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The mischief maker

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Title:TheMischiefMaker
Author:E.PhillipsOppenheim
PostingDate:August29,2012[EBook#8878]ReleaseDate:September,2005
FirstPosted:August19,2003
Language:English
***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKTHEMISCHIEF
MAKER***

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THEMISCHIEF-MAKER
BY
E.PHILLIPSOPPENHEIM
AUTHOROF"THELIGHTEDWAY,""THETEMPTINGOFTAVERNAKE,""HAVOC,"ETC.
WITHILLUSTRATIONSBYHANSONBOOTH


1913


CONTENTS
BOOKONE

CHAPTER
ISYMPATHYANDSELFISHNESS
IIANINDISCREETLETTER
IIIARUINEDCAREER
IVABUNCHOFVIOLETS
VASENTIMENTALEPISODE
VIATTHECAFÉL'ATHÉNÉE
VIICOFFEEFORTHREE
VIIIINPARIS
IXMADAMECHRISTOPHOR


XBETTERACQUAINTANCE
XITHETOYMAKERFROMLEIPZIG
XIIATTHERATMORT
XIIIPOLITICSANDPATRIOTISM
XIVTHEMORNINGAFTER
XVBEHINDCLOSEDDOORS
XVI"HAVEYOUEVERLOVED?"
XVIIKENDRICKSISHOST
XVIIIAMEETINGOFSOCIALISTS
XIXANOFFER
XXFALKENBERGACTS


BOOKTWO

CHAPTER

ITHEFLIGHTOFLADYANNE
II"TOOURNEWSELVES"
IIIWORKFORJULIEN
IVASTARTLINGDISCLOSURE


VTHEFIRSTARTICLE
VIFALKENBERGFAILS
VIILADYANNEDECLINES
VIIIADECLARATIONOFINDEPENDENCE
IXFOOLHARDYJULIEN
XTHESECONDATTEMPT
XIBYTHEPRINCE'SORDERS
XIIDISTRESSINGNEWS
XIIIESTERMEN'SDEATHWARRANT


XIVSANCTUARY
XVNEARINGACRISIS
XVIFALKENBERG'SLASTREPORT
XVIIDEFEATFORFALKENBERG
XVIIITHEONEWAYOUT
XIXALLENDSWELL


ILLUSTRATIONS
"Really,"hesaid,"IthoughtbetterofHerrFreudenberg"
"Atleast,"sheremindedhim,"youaregoingtoseeMadame
Christophor?"
"Splendid!"hemuttered,risingtohisfeet."IfonlyIcandoit!"
"LetmepresenttoyouMonsieurBourganoftheFrenchDetective
Service"


BOOKONE


CHAPTERI
SYMPATHYANDSELFISHNESS
Thegirlwhowasdyinglayinaninvalidchairpiledupwithcushionsina
shelteredcornerofthelawn.Thewomanwhohadcometovisitherhad
deliberatelyturnedawayherheadwithamurmuredwordaboutthesunshineand
thefieldofbuttercups.Behindthemwasthelittlesanitarium,agraystonevilla
builtinthestyleofachâteau,overgrownwithcreepers,andwithterracedlawns
stretchingdowntothesunnycornertowhichthegirlhadbeencarriedearlierin
theday.Therewereflowerseverywhere—bedsofhyacinths,andbordersof
purpleandyellowcrocuses.Alilactreewasburstingintoblossom,thebreeze
wassoftandfulloflife.Below,beyondtheyellow-starredfieldofwhichthe
womanhadspoken,flowedtheSeine,andinthedistanceonecouldseethe
outskirtsofParis.
"ThedoctorsaysIambetter,"thegirlwhisperedplaintively."Thismorninghe
wasquitecheerful.Isupposeheknows,butitisstrangethatIshouldfeelso
weak—weakerevendaybyday.Andmycough—ittearsmetopiecesallthe
time."
Thewomanwhowasbendingoverhergulpedsomethingdowninherthroatand
turnedherhead.Althougholderthantheinvalidwhomshehadcometovisit,
shewasyoungandverybeautiful.Hercheekswereatriflepale,buteven
withoutthetearshereyeswerealmostthecolorofviolets.
"Thedoctormustknow,dearLucie,"shedeclared."Ourownfeelingssooften
meannothingatall."
Thegirlmovedalittleuneasilyinherchair.She,also,hadoncebeenpretty.Her
hairwasstillanexquisiteshadeofred-gold,buthercheekswerethinand


