Forgive me

“DENIS,” said Lord Clancarty laughing, “in five minutes they will be here and in ten I may be dead.” “Divil a bit, my lord,” said Denis hopefully, “unless you are kilt intirely.” But there was a strange look in the faithful Irishman’s eyes, a look of mute suffering. Lord Clancarty slipped a ring off his finger and gave it to him. “Denis,” he said, in an even voice, quiet and…

You do not love me

A SMOKING teapot and some cups of India ware adorned a table of polished mahogany, the very best tea service in the possession of the landlord of the Lion’s Head. And before it sat Lady Sunderland and her intimate, Lady Dacres. Opposite, Lady Betty was stirring a cup of chocolate. There was a little black patch on her white forehead and another on the tip of her rosy chin, and…

THE INN GARDEN

THE sun had not yet risen: earth and sky were softly gray and brown, with green where the meadows lay, and purple in the shadows. Morning, like a white flower with a heart of gold, opened in the east. Shafts of light—the sun’s gold-tipped arrows—quivered on the distant hills, while the vapors, smokelike and fantastic, floated along the level lands and the trees loomed spectre-like. It was chilly, too, with…

A NIGHT OF PORTENTS

ALICE was combing Lady Betty’s hair late that night. The two girls were in Betty’s bedroom, a solitary taper burning on the table. In this rosy twilight both faces showed indistinctly. Betty’s finery lay upon a chair near by; she wore only a flowing white robe over her night-rail, and one rosy foot, out of the slipper, rested on the rug. Her luxuriant hair falling about her almost hid her…

THE WEARING OF THE GREEN

THAT night was the night of Devonshire’s great ball and all Newmarket was agog, streets were blocked with fours and sixes—the great coaches jammed in rows, with fighting, swearing coachmen and postilions. As for the chairs, they were blocked in so closely that half the chairmen had black eyes or bloody noses in the morning; and the link-boys, let loose in this carnival, ran hither and yon, with their lanthorns…

The tall Irishman beside her

THERE was no finer race-course in the country in those days than the long heath at Newmarket, and there for years the court of England kept festival. Charles the Second came there, with a train of gay and dissolute courtiers and fair, frail women; there too came the more solemn James with much the same following, if a more decorous manner prevailed, and there came that silent, collected, small man,…

Precisely

IT was at night too, a week later, that Lady Betty’s coach rumbled up the long street at Newmarket. But no moon shone; instead, the rain came down in torrents and the wind dashed it against the glass windows and rattled and shook the heavy doors, while the horses slipped and floundered, knee deep in mud; the great coach itself lurched heavily out of one huge rut into another, and…

IN THE WOODS OF ALTHORPE

IT was after sundown and the light was dim in the great gallery of Althorpe. Candles were set in silver sconces at intervals down its whole length of over a hundred feet, but between lay soft shadows, and the pictured faces of many famous men and women, of sovereigns of England, statesmen, soldiers, and court beauties, looked down from the walls on either hand. Holbein and Van Dyke and Lely…

BROTHER AND SISTER

LADY BETTY shaded her eyes with her hand and looked out on the rose garden of Althorpe. At her feet the lawn was close clipped and green; beyond was a garland of many colors, roses by hundreds and tens of hundreds, the warmth and glow of the sun upon them; behind them, the long avenue of limes and beeches, and between the trees vistas of level land with the deer…

THE BLIND ONE

“Upon the road to Nikko, Where the pilgrims pray, Along the road to Nikko Either side the way, Thundering great camellia trees Decked with blossoms gay, Adorn the road to Nikko, The mountain road to Nikko, In the month of May.” The singer stopped singing and began to whistle. Then he broke out into prose. “Damn boots! I’ll be lame in another mile. Why can’t we be content with sandals…