By vie lhiam dy row monney skeealyn ry-lhaih 'sy Ghaelg. She obbyr liauyr ee, agh ta mee er ngoaill toshiaght cur Gaelg er skeealyn beg Saki (Hector Hugh Munroe), as adsyn magh ass coip-chiart nish. My ta shiu fakin marranys ennagh ayns my obbyr, as s'cosoylagh dy nee, cur fys dou my sailliu. Ta fys persoonagh er y duillag 'mychione'.
I'd like for more stories to be available in Manx. It's a long process, but I've started translating some of the short stories of Saki (Hector Hugh Munroe) into Manx, as they're out of copyright now. If you notice any errors in the work, which there certainly will be, please let me know. Information is on the 'about' page.
Va Conradin jeig bleeaney d'eash, as va'n olloo er chur e varel gerrymoil nagh bee queig bleeaney faagit ec y yilley. Va'n olloo sheeidagh as ceaut, as cha neeu monney eh, agh va Bnr. de Ropp coardail rish y varel shoh, as by 'eeu dagh ooilley nhee ish, bunnys. By ven vooinjerey as gedjey Chonradin ee Bnr. de Ropp, as ayns e hooillyn v'ee cowraghey tree-queiggooghyn y teihill ta ymmyrÁhagh as neuhaitnyssagh as rieugh; va'n daa-wheiggoo elley, ayns sheer-noidys da'n roie-raait, er nyn gruinnaghey ayns eh hene as e heiltynys. Nane jeh ny laghyn shoh, er lesh Conradin, nee eh lhie sheese roish preays kioneysagh reddyn skeeagh ymmyrÁhagh - Áhingyssyn as lhiettalyssyn ro-choadey as sheer-ghrommid. Gyn e heiltynys, as eshyn rank fo brod lomarcanys, beagh eh er lhie sheese roue foddey er-dy-henney.
Cha beagh Bnr. de Ropp rieau, ayns e tullagh s'ynrickey, goaill rish jee hene nagh mie lhee Conradin, agh foddee dy row tastey dullyr eck nagh row tarmestey eh "son e 'oays hene" ny churrym deinagh jee. Va Conradin cur dwoaie firrinagh er finnue urree dod eh freaylley lane fo follaghtyn. Ny beggan taitnyssyn foddee eh lhiassaghey dasyn hene, hooar ad ree-vlasstyn er y chosoylaght dy beagh ad neuhaitnyssagh da e ghedjey. Veih rheaym e heiltynys v'ee jeight mooie - ny red neughlen nagh voghe arragh entreilys.
'Sy gharey dree as neughennal, as whilleen uinniagyn jeeaghyn neose er aarloo dy 'osley lesh Áhaghteraght gyn jannoo shoh ny shen, ny cur dys cooinaghtyn dy row stoo lheeys ry-iu. Va'n beggan biljyn-mess ayns shoh er nyn gur ry-lhiattee jeh'n ymmyd echey, myr dy beagh sampleyryn goaney nyn lheid v'ayn, my vlaa ayns reeastane lhome; s'cosoylagh dy b'ghoillee eh feddyn gareyder margee veagh arral jeig skillin son troar y clane bleeaney oc. Ayns corneil jarroodit, my ta, bunnys follit cooyl mooinney grouw, va bwaag-yiarnyn as mooadys mie echey, as Áheusthie jeh ny boallaghyn shoh hooar Conradin kemmyrk, nhee as ny currymyn eigsoylagh echey jeh shamyr-cloie as ard-hiamble. V'eh er chur cummaltee ayn lesh Áhionnal scaanjoonyn as enney orroo echey, er nyn nooishtey ayns ayrn veih sleigyn shennaghys as ayns ayrn veih e inÁhey hene, agh v'eh taishbyney neesht daa chummaltagh folley as foalley. Ayns nane corneil va kiark Houdan cummal as clooie fritlagagh eck, as va'n gilley ceau kynn urree dy skeayltagh. By ghoan ny deanyn elley echey shen y yannoo. Ny s'odjey erash 'sy vurgeeaght hass croa mooar, rheynnit ayns daa hamyr, as barryn yiarn faggys dy-cheilley Áheu veealloo fer jeu. Shoh Áhagh ny kayt-ny-giark mooar, va gilley-buitÁhoor er chur gys yss, kishtey as ooilley, stiagh ayns y voayl v'echey ec y traa shen, myr cooilleeney son tasht argid-beg er ny 'ollaghey dy liauyr.
Va aggle mooar er Conradin roish yn vaagh feiosagh birrag-liauyr, agh she y shelloo s'deyrey echey v'ayn. Va eunys follit as owanagh echey dy row eh ayn ayns y waag-yiarnyn, as y folliaght shen ry-choadey dy mynchooishag veih fys y Ven, myr v'eh genmys e ven-vooinjerey fo chlea. As laa dy row, magh ass fys-ec-niau-cre bun-stoo, ren e sneeu ennym yindyssagh son y vaagh, as veih'n tullagh shen d'aase eh dy ve ny Yee as ny chraueeaght. Va'n Ven currit da cliaghtey craueeaght un cheayrt 'sy Áhiaghtin ec keeill ry laue, as hug lhee Conradin, agh dasyn va'n Áhirveish agglish ny h-oardagh quaagh ayns Thie Rimmon. Dagh Jerdein, ayns tostid dullyr as keoyeeagh y bwaag-yiarnyn, ren eh gooashlaghey lesh oardagh pishagagh as yl-chast roish yn chroa raad va Sredni Vashtar, kayt-ny-giark mooar, baghey. Hie blaaghyn jiarg ayns nyn amm as sooghyn scarleodagh ayns y traa geuree er arral ec e hiamble, er y fa dy row e ny Yee hug scansh er lheh er Áheu fergagh as raghtal reddyn, kiart noi craueeaght y Ven, as e, choud's v'eh ry-akin da Conradin, goll foddey liauyr 'sy troa elley. As rish earishyn ny feailley hie cro kytÁhinagh poodyrit er skeaylley roish e chroa: myr Áheu scanshoil jeh'n arral, b'egin da'n chro kytÁhinagh ve er ny gheid. Va ny feaillaghyn shoh neuchinjagh, as v'ad dyn enmys son y chooid smoo ard-eailley er son taghyrt ennagh yn laa y yannoo. Keayrt dy row, tra surr Bnr. de Ropp ny beishtyn geuagh rish tree laghyn, ren Conradin cummal seose yn feailley car y clane hree laghyn, as v'eh bunnys cur er hene credjal dy row Sredni Vashtar hene freggyrtagh son y veishtyn. Dy beagh yn aslant er n'arraghtyn rish laa elley veagh yn tasht cro kytÁhinagh er soo magh.
Cha row y chiark Houdan rieau er ny tayrn stiagh ayns cultys Hredni Vashtar. Va Conradin er ngoaill myr reih foddey er-dy-henney dy nee Anvashtagh ish. Cha ren eh lhiggey er dy row yn fys sloo echey er c'red va Anvashtagh, agh va treisht echey er lheh dy row eh sceollagh as nagh row eh feer veasagh. Va Bnr. de Ropp ny bunneydys echey er son toiggal as soiaghey beg jeh beasaght erbee.
Lurg tammylt, haink eh dys tastid ghedjey Chonradin dy row eh goit seose dy bollagh 'sy waag-yiarnyn. "Cha nel eh mie da, croghey mygeart heese ayns shoh gyn cur geill da'n emshir," reagh ee Áhelleeragh, as ec anjeeal un voghrey ren ee fockley magh dy row y chiark Houdan er ny creck as goaill ersooyl fud ny hoie. Lesh e sooillyn giare-reayrtagh ren ee blakey er Conradin, fuirraghtyn brishey magh eulys as seaghyn, as ee aarloo oghsan da y chur lesh thooilley sarey as resoonaght mie er bashtal. Agh cha dooyrt Conradin veg: cha row red erbee ry-ghra. Hug red ennagh ayns e eddin bane drogh-ourys tullaghoil urree, foddee: va arran-greddan er y voayrd ec mrastyr beg y laa shen, as ee cliaghtey neulhiggey eh er yn oyr dy row eh olk er-e-hon; neesht er yn oyr dy "dug eh boirey" eh y yannoo, loght baasoil da sooillyn ven vean-lught.
"Heill mish dy mie lhiat arran-greddan," dooyrt ee, as snieeagh eck, cronnaghey nagh venn eh rish.
"Ny keayrtyn," as Conradin.
'Sy waag-yiarnyn y fastyr shid va noaid ayns ooashley jee-ny-croa. Va Conradin cliaghtey jannoo canteraght woyllee, agh noght ren eh yeearree foayr.
"Jean unnane nhee er-my-hon, Hredni Vashtar."
Cha dug eh enney er y nhee. As Sredni Vashtar ny Yee, shegin da sheiltyn dy row fys echey. Lesh castey sogh as eshyn jeeaghyn er y chorneil follym elley, hie Conradin erash dys y teihll v'eh feohdaghey wheesh.
As dagh ooilley oie, ayns dorraghys failt e hamyr, as dagh ooilley 'astyr ayns keeirid ny bwaag-yiarnyn, hie seose litane sharroo Chonradin: "Jean unnane nhee er-my-hon, Hredni Vashtar."
Hug my ner Bnr. de Ropp nagh scuirr ny keayrtyn dys y waag, as laa dy row ren ee keayrt elley.
"C'red t'ou uss cummal ayns yn chishtey conning glast shen?" dreggyr ee. "Er lhiam dy nee mucyn frangagh t'ayn. Nee'm reaghey ad y ve glenney magh."
Ghooin Conradin e veill er y cheilley, agh ronsee y Ven e hamyr-lhiabbee derrey hooar ee yn ogher, follit dy kiarailagh, as hie ee Áhelleeragh sheese dys y waag, y scrialtys eck y chooilleeney. She fastyr feayr v'ayn, as v'er Conradin tannaghtyn sthie. Veih uinniag s'odjey ny shamyr-yinnairagh va dorrys y waag kiart ry-akin Áheu-hoal corneil ny mooinney, as ghow Conradin ynnyd ayns shen. Honnick eh y Ven goll stiagh, as eisht heill eh ish fosley dorrys ny croa chasherick as blakey sheese lesh e sooillyn giare-reayrtagh stiagh 'sy choonlagh Áhiu raad va'n Jee echey ny lhie follit. Veagh ee greesaghey y choonlagh fo meehurranse neuyesh, foddee. As ren Conradin sansheraght y padjer son y cheayrt s'jerree, as shen dy jeean. Agh va fys echey tra v'eh ny cur nagh row eh credjal. Va fys echey dy beagh y Ven Áheet magh ny sheyn, as y mynghearey fastagh shid va cur wheesh tah ersyn er e h-eddin, as ayns oor ny ghaa veagh y gareyder gymmyrkey ersooyl y Jee yindyssagh echey, nagh beagh ny yee ny s'odjey, agh ny chayt-ny-giark dhone cadjin ayns croa. As va fys echey dy yiogh y Ven ard-varriaght dy bragh myr v'ee ny gheddyn nish, as dy aasagh eshyn dy ve sny 'Áhingey dy bragh fo e boirey as mainshteraght as keeayl share, derrey laa ennagh b'gummey lesh dagh ooilley red fy yerrey, as veagh yn olloo kiart. As ayns guinney as truanys y haart, hoshee eh canteyraght, er ard as dy doolaneagh, hymn y yee fo baggyrt echey.