pinched,hercomplexionhadgone,herclothesfellabouther.Sheseemed
somehowshapeless.
"Yes,"sheagreed,"thedoctorknows—hemustknow.Iseeitinhismanner
everytimehecomestovisitme.Inhisheart,"sheadded,droppinghervoice,"he
mustknowthatIamgoingtodie."
Hereyesseemedtohavestiffenedintheirsockets,tohavebecomedilated.Her
lipstrembled,buthereyesremainedsteadfast.
"Oh!madame,"shesobbed,"isitnotcruelthatoneshoulddielikethis!Iamso
young.Ihaveseensolittleoflife.Itisnotjust,madame—itisnotjust!"
Thewomanwhosatbyhersidewasshaking.Herheartwastornwithpity.
Everywhereinthesoft,sunlitair,wherevershelooked,sheseemedtoreadin
lettersoffirethehistoryofthisgirl,thehistoryofsomanyothers.
"Wewillnottalkofdeath,dear,"shesaid."Doctorsaresowonderful,nowadays.
Therearesofewdiseaseswhichtheycannotcure.Theyseemtosnatchoneback
evenfromthegrave.Besides,youaresoyoung.Onedoesnotdieatnineteen.
Tellmeaboutthisman—Eugène,youcalledhim.Hehasneveroncebeentosee
you—notevenwhenyouwereinthehospital?"
Thegirlbegantotremble.
"Notonce,"shemurmured.
"Youaresurethathehadyourletters?Heknowsthatyouareouthereand
alone?"
"Yes,heknows!"
Therewasashortsilence.Thewomanfoundithardtoknowwhattosay.
Somewheredownalongthewhite,dustyroadamanwasgrindingthemusicofa
threadbarewaltzfromanancientbarrel-organ.Thegirlclosedhereyes.
"Weusedtohearthatsometimes,"shewhispered,"atthecafés.Atonewherewe
wentoftentheyusedtoknowthatIlikeditandtheyalwaysplayeditwhenwe
came.Itisqueertohearitagain—likethis….Oh,whenIclosemyeyes,"she
muttered,"Iamafraid!Itislikeshuttingoutlifeforalways."


Thewomanbyhersidegotup.Luciecaughtatherskirt.
"Madame,youarenotgoingyet?"shepleaded."AmIselfish?Yetyouhavenot
stayedwithmesolongasyesterday,andIamsolonely."
Thewoman'sfacehadhardenedalittle.
"Iamgoingtofindthatman,"shereplied."Ihavehisaddress.Iwanttobring
himtoyou."
Thegirl'sholduponherskirttightened.
"Sitdown,"shebegged."Donotleaveme.Indeeditisuseless.Heknows.He
doesnotchoosetocome.Menarelikethat.Oh!madame,Ihavelearnedmy
lesson.Iknownowthatloveisavainthing.Mendonotoftenreallyfeelit.They
cometouswhenwepleasethem,butafterwardsthatdoesnotcount.Isuppose
weweremeanttobesacrificed.IhavegivenupthinkingofEugène.Heisafraid,
perhaps,oftheinfection.IthinkthatIwouldsoonergooutoflifeasIliehere,
coldandunloved,thanhavehimcometomeunwillingly."
Thewomancouldnothidehertearsanylonger.Therewassomethingso
exquisitelyfragile,sostrangelypathetic,inthatprostratefigurebyherside.
"But,mydear,"shefaltered,—
"Madame,"thegirlinterrupted,"holdmyhandforamoment.Thatisthedoctor
coming.Ihearhisfootstep.IthinkthatImustsleep."
MadameChristophor—shehadanothername,buttherewerefewoccasionson
whichshecaredtouseit—wasdrivenbacktoParis,inaccordancewithher
murmuredwordofinstruction,atapacewhichtooklittleheedofpolice
regulationsorevenofsafety.Throughthepeacefullanes,acrossthehillsintothe
suburbs,andintothecityitselfshepassed,ataspeedwhichwasscarcely
slackenedevenwhensheturnedintotheBoulevardwhichwasherdestination.
Glancingattheslipofpaperwhichsheheldinherhand,shepulledthe
checkstringbeforeatallblockofbuildings.Shehurriedinside,ascendedtwo
flightsofstairs,andrangthebellofadoorimmediatelyoppositeher.Avery
German-lookingmanservantopeneditafterthebriefestofdelays—amanwith
fairmoustache,fat,stolidfaceandinquisitiveeyes.


