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she broke out at last, startling us all into wakefulness, "assuredly you have the legs of a giraffe, you! Observe only that I am entouré de soldats, and retire yourself then, that I may expand!" And she did so, apparently; but I don't quite know what became of the rest of us.

And I recall another travelling companion, an English soldier, a sergeant, who wore the colours of the Queen with a smartness that became them. He had been all through the Egyptian and the Soudanese wars, and told much of what he had seen, telling it well. We were in the nightexpress; the others in the carriage slept, in various stages of déshabillé and discomfort; the rain beat on the windows and the train roared and rocked and jangled as it rushed southwards. But I only heard the strong voice of my neighbour, as he poured out story after story of the two campaigns; and now we laughed, and now we fell to silence for a space, as he turned from the wild jollity of a camp to its queer sudden pathos, and spoke of the bravery that went unrewarded and the great deeds that could never be recompensed. "For it ain't the best of us that's decorated," he said; "and, after all, if a fellow drops behind in a rush, and has all his wounds in front, what better medal could he have than that?" But I glanced at his breast, and, smiling, shook my head; he was willing to tell story after story of what his chums had done, and what he had heard of others; but he did not say how he had gained that plain little cross, and he only reddened and grew taciturn when I asked about it. ""Twas nothing," he said awkwardly, and there was no further word of it to be got from him; "'twas of no consequence. Now, if they had given it to-" and he plunged into another story which ended in such a manner that we

had both to stare hard out of window.

Not long after that I was travelling in France, hurrying southward, too, but at a very different rate of speed, and with the hot southern sun beating implacably upon us, and filling the train with a stifling heat and dust, instead of dashing through rain and storm and the night. In the opposite corner was an apple-cheeked old woman, in a wonderful cap, with a bundle on her knee, and a trickle of tears lying in the wrinkles that seamed her face. "I go," she explained to us at intervals, "to meet my boy; he is a soldier, you understand; and he is coming home from overseas-oh! he has been incredibly far away. And he is ill-very ill; it is those terrible hot countries. He wanted so much to be a soldier, my André; he said he would come back to me in a beautiful uniform and with a medal on his breast; but now he is ill-very ill." And after a little silence, she added, "But perhaps the good air of France-" We drew near to Marseilles, and she looked round at us anxiously, with an open need of reassurance. Voyons! I do not care about the medal; but he is ill, very ill, and he has been so far away— Then she went off to meet her André, who had no wounds to wear in front, and who, perhaps, would not even be there to meet her.



Somebody once, I think, spoke of mankind as "Kings of opportunity"; and indeed it would be a very admirable thing even but once to command fate. But we have lost the trick and the mantle of conscious royalty; we wear the Emperor of China's invisible robe, and there is always some one ready to perceive our nakedness. It is all very well to order the tide to stand still, but it has a grievous manner of disobedience; and truly, when one comes to think of

it, it is not so much that royalty is lessened as that we think less fit to obey it. It was worth while being royal when power was a tangible thing and a crown lay actually upon one's temples. One can envy that princess who graved in stone her motto, "Grumble who will, thus shall it be, for it is my good pleasure"; one would even like to say as much one's self, but for a lurking conviction that no one would pay any particular attention to it. No; we have lost the habit of obedience, except perhaps to an oriental potentate in jewelled robes, or a barbaric autocrat in none, -when it must be difficult to look royal, one thinks, though there are those that succeed.

of thing it is to be set up over other men; unless, indeed, sleeping, one could dream oneself into an old-time tale, when constitutions were not and princes were a law unto themselves; when the king's daughter was all beautiful within, and his sons declared their birthright in purple and fine linen; when the king's face gave grace indeed, and he was free to pardon as to punish; when the king's sword was unconquerable as the king's word was unbroken. In those far days, if you were born to the burden of it, it was worth while to be royal and something other than the rest of men, though it must sometimes have been hard to live up to it even in the world of old

There is a monarch of my acquaintance who is amiable in his manners and a fatherly despot in his government; his lately-learned civilisation still sits strangely on him, and he doffs it sometimes, to take a luxurious plunge-bath into his former barbarism, though solely, as he assures his conscience and the nearest missionary, out of necessity. He was discovered recently superintending the happy despatch, by several refined modes of torture, of a considerable number of persons connected with his court, and was remonstrated with accordingly. "But consider," he returned, with conviction, "if I do not kill my people sometimes, how will they know that I am the King?" And there was really a great deal to be said for it from his point of view. For he was a shrewd as well as an enlightened person, in spite of an immense desire to be a white man and a brother; and when he was told that he should not cut off the ears and noses of his wives when they plagued him, he said that civilisation gave him a stomach-ache.