Hie Sredni Vashtar magh,
Va'n aigney echey jiarg as ny feeacklyn baney.
Dyllee e noidyn son shee, agh hug eh baase daue.
Sredni Vashtar aalin.
As dy doaltattym scuirr eh y canteyraght as haink eh ny s'niessey da'n cherrin uinniag. Chrog dorrys ny bwaag lieh-foshlit myr v'eh er ny 'aagail, as va ny minnidyn skyrrey shaghey. She minnidyn liauyr v'ayn, agh skyrr ad shaghey ny yei shen. Yeeagh eh er ny truitlagyn roie as getlan ayns possanyn beggey noon yn 'aaie; ren eh nyn goontey keayrt ny ghaa, as nane sooilley rieau er y dorrys leaystey shen. Haink caillin as eddin harroo eck stiagh dys jeshee y boayrd son tey, as foast hass Conradin as fuirree as yeeagh. Va treisht er snaue oarlagh er oarlagh stiagh ayns e chree, as nish hoshee dreagh barriaghtagh lossey ayns e hooillyn nagh row cliaghtit rish veg agh surranse mianagh taart. Fo ny feeacklyn echey, hoshee eh reesht y paean booie as craght. As ny sheyn ghow ny sooillyn echey leagh: magh ass y dorrys shoh haink baagh liauyr, injil, buigh-as-dhone, as e hooillyn meekey noi soilshey conghorraghys, as cronnyn doo fliugh mygeart fynney keeil as scoarnagh. Huitt Conradin er ny glioonyn echey. Hie ard-chayt-ny-giark sheese dys bett beg ec bun y gharey, diu eh rish tammylt beg, eisht hie eh harrish droghad beg deal as ren eh skelley ass shilley ayns ny thammagyn. Shid immeeaght Hredni Vashtar.
"Ta mrastyr beg aarloo," dooyrt y chaillin harroo-ghrooishagh; "c'raad ta'n venainshter?"
"Hie ish sheese dys y waag tammylt er-dy-henney," dooyrt Conradin.
As tra hie y chaillin y venainshter eck dys mrastyr beg y hymney, hayrn magh Conradin gollage greddan jeh tayrnag y lieh-voayrd as ghow eh toshiaght meer arran da hene y ghreddey. As rish y greddey jeh as y cur ram eeym er as y taitnys tannaghtagh jeh ee eh, hug Conradin cleaysh da ny sheeanyn as tostidyn huitt ayns lhieeney Áheu-hoal jeh dorrys ny shamyr-yinnairagh. Scraghey bolvaneagh ard y chaillin, corys ansooragh yllaghey-fo-yindys ny h-ard-aarlee, ny kesmadyn driss as jannoo aghin siyragh son cooney mooie, as eisht, lurg tostid, y soghal as aggle er, as kesmadyn dy sprangagh adsyn va ymmyrkey errey trome stiagh 'sy thie.
"Quoi erbee jirrys y naight da'n phaitÁhey boght? Cha noddins son my vea!" dyllee coraa scolgey. As tra v'ad ronsaghey y chooish nyn mast'oc hene, ren Conradin meer arran-greddan elley da hene.
Conradin was ten years old, and the doctor had pronounced his professional opinion that the boy would not live another five years. The doctor was silky and effete, and counted for little, but his opinion was endorsed by Mrs. de Ropp, who counted for nearly everything. Mrs. de Ropp was Conradin's cousin and guardian, and in his eyes she represented those three-fifths of the world that are necessary and disagreeable and real; the other two-fifths, in perpetual antagonism to the foregoing, were summed up in himself and his imagination. One of these days Conradin supposed he would succumb to the mastering pressure of wearisome necessary things --- such as illnesses and coddling restrictions and drawn-out dullness. Without his imagination, which was rampant under the spur of loneliness, he would have succumbed long ago.
Mrs. de Ropp would never, in her honestest moments, have confessed to herself that she disliked Conradin, though she might have been dimly aware that thwarting him "for his good" was a duty which she did not find particularly irksome. Conradin hated her with a desperate sincerity which he was perfectly able to mask. Such few pleasures as he could contrive for himself gained an added relish from the likelihood that they would be displeasing to his guardian, and from the realm of his imagination she was locked out--an unclean thing, which should find no entrance.
In the dull, cheerless garden, overlooked by so many windows that were ready to open with a message not to do this or that, or a reminder that medicines were due, he found little attraction. The few fruit-trees that it contained were set jealously apart from his plucking, as though they were rare specimens of their kind blooming in an arid waste; it would probably have been difficult to find a market-gardener who would have offered ten shillings for their entire yearly produce. In a forgotten corner, however, almost hidden behind a dismal shrubbery, was a disused tool-shed of respectable proportions, and within its walls Conradin found a haven, something that took on the varying aspects of a playroom and a cathedral. He had peopled it with a legion of familiar phantoms, evoked partly from fragments of history and partly from his own brain, but it also boasted two inmates of flesh and blood. In one corner lived a ragged-plumaged Houdan hen, on which the boy lavished an affection that had scarcely another outlet. Further back in the gloom stood a large hutch, divided into two compartments, one of which was fronted with close iron bars. This was the abode of a large polecat-ferret, which a friendly butcher-boy had once smuggled, cage and all, into its present quarters, in exchange for a long-secreted hoard of small silver. Conradin was dreadfully afraid of the lithe, sharp-fanged beast, but it was his most treasured possession. Its very presence in the tool-shed was a secret and fearful joy, to be kept scrupulously from the knowledge of the Woman, as he privately dubbed his cousin. And one day, out of Heaven knows what material, he spun the beast a wonderful name, and from that moment it grew into a god and a religion. The Woman indulged in religion once a week at a church near by, and took Conradin with her, but to him the church service was an alien rite in the House of Rimmon. Every Thursday, in the dim and musty silence of the tool-shed, he worshipped with mystic and elaborate ceremonial before the wooden hutch where dwelt Sredni Vashtar, the great ferret. Red flowers in their season and scarlet berries in the winter-time were offered at his shrine, for he was a god who laid some special stress on the fierce impatient side of things, as opposed to the Woman's religion, which, as far as Conradin could observe, went to great lengths in the contrary direction. And on great festivals powdered nutmeg was strewn in front of his hutch, an important feature of the offering being that the nutmeg had to be stolen. These festivals were of irregular occurrence, and were chiefly appointed to celebrate some passing event. On one occasion, when Mrs. de Ropp suffered from acute toothache for three days, Conradin kept up the festival during the entire three days, and almost succeeded in persuading himself that Sredni Vashtar was personally responsible for the toothache. If the malady had lasted for another day the supply of nutmeg would have given out.
The Houdan hen was never drawn into the cult of Sredni Vashtar. Conradin had long ago settled that she was an Anabaptist. He did not pretend to have the remotest knowledge as to what an Anabaptist was, but he privately hoped that it was dashing and not very respectable. Mrs. de Ropp was the ground plan on which he based and detested all respectability.
After a while Conradin's absorption in the tool-shed began to attract the notice of his guardian. "It is not good for him to be pottering down there in all weathers," she promptly decided, and at breakfast one morning she announced that the Houdan hen had been sold and taken away overnight. With her short-sighted eyes she peered at Conradin, waiting for an outbreak of rage and sorrow, which she was ready to rebuke with a flow of excellent precepts and reasoning. But Conradin said nothing: there was nothing to be said. Something perhaps in his white set face gave her a momentary qualm, for at tea that afternoon there was toast on the table, a delicacy which she usually banned on the ground that it was bad for him; also because the making of it "gave trouble," a deadly offence in the middle-class feminine eye.
"I thought you liked toast," she exclaimed, with an injured air, observing that he did not touch it.
"Sometimes," said Conradin.
In the shed that evening there was an innovation in the worship of the hutch-god. Conradin had been wont to chant his praises, tonight he asked a boon.
"Do one thing for me, Sredni Vashtar."
The thing was not specified. As Sredni Vashtar was a god he must be supposed to know. And choking back a sob as he looked at that other empty corner, Conradin went back to the world he so hated.
And every night, in the welcome darkness of his bedroom, and every evening in the dusk of the tool-shed, Conradin's bitter litany went up: "Do one thing for me, Sredni Vashtar."
Mrs. de Ropp noticed that the visits to the shed did not cease, and one day she made a further journey of inspection.
"What are you keeping in that locked hutch?" she asked. "I believe it's guinea-pigs. I'll have them all cleared away."
Conradin shut his lips tight, but the Woman ransacked his bedroom till she found the carefully hidden key, and forthwith marched down to the shed to complete her discovery. It was a cold afternoon, and Conradin had been bidden to keep to the house. From the furthest window of the dining-room the door of the shed could just be seen beyond the corner of the shrubbery, and there Conradin stationed himself. He saw the Woman enter, and then he imagined her opening the door of the sacred hutch and peering down with her short-sighted eyes into the thick straw bed where his god lay hidden. Perhaps she would prod at the straw in her clumsy impatience. And Conradin fervently breathed his prayer for the last time. But he knew as he prayed that he did not believe. He knew that the Woman would come out presently with that pursed smile he loathed so well on her face, and that in an hour or two the gardener would carry away his wonderful god, a god no longer, but a simple brown ferret in a hutch. And he knew that the Woman, would triumph always as she triumphed now, and that he would grow ever more sickly under her pestering and domineering and superior wisdom, till one day nothing would matter much more with him, and the doctor would be proved right. And in the sting and misery of his defeat, he began to chant loudly and defiantly the hymn of his threatened idol:
Sredni Vashtar went forth,
His thoughts were red thoughts and his teeth were white.
His enemies called for peace, but he brought them death.
Sredni Vashtar the Beautiful.