"Isyourmasterin,"shedemanded,"MonsieurEstermen?"
Themanstaredather,thenbowed.TheappearanceofMadameChristophorwas,
withoutdoubt,impressive.
"Iwillinquire,madame,"hereplied.
"Iaminahurry,"shesaidcurtly."Besogoodastoletyourmasterknowthat."
Amomentlatershewasusheredintoasitting-room—aman'sapartment,untidy,
reekingofcigarettesmokeandstaleair.Therewerephotographsandsouvenirs
ofwomeneverywhere.Thewindowswerefast-closedandthecurtainshalfdrawn.Themanwhostooduponthehearthrugwasofmediumheight,dark,with
close-croppedhairandablack,droopingmoustache.Hisfirstglanceathis
visitor,asthedooropened,wasoneofimpertinentcuriosity.
"Madame?"heinquired.
"YouareMonsieurEstermen?"
Hebowed.Hewasverymuchimpressedandheendeavoredtoassumeamanner.
"Thatismyname.Praybeseated."
Shewavedawaythechairheoffered.
"Myautomobileisinthestreetbelow,"shesaid."Iwishyoutocomewithmeat
oncetoseeapoorgirlwhoisdying."
Helookedatherinamazement.
"Areyouserious,madame?"
"Iamveryseriousindeed,"shereplied."Thegirl'snameisLucie
Rénault."
Forthemomentheseemedperplexed.Thenhiseyebrowswereslowlyraised.
"LucieRénault,"herepeated."Whatdoyouknowabouther?"
"Onlythatsheisapoorchildwhohassufferedatyourhandsandwhoisdying


inaprivatehospital,"MadameChristophoranswered."Shehasbeentakenthere
outofcharity.Shehasnofriends,sheisdyingalone.Comewithme.Iwilltake
youtoher.Youshallsaveheratleastfromthatterror."
Itwastheaimofthemanwithwhomshespoketobeconsideredmodern.A
perfectandinvincibleselfishnesshadenabledhimtoreachthetopmostheights
ofcallousness,andtoremaintherewithoutaffectation.
"Ifthelittlegirlisdying,"hesaid,"Iamsorry,forshewasprettyand
companionable,althoughIhavelostsightofherlately.Butastomygoingoutto
seeher,why,thatisabsurd.Ihateillnessofallsorts."
Thewomanlookedathimsteadfastly,lookedathimasthoughshehadcome
intocontactwithsomestrangecreature.
"DoyouunderstandwhatitisthatIamsaying?"shedemanded."Thisgirlwas
onceyourlittlefriend,isitnotso?Itwasforyoursakethatshegaveupthe
simplelifeshewaslivingwhenyoufirstknewher,andwentuponthestage.The
lifewastoostrenuousforher.Shebrokedown,tooknocareofherself,
developedacoughandalas!tuberculosis."
Themansighed.Hehadadoptedanexpressionofabstractsympathy.
"Aterribledisease,"hemurmured.
"Aterriblediseaseindeed,"MadameChristophorrepeated."Doyounot
understandwhatImeanwhenItellyouthatsheisdyingofit?Verylikelyshe
willnotliveaweek—perhapsnotaday.Sheliestherealoneinthegardenofthe
hospitalandsheisafraid.Therearenonewhoknewher,whomshecaresfor,to
takeherintotheirarmsandtobidherhavenofear.Isitnotyourplacetodo
this?Youhaveheldherinyourarmsinlife.Don'tyouseethatitisyourdutyto
cheerheralittlewayonthislastdarkjourney?"
Themanthrewawayhiscigaretteandmovedtothemantelpiece,wherehe
helpedhimselftoafreshonefromthebox.
"Madame,"hesaid,"Iperceivethatyouareasentimentalist."
Shedidnotspeak—shecouldnot.Sheonlylookedathim.