But it is a mere necessity nowadays to be either oriental or barbaric, if one would know what a fine manner


I seem to have read a story once in some old book, a foolish fantastic thing which yet lingers oddly in my mind, of a King and his judgment. For he had a wife that was beautiful and frail; and after a long drama of temptation and sin and shame, learning her secret he went to her, and showed her what was in his mind. And she, appalled at his pitifulness, yearned for punishment and thereby expiation; and fetching her child, laid it before him with tears. "Lord, I am not worthy," she sobbed. "It is but right you should take it from me." But the King looked down upon her and upon the child, and mused awhile in silence, and then returned it to her arms. "Keep it," he said; "it will comfort you for the burden of a crown." And, the chronicler adds, the Queen wept, and sinned no more. Yet she would, perhaps, have better understood the bearing of a penance and the absolution thereby gained.

But that was in the foolish old times, and all the world is wiser now, and cultivates its little sins kindly: it is even the fashion to seem worse than we really are and to look on

virtue as plebeian and underbred; and we prefer to play the king of operetta, rather than to strut the tragic scene and round our mouths to great emotions. So we yawn over the passions of Phèdre (some of us), and crowd to watch the evident feet of Nini Patte en l'Air.

There was lately a foreign prince in Paris, travelling for his education; he was simple in his tastes and of a discerning intelligence, and they took him to see a great tragedian play her greatest rôle of sin and suffering. The next night he went to the FoliesBergères. "Now this," he said, "is reasonable; this is serious. The other was pour rire; people do not speak like that at all, and if they did such things, they would be put in prison. So I have been taught, and that it is wrong to do things for which you will be put in prison. But this-is reasonable. J'aime à voir des femmes, et même d'en voir beaucoup." And we are all reasonable nowadays, even those of us who are kings.

But, nevertheless, I think we have the best of it, we happy folk who are not born in the trammels of the purple, and who can drowse or drudge through life as we please, without convulsing a nation by our small caprices; who can wear old clothes and enjoy the comfort of our loose and easy-fitting peccadilloes;

who can sit down hungry to meat and rise up satisfied; and who can feel as intimate a satisfaction in the beauty of sky and sea, of the many-coloured hills, and the admirable sunshine. It is a sufficing thing for one of a humble spirit to be warm and indolent and full of wandering fancies; to be soothed and tickled by the sound of lapping waters and the various pealing of bells; to hear the high voices of women and the laughter of children, and to catch the holiday note in the clatter of the hurrying feet. And, like the deeper undertone that creeps into the plashing waters of the bay from the deep seas outside, one remembers, now and then, that if to-day is All Saints, to-morrow is All Souls, and the priest will go down to the shore and pray for all those that sleep in all the waters of the world, at the Banks and at the Iceland fishings; and there will be some around him who listen and remember, and some who listen and fear. There will be eyes dim with the long habit of tears, and others weary with watching for the boats that have not yet returned; not yet, and it is November. There will be singing and chanting, and the incense will mingle with the salt smell of the seaweed; but the deepest and the longest prayer will be an unspoken one "Etoile de la Mer, send us our men home from the sea!"


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WHEN Cosmo answered Edmund's passionate farewell by blank, irresponsive silence he had no intention of being cruel, no wish to steel his heart against his brother. His heart had been long since involuntarily steeled; and across a great gulf he seemed dimly to hear Edmund protest and plead, "like a tale of little meaning, though the words were strong." But all the while he was pleading with himself on Edmund's behalf, and his own words too seemed meaningless. "After all, he is my brother, and I loved him once. Ought I to pity him and stand by him still? What did I ever do for him at best? And what can any man do for him now?"

