In Her Own Right
by John Reed Scott
IN HER OWN RIGHT
JOHN REED SCOTT
A. L. Burt Company Publishers New York
Copyright, 1911 by John Reed Scott
Published May, 1911
S. W. C
IX. THE WAY OUT
X. PIRATE'S GOLD
XII. ONE LEARNED
IN THE LAW
XII. I COULD
TELL SOME THINGS
SYMPHONY IN BLUE
XV. AN OLD RUSE
XVI. THE MARABOU
XVIII. THE LONE
HOUSE BY THE BAY
XX. THE CHECK
XXI. THE JEWELS
The expected has happened, I see, said Macloud, laying aside the
paper he had been reading, and raising his hand for a servant.
I thought it was the unexpected that happens, Hungerford drawled,
languidly. What do you mean?
Royster &Axtell have been thrown into bankruptcy. Liabilities of
twenty million, assets problematical.
You don't say! ejaculated Hungerford, sitting up sharply. Have
they caught any of our friends?
All who dealt with them, I reckon.
Too bad! Too bad!Well, they didn't catch me.
Oh, no! you're not caught! said Macloud. Your father was wise
enough to put your estate into Government threes, with a trustee who
had no power to change the investment.
And I'm thankful he did, Hungerford answered. It saves me all
trouble; I need never look at the stock report, don't you know;
Government bonds are always the same.I suppose it's a reflection on
my ability, but that is of small consequence. I don't care what people
think, so long as I have the income and no trouble. If I had control of
my capital, I might have lost all of it with Royster &Axtell, who
Macloud shook his head.
It isn't likely, he commented, you wouldn't have had it to lose.
Hungerford's momentarily vague look suddenly became knowing.
You mean I would have lost it long ago? he asked. Oh, I say, old
man, you're a bit hard on me. I may not have much head for business,
but I'm not altogether a fool, don't you know.
Glad to know it, laughed Macloud, as he arose and sauntered away.
Hungerford drew out his cigarettes and thoughtfully lighted one.
I wonderdid he mean I am or I am not? he said. I wonder. I
shall have to ask him some time.Boy! a Scotch and soda.
Meanwhile, Macloud passed into the Club-house and, mounting the
stairs to the second floor, knocked sharply at a door in the north-west
corner of the corridor.
Come in, called a voice.Who is it?Oh! it's you, Macloud. Make
yourself at homeI'll be out in a moment.
There was the noise of splashing water, accompanied by sundry
exclamations and snorts, followed by a period of silence; and, then,
from the bath room, emerged Croyden clad in robe, slippers and a smile.
Help yourself, he said, pointing to the smoking materials. He
filled a pipe, lit it carefully, blew a few whiffs to the ceiling and
watched them slowly dissipate.
Well, it's come, he remarked: Royster &Axtell have smashed
Not clean, said Macloud. It is going to be the most criminal
failure this town has ever known.
I mean they have busted wide openand I'm one of the suckers.
You are going to have plenty of company, among your friends,
I suppose sobut I hope none of them is hit quite so bad. He blew
another cloud of smoke and watched it fade. The truth is, Colin, I'm
What! exclaimed Macloud. You don't mean you are cleaned out?
The other nodded. That's about it.... I've a few thousand
leftenough to pay laundry bills, and to board on Hash Alley for a few
months a year. Oh! I was a sucker, all right!I was so easy it makes
me ashamed to have saved anything from the wreck. I've a notion
to go and offer it to them, now.
There were both bitterness and relief in his tones; bitterness over
the loss, relief that the worst, at last, had happened.
For a while, there was silence. Croyden turned away and began to
dress; Macloud sat looking out on the lawn in front, where a foursome
were playing the home hole, and another waiting until they got off the
Presently, the latter spoke.
How did it happen, old man? he askedthat is, if you care to
Croyden laughed shortly. It isn't pleasant to relate how one has
been such an addle-pated ass
Then, forgive me.I didn't mean to
Nonsense! I understandmoreover, it will ease my mortification to
confide in one who won't attempt to sympathize. I don't care for
sympathy, I don't deserve it, and what's more, I won't have it.
Don't let that worry you, Macloud answered. You won't be
oppressed by any rush of sympathy. No one is who gets pinched in the
stock market. We all go in, andsooner or later, generally soonerwe
all get burntand we all think every one but ourselves got only what
was due him. No, my boy, there is no sympathy running loose for the
lamb who has been shorn. And you don't need to expect it from your
friends of the Heights. They believe only in success. The moment you're
fleeced, they fling you aside. They fatten off the carcasses of
othersyours and mine and their own brothers. Friendship does not
enter into the game. They will eat your bread and salt to-night, and
dance on your financial corpse to-morrow. The only respect they have is
for money, and clothes, and show; and the more money, and the more show
the greater their deferencewhile they lastand the farther the fall
when they fail. The women are as bad as the men, in a smaller way. They
will blacken one another's reputation with an ease and zest that is
simply appalling, and laugh in your face while doing it. I'm speaking
generally, there are exceptions, of course, but they only prove the
rule. Yet, what can you expect, where aristocracy is based on one's
bank account, and the ability to keep the other fellows from laying
violent hands on it. It reminds one of the Robbers of the Rhine! Steal
everything within reach and give up nothing. Oh! it is a fine system of
living!Your pardon! I forgot myself.
It is good to have you forget yourself occasionally, said
Croydenespecially, when your views chime with minerecently
acquired, I admit. I began to see it about a month ago, when I slowed
down on expenditures. I thought I could notice an answering chill in
Like enough. You must spend to get on. They have no use for one who
doesn't. You have committed the unpardonable sin: had a fortune and
lost it. And they never forgiveunless you make another fortune; then
they will welcome you back, and lay plans to take it, also.
You paint a pretty picture! Croyden laughed.
Macloud shrugged his shoulders.
Tell me of Royster &Axtell, he said.
There isn't a great deal to tell, Croyden replied, coming around
from the dressing table, and drawing on his vest as he came. It is
five years since my father died and left me sole heir to his estate. In
round numbers, it aggregated half a million dollarsall in stocks and
bonds, except a little place down on the Eastern Shore which he took,
some years before he died, in payment of a debt due him. Since my
mother's demise my father had led the life of quiet and retirement in a
small city. I went through college, was given a year abroad, took the
law course at Harvard, and settled down to the business of getting a
practice. Then the pater died, suddenly. Five hundred thousand was a
lot of money in that town. Too much to settle there, I thought. I
abandoned the law, and came to Northumberland. The governor had been a
non-resident member of the Northumberland Club, which made it easy for
me to join. I soon found, however, that what had seemed ample wealth in
the old town, did not much more than make ends meet, hereprovided I
kept up my end. I was about the poorest one in the set I affected, so,
naturally, I went into the stock market. Royster was the particular
broker of the gang and the first year I did very well.You think it
was intended? (As Macloud smiled.) Well, I don't doubt now you're
right. The next year I began to lose. Then Royster put me into that
Company of his down in Virginiathe Virginia Improvement Company, you
know. He took me down, in a special car, showed me how much he himself
had in it, how much would be got out of it, offered to let me in on the
ground floor, and made it look so rosy, withal, that I succumbed. Two
hundred thousand was buried there. An equal amount I had lent them, at
six per cent., shortly after I came to Northumberlandselling the
securities that yielded only four per cent. to do it. That accounts for
four hundred thousandgone up the flume. Eighty thousand I lost in
stocks. The remainder, about twenty thousand, I still have. By some
error I can't account for, they did not get away with it, too.Such is
the tale of a foolish man, he ended.
Will you make any effort to have Royster prosecuted? Macloud
NoI've been pretty much of a baby, but I'm not going to cry over
milk that's spilt.
It's not all spiltsome of it will be recovered.
My dear Macloud, there won't be enough money recovered to buy me
cigarettes for one evening. Royster has hypothecated and rehypothecated
securities until no man can trace his own, even if it would help him to
do so. You said it would likely prove a disgraceful failure. I
am absolutely sure of it.
Macloud beat a tattoo on the window-ledge.
What do you think of doing? he saidor haven't you got to it,
yetor don't you care to tell?
I've got to it, replied Croyden; and I don't care to tellanyone
but you, Colin. I can't stay here
Not on twelve hundred a year, certainlyunless you spend the
little principal you have left, and, then, drop off for good.
Which would be playing the baby act, sure enough.
It would, he said; but, sometimes, men don't look at it that way.
They cannot face the loss of caste. They prefer to drop overboard by
There isn't going to be any dropping overboard by accident in
mine, replied Croyden. What I've decided to do is this: I shall
disappear. I have no debts, thank God! so no one will care to take the
trouble to search for me. I shall go down to Hampton, to the little
property that was left me on the Eastern Shore, there to mark time,
either until I can endure it, or until I can pick out some other abode.
I've a bunch of expensive habits to get rid of quickly, and the best
place for that, it seems to me, is a small town where they are
impossible, as well as unnecessary.
Ever lived in a small town? Macloud inquired.
None smaller than my old home. I suppose it will be very stupid,
after the life here, but beggars can't be choosers.
I'm not so sure it will be very stupid, said Macloud. It depends
on how much you liked this froth and try, we have here. The want to and
can'tthe aping the ways and manners of those who have had wealth for
generations, and are well-born, beside. Look at them! with a fling of
his arm, that embraced the Club-house and its environs.One
generation old in wealth, one generation old in family, and about six
months old, some of them scarcely that, in breeding. There are a few
families which belong by right of birthand, thank God! they show it.
But they are shouldered aside by the others, and don't make much of a
show. The climbers hate them, but are too much awed by their lineage to
crowd them out, entirely. A nice lot of aristocrats! The majority of
them are puddlers of the iron mills, and the peasants of Europe, come
over so recently the soil is still clinging to their clothes. Down on
the Eastern Shore you will find it very different. They ask one, who
you are, never how much money you have. Their aristocracy is one
of birth and culture. You may be reduced to manual labor for a
livelihood, but you belong just the same. You have had a sample of the
money-changers and their heartless methodsand it has left a bitter
taste in your mouth. I think you will welcome the change. It will be a
new life, and, in a measure, a quiet life, but there are compensations
to one to whom life holds more than garish living and ostentatious
You know the people of the Eastern Shore? asked Croyden.
No!but I know the people of the Western Shore, and they come from
the same stockand it's good stock, mighty good stock! Moreover, you
are not burying yourself so deepBaltimore is just across the Bay, and
Philadelphia and New York are but a few hours distantless distant
than this place is, indeed.
I looked up the time-tables! laughed Croyden. My present
knowledge of Hampton is limited to the means and methods of getting
And getting to it, appended Macloud. When do you go?
Humrather sudden, isn't it?
I've seen it coming for a month, so I've had time to pay my small
accounts, arrange my few affairs, and be prepared to flit on a moment's
notice. I should have gone a week ago, but I indulged myself with a few
more days of the old life. Now, I'm off to-morrow night.
Shall you go direct to Hampton?
Direct to Hampton, via New York, said Croyden. There probably
won't anyone care enough even to inquire for me, but I'm not taking the
Macloud watched him with careful scrutiny. Was it serious or was it
assumed? Had this seemingly sudden resolve only the failure of Royster
&Axtell behind it, or was there a woman there, as well? Was Elaine
Cavendish the real reason? There could be no doubt of Croyden's
devotion to herand her more than passing regard for him. Was it
because he could not, or because he would notor both? Croyden was
practically pennilessshe was an only child, rich in her own right,
and more than rich in prospect
Will you dine with me, this evening? asked Macloud.
Sorry, old man, but I'm due at the Cavendishes'just a pick-up by
telephone. I shall see you, again, shan't I?
I reckon so, was the answer. I'm down here for the night. Have
breakfast with me in the morningif I'm not too early a bird, at eight
Good! for two on the side piazza! exclaimed Croyden.
I'll speak to François, said Macloud, arising. So long.
Croyden slowly straightened his tie and drew on his coat.
Macloud is a square chap, he reflected. I've had a lot of
so-called friends, here, but he is the only one who still rings true. I
may imagine it, but I'm sure the rest are beginning to shy off. Well, I
shan't bother them much longerthey can prepare for a new victim.
He picked up his hat and went downstairs, making his way out by the
front entrance, so as to miss the crowd in the grill-room. He did not
want the trouble of speaking or of being spoken to. He saw Macloud, as
he passedout on the piazza beyond the porte-cochere, and he waved his
hand to him. Then he signalled the car, that had been sent from
Cavencliffe for him, and drove off to the Cavendishes.
The Cavendishes were of those who (to quote Macloud's words) did
belong and, thank God, showed it. Henry Cavendish had married
Josephine Marquand in the days before there were any idle-rich in
Northumberland, and when the only leisure class were in jail. Now, when
the idea, that it was respectable not to work, was in the ascendency,
he still went to his office with unfailing regularityand the fact
that the Tuscarora Trust Company paid sixty per cent. on its capital
stock, and sold in the market (when you could get it) at three thousand
dollars a share, was due to his ability and shrewd financiering as
president. It was because he refused to give up the active management
even temporarily, that they had built their summer home on the Heights,
where there was plenty of pure air, unmixed with the smoke of the mills
and trains, and with the Club near enough to give them its life and
gayety when they wished.
The original Cavendish and the original Marquand had come to
Northumberland, as officers, with Colonel Harmer and his detachment of
Regulars, at the close of the Revolution, had seen the possibilities of
the place, and, after a time, had resigned and settled down to
business. Having brought means with them from Philadelphia, they
quickly accumulated more, buying up vast tracts of Depreciation lands
and numerous In-lots and Out-lots in the original plan of the town.
These had never been sold, and hence it was, that, by the natural rise
in value from a straggling forest to a great and thriving city, the
Cavendish and the Marquand estates were enormously valuable. And hence,
also, the fact that Elaine Cavendish's grandparents, on both sides of
the house, were able to leave her a goodly fortune, absolutely, and yet
not disturb the natural descent of the bulk of their possessions.
Having had wealth for generations, the Cavendishes were as natural
and unaffected in their use of it, as the majority of their neighbors
were tawdry and flashy. They did things because they wanted to do them,
not because someone else did them. And they did not do things that
others did, and never thought what the others might think.
Because an iron-magnate, with only dollars for ballast, had fifteen
bath pools of Sienna marble in his flaunting, gaudy chateau, and was
immediately aped by the rest of the rattle-brained, moved the
Cavendishes not at all. Because the same bounder gave a bathing-suit
party (with the ocean one hundred and fifty miles away), at which
prizes were bestowed on the man and woman who dared wear the least
clothes, while the others of the nouveaux riches applauded and
marvelled at his audacity and originality, simply made the Cavendishes
stay away. Because another mushroom millionaire bought books for his
library by the foot, had gold mangers and silver stalls for his horses,
and adorned himself with diamonds like an Indian Rajah, were no
incentives to the Cavendishes to do likewise. They pursued the even
tenor of the well-bred way.
Cavencliffe was a great, roomy country-house, in the Colonial style,
furnished in chintz and cretonnes, light and airy, with wicker
furniture and bird's-eye maple throughout, save in the dining-room,
where there was the slenderest of old Hepplewhite. Wide piazzas flanked
the house on every side, screened and awninged from the sun and wind
and rain. A winding driveway between privet hedges, led up from the
main road half a mile away, through a maze of giant forest trees amid
which the place was set.
Croyden watched it, thoughtfully, as the car spun up the avenue. He
saw the group on the piazza, the waiting man-servant, the fling upward
of a hand in greeting by a white robed figure. And he sighed.
My last welcome to Cavencliffe! he muttered. It's a bully place,
and a bully girland, I think, I had a chance, if I hadn't been such a
Elaine Cavendish came forward a little way to greet him. And Croyden
sighed, again, aswith the grace he had learned as a child from his
South Carolina mother, he bent for an instant over her hand. He had
never known how handsome she was, until this visitand he had come to
You were good to come, she said.
It was good of you to ask me, he replied.
The words were trite, but there was a note of intenseness in his
tones that made her look sharply at himthen, away, as a trace of
color came faintly to her cheek.
You know the others, she said, perfunctorily.
And Croyden smiled in answer, and greeted the rest of the guests.
There were but six of them: Mrs. Chichester, a young matron, of less
than thirty, whose husband was down in Panama explaining some contract
to the Government Engineers; Nancy Wellesly, a rather petite blonde,
who was beginning to care for her complexion and other people's
reputations, but was a square girl, just the same; and Charlotte
Brundage, a pink and white beauty, but the crack tennis and golf player
of her sex at the Club and a thorough good sport, besides.
The men were: Harold Hungerford, who was harmlessly negative and
inoffensively polite; Roderick Colloden, who, after Macloud, was the
most popular man in the set, a tall, red haired chap, who always seemed
genuinely glad to meet anyone in any place, and whose handshake gave
emphasis to it. He had not a particularly good memory for faces, and
the story is still current in the Club of how, when he had been
presented to a newcomer four times in one week, and had always told him
how glad he was to meet him, the man lost patience and blurted out,
that he was damn glad to know it, but, if Colloden would recognize him
the next time they met, he would be more apt to believe it. The
remaining member of the party was Montecute Mattison. He was a small
man, with peevishly pinched features, that wore an incipient smirk when
in repose, and a hyena snarl when in action. He had no friends and no
intimates. He was the sort who played dirty golf in a match:
deliberately moving on the green, casting his shadow across the hole,
talking when his opponent was about to drive, and anything else to
disconcert. In fact, he was a dirty player in any gamebecause it was
natural. He would not have been tolerated a moment, even at the
Heights, if he had not been Warwick Mattison's son, and the heir to his
millions. He never made an honest dollar in his life, and could not, if
he tried, but he was Assistant-Treasurer of his father's company, did
an hour's work every day signing the checks, and drew fifteen thousand
a year for it. A man's constant inclination was to smash him in the
faceand the only reason he escaped was because it would have been
like beating a child. One man had, when Mattison was more than
ordinarily offensive, laid him across his knee, and, in full sight of
the Club-house, administered a good old-fashioned spanking with a golf
club. Him Montecute thereafter let alone. The others did not take the
trouble, however. They simply shrugged their shoulders, and swore at
him freely and to his face.
At present, he was playing the devoted to Miss Brundage and hence
his inclusion in the party. She cared nothing for him, but his money
was a thing to be consideredhaving very little of her ownand she
was doing her best to overcome her repugnance sufficiently to place him
among the eligibles.
Mattison got through the dinner without any exhibition of ill
nature, but, when the women retired, it came promptly to the fore.
The talk had turned on the subject of the Club Horse Show. It was
scheduled for the following month, and was quite the event of the
Autumn, in both a social and an equine sense. The women showed their
gowns and hosiery, the men their horses and equipment, and how
appropriately they could rig themselves outwhile the general herd
stood around the ring gaping and envious.
Presently, there came a momentary lull in the conversation and
I see Royster &Axtell went up to-day. I reckon, with an
insinuating laugh, there will be some entries withdrawn.
Men or horses? asked Hungerford.
Bothand men who haven't horses, as well, with a sneering glance
Why, bless me! he's looking at you, Geoffrey! Hungerford
I am not responsible for the direction of Mr. Mattison's eyes,
Croyden answered with assumed good nature.
Mattison smiled, maliciously.
Is it so bad as that? he queried. I knew, of course, you were
hit, but I hoped it was only for a small amount.
Shut up, Mattison! exclaimed Colloden. If you haven't any
appreciation of propriety, you can at least keep quiet.
Oh, I don't know
Don't you? said Colloden, quietly, reaching across and grasping
him by the collar. Think again,and think quickly!
A sickly grin, half of surprise and half of anger, overspread
Can't you take a little pleasantry? he asked.
We don't like your pleasantries any more than we like you, and that
is not at all. Take my advice and mend your tongue. He shook him, much
as a terrier does a rat, and jammed him back into his chair. Now,
either be good or go home, he admonished.
Mattison was weak with angerso angry, indeed, that he was helpless
either to stir or to make a sound. The others ignored himand, when he
was a little recovered, he got up and went slowly from the room.
It wasn't a particularly well bred thing to do, observed Colloden,
but just the same it was mighty pleasant. If it were not for the law,
I'd have broken his neck.
He isn't worth the exertion, Roderick, Croyden remarked. But I'm
obliged, old man. I enjoyed it.
When they rejoined the ladies on the piazza, a little later,
Mattison had gone.
After a while, the others went off in their motors, leaving Croyden
alone with Miss Cavendish. Hungerford had offered to drop him at the
Club, but he had declined. He would enjoy himself a little
longerwould give himself the satisfaction of another hour with her,
before he passed into outer darkness.
He had gone along in his easy, bachelor way, without a serious
thought for any woman, until six months ago. Then, Elaine Cavendish
came home, after three years spent in out-of-the-way corners of the
globe, and, straightway, bound him to her chariot wheels.
At least, so the women saidwho make it their particular business
to observeand they never make mistakes. They can tell when one is
preparing to fall in love, long before he knows himself. Indeed, there
have been many men drawn into matrimony, against their own express
inclination, merely by the accumulation of initiative engendered by
impertinent meddlers. They want none of it, they even fight desperately
against it, but, in the end, they succumb.
And Geoffrey Croyden would have eventually succumbed, of his own
desires, however, had Elaine Cavendish been less wealthy, and had his
affairs been more at ease. Now, he thanked high Heaven he had not
offered himself. She might have accepted him; and think of all the
heart-burnings and pain that would now ensue, before he went out of her
What were you men doing to Montecute Mattison? she asked
presently. He appeared perfectly furious when he came out, and he went
off without a word to anyoneeven Charlotte Brundage was ignored.
He and Colloden had a little difficultyand Mattison left us,
Croyden answered. Didn't he stop to say good-night?
She shook her head. He called something as he drove offbut I
think he was swearing at his man.
He needed something to swear at, I fancy! Croyden laughed.
What did Roderick do? she asked.
Took him by the collar and shook himand told him either to go
home or be quiet.
And he went homeI see.
Yeswhen he had recovered himself sufficiently. I thought, at
first, his anger was going to choke him.
Imagine big, good-natured Roderick stirred sufficiently to lay
hands on any one! she laughed.
But imagine him when stirred, he said.
I hadn't thought of him in that way, she said, slowlyOugh!
with a little shiver, it must have been terrifyingwhat had Mattison
done to him?
NothingMattison is too much of a coward ever to do
What had he said, then?
Oh, some brutality about one of Colloden's friends, I think,
Croyden evaded. I didn't quite hear itand we didn't discuss it
I'm told he is a scurrilous little beast, with the men, she
commented; but, I must say, he is always polite to me, and reasonably
charitable. Indeed, to-night is the only deliberately bad manners he
has ever exhibited.
He knows the men won't hurt him, said Croyden, whereas the women,
if he showed his ill nature to them, would promptly ostracize him. He
is a canny bounder, all right. He made a gesture of repugnance. We
have had enough of Mattisonlet us find something more
interestingyourself, for instance.
Or yourself! she smiled. Or, better still, neither. Which reminds
meMiss Southard is coming to-morrow; you will be over, of course?
I'm going East to-morrow night, he said. I'm sorry.
But she is to stay two weeksyou will be back before she leaves,
I fear notI may go on to London.
Before you return here?
Yesbefore I return here.
Isn't this London idea rather sudden? she asked.
I've been anticipating it for some time, sending a cloud of
cigarette smoke before his face. But it grew imminent only to-day.
When the smoke faded, her eyes were looking questioningly into his.
There was something in his words that did not ring quite true. It was
too sudden to be genuine, too unexpected. It struck her as vague and
insincere. Yet there was no occasion to mistrustit was common enough
for men to be called suddenly to England on business.
When do you expect to return? she asked.
I do not know, he said, reading something that was in her mind.
If I must go, the business which takes me will also fix my return.
A servant approached.
What is it, Hudson? she asked.
The telephone, Miss Cavendish. Pride's Crossing wishes to talk with
Croyden aroseit was better to make the farewell briefand
accompanied her to the doorway.
Good-bye, he said, simply.
You must go? she asked.
Yesthere are some things that must be done to-night.
She gave him another look.
Good-bye, thenand bon voyage, she said, extending her
He took ithesitated just an instantlifted it to his lipsand,
then, without a word, swung around and went out into the night.
* * * * *
The next dayat noonwhen, her breakfast finished, she came down
stairs, a scare headline in the morning's paper, lying in the hall, met
Royster Found Dead in His Bath-room!
The Penalty of Bankruptcy!
ROYSTER &AXTELL FAIL!
Many Prominent Persons Among the Creditors.
She seized the paper, and nervously ran her eyes down the columns
until they reached the list of those involved.
Yes! Croyden's name was among them! That was what had taken him
And Croyden read it, too, as he sped Eastward toward the unknown
Croyden left Northumberland in the morningand his economy began
with the ride East: he went on Day Express instead of on the Limited,
thereby saving the extra fare. At Philadelphia he sent his baggage to
the Bellevue-Stratford; later in the evening, he had it returned to the
station, and checked it, himself, to Hamptonto avoid the possibility
of being followed by means of his luggage.
He did not imagine that any one would go to the trouble to trace
him, but he was not taking any chances. He wanted to cut himself away,
utterly, from his former life, to be free of everyone he had ever
known. It was not likely he would be missed.
Some one would say: I haven't seen Croyden lately, would be
answered: I think he went abroad suddenlyabout the time of the
Royster & Axtell failure, and, with that, he would pass out of notice.
If he were to return, any time within the next five years, he would be
met by a languid: Been away, somewhere, haven't you? I thought I
hadn't noticed you around the Club, lately.And that would be the
extent of it.
One is not missed in a big town. His going and his coming are not
watched. There is no time to bother with another's affairs. Everyone
has enough to do to look after his own. The curiosity about one's
neighborswhat he wears, what he eats, what he does, every item in his
daily lifethat is developed by idleness, thrives in littleness, and
grows to perfection in scandal and innuendobelongs solely to the
small town. If one comes down street with a gripinstantly: So and so
is going awayspeculation as to why?where?what? One puts on a
new suit, it is observed and noted.A pair of new shoes, ditto.A new
necktie, ditto. Every particular of his life is public property, is
inspected for a motive, and, if a motive cannot be discovered, one is
suppliedusually mean and little, the latter unctuously preferred.
All this Croyden was yet to learn, however.
He took the night's express on the N. Y., P. &N., whence, at Hampton
Junction, he transferred to a branch line. For twenty miles the train
seemed to crawl along, burrowing into the sand hills and out again into
sand, and in and out again, until, at length, with much whistling and
escaping steam, they wheezed into the station and stopped.
There were a dozen white men, with slouch hats and nondescript
clothing, standing aimlessly around, a few score of negroes, and a
couple of antique carriages with horses to match. The white men looked
at the new arrival, listlessly, and the negroes with no interest at
allsave the two who were porters for the rival hotels. They both made
for Croyden and endeavored to take his grip.
He waved them away.
I don't want your hotel, boys, he said. But if you can tell me
where Clarendon is, I will be obliged.
Cla'endon! seh? yass, seh, said one, right out at de een' o' de
village, sehdis street tek's yo dyar, seh, sho nuf.
Which end of the village? Croyden asked.
Dis een', seh, de fust house beyon' Majah Bo'den's, seh.
How many blocks is it?
Blocks, seh! said the negro. 'Tain't no blocksit's jest de fust
place beyon' Majah Bo'den's.
Croyden laughed. Here, he said, you take my bag out to
ClarendonI'll walk till I find it.
Yass, seh! yass, seh! I'll do it, seh! but yo bettah ride, seh!
No! said Croyden, looking at the vehicle. It's safer to walk.
He tossed the negro a quarter and turned away.
Thankee, seh, thankee, seh, I'll brings it right out, seh.
Croyden went slowly down the street, while the crowd stared after
him, and the shops emptied their loafers to join them in the staring.
He was a strange manand a well-dressed manand they all were
Presently, the shops were replaced by dwellings of the humbler sort,
then they, in turn, by more pretentious residenceswith here and there
a new one of the Queen Anne type. Croyden did not need the information,
later vouchsafed, that they belong to new people. It was as
unmistakable as the houses themselves.
About a mile from the station, he passed a place built of English
brick, covered on the sides by vines, and shaded by huge trees. It
stood well back from the street and had about it an air of aristocracy
I wonder if this is the Bordens'? said Croyden looking about him
for some one to askAh!
Down the path from the house was coming a young woman. He slowed
down, so as to allow her to reach the entrance gates ahead of him. She
was pretty, he saw, as she nearedvery pretty!positively beautiful!
dark hair and
He took off his hat.
I beg your pardon! he said. Is this Mr. Borden's?
Yesthis is Major Borden's, she answered, with a deliciously soft
intonation, which instantly stirred Croyden's Southern blood.
Then Clarendon is the next place, is it not?
She gave him the quickest glance of interest, as she replied in the
Colonel Duval is dead, however, she addeda caretaker is the
only person there, now.
So I understood. There was no excuse for detaining her longer.
Thank you, very much! he ended, bowed slightly, and went on.
It is ill bred and rude to stare back at a woman, but, if ever
Croyden had been tempted, it was now. He heard her footsteps growing
fainter in the distance, as he continued slowly on his way. Something
behind him seemed to twitch at his head, and his neck was positively
stiff with the exertion necessary to keep it straight to the fore.
He wanted another look at that charming figure, with the mass of
blue black hair above it, and the slender silken ankles and slim
tan-shod feet below. He remembered that her eyes were blue, and that
they met him through long lashes, in a languidly alluring glance; that
she was fair; and that her mouth was generous, with lips full but
delicatea face, withal, that clung in his memory, and that he
proposed to see againand soon.
He walked on, so intent on his visual image, he did not notice that
the Borden place was behind him now, and he was passing the avenue that
led into Clarendon.
Yass, seh! hyar yo is, marster!hyar's Clarendon, called the
negro, hastening up behind him with his bag.
Croyden turned into the walkthe black followed.
Cun'l Duval's done been daid dis many a day, seh, he said. Folks
sez ez how it's owned by some city fellah, now. Mebbe yo knows 'im,
Croyden did not answer, he was looking at the placeand the negro,
with an inquisitively curious eye, relapsed into silence.
The house was very similar to the Bordens'unpretentious, except
for the respectability that goes with apparent age, vine clad and tree
shaded. It was of generous proportions, without being largewith a
central hall, and rooms on either side, that rose to two stories, and
was topped by a pitch-roof. There were no piazzas at front or side,
just a small stoop at the doorway, from which paths branched around to
I done 'speck, seh, yo go roun' to de back, said the negro, as
Croyden put his foot on the step. Ole Mose 'im live dyar. I'll bring
'im heah, ef yo wait, seh.
Who is old Mosethe caretaker? said Croyden.
The place was looked after by a real estate man of the village, and
neither his father nor he had bothered to do more than meet the
accounts for funds. The former had preferred to let it remain
unoccupied, so as to have it ready for instant use, if he so wished,
and Croyden had done the same.
He! Mose he's Cun'l Duval's body-survent, seh. Him an'
Jos'phineJos'phine he wif', sehdey looks arfter de place sence de
ole Cun'l died.
Croyden nodded. I'll go back.
They followed the right hand path, which seemed to be more used than
its fellow. The servants' quarters were disclosed at the far end of the
Before the tidiest of them, an old negro was sitting on a stool,
dreaming in the sun. At Croyden's appearance, he got up hastily, and
came forwardgray-haired, and bent.
Survent, seh! he said, with the remains of what once must have
been a wonderfully graceful bow, and taking in the stranger's attire
with a single glance. I'se ole Mose. Cun'l Duval's boyseh, an' I
looks arfter de place, now. De Cun'l he's daid, yo knows, seh. What can
I do fur yo, seh?
I'm Mr. Croyden, said Geoffrey.
Yass, seh! yass, seh! the darky answered, inquiringly.
It was evident the name conveyed no meaning to him.
I'm the new owner, you knowsince Colonel Duval died, Croyden
Hi! yo is! old Mose exclaimed, with another bow. Well, praise de
Lawd! I sees yo befo' I dies. So yo's de new marster, is yo? I'm
pow'ful glad yo's come, seh! pow'ful glad. What mout yo name be, seh?
Croyden! replied Geoffrey. Now, Moses, will you open the house
and let me in?
Yo seen Marster Dick? asked the darky.
You mean the agent? No! Why do you ask?
Coz why, sehI'm beggin' yo pa'den, seh, but Marster Dick sez, sez
he, 'Don' nuvver lets no buddy in de house, widout a writin' from me.'
I ain' doubtin' yo, seh, 'deed I ain', but I ruther hed de writin'.
You're perfectly right, Croyden answered. Here, boy!do you know
Mr. Dick? Well, go down and tell him that Mr. Croyden is at Clarendon,
and ask him to come out at once. Or, stay, I'll give you a note to
He took a card from his pocketbook, wrote a few lines on it, and
gave it to the negro.
Yass, seh! Yass, seh! said the porter, and, dropping the grip
where he stood, he vanished.
Old Mose dusted the stool with his sleeve, and proffered it.
Set down, seh! with another bow. Josh won' be long.
Croyden shook his head.
I'll lie here, he answered, stretching himself out on the grass.
You were Colonel Duval's body-servant, you say.
Yass, seh! from de time I wuz so 'igh. I don' 'member when I warn'
he body-survent. I follows 'im all th'oo de war, seh, an' I wus wid 'im
when he died. Tears were in the darky's eyes. Hit's purty nigh time
ole Mose gwine too.
And when he died, you stayed and looked after the old place. That
was the right thing to do, said Croyden. Didn't Colonel Duval have
No, seh. De Cun'l nuvver married, cuz Miss Penelope
He caught himself. I toles yo 'bout hit some time, seh, mebbe! he
ended cautiouslytalking about family matters with strangers was not
to be considered.
I should like to hear some time, said Croyden, not seeming to
notice the darky's reticence. When did the Colonel die?
Eight years ago cum corn plantin' time, seh. He jes' wen' right off
quick like, when de mis'ry hit 'im in de chistnumonya, de doctors
call'd it. De Cun'l guv de place to a No'thern gent'man, whar was he
'ticular frien', and I done stay on an' look arfter hit. He nuvver been
heah. Hi! listen to dis nigger! yo's de gent'mans, mebbe.
I am his son, said Croyden, amused.
An' yo owns Cla'endon, now, seh? What yo goin' to do wid it?
I'm going to live here. Don't you want to look after me?
Goin' to live heah!yo means it, seh? the darky asked, in great
Croyden nodded. Provided you will stay with meand if you can find
me a cook. Who cooks your meals?
Lawd, seh! find yo a cook. Didn' Jos'phine cook fur de Cun'l all he
lifeJos'phine, she my wife, sehshe jest gone nex' do', 'bout
some'n. He got upI calls her, seh.
Croyden stopped him.
Never mind, he said; she will be back, presently, and there is
ample time. Any one live in these other cabins?
No, seh! we's all wha' left. De udder niggers done gone 'way, sence
de Cun'l died, coz deah war nothin' fur dem to do no mo', an' no buddy
to pays dem.Dyar is Jos'phine, now, sir, she be hear torectly. An'
heah comes Marster Dick, hisself.
Croyden arose and went toward the front of the house to meet him.
The agent was an elderly man; he wore a black broadcloth suit, shiny
at the elbows and shoulder blades, a stiff white shirt, a wide roomy
collar, bound around by a black string tie, and a broad-brimmed
drab-felt hat. His greeting was as to one he had known all his life.
How do you do, Mr. Croyden! he exclaimed. I'm delighted to make
your acquaintance, sir. He drew out a key and opened the front door.
Welcome to Clarendon, sir, welcome! Let us hope you will like it
enough to spend a little time here, occasionally.
I'm sure I too hope so, returned Croyden; for I am thinking of
making it my home.
Good! Good! It's an ideal place! exclaimed the agent. It's
convenient to Baltimore; and Philadelphia, and New York, and Washington
aren't very far away. Exactly what the city people who can afford it,
are doing now,making their homes in the country. Hampton's a town,
but it's country to you, sir, when compared to Northumberlandopen the
shutters, Mose, so we can see.... This is the library, with the
dining-room behind it, sirand on the other side of the hall is the
drawing-room. Open it, Mose, we will be over there presently. You see,
sir, it is just as Colonel Duval left it. Your father gave instructions
that nothing should be changed. He was a great friend of the Colonel,
was he not, sir?
I believe he was, said Croyden. They met at the White Sulphur,
where both spent their summersmany years before the Colonel died.
There, hangs the Colonel's swordhe carried it through the war,
sirand his pistolsand his silk-sash, and here, in the corner, is
one of his regimental guidonsand here his portrait in
uniformhandsome man, wasn't he? And as gallant and good as he was
handsome. Maryland lost a brave son, when he died, sir.
He looks the soldier, Croyden remarked.
And he was one, sirnone better rode behind Jeb Stuartand never
far behind, sir, never far behind!
He was in the cavalry?
Yes, sir. Seventh Maryland Cavalryhe commanded it during the last
two years of the warwent in a lieutenant and came out its colonel. A
fine record, sir, a fine record! Pity it is, he had none to leave it
to!he was the last of his line, you know, the last of the linenot
even a distant cousin to inherit.
Croyden looked up at the tall, slender man in Confederate gray, with
clean-cut aristocratic features, wavy hair, and long, drooping
mustache. What a figure he must have been at the head of his command,
or leading a charge across the level, while the guns of the Federals
belched smoke, and flame and leaden death.
They offered him a brigade, the agent was saying, but he declined
it, preferring to remain with his regiment.
What did he do when the war was over? Croyden asked.
Came home, sir, and resumed his law practice. Like his great
leader, he accepted the decision as final. He didn't spend the balance
of his life living in the past.
And why did he never marry? Surely, such a man (with a wave of his
hand toward the portrait) could have picked almost where he chose!
No one ever just knew, sirit had to do with Miss Borden,the
sister of Major Borden, sir, who lives on the next place. They were
sweethearts once, but something or somebody came between themand
thereafter, the Colonel never seemed to think of love. Perhaps, old
Mose knows it, and if he comes to like you, sir, he may tell you the
story. You understand, sir, that Colonel Duval is Mose's old master,
and that every one stands or falls, in his opinion, according as they
measure up to him. I hope you intend to keep him, sirhe has been a
faithful caretaker, and there is still good service in himand his
wife was the Colonel's cook, so she must have been competent. She would
never cook for anyone, after he died. She thought she belonged to
Clarendon, sort of went with the place, you understand. Just stayed and
helped Mose take care of it. She doubtless will resume charge of the
kitchen again, without a word. It's the way of the old negroes, sir.
The young ones are pretty worthlessthey've got impudent, and
independent and won't work, except when they're out of money. Excuse
me, I ramble on
I'm much interested, said Croyden; as I expect to live here, I
must learn the ways of the people.
Well, let Mose boss the niggers for you, at first; he understands
them, he'll make them stand around. Come over to the drawing-room, sir,
I want you to see the furniture, and the family portraits.... There,
sir, is a set of twelve genuine Hepplewhite chairsno doubt about it,
for the invoice is among the Colonel's papers. I don't know much about
such things, but a man was through here, about a year ago, and, would
you believe it, when he saw the original invoice and looked at the
chairs, he offered me two thousand dollars for them. Of course, as I
had been directed by your father to keep everything as the Colonel had
it, I just laughed at him. You see, sir, they have the three feathers,
and are beautifully carved, otherwise. And, here, is a lowboy, with the
shell and the fluted columns, and the cabriole legs, carved on the
knees, and the claw and ball feet. He offered two hundred dollars for
it. And this sofa, with the lion's claw and the eagle's wing, he wanted
to buy it, too. In fact, sir, he wanted to buy about everything in the
houseincluding the portraits. There are two by Peale and one by
Stuarthere are the Peales, sirthe lady in white, and the young
officer in Continental uniform; and this is the Stuartthe gentleman
in knee breeches and velvet coat. I think he is the same as the one in
uniform, only later in life. They are the Colonel's grandparents, sir:
Major Daniel Duval, of the Tenth Maryland Line, and his wife; she was a
Miss Pacayou know the family, of course, sir. The Major's commission,
sir, hangs in the hall, between the Colonel's own and his father'she
was an officer in the Mexican war, sir. It was a fighting family, sir,
a fighting familyand a gentle one as well. 'The bravest are the
tenderest, the loving are the daring.'
There was enough of the South Carolinian of the Lowlands in Croyden,
to appreciate the Past and to honor it. He might not know much
concerning Hepplewhite nor the beauty of his lines and carving, and he
might be wofully ignorant of his own ancestors, having been bred in a
State far removed from their nativity, for he had never given a thought
to the old things, whether of furniture or of forebearsthey were of
the inanimate; his world had to do only with the living and what was
incidental to it. The Eternal Now was the Fetich and the God of
Northumberland, all it knew and all it lived forand he, with every
one else, had worshipped at its shrine.