"Death,"hecontinued,lightinghiscigarette,"isanuglything.IfitcametomeI
shouldprobablybequiteasmuchafraid—perhapsmore—thananyoneelse.But
ithasnotcometomejustyet.Ithascome,youtellme,tolittleLucie.Well,Iam
sorry,butthereisnothingIcandoaboutit.Ihavenointentionwhateverof
makingmyselfmiserable.Idonotwishtoseeher.Idonotwishtolookupon
death,Isimplywishtoforgetit.Ifitwerenot,madame,"headded,withabow
andameaningglancefromhisdarkeyes,"thatyoubringwithyousomethingof
yourownsowellworthlookingupon,Icouldalmostfindmyselfregrettingyour
visit."
Shestillregardedhimfixedly.Therewasinherfacesomethingofthatshrinking
curiositywithwhichonelooksuponanuncleanandhorriblething.
"Thatisyouranswer?"shemurmured.
Themanhadlittleunderstandingandherepliedboldly.
"Itismyanswer,withoutadoubt.Lucie,ifwhatyoutellmeistrue,asIdonot
foramomentdoubt,isdyingfromadiseasetheravagesofwhicharehideousto
watch,andwhichmanypeoplebelieve,too,tobeinfectious.Letmeadviseyou,
madame,tolearnalsoalittlewisdom.Letmebegofyounottobeledawayby
theseeffortsofsentiment,howeverpicturesqueanddelightfultheymayseem.
Theonlylifethatisworthconsideringisourown.Theonlydeaththatweneed
fearisourown.Weoughttolivelikethat."
Thewomanstoodquitestill.Shewastallandshewasslim.Herfigurewas
exquisite.Shewasfamousthroughoutthecityforherbeauty.Theman'seyes
dweltuponherandtheeternalexpressioncreptslowlyintohisface.Heseemed
tounderstandnothingoftheshiveringhorrorwithwhichshewasregardinghim.
"Ifitwereuponanyothererrand,madame,"hecontinued,leaningtowardsher,
"believe,Iprayyou,thatnoonewouldleavethisroomtobecomeyourescort
morewillinglythanI."
Sheturnedaway.
"Youwillnotleavemealready?"hebegged.
"Monsieur,"shedeclared,asshethrewopenthedoorbeforehecouldreachit,"if
Ithoughtthatthereweremanymenlikeyouintheworld,ifIthought—"


Sheneverfinishedhersentence.Theemotionswhichhadseizedherwere
entirelyinexpressible.Heshruggedhisshoulders.
"Mydearlady,"hesaid,"letmeassureyouthatthereisnotamanoftheworld
inthiscitywho,ifhespokehonestly,wouldnotfeelexactlyasIdo.Allowmeat
leasttoseeyoutoyourautomobile."
"Ifyoudaretomove,"shemuttered,"ifyoudare—"
Shesweptpasthimanddownthestairsintothestreet.Shethrewherselfintothe
corneroftheautomobile.Thechauffeurlookedaround.
"Whereto,madame?"heinquired.
Shehesitatedforamoment.Shehadaffairsofherown,butthethoughtofthe
child'seyescameupbeforeher.
"Backtothehospital,"sheordered."Drivequickly."
TheyrushedfromParisoncemoreintothecountry,withitsspringperfumes,its
softbreezes,itsrestfulgreen,butfastthoughtheydroveanothermessengerhad
outstrippedthem.Fromthelittlechapel,asthecarrolleduptheavenue,came
theslowtollingofabell.MadameChristophorstoodonthecornerofthelawn
alone.Theinvalidchairwasempty.Theblindsofthevillawerebeingslowly
lowered.Sheturnedaroundandlookedtowardthecity.Itseemedtoherthatshe
couldseeintotheroomsofthemanwhomshehadleftafewminutesago.Alark
wassingingoverherhead.Sheliftedhereyesandlookedpasthimuptotheblue
sky.Herlipsmoved,butneverasoundescapedher.Yetthemanwhosatinhis
roomsatthatmoment,yawningandwonderingwheretospendtheevening,and
whichcompanionheshouldsummonbytelephonetoamusehim,feltasudden
shiverinhisveins.


CHAPTERII
ANINDISCREETLETTER
ThelibraryofthehouseinGrosvenorSquarewasspacious,handsomeand
ornate.Mr.AlgernonH.Carraby,M.P.,whosatdictatingletterstoasecretaryin
anattitudewhichhisfavoritephotographerhadrenderedexceedinglyfamiliar,at
anyrateamonghisconstituents,wasalso,inhisway,handsomeandornate.Mrs.
Carraby,whohadjustenteredtheroom,fulfilledinanevengreaterdegreethese
samecharacteristics.Itwasacknowledgedtobeaverysatisfactoryhousehold.
"Ishouldliketospeaktoyouforamoment,Algernon,"hiswifeannounced.
Mr.Carrabynoticedforthefirsttimethatshewascarryingaletterinherhand.
Heturnedatoncetohissecretary.
"Haskwell,"hesaid,"kindlyreturnintenminutes."
Theyoungmanquittedtheroom.Mrs.Carrabyadvancedafewstepsfurther
towardsherhusband.Shewastall,beautifullydressedinthelatestextremeof
fashion.Hermovementswerequiet,herskinalittlepale,andhereyebrowsa
littlelight.Nevertheless,shewasquiteafamousbeauty.Menalladmiredher
withoutanyreservations.Thebestsortofwomenrathermistrustedher.
"Isthattheletter,Mabel?"herhusbandasked,withaneagernesswhichhe
seemedtobemakingsomeefforttoconceal.
Shenoddedslowly.Heheldouthishand,butshedidnotatoncepartwithit.
"Algernon,"shesaidquietly,"youknowthatIamnotveryscrupulous.Weboth
ofuswantsuccess—acertainsortofsuccess—andwehavebothofusbeen


