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blow in the chest as he came on un- jerked his thumb in the direction of able to stop. With a yell of rage the the empty pantechnicon.
“All yer foreman lifted his pistol and brought very dear pals, ole son. Like to see it down with a crash upon his op- 'em?" ponent's head. In a gray heap the Bindle looked puzzled; but when the trespasser dropped. Another match foreman had explained, his grin tranwas struck, revealing Sir Charles Cus- scended in its breadth and good-hutance's rubicund features, down which mor that of his superior. Then the a slow trickle of blood wound its way. foreman changed the style of his idiom,
“That's the lot, I s'pose!" commented and his subordinates went their ways the foreman grimly, as he bundled the as he had intended and directed that portly frame of the magistrate into the they should. van. Having done so, he addressed The foreman was just finishing his the interior at large, “I'm a-watching hreakfast by wiping a piece of bread outside, and if yer so much as kawf or round the plate, when there reached blow yer noses, I'll shoot through the him the sound of a motor-car chunksides with this 'ere damned ole blun- ing its way along in the distance. The derbus. D'ye 'ear, old cockies?" news of the night's doings had spread
With that he banged the doors to, rapidly, and a small crowd was colbarred and padlocked them, and sat on lected round the gates of Holmleigh. the tail-board watching the grayness Bindle grinned through the bars, and of the dawn steal through the trees, occasionally threw to the curious struggling to keep himself awake. He neighbors bits of information, The was still so occupied when, at half-past car approached and drew up. In it seven, a distant rumble announced the was a tall, spare man of about thirtyarrival of the expected pantechnicon eight or forty, with thin, angular feafrom Lowestoft. As it slowly lum- tures. He seemed surprised to see bered up the drive, the foreman the crowd; but turning the car through grinned, and he grinned more broadly the open gates drove slowly up to the when he saw Bindle slip off from the house. The crowd recognized the tailboard, followed by Ginger.
stranger as Mr. Richard Miller, the "Mornin', Bindle; mornin' Ginger," new tenant of Holmleigh. He nodded he called out politely. "Slep' well?” to the foreman, who immediately deBindle and Ginger grinned. “Now, scended from the tail-board and apone o' you two go an' get my break- proached. fast, and the other telephone for the
he said. perlice." The men stared at him. "You're 'ere earlier than I 'ad 'oped, "Ginger," he continued complacently, sir; but that's on the lucky side. I've "you'll find two eggs and some bacon been 'aving rather a lively night, sir." in the 'all, and a stove in the kitchen,
At this moment there was a an' a pot of coffee which only wants loud and continuous pounding from warmin' up. I'm 'ungry, Ginger-as within the pantechnicon that he had 'ungry as 'ell is for you, Ginger. Bin- just left. dle, give my compliments to the perlice “If you're not quiet I'll shoot, God at Lowestoft, and ast them to send forgive me, but I will," he yelled over four scarlet peelers over 'ere at once bis shoulder. Then turning to Mr. to take charge o' what I caught larst Miller he winked jocosely. “Gettin' a night.
bit impatient, sir. I've 'ad 'em there "Yes, Bindle, old sport, I've got 'em for several hours now. Ah? 'ere's the all-all in Black Maria,” and he perlice!"
As he spoke another car appeared meaning of this?" asked the Inspector round the bend of the drive, and an from Lowestoft. Inspector in uniform and three plain. “It means," thundered Sir Charles, clothes men got out.
who was the first to find his voice, "Now there's goin' to be some fun," "that we have been brutally and murhe chuckled to himself as, addressing derously assaulted by a band of rufMr. Miller, he told of the bappenings fians.” of the night before. When he had fin- “That's me and me only!". comished, the features of Bindle, who had mented the foreman complacently. been relieved by Ginger, were suffused “I'm the band, ole cockie, and don't with a grin so broad and good-humored you forget it." that it contrasted strangely with the "It means," said Sergeant Wrannock, astonishment written on the faces of “that having information that this the others.
house was packed with firearms, I “That's the story, gentlemen, and came to make investigation and there's my bag," jerking his thumb in "Got caught, ole son,” interpolated the direction of the pantechnicon. the foreman. "Four of 'em there are, I counted 'em “Hold your tongue!" shouted Mr. carefully, an' every one Charles Greenhales, in hollow, toothless Peace. You'd better be careful as voice, dancing with fury.
“Hold your you let 'em out," he added. "I 'adn't tongue! You shall suffer for this." time to search 'em. They came so At last, from the incoherent shoutquick, like flies in summer."
ings and reproaches in which the The Inspector breathed hard, Mr. words "German," "Spies,” “Herr Miller looked grave and concerned, the Müller," were bandied back and forth, plain-clothes men looked blank, Bindle Mr. Miller and the Inspector from looked cheerful, whilst the foreman Lowestoft pieced together the story of looked as a man looks only once in how four patriots had been overcome the course of his life. Deliberately by
foreman pantechnicon-man. he approached the tail of the van, un- The Inspector from Lowestoft turned did the lock, removed the bar, threw to Mr. Miller. open the doors, and stood quietly aside. “As a matter of form, sir, and in the For fully half a minute nothing hap- execution of my duty, I should be glad pened, then the portly form of Ser- to know if it is true that your house is geant Wrannock emerged.
full of arms and ammunition?" he "Wrannock!” gasped the Inspector asked politely. from Lowestoft. The Sergeant for- "Of arms, certainly, Inspector, most got to salute his superior officer. He certainly,” Mr. Miller replied.
