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My ladys garter


MYLADY’SGARTER
ByJACQUESFUTRELLE
AUTHOROF
“THECHASEOFTHEGOLDENPLATE”
“THETHINKINGMACHINE”
“THEHIGHHAND”
RANDMcNALLY&COMPANYCHICAGONEWYORK
Copyright,1912,byCURTISPUBLISHINGCOMPANY
Copyright,1912,byRAND.McNALLY&COMPANY
TotheHeroesoftheTitanic
IDEDICATETHISMYHUSBAND’SBOOK
MAYFUTRELLE
MYLADY’SGARTER


PARTI
MYLADY’SGARTER
ONCEuponatime,nearlysixhundredyearsago—abouttheyear1344tobe
moreexplicit—HisGraciousMajesty,KingEdwardIII,guestofhonoratthe
grandannualballoftheLarryL.PlantagenetAssociation,pausedwhiledancing

withthebeautifulCountessofSalisbury,and,stooping,pickedupfromthefloor
—alady’sgarter!Itwasaribbonofdarkblue,edgedwithyellow—aslender,
shapelythingwithbuckleandpendantcunninglywroughtofgold.
Thecountessgasped,blushed,grabbedhystericallyatherleftknee,then
giggled!Evenbeautifulwomengiggle!Asmileranaroundtheballroom;the
smilebecameatitter.
“Honisoilquimalypense!”HisMajestyreprovedsharply.
Nowonemaytranslatethatadozenways:“Eviltohimwhoevilthinks,”or
“Shamebeuponhimwhothinksillofit.”Anyway,thosegayyoungbladeswho
hadbeenboningtheirFrenchwiththeideaofassistingEdwardIIItothethrone
ofFrance,discoveredsuddenlythattherewasnothingamusingintheincident;
andribaldlaughterdiedontheirlips.For,beitunderstood,inthosedaysit
wasn’thealthytolaughunlessthekinglaughedfirst.
Bendinggravely,HisMajestyplacedthegarteraroundhisownleg,theleft,just
belowtheknee,andthedancewentontotheend.Then:
“My—mygarter,please?”stammeredthecountessincharmingconfusion.
“Ishallreturnapairofthem,mydearCountess—apairdoneingold,”His
Majestytoldhergallantly.“Perchancetheremaybeajewelorsointheroyal
strongboxwithwhichtoadornthem.Youwillhonormebyacceptingthem.”
TheCountesscurtseyedtothefloor.
So,romanticallyenough,wasbornBritain’shighestorderofchivalry,theOrder
oftheGarter.Itsinsigniaisaslenderribbonofdarkblue,edgedwithyellow,and
overlaidwithshieldsofgold,uponeachofwhichisthemotto:“Honisoilqui


matypense,”ItspendantrepresentsSt.George,armored,onawhitehorse,
pokingalargespeardownthevermilionthroatofagreendragonwithabarbed
tail.Tenthousandmenhavediedforit.
JustwhatQueenPhilippa,Edward’scontort,hadtosayaboutitwhenher
husband‘appearedbeforeherwearinganotherwoman’sgarter,orhowthe
CountessofSalisburymanagedfortheremainderoftheevening,doesn’tappear.
These,togetherwithotherinterestingdetails,arelostinthemistsofantiquity.
Formanyyearsalady’sgarterlayamongthepreciousrelicstuckedawayinan
obscurecorneroftheBritishMuseum.Itdifferedfromthewidelyknown
insigniaoftheOrderoftheGarteronlyinitsapparentextremeage,andinthe
factthatdiamondsandrubiesweresetalternatelyinthesixshieldsofgold
overlayingtheribbon.Thiswasoneofthetwooriginalgartersgiventothe
CountessofSalisburybyHisMajesty,EdwardIII.
Somethinglikeayearsincethegartervanished.Obviously,ithadbeenstolen.



PARTII
THEADVENTURESOFTHEHAWK


CHAPTERI
LOVEistheoneimmutablequalitywepoorhumanspossess.Itisunchangingas
thewhitenessofsnow,ortherednessofroses,ortheblushofthedesertdawn.
Itsobjectmayalteralas,howoftenitdoes!butloveitselfisanessential.That
wasastruetenthousandaeonsagoasitisnow,andasitwillbetenthousand
aeonshence.So,perforce,thedelverintoemotionsmustbetriteinhis
expositions.‘Twasonlyawhimofthesombergoddesswhospinsthethreadsof
ourlivesthatsavedfromtritenesstheaffairIamabouttorecount.Onewonders
attimesiftheremaynotbeagrinningcountenancebehindFate’stragicmask!
Whocansay?
Inthisinstanceitappearsthatthegoddessacteddeliberately.Shehadan
afternoonofffromherspinning,andamusedherselfbyentanglingtwothreads
ofdestinyawhiteoneandablackone.ThewhiteonewasthatofS.Keats
Gaunt,poet,aesthete,andheirtomillions;andtheblackonewasthatofThe
Hawk,gentlemanadventurer,mastercrook,andall-aroundexpertinthe
legerdemainoftheft.Theresultofhercapricemusthaveamazedeventhe
goddessinallherinfinitesolemnity.
InthebeginninggeniusunboundIamreferringspecificallytothatrisingyoung
makerofverses,S.KeatsGaunt,familiarlySkeetshadpiercedtheempyreanand
inthatstarryvaultfoundtheIdeal;andhadshotflaming,love-tippedjavelinsof
poesywithsosureanaimthat,woundedandfainting,thatIdealhadfalleninto
hisarmsandnestledthere,smiling.Theholyfireofpassionburstintoiambics,
andodes,andepicsandthings;followingwhichwehavethespectacleofa
dreamy-eyed,longhairedyoungmangoingtohismillionairecoalbaronfather,
andstatingthecase.
Theinterviewtookplaceinhisfather’soffice,andatitsperoration,consistingof
twopasansshamelesslysnatchedfromShakespeare,JohnGauntswungaround
inhisswivelchairandstaredathissonscowlingly.Therewerealotofthings
aboutthissonofhisthathedidn’tlike;sometimeshecaughthimselfwondering
ifanybodydidlike‘em!Somefathersarelikethat.
“Andwho,mayIask,”hequeriedwithexaggeratedcourtesy,“whoisthelady
youhavechosentohonorwithsomarkedaner—er—”Hewasnevergoodat
prettyspeeches.