It was different here, it seemed! and the spirit of his long dead
mother, with her heritage of aristocratic lineage, called to him,
stirring him strangely, and his appreciation, that was sleeping and not
dead, came slowly back to life. The men in buff-and-blue, in
small-clothes, in gray, the old commissions, the savour of the past
that clung around them, were working their due. For no man of culture
and refinementnay, indeed, if he have but their veneercan stand in
the presence of an honorable past, of ancestors distinguished and
respected, whether they be his or another's, and be unmoved.
And you say there are none to inherit all these things? Croyden
exclaimed. Didn't the original Duval leave children?
The agent shook his head. There was but one son to each generation,
sirand with the Colonel there was none.
Then, having succeeded to them by right of purchase, and with no
better right outstanding, it falls to me to see that they are not
shamed by the new owner. Their portraits shall remain undisturbed
either by collectors or by myself. Moreover, I'll look up my own
ancestors. I've got some, down in South Carolina and up in
Massachusetts, and if their portraits be in existence, I'll add
reproductions to keep the Duvals company. Ancestors by inheritance and
ancestors by purchase. The two of them ought to keep me straight, don't
you think? he said, with a smile.
IV. PARMENTER'S BEQUEST
Croyden, with Dick as guide and old Mose as forerunner and
shutter-opener, went through the house, even unto the garret.
As in the downstairs, he found it immaculate. Josephine had kept
everything as though the Colonel himself were in presence. The bed
linen, the coverlids, the quilts, the blankets were packed in trunks,
the table-linen and china in drawers and closets. None of them was
newpractically the entire furnishing antedated 1830, and much of them
1800except that, here and there, a few old rugs of oriental weaves,
relieved the bareness of the hardwood floors.
The one concession to modernism was a bath-room, but its tin tub and
painted iron wash-stand, with the plumbing concealed by wainscoting,
proclaimed it, alas, of relatively ancient date. And, for a moment,
Croyden contrasted it with the shower, the porcelain, and the tile, of
his Northumberland quarters, and shivered, ever so slightly. It would
be the hardest to get used to, he thought. As yet, he did not know the
isolation of the long, interminably long, winter evenings, with
absolutely nothing to do and no place to goand no one who could
At length, when they were ready to retrace their steps to the lower
floor, old Mose had disappeared.
Gone to tell his wife that the new master has come, said Dick.
Let us go out to the kitchen.
And there they found herbustling around, making the fire, her head
tied up in a bandana, her sleeves rolled to the shoulders. She turned,
as they entered, and dropped them an old-fashioned curtsy.
Josephine! said Dick, here is Mr. Croyden, the new master. Can
you cook for him, as well as you did for Colonel Duval?
Survent, marster, she said to Croyden, with another curtsythen,
to the agent, Kin I cooks, Marster Dick! Kin I cooks? Sut'n'y, I kin.
Don' yo t'inks dis nigger's forgotjest yo waits, Marster Croyden, I
shows yo, seh, sho' nufjest gives me a little time to get my han' in,
You won't need much time, Dick commented. The Colonel considered
her very satisfactory, sir, very satisfactory, indeed. And he was a
competent judge, sir, a very competent judge.
Oh, we'll get along, said Croyden, with a smile at Josephine. If
you could please Colonel Duval, you will more than please me.
Thankee, seh! she replied, bobbing down again. I sho' tries,
Have you had any experience with negro servants? Dick asked, as
they returned to the library.
No, Croyden responded: I have always lived at a Club.
Well, Mose and his wife are of the old timesyou can trust them,
thoroughly, but there is one thing you'll have to remember, sir: they
are nothing but overgrown children, and you'll have to discipline them
accordingly. They don't know what it is to be impertinent, sir; they
have their faults, but they are always respectful.
Can I rely on them to do the buying?
I think so, sir, the Colonel did, I know. If you wish, I'll send
you a list of the various stores, and all you need do is to pay the
bills. Is there anything else I can do now, sir?
Nothing, said Croyden. And thank you very much for all you have
How about your baggagecan I send it out? No trouble, sir, I
assure you, no trouble. I'll just give your checks to the drayman, as I
pass. By the way, sir, you'll want the telephone in, of course. I'll
notify the Company at once. And you needn't fear to speak to your
neighbors; they will take it as it's meant, sir. The next on the left
is Major Borden's, and this, on the right, is Captain Tilghman's, and
across the way is Captain Lashiel's, and Captain Carrington's, and the
house yonder, with the huge oaks in front, is Major Markoe's.
Sort of a military settlement, smiled Croyden.
Yes, sirsome of them earned their title in the war, and some of
them in the militia and some just inherited it from their pas. Sort of
handed down in the family, sir. The men will call on you, promptly,
too. I shouldn't wonder some of them will be over this evening.
Croyden thought instantly of the girl he had seen coming out of the
Borden place, and who had directed him to Clarendon.
Would it be safe to speak to the good-looking girls, toothose who
are my neighbors? he asked, with a sly smile.
Certainly, sir; if you tell them your nameand don't try to flirt
with them, Dick added, with a laugh. Yonder is one, nowMiss
Carrington, nodding toward the far side of the street.
Croyden turned.It was she! the girl of the blue-black hair and
slender silken ankles.
She's Captain Carrington's granddaughter, Dick went on with the
Southerner's love for the definite in genealogy. Her father and mother
both died when she was a little tot, sir, and theythat is, the
grandparents, sirraised her. That's the Carrington place she's
turning in at. Ah
The girl glanced across and, recognizing Dick (and, it must be
admitted, her Clarendon inquirer as well), nodded.
Both men took off their hats. But Croyden noticed that the older man
could teach him much in the way it should be done. He did it shortly,
sharply, in the city way; Dick, slowly, deferentially, as though it
were an especial privilege to uncover to her.
Miss Carrington is a beauty! Croyden exclaimed, looking after her.
Are there more like her, in Hampton?
I'm too old, sir, to be a competent judge, returned Dick, but I
should say we have several who trot in the same class. I mean, sir
I understand! laughed Croyden. It's no disrespect in a
Marylander, I take it, when he compares the ladies with his
It's not, sir! At least, that's the way we of the older generation
feel; our ladies and our horses run pretty close together. But that
spirit is fast disappearing, sir! The younger ones are
becomingcommercialized, if you please. It's dollars first, and
then the ladies, with themand the horses nowhere. Though I don't
say it's not wise. Horses and the war have almost broken us, sir. We
lost the dollars, or forgot about them and they lost themselves,
whichever way it was, sir. It's right that our sons should start on a
new track and run the course in their own wayYes, sir, suddenly
recollecting himself, Miss Carrington's a pretty girl, and so's Miss
Tayloe and Miss Lashiel and a heap more. Indeed, sir, Hampton is famed
on the Eastern Sho' for her women. I'll attend to your baggage, and the
telephone, sir, and if there is anything else I can do, pray command
me. Drop in and see me when you get up town. Good day, sir, good day.
And removing his hat with a bow just a little less deferential than the
one he had given to Miss Carrington, he proceeded up the street,
leisurely and deliberately, as though the world were waiting for him.
And he is a real estate agent! reflected Croyden. The man who,
according to our way of thinking, is the acme of hustle and bustle and
business, and schemes to trap the unwary. Truly, the Eastern Shore has
much to learnor we have much to unlearn! Well, I have tried the
oneand failed. Now, I'm going to try the other. It seems to promise a
quiet life, at least.
He turned, to find Moses in the doorway, waiting.
Marster Croyden, he said, shall I puts yo satchel an' things in
de Cun'l's room, seh?
Croyden nodded. He did not know which was the Colonel's room, but it
was likely to be the best in the house, and, moreover, it was well to
follow him wherever he could.
And see that my luggage is taken there, when the man brings it, he
directedand tell Josephine to have luncheon at one and dinner at
The darky hesitated.
De Cun'l hed dinner in de middle o' de day, seh, he said, as
though Croyden had inadvertently erred.
And Croyden appreciating the situation, answered:
Well, you see, Moses, I've been used to the other way and I reckon
you will have to change to suit me.
Yass, seh! yass, seh! I tell Jose. Lunch is de same as supper, I
Croyden had to think a moment.
Yes, he said, that will answerlike a light supper.
There may be an objection, after all, to taking over Colonel
Duval's old servants, he reflected. It may be difficult to persuade
them that he is no longer the master. I run the chance of being ruled
by a dead man.
Presently his luggage arrived, and he went upstairs to unpack. Moses
looked, in wonder, at the wardrobe trunk, with every suit on a separate
hanger, the drawers for shirts and linen, the apartments for hats, and
collars, and neckties, and the shoes standing neatly in a row below.
Whar's de use atak'in de things out t'al, Marster Croyden! he
So as to put the trunk away.
Sho'! I mo'nt a kno'd hit. Hit's mons'us strange, seh, whar yo
mon't a' kno'd ef yo'd only stop to t'ink. F' instance, I mon't a kno'd
yo'd cum back to Clarendon, seh, some day, cuz yo spends yo money on
Then a bell tinkled softly from below.
Dyar's dinnerI means lunch, seh, said Moses. 'Scuse me, seh.
And I'm ready for it, said Croyden, as he went to the iron
wash-stand, and then slowly down stairs to the dining-room.
From some place, Moses had resurrected a white coat, yellow with its
ten years' rest, and was waiting to receive him. He drew out Croyden's
chair, as only a family servant of the olden times can do it, and bowed
him into his place.
The table was set exactly as in Colonel Duval's day, and very
prettily set, Croyden thought, with napery spotless, and china that was
thin and fine. The latter, if he had but known it, was Lowestoft and
had served the Duvals, on that very table, for much more than a hundred
There was cold ham, and cold chicken, lettuce with mayonnaise,
deviled eggs, preserves, with hot corn bread and tea. When Croyden had
about finished a leisurely meal, it suddenly occurred to him that
however completely stocked Clarendon was with things of the Past, they
did not apply to the larder, and these victuals were undoubtedly
fresh and particularly good.
By the way! Moses, he said, I'm glad you were thoughtful enough
to send out and purchase these things, with an indicating motion to
the table. They are very satisfactory.
Pu'chase! said the darky, in surprise. Dese things not pu'chased.
No, seh! Dey's borro'd, seh, from Majah Bo'den's, yass, seh!
Good God! Croyden exclaimed. You don't mean you borrowed my
Yass, seh! Why not, seh? Jose jes' went ovah an' sez to
Cassieshe's de cook, at de Majah's, sehsez she, Marster Croyden
don' cum and warns some'n to eat. An' she got hit, yass, seh!
Is it the usual thing, here, to borrow an entire meal from the
neighbor's? asked Croyden.
Sut'n'y, seh! We borrows anything we needs from the neighbors, an'
they does de same wid us.
Well, I don't want any borrowing by us, Moses, please
remember, said Croyden, emphatically. The neighbors can borrow
anything we have, and welcome, but we won't claim the favor from them,
Yass, seh! said the old darky, wonderingly.
Such a situation as one kitchen not borrowing from another was
incomprehensible. It had been done by the servants from time
immemorialand, though Croyden might forbid, yet Josephine would
continue to do it, just the sameonly, less openly.
And see that everything is returned not later than to-morrow,
Yass, seh! I tote's dem back dis minut, seh!
Dese things, heah, whar yo didn' eat, seh
Do you meanOh, Lord! exclaimed Croyden.
Never mind, Moses. I will return them another way. Just forget it.
Sut'n'y, seh, returned the darky. Dat's what I wuz gwine do in de
Croyden laughed. It was pretty hopeless, he saw. The ways they had,
were the ways that would hold them. He might protest, and order
otherwise, until doomsday, but it would not avail. For them, it was
sufficient if Colonel Duval permitted it, or if it were the custom.
I think I shall let the servants manage me, he thought. They know
the ways, down here, and, besides, it's the line of least resistance.
He went into the library, and, settling himself in a comfortable
chair, lit a cigarette.... It was the world turned upside down. Less
than twenty-four hours ago it was money and madness, bankruptcy and
divorce courts, the automobile pacethe devil's own. Now, it was quiet
and gentility, easy-living and refinement. Had he been in Hampton a
little longer, he would have added: gossip and tittle-tattle,
small-mindedness and silly vanity.
He smoked cigarette after cigarette and dreamed. He wondered what
Elaine Cavendish had done last eveningif she had dined at the
Club-house, and what gown she had worn, if she had played golf in the
afternoon, or tennis, and with whom; he wondered what she would do this
eveningwondered if she thought of him more than casually. He shook it
off for a moment. Then he wondered again: who had his old quarters at
the Heights? He knew a number who would be jumping for themwho had
his old table for breakfast? it, too, would be eagerly soughtwho
would take his place on the tennis and the golf teams?what Macloud
was doing? Fine chap was Macloud! the only man in Northumberland he
would trust, the only man in Northumberland, likely, who would care a
rap whether he came back or whether he didn't, or who would ever give
him a second thought. He wondered if Gaspard, his particular waiter,
missed him? yes, he would miss the tips, at least; yes, and the boy who
brushed his clothes and drew his bath would miss him, and his caddie,
as well. Every one whom he paid, would miss him....
He threw away his cigarette and sat up sharply. It was not pleasant
An old mahogany slant-top escritoire, in the corner by the window,
caught his eye. It had a shell, inlaid in maple, in the front, and the
parquetry, also, ran around the edges of the drawers and up the sides.
There was one like it in the Cavendish library, he remembered. He
went over to it, and, the key being in the lock, drew out pulls and
turned back the top. Inside, there was the usual lot of pigeon holes
and small drawers, with compartments for deeds and larger papers. All
were empty. Either Colonel Duval, in anticipation of death, had cleaned
it out, or Moses and Josephine, for their better preservation, had
packed the contents away. He was glad of it; he could use it, at least,
without ejecting the Colonel.
He closed the lid and had turned away, when the secret drawer,
which, sometimes, was in these old desks, occurred to him. He went back
and began to search for it.... And, presently, he found it. Under the
middle drawer was a sliding panel that rolled back, when he pressed on
a carved lion's head ornamentation, and which concealed a hidden
recess. In this recess lay a paper.
It was yellow with age, and, when Croyden took it in his fingers, he
caught the faint odor of sandal wood. It was brittle in the creases,
and threatened to fall apart. So, opening it gently, he spread it on
the desk before him. Here is what he read:
Annapolis, 10 May, 1738.
I fear that I am about to Clear for my Last Voyagethe old
wounds trouble me, more and more, especially those in my head and
chest. I am confined to my bed, and though Doctor Waldron does
not say it, I know he thinks I am bound for Davy Jones' locker.
So be itI've lived to a reasonable Age, and had a fair Time in
the living. I've done that which isn't according to Laws, either
of Man or Godbut for the Former, I was not Caught, and for the
Latter, I'm willing to chance him in death. When you were last
in Annapolis, I intended to mention a Matter to you, but
something prevented, I know not what, and you got Away ere I was
aware of it. Now, fearing lest I Die before you come again, I
will Write it, though it is against the Doctor's orderswhich,
however, I obey only when it pleases me.
You are familiar with certain Episodes in my Early Life, spent
under the Jolly Roger on the Spanish Main, and you have
maintained Silencefor which I shall always be your debtor. You
have, moreover, always been my Friend, and for that, I am more
than your debtor. It is, therefore, but Mete that you should be
my Heirand I have this day Executed my last Will and Testament,
bequeathing to you all my Property and effects. It is left with
Mr. Dulany, the Attorney, who wrote it, to be probated in due
But there still remains a goodly portion which, for obvious
reasons, may not be so disposed of. I mean my buried Treasure. I
buried it in September, 1720, shortly after I came to Annapolis,
trusting not to keep so great an Amount in my House. It amounts
to about half my Fortune, and Approximates near to Fifty Thousand
Pounds, though that may be but a crude Estimate at best, for I am
not skilled in the judging of Precious Stones. Where I obtained
this wealth, I need not mention, though you can likely guess. And
as there is nothing by which it can be identified, you can use it
without Hesitation. Subject, however, to one Restriction: As it
was not honestly come by (according to the World's estimate,
because, forsooth, I only risked my Life in the gathering,
instead of pilfering it from my Fellow man in Business, which is
the accepted fashion) I ask you not to use it except in an
Extremity of Need. If that need does not arise in your Life, you,
in turn, may pass this letter on to your heir, and he, in turn,
to his heir, and so on, until such Time as the Need may come, and
the Restriction be lifted. And now to find the Treasure:
Seven hundred and fifty feetand at right angles to the water
linefrom the extreme tip of Greenberry Point, below Annapolis,
where the Severn runs into the Chesapeake, are four large Beech
trees, standing as of the corners of a Square, though not
equidistant. Bisect this Square, by two lines drawn from the
Corners. At a Point three hundred and thirty feet,
North-by-North-East, from where these two lines intersect and at
a depth of Six feet, you will come upon an Iron Box. It contains
the Treasure. And I wish you (or whoever recovers it) Joy of
it!as much joy with it as I had in the Gathering.
Lest I die before you come again to Annapolis, I shall leave
this letter with Mr. Dulany, to be delivered to you on the First
Occasion. I judge him as one who will respect a Dead man's seal.
If I see you not again, Farewell. I am, sir, with great
Y'r humb'l &obed't Serv'nt
To Marmaduke Duval, Esq'r.
Below was written, by another hand:
The Extremity of Need has not arisen, I pass it on to my son.
And below that, by still another hand:
Neither has the Need come to me. I pass it to my son.
And below that, by still another hand:
Nor to me. I pass it to my son.
And below that:
The Extremity of Need brushed by me so close I heard the
rustling of its gown, but I did not dig. I have sufficient for
me, and I am the last of my line. I pass it, therefore, to my
good friend Hugh Croyden (and, in the event that he predecease
me, to his son Geoffrey Croyden), to whom Clarendon will go upon
Croyden read the last endorsement again; then he smiled, and the
smile broadened into an audible laugh.
The heir of a pirate! Well, at least, it promised something to
engage him, if time hung heavily on his hands. The Duvals seem to have
taken the bequest seriouslyso, why not he? And, though the extremity
of need seems never to have reached them, it was peculiar that none of
the family had inspected the locality and satisfied himself of the
accuracy of the description. The extreme tip of Greenberry Point had
shifted, a dozen times, likely, in a hundred and ninety years, and the
four beech trees had long since disappeared, but there was no note of
these facts to aid the search. He must start just where Robert
Parmenter had left off: with the letter.
He found an old history of Maryland in the book-case. It contained a
map. Annapolis was somewhere on the Western Shore, he knew. He ran his
eyes down the Chesapeake. Yes, here it waswith Greenberry Point just
across the Severn. So much of the letter was accurate, at least. The
rest would bear investigation. Some time soon he would go across, and
take a look over the ground. Greenberry Point, for all he knew, might
be built up with houses, or blown half a mile inland, or turned into a
fort, or anything. It was not likely to have remained the same, as in
Parmenter's day; and, yet, if it had changed, why should not the Duvals
have remarked it, in making their endorsements.
He put the letter back in the secret compartment, where it had
rested for so many years. Evidently, Colonel Duval had forgotten it, in
his last brief illness. And Fortune had helped him in the finding.
Would it help him to the treasure as well? For with him, the
restriction was liftedthe extremity of need was come. Moreover, it
was time that the letter should be put to the test.
V. MISS CARRINGTON
Croyden was sitting before the house, later in the afternoon, when
an elderly gentleman, returning leisurely from town, turned in at the
My first caller, thought Croyden, and immediately he arose and
went forward to meet him.
Permit me to present myself, sir, said the newcomer. I am Charles
I am very glad to meet you, Captain Carrington, said Croyden,
taking the proffered hand.
This is your first visit to Hampton, I believe, sir, the Captain
remarked, when they were seated under the trees. It is not
Northumberland, sir; we haven't the push, and the bustle, and the
smoke, but we have a pleasant little town, sir, and we're glad to
welcome you here. I think you will like it. It's a long time since
Clarendon had a tenant, sir. Colonel Duval's been dead nearly ten years
now. Your father and he were particular friends, I believe.
Croyden assured him that such was the case.
Yes, sir, the Colonel often spoke of him to me with great
affection. I can't say I was surprised to know that he had made him his
heir. He was the last of the Duvalsnot even a collateral in the
familythere was only one child to a generation, sir.
Manifestly, it was not known in Hampton how Hugh Croyden came to be
the Colonel's heir, and, indeed, friendship had prompted the
money-loan, without security other than the promise of the ultimate
transfer of Clarendon and its contents. And Croyden, respecting the
Colonel's wish, evident now, though unexpressed either to his father or
himself, resolved to treat the place as a gift, and to suppress the
fact that there had been an ample and adequate consideration.
After a short visit, Captain Carrington arose to go.
Come over and take supper with us, this evening, sir, said he. I
want you to meet Mrs. Carrington and my granddaughter.
I'll come with pleasure, Croyden answered, thinking of the girl
with the blue-black hair and slender ankles.
It's the house yonder, with the white pillarsat half-after-six,
* * * * *
As Croyden approached the Carrington house, he encountered Miss
Carrington on the walk.
We have met before, she said, as he bowed over her hand. I was
your original guide to Clarendon. Have you forgot?
Have I forgot? said Croyden. Do you think it possible? looking
her in the eyes.
No, I don't.
But you wanted to hear me say it?
I wanted to know if you could say it, she answered, gayly.
And how have I succeeded?
Sufficiently well to pass muster?
Musterfor what? she asked, with a sly smile.
For enrollment among your victims.
Shall I put your name on the listat the foot? she laughed.
Why at the foot?
The last comeryou have to work your way up by merit, you know.
Which consists in?
That you will have to discover.
I shall try, he said. Is it so very difficult of discovery?
No, it should not be so difficultfor you, she answered, with a
flash of her violet eyes. Mother! as they reached the piazzalet me
present Mr. Croyden.
Mrs. Carrington arose to greet hima tall, slender woman, whose age
was sixty, at least, but who appeared not a day over forty-five,
despite the dark gown and little lace cap she was wearing. She seemed
what the girl had called herthe mother, rather than the grandmother.
And when she smiled!
Miss Carrington two generations hence. Lord! how do they do it?
You play Bridge, of course, Mr. Croyden, said Miss Carrington,
when the dessert was being served.
I like it very much, he answered.
I was sure you didso sure, indeed, I asked a few friends in
laterfor a rubber or twoand to meet you.
So it's well for me I play, he smiled.
It is indeed! laughed Mrs. Carringtonthat is, if you care aught
for Davila's good opinion. If one can't play Bridge one would better
not be born.
When you know Mother a little better, Mr. Croyden, you will
recognize that she is inclined to exaggerate at times, said Miss
Carrington. I admit that I am fond of the game, that I like to play
with people who know how, and who, at the critical moment, are not
always throwing the wrong cardyou understand?
In other words, you haven't any patience with stupidity, said
Croyden. Nor have Ibut we sometimes forget that a card player is
born, not made. All the drilling and teaching one can do won't give
card sense to one who hasn't any.
Precisely! Miss Carrington exclaimed, and life is too short to
bother with such people. They may be very charming otherwise, but not
across the Bridge table.
Yet ought you not to forgive them their misplays, just because they
are charming? Mrs. Carrington asked. If you were given your choice
between a poor player who is charming, and a good player who is
disagreeable, which would you choose, Mr. Croyden?Come, now be
It would depend upon the size of the game, Croyden responded. If
it were half a cent a point, I should choose the charming partner, but
if it were five cents or better, I am inclined to think I should prefer
the good player.
I'll remember that, said Miss Carrington. As we don't play, here,
for money stakes, you won't care if your partner isn't very expert.
Not exactly, he laughed. The stipulation is that she shall be
charming. I should be willing to take you for a partner though
you trumped my ace and forgot my lead.
Merci, Monsieur, she answered. Though you know I
should do neither.
Ever play poker? Captain Carrington asked, suddenly.
Occasionally, smiled Croyden.
Good! We'll go down to the Club, some evening. We old fellows
aren't much on Bridge, but we can handle a pair or three of-a-kind,
pretty good. Have some sherry, won't you?
You must not let the Captain beguile you, interposed Mrs.
Carrington. The men all play poker with us,it is a heritage of the
old daysthough the youngsters are breaking away from it.
And taking up Bridge! the Captain ejaculated. And it is just as
wellwe have sense enough to stop before we're broke, but they
To hear father talk, you would think that the present generation is
no earthly good! smiled Miss Carrington. Yet I suppose, when he was
young, his elders held the same opinion of him.
I dare say! laughed the Captain. The old ones always think the
young ones have a lot to learnand they have, sir, they have! But it's
of another sort than we can teach them, I reckon. He pushed back his
chair. We'll smoke on the piazza, sirthe ladies don't object.
As they passed out, a visitor was just ascending the steps. Miss
Carrington gave a smothered exclamation and went forward.
How do you do, Miss Erskine! she said.
How do you do, my dear! returned Miss Erskine, and Mrs.
Carringtonand the dear Captain, too.I'm charmed to find you all at
She spoke with an affected drawl that would have been amusing in a
handsome woman, but was absurdly ridiculous in one with her figure and
She turned expectantly toward Croyden, and Miss Carrington presented
So this is the new owner of Clarendon, she gurgled with an 'a' so
broad it impeded her speech. You have kept us waiting a long time, Mr.
Croyden. We began to think you a myth.
I'm afraid you will find me a very husky myth, Croyden answered.
'Husky' is scarcely the correct word, Mr. Croyden; animated
would be better, I think. We scholars, you know, do not like to hear a
word used in a perverted sense.
She waddled to a chair and settled into it. Croyden shot an amused
glance toward Miss Carrington, and received one in reply.
No, I suppose not, he said, amiably. But, then, you know, I am
not a scholar.
Miss Erskine smiled in a superior sort of way.
Very few of us are properly careful of our mode of speech, she
answered. And, oh! Mr. Croyden, I hope you intend to open Clarendon,
so as to afford those of us who care for such things, the pleasure of
studying the pictures, and the china, and the furniture. I am told it
contains a Stuart and a Pealeand they should not be hidden from those
who can appreciate them.
I assume you're talking of pictures, said Croyden.
I am, sir,most assuredly! the dame answered.
Well, I must confess ignorance, again, he replied. I wouldn't
know a Stuart from achromo.
Miss Erskine gave a little shriek of horror.
I do not believe it, Mr. Croyden!you're playing on my credulity.
I shall have to give you some instructions. I will lecture on Stuart
and Peale, and the painters of their period, for your especial
delectationand soon, very soon!
I'm afraid it would all be wasted, said Croyden. I'm not fond of
art, I confessexcept on the commercial side; and if I've any
pictures, at Clarendon, worth money, I'll be for selling them.
Oh! Mrs. Carrington! Will you listendid you ever hear such
heresy? she exclaimed. I can't believe it of you, Mr. Croyden. Let me
lend you an article on Stuart to read. I shall bring it out to
Clarendon to-morrow morningand you can let me look at all the dear
treasures, while you peruse it.
Mr. Croyden has an appointment with me to-morrow, Amelia, said
Carrington, quicklyand Croyden gave him a look of gratitude.
It will be but a pleasure deferred, then, Mr. Croyden, said Miss
Erskine, impenetrable in her self conceit. The next morning will do,
quite as wellI shall come at ten o'clockWhat a lovely evening this
is, Mrs. Carrington! preparing to patronize her hostess.
The Captain snorted with sudden anger, and, abruptly excusing
himself, disappeared in the library. Miss Carrington stayed a moment,
then, with a word to Croyden, that she would show him the article now,
before the others came, if Miss Erskine would excuse them a moment,
bore him off.
What do you think of her? she demanded.
Pompous and stupidan irritating nuisance, I should call her.
She's more!she is the most arrogant, self-opinionated,
self-complacent, vapid piece of humanity in this town or any other
town. She irritates me to the point of impoliteness. She never sees
that people don't want her. She's as dense as asphalt.
It is very amusing! Croyden interjected.
At first, yespretty soon you will be throwing things at heror
She's art crazy, he said. Dilettanteism gone mad.
It isn't only Art. She thinks she's qualified to speak on every
subject under the sun, LiteratureBridgeTeachingMusic. Oh, she is
What fits her for assuming universal knowledge? asked Croyden.
Heaven only knows! She went away to some preparatory school, and
finished off with another that teaches pedagogy. Straightway she became
an adept in the art of instruction, though, when she tried it, she had
the whole academy by the ears in two weeks, and the faculty asked her
to resign. Next, she got some one to take her to Europespent six
weeks in looking at a lot of the famous paintings, with the aid of a
guide book and a catalogue, and came home prepared to lecture on
Artand, what's more, she has the effrontery to do itfor the benefit
of Charity, she takes four-fifths of the proceeds, and Charity gets the
Music came next. She read the lives of Chopin and Wagner and some
of the other composers, went to a half dozen symphony concerts, looked
up theory, voice culture, and the like, in the encyclopædias, and now
she's a critic! Literature she imbibed from the bottle, I supposeit
came easy to her! And she passes judgment upon it with the
utmost ease and final authority. And as for Bridge! She doesn't
hesitate to arraign Elwell, and we, of the village, are the very dirt
beneath her feet. I hear she's thinking of taking up Civic Improvement.
I hope it is trueshe'll likely run up against somebody who won't
hesitate to tell her what an idiot she is.
Why do you tolerate her? Croyden asked. Why don't you throw her
out of society, metaphorically speaking.
We can't: she belongswhich is final with us, you know. Moreover,
she has imposed on some, with her assumption of superiority, and they
kowtow to her in a way that is positively disgusting.
Why don't you, and the rest who dislike her, snub her?
Snub her! You can't snub hershe never takes a snub to
herself. If you were to hit her in the face, she would think it a
mistake and meant for some one else.
Then, why not do the next best thinghave fun with her?
We dobut even that grows monotonous, with such a mountain of
Egotismshe will stay for the Bridge this evening, see if she
doesn'tand never imagine she's not wanted. Then she laughed: I
think if she does I'll give her to you!
Very good! said he. I'd rather enjoy it. If she is any more
cantankerous than some of the women at the Heights, she'll be an
interesting study. Yes, I'll be glad to play a rubber with her.
If you start, you'll play the entire evening with herwe don't
change partners, here.
And what will you do? he asked.
Look onat the other table. She will have my place. I was
going to play with you.
Then the greater the sacrifice I'm making, the greater the credit I
It dependson how you acquit yourself, she said gayly. There are
the others, nowcome along.
There were six of them. Miss Tilghman, Miss Lashiel and Miss Tayloe,
Mr. Dangerfield, Mr. Leigh, and Mr. Byrd. They all had heard of
Croyden's arrival, in Hampton, and greeted him as they would one of
themselves. And it impressed him, as possibly nothing else could have
donefor it was distinctly new to him, after the manners of chilliness
and aloofness which were the ways of Northumberland.
We are going to play Bridge, Miss Erskine, will you stay and join
us? asked Miss Carrington.
I shall be charmed! charmed! was the answer. This is an ideal
evening for Bridge, don't you think so, Mr. Croyden?
Yes, that's what we thought! said Miss Tilghman, dryly.
And who is to play with me, dear Davila? Miss Erskine inquired.
I'm going to put Mr. Croyden with you.
How nice of you! But I warn you, Mr. Croyden, I am a very exacting
partner. I may find fault with you, if you violate rulesjust draw
your attention to it, you know, so you will not let it occur again. I
cannot abide blunders, Mr. Croydenthere is no excuse for them, except
stupidity, and stupidity should put one out of the game.
I'll try to do my very best, said Croyden humbly.
I do not doubt that you will, she replied easily, her manner
plainly implying further that she would soon see how much that best
As they went in to the drawing-room, where the tables were arranged,
Miss Erskine leading, with a feeling of divine right and an appearance
of a Teddy bear, Byrd leaned over to Croyden and said:
She's the limit!
No! said Leigh, she's past the limit; she's the sublimated It!
Which is another way of saying, she's a superlative dfool!
I think I understand! Croyden laughed. Before you came, she
tackled me on Art, and, when I confessed to only the commercial side,
and an intention to sell the Stuart and Peale, which, it seems, are at
Clarendon, the pitying contempt was almost too much for me.
My Lord! why weren't we here! exclaimed Byrd.
She's coming out to inspect my 'treasures,' on Thursday morning.
I rather think so.
I shall turn her over to Moses, and decamp before she gets there.
Gentlemen, we are waiting! came Miss Erskine's voice.
Oh, Lord! the old dragoon! said Leigh. I trust I'm not at her
And he was notMiss Tilghman and Dangerfield were designated.
Come over and help to keep me straight, Croyden whispered to Miss
She shook her head at him with a roguish smile.
You'll find your partner amply able to keep you straight, she
The game began. Miss Tilghman won the cut and made it a Royal Spade.
They no longer play Royal Spades in New York, said Miss Erskine.
Don't know about New York, returned Miss Tilghman, placidly, but
we're playing them here, this evening. Your lead, Miss Amelia.
The latter shut her thick lips tightly, an instant.
Oh, well, I suppose we must be provincial a little longer, she
said, sarcastically. Of course, you do not still play Royal Spades in
Northumberland, Mr. Croyden.
Yes, indeed! Play anything to keep the game moving, Croyden
Oh, to be sure! I forgot, for the instant, that Northumberland
is a rapid town.I call that card, Ediththe King of Hearts! as
Miss Tilghman inadvertently exposed it.
A moment later, Miss Tilghman, through anger, also committed a
revoke, which her play on the succeeding trick disclosed.
That it was a game for pure pleasure, without stakes, made no
difference to Miss Erskine. Technically it was a revoke, and she was
within her rights when she exclaimed it.
Three tricks! she said exultantly, and you cannot make game this
I'm very sorry, partner, Miss Tilghman apologized.
It's entirely excusable under the circumstances, said Dangerfield,
with deliberate accent. You may do it again!
How courteous Mr. Dangerfield is, Miss Erskine smiled. To my
mind, nothing excuses a revoke except sudden blindness.
And you would claim it even then, I suppose? Dangerfield retorted.
I said, sudden blindness was the only excuse, Mr. Dangerfield. Had
you observed my language more closely, you doubtless would have
understood.It is your lead, partner.
Dangerfield, with a wink at Croyden, subsided, and the hand was
finished, as was the next, when Croyden was dummy, without further
jangling. But midway in the succeeding hand, Miss Erskine began.
My dear Mr. Croyden, she said, when you have the Ace, King, and
no more in a suit, you should lead the Ace and then the King, to
show that you have no moregive the down-and-out signal. We would have
made an extra trick, if you had done soI could have given you a
diamond to trump. As it was, you led the King and then the Ace, and I
supposed, of course, you had at least four in suit.
I'm very sorry; I'll try to remember in future, said Croyden with
But, at the end of the hand, he was in disgrace again.
If your original lead had been from your fourth best, partner, I
could have understood you, she said. As it was, you misinformed me.
Under the rule of eleven, I had but the nine to beat, I played the ten
and Mr. Dangerfield covered with the Knave, which by the rule you
should have held. We lost another trick by it, you see.
It's too badtoo bad! Croyden answered; that's two tricks we've
lost by my stupid playing. I'm afraid I'm pretty ignorant, Miss
Erskine, for I don't know what is meant by the rule of eleven.
Miss Erskine's manner of cutting the cards was somewhat indicative
of her contemptlingeringly, softly, putting them down as though she
scorned to touch them except with the tips of her fingers.
The rule of eleven is usually one of the first things learned by a
beginner at Bridge, she said, witheringly. I do not always agree with
Mr. Elwell, some of whose reasoning and inferences, in my opinion, are
much forced, but his definition of this rule is very fair. I give it in
his exact words, which are: 'Deduct the size of the card led from
eleven, and the difference will show how many cards, higher than the
one led, are held outside the leader's hand.' For example: if you lead
a seven then there are four higher than the seven in the other three
I see! Croyden exclaimed. What a bully rule!It's very
informing, isn't it?
Yes, it's very informingin more ways than one, she answered.
Whereat Miss Tilghman laughed outright, and Dangerfield had to
retrieve a card from the floor, to hide his merriment.
What's the hilarity? asked Miss Carrington, coming over to their
table. You people seem to be enjoying the game.
Which sent Miss Tilghman into a gale of laughter, in which
Miss Erskine frowned in disapproval and astonishment.
Don't mind them, Mr. Croyden, she said. They really know better,
but this is the silly season, I suppose. They have much to learn,
toomuch to learn, indeed. She turned to Miss Carrington. I was
explaining a few things about the game to Mr. Croyden, Davila, the rule
of eleven and the Ace-King lead, and, for some reason, it seemed to
move them to jollity.
I'm astonished! exclaimed Miss Carrington, her violet eyes
gleaming with suppressed mirth.
I hope Mr. Croyden does not think we were laughing at him!
cried Miss Tilghman.
Of course not! returned Croyden solemnly, and, if you were, my
stupidity quite justified it, I'm sure. If Miss Erskine will only bear
with me, I'll try to learnBully thing, that rule of eleven!
It was now Croyden's deal and the score, games allMiss Erskine
having made thirty-six on hers, and Dangerfield having added enough to
Miss Tilghman's twenty-eight to, also, give them game.
How cleverly you deal the cards, Miss Erskine remarked. You're
particularly nimble in the fingers.
I acquired it dealing faro, Croyden returned, innocently.
Faro! exclaimed Miss Carrington, choking back a laugh. What is
A game about which you should know nothing, my dear, Miss Erskine
interposed. Faro is played only in gambling hells and mining camps.
And in some of the Clubs in New York, Croyden addedat
which Miss Tilghman's mirth burst out afresh. That's where I learned
to copper the ace or to play it open.I'll make it no trumps.
I'll double! said Miss Tilghman.
I'll go back!
Somebody will win the rubber, this hand, Miss Erskine
platitudinized,with the way such persons have of announcing a self
evident factas she spread out her hand. It is fair support,
Croyden nodded. Then proceeded with much apparent thought and
deliberation, to play the hand like the veriest tyro.
Miss Erskine fidgeted in her seat, gave half smothered exclamations,
looked at him appealingly at every misplay. All with no effect. Croyden
was wrapped in the gameutterly oblivious to anything but the
cardsleading the wrong one, throwing the wrong one, matching
pasteboards, that was all.
Miss Erskine was frantic. And when, at the last, holding only a
thirteener and a fork in Clubs, he led the losing card of the latter,
she could endure the agony no longer.
That is five tricks you have lost, Mr. Croyden, to say nothing of
the rubber! she snapped. I must go, nowa delightful game! thank
you, my dear Davila. So much obliged to you all, don't you know. Ah,
Captain Carrington, will you see me as far as the front gate?I won't
disturb the game. Davila can take my place.
Yes, I'll take her to the gate! muttered the Captain aside to
Croyden, who was the very picture of contrition. But if she only were
a man! Are you ready, Amelia? and he bowed her out.
You awful man! cried Miss Carrington. How could you do it!
I think it was lovelyperfectly lovely! exclaimed Miss
Tilghman.Oh! that last hand was too funny for words.If only you
could have seen her face, Mr. Croyden.
[Illustration: LEADING THE WRONG ONE, THROWING THE WRONG ONE,
MATCHING PASTEBOARDS, THAT WAS ALL]
I didn't dare! laughed he. One look, and I'd have given the whole
She never suspected.I tell you, she is as dense as asphalt, said
Miss Carrington. Come, now we'll have some Bridge.
And I'll try to observe the rule of eleven! said Croyden.
He lingered a moment, after the game was ended and the others had
gone. When he came to say good-night, he held Miss Carrington's slender
fingers a second longer than the occasion justified.
And may I come again soon? he asked.
As often as you wish, she answered. You have the advantage of
proximity, at least.
VI. CONFIDENCE AND SCRUPLES
The next month, to Croyden, went pleasantly enough. He was occupied
with getting the household machinery to run according to his ideasand
still retain Moses and Josephine, who, he early discovered, were
invaluable to him; in meeting the people worth knowing in the town and
vicinity, and in being entertained, and entertainingall very quietly
and without ostentation.
He had dined, or supped, or played Bridge at all the houses, had
given a few small things himself, and ended by paying off all scores
with a garden party at Clarendon, which Mrs. Carrington had managed for
him with exquisite taste (and, to him, amazing frugality)and, more
wonderful still, with an entire effacement of self. It was
Croyden's party throughout, though her hand was at the helm, her brain
directedand Hampton never knew.
