Island by Sir
"No!" he cried, passionately. "You drew me on; you led me to believe
that you cared for me; you encouraged me! What! can a girl go on
as you have done without meaning anything? Does a girl allow a
man to press her hand—to keep her hand—without meaning anything?
Unless these things mean nothing, you are the most heartless girl
in the whole world; yes—I say the coldest, the most treacherous,
the most heartless!" It was evening, and moonlight; a soft and
delicious night in September. The waves lapped gently at their
feet, the warm breeze played upon their faces, the moon shone upon
them—an evening wholly unfit for such a royal rage as this young
gentleman (two and twenty is still young) exhibited. He walked
about on the parade, which was deserted except for this solitary
pair, gesticulating, waving his arms, mad with the madness of
She sat on one of the seaside benches, her hands clasped, her head
bent, overwhelmed and frightened and remorseful. He went on: he
recalled the day when first they met; he reminded her of the many,
many ways in which she had led him on to believe that she cared
for him; he accused her of making him love her in order to laugh
at him. When he could find nothing more to say, he flung himself
upon the bench,—but on the other end of it,—and crossed his arms,
and dropped his head upon them. So that there were two on the bench,
one at either end, and both with their heads dropped—a pretty
picture in the moonlight of a lovers' quarrel. But this was worse
than a lovers' quarrel. It was the end of everything, for the girl
was engaged to another man.
She rose. If he had been looking up, he would have seen that there
were tears in her eyes and on her cheek.
"Mr. Fernie," she stammered, timidly, "I suppose there is nothing
more to say. I am no doubt all that you have called me. I am
heartless; I have led you on. Well, but I did not know—how could
I tell that you were taking things so seriously? How can you be so
angry just because I can't marry you? One girl is no better than
another. There are plenty of girls in the world. I thought you
liked me, and I—but what is the use of talking? I am heartless
and cold; I am treacherous and vain and cruel, and—and—won't you
shake hands with me once more, Claude, before we part?"
"No! I will never shake hands with you again; never—never! By
heavens! nothing that could happen now would ever make me shake
hands with you again. I hate you, I loathe you, I shudder at the
sight of you, I could not forgive you—never! You have ruined my
life. Shake hands with you! Who but a heartless and worthless woman
could propose such a thing?"
She shivered and shook at his wild words. She could not, as she
said, understand the vehemence of the passion that held the man.
He was more than half mad, and she was only half sorry. Forgive
the girl. She was only seventeen, just fresh from her governess.
She was quite innocent and ignorant. She knew nothing about the
reality and vehemence of passion; she thought that they had been
very happy together. Claude, to be sure, was ridiculously fond of
taking her hand; once he kissed her head to show the depth of his
friendship. He was such a good companion; they had had such a
pleasant time; it was a dreadful pity that he should be so angry.
Besides, it was not as if she liked the other man, who was old and
"Good-bye, then, Claude," she said. "Perhaps when we meet again you
will be more ready to forgive me. Oh," she laughed, "it is so silly
that a man like you—a great, strong, clever, handsome man—should
be so foolish over a girl! Besides, you ought to know that a girl
can't have things her own way always. Good-bye, Claude. Won't you
shake hands?" She laid her hand upon his shoulder,—just touched
it,—turned, and fled.
She had not far to go. The villa where she lived was within
five minutes' walk. She ran in, and found her mother alone in the
"My dear," the mother said, irritably, "I wish to goodness you
wouldn't run out after dinner. Where have you been?"
"Only into the garden, and to look at the sea."
"There's Sir William in the dining-room still."
"Let him stay there, mother dear. He'll drink up all the wine and
go to sleep, perhaps, and then we shall be rid of him."
"Go in, Florence, and bring him out. It isn't good for him, at his
age, to drink so much."
"Let the servants go," the girl replied, rebellious.
"My dear, your own accepted lover! Have you no right feeling? O
Florence! and when I am so ill, and you know—I told you—"
"A woman should not marry her grandfather. I've had more than
enough of him to-day already. You made me promise to marry him.
Until I do marry he may amuse himself. As soon as we are married,
I shall fill up all the decanters, and keep them full, and encourage
him to drink as much as ever he possibly can."
"My dear, are you mad?"
"Oh no! I believe I have only just come to my senses. Mad? No.
I have been mad. Now, when it is too late, I am sane. When it is
too late—when I have just understood what I have done."