“HelenHamilton,”repliedthepoet.
“HelenHamilton?”JohnGauntrosefromhisseatwitharoar,andhisbigfists
wereclenched.“HelenBlazes!”Andhesatdownagain.
“Hamilton,”Skeetscorrectedmildly.
“Whatin!Youcan’t!Waseveraman!Why,inthename!”JohnGauntspluttered
onintosheerincoherency.Thereweresimplynowordstofitit,thatwasall.
Finally,withaneffort:“Youcan’tmeanthatsnippy,redheaded,littleturned-up
nosedaughterofofBrokawHamilton?”
“ImeanthemostbeautifulwomanGodevermade,”andthepoet’ssoulwas
swimminginhiseyes,“HelenHamilton,daughterofBrokawHamilton.”
JohnGaunt’sfaceblazedlikearisingsun;theveinsinhisthickneckswelled.
“No!”thevoiceofanangeredlion.
“Whynot?”Skeetswantedtoknow.“Herfamilyisasgoodasourownbetter;
herfatherhasasmanymillionsasyouhave,perhapsmore;hersocialposition
—”
“No!”JohnGauntbarkedagainthunderously.“No!No!!No!!!”
Theyoungmanaroseandstood,unemotionallypullingonapairofpale
lavendergloves.Hewasnotsurprisedattheobjection;hehadratherexpectedit,
becauseofanoldfeudbetweenhisfatherandBrokawHamilton.
“I’msorryyoufeelthatwayaboutit,”heremarked.
“Now,lookhere,Sammy,ifyou—”
“NotSammy,please,father.”
“Samuel,then,”andthebelligerentvoicesuddenlysoftenedtoapleadingwhine.
“Nowlookhere,Samuel,I’vealwaysbeenakindandindulgentfathertoyou,
haven’tI?”
“Isupposeso.”


“I’veletyouwearyourhairlonglikethat,andhaven’tsaidaword,haveI?”
“No.”
“AndIdidn’tobjectatallwhenyoubeganpartingyournameinthemiddle,did
I?”
“No.”
“I’veevencalledyouKeatswhenIremembered,haven’tI?”
Skeetsconcededthepoint.
“Andwhennobodywouldacceptyourpoetry,didn’tIbuyyouamagazineto
printitin?”
“Yes.”Adeepsigh,andthepoetdreamilybrushedthelongforelockfromhis
eyes.“Afterall,posterity—”
“Andhaven’tyoubeenprintingallyoucouldwrite?”JohnGauntwenton
hastilyheknewthatspeechaboutposterity.“Now,dobereasonable.Runalong
andplaywithyourmagazine.Cutoutthegababoutthissnippy,redheadedlittle
—”
“Pardonme!”andforaninstantthepoet’seyesforgottobepoetic.They
glittered.
“ThisthisabsurdideaaboutMissHamilton,”hisfatheramended.
“What’syourobjectiontoher?”
“Idon’tlikeherfather.”
“It’snotherfatherIwanttomarry.”
“Idon’tcarewhoitisyouwanttomarry,”JohnGauntragedsuddenly.“Ifhe,
she,oritisnamedHamilton,Iobject.Doyouunderstand?That’sall.”
“Thatisyourirrevocableanswer?”
“Yes.”


Skeetsstrolledoutoftheoffice.
Thefollowingdaythepriceofcoalwentup.JohnGaunthadtotakeitouton
somebody,soheputtheskidsundertheconsumer,andfelltowonderinghazily
ifhecouldfindafeasibleschemebywhichhemightstripBrokawHamiltonof
hismillions.
Skeetsspentforty-eighthourscomposingmoreiambics,andodes,andepicsand
things,allofthemdrippinggloom.Blackwasn’thalfblackenoughasasimile
forthemelancholywhichpossessedhim.
OnthedayofthatfatefulinterviewHelenHamilton,too,haddonethe
conventionalthingthatis,shediditasnearlyassheeverdidanything
conventionally.Anyway,shewenttoherfather.Hehappenedtobearailroad
magnate,likeandyetunlikethemasterfulJohnGaunt.Theirpointsof
resemblancewereageniusforaccumulatingmillionsandahatred,eachforthe
other,whichhadenduredstanchly,unfalteringly,foradozenyears.
Oddlyenough,BrokawHamiltonwas,atthemoment,engagedinworkingouta
planbywhichhehopedtoapplythescrewstotheGauntcoalintereststhrough
hisownmultiplerailwayconnections.
Hewasatabigdeskinhisstudyacuriousroom,litteredwitharticlesofvirtu,
andrareandelegantbric-a-brac.Itwasanobsessionwithhim,thiscollectingof
quaintartistictrifles,anythingthathappenedtoappealtohiscatholictaste
personalornaments,pictures,plate,jewels.Oneofthepaperweightsonhisdesk
wasthemummiedfootofanEgyptianprincess,andbesideitlayaheavy,
square-shoulderedcoinofthetimeofNero.Inasmallglasscasebesidehispen
rackwasanantiquated,mangygoosequillwithwhich,BrokawHamiltonliked
tobelieve,KingJohnhadunwillinglysignedMagnaCharta.Threeorfour
cabinetsagainstthewallwerefilledwithtreasuresgarneredfromthefour
cornersoftheworld.Oneendofhishousewasgivenovertothepicturesand
largerarticlesofhiscollection;hereinhisstudyhekeptthesmallerandmore
precious.
Thehobbyhadcosthimmillions,andhelikedtorecallthathehadgougedmany
ofthosemillionsoutofJohnGaunt.Theirwarfareofadozenyearshadbeen
bitter,merciless,continuous,withnoquarteraskedandnonegiven.Nowforthe
coupdegrace!Ifthisnewplanhewasworkingonturnedoutashewished,gad,