contenttopaytheprice.Youhavespentagooddealofmoneyandyouhave
succeededverywellindeed.Somehoworother,Ifeelto-dayasthoughIwere
spendingmorethanmoney."
Helaughedalittleuncomfortably.
"MydearMabel!"heprotested."Youarenotgoingtobackout,areyou?"
"No,"shereplied,"IdonotthinkthatIshallbackout.Thereisnothinginthe
wholeworldIwantsomuchastohaveyouaCabinetMinister.Iftherehadbeen
anyotherway—"
"Butthereisnootherway,"herhusbandinterrupted."Solongas
JulienPortellives,Ishouldnevergetmychance.HeholdsthepostI
want.Everyoneknowsthatheisclever.HehastheearofthePrime
Ministerandhehatesme.Myonlychanceishisretirement."
Mrs.Carrabylookedattheletter.
"Well,"shesaid,"Ihaveplayedyourgameforyou.Ihavegoneeventothe
extentofbeingtalkedaboutwithJulienPortel."
Herhusbandmoveduneasilyinhischair.
"Thatwillallblowoverdirectly,"hedeclared."Besides,if—ifthingsgoour
way,weshan'tseemuchmoreofPortel.Givemetheletter."
Stillshehesitated.Itwascuriousthatthroughouttheslowevolutionofthis
schemetobreakaman'slife,forwhichshewasmainlyresponsible,shehad
neverhesitateduntilthismoment.Alwaysithadbeenfixedinhermindthat
AlgernonwastobeaCabinetMinister;shewastobethewifeofaCabinet
Minister.Thattherewereanyotherthingsgreaterinlifethanthegratificationof
soreasonableanambitionhadneverseemedpossible.Nowshehesitated.She
lookedatherhusbandandshesawhimwithneweyes.Heseemedsuddenlya
meanlittleperson.Shethoughtoftheothermanandtherewasastrangequiver
inherheart—averyunexpectedsensationindeed.Therewasadifferenceinthe
breed.Itcamehometoheratthatmoment.Shefoundherselfevenwondering,
assheswungtheletteridlybetweenherthumbandfore-finger,whethershe
wouldhavebeenadifferentwomanifshehadhadadifferentmannerof
husband.


"Theletter!"herepeated.
Shelaiditcalmlyonthedeskbeforehim.
"Ofcourse,"shesaidcoldly,"ifyoufindthecontentsaffectionateyoumust
rememberthatIaminnowayresponsible.Thiswasyourscheme.Ihavedone
mybest."
Theman'sfingerstrembledslightlyashebroketheseal.
"Naturally,"heagreed,pausingforaninstantandlookingupather."Iknewthat
IcouldtrustyouorIwouldneverhaveputsuchanideaintoyourhead."
Shelaughed;acharacteristiclaughitwas,quitecold,quitemirthless,apparently
quitemeaningless.Carrabyturnedbacktotheletter,toreopentheenvelopeand
spreaditoutbeforethem.Hereaditoutaloudinasing-songvoice.
DowningStreet.Tuesday
MYDEARESTMABEL,

Ihadyoursweetlittlenoteanhourago.OfcourseIwasdisappointedabout
luncheon,asIalwaysamwhenIcannotseeyou.Yourpromisetorepayme,
however,almostreconcilesme.
Themanlookedupathiswife.
"Promise?"herepeatedhoarsely."Whatdoeshemean?"
"Goon,"shesaid,withunchangedexpression."Seeifwhatyouwantisthere."
Themancontinuedtoread:
Iamgoingtoaskyouaverygreatfavor,Mabel.Whenwearealonetogether,I
talktoyouwithabsolutefreedom.Towriteyouonmattersconnectedwithmy
officeisdifferent.Iknowverywellhowdeepandsincereyourinterestin
politicsreallyis,andithasalwaysbeenoneofmygreatestpleasures,whenwith
you,totalkthingsoverandhearyourpointofview.Withoutflattery,dear,Ihave
reallymorethanoncefoundyouradviceuseful.Itisyourunderstandingwhich
makesourcompanionshipalwaysapleasuretome,andIrelyuponthatwhenI