“I am was humiliated. His collar was torn, supposed to have the finest collection one eye was black, and his nose was of firearms in the country. Come and swollen. Closely following him came see them, or such as are unpacked." Sir Charles Custance and Mr. Green- And the Inspector from Lowestoft hales, who between them supported looked at Sergeant Wrannock, and the Mr. Gandy, wheezing pitifully. All plain-clothes constables looked away were much battered. Sir Charles's from him, and Sir Charles and Mr. face was covered with blood, Mr. Greenbales looked lustfully round for Greenhales had lost his wig and his Bindle; but Bindle was not to be seen. false teeth, whilst Mr. Gandy had lost As the Inspector and Mr. Miller, with the power to move.
the foreman, entered the house, Sir “What in Heaven's name is the Charles and Mr. Greenbales walked
down the drive as men stupefied, leav. relating to them some biographical paring the host of the “Dove and Easel" ticulars of his hero-foreman. wheezing upon the gravel. Sergeant A little farther down the drive, edgWrannock watched the doorway ing its way cautiously nearer, was the through which his superior officer had crowd. Ginger had deserted his post; disappeared as a man might look who for the first time in his life he was a had suddenly been petrified by a great man of importance, whose words were borror, and the three plain-clothes men listened to with eagerness and respect. stood aside talking to Ginger, who was
Herbert Ives. Blackwood's Magazine.
BY PROF. GEOBGE SAINTSBURY. A day or two before I was asked to Some of the lights of its galaxy-gallery write this article, I happened to be had indeed not yet appeared, or were reading a book (the subject does not hardly settled in their place and magmatter) which was published in 1854. nitude by astronomers. Mr. George The lithograph-illustrated paper-boards Meredith had produced nothing but in which, after a fashion of the time, verse.
Charlotte Brontë's brief life it was bound, were somewhat dilapi- was all but over, and her too scanty dated, and even more soiled, as was work practically done, but she had not natural; but on the end-papers there been registered in any part of public was pasted, almost as fresh as if it opinion as "greatest”-if as "great." had been printed yesterday, a pink ad- George Eliot had not begun. Reade, vertisement-slip informing the public and Kingsley, and Trollope had; so that they could now buy “The Works also had Mrs. Gaskell. But “Westof ENGLAND'S GREATEST LIVING ward Ho!" was only of this very year; NOVELIST" (the three first words in "The Warden" of the next; and “It Is small, the last in large caps) for "a Never Too Late to Mend” of the year sum very often given merely to read after that. There were only three them," to wit eighteenpence a volume. writers of fiction who (without the The pecuniary estimate was somewhat aforesaid absurdity) could be de excessive; for, so far as I remember, scribed in the words quoted—Bulwer, even seaside circulating libraries did Dickens, and Thackeray. The first, not make you pay sixpence a volume after writing novels in great numbers, for three-volume books, though they and in considerable variety, for nearly. often, and wisely, did insist on a "de thirty years, had just—with that cuposit." But that is not the present rious versatility of his which has not point of interest, which concerns an- always been duly recognized-taken other estimate in another line of value. to a fresh style in “My Novel.” DickWho could—without absurdity even in ens had just finished “Bleak House," the mouths of his own publishers, and was beginning to make his more be called "England's greatest living critical admirers look rather uneasily novelist" in the year 1854?
at each other as to “Hard Times." It was, of course, a great period of Thackeray, after an almost unexamnovel-writing; it is probable that pled struggle of nearly twenty years, Prince Posterity will allow it to be the not merely with public coldness, but greatest
known in England. with certain strange hampers of temperament and craftsmanship on his great deal of work which never has own part, had at last and for some been, and hardly ever can be, in any seven years "got himself ready" and wide sense popular. But whether it with the four great victories of “Van- has grown in due proportion to the inity Fair,” “Pendennis," "Esmond," and crease of reading and of the book"The Newcomes" had conquered his trade, is a point on which I am very place.
uncertain. Nor is it possible to be Not, however, with our friend of the much more positive as to the position pink advertisement. He thought-not of what I have called the weight-carrymerely as it was his duty, being a ing vote. It is still very considerable; puffmaker, to do, but in common with the really competent critic, professional a very large number of the people of or amateur, who like Matthew Arnold England itself—that Bulwer was the "does not think Thackeray a great greatest living novelist. I say that writer," must be, as Matthew Arnold a great number of people would have himself, by the usual irony of Fate, agreed with him, and I am by no undoubtedly was, a slave of Caprice of means sure that it would not have been one sort or another. But I rather the greatest number. At any rate doubt whether, if you could catch in a Bulwer would have had, so far as net the exceedingly undulating and mere popularity went, only Dickens to diverse body of persons who intellicontend with. If you weighed the gently like literature, and know somevotes, instead of counting them, thing about it, and could poll them, the Thackeray might have had more than voters for Thackeray would be quite a chance; but, on a general poll of the SO numerous in proportion as they never-mind-how-many-millions mostly would have been had a similar process never-mind-what, he would certainly been carried out, say, thirty years ago. not have had the faintest.