he’dmakeJohnGauntsquirm!Andhewouldcelebratetheeventbybuyingthat
Corothehadhiseyeon!Aquarterofamillionfrancs!Dirtcheap!
Helencamerompingintothestudy;shewasthekindofgirlwhoromped.Her
vigorousyoungmuscleswerewiryandindefatigable;shecouldfollowagolf
ballformilesandcloutitintheeyeeveryclip;orplaytennis,orridehorseback,
orswim,ordriveamotorcarorrepairit,forthatmatter.Altogether,anable
youngcitizenwasHelen,withaself-reliancethatwasinborn.Shewouldhave
beenastonishedifanyonehadeversuggestedtoherthatshemightneedhelpto
doathing.
“Hello,Pops,”shegreetedirreverently.“Areyoubusy?”
“Yes,very.”Hedidn’tlookup.
“IjustcameintotellyouI’minlove.”
“Yes,yes,”abstractedly.“Speaktoyourmotheraboutit.”
Helenperchedherselfonanendofthebigdeskasoneprivileged,andsatthere
swingingonefoot,nursingherknee.Hernosecrinkledcharmingly;asmall
nose,saucy,tip-tilted,piquant.
“Isay,I’minlove,”sherepeatedaggressively.“Youdon’tseemabitexcited
aboutit.Dopayattentiontome!”Sheleanedoverandcrumpledupthesheetsof
scrawlyfiguresuponwhichherfatherwasatwork.“Doyouhear?I’minlove!”
BrokawHamiltonwasusedtothispettytyranny.Hereachedforthecrumpled
sheets,knowingtheefforttobevain,thenwithasighdroppedbackintohis
chair.
“Inlove!”herepeated.“You?Pooh,pooh!Why,you’renothingbutachild!”
“I’mtwenty-one,”sheprotested.“Achild,indeed!Why,I’malmostanold
maid!”
Herfather’sthoughtswerefaraway….Therewerehundredsofthousandsof
tonsofGauntcoaltobehauledeveryyear.…Ifhecouldgetawaywiththis,and
keepoutoftheclutchesoftheInterstateCommerceCommission,why—”


“Well?”Helendemandedimperiously.“Whydon’tyouaskmewhoitis?”
“Whoisit?”obediently.
“He’sapoet!”triumphantly.“Imeanarealpoet—aregularpoetwhogets‘em
printed.”Sheunfoldedasheettornoutofamagazineandsmootheditonher
knee.“Nowjustlisten,please;andrememberIamtheHelenofwhomhe
speaks:
“‘OHelen,thyhairisanauraofgoldHelen!’”
“Soundslikeswearing,”complainedherfather;“that‘OHelen,’Imean.”
“Why,Pops!Ithinkitisperfectlyheavenly.Andthere’sawholepageofit.It
goesonlikethis:
”’Helen,thyhairisanauraofgold
OHelen!
OHelen,thineeyesholdasecretuntold
OHelen!
OHelen,thylips’”
“BestthingIeverheard,”interruptedtherailroadmagnatehurriedly.“So
original,too!Leaveit,andI’lllookitoversometime.I’mverybusynow.”
“‘Auraofgold!’Isn’tthatperfectlycorking,Pops?‘Auraofgold!’Shedetached
astrandofherhairandinspecteditcriticallybythesimpleprocessoflookingat
itcrosseyed.“ButIshouldhavecalleditred.Why,Pops,itisred—redasa
geranium.”
“Yes,yes,”heassentedabsently.Hiseyeswerecontracted,histhoughtsfaraway
again.
“Wouldn’titbescrumptious,Pops,tohaveapoetinthefamily?Hecould
composeodestoourbirthdays,andanniversaries,andandwhenthecookleaves.
AndI’msimplycrazyabouthim,Pops!It’sbeengoingonformonthsthepoems


inthemagazines,Imean,allofthemdedicatedtome.Please,mayIhavehim?”
Helencaughtherfather’sfaceinherstrongyounghands,andcompelledhimto
lookather.
“Whatdoesyourmothersayaboutit?”heasked,smiling.
“Well,shedoesn’tseemveryenthusiastic,”Helenconfessed.“Youknow,Pops,”
sheranoninagushofconfidence,“lotsofmenhavemadelovetome,andthere
wasn’toneofthemI’dhave.Why,Icouldn’tmarryamanwhomIcouldbeat
playinggolf,andtennis,andallthosethings.Butapoet!Yousee,he’sdifferent.
Onedoesn’texpecthimtotodoallthat.Hissoulisabovethosethings!He
wouldbewritingthingsaboutmealwaysoh,lovelypoems!”Sheleanedforward
anddabbedherrosylipsagainstthecorrugatedbrowofherfather.“Andhe’dget
‘emprinted,too!”
“Who,”herfatherinquiredfinally,withwonderfulpoetwho‘gets‘emprinted’?”
Helenpursedherlipsandswungasilkstockingedankleviolently.
“That’sjustit,”shesaid.“MothersaidwhenItoldyouyouwouldgoofflikea
setpieceataFourthofJulycelebration.”
“Icanimagineyourmothersayingthat,”commentedherfathersarcastically,
“justasyouhaveexpressedit.”
“Well,anyway,shesaidyou’dbeawfullyangry.”
“WhyshouldIbeangry?”hewentoncuriously.“Whoisyourpoetwho‘gets
‘emprinted’?”
“Youwon’tgetmadandbellow?”
“Whoishe?”
“SkeetsGaunt.”
BrokawHamiltonsatmotionless,regardingherforatenseinstant,thencameto
hisfeetwithangrilywrithinghands,followingwhichtherewasaseriesofvocal