"Nonsense, child! What do you mean by being too late? Besides, you
are doing what every girl does. You have accepted the hand of an
old man who can give you a fine position and a great income and
every kind of luxury. What more can a girl desire? When I die—you
know already—there will be nothing—nothing at all for you. Marriage
is your only chance."
At this moment the door opened, and Sir William himself appeared.
He was not, although a man so rich, and therefore so desirable,
quite a nice old man to look at—not quite such an old man as a
girl would fall in love with at first sight; but perhaps under the
surface there lay unsuspected virtues by the dozen. He was short
and fat; his hair was white; his face was red; he had great white
eyebrows; he had thick lips; his eyes rolled unsteadily, and his
shoulders lurched; he had taken much more wine than is good for a
man of seventy.
He held out both hands and lurched forward. "Florenshe," he said,
thickly, "letsh sit down together somewhere. Letsh talk, my dear."
The girl slipped from the proffered hands and fled from the room.
"Whatsh matter with the girl?" said Sir William.
Out at sea, all by itself, somewhere about thirty miles from a
certain good-sized island in a certain ocean, there lies another
little island—an eyot—about a mile long and half a mile broad. It
is a coral islet. The coral reef stretches out all round it, except
in one or two places, where the rock shelves suddenly, making it
possible for a ship to anchor there. The islet is flat, but all
round it runs a kind of natural sea-wall, about ten feet high and
as many broad; behind it, on the side which the wall protects from
the prevailing wind, is a little grove of low, stunted trees, the
name and kind of which the successive tenants of the island have
never been curious to ascertain. I am therefore unable to tell you
what they are. The area protected by the sea-wall, as low as the
sea-level, was covered all over with long, rank grass. At the
north end of the islet a curious round rock, exactly like a martello
tower, but rather higher, rose out of the water, separated from
the sea-wall by twenty or thirty feet of deep water, dark blue,
transparent; sometimes rolling and rushing and tearing at the sides
of the rock, sometimes gently lifting the seaweed that clung to
the sides. Round the top of the rock flew, screaming all the year
round, the sea-birds. Far away on the horizon, like a blue cloud,
one could see land; it was the larger island, to which this place
belonged. At the south end was a lighthouse, built just like all
lighthouses, with low white buildings at its foot, and a flagstaff,
and an enclosure which was a feeble attempt at a flower-garden.
You may see a lighthouse exactly like it at Broadstairs. In fact,
it is a British lighthouse. Half a mile from the lighthouse, where
the sea-wall broadened into a wide, level space, there was a wooden
house of four rooms—dining-room, salon, and two bedrooms. It was
a low house, provided with a veranda on either side. The windows
had no glass in them, but there were thick shutters in case
of hurricanes. There were doors to the rooms, but they were never
shut. Nothing was shut or locked up or protected. On the inner or
land side there was a garden, in which roses (a small red rose)
grew in quantities, and a few English flowers. The elephant-creeper,
with its immense leaves, clambered up the veranda poles and over
the roof. There was a small plot of ground planted pineapples, and
a solitary banana-tree stood under the protection of the house,
its leaves blown to shreds, its head bowed down.
Beyond the garden was a collection of three or four huts, where
lived the Indian servants and their families.
The residents of this retreat—this secluded earthly paradise—were
these Indian servants with their wives and children; the three
lighthouse men, who messed together; and the captain, governor, or
commander-in-chief, who lived in the house all by himself because
he had no wife or family.
Now the remarkable thing about this island is that, although it
is so far removed from any other inhabited place, and although it
is so small, the human occupants number many thousands. With the
exception of the people above named, these thousands want nothing:
neither the light of the the day or the warmth of the sun; neither
food nor drink. They lie side by side under the rank grass, without
headstones or even graves to mark their place, without a register
or record of their departure, without even coffins! There they
lie,—sailors, soldiers, coolies, negroes,—forgotten and lost as
much as if they had never been born. And if their work lives after
them, nobody knows what that work is. They belong to the vast army
of the Anonymous. Poor Anonymous! They do all the work. They grow
our corn and breed our sheep; they make and mend for us; they build
up our lives for us. We never know them, nor thank them, nor think
of them. All over the world, they work for their far-off brethren;
and when one dies, we know not, because another takes his place.
And at the last a mound of green grass, or even nothing but an
undistinguished strip of ground!