And the place had looked attractive; with the house set in
its wide sweep of velvety lawn amid great trees and old-fashioned
flowers and hedges. With the furniture cleaned and polished, the old
china scattered in cupboard and on table, the portraits and commissions
freshly dusted, the swords glistening as of yore.
And in that month, Croyden had come to like Hampton immensely. The
absence, in its society, of all attempts at show, to make-believe, to
impress, to hoodwink, was refreshingly novel to him, who, hitherto, had
known it only as a great sham, a huge affectation, with every one
striving to outdo everyone else, and all as hollow as a rotten gourd.
He had not got used, however, to the individual espionage of the
country townthe habit of watching one's every movement, and telling
it, and drawing inferences therefrominferences tinctured according to
the personal feelings of the inferer.
He learned that, in three weeks, they had him taken with every
eligible girl in town, engaged to four and undecided as to two more.
They busied themselves with his food,they nosed into his drinks, his
cigars, his cigarettes, his pipes,they bothered themselves about his
meal hours,they even inspected his wash when it hung on the line!
Some of them, that is. The rest were totally different; they let every
one alone. They did not intrude nor obtrudethey went their way, and
permitted every one to go his.
So much had been the way of Northumberland, so much he had been used
to always. Butand here was the difference from Northumberland, the
vital difference, indeedthey were interested in you, if you
wished them to beand it was genuine interest, not pretense. This, and
the way they had treated him as one of them, because Colonel Duval had
been his father's friend, made Croyden feel very much at home.
At intervals, he had taken old Parmenter's letter from its secret
drawer, and studied it, but he had been so much occupied with getting
acquainted, that he had done nothing else. Moreover, there was no
pressing need for haste. If the treasure had kept on Greenberry Point
for one hundred and ninety years, it would keep a few months longer.
Besides, he was a bit uncertain whether or not he should confide in
someone, Captain Carrington or Major Borden. He would doubtless need
another man to help him, even if the location should be easily
determined, which, however, was most unlikely. For him, alone, to go
prying about on Greenberry Point, would surely occasion comment and
arouse suspicionwhich would not be so likely if there were two of
them, and especially if one were a well-known resident of Maryland.
He finally determined, however, to go across to Annapolis and look
over the ground, before he disclosed the secret to any one. Which was
the reasonable decision.
When he came to look up the matter of transportation, however, he
was surprised to find that no boat ran between Annapolis and
Hamptonor any other port on the Eastern Shore. He either had to go by
water to Baltimore (which was available on only three days a week) and
thence finish his journey by rail or transfer to another boat, or else
he had to go by steam cars north to Wilmington, and then directly south
again to Annapolis. In either case, a day's journey between two towns
that were almost within seeing distance of each other, across the Bay.
Of the two, he chose to go by boat to Baltimore.
Then, the afternoon of the day before it sailed, he received a
wiredelivered two hours and more after its receipt, in the leisurely
fashion of the Eastern Shore. It was from Macloud, and dated
Can I come down to-night? Answer to Bellevue-Stratford.
His reply brought Macloud in the morning train.
Croyden met him at the station. Moses took his bag, and they walked
out to Clarendon.
Sorry I haven't a car! said Croydenthen he laughed. The truth
is, Colin, they're not popular down here. The old families won't have
themthey're innovationsthe saddle horse and the family carriage are
still to the fore with them. Only the butcher, and the baker and the
candlestick maker have motors. There's one, nowhe's the candlestick
maker, I think. This town is nothing if not conservative. It reminds me
of the one down South, where they wouldn't have electric cars. Finally
all the street car horses died. Then rather than commit the awful sin
of letting new horses come into the city, they accepted the
trolley. The fashion suits my pocketbook, however, so I've no kick
What do you want with a car here, anyway? Macloud asked. It looks
as if you could walk from one end of the town to the other in fifteen
You can, easily.
And the baker et cetera have theirs only for show, I suppose?
Yes, that's about itthe roads, hereabout, are sandy and poor.
Then, I'm with your old families. They may be conservative, at
times a trifle too much so, but, in the main, their judgment's pretty
reliable, according to conditions. What sort of place did you findI
mean the house?
And the society?
Much better than Northumberland.
HumI seethe aristocracy of birth, not dollars.
Exactly!How do you do, Mr. Fitzhugh, as they passed a policeman
Good morning, Mr. Croyden! was the answer.
There! that illustrates, said Croyden. You meet Fitzhugh every
place when he is off duty. He belongs. His occupation does not
figure, in the least.
So you like itHampton, I mean? said Macloud.
I've been here a monthand that month I've enjoyedthoroughly
enjoyed. However, I do miss the Clubs and their life.
I can understand, Macloud interjected.
And the ability to get, instantly, anything you want
Much of which you don't wantand wouldn't get, if you had to write
for it, or even to walk down town for itwhich makes for economy,
observed Macloud sententiously.
But, more than either, I miss the personal isolation which one can
have in a big town, when he wishes itand has always, in some degree.
And that gets on your nerves! laughed Macloud. Well, you
won't mind it after a while, I think. You'll get used to it, and be
quite oblivious. Is that all your objections?
I've been here only a short time, remember. Come back in six
months, say, and I may have kicks in plenty.
You may find it a bit dreary in winterwho the deuce is that girl
yonder, Geoffrey? he broke off.
They were opposite Carrington's, and down the walk toward the gate
was coming the maid of the blue-black hair, and slender ankles. She
wore a blue linen gown, a black hat, and her face was framed by a white
That is Miss Carrington, said Croyden.
Hum!Your house near here?
Macloud looked at him with a grin.
She has nothing to do with your liking the town, I suppose? he
Well, she's not exactly a deterrentand there are half a dozen
more of the same sort. Oh, on that score, Hampton's not half bad, my
friend! he laughed.
You mean there are half a dozen of that sort, with a slight
jerk of his head toward Miss Carrington, who are unmarried?
Croyden noddedthen looked across; and both men raised their hats
And how many married? Macloud queried.
Severalbut you let them aloneit's not fashionable here,
as yet, for a pretty married woman to have an affair. She loves her
husband, or acts it, at least. They're neither prudes nor prigs, but
they are not that.
So far as you know! laughed Macloud. But my experience has been
that the pretty married woman who won't flirt, if occasion offers where
there is no danger of being compromised, is a pretty scarce article.
However, Hampton may be an exception.
You're too cynical, said Croyden. We turn in herethis is
Why! you beggar! Macloud exclaimed. I've been sympathizing with
you, because I thought you were living in a shack-of-a-placeand,
Yes, it is not bad, said Croyden. I've no ground for complaint,
on that head. I can, at least, be comfortable here. It's not bad
That evening, after dinner, when the two men were sitting in the
library while a short-lived thunder storm raged outside, Macloud, after
a long break in the conversationwhich is the surest sign of
camaraderie among menobserved, apropos of nothing except the talk of
Lord! man, you've got no kick coming!
Who said I had? Croyden demanded.
You did, by damning it with faint praise.
Your present environmentand yet, look you! A comfortable house,
fine grounds, beautiful old furnishings, delicious victuals, and two
negro servants, who are devoted to you, or the placeno matter which,
for it assures their permanence; the one a marvelous cook, the other a
competent man; and, by way of society, a lot of fine, old antebellum
families, with daughters like the Symphony in Blue, we saw this
morning. God! you're hard to please.
And that is not all, said Croyden, laughing and pointing to the
portraits. I've got ancestorsby purchase.
And you have come by them clean-handed, which is rare.Moreover, I
fancy you are one who has them by inheritance, as well.
Croyden nodded. I'm glad to say I haveancestors are distinctly
fashionable down here. But that's not all I've got.
There is only one thing moremoney, said Macloud. You haven't
found any of it down here, have you?
That is just what I don't know, Croyden replied, tossing away his
cigarette, and crossing to the desk by the window. It dependson
this. He handed the Parmenter letter to Macloud. Read it throughthe
endorsements last, in their orderand then tell me what you think of
These endorsements, I take it, said Macloud, though without date
and signed only with initials, were made by the original addressee,
Marmaduke Duval, his son, who was presumably Daniel Duval, and Daniel
Duval's son, Marmaduke; the rest, of course, is plain.
That is correct, Croyden answered. I have made inquiriesColonel
Duval's father was Marmaduke, whose son was Daniel, whose son was
Marmaduke, the addressee.
Then why isn't it true? Macloud demanded.
My dear fellow, I'm not denying it! I simply want your
opinionwhat to do?
Have you shown this letter to anyone else?
Well, you're a fool to show it even to me. What assurance have you
that, when I leave here, I won't go straight to Annapolis and steal
No assurance, except a lamblike trust in your friendship, said
Croyden, with an amused smile.
Your recent experience with Royster &Axtell and the Heights should
beget confidences of this kind? he said sarcastically, tapping the
letter the while. You trust too much in friendship, Croyden. Tests of
half a million dollars aren't human! Then he grinned. I always
thought there was something God-like about me. So, maybe, you're safe.
But it was a fearful risk, man, a fearful risk! He looked at the
letter again. Sure, it's true! The man to whom it was addressed
believed itelse why did he endorse it to his son? And we can assume
that Daniel Duval knew his father's writing, and accepted it.Oh, it's
genuine enough. But to prove it, did you identify Marmaduke Duval's
writingany papers or old letters in the house?
I don't know, returned Croyden. I'll ask Moses to-morrow.
Better not arouse his curiositydarkies are most inquisitive, you
knowwhere did you find the letter?
Croyden showed him the secret drawer.
Another proof of its genuineness, said Macloud. Have you made any
effort to identify this man Parmenterfrom the records at Annapolis.
NoI've done nothing but look at the letterexcept to trace the
Duval descent, Croyden replied.
He speaks, here, of his last will and testament being left with Mr.
Dulany. If it were probated, that will establish Parmenter, especially
if Marmaduke Duval is the legatee. What do you know of Annapolis?
Nothing! I never was thereI looked it up on the map I found,
here, and Greenberry Point is as the letter saysacross the Severn
River from it.
Macloud laughed, in good-natured raillery.
You seem to have been in a devil of a hurry! he said. At the same
rate of progression, you will go to Annapolis some time next spring,
and get over to Greenberry Point about autumn.
On the contrary, it's your coming that delayed me, Croyden smiled.
But for your wire, I would have started this morningnow, if you will
accompany me, we'll go day-after-to-morrow.
Why delay? said Macloud. Why not go to-night?
It's a long journey around the Bay by railI'd rather cross to
Baltimore by boat; from there it's only an hour's ride to Annapolis by
electric cars. And there isn't any boat sailing until
Where's the map? said Macloud. Let me see where we are, and where
Annapolis is.... Hum! we're almost opposite! Can't we get a boat in the
morning to take us across directcharter it, I mean? The Chesapeake
isn't wide at this pointa sailing vessel ought to make it in a few
I'll go you! exclaimed Croyden. He went to the telephone and
called up Dick. This is Geoffrey Croyden! he said.I've a friend
who wants to go across the Bay to Annapolis, in the morning. Where can
I find out if there is a sailing vessel, or a motor boat,
obtainable?... what's that you say?... Miles Casey?on Fleet Street,
near the wharf?... Thank you!He says, turning to Macloud, Casey
will likely take ushe has a fishing schooner and it is in port. He
lives on Fleet Streetwe will walk down, presently, and see him.
Macloud nodded assent, and fell to studying the directions again.
Croyden returned to his chair and smoked in silence, waiting for his
friend to conclude. At length, the latter folded the letter and looked
It oughtn't to be hard to find, he observed.
Not if the trees are still standing, and the Point is in the same
place, said Croyden. But we're going to find the Point shifted about
ninety degrees, and God knows how many feet, while the trees will have
long since disappeared.
Or the whole Point may be built over with houses! Macloud
responded. Why not go the whole throw-down at oncemake it impossible
to recover rather than only difficult to locate! He made a gesture of
disbelief. Do you fancy that the Duvals didn't keep an eye on
Greenberry Point?that they wouldn't have noted, in their
endorsements, any change in the ground? So it's clear, in my mind,
that, when Colonel Duval transferred this letter to you, the Parmenter
treasure could readily be located.
I'm sure I shan't object, in the least, if we walk directly to the
spot, and hit the box on the third dig of the pick! laughed Croyden.
But let us forget the old pirate, until to-morrow; tell me about
Northumberlandit seems a year since I left! When one goes away for
good and all, it's different, you know, from going away for the
And you think you have left it for good and all? asked Macloud,
blowing a smoke-ring and watching him with contemplative eyesWell,
the place is the sameonly more so. A good many people have come back.
The Heights is more lively than when you left, teas, and dinners, and
tournaments and such like.In town, the Northumberland's resuming its
regularsthe theatres are open, and the Club has taken the bald-headed
row on Monday nights as usual. Billy Cain has turned up engaged, also
as usualthis time, it's a Richmond girl, 'regular screamer,' he says.
It will last the allotted time, of coursesix weeks was the limit for
the last two, you'll remember. Smythe put it all over Little in the
tennis tournament, and 'Pud' Lester won the golf championship. Terry's
horse, Peach Blossom, fell and broke its neck in the high jump,
at the Horse Show; Terry came out easierhe broke only his
collar-bone. Mattison is the little bounder he always wasa month
hasn't changed himexcept for the worse. Hungerford is a bit sillier.
Colloden is the same bully fellow; he is disconsolate, now, because he
is beginning to take on flesh. Whereat both laughed. Danridge is back
from the North Cape, via Paris, with a new drink he calls The
Spasmodicit's made of gin, whiskey, brandy, and absinthe, all in
a pint of sarsaparilla. He says it's greatI've not sampled it, but
judging from those who have he is drawing it mild.... Betty Whitridge
and Nancy Wellesly have organized a Sinners Class, prerequisites for
membership in which are that you play Bridge on Sundays and have
abstained from church for at least six months. It's limited to twenty.
They filled it the first morning, and have a waiting list of something
over seventy-five.... That is about all I can think of that's new.
Has any one inquired about me? Croyden askedwith the lingering
desire one has not to be forgot.
Macloud shot a questioning glance at him.
Beyond the fact that the bankruptcy schedules show you were pretty
hard hit, I've heard no one comment, he said. They think you're in
Europe. Elaine Cavendish is sponsor for that reportshe says you told
her you were called, suddenly, abroad.
Croyden nodded. Then, after a pause:
Any one inclined to play the devoted, there? he asked.
Plenty inclinedplenty anxious, replied Macloud. I'm looking a
bit that way myselfI may get into the running, since you are out of
it, he added.
Croyden made as though to speak, then bit off the words.
Yes, I'm out of it, he said shortly.
But you're not out of itif you find the pirate's treasure.
Wait until I find itat present, I'm only an 'also ran.'
Who had the field, however, until withdrawn, said Macloud.
Maybe! Croyden laughed. But things have changed with me, Macloud;
I've had time for thought and meditation. I'm not sure I should go back
to Northumberland, even if the Parmenter jewels are real. Had I stayed
there I suppose I should have taken my chance with the rest, but I'm
becoming doubtful, recently, of giving such hostages to fortune. It's
all right for a woman to marry a rich man, but it is a totally
different proposition for a poor man to marry a rich woman. Even with
the Parmenter treasure, I'd be poor in comparison with Elaine Cavendish
and her millionsand I'm afraid the sweet bells would soon be jangling
out of tune.
Would you condemn the girl to spinsterhood, because there are few
men in Northumberland, or elsewhere, who can match her in wealth?
Not at all! I mean, only, that the man should be able to support
her according to her condition in life.In other words, pay all the
bills, without drawing on her fortune.
Those views will never make you the leader of a popular
propaganda! said Macloud, with an amused smile. In fact, you're alone
in the woods.
Possibly! But the views are not irrevocableI may change, you
know. In the meantime, let us go down to Fleet Street and interview
Casey. And then, if you're good, I'll take you to call on Miss
The Symphony in Blue! exclaimed Macloud. Come along, man, come
VII. GREENBERRY POINT
There was no trouble with Caseyhe had been mighty glad to take
them. And, at about noon of the following day, they drew in to the
ancient capital, having made a quick and easy run from Hampton.
It was clear, bright October weather, when late summer seems to
linger for very joy of staying, and all nature is in accord. The State
House, where Washington resigned his commissionwith its chaste lines
and dignified white dome, when viewed from the Bay (where the
monstrosity of recent years that has been hung on behind, is not
visible) stood out clearly in the sunlight, standing high above the
town, which slumbers, in dignified ease, within its shadow. A few old
mansions, up the Spa, seen before they landed, with the promise of
others concealed among the trees, higher up, told their story of a Past
departeda finished city.
Where is Greenberry Point? demanded Macloud, suddenly.
Yonder, sir, on the far side of the Severnthe strip of land which
juts out into the Bay.
First hypothesis, dead as a musket! looking at Croyden. There
isn't a house in sightexcept the light-house, and it's a bug-light.
No housesbut where are the trees? Croyden returned. It seems
pretty low, he said, to the skipper; is it ever covered with water?
I think not, sirthe water's just eating it slowly away.
Croyden nodded, and faced townward.
What is the enormous white stone building, yonder? he asked.
The Naval Academythat's only one of the buildings, sir, Bancroft
Hall. The whole Academy occupies a great stretch of land along the
They landed at the dock, at the foot of Market Place and inquired
the way to Carvel Hallthat being the hotel advised by Dick. They were
directed up Wayman's alleyone of the numerous three foot
thoroughfares between streets, in which the town aboundsto Prince
George Street, and turning northward on it for a block, past the once
splendid Brice house, now going slowly to decay, they arrived at the
hotel:the central house of English brick with the wings on either
side, and a modern hotel building tacked on the rear.
Rather attractive! was Macloud's comment, as they ascended the
steps to the brick terrace and, thence, into the hotel. Isn't this an
old residence? he inquired of the clerk, behind the desk.
Yes, sir! It's the William Paca (the Signer) mansion, but it served
as the home of Dorothy Manners in Richard Carvel, and hence the
name, sir: Carvel Hall. We've many fine houses here: the Chase
Househe also was a Signer; the Harwood House, said to be one of the
most perfect specimens of Colonial architecture in America; the Scott
House, on the Spa; the Brice House, next door; McDowell Hall, older
than any of them, was gutted by fire last year, but has been restored;
the Ogle mansionhe was Governor in the 1740's, I think. Oh! this was
the Paris of America before and during the Revolution. Why, sir, the
tonnage of the Port of Annapolis, in 1770, was greater than the tonnage
of the Port of Baltimore, to-day.
Very interesting! said Macloud. Very interesting, indeed. What's
happened to it since 1770?
Nothing, sirthat's the trouble, it's progressed backwardand
Baltimore has taken its place.
I see! said Macloud, laughing. What time is luncheon?
It's being served now, sirtwelve-thirty to two.
Order a pair of saddle horses, and have them around at one-thirty,
There is no livery connected with the hotel, sir, but I'll do what
I can. There isn't any saddlers for hire, but we will get you a pair of
'Cheney's Best,' sirthey're sometimes ridden. However, you had better
drive, if you will permit me to suggest, sir.
Croyden glanced at Macloud.
No!we will try the horses, he said.
It had been determined that they should ride for the reasons, as
urged by Macloud, that they could go on horseback where they could not
in a conveyance, and they would be less likely to occasion comment. The
former of which appealed to Croyden, though the latter did not.
Macloud had borrowed an extra pair of riding breeches and puttees,
from his friend, and, at the time appointed, the two men passed through
The horses are waiting, sir! the clerk informed them.
Two negro lads were holding a pair of rawboned nags, that resembled
saddlers about as much as a cigar-store Indian does a sonata. Croyden
looked them over in undisguised disgust.
If these are Cheney's Best, he commented, what in Heaven's name
are his worst?
Come on! said Macloud, adjusting the stirrups. Get aboard and
leave the kicking to the horses, they may be better than they look.
Where does one cross the Severn? he asked a man who was passing.
Straight up to the College green, he replied, pointing; then one
square to the right to King George Street, and on out it, across
College Creek, to the Marine Barracks. The road forks there; you turn
to the right; and the bridge is at the foot of the hill.
They thanked him, and rode away.
He ought to write a guide book, said Croyden.
How do you know he hasn't? Macloud retorted. Well paved
streets,but a trifle hard for riding.
And more than a trifle dirty, Croyden added. My horse isn't so
He'll do!This must be the Naval Academy, as they passed along a
high brick wallYonder, are the Barracksthe Marines are drilling in
They clattered over the creek, rounded the quarters of the
Hermaphrodites, and saw below them the wide bridge, almost a half a
mile long, which spans the Severn. The draw was open, to let a motor
boat pass through, but it closed before they reached it.
This is exceptionally pretty! Macloud exclaimed, drawing rein,
midway. Look at the high bluff, on the farther shore, with the view up
the river, on one side, and down the Bay, and clear across on the
other.... Now, as they wound up on the hill, for the first road to
This doesn't look promising! laughed Croyden, as the road swung
abruptly westward and directly away from Greenberry Point.
Let us go a little farther, said Macloud. There must be a waya
bridle path, if nothing betterand, if we must, we can push straight
through the timber; there doesn't seem to be any fences. You see, it
was rational to ride.
You're a wise old owl! Croyden retorted.
Ah!there's our road! as one unexpectedly took off to the right,
among the trees, and bore almost immediately eastward. Come along, my
Presently they were startled by a series of explosions, a short
What are we getting into? Macloud exclaimed, drawing up sharply.
Parmenter's defending his treasure! said Croyden, with mock
seriousness. He is warning us off.
A long way off, then! We must be a mile and more from the Point.
It's some one blasting, I think.
It wasn't sufficiently muffled, Croyden answered.
They waited a few moments: hearing no further noises, they
proceededa trifle cautiously, however. A little further on, they came
upon a wood cutter.
He doesn't appear at all alarmed, Croyden observed. What were the
explosions, a minute ago? he called.
They weren't nothing, said the man, leaning on his axe. The
Navy's got a 'speriment house over here. They're trying things. Yer
don't need be skeered. If yer goin' to the station, it's just a little
ways, now, he added, with the country-man's curiositywhich they did
They passed the buildings of the Experiment Station and continued
on, amid pine and dogwood, elms and beeches. They were travelling
parallel with the Severn, and not very distant, as occasional glimpses
of blue water, through the trees, revealed. Gradually, the timber
thinned. The river became plainly visible with the Bay itself
shimmering to the fore. Then the trees ended abruptly, and they came
out on Greenberry Point: a long, flat, triangular-shaped piece of
ground, possibly two hundred yards across the base, and three hundred
from base to point.
The two men halted, and looked around.
Somewhere near here, possibly just where your horse is standing, is
the treasure, said Macloud. Can't you feel its presence?
No, I can't! laughed Croyden, and that appears to be my only
chance, for I can't see a trace of the trees which formed the square.
Be not cast down! Macloud admonished. Remember, you didn't expect
to find things marked off for you.
No, I didn't! but I thought you did.
That was only to stir you up. I anticipated even more adverse
conditions. It's amazingly easier than I dared to hope.
Thunder! man! we can't dig six feet deep over all of forty acres.
We shall have the whole of Annapolis over to help us before we've done
a square of forty feet.
You're too liberal! laughed Macloud. Twenty feet would be ample.
Then he sobered. The instructions say: seven hundred and fifty feet
back, from the extreme tip of Greenberry Point, is the quadrangle of
trees. That was in 1720, one hundred and ninety years ago. They must
have been of good size thenhence, they would be of the greater size,
now, or else have disappeared entirely. There isn't a single tree which
could correspond with Parmenter's, closer than four hundred yards, and,
as the point would have been receding rather than gaining, we can
assume, with tolerable certainty, that the beeches have
vanishedeither from decay or from wind storms, which must be very
severe over in this exposed land. Hence, must not our first quest be
for some trace of the trees?
That sounds reasonable, said Croyden, and, if the Point has
receded, which is altogether likely, then we are pretty near the
Yes!if the Point has simply receded, but if it has shifted
laterally, as well, the problem is not so simple.
Let us go out to the Point, and look at the ruins of the
light-house. If we can get near enough to ascertain when it was built,
it may help us. Evidently there was none erected here, in Parmenter's
time, else he would not have chosen this place to hide his treasure.
But the light-house was a barren yield. It was a crumbling mass of
ruins, lying out in water, possibly fifty feetthe real house was a
bug-light farther out in the Bay.
Well, there's no one to see us, so why shouldn't we make a search
for the trees? said Croyden.
Hold my horse! said Macloud, dismounting.
He went out on the extreme edge, faced about, and taking a line at
right angles to it, stepped two hundred and fifty paces. He ended in
sandand, for another fifty paces, sandsand unrelieved by aught save
some low bushes sparsely scattered here and there.
Somewhere hereabout, according to present conditions, the trees
should be, he said.
Not very promising, was Croyden's comment.
Let us assume that the diagonal lines drawn between the trees
intersect at this point, Macloud continued, producing a compass.
Then, one hundred and ten paces North-by-North-East is the place we
He stepped the distance carefullyCroyden following with the
horsesand sunk his heel into the sand beside a clump of wire grass.
Here is the old buccaneer's hoard! he exclaimed, dramatically.
Shall we dig, immediately? Croyden laughed.
[Illustration: HE WENT OUT ON THE EXTREME EDGE, FACED ABOUT, AND
STEPPED TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY PACES]
You digI'll hold the horses; your hands are tougher than mine.
I wonder who owns this land? said Croyden, suddenly.
We can ascertain very readily. You mean, you would try to purchase
Yes, as a site for a house, ostensibly. I might buy a lot
beginning, say one hundred and fifty yards back from the Point, and
running, at an even width of two hundred yards, from the Severn to the
Bay. That would surely include the treasure.
A fine idea! Macloud agreed.
If the present owner will sell, appended Croydenand if his
price isn't out of all reason. I can't go much expense, you know.
Never mind the expensethat can be arranged. If he will sell, the
rest is easy. I'll advance it gladly to you.
And we will share equally, then, said Croyden.
Bosh! Macloud answered. I've got more money than I want, let me
have some fun with the excess, Croyden. And this promises more fun than
I've had for a yearhunting a buried treasure, within sight of
Maryland's capital. Moreover, it won't likely be out of reach of your
own pocketbook, this can't be very valuable land. He remounted his
horse. Let us ride around over the intended site, and prospectwe may
But, though, they searched for an hour, they were utterly
unsuccessful. The four beech trees had disappeared as completely as
though they never were.
I'm perfectly confident, however, Macloud remarked as they turned
away toward town, that somewhere, within the lines of your proposed
lot, lie the Parmenter jewels. Now, for the lot. Once you have title to
it, you may plow up the whole thing to any depth you please, and no one
may gainsay you.
I'm not so sure, replied Croyden. My knowing that the treasure
was on it when purchased, may make me liable to my grantor for an
But you don't know! objected Macloud.
Yet, I have every reason to believethe letter is most specific.
Suppose, after you've paid a big price for the land, you don't find
the treasure, could you make him take it back and refund the purchase
No, most assuredly, no, smiled Croyden.
Mighty queer doctrine! You must account for what you findif you
don't find it, you must keep the land, anyway. The other fellow wins
It's predicated on the proposition that I have knowingly deceived
him into selling something for nothing. However, I'm not at all clear
about it; and we will buy if we canand take the chances. But we won't
go to work with a brass band, old man.
At the top of the hill, beyond the Severn, there was a road which
took off to the left.
This parallels the road by the Marine Barracks, suppose we turn in
here, Macloud said. It probably goes through the Academy grounds.
A little way on, they passed what was evidently a fine hospital,
with the United States flag flying over it. Just beyond, occupying the
point of land where College Creek empties into the Severn, was the
Very fitting! Croyden laughed. They have the place of interment
exceedingly handy to the hospital. What in thunder's that? he asked,
indicating a huge dome, hideously ornate with gold and white, that
projected above the trees, some distance ahead.
Give it up! said Macloud. Unless it's a custard-and-cream pudding
for the Midshipmen's supper. Awful looking thing, isn't it! Oh! I
recollect now: the Government has spent millions in erecting new
Academy buildings; and someone in the Navy remarked, 'If a certain chap
had to kill somebody, he couldn't see why he hadn't selected the
fellow who was responsible for themhis work at Annapolis would have
been ample justification.' Judging from the atrocity to our fore, the
officer didn't overdraw it.
They took the road along the officers' quarters on Upshur Row, and
came out the upper gate into King George Street, thereby missing the
Chapel (of the custard-and-cream dome) and all the other Smith
We can see them again! said Croyden. The real estate agent is
more important now.
It was the quiet hour when they got back to the hotel, and the clerk
was standing in the doorway, sunning himself.
Enjoy your ride, sirs? he asked.
It wasn't bad, returned Croyden. Then he stopped. Can you tell me
who owns Greenberry Point?
Yes, sir! The Government owns itthey bought it for the Rifle
The whole of it?
Yes, sir!from the Point clear up to the Experiment Station.
Croyden thanked him and passed on.
That's the end of the purchase idea! he said. I thought it was
'most too good to last.
It got punctured very early, Macloud agreed.
And the question is, what to do, now? Might the clerk be wrong?
Macloud shook his head. There isn't a chance of it. Titles in a
small town are known, particularly, when they're in the United States.
However, it's easy to verifywe'll hunt up a real estate
But when they had dressed, and sought a real estate office, the last
doubt vanished: it confirmed the clerk.
If you haven't anything particularly pressing, said Macloud, I
suggest that we remain here for a few days and consider what is best to
My most pressing business is to find the treasure! Croyden
Good! then we're on the job until it's foundif it takes a year or
longer. And when Croyden looked his surprise: I've nothing to do, old
chap, and one doesn't have the opportunity to go treasure hunting more
than once in a lifetime. Picture our satisfaction when we hear the pick
strike the iron box, and see the lid turned back, and the jewels
coruscating before us.
But what if there isn't any coruscatingthat's a good word, old
mannor any iron box?
Don't be so pessimisticthink we're going to find it, it
will help a lot.
How about if we don't find it?
Then, at least, we'll have had a good time in hunting, and have
done our best to succeed.
It's a new thing to hear old cynical Macloud preaching optimism!
laughed Croydenour last talk, in Northumberland, wasn't particularly
in that line, you'll remember.
Our talk in Northumberland had to do with other people and
conditions. This is an adventure, and has to do solely with ourselves.
Some difference, my dear Croyden, some difference! What do you say to
an early breakfast to-morrow, and then a walk over to the Point. It's
something like your Eastern Shore to get to, however,just across the
river by water, but three miles around by the Severn bridge. We can
have the whole day for prospecting.
I'm under your orders, said Croyden. You're in charge of this
They had been passing numerous naval officers in uniform, some well
set-up, some slouchy.
The uniform surely does show up the man for what he is, said
Macloud. Look at these two for instancefrom the stripes on the
sleeves, a Lieutenant-Commander and a Senior Lieutenant. Did you ever
see a real Bowery tough?they are in that class, with just enough
veneer to deceive, for an instant. There, are two others, opposite.
They look like soldiers. Observe the dignity, the snappy walk, the
inherent air of command.
Isn't it the fault of the system? asked Croyden. Every
Congressman holds a competitive examination in his district; and the
appointment goes to the applicant who winsbe he what he may. For that
reason, I dare say, the Brigade of Midshipmen contains muckers as well
as gentlemenand officers are but midshipmen of a larger growth.
Just so! and it's wrongall wrong! To be a commissioned officer,
in either Army or Navy, ought to attest one's gentle birth.
It raises a presumption in their favor, at least.
Presumption! do you think the two who passed us could hide behind
that presumption longer than the fraction of an instant?
Don't get excited, old man! I was accounting for it, not defending
it. It's a pity, of course, but that's one of the misfortunes of a
Republic where all men are equal.
Rot! damn rot! Macloud exclaimed. Men aren't equal!they're born
to different social scales, different intellectualities, different
conditions otherwise. For the purpose of suffrage they may, in the
theory of our government, be equalbut we haven't yet demonstrated it.
We exclude the Japanese and Chinese. We have included the negro, only
within the living generationand it's entirely evident, now, we made a
monstrous mistake by doing it. Equal! Equal! Never in this world!
How about the next world? asked Croyden.
I don't know! laughed Macloud, as they ascended the steps of the
hotel. For my part, I'm for the Moslem's Paradise and the Houris who
attend the Faithful. And, speaking of houris!see who's here!
Croyden glanced upto see Elaine Cavendish and Charlotte Brundage
standing in the doorway.
This is, truly, a surprise! Miss Cavendish exclaimed. Who would
ever have thought of meeting you two in this out-of-the-way place.
Here, too! replied Macloud.
When did you return, Geoffrey? she inquired.
From abroad?I haven't gone, said Croyden. The business still
She looked at him steadily a momentMacloud was talking to Miss
How much longer will it hold you? she asked.
He shrugged his shoulders. I don't knowit's difficult of
adjustment.What brings you here, may I inquire?
We were in Washington and came over with the Westons to the
Officers' Hop to-nightgiven for the Secretary of something. He's one
of the Cabinet. We return in the morning.
Oh, I see, he answered; the relief in his voice would have missed
a less acute ear. Where are you going now?
To a tea at the Superintendent's, when the Westons join us. Come
I haven't acquired the Washington habit,yet! he laughed. A man
at a tea fight! Oh, no!
Then go to the dance with usColin! you'll go, won't you?
Sure! said Macloud. I'll follow your voice any place. Where shall
To the Hop, to-night.
We're not invitedif that cuts any figure.
You'll go in our party. Ah! Mrs. Weston, I've presumed to ask Mr.
Macloud and Mr. Croyden to join our party to-night.
The Admiral and I shall be delighted to have them, Mrs. Weston
answeredWill they also go with us to the tea? No? Well, then,
Macloud and Croyden accompanied them to the Academy gates, and then
returned to the hotel.
In the narrow passage between the news-desk and the office, they
bumped, inadvertently, into two men. There were mutual excuses, and the
men went on.
An hour or so later, Macloud, having changed into his evening
clothes, came into Croyden's room and found him down on his knees
looking under the bureau, and swearing vigorously.
Whee! he said; you are a true pirate's heir! Old
Parmenter, himself, couldn't do it better. What's the matterlose
No, I didn't lose anything! said Croyden sarcastically. I'm
saying my prayers.
And incidentally searching for this, I suppose? picking up a pearl
stud from under the bed.
Croyden took it without a word.
And when you've sufficiently recovered your equanimity, Macloud
went on, you might let me see the aforesaid Parmenter's letter. I want
to cogitate over it.
It's in my wallet! grinding in the studmy coat's on the chair,
I don't find it! said Macloud, searching. What pocket is it in?
The inside breast pocket! exclaimed Croyden, ramming the last stud
home. Where would you think it isin the small change pocket?
Then suppose you find it for me.
I'll do it with He stopped. Do you mean it isn't there? he
It isn't there! said Macloud, holding up the coat.
Croyden's fingers flew to the breast pocketempty! to the other
pocketsno wallet! He seized his trousers; then his waistcoatno
My God! I've lost it! he cried.
Maybe you left it in Hampton? said Macloud.
Croyden shook his head. I had it when we left the Weston partyI
felt it in my pocket, as I bent to tie Miss Cavendish's shoe.
Then, it oughtn't to be difficult to findit's lost between the
Sampson Gate and the hotel. I'm going out to search, possibly in the
fading light it has not been noticed. You telephone the officeand
then join me, as quickly as you can get into your clothes.
He dashed out and down the stairs into the Exchange, passing midway,
with the barest nod, the Weston party, nor pausing to answer the
question Miss Cavendish flung after him.
Once on the rear piazza, however, he went slowly down the broad
white steps to the broad brick walkthe electric lights were on, and
he noted, with keen regret, how bright they made itand thence to the
Sampson Gate. It was vain! He inquired of the guard stationed there,
and that, too, proving unavailing, left directions for its return, if
What a misfortune! he muttered, as he renewed the search. What a
misfortune! If any one reads that letter, the jig is up for us....
Here! boys, to a crowd of noisy urchins, sitting on the coping along
the street, do you want to make a dollar?
The enthusiasm of the response, not to mention its unanimity,
threatened dire disaster to Macloud's toilet.
Hold on! he said. Don't pull me apart. You all can have a chance
for it. I've lost a walleta pocketbookbetween the gate yonder and
the hotel. A dollar to the boy who finds it.
With a shout, they set to work. A moment later Croyden came down the
I haven't got it, Macloud said, answering his look. I've been
over to the gate and back, and now I've put these gamins to work. They
will find it, if it's to be found. Did you telephone the office?
Nothing doing there! Croyden answered. And what's more, there
won't be anything doing herewe shall never find the letter, Macloud.
That's my fear, Macloud admitted. Somebody's already found it.
Somebody's stolen it, Croyden answered.
Precisely!do you recall our being jostled by two men in the
narrow corridor of the hotel? Well, then is when I lost my wallet. I am
sure of it. I wasn't in a position to drop it from my pocket.
Macloud's hand sought his own breast pocket and stopped.
I forgot to change, when I dressed. Maybe the other fellow made off
with mine. I'll go and investigateyou keep an eye on the boys.
Presently he returned.
You're right! he said. Mine is missing, too. We'll call off the
He flung them some small coins, thereby precipitating a scramble and
a fight, and they went slowly in.
There is just one chance, he continued. Pickpockets usually
abstract the money, instantly, and throw the book and papers away. They
want no tell-tale evidence. It may be the case herethey, likely,
didn't examine the letter, just saw it was a letter and went no
That won't help us much, said Croyden. It will be foundit's
only a question of the pickpockets or some one else.
But the some one else may be honest. Your card is in the wallet?
With Hampton on it.
The finder may advertisemay look you up at the hotelmay
May bring it back on a gold salver! Croyden interjected. No! No!
Colin. Our only hope is that the thief threw away the letter, and that
no one finds it until after we have the treasure. The man isn't born
who, under the circumstances, will renounce the opportunity for a half
Well, at the worst, we have an even chance! Thank Heaven! We know
the directions without the letter. Don't be discouraged, old manwe'll
win out, yet.
I'm not discouraged! laughed Croyden. I have never anticipated
success. It was sportan adventure and a problem to work out, nothing
more. Now, if we have some one else to combat, so much greater the
adventure, and more intricate the problem.
Shall we notify the police? Macloud asked. Or isn't it well to
get them into it?
I'll confess I don't know. If we could jug the thieves quickly, and
recover the plunder, it might be well. On the other hand, they might
disclose the letter to the police or to some pal, or try even to treat
with us, on the threat of publicity. On the whole, I'm inclined to
secrecyand, if the thieves show up on the Point, to have it out with
them. There are only two, so we shall not be overmatched. Moreover, we
can be sure they will keep it strictly to themselves, if we don't force
their hands by trying to arrest them.
Macloud considered a moment. I incline to your opinion. We will
simply advertise for the wallets to-morrow, as a bluffand go to work
in earnest to find the treasure.
They had entered the hotel again; in the Exchange, the rocking chair
brigade and the knocker's club were gathered.
The usual thing! Croyden remarked. Why can't a hotel ever be free
Because it's a hotel! laughed Macloud. Let's go in to dinnerI'm
The tall head-waiter received them like a host himself, and
conducted them down the room to a small table. A moment later, the
Weston party came in, with Montecute Mattison in tow, and were shown to
one nearby, with Harvey's most impressive manner.
An Admiral is some pumpkins in Annapolis, when he is on the
Mrs. Weston and the young ladies looked over and nodded; Croyden and
Macloud arose and bowed. They saw Miss Cavendish lean toward the
Admiral and say a word. He glanced across.
We would be glad to have you join us, said he, with a man's fine
indifference to the fact that their table was, already, scarcely large
enough for five.
I am afraid we should crowd you, sir. Thank you!we'll join you
later, if we may, replied Macloud.
A little time after, they heard Mattison's irritating voice, pitched
loud enough to reach them:
I wonder what Croyden's doing here with Macloud? he remarked. I
thought you said, Elaine, that he had skipped for foreign parts, after
the Royster smash, last September.
I did say, Mr. Mattison, I thought he had gone abroad, but I
most assuredly did not say, nor infer, that he had skipped, nor
connect his going with Royster's failure! Miss Cavendish responded.
If you must say unjust and unkind things, don't make other people
responsible for them, please. Shoulder them yourself.
Good girl! muttered Macloud. Hand him another! Then he shot a
look at his friend.
I don't mind, said Croyden. They may think what they pleaseand
Mattison's venom is sprinkled so indiscriminately it doesn't hurt.
Everyone comes in for a dose.
They dallied through dinner, and finished at the same time as the
Westons. Croyden walked out with Miss Cavendish.