explosionswhichfailedtoresolvethemselvesintowords.Helenwatchedhim
withapoutonherlips,anddisappointmentinherblue,blueeyes.
“There!”shesaidatlast.“Mothersaidyou’ddothat!”
“No!”bawledBrokawHamilton.“No!Athousandtimes,no!Thatpale-faced,
longhaired,squidgy-shoulderedshrimpthesonofJohnGaunt?No!”
Helenslidfromthedeskandenfoldedherinfuriatedparentinherarms;round,
brownarmsthatwereaboutassoftandyieldingasaasasteelcable.Sheheld
himuntilheceasedtostruggle,hereyesmeetinghispleadingly,hervoice
tenderlyalluring:
“Please,Pops!”
“No!”
“Prettyplease!”
“No!!”
“Prettypleasewithkissesonit?”
“No!!!”
Helenshookherrespectedfatherangrily,asaterriershakesaratshookhimuntil
theparentalteethrattledafterwhichshereleasedhimandstrodetothedoorwith
smoulderingeyes.Thereshestoppedandstampedasmallfootmajestically.
“Iwillhavehim!”shedeclaredhotly.“Iwill!Iwill!Iwill!AndIthinkyou’rea
meanoldthing,sothere!”
Havingrelievedherselfofthisrebellioussentimentshewentout,bangingthe
doorbehindher.Shespentthenexthourscoldinghermaid.Themaidsmiled
patiently;shewasusedtoit.
Thatwhichweareforbiddentohaveisthatwemostdesire.HadBrokaw
HamiltonandJohnGauntbeenaswiseintheworkingsofthehumanheartas
theywereintherailroadandcoalbusinessrespectively,theywouldhaveknown
parentalobjectionisaninfalliblemethodofbringingdoubtingheartstogether.


Fortheinevitablehappened.
Forty-eighthours’toilwitharhymingdictionaryandthesaurussufficedtoempty
SkeetsGaunt‘ssouluponwhitepaper.Itwasavastbitterness,andhespreadit
overreamsandreams;afterwhich,practicallyenough,hesentatelegramto
Helen.Itwastothiseffect:
“Myfatherobjects.
“SKEETS.”
Theanswercameimmediately:
“Sodoesmine.
“HELEN.”
Anhourelapsed;anothertelegram:“Let’selope.
“SKEETS.”
Theanswer:
“You’reon.
“HELEN.”
Tenminuteslater:
“MeetmeatSt.Regisforluncheonto-morrow.Wewillarrangedetails.
“SKEETS.”
Themessengerwentbackwiththis:
“I’llbethere.
“HELEN.”
AsIsaid,allthiswasinevitable,havingalreadyhappenedsomethousandsof
timesinevitableandtrite,merelyleadinguptothoseincidentswhichfollowed
thefirstentanglingofthelifethreadsofS.KeatsGaunt,poet,andTheHawk,


gentlemanadventurer.


CHAPTERII
HAVINGlinedhiscapaciousinnermanwithacoupleofpieswhichhehad
adroitlyfilchedfromakitchenwindowundertheveryeyesofthecook,The
Hawkdrewhisthreadbarecoatmorecloselyabouthimandmovedalongthe
roadsluggishly,likeagorgedsnake,seekingaspotwhereontolayhisweary
head.Itwasshortlyafterteno’clockatnight,andthebullyingwindwhichcame
whoopinginfromLongIslandSound,andbellowedthroughthebrightnew
greenleavesoftheoverhangingtrees,hadjustenoughchillinittomakeanight
intheopenunattractive.ThroughinterlacingboughsTheHawkcouldsee,too,
heavy,dampcloudsscuddingacrosstheheavens,growingmomentarilyblacker.
Afterawhileitwouldrain;nowhemustfindsomeindoorplacetosleep.
Realizationofthisimmediatenecessitybroughthimtoareflectivestandstill,and
helookedbackuponthescantilylightedroadhehadjustcome,tryingto
rememberifhehadpassedabarnoravacanthouse.Finally,shakinghishead,
heturnedandlookedtheotherway,ontowardthecityofNewYork,somedozen
ormoremilesoff.Acoupleofhundredyardsaheadofhimanelectriclight
glimmeredatabendintheroad.Beyondmightbetheveryplacehewas
seeking,sohetrudgedon,headdowntothewind.
EvildaysweretheseforTheHawk,lean,empty,profitlessdays.Occasionally,
throughthehazeofhalfadozenyears,hepermittedhimselftheluxuryof
recollectionrecollectionofthesplendidprodigalityofhisearlycriminalcareer
anendlesssummerofrosesandwine.Endless?Well,hardlythat,afterall.For
therehadcomeanend,abruptly,onemorningwhenheawoketofindthepolice
oftheworldspecificallyDetectiveMeredithofthecityofNewYorkhalloing
abouthisears.Thatday,sixyearsago,hehadforsakentheglorythathadbeen
hisandvanishedintooblivionwiththehoundsofjusticeyelpingathisheels.
ThegnarledfingerofTimehadwrittenmanychaptersinhislittlebooksince
thenchaptersofhardship,allofthem,butnotwithoutavail,forthatsamefinger
hadmadesomeerasuresaswell;andfinallythehoundshadbeenthrownoffthe
scentandhadreturnedtotheirkennels,beaten.Sonow,aftermen’smemories
hadlapsed,TheHawkwasdaringtogobacktothosescenesofhisearly
triumphsthegreat,glittering,relentlesscityofNewYorktolayheavytollupon
itforallthesebootlessyears.DaddyHeinzwasstillalive;hewouldbeginthere
withgoodclothes,cleanlinen,andasquaremeal.