And then of a sudden he stopped his chanting and drew closer to the window-pane. The door of the shed still stood ajar as it had been left, and the minutes were slipping by. They were long minutes, but they slipped by nevertheless. He watched the starlings running and flying in little parties across the lawn; he counted them over and over again, with one eye always on that swinging door. A sour-faced maid came in to lay the table for tea, and still Conradin stood and waited and watched. Hope had crept by inches into his heart, and now a look of triumph began to blaze in his eyes that had only known the wistful patience of defeat. Under his breath, with a furtive exultation, he began once again the paean of victory and devastation. And presently his eyes were rewarded: out through that doorway came a long, low, yellow-and-brown beast, with eyes a-blink at the waning daylight, and dark wet stains around the fur of jaws and throat. Conradin dropped on his knees. The great polecat-ferret made its way down to a small brook at the foot of the garden, drank for a moment, then crossed a little plank bridge and was lost to sight in the bushes. Such was the passing of Sredni Vashtar.
"Tea is ready," said the sour-faced maid; "where is the mistress?"
"She went down to the shed some time ago," said Conradin.
And while the maid went to summon her mistress to tea, Conradin fished a toasting-fork out of the sideboard drawer and proceeded to toast himself a piece of bread. And during the toasting of it and the buttering of it with much butter and the slow enjoyment of eating it, Conradin listened to the noises and silences which fell in quick spasms beyond the dining-room door. The loud foolish creaming of the maid, the answering chorus of wondering ejaculations from the kitchen region, the scuttering footsteps and hurried embassies for outside help, and then, after a lull, the scared sobbings and the shuffling tread of those who bore a heavy burden into the house.
"Whoever will break it to the poor child? I couldn't for the life of me!" exclaimed a shrill voice. And while they debated the matter among themselves, Conradin made himself another piece of toast.
Y Moddey-Oaldey Bwoirryn
Va Leonard Bilsiter nane jeusyn t'er falleil dy 'eddyn y teihll shoh tayrnagh ny symoil, as t'er shirrey cooilleeney ayns "seihll neuakinagh" rere'n ennaghtyn ny sheiltynys oc hene - ny ayns croo nane. Ta paitÁhyn jannoo lheid y red dy rahoil, agh ta paitÁhyn booiagh ad hene y hickyraghey, gyn jannoo injil ny credjueyn oc liorish eabbey sleih elley y hickyraghey. Va credjueyn Leonard Bilsiter da'n "veggan beg", dy ghra myr shen, quoi erbee cluinnagh da.
Cha beagh ny gammanyn echey lesh y neuakinagh er ny ymmyrkey erskyn raaghyn follym cliaghtagh ashlinagh ny shamyr hoie, foddee, mannagh row taghyrt er aaniartaghey y tasht oayllys quaagh echey. Ayns sheshaght charrey, as sym echeysyn er colught meaineraght Uralagh, v'eh er nyannoo turrys tessen yn Europey Hiar ec y traa va'n stholk raad yiarn mooar Rooshagh mooadaghey veih baggyrt dys rieughid; haink eh ersyn er y turrys erash, boayl ennagh er Áheu-hoal Pherm, as she choud's v'eh fuirraghtyn paart dy laghyn ec stashoon fadaneagh ayns stayd gleashaght chastit dy ren eh Áheet dy whail delleyder cullee as cooidyn meain, as cheau eshyn dreeid y stadd dy vondeishagh er lhiggey stiagh y co-hroailtagh Sostnagh echey ayns corys brooillee dy veeal-arrish v'eh er stoyral voish traghtalee as fir-ghooie Harrish-ny-Baikal. Haink Leonard erash da'n Áhaaghlagh echey as eh focklagh mychione ny taghyrtyn sthock Rooshiagh echey, agh doont dy plooghaneagh mychione shiartanse dy 'olliaghtyn dorraghey, as eh cur yn ennym aaheeanagh Obbeeys Shibbeyragh orroo. Lheie ersooyl y tostid lurg shiaghtin ny ghaa fo cummaght lane dolley sym, as ghow Leonard toshiaght jannoo faaueyn ny s'minney er ny pooaryn atÁhimagh va'n niart folliaghtagh noa shoh (rere e huarastyl hene) bronney er y veggan er lheh as fys oc er e lauaghey. E naunt, Cecilia Hoops, as shynney lhee ard-haghyrt ny share na'n firrinys, foddee, hug ee da soilsheen cho foshlit as oddagh peiagh erbee laccal, liorish skeaylley coontey jeh'n aght v'eh er nyannoo calmane keylley jeh marrag roish e daa hooill. Myr soilshaghey dy row pooaryn neughooghyssagh echey, hie y skeeal er ny yannoo beg ayns shiartanse dy cherrooyn er son yn arrym v'oc er niart sheiltynee Vnr. Hoops.
Dy shickyr, cha row barel co-aignagh ayn er keimeeaght Leonard myr obbree-yindyssyn ny molteyr, agh gyn ourys, haink eh da giense Vary Hampton as ambee toshee echey ayns nane jeh ny gerrymyn shen, as cha row cleayney echey cronnalys erbee haink da y haghney. My ghow eh ny e naunt ayrn ayns co-loayrtys erbee, hyndaa eh dys niartyn quaagh as pooaryn neuchadjin dy leah; as e obbraghyn hene, jerrinagh ny cummyssagh, v'adsyn nyn oyryn sannishyn folliaghtagh as breearrey dorraghey.
"Saillym dy jinnagh shiu moddey-oaldey jeem," dooyrt e ven oast ec kirbyl laa er-giyn y roshtyn echey.
"My Vary veen," dooyrt Curnal Hampton, "cha row fys aym rieau dy row uss yeearree 'syn aird shen."
"Moddey-oaldey bwoirryn, myrÁhaagh," hie er Bnr. Hampton; "verragh eh ort ve ro fud-y-cheilley y keintys ayd, chammah as y dooie, y chaghlaa ayns shallid."
"Er lhiam nagh lhisagh shiu spotÁhal er ny bun-chooishyn shoh," dooyrt Leonard.
"Cha nel mee spotÁhal, ta mee lane ynrick, my 'ockle er. Agh ny jean eh jiu; cha nel agh hoght cloiederyn biritÁh ry-gheddyn t'ain, as veagh eh scarrey nane jeh ny buird ain. Mairagh bee shin possan ny smoo. Fastyr mairagh, lurg jinnair -"
"Rish y toiggal t'ain ec y traa t'ayn nish jeh ny niartyn keillit shoh, er lhiam dy lhisagh shin Áheet orroo as imleeid ain, gyn faghid," ren Leonard fockley, as va lheid y chreoiys echey dy jagh y chooish er faagail ass laue.
Va Clovis Sangrail er ny hoie ayns tostid neuchadjin fud y resoonaght er jargaghtyn Obbeeys Shibbeyragh; lurg kirbyl ren eh cleayney y «hiarn Pabham stiagh ayns cooyl-raadaght yn Áhamyr-villiard as fockley feysht geyre.
"Vel moddey-oaldey bwoirryn 'sy Áhaglym beiyn oaldey ayd? Moddey-oaldey bwoirryn as dooghys meein dy liooar eck?"
Smooinee y «hiarn Pabham. "Ta Louisa ayn," dooyrt eh, "sampleyr lane vraew jeh'n voddey-oaldey aamaid. Ghow mee ish daa vlein er-dy-henney son paart dy hynnaghyn arctagh. Ta'n chooid smoo jeh my beiyn Áheet dy ve meein dy liooar roish my t'ad er ve marym rish foddey; er lhiam dy noddym gra dy vel dooghys ainleagh ec Louisa, myr moddey-oaldey bwoirryn. Cre'n fa t'ou uss feyshtey?"
"Va mee goaill yindys, jinnagh oo dy eeassaghey dou fastyr mairagh?" dooyrt Clovis, as eh neuchurrymagh myr fer ta shirrey taggad ny baghyl laddoge y eeassaghey.
"She, she beiyn oieagh ad moddee-oaldey, myr shen cha jean ny h-ooryn anmagh skielley jee," as Clovis, myr fer t'er chur geill da dagh ooilley red; "oddagh nane jeh dty gheiney cur lesh ee voish Pairk Pabham lurg coleayrtys, as lesh beggan cooney lhisagh eh ve jargal ee y chur stiagh 'sy ghrianane, gyn yss, ec y traa cheddin vees Mary Hampton goll magh 'syn aght cheddin."
Ren y «hiarn Pabham blakey er Clovis rish minnid as shaghrynys leihagh echey; eisht vrish e eddin dys ingagh chraplagh gharaghtee.
"Oh, shen dty chloie, nee? Nee uss beggan Obbeeys Shibbeyragh er-dty-hon hene. As vel Bnr. Hampton arryltagh ny co-chialgeyr y ve?"
"Ta Mary gialtit dy heet ny hrooid marym, my vees oo cur raane son dooghys Louisa."
"Nee'm freggyrt son Louisa," as y «hiarn Pabham.
Tra haink y nah laa, va'n giense er volgey dys mooarane, as vishee baan hene-hoilshaghey Vilsiter dy cooie fo greinney lught eaishtagh ny smoo. Ec jinnair y fastyr shen hug eh barel foddey daue er niartyn neuakinit as pooaryn neuphrowit, as hie er y thooilley jesh-focklaght scanshoil gyn scuirr tra va caffee goll er reirey 'sy chuillee, aarlagh daue arraghey da'n Áhamyr-chaartyn.
Hickyree e naunt eaishtaght arrymagh son ny h-inshyn echey, agh va'n annym eck currit da ard-haghyrtyn, as va mian urree son red ennagh ny smoo ard-chooishagh na taishbynys coraagh ynrican.
"Nagh jean oo red ennagh dyn shickyraghey jeh ny pooaryn ayd, Leonard?" ren ee pleadeil; "jean caghlaa red ennagh dys cummey elley. Foddee eh, fys eu, my saillish," dinsh ee er yn Áheshaght.
"Oh, jean," dooyrt Mavis Pellington dy ynrick, as hie yn aghin er pohlldey liorish cagh v'ayns shen, bunnys. Eer adsyn gyn arryltys dy chredjal, v'ad joinagh dy liooar taitnys y ghoaill jeh taishbynys dy ghruiaghtys ancheirdagh.
Dennee Leonard dy row red ennagh loaghtagh jerkit jeh.
"Vel peiagh ennagh ayn," deysht eh, "as ping ruy ny red beg gyn feer feeuid echey?"
"Nagh jean oo cur er meeryn skellal roish, ny red ennagh bunneydagh myr shen?" dooyrt Clovis, dy connaasagh.
"Er lhiam dy vel oo feer neuchenjal, jiooldey my choyrle moddey-oaldey jeem y yannoo," dooyrt Mary Hampton, as ee goll harrish dys y ghrianane, dys cur da ny macawyn yn oural cliaghtagh oc ass ny jystyn.
"Ta mee er chur raaue diu hannah mychione y ghaue my ta shiu cur gien craidagh da ny pooaryn shoh," dreggyr Leonard dy groamagh.
"Cha nel mee credjal dy nod oo jannoo eh," ren Mary gearey veih'n ghrianane, as ee brasnee; "ta mee dty ghoolaney dy yannoo eh my foddee uss. Ta mee cur y lane foyd moddey-oaldey jeem y yannoo."