I couldn't help overhearing that remark of Mattison'sthe beggar
intended that I should, said heand I want to thank you, Elaine, for
your 'come back' at him.
I'm sorry I didn't come back harder, said she.
And if you prefer me not to go with you to the Hop to-night don't
hesitate to say soI'll understand, perfectly. The Westons may have
got a wrong impression
The Westons haven't ridden in the same motor, from Washington to
Annapolis, with Montecute for nothing; but I'll set you straight, never
fear. We are going over in the carthere is room for you both, and
Mrs. Weston expects you. We will be down at nine. It's the fashion to
go early, here, it seems.
Zimmerman was swinging his red-coated military band through a
dreamy, sensuous waltz, as they entered the gymnasium, where the Hops,
at the Naval Academy, are held. The bareness of the huge room was gone
entirelyconcealed by flags and bunting, which hung in brilliant
festoons from the galleries and the roof. Myriads of variegated lights
flashed back the glitter of epaulet and the gleam of white shoulders,
with, here and there, the black of the civilian looking strangely
incongruous amid the throng that danced itself into a very kaleidoscope
The Secretary was a very ordinary man, who had a place in the
Cabinet as a reward for political deeds done, and to be done. He
represented a State machine, nothing more. Quality, temperament,
fitness, poise had nothing to do with his selection. His wife was his
equivalent, though, superficially, she appeared to better advantage,
thanks to a Parisian modiste with exquisite taste, and her fond
husband's bottomless bank account.
Having passed the receiving line, the Westons held a small reception
of their own. The Admiral was still upon the active list, with four
years of service ahead of him. He was to be the next Aide on Personnel,
the knowing ones said, and the orders were being looked for every day.
Therefore he was decidedly a personage to tie tomore important even
than the Secretary, himself, who was a mere figurehead in the
Department. And the officersand their wives, too, if they were
marriedcrowded around the Westons, fairly walking over one another in
their efforts to be noticed.
What's the meaning of it? Croyden asked Miss Cavendish as they
joined the dancing throng. Are the Westons so amazingly popular?
Not at all! they're hailing the rising sun, she saidand
explained: They would do the same if he were a mummy or had small-pox.
'Grease,' they call it.
(The watchword, in the Navy, is grease. From the moment you enter
the Academy, as a plebe, until you have joined the lost souls on the
retired list, you are diligently engaged in greasing every one who
ranks you and in being greased by every one whom you rank. And the more
assiduous and adroit you are at the greasing business, the more
pleasant the life you lead. The man who ranks you can, when placed over
you, make life a burden or a pleasure as his fancy and his disposition
dictate. Consequently the grease, and the higher the rank the greater
the grease, and the number of greasers.)
Well-named!dirty, smeary, contaminating business, said Croyden.
And the best 'greasers' have the best places, I reckon. I prefer the
unadorned garb of the civilianand independence. I'll permit those
fellows to fight the battles and draw the rewardsthey can do both
He did not get another dance with her until well toward the endand
would not then, if the lieutenant to whom it belonged had not been a
second latelate enough to lose her.
We are going back to Washington, in the morning, she said. Can't
you come along?
Impossible! he answered. Much as I'd like to do it.
She looked up at him, quickly.
Are you sure you would like to do it? she asked.
What a question! he exclaimed.
Geoffrey!what is this business which keeps you herein the
Business! he replied, smiling.
Which means, I must not ask, I suppose.
He did not answer.
Will you tell me one thingjust one? she persisted. Has Royster
& Axtell's failure anything to do with it?
Yesit has! he said, after a moment's hesitation.
And is it true that you are seriously embarrassedhave lost most
of your fortune?
It was to be just one question! he smiled.
I'm a woman, she explained.
They danced half the length of the room before he replied. He would
tell her. She, alone, deserved to knowand, if she cared, would
I have lost most of my fortune! he admitted. I am not, however,
in the least embarrassedI have no debts.
And is it 'business,' which keeps you?will you ever come back to
Yes, it is business that keeps meimportant business. Whether or
not I shall return to Northumberland, depends on the outcome of that
Why did you leave without a word of farewell to your friends? she
Was that unusual? said Croyden. Has any of my friends
caredsincerely cared? Has any one so much as inquired for me?
She looked away.
They thought you were called to Europe, suddenly, she replied.
For which thinking you were responsible, Elaine.
Why I? she demanded.
You were the only one I told.
Her eyes sought his, then fell.
It was because of the failure, she said. You were the largest
creditoryou disappearedthere were queries and rumorsand I thought
it best to tell. I hope I did no harm.
On the contrary, he said, I am very, very grateful to know that
some one thought of me.
The music stopped. It was just in time. Another moment, and he might
have said what he knew was folly. Her body close to his, his arm around
her, the splendor of her bared shoulders, the perfume of her hair, the
glory of her face, were overcoming him, were intoxicating his senses,
were drugging him into non-resistance. The spell was broken not an
instant too soon. He shook himselflike a man rousing from dead
sleepand took her back to their party.
The next instant, as she was whirled away by another, she shot him
an alluringly fascinating smile, of intimate camaraderie, of
understanding, which well-nigh put him to sleep again.
I would that I might get such a smile, sighed Macloud.
You go to the devil! said Croyden. She has the same smile for all
her friends, so don't be silly.
And don't be blind! Macloud laughed.
Moreover, if it's a different smile, the field is open. I'm
scratched, you know.
Can a man be scratched after he has won? asked Macloud.
More silliness! Croyden retorted, as he turned away to search for
When the Hop was over, they said good-night at the foot of the
stairs, in the Exchange.
We shall see you in the morning, of coursewe leave about ten
o'clock, said Miss Cavendish.
We shall be gone long before you are awake, answered Croyden. And,
when she looked at him inquiringly, he added: It's an appointment that
may not be broken.
Well, till Northumberland, then! Miss Brundage remarked.
But Elaine Cavendish's only reply was a meaning nod and another
fascinating smile. She wished him success.
As they entered their own rooms, a little later, Macloud, in the
lead, switched on the lightsand stopped!
Hello!our wallets, by all that's good! he exclaimed.
Hurrah! cried Croyden, springing in, and stumbling over Macloud in
He seized his wallet!A touch, and the story was told. No need to
investigateit was as empty as the day it came from the shop, save for
a few visiting cards, and some trifling memoranda. The letter and the
money were gone.
Damn! said Croyden.
You didn't fancy you would find it? he said.
No, I didn't, but damn! anywaywho wouldn't?
Oh, you're strictly orthodox! Macloud laughed. But the pity is
that won't help us. They've got old Parmenter's letterand our ready
cash as well; but the cash does not count.
It counts with me, said Croyden. I'm out something over a
hundredand that's considerable to me now. Anything to show where they
Macloud was nearest the telephone. He took down the receiver. After
a time he was answered.
What do you know about our wallets? he asked.... Thank you!The
office says, they were found by one of the bell-boys in a garbage can
on King George Street.
Very good, said Croyden. If they mean fight, I reckon we can
accommodate them. Greenberry Point early in the morning.
IX. THE WAY OUT
I've been thinking, said Croyden, as they footed it across the
Severn bridge, that, if we knew the year in which the light-house was
erected, we could get the average encroachment of the sea every year,
and, by a little figuring, arrive at where the point was in 1720. It
would be approximate, of course, but it would give us a
startsomething more definite than we have now. For all we know
Parmenter's treasure may be a hundred yards out in the Bay.
Macloud nodded. And if we don't find the date, here, he added, we
can go to Washington and get it from the Navy Department. An inquiry
from Senator Rickrose will bring what we want, instantly.
At the same time, why shouldn't we get permission to camp on the
Point for a few weeks? Croyden suggested. It would make it easy for
us to dig and investigate, and fish and measure, in fact, do whatever
we wished. Having a permit from the Department, would remove all
Bully! We're fond of the openwith a town convenient! Macloud
laughed. I know Rickrose well, we can go down this afternoon and see
him. He will be so astonished that we are not seeking a political
favor, he will go to the Secretary himself and make ours a personal
request. Then we will get the necessary camp stuff, and be right on the
They had passed the Experiment Station and the Rifle Range, and were
rounding the shoal onto the Point, when the trotting of a rapidly
approaching horse came to them from the rear.
Suppose we conceal ourselves, and take a look, suggested Macloud.
Here is a fine place.
He pointed to some rocks and bushes that lined the roadway. The next
instant, they had disappeared behind them.
A moment more, and the horse and buggy came into view. In it were
two menof medium size, dressed quietly, with nothing about them to
attract attention, save that the driver had a hook-nose, and the other
was bald, as the removal of his hat, an instant, showed.
The thieves! whispered Croyden.
YesI'll bet a hundred on it! Macloud answered.
Greenberry Point seems far off, said the driverI wonder if we
can have taken the wrong road?
This is the only one we could take, the other answered, so we
must be right. I wonder what that jay's doing? he added, with a laugh.
Cussing himself for The rest was lost in the noise of the
Right, you are! said Croyden, lifting himself from a bed of stones
and vines. Right, you are, my friend! And if I had a gun, I'd give the
Coroner a job with both of you.
Macloud looked thoughtful.
It would be most effective, he said. But could we carry it off
cleanly? The law is embarrassing if we're detected, you know.
You're not serious? said Croyden.
I never was more so, the other answered. I'd shoot those
scoundrels down without a second's hesitation, if I could do it and not
A trifle unconventional! commented Croyden. However, your idea
isn't half bad; they wouldn't hesitate to do the same to us.
Exactly! They won't hesitateand, what's more, they have the nerve
to take the chance. That is the difference between us and them.
They waited until they could no longer hear the horse's hoof-falls
nor the rumble of the wheels. Then they started forward, keeping off
the road and taking a course that afforded the protection of the trees
and undergrowth. Presently, they caught sight of the two menout in
the open, their heads together, poring over a paper, presumably the
It is not as easy finding the treasure, as it was to pick my
pocket! chuckled Croyden. There's the letterand there are the men
who stole it. And we are helpless to interfere, and they know it. It's
about as aggravating as He stopped, for want of a suitable
Macloud only nodded in acquiescence.
The men finished with the letter. Hook-nose went on to the Point,
and stood looking at the ruins of the light-house out in the Bay; the
other turned and viewed the trees that were nearest.
Much comfort you'll get from either, muttered Croyden.
Hook-nose returned, and the two held a prolonged conversation, each
of them gesticulating, now toward the water, and again toward the
timber. Finally, one went down to the extreme point and stepped off two
hundred and fifty paces inland. He marked this point with a stone.
Bald-head pointed to the trees, a hundred yards away, and shook his
head. More talk followed. Then they produced a compass, and ran the
additional distance to the North-east.
Dig! damn you, dig! exclaimed Macloud. The treasure's not there.
You'll have to work your brain a bit, Croyden added. The letter's
not all that's needed, thank Heaven! You've stolen the one, but you
can't steal the other.
The men, after consulting together, went to the buggy, took out two
picks and shovels, and, returning to the place, fell to work.
Did you ever see such fools? said Macloud. Dig! damn you, dig!
After a short while, Bald-head threw down his pick and hoisted
himself out of the hole. An animated discussion followed.
He's got a glimmer of intelligence, at last, Croyden muttered.
The discussion grew more animated, they waved their arms toward the
Bay, and toward the Severn, and toward the land. Hook-nose slammed his
pick up and down to emphasize his argument. Bald-head did likewise.
They'll be doing the war dance, next! laughed Macloud.
'When thieves fall out, honest men come by their own,' Croyden
More honest men, you meanthe comparative degree.
Life is made up of comparatives, said Croyden. What's the matter
now? as Bald-head faced about and stalked back to the buggy. Has he
quit work so soon?
He has simply quit digging a hole at random, Macloud said. My
Lord, he's taking a drink!
Bald-head, however, did not return to his companion. Instead, he
went out to the Bay and stood looking across the water toward the
bug-light. Then he turned and looked back toward the timber.
He was thinking, as they had. The land had been driving inward by
the encroachment of the Baythe beeches had, long since, disappeared,
the victims of the gales which swept the Point. There was no place from
which to start the measurements. Beyond the fact that, somewhere near
by, old Parmenter had buried his treasure, one hundred and ninety years
before, the letter was of no definite use to anyone.
From the Point, he retraced his steps leisurely to his companion,
who had continued digging, said somethingto which Hook-nose seemingly
made no reply, save by a shovel of sandand continued directly toward
Has he seen us? said Croyden.
I think notthese bushes are ample protection. Lie low.... He's
not coming this wayhe's going to inspect the big trees, on our
left.... They won't help you, my light-fingered friend; they're not the
After a time, Bald-head abandoned the search and went back to his
friend. Throwing himself on the ground, he talked vigorously, and,
apparently, to some effect, for, presently, the digging ceased and
Hook-nose began to listen. At length, he tossed the pick and shovel
aside, and lifted himself out of the hole. After a few more
gesticulations, they picked up the tools and returned to the buggy.
Have they decided to abandon it? said Croyden, as they drove away.
The thieves, themselves, answered the question. At the first heavy
undergrowth, they stopped the horse and proceeded carefully to conceal
the tools. This accomplished, they drove off toward the town.
Hum! said Macloud. So you're coming back are you? I wonder what
you intend to do?
I wish we knew, Croyden returned. It might help usfor quite
between ourselves, Macloud, I think we're stumped.
Our first business is to move on Washington and get the permit,
Macloud returned. Hook-nose and his friend may have the Point, for
to-day; they're not likely to injure it. Come along!
They were passing the Marine Barracks when Croyden, who had been
pondering over the matter, suddenly broke out:
We've got to get rid of those two fellows, Colin!
Granted! said Macloud. But how are we to manage it?
We agree that we dare not have them arrestedthey would blow
everything to the police. And the police would either graft us for all
the jewels are worth, or inform the Government.
Yes, but we may have to take the riskor else divide up with the
thieves. Which do you prefer to do?
Neither! said Croyden. There is another wayexcept killing them,
which, of course, would be the most effective. Why shouldn't we
imprison thembe our own jailers?
Macloud threw away his cigarette and lit another before he replied,
then he shook his head.
Too much risk to ourselves, he said. Somebody would likely be
killed in the operation, with the chances strongly favoring ourselves.
I'd rather shoot them down from ambush, at once.
That may require an explanation to a judge and jury, which would be
a trifle inconvenient. I'd prefer to risk my life in a fight. Then, if
it came to court, our reputation is good, while theirs is in the
Where would you imprison them? asked Macloud, dubiously.
That is the difficulty, I admit. Think over it, while we're going
to Washington and back; see if you can't find a way out. Either we must
jug them, securely, for a week or two, or we must arrest them. On the
whole, it might be wiser to let them go freelet them make a try for
the treasure, unmolested. When they fail and retire, we can begin.
Your last alternative doesn't sound particularly attractive to
meor to you, either, I fancy.
This isn't going to be a particularly attractive quest, if we want
to succeed, said Croyden. Pirate's gold breeds pirate's ways, I
reckonblood and violence and sudden death. We'll try to play it
without death, however, if our opponents will permit. Such title, as
exists to Parmenter's hoard, is in me, and I am not minded to
relinquish it without a struggle. I wasn't especially keen at the
start, but I'm keen enough, nowand I don't propose to be blocked by
two rogues, if there is a way out.
And the way out, according to your notion, is to be our own
jailers, think you? said Macloud. Well, we can chew on itthe manner
of procedure is apt to keep us occupied a few hours.
They took the next train, on the Electric Line, to Washington,
Macloud having telephoned ahead and made an appointment with Senator
Rickrosewhom, luckily, they found at the Capitalto meet them at the
Metropolitan Club for luncheon. At Fourteenth Street, they changed to a
Connecticut Avenue car, and, dismounting at Seventeenth and dodging a
couple of automobiles, entered the Pompeian brick and granite building,
the home of the Club which has the most representative membership in
Macloud was on the non-resident list, and the door-man, with the
memory for faces which comes from long practice, greeted him,
instantly, by name, though he had not seen him for months.
Yes, Mr. Macloud, Senator Rickrose just came in, he said.
They met the Senator in the Red Room. He was very tall, with a
tendency to corpulency, which, however, was lost in his great height;
very dignified, and, for one of his service, very youngof immense
influence in the councils of his party, and the absolute dictator in
his own State. Inheriting a superb machine from a matchless
leader,who died in the harnesshe had developed it into a well nigh
perfect organization for political control. All power was in his hands,
from the lowest to the highest, he ruled with a sway as absolute as a
despot. His word was the ultimate lawfrom it an appeal did not lie.
How are you, old fellow? he said to Macloud, dropping a hand on
his shoulder. I haven't seen you for a long timeand, Mr. Croyden, I
think I have met you in Northumberland. I'm glad, indeed, to see you
both. He touched a bell. Take the orders! he said, to the boy.
Senator! said Macloud, a little later, when they had finished
luncheon. I want to ask a slight favornot political howeverso it
won't have to be endorsed by the organization.
The Senator laughed. In that event, it is granted before you ask.
What is it I can do?
Have the Secretary of the Navy issue us a permit to camp on
Where the devil is Greenberry Point? said Rickrose.
Across the Severn River from Annapolis.
Rickrose turned in his chair and glanced over the dining-room. Then
he raised his hand to the head waiter.
Has the Secretary of the Navy had luncheon? he asked.
Yes, sirbefore you came in.
The Senator nodded.
We would better go over to the Department, at once, or we shall
miss him, he said. Chevy Chase is the drawing card, in the
The reception hour was long passed, but the Secretary was in and
would see Senator Rickrose. He came forward to meet hima tall,
middle-aged, well-groomed man, with sandy hair, whose principal
recommendation for the post he filled was the fact that he was the
largest contributor to the campaign fund in his State, and his senior
senator needed him in his business, and had refrigerated him into the
Cabinet for safe keepingthat being the only job which insured him
from being a candidate for the Senator's own seat. It is a great game,
Mr. Secretary! said Rickrose, my friends want a permit to camp
for two weeks on Greenberry Point.
Greenbury Point! said the Secretary, vaguelythat's somewhere
out in San Francisco harbor?
Not the Greenberry Point they mean, the Senator replied. It's
down at Annapolisacross the Severn from the Naval Academy, and forms
part of that command, I presume. It is waste land, unfortified and wind
Oh! to be sure. I know it. Why wouldn't the Superintendent give you
a permit? turning to Macloud. It is within his jurisdiction.
We didn't think to ask him, said Macloud. We supposed it was
necessary to apply direct to you.
They are not familiar with the customs of the service, explained
Rickrose, and, as I may run down to see them, just issue the permit to
me and party. The Chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee is inspecting
the Point, if you need an excuse.
Oh, no! none whateverhowever, a duplicate will be forwarded to
the Superintendent. If it should prove incompatible with the interests
of the service, smiling, he will inform the Department, and we shall
have to revoke it.
He rang for his stenographer and dictated the permit. When it came
in, he signed it and passed it over to Rickrose.
Anything else I can do for you, Senator? he asked.
Not to-day, thank you, Mr. Secretary, Rickrose answered.
Do you actually intend to come down? asked Macloud, when they were
in the corridor. That will be bully.
He shot a look at Croyden. His face was a study. Hunting the
Parmenter treasure, with the Chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee as
a disinterested spectator, was rather startling, to say the least. The
Senator's reply reassured them.
Impossible! he said. The campaign opens next week, and I'm drawn
as a spell-binder in the Pacific States. That figurehead was ruffling
his feathers on you, just to show himself, so I thought I'd comb him
down a bit. You'll experience no difficulty, I fancy. If you do, wire
me, and I'll get busy. I've got to go over to the State Department now,
so I'll say good-byeanything else you want let me know.
Next for a sporting goods shop, said Macloud as they went down the
steps into Pennsylvania Avenue; for a supply of small arms and
ammunitionand, incidentally, a couple of tents. We can get a few
cooking utensils in Annapolis, but we will take our meals at Carvel
Hall. I think neither of us is quite ready to turn cook.
I am sure, I'm content! laughed Croyden. We can hire a horse and
buggy by the week, and keep them handybetter get a small tent for the
horse, while we're about it.
They went to a shop on F Street, where they purchased three tents of
suitable size, two Winchester rifles, and a pair of Colt's military
revolvers with six-and-a-half inch barrels, and the necessary
ammunition. These they directed should be sent to Annapolis
immediately. Cots and blankets could be procured there, with whatever
else was necessary.
They were bound up F Street, toward the Electric Station, when
Macloud broke out.
If we had another man with us, your imprisonment idea would not be
so difficultwe could bag our game much more easily, and guard them
more securely when we had them. As it is, it's mighty puzzling to
True enough! said Croyden, but where is the man who is
trustworthynot to mention willing to take the risk, of being killed
or tried for murder, for someone else's benefit? They're not many like
A man, who was looking listlessly in a window just ahead, turned
away. He bore an air of dejection, and his clothes, while well cut,
were beginning to show hard usage and carelessness.
Axtell! Macloud observedand on his uppers!
There's our man! exclaimed Croyden. He is down hard, a little
money with a small divide, if successful, will get him. What do you
Nothing! replied Macloud. It's up to you.
Axtell saw them; he hesitated, whether to speak or to go on. Croyden
solved the question.
Hello! Axtell, what are you doing here? he said, extending his
Axtell grasped it, as a drowning man a straw.
You're kind to ask, Mr. Croyden! Mighty kind in one who lost so
much through us.
You were not to blameRoyster's responsible, and he's gone
To hell! Axtell interrupted, bitterly. May he burn forever!
Amen to that wish! Croyden smiled. Meanwhile, can I do anything
for you? You're having a run of hard luck, aren't you?
For a moment, Axtell did not answerhe was gulping down his
I am, he said. I've just ten dollars to my name. I came here
thinking the Congressmen, who made piles through our office, would get
me something, but they gave me the marble stare. I was good enough to
tip them off and do favors for them, but they're not remembering me
now. Do you know where I can get a job?
YesI'll give you fifty dollars and board, if you will come with
us for two weeks. Will you take it?
Will I take it?Well, rather!
What you're to do, with Mr. Macloud and myself, we will disclose
later. If, then, you don't care to aid us, we must ask you to keep
silence about it.
I don't want to know anything! said Axtell. I'll do my part, and
ask no questionsand thank you for trusting me. You're the first man
since our failure, who hasn't hit me in the facedon't you think I
Very good! said Croyden. Have you any other baggage? nodding
toward a small bag, which Axtell had in his hand.
Then, come alongwe're bound for Annapolis, and the car leaves in
X. PIRATE'S GOLD BREEDS PIRATE'S
That evening, in the seclusion of their apartment at Carvel Hall,
they took Axtell into their confidenceto a certain extent (though,
again, he protested his willingness simply to obey orders). They told
him, in a general way, of Parmenter's bequest, and how Croyden came to
be the legateesaying nothing of its great value, howeverits
location, the loss of the letter the previous evening, the episode of
the thieves on the Point, that morning, and their evident intention to
return to the quest.
Now, what we want to know is: are you ready to help usunaided by
the lawto seize these men and hold them prisoners, while we search
for the treasure? Croyden asked. We may be killed in the attempt, or
we may kill one or both of them, and have to stand trial if detected.
If you don't want to take the risk, you have only to declineand hold
My dear Mr. Croyden! said Axtell, I don't want you to pay me a
centjust give me my board and lodging and I'll gladly aid you as long
as necessary. It's a very little thing to do for one who has lost so
much through us. You provide for our defense, if we're apprehended by
the law, and that (snapping his fingers) for the risk.
Croyden held out his hand.
We'll shake hands on that, Axtell, if you please, he said; and,
if we recover what Parmenter buried, you'll not regret it.
The following morning saw them down at the Point with the equipage
and other paraphernalia. The men, whom they had brought from Annapolis
for the purpose, pitched the tents under the trees, ditched them,
received their pay, climbed into the wagons and rumbled away to
townpuzzled that anyone should want to camp on Greenberry Point when
they had the price of a hotel, and three square meals a day.
It looks pretty good, said Croyden, when the canvases were up and
everything arrangedand we shan't lack for the beautiful in nature.
This is about the prettiest spot I've ever seen, the Chesapeake and the
broad riverthe old town and the Academy buildingsthe warships at
anchorthe tout ensemble! We may not find the treasure, but, at
least, we've got a fine campthough, I reckon, it is a bit breezy when
the wind is from the Bay.
I wonder if we should have paid our respects to the Superintendent
before poaching on his preserves? said Macloud.
Humhadn't thought of that! Croyden answered. Better go in and
show ourselves to him, this afternoon. He seems to be something of a
personage down here, and we don't want to offend him. These naval
officers, I'm told, are sticklers for dignity and the prerogatives due
Hold on! exclaimed Macloud. On that score, we've got some rank
ourselves to uphold.
What! said Croyden.
Certainly! the Chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs, of the
United States Senate, is with us. According to the regulations, is it
his duty to call first on the Superintendent?that's the
Give it up! laughed Croyden. However, the Superintendent has a
copy of the letter, and he will know the ropes. We will wait a day,
then, if he's quiescent, it's up to us.
Great head! laughed Macloud. You should have been a diplomat,
Croydennothing less than an Ambassadorship for you, my boy!
A motor boat would be mighty convenient to go back and forth to
Annapolis, he said. Look at the one cutting through the water there,
It came nearer, halted a little way off in deep water, and an
officer in uniform swept the tents and them with a glass. Then the boat
put about and went chugging upstream.
We didn't seem to please him, remarked Macloud, gazing after the
boat. Suddenly it turned in toward shore and made the landing at the
We are about to be welcomed or else ordered offI'll take a bet
either way, said Macloud.
Welcomed! Croyden responded. Otherwise, they wouldn't have
despatched an officerit would have been a file of marines instead.
You haven't lost the permit, Macloud!
You don't seem very sure! Macloud laughed.
Presently, the officer appeared, walking rapidly down the roadway.
As soon as he sighted the tents, he swung over toward them. Macloud
went a few steps forward to meet him.
Is this Senator Rickrose? the Lieutenant inquired.
No, said Macloud. Senator Rickrose isn't coming until later. I am
one of his friends, Colin Macloud, and this is Mr. Croyden and Mr.
Very glad to meet you, gentlemen! said the Lieutenant. The
Superintendent presents his compliments and desires to place himself
and the Academy at your disposal. (He was instructed to add, that
Captain Boswick would pay his respects to-morrow, having been called to
Washington to-day by an unexpected wire, but the absence of the
Chairman of the Naval Affairs Committee rendered it unnecessary.)
Thank Captain Boswick, for Senator Rickrose and us, and tell him we
appreciate his kindness exceedingly, Macloud answered. We're camping
here for a week or so, to try sleeping in the open, under sea air.
We're not likely to prove troublesome! he added.
Then they took several drinks, and the aide departed.
So far, we're making delightful progress, said Croyden; but there
are breakers ahead when Hook-nose and his partner get in the game.
Suppose we inspect the premises and see if they have been here in our
They went first to the place where they had seen them conceal the
toolsthese were gone; proof that the thieves had paid a second visit
to the Point. But, search as they might, no evidence of work was
What does it mean? said Croyden. Have they abandoned the quest?
Not very likely, replied Macloud, with half a million at stake.
They probably are seeking information; when they have it, we shall see
them back again.
Suppose they bring four or five others to help them?
They won'tnever fear!they're not sharing the treasure with any
one else. Rather, they will knife each other for it. Honor among
thieves is like the Phoenixit doesn't exist.
If the knifing business were to occur before the finding, it would
help some! laughed Croyden. Meantime, I'm going to look at the ruins
of the light-house. I discovered in an almanac I found in the hotel
last night, that the original light-house was erected on Greenberry
Point in 1818. This fact may help us a lot.
They went out to the extreme edge, and stood gazing across the
shoals toward the ruins.
What do you make the distance from the land? Croyden asked.
About one hundred yardsbut it's very difficult to estimate over
water. It may be two hundred for all I can tell.
It is exactly three hundred and twenty-two feet from the Point to
the near side of the ruins, said Croyden.
Why not three hundred and twenty-two and a half feet! scoffed
I measured it this morning while you were dawdling over your
breakfast, answered Croyden.
Hitched a line to the land and waded out, I suppose.
Not exactly; I measured it on the Government map of the Harbor. It
gives the distance as three hundred and twenty-two feet, in plain
I said you had a great head! Macloud exclaimed. Now, what's the
rest of the figuresor haven't you worked it out?
Croyden drew out a paper. The calculation is of value only on the
assumptionwhich, however, is altogether reasonablethat the
light-house, when erected, stood on the tip of the Point. It is now
three hundred and twenty-two feet in water. Therefore, dividing
ninety-twothe number of years since erectioninto three hundred and
twenty-two, gives the average yearly encroachment of the Bay as three
and a half feet. Parmenter buried the casket in 1720, just a hundred
and ninety years ago; so, multiplying a hundred and ninety by three and
a half feet gives six hundred and sixty-five feet. In other words, the
Point, in 1720, projected six hundred and sixty-five feet further out
in the Bay than it does to-day.
Then, with the point moved in six hundred and sixty-five feet
Parmenter's beeches should be only eighty-five feet from the shore
line, instead of seven hundred and fifty! Macloud reflected.
Just so! said Croyden.
But where are the beeches? asked Axtell.
Disappeared! Croyden replied. As the Point from year to year
slipped into the Bay, the fierce gales, which sweep up the Chesapeake,
gradually ate into the timber. It is seventy years, at least, since
Parmenter's beeches went down.
Why shouldn't the Duvals have noticed the encroachment of the Bay,
and made a note of it on the letter? Macloud asked.
Probably, because it was so gradual they did not observe it. They,
likely, came to Annapolis only occasionally, and Greenberry Point
seemed unchangedalways the same narrow stretch of sand, with large
trees to landward.
Macloud nodded. I reckon that's reasonable.
Next let us measure back eighty-five feet, said Croyden, producing
a tape-line.... There! this is where the beech tree should stand. But
where were the other trees, and where did the two lines drawn from them
Yes, now you have it! said Macloudwhere were the trees, and
where did the lines intersect? I reckon you're stumped.
Let us try some more assuming. You had a compass yesterday, still
Macloud drew it out and tossed it over.
I took the trouble to make a number of diagrams last night, and
they disclosed a peculiar thing. With the location of the first tree
fixed, it matters little where the others were, in determining the
direction of the treasure. It is practically the same. The objective
point will change as you change the position of the trees, but the
direction will vary scarcely at all. It is self-evident, of course,
to those who understand such things, but it was a valuable find for me.
Now, if we are correct in our assumption, thus far, the treasure is
He opened the compass, and having brought North under the needle,
ran his eye North-by-North-east. A queer look passed over his face,
then he glanced at Macloud and smiled.
The treasure is buried, he repeatedthe treasure is buried
out in the Bay.
Looks as if wading would be a bit difficult, he said dryly.
Croyden produced the tape-line again, and they measured to the low
bluff at the water's edge.
Two hundred and eighty-two feet to here, he said, and Parmenter
buried the treasure at three hundred and thirty feettherefore, it's
forty-eight feet out in the Bay.
Then your supposition is that, since Parmenter's time, the Bay has
not only encroached on the Point, but also has eaten in on the sides.
It would seem so.
It's hard to dig in water, Macloud remarked. It's apt to fill in
the hole, you know.
Don't be sarcastic, Croyden retorted. I'm not responsible for the
Bay, nor the Point, nor Parmenter, nor anything else connected with the
fool quest, please remember.
Except the present measurements and the theory on which they're
based, Macloud replied. And as the former seem to be accurate, and
the latter more than reasonable, we'd best act on them.
At least, I am satisfied that the treasure lies either in the Bay,
or close on shore; if so, we have relieved ourselves from digging up
the entire Point.
You have given us a mighty plausible start, said Macloud.
Land or water? Croyden laughed. Hello, whom have we here? as a
buggy emerged from among the timber, circled around, and halted before
It is Hook-nose back again, said Macloud. Come to pay a social
call, I suppose! Anything about for them to steal?
Nothing but the shooting-irons.
They're safeI put them under the blankets.
What the devil do they want?
Come to treat with usto share the treasure.
Hum! they've got their nerve! exclaimed Croyden.
By this time, they had been observed by the men in the buggy who,
immediately, came toward them.
Let us get away from this place! said Croyden, and they sauntered
And make them stop usdon't give the least indication that we know
them, added Macloud.
As the buggy neared, Macloud and Croyden glanced carelessly at the
occupants, and were about to pass on, when Hook-nose calmly drew the
horse over in front of them.
Which of you men is named Croyden? he asked.
I am, said Geoffrey.
Well, you're the man we're lookin' for. Geoffrey is the rest of
your handle, isn't it?
You have the advantage of me, Croyden assured him.
Yes, I think I have, in more ways than your name. Where can we have
a little private talk?
We can't! said Croyden, stepping quickly around the horse and
continuing on his wayMacloud and Axtell following.
If you'd rather have it before your friends, I'm perfectly ready to
accommodate you, said the fellow. I thought, however, you'd rather
keep the little secret. Well, we'll be waiting for you at the tents,
all right, my friend! and he drove ahead.
Macloud, we are going to bag those fellows right nowand easy,
too, said Croyden. When we get to the tents, I'll take them into
oneand give them a chance to talk. When you and Axtell have the
revolvers, with one for me, you can join us. They are armed, of course,
but only with small pistols, likely, and you should have the drop on
them before they can draw. Come, at any timeI'll let down the tent
flaps on the plea of secrecy (since they've suggested it), so you can
approach with impunity.
This is where we get killed, Axtell! said Macloud. I would
that I were in my happy home, or any old place but here. But I've
enlisted for the war, so here goes! If you think it will do any good to
pray, we can just as well wait until you've put up a few. I'm not much
in that line, myself.
Imagine a broker praying! laughed Axtell.
I can't, said Macloud. But there seem to be no rules to the game
we're playing, so I wanted to give you the opportunity.
As they approached the tents, Hook-nose passed the reins to
Bald-head and got out.
What's to do now? asked Macloud. They're separated.
Leave it to me, I'll get them together, Croyden answered.... You
wish to see me, privately? to Hook-nose.
I wish to see youit's up to you whether to make it private or
Come along! said Croyden, leading the way toward the tent, which
was pitched a trifle to one side.... Now, sir, what is it? as the
flaps dropped behind them.
You've a business way about you, which I like began Hook-nose.
Never mind my ways! Croyden interrupted. Come to the pointwhat
do you want?
There's no false starts with you, my friend, are there! laughed
the other. That's the thingbang! and we are off. Good!we'll get to
business. You lost a letter recently
Not at all, Croyden cut in. I had a letter stolenyou, I
suppose, are the thief.
I, or my palit matters not which, the fellow replied easily.
Now, what we want, is to make some arrangement as to the division of
the treasure, when you've found it.
I thought as much! said Croyden. Well, let me tell you there
won't be any arrangement made with you, alone. You must get your pal
hereI don't agree with one. I agree with both or none.
Oh, very well, I'll have him in, if you wish.
I do wish, he said.
Hook-nose went to the front of the tent and raised the flap.
Bill! he called, hitch the horse and come in.
And Macloud and Axtell heard and understood.
While Hook-nose was summoning his partner, Croyden very naturally
retired to the rear of the tent, thus obliging the rogues to keep their
backs to the entrance.
Mr. Smith, this is Mr. Croyden! said Hook-nose.
I'm glad to make your acquaint began Smith.
There is no need for an introduction, Croyden interrupted curtly.
You're thieves, by profession, and blackmailers, in addition. Get down
to business, if you please!
You're not overly polite, my friendbut we'll pass that by. You're
hell for business, and that's our style. You understand, I see, that
this treasure hunt has got to be kept quiet. If anyone peaches, the
Government's wise and Parmenter's chest is dumped into its strong
boxthat is, as much as is left after the officials get their own
flippers out. Now, my idea is for you people to do the searching, and,
when the jewels is found, me and Bill will take half and youn's half.
Then we all can knock off work, and live respectable.
Rather a good bargain for you, said Croyden. We supply the
information, do all the work and give up half the spoilsfor what,
For our silence, and an equal share in the information. You have
doubtless forgot that we have the letter now.
And what if I refuse? Croyden asked.
You're not likely to refuse! the fellow laughed, impudently.
Better half a big loaf than no loaf at all.
But if I refuse? Croyden repeated.
I see what's in your mind, all right. But it won't work, and you
know it. You can have us arrested, yesand lose your plunder.
Parmenter's money belongs to the United States because it's buried in
United States land. A word to the Treasury Department, with the old
pirate's letter, and the jig is up. We'll risk your giving us to the
police, my friend! with a sneering laugh. If you're one to throw away
good money, I miss my guess.
Croyden affected to consider.
I forgot to say, that as you're fixed so comfortable here, me and
Bill might as well stay with youit will be more convenient, when you
uncover the chest, you know; in the excitement, you're liable to forget
that we come in for a share.
Anything else you are moved to exact? said Croyden. His ears were
primed, and they told him that Macloud and Axtell were comingLet us
have them all, so I can decideI want no afterthoughts.
You've got them alland very reasonable they are! laughed
Just then, Macloud and Axtell stepped noiselessly into the tent.
Something in Croyden's face caused Hook-nose's laugh to end
abruptly. He swung sharply aroundand faced Macloud's leveled
revolverAxtell's covered his pal.
Hands up! Both of you!Croyden criedNone of that,
Hook-nose!make another motion to draw a gun, and we'll scatter your
brains like chickenfeed. His own big revolver was sticking out of
Macloud's pocket. He took it. Now, I'll look after you, while my
friends tie up your pal, and the first one to open his head gets a
bullet down his throat.
Hands behind your back, Bald-head, commanded Axtell, briskly. Be
quick about it, Mr. Macloud is wonderfully easy on the trigger. So,
that's better! just hold them there a moment.
He produced a pair of nippers, and snapped them on.
Now, lie down and put your feet togethercloser! closer! Another
pair were snapped on them.
Now, I'll do for you, Axtell remarked, turning toward Hook-nose.
With Croyden's and Macloud's guns both covering him, the fellow was
With your permission, we will search you, said Croyden. Macloud,
if you will look to Mr. Smith, I'll attend to Hook-nose. We'll give
them a taste of their own medicine.
You think you're damn smart! exclaimed Hook-nose.
Shut up! said Croyden. I don't care to shoot a prisoner, but I'll
do it without hesitation. It's going to be either perfect quiet or
permanent sleepand you may do the choosing.
He slowly went through Hook-nose's clothesfinding a small pistol,
several well-filled wallets, and, in his inside waistcoat pocket, the
Parmenter letter. Macloud did the same for Bald-head.
You stole one hundred and seventy-nine dollars from Mr. Macloud and
one hundred and eight from me, said Croyden. You may now have the
privilege of returning it, and the letter. If you make no more trouble,
lie quiet and take your medicine, you'll receive no further harm. If
you're stubborn, we'll either kill you and dump your bodies in the Bay,
or give you up to the police. The latter would be less trouble, for,
without the letter, you can tell your story to the Department, or
whomever else you pleaseit's your word against oursand you are
How long are you going to hold us prisoners? asked
Bald-headtill you find the treasure? Oh, Lord!
As long as it suits our convenience.
And luck is with you, Hook-nose sneered.
At present, it is with usvery much with us, my friend,
said Croyden. You will excuse us, now, we have pressing business,
When they were out of hearing, Macloud said:
Doesn't our recovery of Parmenter's letter change things very
It seems to me it does, Croyden answered. Indeed, I think we need
fear the rogues no longerwe can simply have them arrested for the
theft of our wallets, or even release them entirely.
Arrest is preferable, said Macloud. It will obviate all danger of
our being shot at long range, by the beggars. Let us put them where
they're safe, for the time.
But the arrest must not be made here! interposed Croyden. We
can't send for the police: if they find them here it would give color
to their story of a treasure on Greenberry Point.
Then Axtell and I will remain on guard, while you go to town and
arrange for their apprehensionsay, just as they come off the Severn
bridge. When you return, we can release them.
What if they don't cross the Severnwhat if they scent our game,
and keep straight on to Baltimore? They can abandon their team, and
catch a Short Line train at a way station.
Then the Baltimore police can round them up. I'm for chancing it.
They've lost Parmenter's letter; haven't anything to substantiate their
story. Furthermore, we have a permit for the Chairman of the Naval
Affairs Committee and friends to camp here. I think that, now, we can
afford to ignore themthe recovery of the letter was exceedingly
Very good! said Macloudyou're the one to be satisfied; it's a
whole heap easier than running a private prison ourselves.
Croyden looked the other's horse over carefully, so he could
describe it accurately, then they hitched up their own team and he
drove off to Annapolis.