InthedaysofhisgloryTheHawkhadbeenforemostinhisprofession.Hehad
stolensmilingly,audaciously,andincessantly,butalwayswiththefine
discriminatingeyeofanartist,disdainingthebootywhichfelltothelotofthe
commonplacethief.Inthosedayshehadspecializedinjewelsotherpeople’s;
nowhewasdriventofilchingpiesfromkitchenwindows.Itpainedhisaesthetic
soul.Intheolddayshishomehadbeenasuiteinafashionablehotel;nowhe
wasseekingavacanthouseandasoftspotinthefloorthereof.Intheolddays,
asGeorgeHarringtonLeigh,hehadwonandheldapositioninthesociallifeof
themetropolis;hehadbeenamemberofadozenormoreclubs,andawelcome
guestinmanyofthecity’sexclusivehomes;nowtheonlyplacewherehecould
besureofawelcomewasinacell.
Noonerealizedmoreacutelythanhethedisgraceofhisplungefromtheexalted
pinnacleGeorgeHarringtonLeighhadonceadorned.Thatbolddaringwhich
hadmystifiedandtantalizedthepoliceoftheworld,andhadultimatelymade
himthemostwidelysoughtcriminalofhisday,andthatsuperficialpolishwhich
hadgivenhimtheoutwardappearanceofagentleman,hadsloughedoffwiththe
name;byenvironmentTheHawk,namelessnow,hadbecomeasneaking,
cringingcreatureofdarkness,startledbyanunexpectedvoice,terrifiedbya
suddenfootstep.Sohehadlivedforhalfadozenyears,liveduntilherebelledat
themonotonoussqualorofitall.Hewasessentiallyluxuriousbynature;he
wouldchanceitall,andgobacktotheluxuryhecravedwrenchitfromthe
graspinggreedofNewYork.Whathadbeendoneoncecouldbedoneagain!
PhysicallyTheHawkwasmoreperfectlyequippednowthanhehadeverbeen
fortheparasiticcareerheintendedtorenew.Therotunditywhichhadcomefrom
fatlivingintheGeorgeHarringtonLeighdayshadgone;nowhewasslender,
almostboyishinfigure,inconspicuousofstature,lithe,powerful,sinewybuilt
likeasteelbridge.Thefacebeneaththescrubbybrownbeardwasstillyouthful,
thehairthickandwaving;thelipsboastedthesameoldinnocentsmile,andthe
eyeswereasguilelessasevershallowaswaterinapan.Fearofrecognition,
evenbyDetectiveMeredith,hisnearest,dearest,mostintimateenemy,hadlittle
placeinhiscalculations.Sixyearshadpassed.Inappearancehewasnolonger
themanDetectiveMeredithhadknowntheultra-fashionableGeorgeHarrington
Leigh.
ThereinthehighwayTheHawkpausedtothankhisstarsthattherehadnever
beenaphotographofhiminexistence,notevenavagrantsnapshot.Oncebefore
hehadthankedhisstarsforthisatthetimeofhisdisappearance,whenaworld-


widealarmhadbeensentoutforhim,andtherehadbeennopicture,onlya
description.Andaconvenientdescriptionitwasonethatmightbefittedtothree
menineveryten.
Introspectionwasbroughttoanendabruptlybythesplutteringofanautomobile
engine,andTheHawkmovedtooneside,outoftheroad.Thecarseemedtobe
justaroundthebend,screenedbyagreenblanketofshrubbery;andashewent
onhesawitsredtaillightskimmingofftowardtheglowing,cloud-reflected
radianceofthecityinthedistance.Idlyenoughhenotedthenumberofthe
automobile1234.Thenhisattentionwasattractedbysomethingelsethat
happenedtobeoffarmoreimportanceattheinstanta‘ToLet’signnailedtoa
gatepost.Obviously,herewasavacanthouseaplacetosleep.
Gloomingupbeforehim,somewhatbackfromtheroad,hemadeoutdimlythe
linesofanoldmansionsetinthemidstofwindworriedtrees.Withonequick,
furtivelookabout,TheHawkvaultedthelowfenceandskulkedalongthrough
theshadowstowardthehouse.Hiscat-likeeyestoldhimthatthefrontdoorhad
beennailedup,andthatalltheblindswereclosed.Good!He’dgetintheback
way.Somewherehe’dfindanunfastenedwindoworaninsecurelock,and,if
not,therewereotherways.
Helaidahanduponthecrossbarredtimbersofthebackdoorandtriedthem
tentatively.Theywereloose.Hepulled,andtheyfelloff.Hetriedtheknob.It
turned,andthedooropenedsilentlyinward.Hepeereddownthelong,blackhall
forhalfaminute,listening;therewasonlythecreakingandgroaningofthetrees
overhead.Hesteppedinside,andrecognizedinstantlythemustyodorofan
unoccupiedhouse.Heclosedthedoorbehindhim.
Oftheverynatureofthings,TheHawkwasnoiselessinhismovements,
noiselessnessbeingaprimerequisiteinthegentleartofthieving;sofromthe
momenthepushedopenthedooruntilhehadpassedalmostthelengthofthe
halltherehadnotbeenasoundnotsomuchasthewhisperofafootfall.Hisleft
hand,followingthewall,cametoanopendoor.Heturnedintoaroomand,
confident,tookthreeorfourstepsforward,peeringabouthimintheblackness.
Chillyenoughinhere,butbetterthanoutsideonanightlikethis.Anythingto—
Suddenlyhestoppedstill,crouching.There,hanginginthepallofgloomona
levelwithhiseyes,directlyinfrontofhimandnotmorethanadozenfeetaway,
wasasingleluminouspointtheglowingendofacigarettewithatendrilof