As shen grait eck, hie ee ass shilley cooyl thammag lus ny h-Albey.
"Vnr. Hampton - " ghow Leonard toshiaght, as eh ny smoo groamagh, agh cha daink eh ny sodjey. RatÁh ennal dy aer feayr trooid yn Áhamyr, as ec y traa cheddin ren ny macawyn skiootal magh lesh screeaghyn geyre.
"Cre 'sy theihll ta jannoo er ny h-ushagyn fuilltagh shen, Vary?" dyllee Curnal Hampton. Ec y traa cheddin, haink screeagh eer ny smoo seiyragh veih Mavis Pellington as ruightey yn lane sheshaght magh ass ny soiagyn oc lesh musthaa. As caghlaaghyn cummey scoagh gyn cooney ny fendeilys dooghyssagh orroo, hass ad as jeeaghyn er eddin baagh glass as cummey drogh er va blakey orroo veih mastey renniagh as lus ny h-Albey.
By Vnr. Hoops ee y chied chouyree veih corvaal chadjin aggle as shaghrynys.
"Leonard!" ren ee screeaghey dy seiyragh da e neear, "jean caghlaa eh erash dys Bnr. Hampton er y chooyl! Oddagh eh lheimyragh orrin ec tullagh erbee. Jean caghlaa eh erash!"
"Ch-cha nel fys aym cre'n aght," ren Leonard tuittym, as ny smoo aggle as scoagh ersyn ny er fer erbee elley.
"Cre!" dyllee Curnal Hampton, "va'n kione-ardys dwoaieagh ort moddey-oaldey jeh my ven y yannoo, as nish t'ou shassoo dy kiune as gra nagh nod oo caghlaa ee erash!"
Lhig dooin cairys da Leonard y chur; cha row kiunid ry-akin dy baghtal 'syn ymmyrkey v'er ec y traa.
"Cha ren mee moddey-oaldey jeh Bnr. Hampton - my 'ockle lesh; cha row red erbee ny sodjey voish my halee," ren eh Áhionnraaghey.
"Eisht c'raad t'ee, as cre'n aght haink y cretoor shoh stiagh 'sy ghrianane?" va aggyrt y Churnal.
"MyrÁhaagh t'eh orrin soiaghey jeh dty 'ockle nagh ren oo moddey-oaldey jeh Bnr. Hampton," dooyrt Clovis dy cooyrtoil, "agh nee oo goaill rish dy vel tuittymys dt'oi."
"Vel eh orrin ooilley ny cassidyn shoh y yannoo tra ta'n baagh shen gaarlaghey dy raipey shin ayns peeshyn?" ren Mavis keayney.
"Hiarn Pabham, ta fys mooar erriu er beiyn oaldey - " coyrlee Curnal Hampton da.
"Ny beiyn oaldey ta mish er ve cliaghtit rish," dooyrt y «hiarn Pabham, "haink adsyn as raaneyn credjaltys oc veih delleyderyn mie er enney, ny hie ad er troggit 'sy thie cretooryn feie aym pene. Cha row mee rieau roie eddin ry eddin rish baagh ta shooyl gyn imnea magh ass thammag lus ny h-Albey, as faagail ben oast ennoil as taitnyssagh ass y choearroo. Cho foddey's foddym jannoo briwnys veih cowraghyn mooie," hie eh er, "she cummey bwoirrinagh aasit jeh'n voddey-oaldey aamaid America Hwoaie t'eck, sorÁh jeh'n cheint cadjin Canis lupus."
"Oh, s'cummey lhiam yn ennym Ladjynagh t'er!" ren Mavis screeaghey, choud's haink y baagh kesmad ny ghaa ny sodjey stiagh 'sy Áhamyr; "nagh noddagh oo eshyn y vreigey ersooyl lesh bee, as dooney stiagh raad nagh nod eh jannoo assee erbee?"
"My she Bnr. Hampton ee dy feer, as ish kiart er ngee jinnair feer vie, er lhiam nagh nee bee dy tayrn dy lajer." dooyrt Clovis.
"Leonard," ren Bnr. Hoops yeearree er dy jeiragh, "eer mannagh shoh dty obbyr hene, nagh nod oo jannoo ymmyd jeh ny pooaryn mooar echey as jannoo red ennagh oney jeh'n vaagh agglagh shoh, roish my t'eh greimmey shin ooilley - conning ny red ennagh?"
"Er lhiam nagh by vie lesh Curnal Hampton dy hie e ven er caghlaa dys straih beiyn fillosheragh myr dy row shin cloie gamman fainagh," haink Clovis eddyr ad.
"Ta mee lhiettal eh dy bollagh," taarnee y Curnal.
"Y chooid smoo jeh ny moddee-oaldey ta mee er ventyn roo, by vie lhieu shugyr dy neuchooie," dooyrt y «hiarn Pabham; "my s'mie lhiu eh, phrowym yn obbraghey er y ven shoh."
Ghow eh cramman shugyr jeh skaal y chappan caffee echey as cheau eh eshyn da Louisa yerkallagh, as ghreimm ish eh ass yn aer. Haink osney feayslee jeh'n Áheshaght; moddey-oaldey eeagh shugyr, tra oddagh ee er y chooid sloo y ve tarroogh macawyn ass y cheilley y raipey, v'ee er geau paart jeh'n scoagh eck. Ghiunee yn osley dys scred toyrt bwooise tra ren y «hiarn Pabham cleayney yn baagh magh ass y Áhamyr, lesh lhiggey er dy row feoiltys shugyr ny sodjey echey. RatÁh ad dys y ghrianane follym. Cha row cowrey erbee jeh Bnr. Hampton ayn, er-lhimmey jeh'n voggaid as shibber ny macawyn urree.
"Ta'n dorrys glast er yn Áheu-sthie!" dyllee Clovis, as eshyn er gassey yn ogher dy jesh tra lhig eh er dy phrowal eh.
Ren cagh Áhyndaa coair Bilsiter.
"Mannagh vel uss er nyannoo moddey-oaldey jeh my ven," dooyrt Curnal Hampton, "jean oo ceau soilshey er raad t'ee er skellal roish dys, my saillt, er dyn s'leayr nagh nod ee er ngoll trooid dorrys glast? Cha jeanym Áhionney ort son freggyrt er yn aght haink rish moddey-oaldey aamaid America Hwoaie dy doaltattym stiagh ayns y ghrianane, agh er lhiam ta kiart dy liooar aym dy 'enaght jeed cre'n erree haink er Bnr. Hampton."
Hooar aa-yiooldey Vilsiter cauaig veechredjuagh veehurransagh chadjin.
"Cha nee'm tannaghtyn oor elley fo'n chlea shoh," vrishee magh Mavis Pellington.
"My ta'n ven oast ain er vaagail cummey deiney dy feer," dooyrt Bnr. Hoops, "cha nod mraane erbee y phossan tannaghtyn dy kiart. Ta mee gobbal dy gholl er arrey liorish moddey-oaldey er chor erbee!"
"She moddey-oaldey bwoirryn ish," dooyrt Clovis dy blandeyragh.
Cha daink soilshey ny sodjey er jeih-veays cooie y huittymys neuchadjin v'ayn. Hie bentynys y resoonaght er roostey lesh Mary Hampton Áheet stiagh dy doaltattym.
"Ren peiagh ennagh mish y gholgaanaghey," ren ee fogrey, as corree urree; "ghooisht mee 'sy Áhamyr vee, harrish boayl erbee, as y «hiarn Pabham cur shugyr dou. Ta dwoaie aym er goll er dolgaanaghey, as ta'n fer-lhee er my neulhiggey dy ventyn rish shugyr."
Hoilshee ad yn chooish jee, cho foddey as v'eh lhiggey da red ennagh oddagh oo cur "soilsheydys" er.
"Eisht ren shiu dy feer moddey-oaldey jeem, Vnr. Bilsiter?" dyllee ish, as ee greesit.
Agh va Leonard er noaddey y baatey oddagh eh nish er shiaulley er mooir ghloyrey aynsyn. Cha dod eh agh craa y kione echey gyn vree.
"By orryms y daanys shen," dooyrt Clovis; "ta shiu toiggal, t'eh taghyrt dy vel mee er gummal blein ny ghaa 'syn Roosh Hiar-Hwoaie, as ta ny smoo na enney turrysee aym er keird obbee y 'lyst shen. Cha mie lesh fer loayrt mychione ny pooaryn quaagh shen, agh nish as reesht, tra t'ou clashtyn ram boghtynid goll er loayrt my-nyn-gione, ta miolaght ort dy haishbyney ny foddee obbeeys Hibberagh cooilleeney ayns laueyn fer ta toiggal eh dy feer. Lhig lesh mee yn miolaght shen. Noddym goaill beggan feeyn-lostit, my sailliu? Ta'n eab er chur beggan neeal orrym."
Dy noddagh Leonard Bilsiter ec y tullagh shen deyll feohdagh jeh Clovis er nyannoo as eisht shassoo ersyn, veagh eh er nyannoo y daa obbyr as boggey er.
Leonard Bilsiter was one of those people who have failed to find this world attractive or interesting, and who have sought compensation in an "unseen world" of their own experience or imagination--or invention. Children do that sort of thing successfully, but children are content to convince themselves, and do not vulgarise their beliefs by trying to convince other people. Leonard Bilsiter's beliefs were for "the few," that is to say, anyone who would listen to him.
His dabblings in the unseen might not have carried him beyond the customary platitudes of the drawing-room visionary if accident had not reinforced his stock-in-trade of mystical lore. In company with a friend, who was interested in a Ural mining concern, he had made a trip across Eastern Europe at a moment when the great Russian railway strike was developing from a threat to a reality; its outbreak caught him on the return journey, somewhere on the further side of Perm, and it was while waiting for a couple of days at a wayside station in a state of suspended locomotion that he made the acquaintance of a dealer in harness and metalware, who profitably whiled away the tedium of the long halt by initiating his English travelling companion in a fragmentary system of folk-lore that he had picked up from Trans-Baikal traders and natives. Leonard returned to his home circle garrulous about his Russian strike experiences, but oppressively reticent about certain dark mysteries, which he alluded to under the resounding title of Siberian Magic. The reticence wore off in a week or two under the influence of an entire lack of general curiosity, and Leonard began to make more detailed allusions to the enormous powers which this new esoteric force, to use his own description of it, conferred on the initiated few who knew how to wield it. His aunt, Cecilia Hoops, who loved sensation perhaps rather better than she loved the truth, gave him as clamorous an advertisement as anyone could wish for by retailing an account of how he had turned a vegetable marrow into a wood pigeon before her very eyes. As a manifestation of the possession of supernatural powers, the story was discounted in some quarters by the respect accorded to Mrs. Hoops' powers of imagination.