Here lay, side by side, the Anonymous—thousands of them. Did
I say they were forgotten? Not quite; they are remembered by the
two or three Indian women, wives of the Indian servants, who live
there. At sunset they and their children retreat to their huts,
and stay in them till sunrise next morning. They dare not so much
as look outside the door, because the place is crowded with white,
shivering, sheeted ghosts! Speak to one of these women; she will
point out to you, trembling, one, two, half a dozen ghosts. It
is true that the dull eye of the Englishman can see nothing. She
sees them—distinguishes them one from the other. She can see them
every night; yet she can never overcome her terror. The governor,
or captain, or commander-in-chief, for his part, sees nothing.
He sleeps in his house quite alone, with his cat and dog, windows
and doors wide open, and has no fear of any ghosts. If he felt any
fear, of course he would be surrounded and pestered to death every
night with multitudes of ghosts; but he fears nothing. He is a
doctor, you see; and no doctor ever yet was afraid of ghosts.
How did they come here—this huge regiment of dead men? In several
ways. Cholera accounts for most, yellow fever for some, other
fevers for some, but for the most cholera has been the destroyer.
Because, you see, this is Quarantine Island. If a ship has cholera
or any other infectious disease on board, it cannot touch at the
island close by, which is a great place for trade, and has every
year a quantity of ships calling; the infected ship has to betake
herself to Quarantine Island, where her people are landed, and
where they stay until she has a clear bill; and that sometimes is
not until the greater part of her people have changed their berths
on board for permanent lodgings ashore. Now you understand. The
place is a great cemetery. It lies under the hot sun of the tropics.
The sky is always blue; the sun is always hot. It is girdled by
the sea. It is always silent; for the Indian children do not laugh
or shout, and the Indian women are too much awed by the presence
of the dead to wrangle; always silent, save for the crying of the
sea-birds on the rock. There are no letters, no newspapers, no
friends, no duties—none save when a ship puts in; and then, for
the doctor, farewell rest, farewell sleep, until the bill of health
is clean. Once a fortnight or so, if the weather permits and if the
communications are open,—that is, if there is no ship there,—a boat
arrives from the big island with rations and letters and supplies.
Sometimes a visitor comes, but not often, because, should an
infected ship put in, he would have to stay as long as the ship.
A quiet, peaceful, monotonous life for one who is weary of the
world, or for a hermit; and as good as the top of a pillar for
silence and for meditation.
The islet lay all night long in much the same silence which lapped
and wrapped it all the day. The water washed musically upon the
shore; the light in the lighthouse flashed at intervals; there was
no other sign of life. Toward six o'clock in the morning the dark
east grew gray; thin, long white rays shot out across the sky, and
then the light began to spread. Before the gray turned to pink or
the pink to crimson, before there was any corresponding glow in the
western sky, the man who occupied the bungalow turned out of bed,
and came forth to the veranda, clad in the silk pajamas and silk
jacket which formed the evening or dress suit in which he slept.
The increasing light showed that he was a young man still, perhaps
about thirty—a young man with a strong and resolute face and
a square forehead. He stood under the veranda watching, as he had
done every day for two years or more, the break of day and the
sunrise. He drank in the delicious breeze, cooled by a thousand
miles and more of ocean. No one knows the freshness and sweetness
of the air until he has so stood in the open and watched the dawn
of a day in the tropics. He went back to the house, and came out
again clad in a rough suit of tweeds and a helmet. His servant
was waiting for him with his morning tea. He drank it, and sallied
forth. By this time the short-lived splendour of the east was fast
broadening to right and left, until it stretched from pole to a pole.
Suddenly the sun leaped up and the colours fled and the splendour
vanished. The sky became all over a deep, clear blue, and round
about the sun was a brightness which no eye but that of the sea-bird
can face and live. The man in the helmet turned to the sea-shore,
and walked briskly along the natural mound or sea-wall. Now and
then he stepped down upon the white coral sand, picked up a shell,
looked at it, and threw it away. When he came to the sea-birds'
rock, he sat down and watched it. In the deep water below, sea-snakes,
red and purple and green, were playing about; the bluefish, who
are not in the least afraid of the snakes, rolled lazily round and
round the rock; in the recesses lurked unseen the great conger-eel,
which dreads nothing but the thing of long and horny tentacles,
the ourite or squid: round and round the rock darted the humourous
tazaar, which bites the bathers in shallow waters all for fun and
mischief, and with no desire at all to eat their flesh; and besides
these a thousand curious creatures, which this man, who had trained
his eyes by days and days of watching, came here every day to look
at. While he stood there the sea-birds took no manner of notice
of him, flying close about him, lighting on the shore close at his
feet. They were intelligent enough to know that he was only dangerous
with a gun in his hand. Presently he got up and continued his walk.