smokecurlingupward!TheHawk’smusclesflexedand,withhisgazeriveted
uponthepointoflight,heslidacautiousfootbackwardwiththeoneideaof
escaping.Surelyhisentrancehadbeensilent,whenthemansmokingthat
cigarettehadn’theardhim!Anothercautiousfootfollowedthefirstthedoorwas
here,somewhere,rightbehindhim;thencameaquick,violentcrash,andThe
Hawkfelthimselfgoingover.Hisheadstruckthewallwithawhack,whereupon
hewasregaledwithanastonishingastronomicalexhibition.
Furthernecessityofcautionwasgone.Hescrambledtohisfeet,extricated
himselffromthechairhehadstumbledinto,andranblindly,headlong,intothe
wall.Thefallhadknockedallsenseofdirectionoutofhim.Hetriedforthedoor
asecondtime,andagainhestruckthewall.Withoutfurtheradohedroppedflat
onhisfaceonthefloor.
“Don’tshoot!”hecalled.
Nowwouldcomearushoffeet,andlights,andexcitement,undercoverof
whichhehopedtoescape.Hewaitedwithindrawnbreath.Nothinghappened.
Instead,camedeadsilenceagainasilencethatseemedtobepressingdownupon
himasaweight.Astonished,heraisedhisheadandscrewedhisneckaroundin
anticipationoftheworst,whateveritmightbe.There,infrontofhim,wasstill
thelightedcigarette,motionlessasbefore.Thequietwassotensehecouldhear
hisheartbeat.
Slowlyfeargavewaytocuriosity.Whydidn’tsomebodystartsomething?A
deadmancouldhaveheardallthatclatter!
“Well,howaboutit?”hequeriedofthevoid.
Therewasnoanswer.AninexplicablechillrandownTheHawk’sspinal
column,andtoputanendtotheeerinessofithefishedoutamatchandstruckit,
holding^itfartooneside.Ifanybodydidshoothewouldshootinthedirection
oftheflame.Thefeebleflickershowedhimahugemarblemanteland,resting
uponit,alightedcigarette,nearlyburnedout.Onehastyglanceabouttheroom
assuredhimhewasalone.Thissettled,heglancedagaintowardthecigarette.
Lyingbesideitonthemantelwasasmallpackage,wrappedinwhitepaper.He
staredatitinquiringlyuntilthematchscorchedhisfingersandwentout.
Duringthatnexthalfminute,stillproneuponthefloorwithearstrappedforthe
slightestsoundandeyesstraining,hewatchedthecigaretteburndowntoastub


andthelightofitvanish,thewhilehedidsomethinking.Acigarettewouldn’t
burnmorethaneightortenminutesatmost,thereforethepersonwhohad
placeditonthemantelhadonlyjustgoneoutashehadenteredgoneoutofthe
housecertainly,otherwisetheclatterofhisfallwouldhavebroughthimback
intotheroom.Allofwhichledhisthoughtsbacktotheautomobile1234.
Evidentlyithadbeenstandinginfrontandtheperson,orpersons,whohadgone
awayinithadleftthiscigaretteandthepackage.
TheHawkarose,struckanothermatch,andpickedupthecigarettestub.There
mightbealingeringwhiffinit,andinthesedaysofhisdegradationhewasnot
abovesmokinganotherman’sleavings.No,itwastoofargone.Agood
cigarette,tooaRegenthesawbythegoldprintonthetip.Heheldupthepaper
parcelandshookitinquiringly,afterwhichheopenedit,disclosingawell,what
thedeucewasit?Abracelet?No.Aanecklace?No-o!Itwasaslenderribbonof
darkblue,edgedwithyellowandoverlaidwithshieldsofgoldinwhichthere
weresetalternatelydiamondsandrubies.Therewasapendant,tooSt.George
andtheDragon;andamottoinancientlettering,barelydecipherable:“Honisoil
quimatypense!”
Ithadbeenmany,manymoonssinceTheHawkhadheldajewelinhishand,
andhisfirstemotionwasoneofsheerdelightattheirridescentbeautyofthese
thedelightofaconnoisseurwhichembracednotonlythestonesbutthedelicate,
exquisiteworkmanshipofthegoldinwhichtheywereset.Thething,whateverit
mightbe,wasold,old!
Untilthematchburnedoutthespellheldhimdumbandmotionless.Thelightof
anothermatchrevealedasubtlechangeinhisface.Itwasnolongerthatofthe
connoisseur;itwasthatoftheexpert.Theguilelesseyeshadnarrowed;they
werefairlyaglitterwithavariceasTheHawkstudiedthestonesthreediamonds
andthreerubies.Atleastfivecarats,everyoneofthem,andflawless,aswellas
hecouldmakeoutintheuncertainlight.Afortunepickedoffamantelina
vacanthouse!
“Honk!Honk!”
Thecryofanautomobilehornjustoutsidecutcleanlythroughtheenshrouding
gloomandhauledTheHawkaroundtoarealizationofthenecessityofescape.
Thepersonorpersonswhohadleftthisthis,whateveritwashadcomebackfor
it!Hesnappedoutthematch,dartedthroughtheopendoorway,andspedalong