However divided opinion might be on the question of Leonard's status as a wonderworker or a charlatan, he certainly arrived at Mary Hampton's house-party with a reputation for pre-eminence in one or other of those professions, and he was not disposed to shun such publicity as might fall to his share. Esoteric forces and unusual powers figured largely in whatever conversation he or his aunt had a share in, and his own performances, past and potential, were the subject of mysterious hints and dark avowals.
"I wish you would turn me into a wolf, Mr. Bilsiter," said his hostess at luncheon the day after his arrival.
"My dear Mary," said Colonel Hampton, "I never knew you had a craving in that direction."
"A she-wolf, of course," continued Mrs. Hampton; "it would be too confusing to change one's sex as well as one's species at a moment's notice."
"I don't think one should jest on these subjects," said Leonard.
"I'm not jesting, I'm quite serious, I assure you. Only don't do it to-day; we have only eight available bridge players, and it would break up one of our tables. To-morrow we shall be a larger party. To-morrow night, after dinner-"
"In our present imperfect understanding of these hidden forces I think one should approach them with humbleness rather than mockery," observed Leonard, with such severity that the subject was forthwith dropped.
Clovis Sangrail had sat unusually silent during the discussion on the possibilities of Siberian Magic; after lunch he side-tracked Lord Pabham into the comparative seclusion of the billiard-room and delivered himself of a searching question.
"Have you such a thing as a she-wolf in your collection of wild animals? A she-wolf of moderately good temper?"
Lord Pabham considered. "There is Loiusa," he said, "a rather fine specimen of the timber-wolf. I got her two years ago in exchange for some Arctic foxes. Most of my animals get to be fairly tame before they've been with me very long; I think I can say Louisa has an angelic temper, as she-wolves go. Why do you ask?"
"I was wondering whether you would lend her to me for to-morrow night," said Clovis, with the careless solicitude of one who borrows a collar stud or a tennis racquet.
"Yes, wolves are nocturnal animals, so the late hours won't hurt her," said Clovis, with the air of one who has taken everything into consideration; "one of your men could bring her over from Pabham Park after dusk, and with a little help he ought to be able to smuggle her into the conservatory at the same moment that Mary Hampton makes an unobtrusive exit."
Lord Pabham stared at Clovis for a moment in pardonable bewilderment; then his face broke into a wrinkled network of laughter.
"Oh, that's your game, is it? You are going to do a little Siberian Magic on your own account. And is Mrs. Hampton willing to be a fellow-conspirator?"
"Mary is pledged to see me through with it, if you will guarantee Louisa's temper."
"I'll answer for Louisa," said Lord Pabham.
By the following day the house-party had swollen to larger proportions, and Bilsiter's instinct for self-advertisement expanded duly under the stimulant of an increased audience. At dinner that evening he held forth at length on the subject of unseen forces and untested powers, and his flow of impressive eloquence continued unabated while coffee was being served in the drawing-room preparatory to a general migration to the card-room.
His aunt ensured a respectful hearing for his utterances, but her sensation-loving soul hankered after something more dramatic than mere vocal demonstration.
"Won't you do something to convince them of your powers, Leonard?" she pleaded; "change something into another shape. He can, you know, if he only chooses to," she informed the company.
"Oh, do," said Mavis Pellington earnestly, and her request was echoed by nearly everyone present. Even those who were not open to conviction were perfectly willing to be entertained by an exhibition of amateur conjuring.
Leonard felt that something tangible was expected of him.
"Has anyone present," he asked, "got a three-penny bit or some small object of no particular value?"
"You're surely not going to make coins disappear, or something primitive of that sort?" said Clovis contemptuously.
"I think it very unkind of you not to carry out my suggestion of turning me into a wolf," said Mary Hampton, as she crossed over to the conservatory to give her macaws their usual tribute from the dessert dishes.
"I have already warned you of the danger of treating these powers in a mocking spirit," said Leonard solemnly.
"I don't believe you can do it," laughed Mary provocatively from the conservatory; "I dare you to do it if you can. I defy you to turn me into a wolf."
As she said this she was lost to view behind a clump of azaleas.
"Mrs. Hampton-" began Leonard with increased solemnity, but he got no further. A breath of chill air seemed to rush across the room, and at the same time the macaws broke forth into ear-splitting screams.
"What on earth is the matter with those confounded birds, Mary?" exclaimed Colonel Hampton; at the same moment an even more piercing scream from Mavis Pellington stampeded the entire company from their seats. In various attitudes of helpless horror or instinctive defence they confronted the evil-looking grey beast that was peering at them from amid a setting of fern and azalea.
Mrs. Hoops was the first to recover from the general chaos of fright and bewilderment.
"Leonard!" she screamed shrilly to her nephew, "turn it back into Mrs. Hampton at once! It may fly at us at any moment. Turn it back!"
"I-I don't know how to," faltered Leonard, who looked more scared and horrified than anyone.
"What!" shouted Colonel Hampton, "you've taken the abominable liberty of turning my wife into a wolf, and now you stand there calmly and say you can't turn her back again!"
To do strict justice to Leonard, calmness was not a distinguishing feature of his attitude at the moment.
"I assure you I didn't turn Mrs. Hampton into a wolf; nothing was farther from my intentions," he protested.
"Then where is she, and how came that animal into the conservatory?" demanded the Colonel.
"Of course we must accept your assurance that you didn't turn Mrs. Hampton into a wolf," said Clovis politely, "but you will agree that appearances are against you."
"Are we to have all these recriminations with that beast standing there ready to tear us to pieces?" wailed Mavis indignantly.
"Lord Pabham, you know a good deal about wild beasts - " suggested Colonel Hampton.
"The wild beasts that I have been accustomed to," said Lord Pabham, "have come with proper credentials from well-known dealers, or have been bred in my own menagerie. I've never before been confronted with an animal that walks unconcernedly out of an azalea bush, leaving a charming and popular hostess unaccounted for. As far as one can judge from outward characteristics," he continued, "it has the appearance of a well-grown female of the North American timber-wolf, a variety of the common species canis lupus."
"Oh, never mind its Latin name," screamed Mavis, as the beast came a step or two further into the room; "can't you entice it away with food, and shut it up where it can't do any harm?"
"If it is really Mrs. Hampton, who has just had a very good dinner, I don't suppose food will appeal to it very strongly," said Clovis.
"Leonard," beseeched Mrs. Hoops tearfully, "even if this is none of your doing can't you use your great powers to turn this dreadful beast into something harmless before it bites us all - a rabbit or something?"
"I don't suppose Colonel Hampton would care to have his wife turned into a succession of fancy animals as though we were playing a round game with her," interposed Clovis.
"I absolutely forbid it," thundered the Colonel.
"Most wolves that I've had anything to do with have been inordinately fond of sugar," said Lord Pabham; "if you like I'll try the effect on this one."
He took a piece of sugar from the saucer of his coffee cup and flung it to the expectant Louisa, who snapped it in mid-air. There was a sigh of relief from the company; a wolf that ate sugar when it might at the least have been employed in tearing macaws to pieces had already shed some of its terrors. The sigh deepened to a gasp of thanks-giving when Lord Pabham decoyed the animal out of the room by a pretended largesse of further sugar. There was an instant rush to the vacated conservatory. There was no trace of Mrs. Hampton except the plate containing the macaws' supper.
"The door is locked on the inside!" exclaimed Clovis, who had deftly turned the key as he affected to test it.
Everyone turned towards Bilsiter.
"If you haven't turned my wife into a wolf," said Colonel Hampton, "will you kindly explain where she has disappeared to, since she obviously could not have gone through a locked door? I will not press you for an explanation of how a North American timber-wolf suddenly appeared in the conservatory, but I think I have some right to inquire what has become of Mrs. Hampton."
Bilsiter's reiterated disclaimer was met with a general murmur of impatient disbelief.
"I refuse to stay another hour under this roof," declared Mavis Pellington.
"If our hostess has really vanished out of human form," said Mrs. Hoops, "none of the ladies of the party can very well remain. I absolutely decline to be chaperoned by a wolf!"
"It's a she-wolf," said Clovis soothingly.
The correct etiquette to be observed under the unusual circumstances received no further elucidation. The sudden entry of Mary Hampton deprived the discussion of its immediate interest.
"Some one has mesmerised me," she exclaimed crossly; "I found myself in the game larder, of all places, being fed with sugar by Lord Pabham. I hate being mesmerised, and the doctor has forbidden me to touch sugar."
The situation was explained to her, as far as it permitted of anything that could be called explanation.
"Then you really did turn me into a wolf, Mr. Bilsiter?" she exclaimed excitedly.
But Leonard had burned the boat in which he might now have embarked on a sea of glory. He could only shake his head feebly.
"It was I who took that liberty," said Clovis; "you see, I happen to have lived for a couple of years in North-Eastern Russia, and I have more than a tourist's acquaintance with the magic craft of that region. One does not care to speak about these strange powers, but once in a way, when one hears a lot of nonsense being talked about them, one is tempted to show what Siberian magic can accomplish in the hands of someone who really understands it. I yielded to that temptation. May I have some brandy? the effort has left me rather faint."
If Leonard Bilsiter could at that moment have transformed Clovis into a cockroach and then have stepped on him he would gladly have performed both operations.
Yn Aght Yarkand
Va'n Reejerey Lulworth Quayne gimmeeaght dy soccaragh trooid Garey ny Sheshaght Vaagh-Oaylleeagh marish e neear, as eshyn erash veih Mecsico er y gherrid. Va sym ec yn 'er jerrinagh er cosoylaghey sorÁhyn dy veiyn mooinjerey America Hwoaie as yn «henn Seihll, as soiaghey ad noi ry-hoi.
"Nane jeh ny reddyn smoo joarree bentyn rish gleashaght ghooieyn," dooyrt eh, "shen y bree aigney dy hroailt as arraghey ta brishey magh nish as reesht, gyn fa baghtal, ayns boodeeyssyn beiyn va nyn gretooryn Áhiollee derrey nish."