begyounottoaskmetowriteyouagainonmatterstowhichIhavereallyno
righttoallude.Youdonotmindthis,dear?Andhavingreadyoumylittle
lecture,Iwillansweryourquestion.Yes,theCabinetCouncilwasheldexactly
asyousurmise.WithgreatdifficultyIpersuadedB——toadoptmyviewofthe
situation.Theyareallmuchtooterrifiedofthiswarbogey.ForonceIhadmy
ownway.OuranswertothislatestdemandfromBerlinwasapromptand
decisivenegative.Nothingofthisistobeknownforatleastaweek.
Iamsorryyourhusbandissuchabear.PerhapsonMondaywemaymeetat
CardingtonHouse?
Pleasedestroythisletteratonce.
Everaffectionatelyyours,
JULIEN.

Theman'seyes,asheread,grewbrighter.
"Itisenough?"thewomanasked.
"Itismorethanenough!"
Slowlyhereplaceditinitsenvelopeandthrustitintothebreast-pocketofhis
coat.
"Whatareyougoingtodowithit?"sheinquired.
"Ihavemademyplans,"heanswered."Iknowexactlyhowtomakethebestand
mostdignifieduseofit."
Herosetohisfeet.Somethinginhiswife'sexpressionseemedtodisturbhim.He
walkedafewstepstowardthedoorandcamebackagain.
"Mabel,"hesaid,"areyouglad?"
"NaturallyIamglad,"shereplied.
"Youhavenoregrets?"


Againshelaughed.
"Regrets?"sheechoed."Whatarethey?Onedoesn'tthinkaboutsuchthings,
nowadays."
Theystoodquitestillinthecentreofthatveryhandsomeapartment.Theywere
almostalienfiguresintheworldinwhichtheymoved,Carraby,therankestof
newcomers,carriedintopoliticallifebyhiswife'sambitions,hisownselfamassedfortune,andasortofsubtlecunning—averycommonsubstitutefor
brains;Mrs.Carraby,onwhomhadbeenplasteredanexpensiveandultrafashionableeducation,althoughshewasableperhapsmoreeffectuallyto
concealherorigin,thedaughterofarichYorkshiremanufacturer,whohad
securedapaidentranceintoSociety.Theywerepurelyartificialfiguresforthe
veryreasonthattheyneveradmittedanyoneofthesefactstothemselves,but
talkedalwaysthejargonoftheworldtowhichtheyaspired,asthoughtheywere
indeeddenizensthereinbyright.Atthatmoment,though,asinglenatural
feelingshooktheman,shookhisfaithinhimself,inlife,inhisdestiny.There
wasJewishbloodinhisveinsanditmadeitselffelt.
"Mabel,"hebegan,"thismanPortel—you'veflirtedwithhim,yousay?"
"Ihavemostcertainlyflirtedwithhim,"sheadmittedquietly.
"Hehasn'tdared—"
Aflashofscornlithercoldeyes.
"Ithink,"shesaid,"thatyouhadbetteraskmenoquestionsofthatsort."
Carrabywentslowlyout.Alreadythemomentwaspassing.Ofcoursehecould
trusthiswife!Besides,inhisletterwasthedeathwarrantofthemanwhostood
betweenhimandhisambitions.Mrs.Carrabylistenedtohisfootstepsinthehall,
heardhissuavereplytohissecretary,heardhisorderstothefootmanwholet
himout.Fromwhereshestoodshewatchedhimcrossthesquare.Alreadyhe
hadrecoveredhisalertbearing.Hisshoesandhishatwereglossy,hiscoatwas
ofanexcellentfit.Thewomanwatchedhimwithoutmovementoranychangeof
expression.


CHAPTERIII
ARUINEDCAREER
SirJulienPortelstoodinthemiddleofhisbedroom,dressedinshirtandtrousers
only.Thesofaandchairsaroundhimwerelitteredwithportionsofthebrilliant
uniformwhichhehadtornfromhispersonafewminutesbeforewithalmost
feverishhaste.Hisperplexedservant,whohadonlyjustarrived,wasdoinghis
besttorestoretheroomtosomeappearanceoforder.
"Youneedn'tmindthosewretchedthingsforthepresent,Richards,"hismaster
orderedsharply."BringtherestofthetweedtravelingsuitlikethetrousersI
haveon,andthenseeaboutpackingsomeclothes."
Themanceasedhistask.Helookedaround,alittlebewildered.
"DoIunderstandthatyouaregoingoutoftowntonight,SirJulien?"heasked.
"Iamgoingontothecontinentbythenineo'clocktrain,"wasthecurtreply.
Richardswasaperfectlytrainedservant,butthesituationwastoomuchforhim.
"Youwillexcuseme,SirJulien,"hesaid,"butthereisLord
Cardington'sdinnertonight,andthereceptionafterwardsatthe
ForeignOffice.Ihaveyourcourtclothesready."
Hismasterlaughedshortly.
"Iamnotattendingthedinnerorthereception,Richards.Youcanputthose
thingsbackagainandgetmethetravelingclothes."
Themanseemedalittledazed,butturnedautomaticallytowardsthewardrobe.


