roof sheltered
him but for a few hours. I should very much like to see the legend
of his stop in this house authenticated beyond question. Max tells
me you are fond of books," the speaker continued. "After tea, I
will show you some of our special treasures."
Win's face, already alight with interest, grew even more responsive
to this offer, yet as the tea came, he felt unaccountably stupid
and idiotic. Utter disgust with himself filled his mind to think he
couldn't get to the point then and there of telling his kind host
about that letter he had discovered.
Max noticed that Win was ill at ease, attributed it to shyness or
perhaps awe of the Colonel, who was, as Max put it, "a bit
impressive till a fellow knew him," and tried to help matters by
talking nonsense that amazed Win and evidently amused the Colonel.
Gradually, as he saw that Max was not in the least afraid of the
dignified owner of the Manor, Win began to feel less tongue-tied.
Presently came a sound of gay voices, a tap at the door and
Constance, the girls, and Roger entered.
"The tea-party is gone and in its place is peace," said Connie.
"Daddy dear, I want you to meet Frances and Edith. And this is
Roger. Max, why didn't you have tea with us and the kiddies?"
"Because of buns," said Max. "My bun-eating days are past."
"Not so long past!" retorted Constance with a mischievous smile.
"Not so many years ago that I bribed you with a penny bun to steal
a tooth for me out of a skull in the Capuchin church! He did it,
too," she added to the girls, laughing delightedly at this charge.
"You haven't been in Rome? The Capuchin monks have a church there
with some holy earth brought from Jerusalem. Years ago,--they
don't do it now, because modern sanitary laws have invaded Rome,--
the monks who died were buried in this earth. Only of course as
the centuries passed, there wasn't room for them all, so the monks
longest buried had to get up and give place to others. Their bones
were arranged in nice neat patterns on the walls, and the skulls
heaped in piles. It was a tooth from one of these skulls that I
fancied. Max ate the bun and stole the tooth for me, but Daddy
wouldn't let me keep it and made Max put it back."
"Oh, how could you ever want such a thing, Miss Connie!" exclaimed
Edith, shuddering with horror.
"I wonder, why did I?" said Constance reflectively. "It certainly
doesn't appeal to me now. Mother was shocked; she disinfected
everything that tooth had touched. Are you through tea, Daddy? I
want to take the girls into the library."
Once again in the old book-room, Win recovered his self-possession
in admiration of its treasures of illuminated missal and
manuscript. His interest pleased his host, who ended by cordially
inviting the boy to visit the Manor library whenever and as often
as he chose to come. Win's genuine delight over this permission
touched the Colonel, who from his own physical handicap, guessed
that life was not always smooth for Win.
Win's pleasure arose not merely from the enjoyment of the library
itself but because he would surely grow better acquainted with the
Manor family and have a more favorable opportunity to show his
discovery in the old Psalter.
He was very quiet on the way home and scarcely spoke while Fran
was giving her mother a graphic account of the afternoon. Win
hardly knew she was talking until his attention was caught by a
"Miss Connie told us something so exciting, Mother," Fran was
saying. "Roger asked her if there was a ghost. He blurted it right
out and I was quite mortified, because you know if they did have
one and were sensitive, it would have seemed impolite. But Miss
Connie said right away that the Manor had all modern improvements,
including a well-behaved and most desirable ghost. Then she and
Mr. Max looked at each other and laughed. She said the haunted
room was above the library and promised to give us a chance to
investigate some day. I wanted dreadfully to ask about secret
stairs,--you remember what that boy at Orgueil said--but perhaps
when we are looking for the ghost there will be a chance to speak
of the stairs."
"Indeed, you've had a most interesting afternoon," agreed Mrs.
Thayne, "the discovery of a haunted room at the Manor being not
"And what have you done all by yourself, _poor_ Mother?" said
Frances, suddenly sympathetic and affectionate.
"Part of the afternoon I was out and since then I have been
talking with Estelle. If she only felt she could, it would be so
much better for her to go more among people, for the constant
effort to be brave when she is so much alone, is very wearing. She
seems so pathetically grateful that we chanced to come to her this
winter instead of other less congenial lodgers. Sometime I hope
she will speak frankly of just how they are situated and whether
she has plans beyond this season, for I might be able to further
them. And I hope, too, I shall succeed in placing the something
familiar that always strikes me in Estelle. Have you ever noticed
it, Fran? To my surprise, Win said the other day that Estelle
reminded him of some one."