All round the sea-wall of the island measures about three miles.
He took this walk every morning and every evening in the early cool
and the late. The rest of the time he spent indoors.
When he got back it was nearly seven, and the day was growing hot.
He took his towels, went down to the shore, to a place where the
coral reef receded, leaving a channel out to the open. The channel
swarmed with sharks, but he bathed there every morning, keeping in
the shallow water while the creatures watched him from the depths
beyond with longing eyes. He wore a pair of slippers on account
of the laf, which is a very pretty little fish indeed to look at;
but he lurks in dark places near the shore, and he is too lazy to
get out of the way, and if you put your foot near him he sticks
out his dorsal fin, which is prickly and poisoned; and when a man
gets that into the sole of his foot he goes home and cuts his leg
off, and has to pretend that he lost it in action.
When he had bathed, the doctor went back to his house, and performed
some simple additions to his toilet. That is to say, he washed the
salt water out of his hair and beard; not much else. As to collars,
neckties, braces, waistcoats, black coats, rings, or any such
gewgaws, they were not wanted on this island. Nor are watches and
clocks; the residents go by the sun. The doctor got up at daybreak,
and took his walk, as you have seen, and his bath. He was then
ready for his breakfast, a solid meal, in which fresh fish, newly
caught that morning, and curried chicken, with claret and water,
formed the principal part. A cup of coffee came after, with a cigar
and a book on the veranda. By this time the sun was high, and the
glare of forenoon had succeeded the coolness of the dawn. After
the cigar the doctor went indoors. The room was furnished with a
few pictures, a large bookcase full of books, chiefly medical, a
table covered with papers, and two or three chairs. No curtains,
carpets, or blinds; the doors and windows wide open to the veranda
on both sides.
He sat down and began writing; perhaps he was a novel. I think
no one could think of a more secluded place for writing a novel.
Perhaps he was doing something scientific. He continued writing
till past midday. When he felt hungry, he went into the dining-room,
took a biscuit or two, and a glass of vermuth. Then, because it
was now the hour for repose, and because the air outside was hot,
and the sea-breeze had dropped to a dead calm, and the sun was like
a red-hot glaring furnace overhead, the doctor kicked off his boots,
threw off his coat, lay down on a grass mat under the mosquito-curtain,
and instantly fell fast asleep. About five o'clock he awoke and
got up; the heat of the day was over. He took a long draught of
cold tea, which is the most refreshing and the coolest drink in the
world. The sun was now getting low, and the air was growing cool.
He put on his helmet, and set off again to walk round his domain.
This done, he bathed again. Then he went home as the sun sank, and
night fell instantly without the intervention of twilight. They
served him dinner, which was like his breakfast but for the addition
of some cutlets. He took his coffee; he took a pipe—two pipes,
slowly, with a book; he took a whisky-and-soda; and he went to bed.
I have said that he had no watch; it hung idly on a nail; therefore
he knew not the time, but it would very likely be about half-past
nine. However that might be, he was the last person up in this
ghostly Island of the Anonymous Dead.
This doctor, captain-general, and commandant of Quarantine Island
was none other than the young man who began this history with a
row royal and a kingly rage. You think, perhaps, that he had turned
hermit in the bitterness of his wrath, and for the faults of one
simple girl had resolved on the life of a solitary. Nothing of
the kind. He was an army doctor, and he left the service in order
to take this very eligible appointment, where one lived free, and
could spend nothing except a little for claret. He proposed to stay
there for a few years in order to make a little money by means of
which he might become a specialist. This was his ambition. As for
that love-business seven years past, he had clean forgotten it,
girl and all. Perhaps there had been other tender passages. Shall
a man, wasting in despair, die because a girl throws him over?
Never! Let him straightway forget her. Let him tackle his work; let
him put off the business of love—which can always wait—until he
can approach it once more in the proper spirit of illusion, and
once more fall to worshipping an angel.
Neither nature nor civilisation ever designed a man's life to be
spent in monotony. Most of us have to work for our daily bread,
which is always an episode, and sometimes a pretty dismal episode,
to break and mark the day. One day there came such a break in the
monotonous round of the doctor's life. It came in the shape of a
ship. She was a large steamer, and she steamed slowly.
It was early in the morning, before breakfast. The doctor and one
of the lighthouse men stood on the landing-place watching her.
"She's in quarantine, doctor, sure as sure," said the man. "I
wonder what's she's got. Fever, for choice; cholera, more likely.
Well, we take our chance."