"Shallyourequiremetoaccompanyyou,sir?"heinquired.
"Notatpresent,"SirJulienreplied."Youwillhavetocomeonwiththerestof
myluggagewhenIhavedecidedwhattodo."
Richardswasnotmorethanordinarilyinquisitive,butthecircumstanceswere
certainlyunusual.
"Doyoumean,sir,thatyouwillnotbereturningtoLondonatpresent?"he
venturedtoask.
"IshallnotbereturningtoLondonforsometime,"SirJulienansweredsharply.
"Getonwiththepackingasquicklyasyoucan.Putthewhiskeyandsodaonthe
tableinthesitting-room,andthecigarettes.Remember,ifanyonecomesIam
notathome."
"Toolate,mydearfellow,"avoicecalledoutfromtheadjoiningroom."Yousee,
Ihavefoundmywayupunannounced—abadhabit,butmyprofessionexcuses
everything."
Themanstoodonthethresholdoftheroomopeningoutfromthebedroom—
tall,florid,untidilydressed,withclean-shaven,humorousface,unglovedhands,
andaterriblyshabbyhat.Helookedaroundtheroomandshruggedhis
shoulders.
"Whataninfernalmess!"heexclaimed."Comealongoutintothesitting-room,
Julien.Iwanttotalktoyou."
"Ishouldliketoknowhowthedevilyougotinhere!"SirJulienmuttered."I
toldthefellowdownstairsthatnoonewastobeallowedup."
"Hedidtrytomakehimselfdisagreeable,"thenewcomerreplied.
"However,hereIam—that'senough."
SirJulienturnedtohisservant.
"Getonwithyourpacking,Richards,"hedirected,"andletmeknowwhenyou
havefinished."
SirJulienfollowedhisvisitorintothesitting-room,closingthedoorbehindhim.


Hismannerwasnotintheleastcordial.
"Lookhere,Kendricks,oldfellow,"hesaid,"Idon'twanttoberude,butIam
notinthehumortotalktoanyone.Ihavehadarottenweekofitandjustabout
asmuchasIcanstand.Helpyourselftoawhiskeyandsoda,saywhatyouhave
tosayandthengo."
Thenewcomernodded.Hehelpedhimselftothewhiskeyandsoda,buthe
seemedinnohurrytospeak.Onthecontrary,hesettledhimselfdowninan
easy-chairwiththeappearanceofamanwhohadcometostay.
"Julien,"heremarkedpresently,"youareupagainstit—upagainstitratherhard.
Don'ttroubletointerruptme.Iknowprettywellallaboutit.Isaidfromthefirst
you'dhavetoresign.Therewasn'tanyotherwayoutofit."
"Quiteright,"Julienagreed."Therewasn't.I'vefinishedupeverythingto-day—
resignedmyoffice,appliedfortheChilternHundreds,andIamgoingtoclear
outofthecountryto-night."
"Andallbecauseyouwroteafoolishlettertoawoman!"Kendricksmurmured,
halftohimself."Bythebye,there'snodoubtabouttheletter,Isuppose?"
"Noneintheworld,"Julienreplied.
"There'snothingthatthePresscandotosetyouright?"
"Greatheavens,no!"Juliendeclared."Noonecanhelpme.I'venoonetoblame
butmyself.Iwrotetheletter—therethematterends."
"Andshepasseditontothatshockinglittlebounderofahusbandofhers!What
acreature!Diditeveroccurtoyouthatitwasaplot?"
Julienshruggedhisshoulders.
"Itmakessolittledifference."
"YouwereinCarraby'sway,"Kendrickscontinued,producingapipefromhis
pocketandleisurelyfillingit."Therewasnogettingpastyouandyouwerea
youngman.It'sadirtybusiness."