In due time, he returned.
It's all right! he said. I told the Mayor we had passed two men
on the Severn bridge whom we identified as those who picked our
pockets, Wednesday evening, in Carvel Halland gave him the necessary
descriptions. He recognized the team as one of 'Cheney's Best,' and
will have the entire police forcewhich consists of four menwaiting
at the bridge on the Annapolis side. He looked at his watch. They are
there, now, so we can turn the prisoners loose.
Croyden and Macloud resumed their revolvers, and returned to the
tentto be greeted with a volley of profanity which, for fluency and
vocabulary, was distinctly marvelous. Gradually, it died awayfor want
of breath and words.
Choice! Choice! said Croyden. In the cuss line, you two are the
real thing. Why didn't you open up sooner?you shouldn't hide such
proficiency from an admiring world.
Whereat it flowed forth afresh from Hook-nose. Bald-head, however,
remained quiet, and there was a faint twinkle in his eyes, as though he
caught the humor of the situation. They were severely cramped, and in
considerable pain, but their condition was not likely to be benefited
by swearing at their captors.
Just listen to him! said Croyden, as Hook-nose took a fresh start.
Did you ever hear his equal!... Now, if you'll be quiet a moment, like
your pal, we will tell you something that possibly you'll not be averse
to hear.... So, that's better. We're about to release youlet you go
free; it's too much bother to keep you prisoners. These little toy guns
of yours, however, we shall throw into the Bay, in interest of the
public peace. May we trouble you, Mr. Axtell, to remove the bonds?...
Thank you! Now, you may arise and shake yourselvesyou'll, likely,
find the circulation a trifle restricted, for a few minutes.
Hook-nose gave him a malevolent look, but made no reply, Bald-head
Now, if you have sufficiently recovered, we will escort you to your
carriage! Forward, march!
And with the two thieves in front, and the three revolvers bringing
up the rear, they proceeded to the buggy. The thieves climbed in.
We wish you a very good day! said Croyden. Drive on, please!
XI. ELAINE CAVENDISH
May we have seen the last of you! said Macloud, as the buggy
disappeared among the trees; and may the police provide for you in
And while you're about it, said Croyden, you might pray that we
find the treasureit would be quite as effective. He glanced at his
watch. It's four o'clock. Now, to resume where those rogues
interrupted us. We had the jewels located, somewhere, within a radius
of fifty feet. They must be, according to our theory, either on the
bank or in the Bay. We can't go at the water without a boat. Shall we
tackle the land at once? or go to town and procure a boat, and be ready
for either in the morning.
I have an idea, said Macloud.
Don't let it go to waste, old man, let's have it! Croyden
If you can give up hearing yourself talk, for a moment, I'll try!
laughed Macloud. It is conceded, I believe, that digging on the Point
by day may, probably will, provoke comment and possibly investigation
as well. My idea is this. Do no work by day. Then as soon as dusky
Night has drawn her robes about her
Oh, Lord! ejaculated Croyden, with upraised hands.
Then, as soon as dusky Night has drawn her robes about her,
Macloud repeated, imperturbably, we set to work, by the light of the
silvery moon. We arouse no commentprovoke no investigation. When
morning dawns, the sands are undisturbed, and we are sleeping as
peacefully as guinea pigs.
And if there isn't a moon, we will set to work by the light of the
silvery lantern, I reckon! said Croyden.
And, when we tackle the water, it will be in a silver boat and with
silver cuirasses and silver helmets, à la Lohengrin.
And I suppose, our swan-song will be played on silver flutes!
There won't be a swan-songwe're going to find Parmenter's
treasure, said Macloud.
Leaving Axtell in camp, they drove to town, stopping at the North
end of the Severn bridge to hire a row-boat,a number of which were
drawn up on the bankand to arrange for it to be sent around to the
far end of the Point. At the hotel, they found a telephone call from
the Mayor's office awaiting them.
The thieves had been duly captured, the Mayor said, and they had
been sent to Baltimore. The Chief of Detectives happened to be in the
office, when they were brought in, and had instantly recognized them as
well-known criminals, wanted in Philadelphia for a particularly
atrocious hold-up. He had, thereupon, thought it best to let the Chief
take them back with him, thus saving the County the cost of a trial,
and the penitentiary expenseas well as sparing Mr. Croyden and his
friend much trouble and inconvenience in attending court. He had had
them searched, but found nothing which could be identified. He hoped
this was satisfactory.
Croyden assured him it was more than satisfactory.
That night they began the hunt. That night, and every night for the
next three weeks, they kept at it.
They tested every conceivable hypothesis. They dug up the entire
zone of suspicionit being loose sand and easy to handle. On the plea
that a valuable ruby ring had been lost overboard while fishing, they
dragged and scraped the bottom of the Bay for a hundred yards around.
All without avail. Nothing smiled on them but the weatherit had
remained uniformly good until the last two days before. Then there had
set in, from the North-east, such a storm of rain as they had never
seen. The very Bay seemed to be gathered up and dashed over the Point.
They had sought refuge in the hotel, when the first chilly blasts of
wind and water came up the Chesapeake. As it grew fiercer,and a negro
sent out for information returned with the news that their tents had
been blown away, and all trace of the camp had vanishedit was decided
that the quest should be abandoned.
It's a foolish hunt, anyway! said Croyden. We knew from the first
it couldn't succeed.
But we wanted to prove that it couldn't succeed, Macloud observed.
If you hadn't searched, you always would have thought that, maybe, you
could have been successful. Now, you've had your tryand you've
failed. It will be easier to reconcile yourself to failure, than not to
In other words, it's better to have tried and lost, than never to
have tried at all, Croyden answered. Well! it's over and there's no
profit in thinking more about it. We have had an enjoyable camp, and
the camp is ended. I'll go home and try to forget Parmenter, and the
jewel box he buried down on Greenberry Point.
I think I'll go with you, said Macloud.
To Hampton! Croyden exclaimed, incredulously.
To Hamptonif you can put up with me a little longer.
A knowing smile broke over Croyden's face.
The Symphony in Blue? he asked.
Maybe!and maybe it is just you. At any rate, I'll come if I may.
My dear Colin! You know you're more than welcome, always!
Macloud bowed. I'll go out to Northumberland to-night, arrange a
few matters which are overdue, and come down to Hampton as soon as I
can get away.
* * * * *
The next afternoon, as Macloud was entering the wide doorway of the
Tuscarora Trust Company, he met Elaine Cavendish coming out.
Stranger! where have you been these many weeks? she said, giving
him her hand.
Out of town, he answered. Did you miss me so much?
I did! There isn't a handy dinner man around, with you and Geoffrey
both away. Dine with us this evening, will you?it will be strictly
en famille, for I want to talk business.
Wants to talk business! he thought, as, having accepted, he went
on to the coupon department. It has to do with that beggar Croyden, I
* * * * *
And when, the dinner over, they were sitting before the open grate
fire, in the big living room, she broached the subject without
timidity, or false pride.
You are more familiar with Geoffrey Croyden's affairs than any one
else, Colin, she said, crossing her knees, in the reckless fashion
women have now-a-days, and exposing a ravishing expanse of blue silk
stockings, with an unconscious consciousness that was delightfully
naive. And I want to ask you somethingor rather, several things.
Macloud blew a whiff of cigarette smoke into the fire, and waited.
I, naturally, don't ask you to violate any confidence, she went
on, but I fancy you may tell me this: was the particular business in
which Geoffrey was engaged, when I saw him in Annapolis, a success or a
Why do you ask! Macloud said. Did he tell you anything concerning
Only that his return to Northumberland would depend very much on
But nothing as to its character?
No, she answered.
Well, it wasn't a success; in fact, it was a complete failure.
And where is Geoffrey, now? she asked.
I do not know, he replied.
She laughed lightly. I do not mean, where is he this minute, but
where is he in generalwhere would you address a wire, or a letter,
and know that it would be received?
He threw his cigarette into the grate and lit another.
I am not at liberty to tell, he said.
Then, it is truehe is concealing himself.
Not exactlyhe is not proclaiming himself
Not proclaiming himself or his whereabouts to his Northumberland
friends, you mean?
Friends! said Macloud. Are there such things as friends, when one
has been unfortunate?
I can answer only for myself, she replied earnestly.
I believe you, Elaine
Then tell me thisis he in this country or abroad?
In this country, he said, after a pause.
Is he in want,I mean, in want for the things he has been used
He is not in want, I can assure you!and much that he was used to
having, he has no use for, now. Our wants are relative, you know.
Why did he leave Northumberland so suddenly? she asked.
To reduce expenses. He was forced to give up the old life, so he
chose wisely, I thinkto go where his income was sufficient for his
But is it sufficient? she demanded.
He says it is.
She was silent for a while, staring into the blaze. He did not
interruptthinking it wise to let her own thoughts shape the way.
You will not tell me where he is? she said suddenly, bending her
blue eyes hard upon his face.
I may not, Elaine. I ought not to have told you he was not abroad.
This business which you and he were on, in Annapolisit failed,
And is there no chance that it may succeed, some time?
He has abandoned it.
But may not conditions changesomething happen she began.
It is the sort that does not happen. In this case, abandonment
Did he know, when we were in Annapolis? she asked.
On the contrary, he was very sanguineit looked most promising
Her eyes went back to the flames. He blew ring after ring of smoke,
and waited, patiently. He was the friend, he saw, now. He could never
hope to be more. Croyden was the lucky fellowand would not! Well, he
had his warning and it was in time. Since she was baring her soul to
him, as friend to friend, it was his duty to help her to the utmost of
Suddenly, she uncrossed her knees and sat up.
I have bought all the stock, and the remaining bonds of the
Virginia Development Company, from the bank that held them as
collateral for Royster &Axtell's loan, she said. Oh, don't be
alarmed! I didn't appear in the mattermy broker bought them in
your name, and paid for them in actual money.
I am your frienduse me! he said, simply.
She arose, and bending swiftly over, kissed him on the cheek.
Don't, Elaine, he said. I am, also, Geoffrey Croyden's friend,
but there are temptations which mortal man cannot resist.
You think so? she smiled, leaning over the back of his chair, and
putting her head perilously close to hisbut I trust youthough I
shan't kiss you againat least, for the present. Now, you have been so
very good about the bonds, I want you to be good some more. Will
He held his hands before him, to put them out of temptation.
Ask me to crawl in the grate, and see how quickly I do it! he
It might prove my power, but I should lose my friend, she
And that would be inconvenient! he laughed. Come, speak up! it's
already granted, that you should know, Elaine.
You're a very sweet boy, she said, going back to her seat.
Which needs demonstration. But that you're a very sweet girl, needs
no proofunless looking at her with a meaning smile.
Would that be proof, think you? with a sidelong glance.
I should accept it as such, he averredwhenever you choose to
Confer smacks of reward for service done, she said. Will
it bide till then?
Not if it may come sooner?
WaitIf you choose such pay, the
I choose no pay, he interrupted.
Then, the reward will be in kind, she answered enigmatically. I
want you She put one slender foot on the fender, and gazed at it,
meditatively, while the firelight stole covert glances at the silken
ankles thus exposed. I want you to purchase for me, from Geoffrey
Croyden, at par, his Virginia Development Company bonds, she said.
You can do it through your broker. I will give you a check, now
Wait! he said; wait until he sells
You think he won't sell? she inquired.
I think he will have to be satisfied, first, as to the
purchaserin plain words, that it isn't either you or I. We can't give
Geoffrey money! The bonds are practically worthless, as he knows only
I had thought of that, she said, but, isn't it met by this very
plan? Your broker purchases the bonds for your account, but he,
naturally, declines to reveal the identity of his customer. You can,
truthfully, tell Geoffrey that you are not buying themfor
you're not. And Iif he will only give me the chancewill
assure him that I am not buying them from himand you might
confirm it, if he asked.
Hum! It's juggling with the factsthough true on the face, said
Macloud, but it's pretty thin ice we're skating on.
You are assuming he suspects or questions. He may take the two
hundred thousand and ask no question.
You don't for a moment believe that! he laughed.
It is doubtful, she admitted.
And you wouldn't think the same of him, if he did.
I admit it! she said.
So, we are back to the thin ice. I'll do what I can; but, you
forgot, I am not at liberty to give his address to my brokers. I shall
have to take their written offer to buy, and forward it to him, which,
in itself will oblige me, at the same time, to tell him that I
am not the purchaser.
I leave it entirely to youmanage it any way you see fit. All I
ask, is that you get him to sell. It's horrible to think of Geoffrey
being reduced to the bare necessities of lifefor that's what it
means, when he goes 'where his income is sufficient for his needs.'
It's unfortunate, certainly: it would be vastly worse for a
womanto go from luxury to frugality, from everything to relatively
nothing is positively pathetic. However, Croyden is not sufferinghe
has an attractive house filled with old things, good victuals, a more
than competent cook, and plenty of society. He has cut out all the
non-essentials, and does the essentials economically.
You have been there? she demanded. You speak of your own
knowledge, not from his inferences?
I have been there! he answered.
And the societywhat of it? she asked quickly.
Better than our own! he said, instantly.
Indeed! she replied with lifted eye-brows. Our own in the
aggregate or differentiated?
In the aggregate! he laughed; but quite the equal of our own
differentiated. If Croyden were a marrying manwith sufficient income
for twoI should give him about six months, at the outside.
And how much would you give one with sufficient for two
yourself, for instance?
Just long enough to choose the girland convince her of the
propriety of the choice.
And do you expect to join Geoffrey, soon? meaningly.
As soon as I can get through here,probably in a day or two.
Then, we may look for the new Mrs. Macloud in time for the
holidays, I presume.Sort of a Christmas gift?
About thenif I can pick among so many, and she ratifies the
You haven't, yet, chosen?
No!there are so many I didn't have time to more than look them
over. When I go back, I'll round them up, cut out the most likely, and
try to tie and brand her.
Colin! cried Miss Cavendish. One would think, from your talk,
that Geoffrey was in a cowboy camp, with waitresses for society.
He grinned, and lighted a fresh cigarette.
She tossed him an alluring look.
And nothing can induce you to tell me the location of the camp?
He smoked, a bit, in silence. Should he or should he not?...
No!not now! he said, slowly. Let us try the bond matter, first.
If he sells, I think he will return; if not, I'll then consider
You're a good fellow, Colin, dear! she whispered, leaning over and
giving his hand an affectionate little pat. You're so nice and
comfortable to have aroundyou never misunderstand, nor draw
inferences that you shouldn't.
Which means, I'm not to draw inferences now? he said.
Nor at any other time, she remarked.
And the reward?
Will be forthcoming, with an alluring smile.
I've a mind to take part payment now, said he, intercepting the
hand before she could withdraw it.
If you can, sir! whisking it loose, and darting around a table.
A challenge, is it? Oh, very well! and he sprang after.
With a swift movement, she swept up her skirts and fledaround
chairs, and tables, across rugs, over sofas and couchesalways
manoeuvring to gain the doorway, yet always finding him barring the
way;until, at last, she was forced to refuge behind a huge davenport,
standing with one end against the wall.
Now, will you surrender? he demanded, coming slowly toward her in
the cul de sac.
She shook her head, smiling the while.
I'll be merciful, he said. It is five steps, until I reach
youOne!Will you yield?
Two!will you yield?
Three!will you yield?
Quick as thought, she dropped one hand on the back of the davenport;
there was a flash of slippers, lingerie and silk, and she was across
and racing for the door, now fair before her, leaving him only the echo
of a mocking laugh.
Five! she counted, tauntingly, from the hall. Why don't you
I stop with four, he said. I'll be good for to-night, Elaineyou
need have no further fear.
She tossed her head ever so slightly, while a bantering look came
into her eyes.
I'm not much afraid of you, nownor any time, she answered. But
you have more courage than I would have thought, Colindecidedly
XII. ONE LEARNED IN THE LAW
It was evening, when Croyden returned to Hamptonan evening which
contained no suggestion of the Autumn he had left behind him on the
Eastern Shore. It was raw, and damp, and chill, with the presage of
winter in its cold; the leaves were almost gone from the trees, the
blackening hand of frost was on flower and shrubbery. As he passed up
the dreary, deserted street, the wind was whistling through the
branches over head, and moaning around the houses like spirits of the
He turned in at Clarendonshivering a little at the prospect. He
was beginning to appreciate what a winter spent under such conditions
meant, where one's enjoyments and recreations are circumscribed by the
bounds of comparatively few houses and few peoplepeople, he
suspected, who could not understand what he missed, of the hurly-burly
of life and amusement, even if they tried. Their ways were sufficient
for them; they were eminently satisfied with what they had; they could
not comprehend dissatisfaction in another, and would have no patience
He could imagine the dismalness of Hampton, when contrasted with the
brightness of Northumberland. The theatres, the clubs, the constant
dinners, the evening affairs, the social whirl with all that it
comprehended, compared with an occasional dinner, a rare party,
interminable evenings spent, by his own fireside, alone! Alone! Alone!
To be sure, Miss Carrington, and Miss Borden, and Miss Lashiel, and
Miss Tilghman, would be available, when they were home. But the winter
was when they went visiting, he remembered, from late November until
early April, and, at that period, the town saw them but little. There
was the Hampton Club, of course, but it was worse than nothingan
opportunity to get mellow and to gamble, innocent enough to those who
were habituated to it, but dangerous to one who had fallen, by
adversity, from better things....
However, Macloud would be there, shortly, thank God! And the dear
girls were not going for a week or so, he hoped. And, when the worst
came, he could retire to the peacefulness of his library and try to eke
out a four months' existence, with the books, and magazines and papers.
Moses held open the door, with a bow and a flourish, and the lights
leaped out to meet him. It was some cheer, at least, to come home to a
bright house, a full larder, faithful servantsand supper ready on the
table, and tuned to even a Clubman's taste.
Moses, do you know if Miss Carrington's at home? he asked, the
coffee on and his cigar lit.
Yass, seh! her am home, seh, I seed she herse'f dis mornin' cum
down de parf from de front poach wid de dawg, seh.
Croyden nodded and went across the hall to the telephone.
Miss Carrington, herself, answered his call.Yes, she intended to
be home all evening. She would be delighted to see him and to hear a
full account of himself.
He was rather surprised at his own alacrity, in finishing his cigar
and changing his clothesand he wondered whether it was the girl, or
the companionship, or the opportunity to be free of himself? A little
of all three, he concluded.... But, especially, the girl, as she
came from the drawing-room to meet him.
So you have really returned, she said, as he bowed over her
slender fingers. We were beginning to fear you had deserted us.
You are quite too modest, he replied. You don't appreciate your
The you was plainly singular, but she refused to see it.
Our own attractions require us to be modest, she returned; with
aman of the world.
Don't! he laughed. Whatever I may have been, I am, now, a man of
She shook her head. You can never be a man of Hampton.
Why not, if I live among you?
If you live heretake on our ways, our beliefs, our mode of
thinking, you may, in a score of years, grow like us, outwardly; but,
inwardly, where the true like must start, never!
How do we differ?
Ask me something easier! You've been bred differently, used to
different things, to doing them in a different way. We do things
slowly, leisurely, with a fine disregard of time, you, with the modern
rush, and bustle, and hurry. You are a man of the worldI repeat
itup to the minute in everythingnever lagging behind, unless you
wish. You never put off till to-morrow what you can do to-day. We never
do anything to-day that can be put off till to-morrow.
And which do you prefer, the to-day or the to-morrow? he asked.
It depends on my humor, and my location, at the timethough, I
must admit, the to-day makes for thrift, and business, and success in
And success also in getting rid of it. It is a return toward the
primitive conditionthe survival of the fittest. There must be losers
as well as acquirers.
There's the pity of it! she exclaimed, that one must lose in
order that another may gain.
But as we are not in Utopia or Altruria, he smiled, it will
continue so to be. Why, even in Baltimore, they
Oh, Baltimore is only an overgrown country town! she exclaimed.
Granted! he replied. With half a million population, it is as
provincial as Hampton, and thanks God for itthe most smug,
self-satisfied, self-sufficient municipality in the land, with its
cobblestones, its drains-in-the-gutters, its how much-holier-than-thou
air about everything.
But it has excellent railway facilities! she laughed.
Because it happens to be on the main line between Washington and
At least, the people are nice, barring a few mushrooms who are
making a great to-do.
Yes, the people are delightful!And, when it comes to
mushrooms, Northumberland has Baltimore beaten to a frazzle. We raise a
fresh crop every night.
Northumberland society must be exceedingly large! she laughed.
It isbut it's not overcrowded. About as many die every day, as
are born every night; and, at any rate, they don't interfere with those
who really belongexcept to increase prices, and the cost of living,
and clog the avenue with automobiles.
That is progress!
Yes, it's progress! but whither it leads no one knowsto the
devil, likelyor a lemon garden.
'Blessed are the lemons on earth, for they shall be peaches in
Heaven!' she quoted.
What a glorious peach your Miss Erskine will be, he replied.
I'm afraid you don't appreciate the great honor the lady did you,
in condescending to view the treasures of Clarendon, and to talk
about them afterward. To hear her, she is the most intimate friend you
have in Hampton.
Good! he said, I'm glad you told me. Somehow, I'm always drawing
Am I a lemon? she asked, abruptly.
You! do you think you are?
One can never know.
Have I drawn you? he inquired.
Quite immaterial to the question, which is: A lemon or not a
If you could but see yourself at this moment, you would not ask,
he said, looking at her with amused scrutiny.
The lovely face, the blue black hair, the fine figure in the simple
pink organdie, the slender ankles, the well-shod feeta lemon!
But as I can't see myself, and have no mirror handy, your testimony
is desired, she insisted. A lemon or not a lemon?
A lemon! he answered.
Then you can't have any objection
If you bring Miss Erskine in? he interrupted. Nay! Nay! Nay!
if I take you there for a game of Bridgeshall we go this very
If you wish, he answered.
She laughed. I don't wishand we are growing very silly. Come,
tell about your Annapolis trip. You stayed a great while.
Something more than three weeks!
It's a queer old town, Annapolisthey call it the 'Finished City!'
It's got plenty of landmarks, and relics, but nothing more. If it were
not for the State Capitol and Naval Academy, it would be only a lot of
ruins, lost in the sand. In midsummer, it's absolutely dead. No one on
the streets, no one in the shops, no one any place.Deserteduntil
there's a fire. Then you should see them come out!
That is sufficiently expressed! laughed Croyden. But, with the
autumn and the Academy in session, the town seemed very much alive. We
sampled 'Cheney's Best,' Wegard's Cakes, and saw the Custard-and-Cream
You've been to Annapolis, sure! she replied. There's only one
thing moredid you see Paul Jones?
He shook his head. We missed him.
Which isn't surprising. You can't find him without the aid of a
detective or a guide.
Then, who ever finds him?
No one!and there is the shame. We accepted the vast labors and
the money of our Ambassador to France in locating the remains of
America's first Naval Hero; we sent an Embassy and a warship to bring
them back; we received them with honor, orated over them, fired guns
over them. And then, when the spectators had departedassuming they
were to be deposited in the crypt of the Chapelwe calmly chucked them
away on a couple of trestles, under a stairway in Bancroft Hall, as we
would an old broom or a tin can. That's our way of honoring the
only Naval Commander we had in the Revolution. It would have been
better, much better, had we left him to rest in the quiet seclusion of
his grave in Francelost, save in memory, with the halo of the past
and privacy of death around him.
And why didn't we finish the work? said Croyden. Why bring him
here, with the attendant expense, and then stop, just short of
completion? Why didn't we inter him in the Chapel (though, God save me
from burial there), or any place, rather than on trestles under a
stairway in a midshipmen's dormitory?
Because the appropriation was exhausted, or because the Act wasn't
worded to include burial, or because the Superintendent didn't want the
bother, or because it was a nuisance to have the remains aroundor
some other absurd reason. At all events, he is there in the cellar, and
he is likely to stay there, till Bancroft Hall is swallowed up by the
Bay. The junket to France, the parade, the speeches, the spectacular
part are over, so, who cares for the entombment, and the respect due
the distinguished dead?
I don't mean to be disrespectful, he observed, but it's hard luck
to have one's bones disturbed, after more than a hundred years of
tranquillity, to be conveyed clear across the Atlantic, to be orated
over, and sermonized over, and, then, to be flung aside like old junk
and forgot. However, we have troubles of our ownI know I havemore
real than Paul Jones! He may be glad he's dead, so he won't have any to
worry over. In fact, it's a good thing to be deadone is saved from a
heap of worry.
She looked at him, without replying.
What's the use? he said. A daily struggle to procure fuel
sufficient to keep up the fire.
What's the use of anything! Why not make an end of life, at once?
Sometimes, I'm tempted, he admitted. It's the leap in the dark,
and no returning, that restrains, I reckonand the fact that we must
face it alone. Otherwise
She laughed softly. Otherwise death would have no terrors! You have
begged the question, or what amounts to it. But, to return to
Annapolis; what else did you see?
You have been there?
Then you know what I saw, he replied. I had no wonderful
adventures. This isn't the day of the rapier and the mask.
She half closed her eyes and looked at him through the long lashes.
What were you doing down on Greenberry Point? she demanded.
How did you know? he asked, surprised.
Oh! very naturally. I was in AnnapolisI saw your name on the
registerI inquiredand I had the tale of the camp. No one, however,
seemed to think it queer! laughing.
Why should they? Camping out is entirely natural, Croyden
With the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Naval Affairs?
We were in his party!
A party which until five days ago he had not joinedat least, so
the Superintendent told me, when I dined at his house. He happened to
mention your name, found I knew youand we gossiped. Perhaps we
shouldn't, but we did.
What else did he tell you?
Nothing! he didn't seem even to wonder at your being there
But you did?
It's the small town in me, I supposeto be curious about other
people and their business; and it was most suspicious.
What was most suspicious? he asked.
Your actions. First, you hire a boat and cross the Bay direct from
Hampton to Annapolis. Second, you procure, through Senator Rickrose, a
permit from the Secretary of the Navy to camp on Greenberry Point.
Third, you actually do camp, there, for nearly, or quite three weeks.
Query:Why? Why go clear to the Western Shore, and choose a
comparatively inaccessible and exposed location on United States
property, if the idea were only a camp? Why not camp over on Kent
Island, or on this coast? Anywhere, within a few miles of Hampton,
there are scores of places better adapted than Greenberry Point.
You should be a story teller! he laughed. Your imagination is
marvelous. With a series of premises, you can reach whatever conclusion
you wishyou're not bound by the probabilities.
You're simply obscuring the point, she insisted. In this
instance, my premises are facts which are not controverted. You admit
them to be correct. So, why? Why? She held up her hand. Don't
answer! I'm not asking for information. I don't want to be told. I'm
simply 'chaffing of you,' don't you know!
With just a lingering curiosity, however, he added.
A casual curiosity, rather, she amended.
Which, some time, I shall gratify. You've trailed me downwe
were on Greenberry Point for a purpose, but nothing has come of it,
yetand it's likely a failure.
My dear Mr. Croyden, I don't wish to know. It was a mistake to
refer to it. I should simply have forgot what I heard in
AnnapolisI'll forget now, if you will permit.
By no means, Miss Carrington. You can't forget, if you wouldand I
would not have you, if you could. Moreover, I inherited it along with
Clarendon, and, as you were my guide to the place, it's no more than
right that you should know. I think I shall confide in youno use to
protest, it's got to come! he added.
You are determined?Very well, then, come over to the couch in the
corner, where we can sit close and you can whisper.
He arose, with alacrity. She put out her hand and led himand he
suffered himself to be led.
Now! when they were seated, you may begin. Once upon a time
and laughed, softly. I'll take this, if you've no immediate use for
it, she said, and released her hand from his.
For the moment, he said. I shall want it back, presently,
Do you, by any chance, get all you want? she inquired.
Alas! no! Else I would have kept what I already had.
She put her hands behind her, and faced around.
Begin, sir! she said. Begin! and try to be serious.
Well,once upon a time Then he stopped. I'll go over to the
house and get the letterit will tell you much better than I can. You
will wait here, right here, until I return?
She looked at him, with a tantalizing smile.
Won't it be enough, if I am here when you return? she
When he came out on the piazza the rain had ceased, the clouds were
gone, the temperature had fallen, and the stars were shining brightly
in a winter sky.
He strode quickly down the walk to the street and crossed it
diagonally to his own gates. As he passed under the light, which hung
near the entrance, a man walked from the shadow of the Clarendon
grounds and accosted him.
Mr. Croyden, I believe? he said.
Croyden halted, abruptly, just out of distance.
Croyden is my name? he replied, interrogatingly.
With your permission, I will accompany you to your houseto which
I assume you are boundfor a few moments' private conversation.
Concerning what? Croyden demanded.
Concerning a matter of business.
My business or yours?
Both! said the man, with a smile.
Croyden eyed him suspiciously. He was about thirty years of age,
tall and slender, was well dressed, in dark clothes, a light weight
top-coat, and a derby hat. His face was ordinary, however, and Croyden
had no recollection of ever having seen itcertainly not in Hampton.
I'm not in the habit of discussing business with strangers, at
night, nor of taking them to my house, he answered, brusquely. If you
have anything to say to me, say it now, and be brief. I've no time to
Some one may hear us, the man objected.
Let themI've no objection.
Pardon me, but I think, in this matter, you would have objection.
You'll say it quickly, and here, or not at all, snapped Croyden.
The man shrugged his shoulders.
It's scarcely a subject to be discussed on the street, he
observed, but, if I must, I must. Did you ever hear of Robert
Parmenter? Oh! I see that you have! Well, the business concerns a
certain letterneed I be more explicit?
If you wish to make your business intelligible.
The fellow shrugged his shoulders again.
As you wish, he said, though it only consumes time, and I was
under the impression that you were in a hurry. However: To repeatthe
business concerns a letter, which has to do with a certain treasure
buried long ago, on Greenberry Point, by the said Robert Parmenter. Do
I make myself plain, now, sir?
Your language is entirely intelligiblethough I cannot answer for
the facts recited.
The man smiled imperturbably, and went on:
The letter in question having come into your possession recently,
you, with two companions, spent three weeks encamped on Greenberry
Point, ostensibly for your health, or the night air, or anything else
that would deceive the Naval authorities. During which time, you dug up
the entire Point, dragged the waters immediately adjoiningand then
departed, very strangely choosing for it a time of storm and change of
weather. My language is intelligible, thus far?
Croyden noddedrather amused. Evidently, the thieves had managed to
communicate with a confederate, and this was a hold-up. They assumed he
had been successful.
Therefore, it is entirely reasonable to suppose that your search
was not ineffectual. In plain words, you have recovered the treasure.
The man paused, waiting for an answer.
Croyden only smiled, and waited, too.
Very good!we will proceed, said the stranger. The jewels were
found on Government land. It makes no difference whether recovered on
the Point or on the Baythe law covering treasure trove, I am
informed, doesn't apply. The Government is entitled to the entire find,
it being the owner in fee of the land.
You talk like a lawyer! said Croyden.
The stranger bowed. I have devoted my spare moments to the study of
And how to avoid it, Croyden interjected.
The other bowed again.
And also how to prevent others from avoiding it, he
replied, suggestively. Let us take up that phase, if it please you.
And if it doesn't please? asked Croyden, suppressing an
inclination to laugh.
Then let us take it up, any wayunless you wish to forfeit your
find to the Government.
Proceed! said Croyden. We are arriving, now, at the pith of the
matter. What do you offer?
We want an equal divide. We will take Parmenter's estimate and
multiply it by two, though jewels have appreciated more than that in
valuation. Fifty thousand pounds is two hundred and fifty thousand
dollars, which will total, according to the calculation, half a million
dollars,one half of which amount you pay us as our share.
Your share! Why don't you call it properlyblackmail? Croyden
As you wish! the other replied, airily. If you prefer blackmail
to share, it will not hinder the contractseeing that it is quite as
illegal on your part as on ours. Share merely sounds a little better
but either obtains the same end. So, suit yourself. Call it what you
Payor lose everything! was the answer. If you are not familiar
with the law covering the subject under discussion, let me enlighten
Thunder! how you do roll it out! laughed Croyden. Get on! man,
I was endeavoring to state the matter succinctly, the stranger
replied, refusing to be hurried or flustered. The Common Law and the
practice of the Treasury Department provide, that all treasure found on
Government land or within navigable waters, is Government property. If
declared by the finder, immediately, he shall be paid such reward as
the Secretary may determine. If he does not declare, and is informed
on, the informer gets the reward. You will observe that, under the law,
you have forfeited the jewelsI fancy I do not need to draw further
No!it's quite unnecessary, Croyden remarked. Your fellow
thieves went into that phase (good word, I like it!) rather fully, down
on Greenberry Point. Unluckily, they fell into the hands of the police,
almost immediately, and we have not been able to continue the
I have the honor to continue the conversationand, in the interim,
you have found the treasure. So, Parmenter's letter won't be
essentialthe facts, circumstances, your own and Mr. Macloud's
testimony, will be sufficient to prove the Government's case. Then, as
you are aware, it's pay or go to prison for larceny.
There is one very material hypothesis, which you assume as a fact,
but which is, unfortunately, not a fact, said Croyden. We did not
find the treasure.
The man laughed, good-humoredly.
Naturally! he replied. We don't ask you to acknowledge the
findingjust pay over the quarter of a million and we will forget
My good man, I'm speaking the truth! Croyden answered. Maybe it's
difficult for you to recognize, but it's the truth, none the less. I
only wish I had the treasureI think I'd be quite willing to
share it, even with a blackmailer!
The man laughed, again.
I trust it will give no offence if I say I don't believe you.
You can believe what you damn please! Croyden retorted.
And, without more ado, he turned his back and went up the path to
XII. I COULD TELL SOME THINGS
When Croyden had got Parmenter's letter from the secret drawer in
the escritoire, he rang the old-fashioned pull-bell for Moses. It was
only a little after nine, and, though he did not require the negro to
remain in attendance until he retired, he fancied the kitchen fire
still held him.
And he was not mistaken. In a moment Moses appearedhis eyes heavy
with the sleep from which he had been aroused.
Survent, marster! he said, bowing from the doorway.
Moses, did you ever shoot a pistol? Croyden asked.
Fur de Lawd, seh! Hit's bin so long sence I dun hit, I t'ink I'se
But you have done it?
Yass, seh, I has don hit.
And you could do it again, if necessary?
I speck so, sehleas'wise, I kin trydough I'se mons'us unsuttin,
seh, mons'us unsuttin!
Uncertain of whatyour shooting or your hitting?
My hittin', seh.
Well, we're all of us somewhat uncertain in that line. At least you
know enough not to point the revolver toward yourself.
Hi!I sut'n'y does! seh, I sut'n'y does! said the negro, with a
There is a revolver, yonder, on the table, said Croyden,
indicating one of those they used on Greenberry Point. It's a
self-cockeryou simply pull the trigger and the action does the rest.
Yass, seh, I onderstands, said Moses.
Bring it here, Croyden ordered.
Moses' fingers closed around the butt, a bit timorously, and he
carried it to his master.
I'll show you the action, said Croyden. Here, is the ejector,
throwing the chamber out, it holds six shots, you see: but you never
put a cartridge under the firing-pin, because, if anything strikes the
trigger, it's likely to be discharged.
Croyden loaded it, closed the cylinder, and passed it over to Moses,
who took it with a little more assurance. He was harkening back thirty
years, and more.
What do yo warn me to do, seh? he asked.
I want you to sit down, here, while I'm away, and if any one tries
to get in this house, to-night, you're to shoot him. I'm going over to
Captain Carrington'sI'll be back by eleven o'clock. It isn't likely
you will be disturbed; if you are, one shot will frighten him off, even
if you don't hit him, and I'll hear the shot, and come back at once.
Yass, seh!I'm to shoot anyone what tries to get in.
Not exactly! laughed Croyden. You're to shoot anyone who tries to
break in. For Heaven's sake! don't shoot me, when I return, or any
one else who comes legitimately. Be sure he is an intruder, then bang
Sut'n'y, seh! I onderstands. I'se dub'us bout hittin', but I kin
bang away right nuf. Does yo' spose any one will try to git in, seh?
No, I don't! Croyden smiledbut you be ready for them, Moses, be
ready for them. It's just as well to provide against contingencies.
Yass, seh! as Croyden went out and the front door closed behind
him, but dem 'tingencies is monty dang'ous t'ings to fools wid. I don'
likes hit, dat's whar I don'.
Croyden found Miss Carrington just where he had left hera quick
return to the sofa having been synchronous with his appearance in the
I had a mind not to wait here, she said; you were an inordinately
long time, Mr. Croyden.
I was! he replied, sitting down beside her. I was, and I admit
itbut it can be explained.
I'm listening! she smiled.
Before you listen to me, listen to Robert Parmenter, deceased!
said he, and gave her the letter.
Oh, this is the letterdo you mean that I am to read it?
If you please! he answered.
She read it through without a single word of commentan amazing
thing in a woman, who, when her curiosity is aroused, can ask more
questions to the minute than can be answered in a month. When she had
finished, she turned back and read portions of it again, especially the
direction as to finding the treasure, and the postscript bequests by
At last, she dropped the letter in her lap and looked up at Croyden.
A most remarkable document! she said. Most extraordinary in its
ordinariness, and most ordinary in its extraordinariness. And you
searched, carefully, for three weeks and foundnothing?
We did, he replied. Now, I'll tell you about it.
First, tell me where you obtained this letter?
I found it by accidentin a secret compartment of an escritoire at
Clarendon, he answered.
Now you may tell me about it? she said, and settled back to
This is the tale of Parmenter's treasureand how we did not
find it! he laughed.
Then he proceeded to narrate, briefly, the detailsfrom the finding
of the letter to the present moment, dwelling particularly on the
episode of the theft of their wallets, the first and second coming of
the thieves to the Point, their capture and subsequent release,
together with the occurrence of this evening, when he was approached,
by the well-dressed stranger, at Clarendon's gates.
And, once again, marvelous to relate, Miss Carrington did not
interrupt, through the entire course of the narrative. Nor did she
break the silence for a time after he had concluded, staring
thoughtfully, the while, down into the grate, where a smouldering back
log glowed fitfully.
What do you intend to do, as to the treasure? she asked, slowly.
Give it up! he replied. What else is there to do?
And what about this stranger?
He must give it up! laughed Croyden. He has no recourse.
In the words of the game, popular hereabout, he is playing a bobtail!
But he doesn't know it's a bobtail. He is convinced you found the
treasure, she objected.
Let him make whatever trouble he can, it won't bother me, in the
He is not acting alone, she persisted. He has confederatesthey
may attack Clarendon, in an effort to capture the treasure.
My dear child! this is the twentieth century, not the seventeenth!
he laughed. We don't 'stand-by to repel boarders,' these days.
Pirate's gold breeds pirate's ways! she answered.
He stared at her, in surprise.
Rather queer!I've heard those same words before, in this
Community of minds.
Is it a quotation? he asked.
Possiblythough I don't recall it. Suppose you are attacked and
tortured till you reveal where you've hidden the jewels? she insisted.
I cannot suppose them so unreasonable! he laughed, again.
However, I put Moses on guardwith a big revolver and orders to fire
at anyone molesting the house. If we hear a fusillade we'll know it's
he shooting up the neighborhood.
Then the same idea did suggest itself to you!
Only to the extent of searching for the jewelsI regarded that as
vaguely possible, but there isn't the slightest danger of any one being
You know best, I suppose, she saidbut you've had your
warningand pirate's gold breeds pirate's ways. You've given up all
hope of finding the treasureabandoned jewels worthhow many
Possibly half a million, he filled in.
Without a further search? Oh! Mr. Croyden!
If you can suggest what to doanything which hasn't been done, I
shall be only too glad to consider it.
You say you dug up the entire Point for a hundred yards inland?
And dredged the Bay for a hundred yards?
She puckered her brows in thought. He regarded her with an amused
I don't see what you're to do, except to do it all over again, she
announcedNow, don't laugh! It may sound foolish, but many a thing
has been found on a second seekingand this, surely, is worth a
second, or a third, or even many seekings.
If there were any assurance of ultimate success, it would pay to
spend a lifetime hunting. The two essentials, however, are wanting: the
extreme tip of Greenberry Point in 1720, and the beech-trees. We made
the best guess at their location. More than that, the zone of
exploration embraced every possible extreme of territoryyet, we
failed. It will make nothing for success to try again.
But it is somewhere! she reflected.
Somewhere, in the Bay!It's shoal water, for three or four hundred
feet around the Point, with a rock bottom. The Point itself has been
eaten into by the Bay, down to this rock. Parmenter's chest disappeared
with the land in which it was buried, and no man will find it now,
except by accident.