"No," said Fran. "I never noticed it. But I might ask Edith
whether they have any relatives in the United States."
"That could do no harm," assented Mrs. Thayne thoughtfully. "Since
Win spoke of it also, the resemblance must be to some one we know
Frances and her mother went away but Win sat thinking for some
moments. The mention of secret stairs recalled to him, though he
could not say why, that odd dream twice experienced since he came
to Jersey, of a search in a narrow unfamiliar passage, with
unknown companions, for something unspecified.
With a start he finally roused himself and went upstairs. Before
going to bed he read again the copy of Richard Lisle's letter.
"There's more to this than just the coming of the prince," he
thought. "That's a fact, but if that 'safe place' can be
discovered, I'll warrant we shall find the Spanish Chest and
whatever 'relicks' Richard and his 'Sonne' put into it."
THE MANOR CAVE
A few days after the school treat, Maxfield Hamilton was
sauntering slowly across the Manor grounds. The January sky above
shone blue as in a New England June, gay crocuses starred the
short green grass, snowdrops and bluebells were already budded.
From heights unknown floated the song of a skylark; in the holly
hedge sat an English robin.
Max heard the skylark but did not notice the robin as he stopped
at the gates to look down to the sea, stretching to shining
horizons under the afternoon sun. His face was thoughtful and
The robin gave a little cheep and Max turned to discover the bird
almost at his elbow, a tiny scrap of olive feathers and bright red
breast, considering him with soft wise eyes, head on one side.
"Hello, old chap," Max remarked. "What do _you_ think of this
From the tone, the robin might have inferred that the speaker's
opinion was anything but favorable. Considering him for a second,
he concluded him inoffensive and began to peck at the glowing
Max wandered slowly through the gates and across the Manorhold to
the shore, distant at this point about a quarter of a mile. Two or
three stone cottages with picturesque straw-thatched roofs lay
near the cliffs, property of the Manor and usually occupied by
With the thoughtful expression still on his face, Max passed the
cottages to stop on the edge of the cliffs already showing yellow
with gorse. Should the tide serve, he had it in mind to revisit a
haunt of his boyhood. A moment's scrutiny showed him right in
thinking that the tide was on the ebb and he started rapidly down
a rough, rather slippery path. As he rounded an outlying rock he
came full on Roger Thayne.
Sprawled flat on the sloping cliff, Roger was watching so intently
the doings of a spider that he did not look up until a shadow fell
squarely across the web.
"That you, Roger?" said Max. "Alone? Where are Win and the girls?"
"I don't know," replied Roger, flushing uncomfortably. "That is, I
don't know where the girls are."
"Win's not ill, I hope?"
"No, he isn't." Roger rolled over to look at his visitor. The
young face wore a pleasant smile and the gray eyes were friendly,
but somehow Roger had a suspicion that Mr. Max wasn't the sort to
approve outright truancy.
"Win's all right," he added evasively. "He's studying or
A queer little expression crossed Max's lips. "Then since you have
a holiday,--well-deserved, no doubt,--come on exploring with me."
Roger was on his feet in a second, the arrow of reproof glancing
off unnoted. "Where are you going?" he demanded.
"Oh, just down here a few rods. We may have to hold up for the
tide. It won't be low water for some time yet."
The faint path presently ended in piles of red granite, still wet
from the sea, in places slippery with vraic, as the Jerseymen call
the seaweed used as fertilizer for their land.
"We shall have to stop a bit," said Max, after a short steep
descent. As he spoke he sat down and began to crush a bit of vraic
between his fingers.
"This seaweed is one of the biggest assets the farmers have," he
said to Roger. "You'll enjoy being here in February when the great
vraic harvest comes. The farmers go down to the shore with carts
and a sort of sickle. At low tide the southern shore is black with
people cutting the seaweed from the rocks. The carts are used to
carry it up beyond tide-mark. Men, women and young people all turn
out and it's one of the sights of the island. The harvest lasts
for several weeks and for the first few days there is a continual
picnic with dancing and all sorts of jollifications."