thehall.Heflungthebackdooropenwide,andaflyingleaptookhimthrough.
Justroundingthecornerofthebuilding,comingtowardhim,weretheshadowy
figuresofthreemen.Adozensteps,andTheHawkhadvanishedintotheparklikewoodsintherear.
“Halt!”cameasharpcommand.
TheHawk,intentuponbusinessofhisown,didnotanswer.Amomentlater
therecamethecrashofarevolver,andheheardabulletthudintoatreebuttat
hisright.
“Standguardatthatdoor,Fallon,”someonecommandedbrusquely.“We’llget
thischap!”
“This,”andTheHawklaughedblithelyasheran,“thisisnoplacefora
minister’sson!”


CHAPTERIII
IFtheCountessofSalisbury’sghostandacharmingspookitmustbe,tobesure!
Isay,iftheCountessofSalisbury’sghosteverlaysasideharporpitchfork,
whicheversheusesintheGreatHereafteraharp,ofcourse!Howrudeofme!
everlaysharpasideanddeignstostalkthismundanesphere;andifsheorit
happenedtobehangingaroundthatvacanthousethatnight,keepingawatchful
eyeoverthatgorgeoustrifle,thegiftofakingwhichonceuponatimeadorned
oneofhershapely—er—erknees,thensheoritmusthavebeenastonishedat
thethingsthathappenedastonishedand,perchance,indignantatthelayingof
profanehandsuponatrinketsopersonallyintimate.
Butinscrutableistheinfinite.Perhapsherspookwasn’tastonishedatall.
Perhapssheoritunderstoodperfectlyinwhatcircumstanceshergartercameto
beonthemantelinthatvacanthouse;perhapssheoritknewthatathiefwould
finditthere;perhapssheoritevenknewthatthatthiefwouldbeTheHawk;
perhapssheoritknewthattwodeterminedmenwiththeinstinctsof
bloodhoundswouldchaseTheHawkmorethanamileacrosscountry,upand
downalleys,inandoutofwoods,overfences,throughhedges;andthateverand
anonashefledhisspeedwouldbestimulatedbythepetulantpopofapistolin
hisrear.Perhaps,asIsay,thespookknewrightalongthatallthiswasgoingto
happen.
Anyway,thereisanendofallthings.ChanceledtheflyingfootstepsofThe
HawkintoanarrowstreetofavillageinTheBronx.Oneachsideofhimwasa
deephedgeofshrubbery,butTheHawkdidn’tmakethemistakethistimeof
goingoverorthrougheitherofthese.Instead,heranontotheendofthestreet
withhispursuersinsightahundredyardsback,turnedtohisright,leapedthe
hedgeimmediatelyafterhehadroundedthecorner,anddoubledbackthrough
theyardintherearofsomebigestate.Tensecondslaterheheardtheheavy
thud-thudoftwomen’sfootstepsbeyondthehedgeastheyrushedpasthimin
theoppositedirection.Theywerenotmorethanthreeyardsaway;hecouldhear
themblowing.
Listeningtenselyuntiltheyhadturnedthecorner,TheHawk,crouchingcloseto
theground,leaped,clearingthehedge,intothenarrowstreetthetwomenhad
justleft.Hedarteddirectlyacrossitandplungedrabbitlikethroughthehedgeon
theotherside.This,too,wassomebigestate.Herannoiselessly,yetearnestly,


acrossthewidevelvetylawn,aroundthemansionwhichloomedmagnificently
infrontofhim,andsettleddownonatreestumptogethisbreath.Thejeweled
garterwasstillclaspedtightlyinhislefthand,andhewasgrinningcheerfully,
withhistonguehangingout.Hispursuerswereboundfulltiltintheother
direction.
Tenminutespassed.Allsoundofpursuithaddiedawayinthedistance.The
deadnightswoopeddownuponhimsuddenly,atangibledarkness;apulsingof
watersastheyrippledmusicallycametohim,andacricketcriedunderhisheel.
Quitehimselfagainafterhisbreathingspace,TheHawkfelltobuildingcastles
intheair,thewhilehecaressedlovinglythelittletrinketthatwastochangethe
wholetenorofhislife.Howandwhereitcamefromhedidn’tknow;hewasn’t
sufficientlyinterestedtoevenwonderaboutit.Hewasengrossedin
contemplationofthefactthatitscomingmeantthattheleandayswerepast,and
hiddenunderanewnameandanewidentityhewouldagainassumethelifeof
luxurywhichDetectiveMeredithhadsorudelyinterruptedsixyearspreviously.
Alreadyhehaddriventhestartingwedgeintothisnewlife,thankstotheregal
generosityofEdwardIIIsomesixhundredyearsago,fornowinhisoutstretched
palmheheldjewels,coruscatinginthedarkness,worthworth,well,atthevery
lowest,tenthousanddollars,possiblytwenty,eventhirty.Allinallitwasavery
tidybeginning.Itwouldservetoreintroducehimtotheworldwherehisstarhad
oncebeenresplendent,andwiththerenewalofthosetiesofthepast,underhis
newnameofcourse,wouldcomefullopportunityforthedisplayofthosetalents
withwhichnaturehadendowedhim.ThereremainedonlytoseeDaddyHeinz
inordertoconvertprospectsintocoinoftherealm.
TheHawkroseimpulsivelyandshookafistattheglowingspectrumofNew
York.
“WhatIhavedonetoyou,”heinformedtheunsuspectingmetropolis,“isn’ta
markertowhatI’mgoingtodotoyounow!”
InhisventuresomelifeTheHawkhadhadmanysurprises,oneofthemwithin
thelasthour.Nowcameanother,asibilantwarningfromsomemysteriousrecess
ofthenightawarninginawoman’svoice!
“Sh-h-h-h!”Itwasalongaspiration.“Notsoloud,silly!”Thisinareproving
whisper.“Don’tmakeasound!”