"Ayns cooishyn deiney ta'n phenomenon cheddin ry-akin nish as reesht," dooyrt y Reejerey Lulworth; "haghyr yn soylley smoo ard-chooishaght, foddee, 'syn Áheer shoh tra v'ou uss ersooyl ayns faasaghyn Vecsico. Ta mee Áheet er y vuilley rouailtagh ren taishbyney eh hene dy doaltattym ayns fwirranyn reiragh as reaghee shiartanse dy phabyryn-naight Lunninagh. Ghow eh toshiaght lesh immeeaght er ouyl slane fwirran hiaghtinane feer ard-inÁhynagh as treealysagh dys claddaghyn ny Seine as binn Vontmartre. Va'n arraghey magh giare, agh ren eh fograghey amm neufeaghid ayns seihll ny Pabyryn Naight as eshyn cur bree slane noa dys y raa 'kiarkley phabyr naight.' Cha row fwirranyn reaghee elley dy moal dy eiyrt er y tampleyr v'er e chur daue. Huitt Paarys magh ass oash dy leah, er yn oyr dy vel ish ro 'aggys; haink NŁrnberg, Seville as Salonica dy ve nyn reih oayldyn myr gareydyn biljagh, cha nel son fwirranyn shiaghtaneyn ynrican, agh fwirranyn phabyryn laaoil myrgeddin. Cha jagh ny h-ynnydyn er reih dy mie dy kinjagh, foddee; reaghey ard-olt smooinaght Hushtallagh rish kegeesh ass Trouville as Monte Carlo, ghow rish sleih dy cadjin dy nee marranys v'ayn. As eer tra hie reagheyderyn treealysagh as contoyrtagh as nyn vwirranyn ny sodjey magh, va kuse dy streeuyn neuhaghnagh. Myr sampleyr, hug yn Scrutagher, Molley Cloieagh, and Pabyr Ny Caillinyn Hene shilley er Khartoum 'syn Áhiaghtin cheddin. By vian dy 'aagail ny yei ooilley cohirrey cummyssagh, foddee, ren cleayney reireydys y Naighteyr Laaoil, mastey oltyn smoo stooalt as ammyssit aigney libraalagh, ayns nyn mriwnys dy astreeaghey nyn oikyn rish tree ny kiare shiaghteeyn veih Fleet Street dys Turkistaan Hiar, cur ry-lhiattee, myrÁhaagh, oirr hraa ymmyrÁhagh son y turrys noon as noal. Ayns ymmodee aghtyn, by hampleyr smoo cronnalagh v'ayn jeh ny h-immeeaghtyn Pabyr Naight va goll er ec y traa shen. Cha row lhiggey er erbee ec y ventyr; shellooder, reagheyder, fo-reagheyderyn, colloonee, ard-naighteyryn, as myr shen, ghow ad ooilley ayrn ayns ny v'ad genmys yn Drang nach Osten dy cadjin; gilley oik tushtagh as fondagh, by eshyn eh y fer ynrican hannee ayns shelleig neuhaaghit harrooghid screeuee."
"Shen jannoo reddyn slane dy liooar, nagh row?" dooyrt y neear.
"Wahll, t'ou fakin," dooyrt yn Reejerey Lulworth, "va beggan drogh-ghoo Áheet er yn eie arraghee, kyndagh rish yn aght leih-chreeagh hie eh er cooilleeney nish as reesht. Cha row uss coontey monney jeh soilsheydys dy row y pabyr shoh ny shen goll er reaghey as cur magh ayns Lisbon ny Innsbruck, my haghyr eh dy vaik oo yn ard-naighteyryn ny'n reagheyder ellyn goaill kishtey ec nyn oastan cadjin. Va'n Naighteyr Laaoil reaghit gyn faagail yn caa sloo da khennoughey er rieughid y phirgrinys oc, as t'eh orrym goaill rish: er shlee, ny reaghyssyn va jeant dy chreealey screeuynaght as freayll seose ard-skeealyn cadjin y phabyr, dobbree ad dy rea as dy mie. Ta'n straih dy h-artyn ghow toshiaght ayns Baku er 'Ny oddagh Cobdenaghys jannoo er son y Áhynskyl camel' mastey ny cohortyssyn jeianagh share da screeuaght Heyr Ghellal, as ny tuarymyn er reill joarree va goll er coraaghey 'veih clea ayns Yarkand', v'ad taishbyney er y chooid sloo wheesh toiggal jeh'n chooish eddyr-ashoonagh as adsyn v'er nyn voghaney fo lieh-veeilley jeh Downing Street. Slane rere shennaghyssyn ny shinney as ny share earisheraght Ghoaldagh, chammah, va aght yn Áheet erash; gyn bashtallys, gyn soilsheenaghey persoonagh, gyn co-akinyn ymmodee-taishbynagh. Hie eer kirbyl moyllee ec Club ny Troailtee Chruinney er obbal dy chooyrtoil. Jeer, haink eh dy gholl er ennaghtyn dy row ny deiney naight noa-erash jannoo rouyr jeh ny glenney-jeu-hene oc, eer gys ynsagh-yesheeneyraght.
"Hooar furriman clou-obbree, cleree soilsheenee, as olteynyn elley yn 'wirran neureaghee nagh ghow ayrn 'sy troailt mooar, dy row eh cho neuyannooagh geddyn coraa jeeragh marish y reagheyder as e yillyn nish v'ad er ash as tra v'ad er ve neuroshtynagh dy so-leih 'syn Aishey Veanagh. Y gilley offish pooitÁhagh as ro-lughtit, as eshyn yn un chiangley kianglee eddyr yn inÁhyn reaghee as rheynnyn traghtee y phabyr, v'eh meenaghey y freayll er-lheh noa dy sharroo myr yn 'aght Yarkand'. V'eh jeeaghyn dy row y chooid smoo jeh ny naighteyryn as fo-reagheyderyn er ve currit ersooyl lurg nyn jeet erash, ayns aght slane-reiltagh, as va fir noa er nyn vailley lesh screeu. Dauesyn va'n reagheyder as e heshyn s'faggys marraghtyn nyn spyrrydyn neuakinagh, gyn cur magh nyn oardaghyn agh liorish noteyn girragh clouscreeuit. Va red ennagh quaagh as Tibetagh as neulhiggit er jeet ayns ynnyd jeh siyr gheiney as macainys deynlagh ny laaghyn roie-arraghee. Adsyn ren foslaghyn sheshoil da ny rouailtee erash, haink ad er y phenomenon cheddin. Cheau ben oast smoo soilsheanagh Lunnin 'sy feed eash pearl e feoiltys stiagh ayns ammyr neureggyrtagh y chishtey-screeuyn reaghee; v'eh jeeaghyn nagh beagh red erbee agh sarey Reeoil tayrn ny bwaaghee lomarcan-annymagh veih'n chooyl-raadaght v'ad er chur orroo hene. Ghow sleih toshiaght dy loayrt dy neuchenjal er eiyrtyssyn yrdjid ard as aeraght Hiar er king as dooghyssyn neuchliaghtit rish lheid y soaillid. Cha b'ennoil eh yn aght Yarkand."
"As ny v'ayns y phabyr," dooyrt yn neear, "row eh soilshaghey bree yn aght noa?"
"Ah!" dooyrt yn Reejerey Lulworth, "shen y red symoil. Bentyn rish cooishyn thie, feyshtyn sheshoil, as cooishyn cadjin y laa, cha row monney caghlaa ry-akin. Er lesh sleih va neuchurrymaght Hiar ennagh er snaue er fud y rheynn reaghee, as blass lhiastid foddee nagh row neughooghyssagh ayns obbyr deiney v'er jeet erash veih turrys doccaragh dy liooar. Cha row y cheim erbaghtallys chliaghtit cummit seose, agh er raad erbee, cha row ad er vaagail cummey cadjin reill as barel. She mychione cooishyn joarree va'n caghlaa moostagh ayn. Haink rish artyn neucheiltynagh, lajer, brynt, as va'n glare oc er Áhee caghlaa arraghyssyn fouyir shey Pooaryn scanshoil dys cogherrym. Cre erbee elley va'n Naighteyr Laaoil er nynsaghey 'sy «hiar, cha row eh er ngoaill stiagh schlei daa-cheayllaght ghiploamagh. Va'n dooinney cadjin goaill soylley veih ny h-artyn as kionnaghey y pabyr myr nagh row eh er e chionnaghey rieau; ny deiney ayns Downing Street, va barel elley oc. Y Screeudeyr Joarree, cliaghtey ve ny ghooiney doont myr v'ad gra, haink eh dy ve slane focklagh rish obbal dy kinjagh smooinaghtyn v'er nyn vockley magh ayns ard-artyn y Naighteyr Laaoil; as eisht laa dy row, ren y Reiltys briwnys dy nhegin daue red ennagh shickyr as niartal y yannoo. Haink Áhaghteraght dys oikyn y phabyr, jeant seose jeh'n Ard-Vinishter, y Screeudeyr Joarree, kiare argideyryn scanshoil, as saggyrt Anchochredjuagh mie er enney. Ec dorrys y rheynn reaghee, va lhiettrimys 'sy raad; gilley oik imneagh agh doolaneagh.
" 'Cha nod shiu fakin y reagheyder, ny fer erbee jeh'n wirran,' ren eh fockley.
" 'Ta shin shassoo er fakin y reagheyder ny peiagh ennagh freggyrtagh,' dooyrt yn Ard-Vinishter, as haink ad stiagh er egin. By feer eh ny va'n gilley er ngra; cha row peiagh erbee ry-akin. 'Sy 'lane straih dy hamyryn, cha row cowrey erbee jeh bea gheiney.
" 'C'raad ta'n reagheyder?' 'Ny yn reagheyder joarree?' 'Ny yn ard-screeudeyr ard-artyn? Ny peiagh erbee?'
"Myr freggyrt da'n deayrtey feyshtyn, ren y gilley neughlassey tayrnag as taishbyney poagey screeuyn quaagh. Va cowrey post Khokand er, as date shiaght ny hoght meeghyn roish. «heusthie va ribbag pabyr, as y Áhaghteraght injil er:
"Slane possan er nyn daartyn liorish clein roosteyryn er turrys erash. Aggyrt kerroo millioon myr feaysley, agh ghoghe ny sloo, s'cosoylagh. Insh da reiltys, mooinjer, caarjyn.
"Lurg shen haink enmyn screeuit ard-sleih y phossan as sarey mychione raad as aght lhisagh yn argid goll er eeck.
"Va enmys er y screeuyn da'n gilley-oik-curmeyder, as v'eh er-e cheiltyn dy kiune. Cha nel peiagh erbee ny hreanagh da'n gilley oik echey hene, as s'leayr eh er lesh va kerroo millioon costys do-fendeil er son cooish as vondeish cho arganeagh eck myr goaill erash fwirran pabyr-naight gys y Áheer oc. Myr shen, ren eh goaill magh ny faillyn reaghee as elley, farscreeu ny h-enmyn screeuit as feme echey orroo, failley naighteyryn noa, jannoo ny fo-reagheydys dy nod eh, as jannoo cho monney ymmyd as foddee eh jeh'n tasht artyn er lheh v'er ny hashtey son gear-cheim. Ny h-artyn er cooishyn joarree, she e obbyr hene v'ayn.