"But I've often seen men gathering seaweed on the beach," said
Roger. "It isn't February yet."
"They are gathering the loose weed that is washed ashore. Any one
may take that between the hours of sunrise and sunset, but he must
stop at sound of the sunset gun. The cutting from the rocks is
regulated by a hallowed custom. In June there's a second harvest
when only the poor people may cut the vraic for a few weeks. After
they have had their turn anybody may cut it till the last of
As he concluded, Max threw away the seaweed and picked up one of
the abundant black flint pebbles. For some moments he amused
himself by striking sparks from it with the back of a knife blade.
"I haven't lost the knack," he remarked. "By the way, have you
found any flint knives? They turn up occasionally, though more
often inland than in a place like this. They are relics of the
days when the Druids were in Jersey. You've seen the burial
mounds, haven't you,--the Dolmens?"
"I have," said Roger briefly. "In Bill Fish's company. Liked the
stones all right enough, but Bill can't talk, you know. He
Max grinned. "Bad Writ, that," he agreed. "Come along. We can get
[Illustration: THEY CAME UPON THE LOVELIEST OF LITTLE BEACHES]
Climbing carefully around a slippery projecting rock, its base yet
submerged, they came upon the loveliest of lovely little beaches,
in shape almost a semi-circle, the water forming the bisector and
the frowning red cliffs the arc. Near the centre of the half-
circle stood two tall pinnacles of red granite. Behind them yawned
an entrance about five feet high and under this Max bent his tall
head. Roger followed and uttered a whistle of pleasure and
They stood in a large cave, floored by fine bright yellow sea
sand, broken irregularly by out-croppings of rose-pink rock, sand
and rock alike wet and glistening. Away to the back of the cave,
Roger saw that the floor rose higher. The roof was iridescent with
green and yellow lichens; pebbles of jasper, cornelian and agate
strewed the sand.
In the twelve years of his existence, Roger had never seen
anything like this and surprise rendered him inarticulate.
"Some cave!" he commented at length. "Look, Mr. Max, what are
"Oh, haven't you met any sea-anemones? The pools are full of them.
Jolly little beggars."
Roger was naturally less enthusiastic over the charming water-
gardens than the girls when they chanced upon them, but he was
considerably interested in the numerous and varicolored snails,
their shells bright green or delicate pink, truly entrancing to
pick up and examine. By the time Roger finished a somewhat minute
inspection his companion was out of sight.
"Hello!" he shouted in some concern.
"Right-oh!" came a quiet reply.
Bather abashed by the startling echoes he had evoked, Roger
climbed over fallen rocks to the back of the cave. There the floor
rose sharply, affording a level apparently beyond reach of the
tide, for some tiny land plants had found a lodging, ferns waved
from the crannied vault and there was no sign of any marine
"This used to be a favorite resort of mine," said Max, who was
sitting on the high ledge, some five feet wide. Beyond, the cave
ended in a mass of stone and rubble.
Roger's eyes grew wide. "What a dandy place!" he exclaimed.
"Not much compared with the Plémont caves," replied his companion.
"You'll probably go there before leaving the island. There are
five or six of them and one has a waterfall dividing it into two
distinct caves. Plémont is the spot where the cable comes in from
England, crawls out of the ocean like a great dripping hoary old
sea-serpent to trail through a cleft to the station on the cliff
above. This is a rat-hole beside those caves."
"I'll take steps to go there," said Roger earnestly. "Say, does
the water ever come up here?"
"I don't think so. Even at the spring tides, it would probably not
reach within two feet of this ledge. Only a rip-snorter of a
tempest could endanger goods stored here, or even anybody who
chose this cave to hide in."
"Some hiding-place," admitted Roger.
"So I've found it. When I was about your age, I came down here
because I was annoyed with the world in general and stopped
between two tides."
"Really?" gasped Roger. "Did you get wet?"