"She's been in bad weather," said the doctor, looking at her
through his glass. "Look; she's lost her mizzen, and her bows are
stove in. I wonder what's the meaning of it. She's a transport." She
drew nearer. "Troops! Well, I'd rather have soldiers than coolies."
She was a transport. She was full of soldiers, time-expired men
and invalids going home. She was bound from Calcutta to Portsmouth.
She had met with a cyclone; driven out of her course and battered,
she was making for the nearest port when cholera broke out on board.
Before nightfall the island was dotted with white tents; a hospital
was rigged up with the help of the ship's spars and canvas. The
men were all ashore, and the quarantine doctor, with the ship's
doctor, was hard at work among the cases, and the men were dropping
in every direction.
Among the passengers were a dozen ladies and some children. The
doctor gave up his house to them, and retired to a tent or to the
lighthouse or anywhere to sleep. Much sleep could not be expected for
some time to come. He saw the boat land with the ladies on board;
he took off his hat as they walked past. There were old ladies,
middle-aged ladies, young ladies. Well, there always is this
combination. Then he went on with his work. But he had a curious
sensation, as if something of the past had been revived in his mind.
It is, however, not an uncommon feeling. And one of the ladies
changed colour when she saw him.
Then began the struggle for life. No more monotony in Quarantine
Island. Right and left, all day long, the men fell one after the
other; day after day more men fell, more men died. The two doctors
quickly organised their staff. The ship's officers became clinical
clerks; some of the ladies became nurses. And the men, the rough
soldiers, sat about in their tents with pale faces, expecting. Of
those ladies who worked there was one who never seemed weary, never
wanted rest, never asked for relief. She was at work all day and
all night in the hospital; if she went out, it was only to cheer
up the men outside. The doctor was but conscious of her work and of
her presence; he never spoke to her. When he came to the hospital,
another nurse received him; if he passed her, she seemed always
to turn away. At a less troubled time he would have observed this.
At times he felt again that odd sensation of a recovered past, but
he regarded it not; he had other things to consider. There is no
time more terrible for the courage of the stoutest man than a time
of cholera on board ship or in a little place whence there is no
escape; no time worse for a physician than one when his science
is mocked and his skill avails nothing. Day after day the doctor
fought from morning till night, and far on to the morning again;
day after day new graves were dug; day after day the chaplain read
over the new-made graves the service of the dead for the gallant
lads who thus died, inglorious, for their country.
There came a time, at last, when the conqueror seemed tired
of conquest; he ceased to strike. The fury of the disease spent
itself; the cases happened singly, one or two a day instead of ten
or twenty. The sick began to recover; they began to look about
them. The single cases ceased; the pestilence was stayed; and they
sat down to count the cost. There had been on board the transport
three hundred and seventy-five men, thirty-two officers, a dozen
ladies, a few children, and the ship's crew. Twelve officers,
two of the ladies, and a hundred men had perished when the plague
"One of your nurses is ill, doctor."
"Not cholera, I do hope."
"No; I believe a kind of collapse. She is at the bungalow. I told
them I would send you over."
"I will go at once."
He left a few directions, and walked over to the house. It was, he
found, the nurse who had been of all the most useful and the most
active. She was now lying hot and feverish, her mind wandering,
inclined to ramble in her talk. He laid his hand upon her temples;
he felt her pulse; he looked upon her face; the odd feeling
of something familiar struck him again. "I don't think it is very
much," he said. "A little fever. She may have been in the sun; she
has been working too hard; her strength has given way." He still
held her wrist.
"Claude," murmured the sick girl, "you are very cruel. I didn't
know—and a girl cannot always have her own way."
Then he recognised her.
"Good heavens!" he cried, "it is Florence!"
"Not always have her own way," she repeated. "If I could have had
my own way, do you think I would—"
"Florence!" he said again; "and I did not even recognise her.
Another of the ladies, the colonel's wife, was standing beside him.
"You know her, doctor?"
"I knew her a long time ago—some years ago—before she married."
"Married? Florence is not married. You must be thinking of some
"No. This is Florence Vernon, is it not? Yes. Then she was formerly
engaged to marry a certain Sir William Duport."
"Oh, I believe there was some talk about an old man who wanted to
marry her. But she wouldn't have him. It was just before her mother
died. Did you know her mother?"
"I knew her mother a little when they were living at Eastbourne.
So she refused the old man, did she? and has remained unmarried.