The look of Edmund's face, the sound of his voice, had brought back for a moment the feelings of their last meeting, the doubt and confusion and horror, the irrepressible shrinking, the agonising struggle between outraged love and just contempt. If Cosmo seemed stony and impassive, it was because he was torn with conflicting emotions, some harsh, some tender, but all seeming to him equally useless and equally painful. And then he raised his head and saw Edmund's look of farewell, and his gesture, as of one who carries something secret in his breast, just touching it to assure himself that it is there. Then the window opened and closed behind him, and he was gone; while his face was still printed upon Cosmo's eyes and his words yet lingered in the air.

Half mechanically Cosmo rose and went to the window to look after his brother, but the angle of the house hid him instantly from view. He must see which way Edmund went. There was an upper window from which one could see all the winding ways that converged at Pennithorne, -the road to the town, and the turning towards Herne's Edge, and two or three byways beside. Without asking himself what he meant, he ran up stairs and flung the window open, leaning out into the raw misty air and scanning the wide snowy landscape, where the dark hedgerows just indicated the innumerable little fields and the long lanes winding between them. There was the road to the town, bare as far as eye could trace it, with the snow beaten down and sullied by cart-wheels and horses' feet. There was the narrower, less trodden way that led up into the hills, and so to Herne's Edge; and-yes! there was a dark figure moving along it, far off already, but not too far to be recognised. Branching out of the lane, just before it turned a shoulder of the hill and disappeared from view, was the rough cart-track that between two dry stone walls led up and out on to the moor. As the watcher looked, with eyes sharpened by a nameless fear, that figure reached it, opened the gate and passed up between the walls, seeming at that distance to move slowly over the snow, but growing dimmer every moment through the gathering dimness of the winter afternoon.

Cosmo drew back and shut the window. For a moment he stood still,

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his breath coming quick, his heart throbbing fast. That glimpse of the world outside, that breath of keen air from off the snowy moorland, seemed to have blown away the clouds that hung over him, to have left him free to see things as they were, to understand, and to remember. His brother's words came back to him, and the look and tone that went with them. He began to realise what he had done; that he had sent a desperate man out alone into that awful solitude, to meet whatever the suggestion of his own despair or the instigation of the devil might bring to face him there.

The next moment Cosmo was down stairs, searching almost instinctively for his hat and overcoat, and a stout stick that stood in a corner he knew of. As he opened the door and stepped out into the snow it did occur to him that he was not very fit for such a task as lay before him; but in the same instant he said to himself that it could not be helped. No one but himself must follow Edmund now; to no living creature could he breathe the fear that he would not name even to his own soul. Far or near, he must follow Edmund alone, and find him, if God had mercy on them both, before the darkness fell; and then let the moment's need teach him what to say. He dreaded lest a meeting with his mother or any of her people should entail remonstrances, questions, explanations, and delay though it could not stop him. As he left the house he ran almost into the arms of the butler, who looked at him as if half believing him to have taken leave of his senses. Cosmo paused an instant. "Tell my mother that my brother has been here, and that I have gone with him to Herne's Edge. I may not be able to get back to-night, but I will explain everything tomorrow."

The man looked at him in dubious

silence, but before he could frame his lips to a remonstrance Cosmo was gone, across the untrodden snow of the garden and out by the door in the wall, where he had taken Evelyn Armitage and where Moloch had waited for him on that summer morning, so long ago it seemed. He thought of Moloch now and wished for him; but that good dog was safely chained up at the Edge, because at Pennithorne he was not a welcome guest.

He had often trodden those lanes when they were wrapped in the great winding-sheet that covered all the country side. It was some time since the snow had fallen, and it lay now in a solid mass rather than in white powdery flakes; even in the lonely lane the middle of the path was somewhat beaten, though still it was what the country folks would have called heavy weary travelling. He did not think, he hardly felt, what kind of travelling it was, but pressed on, looking neither to right nor left, till the short cut to the Lechfield was reached. As he expected, only one pair of footprints turned that way. Edmund had left the gate ajar, and Cosmo leaned upon it a minute, drawing two or three deep breaths, then quickened his pace and went on and up between the low broken walls, following those footprints.

Dark gray sky over white world,little tracks of beast and bird beside the road, curling drifts like sculptured marble where the wind had caught the whirling flakes and swept them off the upland to fall in the shelter of the wall,-all these he saw and saw not. Two things alone he saw and perceived: with his outward eyes, those solitary footprints, leading on and on into the trackless waste, footprints of a desolate man going out alone into a land forgotten of God"; and with the eyes of his soul a little room in a little house in Canonbury,


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