"Not a bit. I'll admit that things seemed spooky when I'd waited
so long that I couldn't get out. I took solid comfort in the ferns
and in a sea pink that had put out a scared little blossom right
where we are sitting. I was shut in the better part of six hours
and time proved a bit slow. I remember coming to the conclusion
that perhaps the people I'd left behind weren't so utterly
unreasonable after all. I fancy it's a rather sure sign that when
you can't rub along with anybody, the trouble isn't altogether
Roger looked at him suspiciously but Max's gaze was bent on the
cave entrance, arching over a wonderful view of blue sea.
"Do you like to live in Paris?" he asked hastily.
"I'd rather stop in Rome where my father is," Max replied,
suppressing a smile over the sudden change of subject. "But Dad
runs up occasionally. I feel as though I'd be more use in Rome
because there I know everybody who is anybody, you see, and it
would be a help to the Embassy. Dad thinks I may be able to work a
transfer after a year or so. If the Ambassador to Italy remarks to
the State Department at Washington that Maxfield Hamilton seems a
likely young chap with both eyes open and that he wouldn't mind
having him on his staff, why Max may receive a document telling
him to pack his little box and attach his person to the Embassy at
Roger laughed. "Then you don't like Paris?"
"Oh, yes," said Max thoughtfully. "I've had a jolly time socially.
I can't imagine anybody in my circumstances not enjoying himself.
But it's not where I most want to be. It's up to me to make good
so emphatically that they'll hand me on to Rome with a word in my
"I expect they will," said Roger.
"Not if I don't buckle down," said Max half to himself. "Something
happened last October that gave me a jolt and it has been hard to
stick to work. I came over here for the holidays determined to get
myself in hand again. I think I've succeeded, old chap, so I'd
better go back and dig in. A man mustn't whine, you know, if it
looks jolly final that he isn't going to have everything he wants.
I've wasted time enough. I must go back to Paris now and keep my
mind on my job."
"I bunked Bill Fish this afternoon," admitted Roger suddenly.
"No doubt he was a frightful bore," commented Max without showing
the least surprise. "Probably I'd have done the same in your
place. The only disadvantage about shying at disagreeable things
like tutors is that one hardly ever gets rid of them after all.
I'm becoming convinced that the only way to get round a difficulty
is to hit it in the head and walk over its flattened corpse."
Roger grinned. "Shall I bat Bill Fish?" he asked.
"Bill Fish might be worse. Don't blame you for feeling him a
freak, but the schools in Jersey are footy affairs. If you want a
fair sample of a school you'd have to try England proper. We've
messed about here long enough. Let's take a swim."
"Does the cave end here?" asked Roger, looking at the pile of
broken stone beyond the shelf.
"I suppose so. It's the only one on the Manor lands so Connie and
I liked to come. Uncle Dick wouldn't permit it unless a grown
person was with us to watch the tide. How about a dip? No one can
Max left the ridge to saunter toward the entrance, stopping to
investigate more than one pool of anemones. "By the way," he
added, "I wouldn't tell the girls of this cave. They'll be keen on
searching for it afternoons when they are free and you aren't, and
may get into a mess with the tides. Really it's not quite safe."
[Illustration: PLÉMONT IS THE SPOT WHERE THE CABLE COMES IN FROM
"All right," agreed Roger, sliding from the shelf. As he did so, a
sudden current of warm air struck him, quite unlike the rather
damp, salty atmosphere of the cave. His curiosity was sufficiently
aroused to cause him to stop and look back, but Max had already
begun to undress and there seemed no possible place for a sweet
land breeze to find entrance.
WIN VISITS THE LIBRARY
Max's abrupt departure two days later was a great disappointment
to Win, who admired him greatly and coveted a closer acquaintance.
That he should cut short his stay on the plea of work to be done
seemed reasonable to the others but his going quite upset Win. Nor
was this disappointment lightened by a period of semi-invalidism
when all exertion was difficult and patience very far to seek. Not
for some weeks after Max left was Win able to take advantage of
the Colonel's prized invitation to use the Manor library.
He made his first visit, fully determined to broach the discovery
of Richard Lisle's letter to either the Colonel or his daughter,
whichever should appear, but Yvonne, who admitted him with a
smiling welcome, reported neither at home.
Nor did fortune favor his second attempt. The Colonel was in St.