"Ifyoudon'tmind,"Juliensaidcoldly,"wewon'tdiscussitanyfurther.Sofaras
Iamconcerned,thewholematterisatanend.Iwascompelledtotakepartintoday'smummery.Ihatedit—thattheyallknew.Isupposeit'sfoolishtomind
suchthings,David,"hewentonbitterly,takingupacigaretteandthrowing
himselfintoachair,"butayearago—itwasjustafterIcamebackfromBerlin
andyoumayrememberitwasthefancyofthepeopletobelievethatIhadsaved
thecountryfromwar—theycheeredmeallthewayfromWhitehalltothe
MansionHouse.To-daytherewasonlyadullmurmurofvoices—asortof
doubtinggroan.Ifeltit,Kendricks.ItwaslikeHell,thatride!"
Kendricksnoddedsympathetically.
"Isupposeyouknowthataversionoftheletterisintheeveningpapers?"he
asked.
"Myresignationwillbeinthelaterissues,"Julientoldhim."Itwasprettywell
knownyesterdayafternoon.Ileaveforthecontinentto-night."
Therewasashortsilencebetweenthetwomen.Inasensetheyhadbeenfriends
alltheirlives.SirJulienPortelhadbeenasuccessfulpolitician,theyoungest
CabinetMinisterforsomeyears.Kendrickshadneveraspiredtobemorethana
cleverjournalistofthevigoroustype.Nevertheless,theyhadbeenmorethan
ordinarilyintimate.
"Haveyoumadeanyplans?"Kendricksinquiredpresently."Ofcourse,you
wouldhavetoresignoffice,butdon'tyouthinktheremightbeachanceofliving
itdown?"
"Notachanceonearth,"Julienreplied."AstowhatIamgoingtodo,don'task
me.FortheimmediatepresentIamgoingtolosemyselfinNormandyor
somewhere.AfterwardsIthinkIshallmoveontomyoldquartersinParis.
There'salwaysalittleexcitementtobegotoutoflifethere."
Kendrickslookedathisfriendthroughthecloudoftobaccosmoke.
"It'sexcitementofratheradangerousorder,"heremarkedslowly.
"IshallneverbelikelytoforgetthatIamanEnglishman,"Juliensaid."Perhaps
Imaybeabletodosomethingtosetmattersrightagain.Onecan'ttell.Bythe


bye,Kendricks,"hewenton,"doyourememberwhenwewereatcollegehow
youhatedwomen?Howyouusedtotryandtracehalfthethingsthatwent
wronginlifetotheirinfluence?"
Thejournalistnodded.Heknockedtheashesfromhispipedeliberately.
"Iwasaboyinthosedays,"hedeclared."Iamamannow,gettingontoward
middleage,andonthatonesubjectIamasrabidasever.Ihatetheirmeddlingin
men'saffairs,shovingthemselvesintopolitics,alwayswhisperinginaman'sear
underpretenceofhelpinghimwiththeirsympathy.They'reinevidence
whereveryougo—women,women,women!Theplacereekswiththem.You
can'tgoaboutyourwork,hourbyhourordaybyday,withouthavingthemon
everysideofyou.It'slikeapoison,thistrailofthemovereverypieceofserious
workweattempt,overeveryplacewefindourwayinto.Theybangthe
typewritersinouroffices,theyelbowusinthestreets,theysmileatusfromthe
nexttableatourworkadayluncheon,theycrowdthetubesandthecarsandthe
cabsinthestreets.Whythedeuce,Julien,can'twetreatthemlikethosesage
Orientals,anddumpthemallinoneplacewheretheybelongtillwe'vefinished
ourwork?"
Julienliftedhistumblerofwhiskeyandsodatohislipsandsetitdownempty.
"Inaway,you'reright,Kendricks,"heagreed."Yougotoofar,ofcourse,butI
dobelievethatwomenholdtoobigaplaceinourlives.Iamoneofthepoor
foolswhogoestothewalltogratifythevanityofoneofthem."
Thejournalistmutteredawordunderhisbreathwhichhewouldhavebeenvery
sorrytohaveseeninthepagesofhispaper.Julienhadmovedtotheopen
window.Therehadbeenalittlebreakinhisvoice.Nooneknewbetterthan
Kendricksthataverybrilliantcareerwasbroken.
"Ithinkyou'rewisetogoawayforatime,Julien,"hedecided."Lookhere,it's
sixo'clocknow.Ihaveataxicabwaitingdownstairs.Comeroundtomyrotten
littlerestaurantinSohoanddinewithme.YourfellowcanmeetusatCharingCrosswithyourthings.Youwon'tseeasoulyouknowwhereI'mgoingtotake
you."
Julienturnedslowlyawayfromthewindow.Hewaslookingforthelasttime
fromthoseroomsattheLondonwhichhehadloved.Thesettingsunhadcaught
thedomeofSt.Paul's,wasflashingfromthedark,placidwateroftheThames.


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