"Dy dooghyssagh, v'eh orroo folliaght jeh'n lane chooish y yannoo, choud's foddee ad; hie fwirran shallidagh er failley, fo breearrey folliaght, derrey dod ny cappee hymley goll er feddyn magh, feaysley as Áheet lhieu erash, jees as tree ec yn unnane traa son shaghney geill. Beggan er veggan, hie ooilley erash da'n shenn stayd, as ny h-artyn er cooishyn joarree erash da aghtyn cliaghtagh y phabyr."
"Agh," haink eddyr y neear, "cre'n aght, er chor erbee, hug y gilley coontey da ny mooinjeryn car ooilley ny meeghyn shen nagh row-"
"Shen," dooyrt y Reejerey Lulworth, "yn ard-vuilley erskyn ooilley. Da ben ny mooinjerey s'faggys dagh dooinney er coayl, hug eh Áhaghteraght, as eh jannoo arrish jeh laue y screeudeyr lhiassit as jannoo leshtallyn mychione pennyn boghtey as doo moal. Ayns dagh screeuyn dinsh eh y skeeal cheddin, gyn caghlaa agh y boayl, jeh'n vree nagh row y screeudeyr ynrican, ass y lane phossan, tayrn eh hene ersooyl voish seyrsnys feie as cleayneyraght vea Hiar, as veagh eh ceau ymmodee meeghyn lesh shooyl trooid ard ennagh er lheh. Ghow toshiaght ram jeh ny mraane Áhelleeragh er eiyrt nyn neiney shaghrynagh, as cheau y Reiltys traa liauyr as ram boirey Áheet lhieu erash veih ronsaghtyn fardailagh ayns claddee ny h-Oxus, y Faasagh Gobi, steip Orenburg, as buill 'rangagh elley. Choud's ta fys aym, ta unnane er coayl foast raad erbee 'sy Ghlion Tigris."
"As y gilley?"
"Ny naighteyr foast."
The Arkand Manner
Sir Lulworth Quayne was making a leisurely progress through the Zoological Society's Gardens in company with his nephew, recently returned from Mexico. The latter was interested in comparing and contrasting allied types of animals occurring in the North American and Old World fauna.
"One of the most remarkable things in the wanderings of species," he observed, "is the sudden impulse to trek and migrate that breaks out now and again, for no apparent reason, in communities of hitherto stay-at-home animals."
"In human affairs the same phenomenon is occasionally noticeable," said Sir Lulworth; "perhaps the most striking instance of it occurred in this country while you were away in the wilds of Mexico. I mean the wander fever which suddenly displayed itself in the managing and editorial staffs of certain London newspapers. It began with the stampede of the entire staff of one of our most brilliant and enterprising weeklies to the banks of the Seine and the heights of Montmartre. The migration was a brief one, but it heralded an era of restlessness in the Press world which lent quite a new meaning to the phrase 'newspaper circulation.' Other editorial staffs were not slow to imitate the example that had been set them. Paris soon dropped out of fashion as being too near home; NŁrnberg, Seville, and Salonica became more favoured as planting-out grounds for the personnel of not only weekly but daily papers as well. The localities were perhaps not always well chosen; the fact of a leading organ of Evangelical thought being edited for two successive fortnights from Trouville and Monte Carlo was generally admitted to have been a mistake. And even when enterprising and adventurous editors took themselves and their staffs further afield there were some unavoidable clashings. For instance, the Scrutator, Sporting Bluff, and The Damsels' Own Paper all pitched on Khartoum for the same week. It was, perhaps, a desire to out-distance all possible competition that influenced the management of the Daily Intelligencer, one of the most solid and respected organs of Liberal opinion, in its decision to transfer its offices for three or four weeks from Fleet Street to Eastern Turkestan, allowing, of course, a necessary margin of time for the journey there and back. This was, in many respects, the most remarkable of all the Press stampedes that were experienced at this time. There was no make-believe about the undertaking; proprietor, manager, editor, sub-editors, leader-writers, principal reporters, and so forth, all took part in what was popularly alluded to as the Drang nach Osten; an intelligent and efficient office-boy was all that was left in the deserted hive of editorial industry."
"That was doing things rather thoroughly, wasn't it?" said the nephew.
"Well, you see," said Sir Lulworth, "the migration idea was falling somewhat into disrepute from the half-hearted manner in which it was occasionally carried out. You were not impressed by the information that such and such a paper was being edited and brought out at Lisbon or Innsbruck if you chanced to see the principal leader-writer or the art editor lunching as usual at their accustomed restaurants. The Daily Intelligencer was determined to give no loophole for cavil at the genuineness of its pilgrimage, and it must be admitted that to a certain extent the arrangements made for transmitting copy and carrying on the usual features of the paper during the long outward journey worked smoothly and well. The series of articles which commenced at Baku on 'What Cobdenism might do for the camel industry' ranks among the best of the recent contributions to Free Trade literature, while the views on foreign policy enunciated 'from a roof in Yarkand' showed at least as much grasp of the international situation as those that had germinated within half a mile of Downing Street. Quite in keeping, too, with the older and better traditions of British journalism was the manner of the home-coming; no bombast, no personal advertisement, no flamboyant interviews. Even a complimentary luncheon at the Voyagers' Club was courteously declined. Indeed, it began to be felt that the self-effacement of the returned pressmen was being carried to a pedantic length. Foreman compositors, advertisement clerks, and other members of the non-editorial staff, who had, of course, taken no part in the great trek, found it as impossible to get into direct communication with the editor and his satellites now that they had returned as when they had been excusably inaccessible in Central Asia. The sulky, overworked office-boy, who was the one connecting link between the editorial brain and the business departments of the paper, sardonically explained the new aloofness as the 'Yarkand manner.' Most of the reporters and sub-editors seemed to have been dismissed in autocratic fashion since their return and new ones engaged by letter; to these the editor and his immediate associates remained an unseen presence, issuing its instructions solely through the medium of curt typewritten notes. Something mystic and Tibetan and forbidden had replaced the human bustle and democratic simplicity of pre-migration days, and the same experience was encountered by those who made social overtures to the returned wanderers. The most brilliant hostess of Twentieth Century London flung the pearl of her hospitality into the unresponsive trough of the editorial letter-box; it seemed as if nothing short of a Royal command would drag the hermit-souled revenants from their self-imposed seclusion. People began to talk unkindly of the effect of high altitudes and Eastern atmosphere on minds and temperaments unused to such luxuries. The Yarkand manner was not popular."
"And the contents of the paper," said the nephew, "did they show the influence of the new style?"
"Ah!" said Sir Lulworth, "that was the exciting thing. In home affairs, social questions, and the ordinary events of the day not much change was noticeable. A certain Oriental carelessness seemed to have crept into the editorial department, and perhaps a note of lassitude not unnatural in the work of men who had returned from what had been a fairly arduous journey. The aforetime standard of excellence was scarcely maintained, but at any rate the general lines of policy and outlook were not departed from. It was in the realm of foreign affairs that a startling change took place. Blunt, forcible, outspoken articles appeared, couched in language which nearly turned the autumn manoeuvres of six important Powers into mobilisations. Whatever else the Daily Intelligencer had learned in the East, it had not acquired the art of diplomatic ambiguity. The man in the street enjoyed the articles and bought the paper as he had never bought it before; the men in Downing Street took a different view. The Foreign Secretary, hitherto accounted a rather reticent man, became positively garrulous in the course of perpetually disavowing the sentiments expressed in the Daily Intelligencer's leaders; and then one day the Government came to the conclusion that something definite and drastic must be done. A deputation, consisting of the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary, four leading financiers, and a well-known Nonconformist divine, made its way to the offices of the paper. At the door leading to the editorial department the way was barred by a nervous but defiant office-boy.
" 'You can't see the editor nor any of the staff,' he announced.
" 'We insist on seeing the editor or some responsible person,' said the Prime Minister, and the deputation forced its way in. The boy had spoken truly; there was no one to be seen. In the whole suite of rooms there was no sign of human life.
" 'Where is the editor?' 'Or the foreign editor?' 'Or the chief leader-writer? Or anybody?'
"In answer to the shower of questions the boy unlocked a drawer and produced a strange-looking envelope, which bore a Khokand postmark, and a date of some seven or eight months back. It contained a scrap of paper on which was written the following message:
"Entire party captured by brigand tribe on homeward journey. Quarter of million demanded as ransom, but would probably take less. Inform Government, relations, and friends.
"There followed the signatures of the principal members of the party and instructions as to how and where the money was to be paid.
"The letter had been directed to the office-boy-in-charge, who had quietly suppressed it. No one is a hero to one's own office-boy, and he evidently considered that a quarter of a million was an unwarrantable outlay for such a doubtfully advantageous object as the repatriation of an errant newspaper staff. So he drew the editorial and other salaries, forged what signatures were necessary, engaged new reporters, did what sub-editing he could, and made as much use as possible of the large accumulation of special articles that was held in reserve for emergencies. The articles on foreign affairs were entirely his own composition.
"Of course the whole thing had to be kept as quiet as possible; an interim staff, pledged to secrecy, was appointed to keep the paper going till the pining captives could be sought out, ransomed, and brought home, in twos and threes to escape notice, and gradually things were put back on their old footing. The articles on foreign affairs reverted to the wonted traditions of the paper."
"But," interposed the nephew, "how on earth did the boy account to the relatives all those months for the non-appearance-"
"That," said Sir Lulworth, "was the most brilliant stroke of all. To the wife or nearest relative of each of the missing men he forwarded a letter, copying the handwriting of the supposed writer as well as he could, and making excuses about vile pens and ink; in each letter he told the same story, varying only the locality, to the effect that the writer, alone of the whole party, was unable to tear himself away from the wild liberty and allurements of Eastern life, and was going to spend several months roaming in some selected region. Many of the wives started off immediately in pursuit of their errant husbands, and it took the Government a considerable time and much trouble to reclaim them from their fruitless quests along the banks of the Oxus, the Gobi Desert, the Orenburg steppe, and other outlandish places. One of them, I believe, is still lost somewhere in the Tigris Valley."
"And the boy?"
"Is still in journalism."
Yn Lheeys Neuaash
Er y chlean scudlee, dy jeeragh noi Clovis 'sy charriads traenagh, va poagey troailtagh as cummey stooalt echey, as va'n lipaid er ny screeu dy frioosagh: "J.P. Huddle, The Warren, Tilfield, rish Slowborough." Dy jeeragh fo'n chlean va'n lipaid hene ayns dooghys ny foalley: fer stooalt, kiune, coamrit dy kiune, coloayrtysagh dy kiune. Eer gyn y coloayrtys echey (as eshyn marish carrey ny hoie ry-lhiattee, as bentyn son y chooid smoo rish bun-chooishyn myr mellid lossreeyn ny folley Romanagh as cadjinaght volgagh vuc ec y Thie Pessonagh), oddagh oo towse kiart dy liooar persoonid as reayrt aigney shellooder y phoagey troailtagh. Agh v'eh jeeaghyn nagh b'arryltagh eh dy 'aagail red erbee da sheiltynys fakider taghyrtagh, as ny sheyn, haink y coloayrtys y ve persoonagh as sthie-akinagh.