Helier's and Constance entertaining a group of young people on the
lawn. Win dodged these visitors and from the library windows
looked down upon a lively set of tennis. Players and spectators
alike seemed to know one another extremely well. The inference Win
drew was correct, that for some reason, the little lady of the
Manor chose just now to crowd her life with social engagements and
Time had been when Win didn't care to watch others play games he
could not share, but Win was learning that every life has its
compensations; when one is debarred from one thing, he is sure to
have another in its place. Without envy Win watched them for a
time before turning to the books.
His third visit was made on a morning in early February when
walking was rather difficult owing to a penetrating rain. Wintry
weather seemed to have visited the Island, but the cold was
deceptive, for though a heavy coat was acceptable, plenty of
flowers were in blossom, even a number of surprised-looking roses.
On reaching the Manor, Win was admitted by cordial Yvonne, who at
once conducted him to his sanctuary. The room was empty, but a
cheery fire glowed on the hearth, and on the long bare black oak
table stood an enormous copper bowl full of fresh daffodils,
making a spot of light and beauty in the sombre room.
Win spent a few moments warming his hands at the fire and
considering thoughtfully the back of the old Psalter in which was
shut Richard Lisle's letter. Perhaps opportunity would favor him
to-day, some chance be provided to show that discovery to either
Miss Connie or her father.
That its contents referred to Prince Charles was established
beyond doubt by the existing legend of his entertainment at the
Manor, but the letter said much more than that. Only some one
thoroughly familiar with the Manor and its possessions could
interpret further. As the rain beat on the terrace outside, Win
chanced to look up at the portrait near the fireplace, and
instantly recalled that curious dream.
"I dreamed all that stuff just because I've always been crazy to
go treasure-hunting," he thought, "and because that old Cavalier
was the last thing I saw before I went to sleep. Well, I might go
and read for a while."
With a glance of admiration at some fine old armor passed on the
way, Win went into the farther room to settle himself on the
comfortable window seat with a fat history of the island of
Fully an hour passed before the sound of low voices penetrated his
consciousness. Gradually he became aware that two people were now
occupying the seat before the smouldering fire. One was Constance
Lisle, the other some one Win had never seen before, a dark
distinguished-looking young man, evidently of foreign blood.
Connie was leaning back in the corner of the old settle, her white
dress and the neighboring bowl of daffodils standing out as high
lights in the shadowy surroundings. Her companion, beside her, was
bending slightly forward, his face turned eagerly toward hers.
Had he wished to listen, Win could not distinguish the low words.
That fact absolved him from the necessity of making his presence
known, for leave he could not without passing through the room.
Presently the young man raised his voice and Win realized that he
was speaking in Italian.
For the moment, interest in the present dismissed the past. Win
had heard the girls' chatter about their adored Miss Connie and
the romance attributed to her by Mrs. Trott, but boy-like, paid
very little attention to what he considered the foolish fancies of
sentimental kids. Now he was startled into sudden interest.
That stranger must be Miss Connie's Italian prince. Very handsome
and very much of a gentleman he looked and most earnest their
conversation. Yet even to an inexperienced observer, it was not
that of two happy young people, entering a sunny stretch of life,
but of a boy and girl confronted with some stern and very present
problem. Connie's hands were clasped too tightly, there was a
sense of strain in the poise of her head. Her companion's pose was
one of perplexity and doubt.
Win remembered what else he had heard of that rumored engagement,
not much to be sure, save that strong pressure was being put upon
the last of the Santo-Pontes in order to secure the estates and
title of a great Roman house to the church of his ancestors.
Presently Win realized that he had no right even to look on. He
turned his face to the storm and again buried himself in his old
A long time later he heard his name and Constance strolled alone
through the arch from the other room. She looked pale and tired
but otherwise composed.
"I didn't know you were here, Win," she said as she came to his
"I've been stuck in this book for ages. Miss Connie, I've found
the most interesting thing ever."
"What is it?" Connie inquired listlessly, wondering, but not
particularly caring whether Win knew of her interview with Louis
di Santo-Ponte. She looked sweet and wistful as she stood leaning
against the window seat, her mind down in the town where the boat
for St. Malo was getting up steam. "Tell me about it, Win," she
added, recalling her wandering thoughts. She liked Win as she
liked most young people.
"Come and see," said Win, replacing his history in its case.