MechanicallyTheHawk’smusclesgrewtautandathrilltingledthroughhis
nervefibers.Onlyhisheadmovedashisfurtiveeyessearchedthegloomforthe
sourceofthevoice.Hedidn’tmakeasound;thatwasoneofthebestthingshe
didnotmakingasound.Hemerelystared,stared,seekingtopenetratetheveilof
night,thewhilehisheelsfairlyitchedtobegoing.
“Comehereundermywindowandcatchthesethings,”cameacautious
command.Glancingupatthesuggestion,TheHawkmadeoutdimlyavague
splotchofafacesetintheblacknessofawindowframeonthesecondfloor.
“Anddohurry!”
Thetonewasimperious.TheHawkobeyedfromanimpulsehehimselfcouldn’t
haveanalyzed.Itmayhavebeensheerdaredeviltry;itmayhavebeenthelureof
thevoiceonecanalwaystellthevoiceofaprettywoman.Anyway,TheHawk
dartedacrosstheinterveningspaceandcrouchedcloseintheshadowofthewall
beneaththewindow.
“Nowcatchthis,andbevery,verycareful!”Heknewthewomaninthewindow
wasleaningout,holdingoverhisheadawhatwasit?Atrunk?“Ifyoucrush
this,ordropit,I’llneverforgiveyou.It’smybesthat!”
TheHawkdrewalongbreath.Themassiveboxsuspendedoverhimfell,likea
feather.Hecaughtitadroitlyandplaceditonthegroundbesidehim.Andhe
wasn’tatallsurprised.Itseemedthemostnaturalthingintheworldthathe
shouldbehauledupintheleeofastrangehouseateleveno’clockatnight
catchinghatsoutofawindowatthecommandofavoicewhoseownerhedidn’t
know,thewhiletwodeterminedmenwererippingtheearthopenlookingfor
him.
“Now,mybag,please,”camethevoiceagain.Hecouldreadinitthesweet
confidencebornofhisnothavingdroppedthehat.“It’sratherheavy.Be
careful!”
ObedientlyTheHawkgrabbedoutintothenightandrescuedasuitcase.Heavy!
Itnearlytookhimoffhisfeet.Obviouslyitwasfilledwithbricksororleadpipe,
orsomething!Hesetthebagonthegroundandlookedupagain,expectantly.
Cameapause.Fromthewindowaboveheheardarustleofskirts,cautious
footsteps,thenanimpatient:“Oh,fudge!WheredidIputit?”Hevolunteeredno
information,andamomentlaterablindingflashoflightshotoutthewindow


andwentstreamingoffintothedarkness.InstinctivelyTheHawkdrewcloserto
thewall,andforoneinstanttherewasagrippingfearathisheart.
Inthenextsecondhewasreassured.Aheadwasthrustoutofthewindow,a
girl’shead,curiouslydiaphanous,effulgenteven.Theoddnessoftheeffectwas
duetothebrilliancyofelectriclightsshiningthroughbrick-redhairfrombehind,
makingafluffy,puffycloudofheadandshoulders.Hegotonlyaglimpseofher
faceassheturned.Ofcourseshewaspretty.Hehadknownthatfromhervoice,
butherewasavisionthatanchoredhiminhistracks!Inonehandshehelda
smallbox.
“Nowcatchthis,”sheordered.Shewasstaringstraightdownathim,butthe
blazeoflightenvelopinghermadethegloomwherehestoodmoredense.“Put
thisinyourpocketandtakegoodcareofit.It’smyjewelcase.”
ShedroppedtheboxandTheHawkgrabbedgreedily.Jewels!Themagicofthe
wordbrokethewitchingspell.Heshooktheboxinquiringly.Jewelsandmore
jewels!
“Nowlistenjustaminute,”thegirldirected,andthelightdiedasshespoke.
“Theautomobileiswaitingtwoblocksaway.Now,whileI’mputtingonmycoat
andveilyoumustsneakdowntothestablearoundthecornerthereandgeta
ladder.Isimplycan’tjumpthisdistance.I’llbereadybythetimeyougetback.”
Gallantryisinborninmostofus,liketheappendix.ForascantinstantThe
HawkfeltitsspurandwastemptedshallIsaybythemelodyofthegirl’svoice
andthehauntingglimpseofherface?wastemptedtocarryouttheadventureto
theendiffornootherreasonthantogetanearerviewofHerLoveliness.But
coldreasondissipatedthiswhimbornofawoman’scharm.Whytakeidle
chanceswithakindlyFate?Hehadthejewels;hewouldhikeforthehighway
therestlesscityofNewYorkbeckonedhimon.
“Hurry,now!”commandedthegirl.
Uselesswords!TheHawkran,vanishinganinstantlateraroundacornerofthe
house;ranandranon,grippingthejewelcaseinonehandandtheCountessof
Salisbury’sgarterintheother.AnhourlaterhewasfivemilesnearerNewYork.
Tired?Why,heneverfeltsofreshandunfatiguedinhislife!Hehadstolena
quicklookatthecontentsofthejewelcase,andnearlyfaintedatthe
multicoloredglowtherein.


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