It seems such a shame! she exclaimed. A fortune gone to waste!
Without anyone having the fun of wasting it! laughed Croyden.
She took up Parmenter's letter again, and glanced over it. Then she
handed it back, and shook her head.
It's too much for my poor brain, she said. I surrender.
Precisely where we landed. We gave it rather more than a fair
trial, and, then, we gave it up. I'm done. When I go home, to-night, I
shall return the letter to the escritoire where I found it, and forget
it. There is no profit in speculating further.
You can return it to its hiding place, she reflected, but you
can't cease wondering. Why didn't Marmaduke Duval get the treasure
while the landmarks were there? Why did he leave it for his heirs?
Probably on account of old Parmenter's restriction that it be left
until the 'extremity of need.'
She nodded, in acquiescence.
Probably, she said, the Duvals would regard it as a matter of
honor to observe the exact terms of the bequest. Alas! Alas! that they
It's only because they did so, that I got a chance to search!
You mean that, otherwise, there would be no buried treasure! she
exclaimed. Of course!how stupid! And with all that money, the Duvals
might have gone away from Hamptonmight have experienced other
conditions. Colonel Duval might never have met your fatheryou might
have never come to Clarendon.My goodness! Where does it end?
In the realm of pure conjecture, he answered. It is idle to
theorize on the might-have-beens, or what might-have-happened if the
what-did-happen hadn't happened. Dismiss it, at least, for this
evening. You asked what I was doing for three weeks at Annapolis, and I
have consumed a great while in answeringlet us talk of something
else. What have you been doing in those three weeks?
Nothing! A little Bridge, a few riding parties, some sails on the
Bay, with an occasional homily by Miss Erskine, when she had me
cornered, and I couldn't get away. Then is when I learned what a deep
impression you had made! she laughed.
We both were learning, it seems, he replied.
She looked at him, inquiringly.
I don't quite understand, she said.
You made an impression, alsoof course, that's to be expected, but
this impression is much more than the ordinary kind!
Merci, Monsieur, she scoffed.
No, it isn't merci, it's a fact. And he is a mighty good
fellow on whom to make an impression.
You mean, Mr.Macloud?
Just so! I mean Macloud.
You're very safe in saying it!
He is absent. It's not susceptible of proof.
You think so?
Yes, I think so!
She shrugged her shoulders.
For he's coming back
When? she said, sceptically.
Delightfully indefinite! she laughed.
In fact, within a week.
She laughed, again!
To be accurate, I expect him not later than the
I shall believe you, when I see him! incredulously.
He is, I think, coming solely on your account.
But you're not quite sure?oh! modest man!
Naturally, he hasn't confided in me.
So you're confiding in mehow clever!
I could tell some things
Which are fables.
but I won'tthey might turn your head
Which wayto the right or left?
and make you too confident and too cruel. He saw you but
Once! she corrected.
Once, on the street; again, when we called in the eveningbut he
gave you a name, the instant he saw you
How kind of him!
He called you: 'The Symphony in Blue.'
Was I in blue? she asked.
You wereand looking particularly fit.
Was that the first time you had noticed it? she questioned
Do you think so? he returned.
I am asking you, sir.
Do I impress you as being blind?
No, you most assuredly do not! she laughed.
He looked at her with daring eyes.
Yes! she said, I know you're intrepidbut you won't!
Why?why won't I?
Because, it would be false to your friend. You have given me to
I have given you to him! he exclaimed, with denying intonation.
Yes!as between you two, you have renounced, in his favor.
At least, I so view it, with a teasingly fascinating smile.
I protest! he repeated.
I heard you.
I protest! he reiterated.
Don't you think that you protest over-much? she inquired sweetly.
If we were two children, I'd say: 'You think you're smart, don't
And I'd retort: 'You got left, didn't you?'
Then they both laughed.
Seriously, howeverdo you really expect Mr. Macloud? she asked.
I surely doprobably within two days; and I'm not chaffing when I
say that you're the inducement. So, be good to himhe's got more than
enough for two, I can assure you.
Mercenary! she laughed.
Nojust careful! he answered.
And what number am Ithe twenty-first, or thereabout?
What matters it, if you're the one, at present?
She raised her shoulders in the slightest shrug.
I'd sooner be the present one than all the has-beens, he insisted.
Opinions differ, she remarked.
If it will advantage any
I didn't say so, she interrupted.
I can tell you
Many fables, I don't doubt! she cut in, again.
that we have been rather intimate, for a few years, and I have
never before known him to exhibit particular interest in any woman.
'Why don't you speak for yourself, John,' she quoted, merrily.
Because, to be frank, I haven't enough for two, he answered,
But beneath the gayety, she thought she detected the faintest note
of regret. So! there was some one!
And, woman-like, when he had gone, she wondered about herwhether
she was dark or fair, tall or small, vivacious or reserved, flirtatious
or sedate, rich or poorand whether they loved each otheror whether
it was he, alone, who lovedor whether he had not permitted himself to
be carried so faror whetherthen, she dropped asleep.
Croyden went back to Clarendon, keeping a sharp look-out for anyone
under the trees around the house. He found Moses in the library,
evidently just aroused from slumber by the master's door key.
No one's bin heah, seh, 'cep de boy wid dis 'spatch, he hastened
Croyden tore open the envelope:It was a wire from Macloud, that he
would be down to-morrow.
You may go to bed, Moses.
Yass, seh! yass, seh!I'se pow'ful glad yo's back, seh. Nothin' I
kin git yo befo I goes?
Nothing! said Croyden. You're a good soldier, Moses, you didn't
sleep on guard.
No, seh! I keps wide awake, Marster Croyden, wide awake all de
time, seh. Survent, seh! and, with a bow, he disappeared.
Croyden finished his cigar, put out the light, and went slowly
upstairsgiving not a thought to the Parmenter treasure nor the man he
had met outside. His mind was busy with Elaine Cavendishtheir last
night on the moonlit piazzathe brief farewellthe lingering pressure
of her fingersthe light in her eyesthe subdued pleasure, when they
met unexpectedly in Annapolisher little ways to detain him, keep him
close to herher instant defense of him at Mattison's scurrilous
insinuationthe officers' hopthe rhythmic throb of the melodythe
scented, fluttering body held close in his armsthe lowered headthe
veiled eyesthe trembling lasheshis senses steeped in the fragrance
of her beautythe temptation well-nigh irresistiblehis resolution
* * * * *
The vision passedmusic ceasedthe dance was ended. Sentiment
vanishedreason reigned once more.
He was a fool! a fool! to think of her, to dream of the past, even.
But it is pleasant, sometimes, to be a foolwhere a beautiful woman is
concerned, and only one's self to pay the piper.
XIV. THE SYMPHONY IN BLUE
Macloud arrived the next day, bringing for his host a great batch of
mail, which had accumulated at the Club.
I thought of it at the last momentwhen I was starting for the
station, in fact, he remarked. The clerk said he had no instructions
for forwarding, so I just poked it in my bag and brought it along.
Stupid of me not to think of it sooner. Why didn't you mention it? I
can understand why you didn't leave an address, but not why I shouldn't
I didn't care, when I leftand I don't care much, nowbut I'm
obliged, just the same! said Croyden. It's something to do; the most
exciting incident of the day, down here, is the arrival of the mail.
The people wait for it, with bated breath. I am getting in the way,
too, though I don't get much.... I never did have any extensive
correspondence, even in Northumberlandso this is just circulars and
He took the package, which Macloud handed him, and tossed it on the
What's new? he asked.
In Northumberland? Nothingbeyond the usual thing. Everybody is
backeverybody is hard up or says he iseverybody is full of lies, as
usual, and is turning them loose on anyone who will listen, credulous
or sophisticated, it makes no difference. It's the telling, not the
believing that's the thing. Oh! the little cad Mattison is
engagedCharlotte Brundage has landed him, and the wedding is set for
early next month.
I don't envy her the job, Croyden remarked.
It won't bother her! Macloud laughed. She'll be privileged to
draw on his bank account, and that's the all important thing with her.
He will fracture the seventh commandment, and she won't turn a hair.
She is a chilly proposition, all right.
Well, I wish her joy of her bargain, said Croyden. May she have
everything she wants, and see Mattison not at all, after the wedding
journeyand but very occasionally, then.
He took up the letters and ran carelessly through them.
Trash! Trash! Trash! he commented, as he consigned them, one by
one, to the waste-basket.
Macloud watched him, languidly, behind his cigar smoke, and made no
Presently Croyden came to a large, white envelopedarkened on the
interior so as to prevent the contents from being read until opened. It
bore the name of a firm of prominent brokers in Northumberland.
Humph! Blaxham &Company! he grunted. 'We own and offer, subject
to prior sale, the following high grade investment bonds.' Oh yes! I'll
take the whole bundle. He drew out the letter and looked at it,
perfunctorily, before sending it to rest with its fellows.It wasn't
in the usual form.He opened it, wider.It was signed by the senior
My dear Mr. Croyden:
We have a customer who is interested in the Virginia Development
Company. He has purchased the Bonds and the stock of Royster
Axtell, from the bank which held them as collateral. He is
willing to pay you par for your Bonds, without any accrued
interest, however. If you will consent to sell, the Company can
proceed without reorganization but, if you decline, he will
foreclose under the terms of the mortgage. We have suggested the
propriety and the economy to himsince he owns or controls all
the stockof not purchasing your bonds, and, frankly, have told
him it is worse than bad business to do so. But he refuses to be
advised, insisting that he must be the sole owner, and that he is
willing to submit to the additional expense rather than go
through the tedious proceeding for foreclosure and sale. We are
prepared to honor a sight-draft with the Bonds attached, or to
pay cash on presentation and transfer. We shall be obliged for a
Yours very truly,
R. J. Blaxham.
What the devil!
He read it a second time. No, he wasn't asleepit was all there,
typewritten and duly signed. Two hundred thousand dollars!honor sight
draft, or pay cash on presentation and transfer!
What the devil! he said, again. Then he passed it across to
Macloud. Read this aloud, will you,I want to see if I'm quite sane!
Macloud was at his favorite occupationblowing smoke rings through
one another, and watching them spiral upward toward the ceiling.
I beg your pardon! he said, as Croyden's words roused him from his
meditation. I must have been half asleep. What did you sayread it?
taking the letter.
He and Blaxham had spent considerable time on that letter, trying to
explain the reason for the purchase, and the foolishly high price they
were offering, in such a way as to mislead Croyden.
Yes,aloud! I want to hear someone else read it.
Macloud looked at him, curiously.
It is typewritten, you haven't a chance to get wrong! he said,
Read it, please! he exclaimed.... So, I wasn't crazy: and either
Blaxham is lying or his customer needs a guardianwhich is it?
I don't see that it need concern you, in the least, which it is,
said Macloud. Be grateful for the offerand accept by wireless or any
other way that's quicker.
But the bonds aren't worth five cents on the dollar!
So much the more reason to hustle the deal through. Sell them! man,
sell them! You may have slipped up on the Parmenter treasure, but you
have struck it here.
Too rich, Croyden answered. There's something queer about that
Macloud smoked his cigar, and smiled.
There's nothing queer about the letter!he said. Blaxham's
customer may have the williesindeed, he as much as intimates that
such is the casebut, thank God! we're not obliged to have a
commission-in-lunacy appointed on everybody who makes a silly stock or
bond purchase. If we were, we either would have no markets, or the
courts would have time for nothing else. No! no! old man! take what the
gods have given you and be glad. There's ten thousand a year in it! You
can return to Northumberland, resume the old life, and be happy ever
after;or you can live here, and there, and everywhere. You're
unattachednot even a light-o'-love to squander your money, and pester
you for gowns and hats, and get in a hell of a temperand be false to
No, I haven't one of them, thank God! laughed Croyden. I've got
troubles enough of my own. The present, for instance.
Troubles! marvelled Macloud. You haven't any troubles, now. This
clears them all away.
It clears some of them awayif I take it.
Thunder! man, you're not thinking, seriously, of refusing?
It will put me on 'easy street,' Croyden observed.
So, why hesitate an instant?
And it comes with remarkable timelinessso timely, indeed, as to
Suspicious? Why suspicious? It's a bona fide offer.
It's a bona fide offerthere's no trouble on that score.
Then, what is the trouble?
This, said Croyden: I'm brokefinally. The Parmenter treasure is
moonshine, so far as I'm concerned. I'm down on my uppers, so to
speakmy only assets are some worthless bonds. Behold! along comes an
offer for them at partwo hundred thousand dollars for nothing! I
fancy, old man, there is a friend back of this offerthe only friend I
have in the worldand I did not think that even he was kind and
self-sacrificing enough to do it.I'm grateful, Colin, grateful from
the heart, believe me, but I can't take your money.
My money! exclaimed Macloudyou do me too much credit, Croyden.
I'm ashamed to admit it, but I never thought of the bonds, or of
helping you out, in your trouble. It's a way we have in Northumberland.
We may feel for misfortune, but it rarely gets as far as our pockets.
Don't imagine for a moment that I'm the purchaser. I'm not, though I
wish, now, that I was.
Will you give me your word on that? Croyden demanded.
I most assuredly will, Macloud answered.
Croyden nodded. He was satisfied.
There is no one else! he mused, no one else! He looked at the
letter again.... And, yet, it is very suspicious, very suspicious....
I wonder, could I ascertain the name of the purchaser of the stocks and
bonds, from the Trust Company who held them as collateral?
They won't know, said Macloud. Blaxham &Company bought them at
the public sale.
I could try the transfer agent, or the registrar.
They never tell anything, as you are aware, Macloud replied.
I could refuse to sell unless Blaxham &Company disclosed their
Yes, you couldand, likely, lose the sale; they won't disclose.
However, that's your business, Macloud observed; though, it's a pity
to tilt at windmills, for a foolish notion.
Croyden creased and uncreased the letterthinking.
Macloud resumed the smoke ringsand waited. It had proved easier
than he had anticipated. Croyden had not once thought of Elaine
Cavendishand his simple word had been sufficient to clear himself....
At length, Croyden put the letter back in its envelope and looked
I'll sell the bonds, he saidforward them at once with draft
attached, if you will witness my signature to the transfer. But it's a
queer proceeding, a queer proceeding: paying good money for bad!
That's his businessnot yours, said Macloud, easily.
Croyden went to the escritoire and took the bonds from one of the
You can judge, from the place I keep them, how much I thought them
worth! he laughed.
When they were duly transferred and witnessed, Croyden attached a
draft drawn on an ordinary sheet of paper, dated Northumberland, and
payable to his account at the Tuscarora Trust Company. He placed them
in an envelope, sealed it and, enclosing it in a second envelope,
passed it over to Macloud.
I don't care to inform them as to my whereabouts, he remarked,
so, if you don't mind, I'll trouble you to address this to some one in
New York or Philadelphia, with a request that he mail the enclosed
envelope for you.
Macloud, when he had done as requested, laid aside the pen and
looked inquiringly at Croyden.
Which, being interpreted, he said, might mean that you don't
intend to return to Northumberland.
The interpretation does not go quite so far; it means, simply, that
I have not decided.
Don't you want to come back? Macloud asked.
It's a question of resolution, not of inclination, Croyden
answered. I don't know whether I've sufficient resolution to go, and
sufficient resolution to stay, if I do go. It may be easier not to go,
at allto live here, and wander, elsewhere, when the spirit moves.
And Macloud understood. I've been thinking over the proposition you
recently advanced of the folly of a relatively poor man marrying a rich
girl, he said, and you're all wrong. It's a question of the
respective pair, not a theory that can be generalized over. I admit,
the man should not be a pauper, but, if he have enough money to support
himself, and the girl love him and he loves the girl, the fact that
she has gobs more money, won't send them on the rocks. It's up to the
pair, I repeat.
Meaning, that it would be up to Elaine Cavendish and me? answered
If you please, yes! said Macloud.
I wish I could be so sure, Croyden reflected. Sure of the girl,
as well as sure of myself.
What are you doubtful aboutyourself?
Croyden laughed, a trifle self-consciously.
I fancy I could manage myself, he said.
Try her!she's worth the try.
From a monetary standpoint? smiling.
Get the miserable money out of your mind a moment, will
you?you're hipped on it!
All right, old man, anything for peace! Tell me, did you see her,
when you were home?
I didI dined with her.
Who else was there?
Youshe talked Croyden at least seven-eighths of the time; I, the
Must have been an interesting conversation. Anything left of the
I refuse to become facetious, Macloud responded. Then he threw his
cigar into the grate and arose. It matters not what was said, nor who
said it! If you will permit me the advice, you will take your chance
while you have it.
Have I achance? Croyden asked.
You havemore than a chance, if you act, now He walked across
to the window. He would let that sink in.How's the Symphony in
Blue? he asked.
As charming as everand prepared for your coming.
As charming as ever, and prepared for your coming.
Some of your work! he commented. Did you propose for me?
I left that finality for youbeing the person most interested.
Thanks! you're exceedingly considerate.
I thought you would appreciate it.
When did you arrange for me to go over? asked Macloud.
Any timethe sooner the quicker. She'll be glad to see you.
She confided in you, I suppose?
Not directly; she let me infer it.
In other words, you worked your imaginationovertime! laughed
Macloud. It's a pity you couldn't work it a bit over the Parmenter
jewels. You might locate them.
I'm done with the Parmenter jewels! said Croyden.
But they're not done with you, my friend. So long as you live,
they'll be present with you. You'll be hunting for them in your
Meet me to-night in dream-land! sang Croyden. Well, they're not
likely to disturb my slumbersunlessthere was a rather queer thing
happened, last night, Colin.
Yes!I got in to Hampton, in the evening; about nine o'clock, I
was returning to Clarendon when, at the gates, I was accosted by a
tall, well-dressed stranger. Here is the substance of our talk.... What
do you make of it? he ended.
It seems to me the fellow made it very plain, Macloud returned,
except on one possible point. He evidently believes we found the
He is convinced of it.
Then, he knows that you came direct from Annapolis to HamptonI
mean, you didn't visit a bank nor other place where you could have
deposited the jewels. Ergo, the jewels are still in your possession,
according to his theory, and he is going to make a try for them while
they are within reach. Informing the Government is a bluff. He hoped,
by that means, to induce you to keep the jewels on the premisesnot to
make evidence against yourself, which could be traced by the United
States, by depositing them in any bank.
Why shouldn't I have taken them to a dealer in precious stones?
Because that would make the best sort of evidence against you. You
must remember, he thinks you have the jewels, and that you will try to
conceal it, pending a Government investigation.
You make him a very canny gentleman.
NoI make him only a clever rogue, which, by your own account, he
And the more clever he is, the more he will have his wits' work for
naught. There's some compensation in everythingeven in failure!
It would be a bit annoying, observed Macloud, to be visited by
burglars, who are obsessed with the idea that you have a fortune
concealed on the premises, and are bent on obtaining it.
Annoying?not a bit! smiled Croyden. I should rather enjoy the
sport of putting them to flight.
Or of being bound, and gagged, and ill-treated.
Bosh! you've transferred your robber-barons from Northumberland to
the Eastern Shore.
No, I haven't! laughed Macloud. The robber-barons were still on
the job in Northumberland. These are banditti, disguised as burglars,
about to hold you up for ransom.
I wish I had your fine imagination, scoffed Croyden. I could make
a fortune writing fiction.
Oh, you're not so bad yourself! Macloud retorted. Then he smiled.
Apropos of fortunes! and nodded toward the envelope on the table.
It's bully good to think you're coming back to us!
At that moment Moses passed along the hall.
Here, Moses, said Croyden, take this letter down to the post
officeI want it to catch the first mail.
I fancy you haven't heard of the stranger since last evening?
Croyden shook his head.
And of course you haven't told any one?
Yes, I have! said Croyden.
How strange! commented Macloud, mockingly. I suppose you even
told her the entire storyfrom the finding of the letter down to
I did!and showed her the letter besides. Why shouldn't I have
No reason in the world, my dear fellowexcept that in twenty-four
hours the dear public will know it, and we shall be town curiosities.
We don't have to remain, said Croyden, with affected
seriousnessthere are trains out, you know, as well as in.
I don't want to go awayI came here to visit you.
We will go together.
But we can't take the Symphony in Blue!
Oh! that's it! Croyden laughed.
Certainly, that's it! You don't think I came down here to see only
you, after having just spent nearly four weeks with you, in that fool
quest on Greenberry Point? He turned, suddenly, and faced Croyden.
Who was the woman you told?
Miss Carrington! Croyden laughed. Think she will retail it to the
Oh, go to thunder!
Because, if you do, you might mention it to herthere, she goes,
Where? said Macloud, whirling around toward the window.
Croyden made no reply. It was not necessary. On the opposite side of
the street, Miss Carringtonin a tailored gown of blue broadcloth,
close fitting and short in the skirt, with a velvet toque to matchwas
swinging briskly back from town.
Macloud watched her a moment in silence.
The old man is done for, at last! Croyden thought.
Isn't she a corker! Macloud broke out. Look at the poise of the
head, and ease of carriage, and the way she puts down her feet!that's
the way to tell a woman. God! Croyden, she's thoroughbred!
You better go over, said his friend. It's about the tea hour,
she'll brew you a cup.
And I'll drink itas much as she will give me. I despise the
stuff, but I'll drink it!
She'll put rum in it, if you prefer! laughed Croyden; or make you
a high ball, or you can have it straightjust as you want.
Come along! exclaimed Macloud. We're wasting time.
I'll be over, presently, Croyden replied. I don't want any
tea, you know.
Good! Macloud answered, from the hallway. Come along, as soon as
you wishbut don't come too soon.
XV. AN OLD RUSE
Macloud found Miss Carrington plucking a few belated roses, which,
somehow, had escaped the frost.
She looked up at his approach, and smiledthe bewilderingly
bewitching smile which lighted her whole countenance and seemed to say
Back again! to Clarendon and its master? was her greeting.
And, if I may, to you, he replied.
Very good! After them, you belong to me, she laughed.
Why after? he inquired.
I don't knowit was the order of speech, and the order of
acquaintance, with a naive look.
But not the order ofregard.
Content! she exclaimed. You did it very well for anovice.
He tapped the gray hair upon his temples.
A novice? he inflected.
You decline to accept it?Very well, sir, very well!
I can't accept, and be honest, he replied.
And you must be honest! Oh, brave man! Oh, noble gentleman!
Perchance, you will accept a reward: a cup of teaor a high ball!
Perchance, I willthe high ball!
I thought so! come along.
You were not going out?
She looked at him, with a sly smile.
You know that I have just returned, she said. I saw you in the
window at Clarendon.
I was there, he admitted.
And you came over at onceprepared to be surprised that I was
And found you waiting for mejust as I expected.
Oh! she cried. You're horrid! perfectly horrid!
Peccavi! Peccavi! he said humbly.
Te absolvo! she replied, solemnly. Now, let us make a
fresh startby going for a walk. You can postpone the high ball until
I can postpone the high ball for ever, he averred.
Meaning, you could walk forever, or you're not thirsty? she
Meaning, I could walk forever with youon, and on, and
Until you walked into the BayI understand. I'll take the will for
the deedthe water's rather chilly at this season of the year.
Macloud held up his hand, in mock despair.
Let us make a third startdrop the attempt to be clever and talk
sense. I think I can do it, if I try.
Willingly! she responded.
As they came out on the side walk, Croyden was going down the
street. He crossed over and met them.
I've not forgot your admonition, so don't be uneasy, he observed
to Macloud. I'm going to town now, I'll be back in about half an
houris that too soon?
It's quite soon enough! was the answer.
Miss Carrington looked at Macloud, quizzically, but made no comment.
Shall we take the regulation walk? she asked.
The regulation walkto the Cemetery and back.
I'm glad we're coming back? he laughed.
It's the favorite walk, here, she explainedthe most picturesque
and the smoothest.
To say nothing of accustoming the people to their future home,
You're not used to the ways of small townsthe Cemetery is a
resort, a place to spend a while, a place to visit.
Does it make death any easier to hob-nob with it? he asked.
I shouldn't think so, she replied. However, I can see how it
would induce morbidity, though there are those who are happiest only
when they're miserable.
Such people ought to live in a morgue, agreed Macloud. However
we're safe enoughwe can go to the Cemetery with impunity.
There are some rather queer old headstones, out there, she said.
Remorse and the inevitable pay-up for earthly transgression seem to be
the leading subjects. There is one in the Duval lotthe Duvals from
whom Mr. Croyden got Clarendon, you knowand I never have been able to
understand just what it means. It is erected to the memory of one
Robert Parmenter, and has cut in the slab the legend: 'He feared nor
man, nor god, nor devil,' and below it, a man on his knees making
supplication to one standing over him. If he feared nor man, nor god,
nor devil, why should he be imploring mercy from any one?
Do you know who Parmenter was? said Macloud.
Nobut I presume a connection of the family, from having been
buried with them.
You read his letter only last eveninghis letter to Marmaduke
His letter to Marmaduke Duval! she repeated. I didn't read
Robert Parmenter is the pirate who buried the treasure on
Greenberry Point, he interrupted.
Then, suddenly, a light broke in on her.
I see!I didn't look at the name signed to the letter. And the
cutting on the tombstone?
Is a victim begging mercy from him, said Macloud. I like that
Marmaduke Duvalthere's something fine in a man, in those times,
bringing the old buccaneer over from Annapolis and burying him beside
the place where he, himself, some day would rest.That is friendship!
And that is like the Duvals! said she. It was a sad day in
Hampton when the Colonel died.
He left a good deputy, Macloud replied. Croyden is well-born and
well-bred (the former does not always comprehend the latter, these
days), and of Southern blood on his mother's side.
Which hasn't hurt him with us! she smiled. We are a bit clannish,
Delighted to hear you confess it! I've got a little of it myself.
He nodded. Mine doesn't go so far South, however, as
Croyden'sonly, to Virginia.
I knew it! I knew there was some reason for my liking you! she
Can I find any other reason?
Than your Southern ancestors?isn't that enough?
Not if there be a means to increase it.
Southern blood is never satisfied with some thingsit
always wants more!
Is the disposition to want more, in Southerners, confined to the
male sex? he laughed.
In some thingsyes, unquestionably yes! she retorted. Then
changed the subject. Has Mr. Croyden told you of his experience, last
With the stranger, yes?
Do you think he is in danger?
What possible danger could there bethe treasure isn't at
But they think it isand desperate men sometimes take desperate
means, when they feel sure that money is hidden on the premises.
In a town the size of Hampton, every stranger is known.
How will that advantage, in the prevention of the crime? she
By making it difficult.
They don't need stay in the townthey can come in an automobile.
They could also drive, or walk, or come by boat, he added.
They are not so likely to try it if there are two in the house. Do
you intend to remain at Clarendon some time?
It dependson how you treat me.
I engage to be nice fortwo weeks! she smiled.
Done!I'm booked for two weeks, at least.
And when the two weeks have expired we shall consider whether to
extend the period.
Tolife? smiling down at her.
She flung him a look that was delightfully alluring.
Do you wish me toconsider that? she asked, softly.
If you will, he said, bending down.
She laughed, gayly.
We are coming on! she exclaimed. This pace is getting rather
briskdid you notice it, Mr. Macloud?
You're in a fast class, Miss Carrington.
She glanced up quickly.
Now don't misunderstand me
You were speaking in the language of the race track, I presume.
I wasyou understand?
A Southern girl usually loveshorses, with a tantalizing smile.
It is well for you this is a public street, he said.
Why? she asked, with assumed innocence.
But then if it hadn't been, you would not have ventured to tempt
me, he added. I'm grateful for the temptation, at any rate.
His first temptation! she mocked.
No, not likelybut his first that he has resisted.
And why did you resist? The fact that we are on a public street
would not restrain you. There was absolutely no one within sightand
you knew it.
How do you know it?
Because I looked.
You were afraid?
Not at all!only careful.
This is rather faster than the former going! he laughed.
We would better slow down a bit! she laughed back. Any way, here
is the Cemetery, and we dare not go faster than a walk in it. Yonder,
just within the gates, is the Duval burial place. Come, I'll show you
They crossed to itmarked by a blue slate slab, which covered it
entirely. The inscription, cut in script, was faint in places and
blurred by moss, in others.
Macloud stooped and, with his knife, scratched out the latter.
He died two days after the letter was written: May 12, 1738, said
he. His age is not given. Duval did not know it, I reckon.
See, here is the pictureit stands out very plainly, said Miss
Carrington, indicating with the point of her shoe.
I'm not given to moralizing, particularly over a grave, observed
Macloud, but it's queer to think that the old pirate, who had so much
blood and death on his hands, who buried the treasure, and who wrote
the letter, lies at our feet; and weor rather Croyden is the heir of
that treasure, and that we searched and dug all over Greenberry Point,
committed violence, were threatened with violence, did things
surreptitiously, are threatened, anew, with blackmail and violence
Pirate's gold breeds pirate's ways, she quoted.
It does seem one cannot get away from its pollution. It was
gathered in crime and crime clings to it, still. However, I fancy
Croyden would willingly chance the danger, if he could unearth the
And is there no hope of finding it? she asked.
Absolutely nonethere's half a million over on Greenberry Point,
or in the water close by, and none will ever see itexcept by
What sort of accident?
I don't know! he laughed. My own ideaand Croyden's (as he has,
doubtless, explained to you) is that the place, where Parmenter buried
the jewels, is now under water, possibly close to the shore. We dragged
every inch of the bottom, which has been washed away to a depth more
than sufficient to uncover the iron box, but found nothing. A great
storm, such as they say sometimes breaks over the Chesapeake, may wash
it on the beachthat, I think, is the only way it will ever be
found.... It makes everything seem very real to have stood by
Parmenter's grave! he said, thoughtful, as they turned back toward
On nearing the Carrington house, they saw Croyden approaching. They
met him at the gates.
I've been communing with Parmenter, said Macloud.
I didn't know there was a spiritualistic medium in Hampton! What
does the old man look like? smiled Croyden.
I didn't see him.
Well, did he help you to locate his jewel box?
He wasn't especially communicativehe was in his grave.
That isn't surprisinghe's been dead something over one hundred
and seventy years. Did he confide where he's buried?
He's buried with the Duvals in the Cemetery, here.
He is! Croyden exclaimed. Humph! one more circumstance to prove
the letter speaks the truth. Everything but the thing itself. We find
his will, probated with Marmaduke Duval as executor, we even discover a
notice of his death in the Gazette, and now, finally, you find
his bodyor the place of its interment! But, hang it all! what is
really worth while, we can't find.
Come into the houseI'll give you something to soothe your
feelings temporarily, said Miss Carrington.
They encountered Miss Erskine just coming from the library on her
way to the door.
My dear Davila, so glad to see you! she exclaimed. And Mr.
Croyden, we thought you had deserted us, and just when we're trying to
make you feel at home. So glad to welcome you back! holding out her
I'm delighted to be back, said Croyden. The Carringtons seemed
genuinely glad to see meand, now, if I may include you, I'm quite
content to return, and he shook her hand, as though he meant it.
Of course you may believe it, with an inane giggle. I'm going to
bring my art class over to Clarendon to revel in your treasures, some
day, soon. You'll be at home to them, won't you, dear Mr. Croyden?
Surely! I shall take pleasure in being at home, Croyden replied,
Then Macloud, who was talking with the Captain, was called over and
presented, that being, Miss Carrington thought, the quickest method of
getting rid of her. The evident intention to remain until he was
presented, being made entirely obvious by Miss Erskine, who, after she
had bubbled a bit more, departed.
What is her name, I didn't catch it?and (observing smiles on
Croyden and Miss Carrington's faces) what is she?
I think father can explain, in more appropriate language! Miss
She's the most intolerable nuisance and greatest fool in Hampton!
Captain Carrington exploded.
A red flag to a bull isn't in it with Miss Erskine and father,
Miss Carrington observed.
But I hide it pretty wellwhile she's here, he protested.
If she's not here too longand you can get away, in time.
When the two men left the Carrington place, darkness had fallen. As
they approached Clarendon, the welcoming brightness of a well-lighted
house sprang out to greet them. It was Croyden's one extravaganceto
have plenty of illumination. He had always been accustomed to it, and
the gloom, at night, of the village residence, bright only in library
or living roomwith, maybe, a timid taper in the hallset his nerves
on edge. He would have none of it. And Moses, with considerable wonder
at, to his mind, the waste of gas, and much grumbling to himself and
They had finished dinner and were smoking their cigars in the
library, when Croyden, suddenly bethinking himself of a matter which he
had forgotten, arose and pulled the bell.
Survent, seh! said old Mose a moment later from the doorway.
Moses, who is the best carpenter in town? Croyden asked.
Mistah Snyder, sehhe wuz heah dis arfternoon, yo knows, seh!
I didn't know it, said Croyden.
Why yo sont 'im, seh.
I sent him! I don't know the man.
Dat's mons'us 'culiar, sehhe said yo sont 'im. He com'd
'torrectly arfter yo lef! Him an' a'nudder man, sehI didn't know the
nudder man, hows'ever.
What did they want? Croyden asked.
Dey sed yo warn dem to look over all de place, seh, an' see what
repairs wuz necessary, and fix dem. Dey wuz heah a'most two hours, I
This is most extraordinary! Croyden exclaimed. Do you mean they
were in this house for two hours?
What were they doing?
'Zaminin the furniture everywhere. I didn't stays wid em, sehI
knows Mistah Snyder well; he's bin heah off'n to wuk befo' yo cum, seh.
But I seed dem gwine th'oo de drawers, an' poundin on the floohs, seh.
Dey went down to de cellar, too, seh, an wuz dyar quite a while.
Are you sure it was Snyder? Croyden asked.
Sut'n'y! seh, don't you t'inks I knows 'im? I knows 'im from de
time he wuz so high.
Croyden nodded. Go down and tell Snyder I want to see him, either
to-night or in the morning.
The negro bowed, and departed.
Croyden got up and went to the escritoire: the drawers were in
confusion. He glanced at the book-cases: the books were disarranged. He
turned and looked, questioningly, at Macloudand a smile slowly
overspread his face.
Well, the tall gentleman has visited us! he said.
I wondered how long you would be coming to it! Macloud remarked.
It's the old ruse, in a slightly modified form. Instead of a telephone
or gas inspector, it was a workman whom the servant knew; a little more
trouble in disguising himself, but vastly more satisfactory in
They are clever rogues, said Croydenand the disguise must have
been pretty accurate to deceive Moses.
Disguise is their business, Macloud replied, laconically. If
they're not proficient in it, they go to prisonsure.
And if they are proficient, they gosometimes.
We'll make a tour of inspectionthey couldn't find what they
wanted, so we'll see what they took.
They went over the house. Every drawer was turned upside down, every
closet awry, every place, where the jewels could be concealed, bore
evidence of having been inspectednothing, apparently, had been
missed. They had gone through the house completely, even into the
garret, where every board that was loose had evidently been taken up
and replacedsome of them carelessly.
Not a thing was gone, so far as Croyden could judgepossibly,
because there was no money in the house; probably, because they were
looking for jewels, and scorned anything of moderate value.
Really, this thing grows interestingif it were not so
ridiculous, said Croyden. I'm willing to go to almost any trouble to
convince them I haven't the treasurejust to be rid of them. I wonder
what they will try next?
Abduction, maybe, Macloud suggested. Some night a black cloth
will be thrown over your head, you'll be tossed into a cabI mean, an
automobileand borne off for ransom like Charlie Ross of fading
Moraldon't venture out after sunset! laughed Croyden.
And don't venture out at any time without a revolver handy and a
good pair of legs, added Macloud.
I can work the legs better than I can the revolver.
Or, to make sure, you might have a guard of honor and a gatling
You're appointed to the positionprovide yourself with the gun!
But, seriously! said Macloud, it would be well to take some
precaution. They seem obsessed with the idea that you have the jewels,
hereand they evidently intend to get a share, if it's possible.
What precaution, for instance? scoffed Croyden.
Macloud shrugged his shoulders, helplessly.
I wish I knew, he said.
XVI. THE MARABOU MUFF
The next two weeks passed uneventfully. The thieves did not manifest
themselves, and the Government authorities did nothing to suggest that
they had been informed of the Parmenter treasure.
Macloud had developed an increasing fondness for Miss Carrington's
society, which she, on her part, seemed to accept with placid
equanimity. They rode, they drove, they walked, they sailed when the
weather warrantedand the weather had recovered from its fit of the
blues, and was lazy and warm and languid. In short, they did everything
which is commonly supposed to denote a growing fondness for each other.
Croyden had been paid promptly for the Virginia Development Company
bonds, and was once more on comfortable street, as he expressed it.
But he spoke no word of returning to Northumberland. On the contrary,
he settled down to enjoy the life of the village, social and otherwise.
He was nice to all the girls, but showed a marked preference for Miss
Carrington; which, however, did not trouble his friend, in the least.
Macloud was quite willing to run the risk with Croyden. He was
confident that the call of the old life, the memory of the girl that
was, and that was still, would be enough to hold Geoffrey from more
than firm friendship. He was not quite sure of himself, howeverthat
he wanted to marry. And he was entirely sure she had not decided
whether she wanted himthat was what gave him his lease of life; if
she decided for him, he knew that he would decide for herand
Then, one day, came a letterforwarded by the Club, where he had
left his address with instructions that it be divulged to no one. It
was dated Northumberland, and read:
My dear Colin
It is useless, between us, to dissemble, and I'm not going to
try it. I want to know whether Geoffrey Croyden is coming back to
Northumberland? You are with him, and should know. You can tell
his inclination. You can ask him, if necessary. If he is not
coming and there is no one elsewon't you tell me where you are?
(I don't ask you to reveal his address, you see.) I shall come
downif only for an hour, between trainsand give him his
chance. It is radically improper, according to accepted
notionsbut notions don't bother me, when they stand (as I am
sure they do, in this case), in the way of happiness.
At dinner, Macloud casually remarked:
I ought to go out to Northumberland, this week, for a short time,
won't you go along?
Croyden shook his head.
I'm not going back to Northumberland, he said.
I don't mean to stay! Macloud interposed. I'll promise to come
back with you in two days at the most.
Yes, I suppose you will! Croyden smiled. You can easily find your
way back. For me, it's easier to stay away from Northumberland, than to
go away from it, again.
And Macloud, being wise, dropped the conversation, saying only:
Well, I may not have to go.
A little later, as he sat in the drawing-room at Carringtons', he
broached a matter which had been on his mind for some timeworking
around to it gradually, with Croyden the burden of their talk. When his
opportunity cameas it was bound to dohe took it without hesitation.
You are right, he replied. Croyden had two reasons for leaving
Northumberland: one of them has been eliminated; the other is stronger
She looked at him, shrewdly.
And that other is a woman? she said.
He nodded. A woman who has plenty of moneymore than she can ever
And in looks?
The only one who can approach yourself.
Altogether, most desirable! she laughed. What was the
troublewouldn't she have him?
He didn't ask her.
Anything but useless.
You mean she was willing?
I think so.
More than willing, I take it.
Then, what was the difficulty?
Her moneyshe has so much!So much, that, in comparison, he is a
mere pauper:twenty millions against two hundred thousand.
If she be willing, I can't see why he is shy?
He says it is all right for a poor girl to marry a rich man, but
not for a poor man to marry a rich girl. His idea is, that the husband
should be able to maintain his wife according to her condition. To
marry else, he says, is giving hostages to fortune, and is derogatory
to that mutual respect which should exist between them.
We all give hostages to fortune when we marry! Miss Carrington
Not all! replied Macloud, meaningly.
She flushed slightly.
What is it you want me to do? she asked hastilyor can I do
You can, he answered. You can ask Miss Cavendish to visit you for
a few days.
Can you, by any possibility, mean Elaine Cavendish?
That's exactly who I do meando you know her?
After a fashionwe went to Dobbs Ferry together.
Bully! exclaimed Macloud. Why didn't you tell me?
You never mentioned her before.
True! he laughed. This is fortunate, very fortunate! Will you ask
She will think it a trifle peculiar.
On the contrary, she'll think it more than kinda positive favor.
You see, she knows I'm with Croyden, but she doesn't know where; so she
wrote to me at my Club and they forwarded it. Croyden left
Northumberland without a wordand no one is aware of his residence but
me. She asks that I tell her where I am. Then she intends to
come down and give Croyden a last chance. I want to help herand your
invitation will be right to the pointshe'll jump at it.
You're a good friend! she reflected.
Will you do it? he asked.
She thought a moment before she answered.