Connie accompanied him to the fireplace in the main room.
"Did you ever look at that book?" he inquired, indicating the worn
"There are several thousand books here that I never looked at,"
said Connie promptly. "Max is the one who browses in this part of
the library. Ah, he's been here lately, reading his horrid old
German philosophers." With an air of disgust she pointed to the
blue-bound modern volumes.
"What is this book that interests you so much!" she went on,
taking It from the shelf. "Oh, an old copy of the Psalms. Look at
its odd type."
"It isn't the book that interests me," said Win, "but this paper.
I found it accidentally. Do read it, Miss Connie, and see what you
make of it."
After her first perusal, Constance grew as excited as Win. With
the deliberate purpose of putting her troubles from her mind, she
concentrated her attention on this discovery.
"The prince of course refers to Charles, because it is an
historical fact that he took refuge in Jersey," began Win.
"Yes, and there's the legend that he was entertained here at the
Manor," exclaimed Connie. "Why Dad will be crazy about this, for
it proves that story!"
"I hoped he'd be pleased," said Win happily.
"Oh, he will!" replied Connie. "Charles was just a boy, only
sixteen, at the time he fled from England."
"Ever since I saw two letters in the British Museum, Charles the
Second has seemed a very real person to me," said Win smiling. "Do
you know them, Miss Connie? One is from Queen Henrietta Maria to
Prince Charles, expressing great regret that the prince has
refused to take the 'physick' prescribed for him, and hoping that
he will consent to do so on the following day, for if he didn't
she should be obliged to come to him and she trusted he would not
give her that 'paine.' She had also requested the Duke of
Newcastle to report to her whether he took it or not and so she
"But what I liked best," Win went on, "was the letter Prince
Charles wrote. He evidently didn't reply to his mother, but sent a
note to the Duke of Newcastle in which he flatly refused to take
the 'physick' and advised the Duke not to take any either!"
Connie laughed. "That does seem a touch of real boy nature,
doesn't it? But I'm afraid Prince Charles was rather a rotten
young cub, not worth the affection expended on him nor the good
lives laid down in his cause. The Richard Lisle who wrote this
letter was my great-great--oh, I don't know how many times
removed--grandfather! It's plain that Prince Charles came here to
the Manor, was fed and provided with a change, and escorted to the
castle, probably Orgueil. But what the 'relicks' are and what the
'safe place,' I can't tell. Nor do I know what is meant by the
Spanish chest. If there was anything of that description around
the Manor I'd jolly well know it."
"Would Colonel Lisle know?" asked Win eagerly.
"I wonder, will he?" mused Connie after a pause spent in close
scrutiny of the document. "We'll ask. Anyway, he'll be awfully
interested because here it is in black and white that Prince
Charles was brought to the Manor. Win, it's storming desperately
and I'm bored to death. I'm going to send Pierre to St. Aubin's to
tell your mother that you won't be back for luncheon. We'll show
Dad your find and bring our united minds to bear on the problem."
Win was sorely tempted. The walk through the storm had taxed his
strength. Should he struggle back, the chances were that he would
be too tired for any lessons after his arrival.
"Your tutor won't matter, will he?" asked Connie. "You're not
expected to be so regular as Roger."
Wingate grinned. "I was thinking how angry Roger will be if he
finds himself the sole object of Bill Fish's attention this
afternoon. Thank you, Miss Connie. I want mightily to stay. I
ought not to have come up here today when it was storming, but
since I'm here the wisest thing is to wait for a time. And I'm
wild to know what your father thinks of this paper. I will send a
note to Mother if I may."
"I'll write, too," said Constance, "and I shall tell her that
we'll keep you all night if the rain continues. I need somebody to
play with me, Win. I'm jolly glad you did brave the storm."
ABOUT THE SPANISH CHEST
Roger's state of mind at finding himself destined to be the sole
object of Bill Fish's ministrations that afternoon was laughable.
He vowed to Frances that he also would take French leave and
bitterly denounced Win for absconding, declaring it a "put up
"Perhaps Mr. Fisher won't come," consoled Frances. "The storm has
really grown much worse since morning."
"Indeed he will," said Roger darkly. "Fishes like water. I only
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