At any rate, if there were a decrease How far that chance would have it would not surprise me, for reasons been increased since must be a matter which, except perhaps by some future of individual and rather hazardous cal- glances, it would be impertinent to give culation. Bulwer, indeed, must have in this place. dropped pretty well out of the running I need, however, hardly say that this for a long time. I fancy he had done test of popularity (that is to say, of so, despite the extraordinary clever- general vogue at any particnlar moness of his latest books, even before ment) is, on any really critical estihis own death. He never quite won mate, merely curious and hardly in the weight-carrying votes; and "A the least important. Nothing like sufStrange Story” was about his last suc- ficient time has passed for anything cessful appeal to the numbers. Dick- like a sufficient perspective to have ens, I suppose, has held his own pretty been attained or established. Beginsteadily, both as regards the quantity nings of centuries have often had a and the quality of the admiration and quaint habit, like other children, of repredilection bestowed upon him. It is garding their immediate elders as re less easy to trace the record of Thack- moved from them by almost impassable eray's always lesser popularity. It gulfs. But the fact remains that every has certainly not, as a whole, sunk; person who is still middle-aged, besides that fact may be said to be proved to those who are no longer so, was an demonstration by the issue, as copy- actual contemporary of Thackeray, and rights fell in, not merely of individual that while the general atmosphere, say books, but of whole sets, containing a of “My Novel" itself, has an indefin
able but distinctly perceptible old- not dissimilar. No: for the majority, worldness about it, large passages of Thackeray never was a "greatest lir"The Newcomes" might, with the ing novelist," and, for the majority, he slightest change of mere "furniture" in never will be a greatest dead one. I slang, etc., have been written to-day. should even doubt whether he will ever It must take another generation or two seem one of the very greatest to any before men can—at least before most but a comparatively small minority. of them can take even such a com- To that minority-wbich perhaps, paratively achromatic estimate as they despite its comparative smallness, has can take (and this is by no means never been and never will be contempquite “dry-lighted") of Scott or Miss tible—he has always seemed and will Austen, much less such a one as can always seem of the very greatest, and be taken of Fielding; least of all such perhaps to some of its members the
be taken of Milton or of very greatest of all. But before comShakespeare.
ing to the reasons of their appreciation, Nor will even Time himself always it will be fair to give those of the comsettle matters. Even now, it is not moner depreciation. The extreme inso very uncommon to hear the young equalities of his production—the pain. ass strain his innocent lungs in braying ful wanderings in the wilderness beagainst Scott, against Miss Austen, fore the Promised Land was reachedagainst Fielding, against Milton, have been admitted; and though in the against even Shakespeare; and it is novice-work there were almost everysaid, possibly with truth, that the read- where premonitions of the craftsmas. ing of all classics, old and new, is tery-though Canaan itself is always in less than ever practised, either in the sight from the upper places of the deschoked and piecemeal education of ert-you cannot expect the average youth, or amid the idle racket of busi- reader to be content with, or even to ness and pleasure in later years. We perceive, this. But even the mastersee indeed continual returns of engoue- pieces themselves are not provided with ment-of accidental or engineered fancy many strictly popular qualities. A for this and that writer not of the regular plot may seem to some of us a present day. But they seldom last; rather idle thing, within the reach of a and one does not even know that it is pretty mean intellect, and hardly cavery desirable that they should. For pable of giving satisfaction, save of the all fashions are, as fashions, bad: most banal kind, to an accomplished though taken together, and as parts taste. But there are of course others or symptoms of the endless revolu- who attach the highest critical imtion of the unchanging human mind, portance to it, and a much larger numthey are almost always tolerable and ber who, without any definitely critical sometimes relatively good. Besides, views, think there ought to be someThackeray, though he may be made the thing of the kind. Thackeray neither object of such engouement, is singu- would, nor, I think, could, give any. larly ill suited for it. I have actually thing of the sort. Life very rarely, if heard defenders of his use arguments ever, gives these regular plots; and which reminded me of that famous Thackeray followed Life as the sunminister who asked, “D'ye think Poul flower follows the sun. As a matter of knew Greek?" and I fancy the expres- direct consequence, he would not or sion on the countenances of the apostle could not give very intricate plots, regand the novelist, if they heard the re- ular or irregular, and though these are spective utterances, must have been insucculent to not a few palates, and