Curious! I had almost forgotten her. The sight of her brings back
the old days. Well, after she has pulled so gallantly through the
cholera, we cannot have her beaten by a little fever. Refused the
old man, did she?"
In the dead of night he sat watching by the bedside, the colonel's
wife with him.
"I had almost forgotten," whispered the lady, "that story of the
old baronet. She told me about it once. Her mother was ill, and
anxious about her daughter because she had next to nothing except
an annuity. The old man offered; he was an unpleasant old man, but
there was a fine house and everything. It was all arranged. The girl
was quite a child, and understood nothing. She was to be sold, in
fact, to this old person, who ought to have been thinking of his
latter end instead of a pretty girl. Then the mother died suddenly,
and the girl broke it off. She was a clever girl, and she has been
teaching. For the last three years she has been in India; now she
is going home under my charge. She is a brave girl, doctor, and
a good girl. She has received half a dozen offers, but she has
refused them all; so I think there must be somebody at home."
"Claude," murmured the girl, wandering, "I never thought you would
care so much. If I had thought so, I would not have encouraged
you. Indeed, indeed, I would not. I thought we were only amusing
"Claude is a pretty name. What is your own Christian name, doctor?"
asked the colonel's wife, curiously.
"It is—in fact—it is Claude," he replied, blushing; but there
was not enough light to see his blushes.
"Dear me!" said the colonel's wife.
A few days later the patient, able to sit for a while in the shade
of the veranda, was lying in a long cane chair. Beside her sat
the colonel's wife who had nursed her through the attack. She was
reading aloud to her. Suddenly she stopped. "Here comes the doctor,"
she said; "and, Florence, my dear, his name, you know, is Claude.
I think you have got something to talk about with Claude besides
the symptoms." With these words she laughed, nodded her head, and
ran into the salon.
The veranda, with its green blinds of cane hanging down, and its
matting on the floor, and its easy-chairs and tables, made a pretty
room to look at. In the twilight, the fragile figure, pale, thin,
dressed in white, would have lent interest even to a stranger. To
the doctor, I suppose, it was only a "case." He pushed the blinds
aside and stepped in, strong, big, masterful. "You are much better,"
he said; "you will very soon be able to walk about. Only be careful
for a few days. It was lucky that the attack came when it did,
and not a little earlier when we were in the thick of the trouble.
Well, you won't want me much longer, I believe."
"No, thank you," she murmured, without raising her eyes.
"I have had no opportunity," he said, standing over her, "of
explaining that I really did not know who you were, Miss Vernon.
Somehow I didn't see your face, or I was thinking of other things.
I suppose you had forgotten me. Anyhow, it was not until the other
day, when I was called in, that I remembered. But I dare say you
have forgotten me."
"No; I have not forgotten."
"I thought that long ago you had become Lady Duport."
"No; that did not take place."
"I hear that you have been teaching since your mother's death. Do
you like it?"
"Yes; I like it."
"Do you remember the last time we met—on the sea-shore? Do you
remember, Florence?" His voice softened suddenly. "We had a quarrel
about that old villain; do you remember?"
"I thought you had forgotten such a little thing as that long ago,
and the girl you quarrelled with."
"The point is rather whether you remember. That is of much more
"I remember that you swore that you would never forgive a worthless
girl who had ruined your life. Did I ruin your life, Dr. Fernie?"
He laughed. He could not honestly say that she had. In fact, his
life, so far as concerned his work, had gone on much about the
same. But then, such a man does not allow love to interfere with
"And then you went and threw over the old man. Florence, why didn't
you tell me that you were going to do that? You might have told
She shook her head. "Until you fell into such a rage, and called
me such dreadful names, I did not understand."
"Why didn't you tell me, Florence?" he repeated.
She shook her head again.
"You were only a little innocent, ignorant child then," he said;
"of course you could not understand. I was an ass and a brute and
a fool not to know."
"You said you would never forgive me. You said you would never
shake hands with me again."
He held out his hand. "Since," he said, "you are not going to
marry the old man, and since you are not engaged to anybody else,
why—then—in that case—the old state of things is still going
on; and—and—Florence—but if you give me your hand, I shall keep
"Dear me!" said the colonel's wife, standing in the doorway. "Do
quarantine doctors always kiss their patients? But you told me,
doctor dear, that your Christian name was Claude; didn't you? That
The ship, with those of her company whom the plague had spared,
presently steamed away, and, after being repaired, made her way to
Portsmouth dockyard. But one of her company stayed behind, and is
now queen or empress of the island of which her husband is king,
captain, commandant, and governor-general, and also resident