I'll do it! she said at length. Come, we'll work out the letter
Would I not be permitted to kiss you as Miss Cavendish's deputy?
Miss Cavendish can be her own deputy, she answered.Moreover, it
would be premature.
The second morning after, when Elaine Cavendish's maid brought her
breakfast, Miss Carrington's letter was on the tray among tradesmen's
circulars, invitations, and friendly correspondence.
She did not recognize the handwriting, and the postmark was
unfamiliar, wherefore, coupled with the fact that it was addressed in a
particularly stylish hand, she opened it first. It was very brief, very
succinct, very informing, and very satisfactory.
My dear Elaine:
Mr. Macloud tells me you are contemplating coming down to the
Eastern Shore to look for a country-place. Let me advise
Hamptonthere are some delightful old residences in this
vicinity which positively are crying for a purchaser. Geoffrey
Croyden, whom you know, I believe, is resident here, and is
thinking of making it his home permanently. If you can be
persuaded to come, you are to stay with methe hotels are simply
impossible, and I shall be more than delighted to have you. We
can talk over old times at Dobbs, and have a nice little visit
together. Don't trouble to writejust wire the time of your
arrivaland come before the good weather departs. Don't
With lots of love,
Elaine Cavendish read the letter slowlyand smiled.
Clever! very clever! she mused. Colin is rather a diplomathe
managed it with exceeding adroitnessand the letter is admirably
worded. It tells me everything I wanted to know. I'd forgotten about
Davila Carrington, and I reckon she had forgotten me, till he somehow
found it out and jogged her memory. Surely! I shall accept.
To-morrow would be Thursday. She went to her desk and wrote this
wire, in answer:
Miss Davila Carrington,
I shall be with you Friday, on morning train. You're very, very
Miss Carrington showed the wire to Macloud.
Now, I've done all that I can; the rest is in your hands, she
said. I'll coöperate, but you are the general.
Until Elaine comesshe will manage it then, Macloud answered.
And on Friday morning, a little before noon, Miss Cavendish arrived.
Miss Carrington, alone, met her at the station.
You're just the same Davila I'd forgotten for years, said she,
laughingly, as they walked across the platform to the waiting carriage.
And you're the same I had forgotten, Davila replied.
But it's delightful to be remembered! said Elaine, meaningly.
And it's just as delightful to be able to remember, was the reply.
Just after they left the business section, on the drive out, Miss
Carrington saw Croyden and Macloud coming down the street. Evidently
Macloud had not been able to detain him at home until she got her
charge safely into Ashburton. She glanced at Miss Cavendishshe had
seen them, also, and, settling back into the corner of the phaeton, she
hid her face with her Marabou muff.
Don't stop! she said.
Miss Carrington smiled her understanding.
I won't! she answered. Good morning! as both men raised their
hatsand drove straight on.
Who was the girl with Miss Carrington? Croyden asked. I didn't
see her face.
I couldn't see it! said Macloud. I noticed a bag in the trap,
however, so I reckon she's a guest.
Unfortunate for you! Croyden sympathized. Your opportunity, for
the solitariness of two, will be limited.
I'll look to you for help! Macloud answered.
Humph! You may look in vain. It depends on what she isI'm not
sacrificing myself on the altar of general unattractiveness. Then he
laughed. Rest easy, I'll fuss her to the limit. You shan't have her to
plead for an excuse.
An excuse for what?
For not winning the Symphony in Blue.
You're overly solicitous. I'm not worried about the guest, Macloud
There was a certain style about as much of her as I could see which
promised very well, Croyden remarked. I think this would be a good
day to drop in for tea.
And if you find her something over sixty, you'll gallantly shove
her off on me, and preëmpt Miss Carrington. Oh! you're very kind.
She's not over sixtyand you know it. You're by no means as blind
as you would have me believe. In fact, now that I think of it, there
was something about her that seems familiar.
You're an adept in many things, laughed Macloud, but, I reckon,
you're not up to recognizing a brown coat and a brown hat. I think I've
seen the combination once or twice before on a woman.
Well, what about tea-timeshall we go over? demanded Croyden.
I haven't the slightest objection
to your going along with meI'm expected!
Oh! you're expected, are you! pretty soon it will be: 'Come over
and see us, won't you?'
I trust so, said Macloud, placidly.But, as you're never coming
back to Northumberland, it's a bit impossible.
Oh! damn Northumberland! said Croyden.
I've a faint recollection of having heard that remark before.
I dare say, it's popular there on smoky days.
Which is the same as saying it's popular there any time.
No, I don't mean that; Northumberland isn't half so bad as it's
painted. We may make fun of itbut we like it, just the same.
Yes, I suppose we do, said Macloud. Though we get mighty sick of
seeing every scatterbrain who sets fire to the Great White Way branded
by the newspapers as a Northumberland millionaire. We've got our share
of fools, but we haven't a monopoly of them, by any means.
We had a marvelously large crop, however, running loose at one
time, recently! laughed Croyden.
True!and there's the reason for it, as well as the fallacy.
Because half a hundred light-weights were made millionaires over night,
and, top heavy, straightway went the devil's pace, doesn't imply that
the entire town is mad.
Not at all! said Croyden. It's no worse than any other big
townand the fellows with unsavory reputations aren't representative.
They just came all in a bunch. The misfortune is, that the whole
country saw the fireworks, and it hasn't forgot the lurid display.
And isn't likely to very soon, Macloud responded, with the whole
Municipal Government rotten to the core, councilmen falling over one
another in their eagerness to plead nolle contendere and escape
the penitentiary, bankers in jail for bribery, or fighting extradition;
and graft! graft! graft! permeating every department of the civic
lifeand published by the newspapers' broadcast, through the land, for
all the world to read, while the people, as a body, sit supine, and
meekly suffer the robbers to remain. The trouble with the
Northumberlander is, that so long as he is not the immediate victim of
a hold up, he is quiescent. Let him be touched directby burglary, by
theft, by embezzlementand the yell he lets out wakes the entire
It's the same everywhere, said Croyden.
No, it's not,other communities have waked upNorthumberland
hasn't. There is too much of the moneyed interest to be looked after;
and the councilmen know it, and are out for the stuff, as brazen as the
street-walker, and vastly more insistent.I'm going in here, for some
cigaretteswhen I come out, we'll change the talk to something less
irritating. I like Northumberland, but I despise about ninety-nine one
hundredths of its inhabitants.
When he returned, Croyden was gazing after an automobile which was
disappearing in a cloud of dust.
Ever see a motor before? he asked.
Croyden did not hear him. The fellow driving, unless I am mightily
fooled, is the same who stopped me on the street, in front of
Clarendon, he said.
That's interestingany one with him?
A woman! You're safe! said Macloud. He isn't travelling around
with a petticoatat least, if he's thinking of tackling you.
It isn't likely, I admitbut suppose he is?
The car was rapidly vanishing in the distance. Macloud nodded toward
He is leaving here as fast as the wheels will turn.
I've got a very accurate memory for faces, said Croyden. I
couldn't well be mistaken.
Wait and see. If it was he, and he has some new scheme, it will be
declared in due time. Nothing yet from the Government?
It's a bluff! So long as they think you have the jewels, they will
try for them. There's Captain Carrington standing at his office door.
Suppose we go over.
Sitting up to grandfather-in-law! laughed Croyden. Distinctly
proper, sir, distinctly proper! Go and chat with him; I'll stop for
* * * * *
Meanwhile, the two women had continued on to Ashburton.
Did he recognize me? Elaine asked, dropping her muff from before
her face, when they were past the two men.
I think not, answered Davila.
Did he give any indication of it?
It would make a difference in myattitude toward him when we met!
Naturally! a very great difference. Elaine was nervous, she saw.
The fact that Croyden did not come out and stop them, that he let them
go on, was sufficient proof that he had not recognized her.
You see, I am assuming that you know why I wanted to come to
Hampton, Elaine said, when, her greeting made to Mrs. Carrington, she
had carried Davila along to her room.
Yes, dear, Davila responded.
And you made it very easy for me to come.
I did as I thought you would wantand as I know you would do with
me were I in a similar position.
I'm sadly afraid I should not have thought of you, were you
Oh, yes, you would! If you had been in a small town, and Mr.
Croyden had told you of my difficulty
As Mr. Macloud told you of mineI see, dear.
Not exactly that, said Davila, blushing. Mr. Macloud has been
very attentive and very nice and all that, you know, but you mustn't
forget there are not many girls here, and I'm convenient, andI don't
take him seriously.
How does he take you? Elaine asked.
I don't knowsometimes I think he does, and sometimes I think he
doesn't! she laughed. He is an accomplished flirt and difficult to
Well, let me tell you one fact, for your information: there isn't a
more indifferent man in Northumberland. He goes everywhere, is in great
demand, is enormously popular, yet, I've never known him to have even
an affair. He is armor-platedbut he is a dear, a perfect dear,
I know it! she said, with heightening colorand Elaine said no
Shall you prefer to meet Mr. Croyden alone, for the first time, or
in company? Davila asked.
I confess I don't know, but I think, however, it would be better to
have a few words with Colin, firstif it can be arranged.
Miss Carrington nodded. Mr. Macloud is to come in a moment before
luncheon, if he can find an excuse that will not include Mr. Croyden.
Is an excuse difficult to findor is any, even, needed?
He doesn't usually come before fourthat's the tea hour in
Tea! exclaimed Elaine. If you've got him into the tea habit, you
can do what you want with himhe will eat out of your hand.
I never tried him with tea, said Davila. He chose a high ball the
first timeso it's been a high ball ever since.
With gratifying regularity?
I admit it! laughed Davila.
Elaine sat down on the couch and put her arm about Davila.
These awful men! she said. But we shall be good friends, better
friends than ever, Davila, when you come to Northumberland to live.
That is just the question, Elaine, was the quick answer; whether
I shall be given the opportunity, and whether I shall take it, if I am.
I haven't let it go so far, because I don't feel sure of him. Until I
do, I intend to keep tight hold on myself.
Do itif you can. You'll find it much the happier way.
Just before luncheon, Macloud arrived.
Bully for you! was his greeting to Miss Cavendish. I'm glad to
see you here.
Yes, I'm here, thanks to you, said Elaineand Davila not being
present, she kissed him.
I'm more than repaid! he said.
But you wish it wereanother?
Nobut I wish the otherwould, too! he laughed.
Give her the chance, Colin.
You think I may dare? eagerly.
You're not wont to be so timid, she returned.
I wish I had some of your bravery, he said.
Is it bravery? she demanded. Isn't it impetuous womanliness.
Not a bit! There isn't a doubt as to his feelings.
But there is a doubt as to his letting them controlI see.
Yes! And you alone can help him solve itif any one can. And I
have great hopes, Elaine, great hopes! regarding her with approving
eyes. How any chap could resist you is inconceivableI could not.
You could not at one time, you mean.
You gave me no encouragement,so I must, perforce, fare
And now? she asked.
How many love affairs have you come down here to settle? he
laughed. By the way, Croyden is impatient to come over this afternoon.
The guest in the trap with Miss Carrington has aroused his curiosity.
He could see only a long brown coat and a brown hat, but the muff
before your face, and his imagination, did the rest.
Does he suspect? she inquired, anxiously.
That it's you? No! no! It's simply the country town beginning to
tell on him. He is curious about new guests, and Miss Carrington hadn't
mentioned your coming! He suggested, in a vague sort of way, that there
was something familiar about you, but he didn't attempt to
particularize. It was only a momentary idea.
She looked her relief.
Shall you meet him alone?
I think notwe shall all be present.
And how shall you meet him?
It depends on how he meets me.
I reckon you don't know much about ithaven't any plans?
No, I haven't. Everything depends on the moment. He will know why
I'm here, and whether he is glad or sorry or displeased at my coming, I
shall know instantly. I shall then have my cue. It's absurd, this
notion of his, and why let it rule him and me! I've always got what I
wanted, and I'm going to get Geoffrey. A Queen of a Nation must propose
to a suitor, so why not a Queen of Money to a man less rich than
sheespecially when she is convinced that that alone keeps them apart.
I shall give him a chance to propose to me first; several chances,
indeed! she laughed. Then, if he doesn't respondI shall do it
XVII. A HANDKERCHIEF AND A GLOVE
Miss Cavendish was standing behind the curtains in the window of her
room, when Croyden and Macloud came up the walk, at four o'clock.
She was waiting!not another touch to be given to her attire. Her
gown, of shimmering blue silk, clung to her figure with every movement,
and fell to the floor in suggestively revealing folds. Her dark hair
was arranged in simple fashionthe simplicity of exquisite
tastemaking the fair face below it, seem fairer even than it was. She
was going to win this man.
She heard them enter the lower hall, and pass into the drawing-room.
She glided out to the stairway, and stood, peering down over the
balustrade. She heard Miss Carrington's greeting and theirsheard
Macloud's chuckle, and Croyden's quiet laugh. Then she heard Macloud
Mr. Croyden is anxious to meet your guestat least, we took her to
be a guest you were driving with this morning.
My guest is equally anxious to meet Mr. Croyden, Miss Carrington
Why does she tarry, then? laughed Croyden.
Did you ever know a woman to be ready?
I am the hostess! she explained.
Mr. Croyden imagined there was something familiar about her,
Do you mean you recognized her? Miss Carrington asked.
(Elaine strained her ears to catch his answer.)
She didn't let me have the chance to recognize her, said heshe
wouldn't let me see her face.
(Elaine gave a little sigh of relief.)
Wouldn't? Miss Carrington interrogated.
At least, she didn't.
She couldn't have covered it completelyshe saw you.
Don't raise his hopes too high! Macloud interjected.
She can'tI'm on the pinnacle of expectation, now.
Humpty-Dumpty risks a great fall! Macloud warned.
Not at all! said Croyden. If the guest doesn't please me, I'm
going to talk to Miss Carrington.
You're growing blasé, she warned.
Is that an evidence of it? he asked. If it is, I know one who
must be too blasé even to move, with a meaning glance at Macloud.
A light foot-fall on the stairs, the soft swish of skirts in the
hallway, Croyden turned, expectantlyand Miss Cavendish entered the
There was an instant's silence. Croyden's from astonishment; the
others' with watching him.
Elaine's eyes were intent on Croyden's faceand what she saw there
gave her great content: he might not be persuaded, but he loved her,
and he would not misunderstand. Her face brightened with a fascinating
You are surprised to see me, messieurs? she asked, curtsying low.
Croyden's eyes turned quickly to his friend, and back again.
I'm not so sure as to Monsieur Macloud, he said.
But for yourself?
Surprised is quite too light a wordstunned would but meekly
Did neither of you ever hear me mention Miss Carrington?We were
friends, almost chums, at Dobbs Ferry.
If I did, it has escaped me? Croyden smiled.
Well, you're likely not to forget it again.
Did you know that Ithat we were here?
Certainly! I knew that you and Colin were both here, Elaine
replied, imperturbably. Do you think yourself so unimportant as not to
be mentioned by Miss Carrington?
What will you have to drink, Mr. Croyden? Davila inquired.
A sour ball, by all means.
Is that a reflection on my guest? she askedwhile Elaine and
A reflection on your guest? he inflected, puzzled.
You said you would take a sour ball.
Croyden held up his hands.
I'm fussed! he confessed. I have nothing to plead. A man who
mixes a high ball with a sour ball is either rattled or drunk, I am not
the latter, therefore
You mean that my coming has rattled you? Elaine inquired.
YesI'm rattled for very joy.
She put her hands before her face.
Spare my blushes, Geoffrey!
You could spare a fewand not miss them! he laughed.
Davila, am I? she demanded.
Are you what?
Not the slightest, dear.
Here's your sour ball! said Macloud, handing him the glass.
Sweetened by your touch, I suppose!
No! By the ladies' presenceGod save them!
Colin, said Croyden, as, an hour later, they walked back to
Clarendon, you should have told me.
Should have told you what? Macloud asked.
Don't affect ignorance, old manyou knew Elaine was coming.
And that it was she in the trap.
The muff hid her face from me, too.
But you knew.
I could only guess.
Do you think it was wise to let her come? Croyden demanded.
I had nothing to do with her decision. Miss Carrington asked her,
Didn't you give her my address?
I most assuredly did not.
Croyden looked at him, doubtfully.
I'm telling you the truth, said Macloud. She tried to get your
address, when I was last in Northumberland, and I refused.
And then, she stumbles on it through Davila Carrington! The world
is small. I reckon, if I went off into some deserted spot in
Africa, it wouldn't be a month until some fellow I knew, or who knows a
mutual friend, would come nosing around, and blow on me.
Are you sorry she came? Macloud asked.
No! I'm not sorry she cameat least, not now, since she's
here.I'll be sorry enough when she goes, however.
And you will let her go?
Croyden nodded. I mustit's the only proper thing to do.
Proper for whom?
Would it not be better that she should decide what is proper
Proper for me, then.
Based on your peculiar notion of relative wealth between husband
and wifewithout regard to what she may think on the subject. In other
words, have you any right to decline the risk, if she is willing to
The risk is mine, not hers. She has the money. Her income, for
three months, about equals my entire fortune.
Can't you forget her fortune?
And live at the rate of pretty near two hundred thousand dollars a
year? Croyden laughed. Could you?
I think I could, if I loved the girl.
And suffer in your self-respect forever after?
There is where we differ. You're inclined to be hyper-critical. If
you play your part, you won't lose your self-respect.
It is a trifle difficult to doto play my part, when all the world
is saying, 'he married her for her money,' and shows me scant regard in
Why the devil need you care what the world says!
What? Macloud exclaimed.
I don'tthe world may go hang. But the question is, how long can
the man retain the woman's esteem, with such a handicap.
Ah! that is easy! so long as he retains her love.
Rather an uncertain quantity.
It depends entirely on yourself.If you start with it, you can
hold it, if you take the trouble to try.
You're a strong partisan! Croyden laughed, as they entered
And what are you? Macloud returned.
Just what I should like to know
Well, I'll tell you what you are if you don't marry Elaine
Cavendish, Macloud interruptedYou're an unmitigated fool!
Assuming that Miss Cavendish would marry me.
You're not likely to marry her, otherwise, retorted Macloud, as he
went up the stairs. On the landing he halted and looked down at Croyden
in the hall below. And if you don't take your chance, the chance she
has deliberately offered you by coming to Hampton, you are worse
than and, with an expressive gesture, he resumed the ascent.
How do you know she came down here just for that purpose? Croyden
But all that came back in answer, as Macloud went down the hall and
into his room, was the whistled air from a popular opera, then running
in the Metropolis.
Ev'ry little movement has a meaning all its own,
Ev'ry thought and action
The door slammedthe music ceased.
I won't believe it, Croyden reflected, that Elaine would do
anything so utterly unconventional as to seek me out deliberately.... I
might have had a chance ifOh, damn it all! why didn't we find the old
pirate's boxit would have clarified the whole situation.
As he changed into his evening clothes, he went over the matter,
carefully, and laid out the line of conduct that he intended to follow.
He would that Elaine had stayed away from Hampton. It was putting
him to too severe a testto be with her, to be subject to her alluring
loveliness, and, yet, to be unmoved. It is hard to see the luscious
fruit within one's reach and to refrain from even touching it. It grew
harder the more he contemplated it....
It's no use fighting against it, here! he exclaimed, going into
Macloud's room, and throwing himself on a chair. I'm going to cut the
What the devil are you talking about? Macloud inquired, pausing
with his waistcoat half on.
What the devil do you think I'm talking about? Croyden demanded.
Not being a success at solving riddles, I give it up.
Oh, very well! said Croyden. Can you comprehend this:I'm going
to leave town?
Certainlythat's plain English. When are you going?
Why this suddenness?
To get away quicklyto escape.
He is coming to it, at last, he thought. What he said
was:You're not going to be put to flight by a woman?
I am.If I stay here I shall lose.
I shall propose.
And be refused?
Most people would not call that losing, said Macloud.
I have nothing to do with most peopleonly, with myself.
It seems so!even Elaine isn't to be considered.
Haven't we gone over all that?
I don't knowbut, if we have, go over it again.
You assume she came down here solely on my accountbecause I'm
I assume nothing, Macloud answered, with a quiet chuckle. I said
you have a chance, and urged you not to let it slip. I should not have
offered any suggestionI admit that
Oh, bosh! Croyden interrupted. Don't be so humbleyou're rather
proud of your interference.
I am! Certainly, I am! I'm only sorry it is so unavailing.
Who said it was unavailing!
You did!or, at least, I inferred as much.
I'm not responsible for your inferences.
What are you responsible for? asked Macloud.
Nothing! Nothing!not even for my resolutionI haven't anyI
can't make any that holds. I'm worse than a weather-cock. Common sense
bids me go. Desire clamors for me to stayto hasten over to
Ashburtonto put it to the test. When I get to Ashburton, common sense
will be in control. When I come away, desire will tug me back,
againand so on, and so onand so on.
You're in a bad way! laughed Macloud. You need a cock-tail,
instead of a weather-cock. Come on! if we are to dine at the
Carringtons' at seven, we would better be moving. Having thrown the
blue funk, usual to a man in your position, you'll now settle down to
To be or not to be?
Let future events determinetake it as it comes, Macloud urged.
Sage advice! returned Croyden mockingly. If I let future events
decide for me, the end's already fixed.
The big clock on the landing was chiming seven when they rang the
bell at Ashburton and the maid ushered them into the drawing-room. Mrs.
Carrington was out of town, visiting in an adjoining county, and the
Captain had not appeared. He came down stairs a moment later, and took
Macloud and Croyden over to the library.
After about a quarter of an hour, he glanced at his watch a trifle
impatiently.Another fifteen minutes, and he glanced at it again.
Caroline! he called, as the maid passed the door. Go up to Miss
Davila's room and tell her it's half-after-seven.
Then he continued with the story he was relating.
Presently, the maid returned; the Captain looked at her,
Mis' Davila, she ain' deah, no seh, said the girl.
She is probably in Miss Cavendish's room,look, there, for her,
the Captain directed.
No, seh! I looks dyarshe ain' no place up stairs, and neither is
Mis' Cav'dish, seh. Hit's all dark, in dey rooms, seh, all dark.
Very singular, said the Captain. Half-after-seven, and not here?
They were here, two hours ago, said Croyden. We had tea with
Find out from the other servants whether they left any word.
Dey didn', seh! no, seh! I ax'd dem, seh!
Very singular, indeed! excuse me, sirs, I'll try to locate them.
He went to the telephone, and called up the Lashiels, the Tilghmans,
the Tayloes, and all their neighbors and intimates, only to receive the
same answer: They were not there, and hadn't been there that
This is amazing, sirs! he exclaimed. I will go up myself and
We are at your service, Captain Carrington, said Macloud
instantly.At your service for anything we can do.
They knew, of course, you were expected for dinner? he asked, as
he led the way upstairs.I can't account for it.
The Captain inspected his granddaughter's and Miss Cavendish's
rooms, Macloud and Croyden, being discreet, the rooms on the other side
of the house. They discovered nothing which would explain.
We will have dinner, said the Captain. They will surely turn up
before we have finished.
The dinner ended, however, and the missing ones had not returned.
Might they have gone for a drive? Macloud suggested.
The Captain shook his head. The keys of the stable are on my desk,
which shows that the horses are in for the night. I admit I am at a
losshowever, I reckon they will be in presently, with an explanation
and a good laugh at us for being anxious.
But when nine o'clock came, and then half-after-nine, and still they
did not appear, the men grew seriously alarmed.
The Captain had recourse to the telephone again, getting residence
after residence, without result. At last he hung up the receiver.
I don't know what to make of it, he said, bewildered. I've called
every place I can think of, and I can't locate them. What can have
Let us see how the matter stands, said Macloud. We left them here
about half-after-five, and, so far as can be ascertained, no one has
seen them since. Consequently, they must have gone out for a walk or a
drive. A drive is most unlikely, at this time of the dayit is dark
and cold. Furthermore, your horses are in the stable, so, if they went,
they didn't go alonesome one drove them. The alternativea walkis
the probable explanation; and that remits us to an accident as the
cause of delay. Which, it seems to me, is the likely explanation.
But if there were an accident, they would have been discovered,
long since; the walks are not deserted, the Captain objected.
Possibly, they went out of the town.
A young woman never goes out of town, unescorted, was the decisive
answer. This is a Southern town, you know.
I suppose you don't care to telephone the police? asked Croyden.
Nonot yet, the Captain replied. Davila would never forgive me,
if nothing really were wrongbesides, I couldn't. The Mayor's office
is closed for the nightwe're not supposed to need the police after
Then Croyden and I will patrol the roads, hereabout, said Macloud.
Good! I will go out the Queen Street pike a mile or two, the
Captain said. You and Mr. Croyden can take the King Street pike, North
and South. We'll meet here not later than eleven o'clock. Excuse me a
What do you make of it? said Macloud.
It is either very serious or else it's nothing at all. I mean, if
anything has happened, it's far out of the ordinary, Croyden
Exactly my ideathough, I confess, I haven't a notion what the
serious side could be. It's safe to assume that they didn't go into the
countrythe hour, alone, would have deterred them, even if the danger
from the negro were not present, constantly, in Miss Carrington's mind.
On the other hand, how could anything have happened in the town which
would prevent one of them from telephoning, or sending a message, or
getting some sort of word to the Captain.
It's all very mysteriousyet, I dare say, easy of solution and
explanation. There isn't any danger of the one thing that is really
terrifying, so I'm not inclined to be alarmed, undulyjust
At this moment Captain Carrington returned.
Here! take these, he said, giving each a revolver. Let us hope
there won't be any occasion to use them, but it is well to be
They went out togetherat the intersection of Queen and King
Streets, they parted.
Remember! eleven o'clock at my house, said the Captain. If any
one of us isn't there, the other two will know he needs assistance.
Croyden went north on King Street. It was a chilly November night,
with frost in the air. The moon, in its second quarter and about to
sink into the waters of the Bay, gave light sufficient to make walking
easy, where the useless street lamps did not kill it with their timid
brilliancy. He passed the limits of the town, and struck out into the
country. It had just struck ten, when they partedhe would walk for
half an hour, and then return. He could do three milesa mile and a
half each wayand still be at the Carrington house by eleven. He
proceeded along the east side of the road, his eyes busy lest, in the
uncertain light, he miss anything which might serve as a clue. For the
allotted time, he searched but found nothinghe must return. He
crossed to the west side of the road, and faced homeward.
A mile passeda quarter more was addedthe feeble lights of the
town were gleaming dimly in the fore, when, beside the track, he
noticed a small white object.
It was a woman's handkerchief, and, as he picked it up, a faint odor
of violets was clinging to it still. Here might be a cluethere was a
monogram on the corner, but he could not distinguish it, in the
darkness. He put it in his pocket and hastened on. A hundred feet
farther, and his foot hit something soft. He groped about, with his
hands, and founda woman's glove. It, also, bore the odor of violets.
At the first lamp-post, he stopped and examined the
handkerchiefthe monogram was plain: E. C.and violets, he
remembered, were her favorite perfume. He took out the glovea soft,
undressed kid affairbut there was no mark on it to help him. He
glanced at his watch. His time had almost expired. He pushed the
feminine trifles back into his pocket, and hurried on.
He was late, and when he arrived at Ashburton, Captain Carrington
and Macloud were just about to start in pursuit.
I found these! he said, tossing the glove and the handkerchief on
the tableon the west side of the road, about half a mile from town.
Macloud picked them up.
The violets are familiarand the handkerchief is Elaine's, said
he. I recognize the monogram as hers.
What do you make of it? Captain Carrington demanded.
Nothingit passes me.
His glance sought Croyden's.
A shake of the head was his answer.
The Captain strode to the telephone.
I'm going to call in our friends, he said. I think we shall need
XVIII. THE LONE HOUSE BY THE BAY
When Croyden and Macloud left the Carrington residence that evening,
after their call and tea, Elaine and Davila remained for a little while
in the drawing-room rehearsing the events of the day, as women will.
Presently, Davila went over to draw the shades.
What do you say to a walk before we dress for dinner? she
I should like it, immensely, Elaine answered.
They went upstairs, changed quickly to street attire, and set out.
We will go down to the centre of the town and back, said Davila.
It's about half a mile each way, and there isn't any danger, so long
as you keep in the town. I shouldn't venture beyond it unescorted,
however, even in daylight.
Why? asked Elaine. Isn't Hampton orderly?
Hampton is orderly enough. It's the curse that hangs over the South
since the Civil War: the negro.
Oh! I understand, said Elaine, shuddering.
I don't mean that all black men are bad, for they are not. Many are
entirely trustworthy, but the trustworthy ones are much, very much, in
the minority. The vast majority are worthlessand a worthless nigger
is the worst thing on earth.
I think I prefer only the lighted streets, Elaine remarked.
And you will be perfectly safe there, Davila replied.
They swung briskly along to the centre of the townwhere the two
main thoroughfares, King and Queen Streets, met each other in a wide
circle that, after the fashion of Southern towns, was known,
incongruously enough, as The Diamond. Passing around this circle,
they retraced their steps toward home.
As they neared Ashburton, an automobile with the top up and side
curtains on shot up behind them, hesitated a moment, as though
uncertain of its destination and then drew up before the Carrington
place. Two men alighted, gave an order to the driver, and went across
the pavement to the gate, while the engine throbbed, softly.
Then they seemed to notice the women approaching, and stepping back
from the gate, they waited.
I beg your pardon! said one, raising his hat and bowing, can you
tell me if this is where Captain Carrington lives?
It is, answered Davila.
Thank you! said the man, standing aside to let them pass.
I am Miss Carringtonwhom do you wish to see?
Captain Carrington, is he at home?
I do not knowif you will come in, I'll inquire.
You're very kind! with another bow.
He sprang forward and opened the gate. Davila thanked him with a
smile, and she and Elaine went in, leaving the strangers to follow.
The next instant, each girl was struggling in the folds of a shawl,
which had been flung over her from behind and wrapped securely around
her head and arms, smothering her cries to a mere whisper. In a trice,
despite their struggleswhich, with heads covered and arms held close
to their sides, were utterly unavailingthey were caught up, tossed
into the tonneau, and the car shot swiftly away.
In a moment, it was clear of the town, the driver opened her up,
and they sped through the country at thirty miles an hour.
Better give them some air, said the leader. It doesn't matter how
much they yell here.
He had been holding Elaine on his lap, his arms keeping the shawl
tight around her. Now he loosed her, and unwound the folds.
You will please pardon the liberty we have taken, he said, as he
freed her, but there are
Elaine had struck him straight in the face with all her strength,
and, springing free, was on the point of leaping out, when he seized
her and forced her back, caught her arms in the shawl, which was still
around her, and bound them tight to her side.
Better be a little careful, Bill! he said. I got an upper cut on
the jaw that made me see stars.
I've been very easy with mine, his companion returned. She'll not
hand me one. However, he took care not to loosen the shawl from her
arms. There you are, my lady, I hope you've not been greatly
What do you mean by this outrage? said Davila.
Don't forget, Bill!mum's the word! the chief cautioned.
At least, you can permit us to sit on the floor of the car, said
Elaine. Whatever may be your scheme, it's scarcely necessary to hold
us in this disgusting position.
Will you make no effort to escape? the chief asked.
I reckon that is a trifle overstated! he laughed. What about you,
Davila did not answercontenting herself with a look, which was far
more expressive than words.
Well, we will take pleasure in honoring your first request, Miss
He caught up a piece of rope, passed it around her arms, outside the
shawl, tied it in a running knot, and quietly lifted her from his lap
to the floor.
I trust that is satisfactory? he asked.
By comparison, eminently so.
Thank you! he said. Do you, Miss Carrington, wish to sit beside
If you please! said Davila, with supreme contempt.
He took the rope and tied her, likewise.
Very good, Bill! he said, and they placed her beside Elaine.
If you will permit your legs to be tied, we will gladly let you
have the seat
Well, I didn't think you wouldso you will have to remain on the
floor; you see, you might be tempted to jump, if we gave you the seat.
They were running so rapidly, through the night air, that the
country could scarcely be distinguished, as it rushed by them. To
Elaine, it was an unknown land. Davila, however, was looking for
something she could recognizesome building that she knew, some
stream, some topographical formation. But in the faint and uncertain
moonlight, coupled with the speed at which they travelled, she was
baffled. The chief observed, however.
With your permission! he said, and taking two handkerchiefs from
his pocket, he bound the eyes of both.
It is only for a short while, he explainedmatter of an hour or
so, and you suffer no particular inconvenience, I trust.
Neither Elaine nor Davila condescended to reply.
After a moment's pause, the man went on:
I neglected to sayand I apologize for my remissnessthat you
need fear no ill-treatment. You will be shown every
considerationbarring freedom, of courseand all your wants, within
the facilities at our command, will be gratified. Naturally, however,
you will not be permitted to communicate with your friends.
How nice of you! said Elaine. But I should be better pleased if
you would tell us the reason for this abduction.
That, I regret, I am not at liberty to discuss.
How long are we to remain prisoners? demanded Davila.
Upon whether something is acceded to.
I am not at liberty to say.
And if it is not acceded to? Elaine inquired.
In that eventit would be necessary to decide what should be done
Done with us! What do you mean to imply?
Nothing!the time hasn't come to implyI hope it will not come.
Why? said Davila.
Because is no reason.
It is a woman's reason! said he, laughing lightly.
Do you mean that your failure would imperil our lives?
Something like it? he replied, after a moment's thought.
Our lives! Davila cried. Do you appreciate what you are saying!
The man did not answer.
Is it possible you mean to threaten our lives? Davila persisted.
I threaten nothingyet.
Oh, you threaten nothing, yet! she mocked. But you will threaten,
Exactly! ifyou are at liberty to guess the rest.
I don't care to guess! she retorted. Do you appreciate that the
whole Eastern Shore will be searching for us by morningand that, if
the least indignity is offered us, your lives won't be worth a penny?
We take the risk, Miss Carrington, replied the man, placidly.
Davila shrugged her shoulders, and they rode in silence, for half an
Then the speed of the car slackened, they ran slowly for half a
mile, and stopped. The chief reached down, untied the handkerchiefs,
and sprang out.
You may descend, he said, offering his hand.
Elaine saw the hand, and ignored it; Davila refused even to see the
They could make out, in the dim light, that they were before a long,
low, frame building, with the waters of the Bay just beyond. A light
burned within, and, as they entered, the odor of cooking greeted them.
Thank goodness! they don't intend to starve us! said Elaine. I
suppose it's scarcely proper in an abducted maiden, but I'm positively
I'm too enraged to eat, said Davila.
Are you afraid? Elaine asked.
Afraid?not in the least!
No more am Ibut oughtn't we be afraid?
I don't know! I'm too angry to know anything.
They had been halted on the porch, while the chief went in,
presumably, to see that all was ready for their reception. Now, he
If you will come in, he said, I will show you to your apartment.
Prison, you mean, said Davila.
Apartment is a little better word, don't you think? said he.
However, as you wish, Miss Carrington, as you wish! We shall try to
make you comfortable, whatever you may call your temporary
quarters.These two rooms are yours, he continued, throwing open the
door. They are small, but quiet and retired; you will not, I am sure,
be disturbed. Pardon me, if I remove these ropes, you will be less
hampered in your movements. There! supper will be served in fifteen
minutesyou will be ready?
Yes, we shall be ready, said Elaine, and the man bowed and
retired. He has some manners! she reflected.
They might be worse, Davila retorted.
Which is some satisfaction, Elaine added.
Yes!and we best be thankful for it.
The rooms aren't so bad, said Elaine, looking around.
We each have a bed, and a bureau, and a wash-stand, and a couple of
chairs, a few chromos, a rug on the floorand bars at the window.
I noticed the bars, said Davila.
Elaine crossed to her wash-stand.
They've provided us with water, so we may as well use it, she
said. I think my face needsHeavens! what a sight I am!
Haven't you observed the same sight in me? Davila asked. I've
lost all my puffs, I knowand so have youand your hat is a trifle
Since we're not trying to make an impression, I reckon it doesn't
matter! laughed Elaine. We will have ample opportunity to put them to
rights before Colin and Geoffrey see us.
She took off her hat, pressed her hair into shape, replaced a few
pins, dashed water on her face, and washed her hands.
Now, she said, going into the other room where Miss Carrington was
doing likewise, if I only had a powder-rag, I'd feel dressed.
Davila turned, and, taking a little book, from the pocket of her
coat, extended it.
Here is some Papier Poudre, she said.
You blessed thing! Elaine exclaimed, and, tearing out a sheet, she
rubbed it over her face. Is my nose shiny? she ended.
A door opened and a young girl appeared, wearing apron and cap.
The ladies are served! she announced.
The two looked at each other and laughed.
This is quite some style! Davila commented.
It is, indeed! said Elaine as she saw the table, with its candles
and silver (plated, to be sure), dainty china, and pressed glass.
If the food is in keeping, I think we can get along for a few days.
We may as well enjoy it while it lasts.
Davila smiled. You always were of a philosophic mind.
It's the easiest way.
She might have added, that it was the only way she knewher wealth
having made all roads easy to her.
The meal finished, they went back to their apartment, to find the
bed turned down for the night, and certain lingerie, which they were
without, laid out for them.
Better and better! exclaimed Elaine. You might think this was a
Until you tried to go out.
We haven't tried, yetwait until morning. A pack of cards was on
the table. See how thoughtful they are! Come, I'll play you Camden for
a cent a point.
I can't understand what their move is? said Davila, presently.
What can they hope to accomplish by abducting usor me, at any rate.
It seems they don't want anything from us.
I make it, that they hope to extort something, from a third party,
through usby holding us prisoners.
Captain Carrington has no moneyit can't be he, said Davila, and
yet, why else should they seize me?
The question is, whose hand are they trying to force? reflected
Elaine. They will hold us until something is acceded to, the man said.
Until what is acceded to, and by whom?
You think that we are simply the pawns? asked Davila.
And if it isn't acceded to, they will kill us?
They will doubtless make the threat.
Pleasant prospect for us!
We won't contemplate it, just yet. They may gain their point, or we
may be rescued; in either case, we'll be saved from dying! Elaine
laughed. And, at the worst, I may be able to buy them offto pay our
own ransom. If it's money they want, we shall not die, I assure you.
You would pay what they demand? Davila asked, quickly.
If I have to choose between death and paying, I reckon I'll pay.
But can you pay?
Yes, I think I can pay, she said quietly. I'm not used to
boasting my wealth, but I can draw my check for a million, and it will
be honored without a moment's question. Does that make you feel easier,
Considerably easier, said Davila, with a glad laugh. I couldn't
draw my check for much more than ten thousand cents. I am only She
What on earth is the matter, Davila? Elaine exclaimed.
I have it!it's the thieves!
Have you suddenly lost your mind?
No! I've found it! I've come out of my trance. It's Parmenter's
Parmenter's chest? echoed Elaine. I reckon I must be in a trance,
Hasn't Mr. Croyden told youor Mr. Macloud?
Then maybe I shouldn'tbut I will. Parmenter's chest is a fortune
A fortune in jewels, which Mr. Croyden has searched for and not
foundand the thieves think
You would better tell me the story, said Elaine, pushing back the
And Davila told her....
It is too absurd! laughed Elaine, those rogues trying to force
Geoffrey to divide what he hasn't got, and can't find, and we abducted
to constrain him. He couldn't comply if he wanted to, poor fellow!
But they will never believe it, said Davila.
And, meanwhile, we suffer. Well, if we're not rescued shortly, I
can advance the price and buy our freedom. They want half a million.
Hum! I reckon two hundred thousand will be sufficientand, maybe, we
can compromise for one hundred thousand. Oh! it's not so bad, Davila,
it's not so bad!
She smiled, shrewdly. Unless she were wofully mistaken, this
abduction would release her from the embarrassment of declaring herself
to Geoffrey. She could handle the matter, now.
What is it? asked Davila. Why are you smiling so queerly?
I was thinking of Colin and Geoffreyand how they are pretty sure
to know their minds when this affair is ended.
Exactly! I mean, if this doesn't bring Colin to his senses, he is
And Mr. Croyden? Davila queried. How about him?
He will surrender, too. All his theoretical notions of relative
wealth will be forgotten. I've only to wait for rescue or release. On
the whole, Davila, I'm quite satisfied with being abducted. Moreover,
it is an experience which doesn't come to every girl. She looked at
her friend quizzically. What are you going to do about Colin? I rather
think you should have an answer ready; the circumstances are apt to
make him rather precipitate.
The next morning after breakfast, which was served in their rooms,
Elaine was looking out through the bars on her window, trying to get
some notion of the country, when she saw, what she took to be, the
chief abductor approaching. He was a tall, well-dressed man of middle
age, with the outward appearance of a gentleman. She looked at him a
moment, then rang for the maid.
I should like to have a word with the man who just came in, she
I will tell him, Miss.
He appeared almost immediately, an inquiring look on his face.
How can I serve you, Miss Cavendish? he said, deferentially.
By permitting us to go out for some airthese rooms were not
designed, apparently, for permanent residence.
It can be arranged, he answered. When do you wish to go?
Very good! he said. You will have no objection to being attended,
to make sure you don't stray off too far, you know?
None whatever, if the attendant remains at a reasonable distance.
He bowed and stood aside.
You may come, he said.
Is the locality familiar? Elaine asked, when they were some
distance from the house.
Davila shook her head. It is south of Hampton, I think, but I can't
give any reason for my impression. The car was running very rapidly; we
were, I reckon, almost two hours on the way, but we can't be more than
fifty miles away.
If they came directbut if they circled, we could be much less,
It's a pity we didn't think to drop something from the car to
inform our friends which way to look for us.
I did, said Elaine. I tossed out a handkerchief and a glove a
short distance from Hamptonjust as I struck that fellow. The
difficulty is, there isn't any assurance we kept to that road. Like as
not, we started north and ended east or south of town. What is this
house, a fishing club?
I rather think so. There is a small wharf, and a board-walk down to
the Bay, and the house itself is one story and spread-out, so to
Likely it's a summer club-house, which these men have either rented
or preëmpted for our prison.
The country around here is surely deserted! said Davila.
Hence, a proper choice for our temporary residence.
I can't understand the care they are taking of usthe deference
with which we are treated, the food that is given us.
Parmenter's treasure, and the prize they think they're playing for,
has much to do with it. We are of considerable value, according to
After a while, they went back to the house. The two men, who had
remained out of hearing, but near enough to prevent any attempt to
escape, having seen them safely within, disappeared. As they passed
through the hall they encountered the chief. He stepped aside.
You enjoyed your walk, I trust? he said.
Davila nodded curtly. Elaine stopped.
I feel sorry for you! she said, smiling.
You are very kind, he replied. But why?
You are incurring considerable expense for nothing.
He grinned. It is a very great pleasure, I assure you.
You are asking the impossible, she went on. Mr. Croyden told you
the simple truth. He didn't find the Parmenter jewels.
The man's face showed his surprise, but he only shrugged his
shoulders expressively, and made no reply.
I know you do not believe ityet it's a fact, nevertheless. Mr.
Croyden couldn't pay your demands, if he wished. Of course, we enjoy
the experience, but, as I said, it's a trifle expensive for you.
The fellow's grin broadened.
You're a good sport! he saida jolly good sport! But we're
dealing with Mr. Croyden and Mr. Macloud, so, you'll pardon me if I
decline to discuss the subject.
XIX. ROBERT PARMENTER'S SUCCESSORS
In half-an-hour from the time Captain Carrington strode to the
telephone to arouse his friends, all Hampton had the startling news:
Davila Carrington and her guest, Miss Cavendish, had disappeared.
How, when, and where, it could not learn, so it supplied the
deficiency as best pleased the individualby morning, the wildest
tales were rehearsed and credited.
The truth was bad enough, however. Miss Carrington and Miss
Cavendish were not in the town, nor anywhere within a circuit of five
miles. Croyden, Macloud, all the men in the place had searched the
night through, and without avail. Every horse, and every boat had been
accounted for. It remained, that they either had fallen into the Bay,
or had gone in a strange conveyance.
Croyden and Macloud had returned to Clarendon for a bite of
breakfastvery late breakfast, at eleven o'clock. They had met by
accident, on their way to the house, having come from totally different
directions of search.
It's Parmenter again! said Croyden, suddenly.
It's what? said Macloud.
Parmenter:Pirate's gold breeds pirate's ways. The lawyer villain
has reappeared. I told you it was he I saw, yesterday, driving the
I don't quite understand why they selected Elaine and Miss
Carrington to abduct, Macloud objected, after a moment's
consideration. Why didn't they take you?
Because they thought we would come to time more quickly, if they
took the women. They seem to be informed on everything, so, we can
assume, they are acquainted with your fondness for Miss Carrington and
mine for Elaine. Or, it's possible they thought that we both were
interested in Davilafor I've been with her a lot this autumnand
then, at the pinch, were obliged to take Elaine, also, because she was
with her and would give the alarm if left behind.
A pretty fair scheme, said Macloud. The fellow who is managing
this business knew we would do more for the women than for ourselves.
It's the same old difficultywe haven't got Parmenter's treasure,
but they refuse to be convinced.
The telephone rang, and Croyden himself answered it.
Captain Carrington asks that we come over at once, he said,
hanging up the receiver. The Pinkerton men have arrived.
They finished their breakfast and started. Half way to the gate,
they met the postman coming up the walk. He handed Croyden a letter,
faced about and trudged away.
Croyden glanced at it, mechanically tore open the envelope, and drew
it out. As his eyes fell on the first line, he stopped, abruptly.
Listen to this! he said.
On Board The Parmenter,
Pirate Sloop of War,
Off the Capes of the Chesapeake.
It seems something is required to persuade you that we mean
business. Therefore, we have abducted Miss Carrington and her
friend, Miss Cavendish, in the hope that it will rouse you to a
proper realization of the eternal fitness of things, and of our
intention that there shall be a division of the jewelsor their
value in money. Our attorney had the pleasure of an interview
with you, recently, at which time he specified a sum of two
hundred and fifty thousand dollars, as being sufficient. A
further investigation of the probable value of the jewels, having
convinced us that we were in slight error as to their present
worth, induces us to reduce the amount, which we claim as our
share, to two hundred thousand dollars. This is the minimum of
our demand, however, and we have taken the ladies, aforesaid, as
security for its prompt payment.
They will be held in all comfort and respect (if no effort at
rescue be attemptedotherwise we will deal with them as we see
fit), for the period of ten days from the receipt of this letter,
which will be at noon to-morrow. If the sum indicated is not
paid, they will, at the expiration of the ten days, be turned
over to the tender mercies of the crew.Understand?
As to the manner of paymentYou, yourself, must go to
Annapolis, and, between eleven and twelve in the morning, proceed
to the extreme edge of Greenberry Point and remain standing, in
full view from the Bay, for the space of fifteen minutes. You
will, then, face about, step ten paces, and bury the money, which
must be in thousand dollar bills, under a foot of sand. You will
then, immediately, return to Annapolis and take the first car to
Baltimore, and, thence, to Hampton.
In the event that you have not reduced the jewels to cash, we
will be content with such a division as will insure us a moiety
thereof. It will be useless to try deception concerning
them,though a few thousand dollars, one way or the other, won't
matter. When you have complied with these terms, the young women
will be released and permitted to return to Hampton. If notthey
will wish they were dead, even before they are. We are, sir, with
Y'r h'mbl. and ob'dt. serv'ts,
Robert Parmenter's Successors.
Geoffrey Croyden, Esq'r.
Where was it mailed? Macloud asked.
Croyden turned over the envelope. It was postmarked Hampton, 6.30
A.M., of that day.
Which implies that it was mailed some time during the night, said
What do you make of it?
Do you mean, will they carry out their threat?
They have been rather persistent, Macloud replied.
It's absurd! Croyden exclaimed. We haven't the jewels. Damn
Parmenter and his infernal letter!
Parmenter is not to blame, said Macloud. Damn the thieves.
And damn my carelessness in letting them pick my pocket! there lies
the entire difficulty.
Well, the thing, now, is to save the womenand how?
Pay, if need be! exclaimed Croyden. The two hundred thousand I
got for the Virginia Development bonds will be just enough.
Macloud nodded. I'm in for half, old man. Aside from any personal
feelings we may have for the women in question, he said, with a
serious sort of smile, we owe it to themthey were abducted solely
because of usto force us to disgorge.
I'm ready to pay the cash at once.
Don't be hasty! Macloud cautioned. We have ten days, and the
police can take a try at it.
That, for the police! said Croyden, snapping his fingers.
They're all bunglersthey will be sure to make a mess of it, and,
then, no man can foresee what will happen. It's not right to subject
the women to the risk. Let us pay first, and punish afterif we can
catch the scoundrels. How long do you think Henry Cavendish will
hesitate when he learns that Elaine has been abducted, and the peril
which menaces her?
Thunder! we have clean forgot her father! exclaimed Macloud. He
should be informed at once.
Just what he shouldn't be, Croyden returned. What is the good in
alarming him? Free herthen she may tell him, or not, as it pleases
Macloud held out his hand.
Done! he said. Our first duty is to save the women, the
rest can bide until they are free. How about the money? Are your stocks
readily convertible? If not, I'll advance your share.
Much obliged, old man, said Croyden, but a wire will do
itthey're all listed on New York.
Will you lose much, if you sell now? asked Macloud. He wished
Croyden would let him pay the entire amount.
Just about even; a little to the good, in fact, was the answer.
And Macloud said no morehe knew it was useless.
At Ashburton, they found Captain Carrington pacing the long hall, in
deep distressuncertain what course to pursue, because there was no
indication as to what had caused the disappearance. He turned, as the
two men entered.
The detectives are quizzing the servants in the library, he said.
I couldn't sit still.You have news? he exclaimed, reading Croyden's
I have! said Croyden, and gave him the letter.
He seized it. As he read, concern, perplexity, amazement, anger, all
showed in his countenance.
They have been abducted!Davila and Miss Cavendish, and are held
for ransom!a fabulous ransom, which you are asked to pay, he said,
incredulously. So much, at least, is intelligible. But why? why? Who
are Robert Parmenter's Successors?and who was he? and the jewels?I
I'm not surprised, said Croyden. It's a long storytoo long to
tellsave that Parmenter was a pirate, back in 1720, who buried a
treasure on Greenberry Point, across the Severn from Annapolis, you
know, and died, making Marmaduke Duval his heir, under certain
conditions. Marmaduke, in turn, passed it on to his son, and so on,
until Colonel Duval bequeathed it to me. We searchedMr. Macloud and
Ifor three weeks, but did not find it. Our secret was chanced upon by
two rogues, who, with their confederates, however, are under the
conviction we did find it. They wanted a rake-off. I laughed at
themand this abduction is the result.
But why abduct the women? asked the old man.
Because they think I can be coerced more easily. They are under the
impression that I amfond of Miss Carrington. At any rate, they know
I'm enough of a friend to pay, rather than subject her to the hazard.
Pay! I can't pay! My whole fortune isn't over twenty thousand
dollars. It I will gladly sacrifice, but more is impossible.
You're not to pay, my old friend, said Croyden. Mr. Macloud and I
are the ones aimed at and we will pay.
I won't permit it, sir! the Captain exclaimed. There is no reason
Tut! tut! said Croyden, you forget that we are wholly
responsible; but for us, Miss Carrington and Miss Cavendish would not
have been abducted. The obligation is ours, and we will discharge it.
It is our plain, our very plain, duty.
The old man threw up his hands in the extremity of despair.
I don't know what to do! he said. I don't know what to do!
Do nothingleave everything to us. We'll have Miss Carrington back
in three days.
And safeif the letter is trustworthy, and I think it is. The
police can't do as wellthey may fail entirelyand think of the
possible consequences! Miss Carrington and Miss Cavendish are very
My God, yes! exclaimed the Captain. Anything but that! If they
were men, or children, it would be differentthey could take some
chances. But women!He sank on a chair and covered his face with his
hands. You must let me pay what I am able, he insisted. All that I
Croyden let his hand fall sympathizingly on the other's shoulder.
It shall be as you wish, he said quietly. We will pay, and you
can settle with us afterwardour stocks can be converted instantly,
you see, while yours will likely require some time.
The Captain pulled himself together and arose.
Thank you, he said. I've been sort of unmannedI'm better now.
Shall you show the detectives the lettertell them we are going to pay
the amount demanded?
I don't know, said Croyden, uncertainly. What's your opinion,
Let them see the letter, Macloud answered, but on the distinct
stipulation, that they make no effort to apprehend 'Robert Parmenter's
Successors' until the women are safely returned. They may pick up
whatever clues they can obtain for after use, but they must not do
anything which will arouse suspicion, even.
Why take them into our confidence at all? asked Croyden.
For two reasons: It's acting square with them (which, it seems to
me, is always the wise thing to do). And, if they are not let in on the
facts, they may blunder in and spoil everything. We want to save the
women at the earliest moment, without any possible handicaps due to
ignorance or inadvertence.
But can we trust them? Croyden asked, doubtfully.
It's the lesser of two evils.
We will have to explain the letter, its reference to the Parmenter
jewels, and all that it contains.
I can see no objection. We didn't find the treasure, and, I reckon,
they're welcome to search, if they think there is a chance.
Well, let it be exactly as you wishyou're quite as much concerned
for success as I am, said Croyden.
Possibly, more so, returned Macloud, seriously.
And Croyden understood.
Then, they went into the library. The two detectives arose at their
entrance. The one, Rebbert, was a Pinkerton man, the other, Sanders,
was from the Bureau at City Hall. Both were small men, with clean
shaven faces, steady, searching eyes, and an especially quiet manner.
Mr. Croyden, said Rebbert, we have been questioning the servants,
but have obtained nothing of importance, except that the ladies wore
their hats and coats (at least, they have disappeared). This, with the
fact that you found Miss Cavendish's glove and handkerchief, on a road
without the limits of Hampton, leads to the conclusion that they have
been abducted. But why? Miss Carrington, we are informed, has no great
wealthhow as to Miss Cavendish?
She has more than sufficientin fact, she is very rich
Ah! then we have a motive, said the detective.
There is a motive, but it is not Miss Cavendish, Croyden answered.
You're correct as to the abduction, howeverthis will explain, and
he handed him the letter.
The two men read it.
When did you receive this? said one.
At noon to-day, replied Croyden, passing over the envelope.
They looked carefully at the postmark.
Do you object to explaining certain things in this letter? Rebbert
Not in the least, replied Croyden. I'll tell you the entire
story.... Is there anything I have missed? he ended.
I think not, sir.
Very well! Now, we prefer that you should take no measures to
apprehend the abductors, until after Miss Cavendish and Miss Carrington
have been released. We are going to pay the amount demanded.
Going to pay the two hundred thousand dollars! cried the
detectives, in one breath.
Croyden nodded. Afterward, you can get as busy as you like.
A knowing smile broke over the men's faces, at the same instant.
You too think we found the treasure? Croyden exclaimed.
It looks that way, sir, said Rebbert; while Sanders acquiesced,
with another smile.
Croyden turned to Macloud and held up his hands, hopelessly.
If we only had! he cried. If we only had!
XX. THE CHECK
On the second morning after their abduction, when Elaine and Davila
arose, the sky was obscured by fog, the trees exuded moisture, and only
a small portion of the Bay was faintly visible through the mist.
This looks natural! said Elaine. We must have moved out to
Northumberland, in the night.
Davila smiled, a feeble sort of smile. It was not a morning to
promote light-heartedness, and particularly under such circumstances.
Is this anything like Northumberland? she asked.
Yes!Only Northumberland is more so. For a misty day, this would
be remarkably fine.With us, it's midnight at noonall the lights
burning, in streets, and shops, and electric cars, bells jangling,
people rushing, pushing, diving through the dirty blackness, like
devils in hell. Oh, it's pleasant, when you get used to it.Ever been
No, said Davila, I haven't.
We must have you outsay, immediately after the holidays. Will you
I'll be glad to come, if I'm aliveand we ever get out of this
It is stupid here, said Elaine. I thought there was
something novel in being abducted, but it's rather dreary business. I'm
ready to quit, are you?
I was ready to quit before we started! Davila laughed.
We will see what can be done about it. We'll have in the head
jailer. She struck the bell. Ask the chief to be kind enough to come
here a moment, she said, to the girl who attended them.
In a few minutes, he appearedsuave, polite, courteous.
You sent for me, Miss Cavendish? he inquired.
I did. Sit down, please, I've something to say to you, Mr.
Jones, for short, he replied.
Thank you! said Elaine, with a particularly winning smile. Mr.
Jones, for shortyou will pardon me, I know, if I seem unduly
personal, but these quarters are not entirely to our liking.
I'm very sorry, indeed, he replied. We tried to make them
comfortable. In what are they unsatisfactory?we will remedy it, if
We would prefer another localityHampton, to be specific.
You mean that you are tired of captivity? he smiled. I see your
point of view, and I'm hopeful that Mr. Croyden will see it, also, and
permit us to release you, in a few days.
It is that very point I wish to discuss a moment with you, she
interrupted. I told you before, that Mr. Croyden didn't find the
jewels and that, therefore, it is impossible for him to pay.
You will pardon me if I doubt your statement.Moreover, we are not
privileged to discuss the matter with you. We can deal only with Mr.
Croyden, as I think I have already intimated.
Then you will draw an empty covert, she replied.
That remains to be seen, as I have also intimated, said Mr. Jones,
But you don't want to draw an empty covert, do youto have only
your trouble for your pains? she asked.
It would be a great disappointment, I assure you.
You have been at considerable expense to provide for our
Pray do not mention it!it's a very great pleasure.
It would be a greater pleasure to receive the cash? she asked.
Since the cash is our ultimate aim, I confess it would be equally
satisfactory, he replied.
Then why not tell me the amount?
He shook his head.
Such matters are for Mr. Croyden, he said.
Just assume that Mr. Croyden cannot pay, she insisted. Are we
not to be given a chance to find the cash?
Mr. Croyden can pay.
But assume that he cannot, she reiterated, or won'tit's the
In that event, you
Would be given the opportunity, she broke in.
Then why not let us consider the matter in the first instance? she
asked. The money is the thing. It can make no difference to you whence
it comesfrom Mr. Croyden or from me.
None in the world! he answered.
And it would be much more simple to accept a check and to release
us when it is paid?
Checks are not accepted in this business! he smiled.
Ordinarily not, it would be too dangerous, I admit. But if it could
be arranged to your satisfaction, what then?
I don't think it can be arranged, he replied. The amount is much
And that amount is she persisted, smiling at him the while.
Two hundred thousand dollars, he replied.
With what per cent. off for cash?
Nonenot a fraction of a penny!
She nodded, slightly. Why can't it be arranged?
You're thinking of paying it? he asked, incredulously.
I want to know why you think it can't be arranged? she repeated.
The danger of detection. No bank would pay a check for that amount
to an unknown party, without the personal advice of the drawer.
Not if it were made payable to self, and properly indorsed for
I fear not.
You can try itthere's no harm in trying. You have a bank that
But scarcely for such large amounts.
What of it? You deposit the check for collection only. They will
send it through. When it's paid, they will pay you. If it's not paid,
there is no harm doneand we are still your prisoners. You stand to
win everything and lose nothing.
The man looked thoughtfully at the ceiling.
The check will be paid? he asked, presently.
If it isn't paid, you still have us, said Elaine.
It might be managed.
That is your part. If the check is presented, it will be paidyou
may rest easy, on that score.
Jones resumed his contemplation of the ceiling.
But remember, she cautioned, when it is paid, we are to be
released, instantly. No holding us for Mr. Croyden to pay, also. If we
play square with you, you must play square with us. I risk a fortune,
see that you make good.
Your checkit should be one of the sort you always use
I always carry a few blank checks in my handbagand fortunately, I
have it with me. You were careful to wrap it in with my arms. I will
She went into her room. In a moment she returned, the blank check in
her fingers, and handed it to him. It was of a delicate robin's-egg
blue, with The Tuscarora Trust Company printed across the face in a
darker shade, and her monogram, in gold, at the upper end.
Is it sufficiently individual to raise a presumption of
regularity? she said.
Undoubtedly! he answered.
Then, let us understand each other, she said.
By all means, he agreed.
I give you my check for two hundred thousand dollars, duly
executed, payable to my order, and endorsed by me, which, when paid,
you, on behalf of your associates and yourself, engage to accept in
lieu of the amount demanded from Mr. Croyden, and to release Miss
Carrington and myself forthwith.
There is one thing more, he said. You, on your part, are to
stipulate that no attempt will be made to arrest us.
We will engage that we will do nothing to apprehend you.
Directly or indirectly? he questioned.
Yes!more than that is not in our power. You will have to assume
the general risk you took when you abducted us.
We will take it, was the quiet answer.
Is there anything else? she asked.
I think notat least, everything is entirely satisfactory to us.
Despite the fact that it couldn't be made so! she smiled.
I didn't know we had to deal with a woman of such business sense
andwealth, he answered gallantly.
She smiled. If you will get me ink and pen, I will sign the check,
She filled it in for the amount specified, signed and endorsed it.
Then she took, from her handbag, a correspondence card, embossed with
her initials, and wrote this note:
My dear Mr. Thompson:
I have made a purchase, down here, and my check for Two Hundred
Thousand dollars, in consideration, will come through, at once.
Please see that it is paid, promptly.
Yours very sincerely,
To James Thompson, Esq'r., Treasurer, The Tuscarora Trust Co.,
She addressed the envelope and passed it and the card across to Mr.
Jones, together with the check.
If you will mail this, to-night, it will provide against any chance
of non-payment, she said.
You are a marvel of accuracy, he answered, with a bow. I would I
could always do business with you.
At two hundred thousand the time? No! no! monsieur, I pray thee, no
There was a knock on the door; the maid entered and spoke in a low
tone to Jones. He nodded.
I am sorry to inconvenience you again, he said, turning to them,
but I must trouble you to go aboard the tug.
The tugon the water? Elaine exclaimed.
On the waterthat is usually the place for well behaved tugs! he
Now! Elaine persisted.
Nowbefore I go to deposit the check! he smiled. You will be
safer on the tug. There will be no danger of an escape or a rescueand
it won't be for long, I trust.
Your trust is no greater than ours, I assure you, said Elaine.
Their few things were quickly gathered, and they went down to the
wharf, where a small boat was drawn up ready to take them to the tug,
which was lying a short distance out in the Bay.
One of the Baltimore tugs, likely, said Davila. There are scores
of them, there, and some are none too chary about the sort of business
they are employed in.
Witness the present! commented Elaine.
They got aboard without accident. Jones conducted them to the little
cabin, which they were to occupy togetheran upper and a lower bunk
having been provided.
The maid will sleep in the galley, said he. She will look after
the cooking, and you will dine in the small cabin next to this one.
It's a bit contracted quarters for you, and I'm sorry, but it won't be
for longas we both trust, Miss Cavendish.
And you? asked Elaine.
I go to deposit the check. I will have my bank send it direct for
collection, with instructions to wire immediately if paid. I presume
you don't wish it to go through the ordinary course.
Most assuredly not! Elaine answered.
This is Thursday, said Jones. The check, and your note, should
reach the Trust Company in the same mail to-morrow morning; they can be
depended upon to wire promptly, I presume?
Then, we may be able to release you to-morrow night, certainly by
It can't come too soon for us.
You don't seem to like our hospitality, Jones observed.
It's excellent of its sort, but we don't fancy the sortyou
understand, monsieur. And then, too, it is frightfully expensive.
We have done the best we could under the circumstances, he smiled.
Until Saturday at the latestmeanwhile, permit me to offer you a very
Elaine smiled sweetly, and Mr. Jones went out.
Why do you treat him so amiably? Davila asked. I couldn't, if I
Policy, Elaine answered. We get on better. It wouldn't help our
case to be sullenand it might make it much worse. I would gladly
shoot him, and hurrah over it, too, as I fancy you would do, but it
does no good to show it, nowwhen we can't shoot him.
I suppose not, said Davila. But I'm glad I don't have to play the
part. She hesitated a moment. Elaine, I don't know how to thank you
for my freedom
Wait until you have it! the other laughed. Though there isn't a
doubt of the check being paid.
My grandfather, I know, will repay you with his entire fortune, but
that will be little
Elaine stopped her further words by placing a hand over her mouth,
and kissing her.
That's quite enough, dear! she said. Take it that the reward is
for my release, and that you were just tossed in for good measureor,
that it is a slight return for the pleasure of visiting youor, that
the money is a small circumstance to meor, that it is a trifling sum
to pay to be saved the embarrassment of proposing to Geoffrey,
myselfor, take it any way you like, only, don't bother your pretty
head an instant more about it. In the slang of the day: 'Forget it,'
completely and utterly, as a favor to me if for no other reason.
I'll promise to forget ituntil we're free, agreed Davila.
And, in the meantime, let us have a look around this old boat,
said Elaine. You're nearer the door, will you open it? Two can't pass
in this room.
Davila tried the doorit refused to open.
It's locked! she said.
Oh, well! we will content ourselves with watching the Bay through
the port hole, and when one wants to turn around the other can crawl up
in her bunk. I'm going to write a book about this experience, some
time.I wonder what Geoffrey and Colin are doing? she
laughedrunning around like mad and stirring up the country, I
XXI. THE JEWELS
Macloud went to New York on the evening train. He carried Croyden's
power of attorney with stock sufficient, when sold, to make up his
share of the cash. He had provided for his own share by a wire to his
brokers and his bank in Northumberland. A draft would be awaiting him.
He would reduce both amounts to one thousand dollar bills and hurry
back to Annapolis to meet Croyden.
But they counted not on the railroads,or rather they did count on
them, and they were disappointed. A freight was derailed just south of
Hampton, tearing up the track for a hundred yards, and piling the right
of way with wreckage of every description. Macloud's train was twelve
hours late leaving Hampton. Then, to add additional ill luck, they ran
into a wash out some fifty miles further on; with the result that they
did not reach New York until after the markets were over and the banks
had closed for the day.
He wired the facts to Croyden. The following day, he sold the
stocks, the brokers gave him the proceeds in the desired bills, after
the delivery hour, and he made a quick get-away for Annapolis, arriving
there at nine o'clock in the evening.
Croyden was awaiting him, at Carvel Hall.
I'm sorry, for the girls' sake, said he, but it's only a day
lost. We will deliver the goods to-morrow. And, then, pray God, they be
freed before another night! That lawyer thief is a rogue and a robber,
but something tells me he will play straight.
I reckon we will have to trust him, returned Macloud. Where is
the Pinkerton man?
He is in town. He will be over on the Point in the morning,
disguised as a negro and chopping wood, on the edge of the timber.
There isn't much chance of him identifying the gang, but it's the best
we can do. It's the girls first, the scoundrels afterward, if
At eleven o'clock the following day, Croyden, mounted on one of
Cheney's Best, rode away from the hotel. There had been a sudden
change in the weather, during the night; the morning was clear and
bright and warm, as happens, sometimes, in Annapolis, in late November.
The Severn, blue and placid, flung up an occasional white cap to greet
him, as he crossed the bridge. He nodded to the draw-keeper, who
recognized him, drew aside for an automobile to pass, and then trotted
sedately up the hill, and into the woods beyond.
He could hear the Band of the Academy pounding out a quick-step, and
catch a glimpse of the long line of midshipmen passing in review,
before some notable. The custard and cream of the chapel dome
obtruded itself in all its hideousness; the long reach of Bancroft Hall
glowed white in the sun; the library with its clockthe former, by
some peculiar idea, placed at the farthest point from the dormitory,
and the latter where the midshipmen cannot see itdominated the
opposite end of the grounds. Everywhere was quiet, peace, and
disciplinethe embodiment of order and law,the Flag flying over all.
And yet, he was on his way to pay a ransom of very considerable
amount, for two women who were held prisoners!
He tied his horse to a limb of a maple, and walked out on the Point.
Save for a few trees, uprooted by the gales, it was the same Point they
had dug over a few weeks before. A negro, chopping at a log, stopped
his work, a moment, to look at him curiously, then resumed his labor.
The Pinkerton man! thought Croyden, but he made no effort to speak
Somewhere,from a window in the town, or from one of the numerous
ships bobbing about on the Bay or the Riverhe did not doubt a glass
was trained on him, and his every motion was being watched.
For full twenty minutes, he stood on the extreme tip of the Point,
and looked out to sea. Then he faced directly around and stepped ten
paces inland. Kneeling, he quickly dug with a small trowel a hole a
foot deep in the sand, put into it the package of bills, wrapped in
oil-skin, and replaced the ground.
There! said he, as he arose. Pirate's gold breeds pirate's ways.
May we have seen the last of youand may the devil take you all!
He went slowly back to his horse, mounted, and rode back to town.
They had done their partwould the thieves do theirs?
Adhering strictly to the instructions, Croyden and Macloud left
Annapolis on the next car, caught the boat at Baltimore, and arrived in
Hampton in the evening, in time for dinner. They stopped a few minutes
at Ashburton, to acquaint Captain Carrington with their return, and
then went on to Clarendon.
Both men were nervous. Neither wanted the other to know and each
endeavored to appear at ease.
Croyden gave in first. He threw his cigarette into his coffee cup,
and pushed his chair back from the table.
It's no use, Colin! he laughed. You're trying to appear
nonchalant, and you're doing it very well, too, but you can't control
your fingers and your eyesand neither can I, I fancy, though I've
tried hard enough, God knows! We are about all in! These four days of
strain and uncertainty have taken it all out of us. If I had any doubt
as to my affection for Elaine, it's vanished, now.I don't say I'm
fool enough to propose to her, yet I'm scarcely responsible, at
present. If I were to see her this minute, I'd likely do something
You're coming around to it, gradually, said Macloud.
Gradually! Hum! I don't know about the 'gradually.' I want to pull
myself togetherto get a rein on myselftowhat are you smiling at;
am I funny?
You are! said Macloud. I never saw a man fight so hard against
his personal inclinations, and a rich wife. You don't deserve her!if
I were Elaine, I'd turn you down hard, hard.
Thank God! you're not Elaine! Croyden retorted.
And hence, with a woman's unreasonableness and trust in the one she
loves, she will likely accept you.
How do you know she loves me?
Macloud blew a couple of smoke rings and watched them sail upward.
I suppose you're equally discerning as to Miss Carrington, and her
love for you, Croyden commented.
I regret to say, I'm not, said Macloud, seriously. That is what
troubles me, indeed. Unlike my friend, Geoffrey Croyden, I'm perfectly
sure of my own mind, but I'm not sure of the lady's.
Then, why don't you find out?
Exactly what I shall do, when she returns.
It's sure as fate! said Croyden.
Thanks! We each seem to be able to answer the other's uncertainty,
he remarked, calmly.
Presently, Macloud arose.
I'm going over to Ashburton, and talk with the Captain a
littlesort of cheer him up. Come along?
Croyden shook his head.
Go on! said he. It's a very good occupation for you, sitting up
to the old gent. I'll give you a chance by staying away, to-night. Make
a hit with grandpa, Colin, make a hit with grandpa!
And you make a hit with yourselfget rid of your foolish theory,
and come down to simple facts, Macloud retorted, and he went out.
Get rid of your foolish theory, Croyden soliloquized. Well,
maybebut is it foolish, that's the question? I'm poor, once
moreI've not enough even for Elaine Cavendish's husbandthere's the
rub! she won't be Geoffrey Croyden's wife, it's I who will be Elaine
Cavendish's husband. 'Elaine Cavendish and her husband dine with
us to-night!''Elaine Cavendish and her husband were at the
horse show!' 'Elaine Cavendish and her husband were here!or
there!or thus and so!'
He could not endure it. It would be too belittling, too disparaging
of self-respect.Elaine Cavendish's husband!Elaine Cavendish's
husband! Might he out-grow itbe known for himself? He glanced up at
the portrait of the gallant soldier of a lost cause, with the high-bred
face and noble bearing.
You were a brave man, Colonel Duval! he said. What would you have
He took out a cigar, lit it very deliberately, and fell to
thinking.... Presently, worn out by fatigue and anxiety, he dozed....
* * * * *
And as he dozed, the street door opened softly, a light step crossed
the hall, and Elaine Cavendish stood in the doorway.
She was clad in black velvet, trimmed in sable. Her head was bare. A
blue cloak was thrown, with careless grace, about her gleaming
shoulders. One slender hand lifted the gown from before her feet. She
saw the sleeping man and paused, and a smile of infinite tenderness
passed across her face.
A moment she hesitated, and at the thought, a faint blush suffused
her face. Then she glided softly over, bent and kissed him on the lips.
He opened his eyes, and sprang up! Startled! She was there, before
him, the blush still on cheek and brow.
Elaine! sweetheart! he cried. And, straightway took her,
unresisting, in his arms....
Tell me all about yourself, he said, at last, drawing her down
into the chair and seating himself on the arm. Where is Miss
Colin's with herI reckon she's safe! smiled Elaine. It won't be
his fault if she isn't, I'm sure.I left them at Ashburton, and came
over here toyou.
Alone! said Croyden, bending over her.
She nodded, eyes half downcast.
You foolish girl!
I'll go back at once
He laughed, joyously.
Not yet a little while! and bent again.
Geoffrey! you're dreadful! she exclaimed, half smothered. My
hair, dear,do be careful!
I'll be goodif you will kiss me again! he said.
But you're not asleep, she objected.
That's why I want it.
And you will promisenot to kiss me again?
For half an hour.
She looked up at him tantalizingly, her red lips parted, her bosom
If it's worth coming half way for, sweetheartyou may, she
Now, if you're done with foolishnessfor a little while, she
said, gayly, I'll tell you how we managed to get free.
You know why you were abducted? he asked.
Oh, yes!the Parmenter jewels. Davila told me the story, and how
you didn't find them, though our abductors think you did, and won't
You suffered no hurt? he asked, sharply.
Nonewe were most courteously treated; and they released us, as
quickly as the check was paid.
What do you mean? he demanded.
I mean, that I gave them my check for the ransom moneyyou hadn't
the jewels, you couldn't comply with the demand. How do you suppose we
got free? she questioned.
You paid the money? he asked, again.
Certainly! I knew you couldn't pay it, so I did. Don't let us think
of it, dear!It's over, and we have each other, now. What is money
compared to that? Then suddenly she, woman-like, went straight back to
it. How did you think we managed to get freeescaped? she asked.
Yes! he answered. YesI never thought of your paying the money.
She regarded him critically.
No! she said, you are deceiving me!you areyou paid the
money, also! she cried.
What matters it? he said joyfully. What matters anything now?
Macloud and I did pay the ransom to-daybut of what consequence
is it; whether you bought your freedom, or we bought it, or both bought
it? You and Davila are here, againthat's the only thing that
Right you are! Geoffrey, right you are! came Macloud's voice from
the hallway, and Davila and he walked into the room.
Elaine, with a little shriek, sprang up.
Don't be bashful! said Macloud. Davila and I were occupying
similar positions at Ashburton, a short time ago. Weren't we, little
girl? as he made a motion to put his arm around her.
Davila eluded himthough the traitor red confirmed his wordsand
sought Elaine's side for safety.
It's a pleasure only deferred, my dear! he laughed. By the way,
Elaine, how did Croyden happen to give in? He was shying off at your
wealthsaid it would be giving hostages to fortune, and all that rot.
Shut up, you beggar! Croyden exclaimed. I'm going to try to make
Geoffrey, said Elaine, won't you show us the old pirate's
letterwe're all interested in it, now.
Certainly, I will! he said. I'll show you the letter, and where I
found it, and anything else you want to see. Nothing is locked,
They went over to the escritoire. Croyden opened the secret drawer,
and took out the letter.
A Message from the Dead! he said, solemnly, and handed it to
She carried it to the table, spread it out under the lamp, and
Davila and she studied it, carefully, even as Croyden and Macloud had
donereading the Duval endorsements over and over again.
It seems to me there is something queer about these postscripts,
she said, at last; something is needed to make them clear. Is this the
entire letter?didn't you find anything else?
Nothing! said Croyden.
May I look? she asked.
Most assuredly, sweetheart.
It's a bit dark in this hole. Let me have a match.
She struck it, and peered back into the recess.
Ah! she exclaimed. Here is something!only a corner visible.
She put in her hand. It has slipped down, back of the false partition.
I'll get it, presently.There!
She drew out a tiny sheet of paper, and handed it to Croyden.
Does that help? she asked.
Croyden glanced at it; then gave a cry of amazed surprise.
It does! he said. It does! It's the key to the mystery. Listen!
The rest crowded around him while he read:
5 Oct. 1738.
Memorandum to accompany the letter of Robert Parmenter, dated 10
Whereas, it is stipulated by the said Parmenter that the Jewels
shall be used only in the Extremity of Need; and hence, as I have
an abundance of this world's Goods, that Need will, likely, not
come to me. And judging that Greenberry Point will change, in
timeso that my son or his Descendants, if occasion arise, may
be unable to locate the TreasureI have lifted the Iron box,
from the place where Parmenter buried it, and have reinterred it
in the cellar of my House in Hampton, renewing the Injunction
which Parmenter put upon it, that it shall be used only in the
Extremity of Need. When this Need arise, it will be found in the
south-east corner of the front cellar. At the depth of two feet,
between two large stones, is the Iron box. It contains the
jewels, the most marvelous I have ever seen.
For a moment, they stood staring at one another too astonished to
My Lord! Macloud finally ejaculated. To think that it was here,
all the time!
Croyden caught up the lamp.
Come on! he said.
They trooped down to the cellar, Croyden leading the way. Moses was
off for the evening, they had the house to themselves. As they passed
the foot of the stairs, Macloud picked up a mattock.
Me for the digging! he said. Which is the south-east corner,
There, under those boxes! said she.
They were quickly tossed aside.
The ground is not especially hard, observed Macloud, with the
first stroke. I reckon a yard square is sufficient.At a depth of two
feet the memorandum says, doesn't it?
No one answered. Fascinated, they were watching the fall of the
pick. With every blow, they were listening for it to strike the stones.
Better get a shovel, Croyden, we'll need it, said Macloud, pausing
long enough, to throw off his coat.... Oh! I forgot to say, I wired
the Pinkerton man to recover the package you buried this morning.
Croyden only noddedstood the lamp on a box, and returned with the
This will answer, I reckon, he said, and fell to work.
It seems absurd! remarked Macloud, between strokes. To have
hunted the treasure, for weeks, all over Greenberry Point, and then to
find it in the cellar, like a can of lard or a bushel of potatoes.
You haven't found it, yet, Croyden cautioned. And we've gone the
No! we haven't found it, yet!but we're going to find it! Macloud
answered, sinking the pick, viciously, in the ground, with the last
It had struck hard against a stone.
What did I tell you? Macloud cried, sinking the pick in at another
Again, it struck! and again! and again! The fifth stroke laid the
stone barethe sixth and seventh loosened it, still morethe eighth
and ninth completed the task.
Give me the shovel! said he.
When the earth was away and the stone exposed, he stooped and,
putting his fingers under the edges, heaved it out.
The rest is for you, Croyden! and stepped aside.
The iron box was found!
For a moment, Croyden looked at it, rather dazedly. Could it be the
jewels were there!within his reach!under that lid! Suddenly,
he laughed!gladly, gleefully, as a boyand sprang down into the
The box clung to its resting place for a second, as though it was
reluctant to be disturbedthen it yielded, and Croyden swung it onto
We'll take it to the library, he said, scraping it clean of the
And carrying it before them, like the Ark of the Covenant, they went
joyously up to the floor above.
He placed it on the table under the chandelier, where all could see.
It was of iron, rusty with age; in dimension, about a foot square; and
fastened by a hasp, with the bar of the lock thrust through but not
Light the gas, Colin!every burner, he said. We'll have the full
effulgence, if you please....
For a little time, the lid resisted. Suddenly, it yielded.
Behold! he heralded, and flung it back.
The scintillations which leaped out to meet them, were like the rays
from myriads of gleaming, glistening, varicolored lights, of dazzling
brightness and infinite depth. A wonderful cavern of coruscating
splendorrubies and diamonds, emeralds and sapphires, pearls and opals
glowing with all the fire of self, and the resentment of long neglect.
Heaven! What beauty! exclaimed Davila.
It broke the spell.
They are real! Croyden laughed. You may touch themthey will not
They put them out on the tablein little heaps of color. The women
exclaiming whene'er they touched them, cooingly as a woman does when
handling jewelsfondling them, caressing them, loving them.
At last, the box was empty. They stood back and gazedfascinated by
it all:the colorthe glowing reds and whites, and greens and blues.
It is wonderful! wonderful! breathed Elaine.
It is wonderfuland it's true! said Croyden.
Two necklaces lay among the rubies, alike as lapidary's art could
make them. Croyden handed one to Macloud, the other he took.
In remembrance of your release, and of Parmenter's treasure! he
said, and clasped it around Elaine's fair neck.
Macloud clasped his around Davila's.
Who cares, now, for the time spent on Greenberry Point or the
double reward! he laughed.
* * * * *