"Cha 'saym cre'n aght t'eh," dinsh eh da e charrey, "cha nel mee foddey harrish daeed, agh t'eh jeeaghyn dy vel mee er soiaghey sheese ayns clash trome mean eash anmagh. Ta'n beoyn cheddin er my huyr. S'mie lhien dy vel dagh ooilley red 'sy voayl cliaghtagh echey; s'mie lhien dy vel reddyn taghyrt ec y traa t'enmyssit daue; s'mie lhien dy vel dagh ooilley red oayllagh, reajagh, dy traa, saaseagh, dys lheead renaig, dys minnid. T'eh cur trimshey as anvea orrin mannagh vel eh myr shen. Myr sampleyr, myn-chooish y ghoaill, ta treshlen er droggal yn edd eck, blein lurg blein, 'sy villey clooie-ny-gayt er yn 'aaie; myleeaney, gyn oyr leayr, t'ee troggal 'sy hibbin er boalley y gharey. Cha nel shin er ngra monney myekione, agh er lhiam dy vel shin daa smooinaghtyn dy vel y caghlaa neuymmyrÁhagh, as red beg brasnee."
"Foddee," as y carrey, "dy nee treshlen elley t'ayn."
"Ta ouyrys ain er shen", dooyrt J. P. Huddle, "as er lhiam dy nee oyr share foast son boirey t'ayn. Er lhien nagh vel shin laccal caghlaa treshlen ec y traa bea t'ain; agh ny yei shen, myr ta mee er ngra, cha nel shin er jeet dys eash tra lhisagh reddyn myr shen goaill toshiaght boirey orrin dy trome."
"Ny ta shiu laccal," dooyrt y carrey, "she Lheeys-neuaash eh."
"Lheeys-neuaash? Cha nel mee rieau er glashtyn er y lheid."
"T'ou er glashtyn er Lheeysyn-aash son sleih t'er droggloo fo trimmid rouyr boirey as beaghey doccaragh; eisht, ta shiuish surranse rouyr saveenys as kiunid, as ta feme eu er yn torÁh condaigagh dy lheeys."
"Agh c'raad veagh shin goll son lheid y red?"
"Eisht, oddagh oo cur stiagh son shirreyder Orange Keeill Chennee, ny cur keayrtyn ardjynagh er kerrooghyn-Apache Phaarys, ny leaghtey ayns Berlin dy row y chooid smoo jeh kiaull Wagner er ny screeu liorish Gabetta; as ta antraie Vorocco ry-hroailt dy bragh. Agh dys geddyn y chooid share ass, lhisagh y Lheeys-neuaash goll er prowal 'sy thie. Er yn aght veagh oo dy yannoo cha nel eie erbee aym."
Shen y traa 'sy choloayrtys dy ghooisht annym as geill Chlovis. Ny yei, ec y cheayrt daa laa dys mooinjerey mie-eash ayns Slowborough va kiarit da, cha row monney cummys son greesaghey. Roish my va'n traen er scuirr, v'eh er nyesheenaghey yn 'ent-muinneel hoshtal echey lesh y screeuyn, "J. P. Huddle, The Warren, Tilfield, rish Slowborough."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Daa voghrey ny yei vrish Mnr. Huddle stiagh ayns preevaadjys e huyr as ee ny soie lhaih Country Life 'sy Áhamyr voghree. V'eh y laa as traa as boayl eck Country Life y lhaih, as va'n brishey stiagh noi ooilley cliaghtey, agh ayns e laue va Áhellegram, as 'sy thie shen v'ad goaill rish dy haghyr Áhellegrammyn liorish aigney Yee. Va dooghys Áhenney taarnee ec y Áhellegram shoh. "Aspick scrutaghey brastyl ayns naboonys gyn tannaghtyn thie pessonagh er coontey y ghruight yeearree feoiltys cur diu screeudeyr reaghey."
"Cha nhione dou yn Aspick agh foddey jeh; cha loayr mee rish agh un cheayrt," dyllee J. P. Huddle, as aght hene-seyrey er, myr fer ta toiggal ro anmagh dy nee neufeeudid eh loayrt rish Aspickyn joarree. By Venainshtyr Huddle ee y chied dy aavioghey; cha nhare lheeish na e braar Áhennaghyn taarnee, agh dinsh y dooghys benoil aynjee dy begin daue bee da Áhennaghyn taarnee y chur.
"Fodmayd jannoo curry veih'n thunnag feayr," dooyrt ee. Cha nee y laa pointit da curry v'ayn, agh va'n poagey screeuyn beg jiarg-bwee nyn eginaghey dy vrishey reill as cliaghtey er shlee. Cha dooyrt e braar veg, agh va bwooise son y dunnallys shoh ayns e ghaa hooill.
"Dooinney seyr aeg laccal nyn vakin," ren y caillin buird fockley magh.
"Y screeudeyr!" dooyrt ny Huddleyn trooid ny feeacklyn oc. «helleeragh, haink ymmyrkey creoi orroo, as eshyn fogrey dy row dagh dooinney joaree kyndagh er lhieu, agh dy chluinagh ad red erbee foddee eh loayrt er-e-hon. Y dooinney aeg, as mooaralaght jesh ennagh echey tra haink eh stiagh 'sy Áhamyr, cha row eh rere eie Huddle jeh screeudeyr aspick er chor erbee; cha heill eh rieau roish dy nod y lught aspickagh fordrail greasan as coodagh cho deyr er choud's va wheesh dy aggyrtyn er y chouyr oc. Va enney giare-heiltagh echey er y eddin; dy beagh eh er chur ny smoo geill da'n cho-hroailtagh noi 'sy charriads traenagh daa laa roish shoh, veagh enney er ve echey er Clovis 'sy cheayrtagh echey nish, foddee.
"Nee shiu screeudeyr yn Aspick?" denee Huddle, Áheet dy ve fo-arrym dy jioinagh.
"Y screeudeyr folliaghtagh echey," dreggyr Clovis. "Foddee shiu gra Stanislaus rhym; s'cummey dooin y ennym elley aym. Bee yn Aspick as Curnal Alberti ayns shoh ec kirbyl, foddee. Bee'ms ayns shoh ansherbee."
V'eh clashtyn gollrish keayrt Reeoil.
"Ta'n Aspick scrutaghey brastyl fo-e-laue 'sy naboonys, nagh vel?" denee Bnr. Huddle.
"Myr yein," va'n freggyrt dorraghey, as eisht hirr eh orroo caslys-Áheerey jeh'n naboonys er scaailley mooar.
Va Clovis foast baiht liorish mynscrutaghey y caslys-Áheerey dy dowin as dy baghtal tra haink Áhellegram elley. Va ennym er da "Flah Stanislaus, fo chiarail Huddle, Yn Warren, a.r.e." Cheau Clovis shilley bieau er ny va sthie as hug eh: "Cha bee yn Aspick as Alberti ayns shoh derrey yn fastyr beg." Eisht hie eh erash gys mynscrutaghey y caslys-Áheerey.
Cha by chruinniaght feer ghennal eh kirbyl. Dee as diu yn screeudeyr flahoil as gailley mie echey, agh woogh eh pleat dy loghtal. Ec jerrey y lhongey haink gearey soilsheanagh er, hug eh bwooise da'n ven oast echey son lhongey taitnyssagh, as paag da'n laue eck lesh eunys fo-arrym.
Cha dod Benainshtyr Huddle jannoo briwnys my row blast yn aghtey gollrish cooyrtoilaght Louis Quatorze ny ymmyrkey so-gheyrey ny Romanee da ny mraane Sabine. Cha row eh y laa eck son Áhingys king y ve urree, agh er lhee dy row y tuittymys jannoo leshtal er-e-son, as hie ee da'n Áhamyr lhee, wheesh jeh'n Áhingys king y hurranse as oddagh ee roish my rosheeagh yn Aspick. Clovis, lurg da fenaghtyn y raad dys yn oik hellegraf sniessey, ren eh skellal roish sheese yn raad carriads ny sheyn. Honnick Mnr. Huddle eh 'sy halley mysh daa oyr lurg shen, as denee eh cre'n traa rosheeagh yn Aspick.
"T'eh 'sy lioarlan marish Alberti," va'n freggyrt.
"Agh cre'n fa cha dinsh peiagh erbee dou? Cha row fys aym rieau dy row eh er jeet!" dyllee Huddle.
"Cha nel fys er peiagh erbee dy vel eh ayns shoh," dooyrt Clovis; "myr s'tostey fodmayd freayll y chooish, ny share. As ny jean anveaghey eh 'sy lioarlan er chor erbee. Shen e oardaghyn."
"Agh c'red ta bun ooilley yn 'olliaght? As quoi Alberti? As nagh gow yn Aspick tey beg?"
"Ta'n Aspick shirrey fuill, gyn tey."
"Fuill!" ren Huddle scredey, as eh gyn feddyn y Áhenney taarnee ny share er ainjys.
"Bee noght ny h-ard-oie ayns shennaghys y Theihill Chreestee," dooyrt Clovis. "Ta shin son marroo dagh Ew 'sy naboonys."
"Marroo ny hEwnyn!" dooyrt Huddle dy brasnit. "Vel shiu son insh dou dy vel irree-magh cadjin nyn oi?"
"Cha nel, she eie yn Aspick hene t'ayn. T'eh ayns shen reaghey ny mynphoyntyn nish."
"Agh - she dooinney cho surransagh, cho mial yn Aspick."
"Shen y red hene vees mooadaghey bree yn obbyr. Bee'n aawoalley buillvollee."
Shen, er y chooid sloo, dod Huddle credjal.
"Hed eh er chroghey!" dyllee eh as credjue echey.
"Ta gleashtan aarloo son eshyn y ymmyrkey dys y choose, raad ta baatey-bree fieau er."
"Agh cha nel jeih as feed Ewnyn 'sy clane naboonys," va Áhionnraa Huddle, as e chione, fo greain lurg greain y laa, gobbraghey myr anhickyr as streng Áhellegraf car craa-hallooin.
"Ta shey as feed er y rolley," dooyrt Clovis, lesh jeeaghyn er bundeil dy imraaghyn. "Fodmayd jannoo obbyr ny smoo slane son shen."
"Vel shiu son insh dou dy vel eh feue niart y yannoo er dooinney myr y Reejerey Leon Birberry," loayr Huddle dy cabbagh; "as eshyn mastey deiney smoo ammyssit ny Áheerey."
"T'eh er y rolley," as Clovis, dy neuchooishagh; "ny yei, ta deiney as treisht ain orroo yn obbyr y yannoo, myr shen cha nel feme ain barrant er cooney ynnydagh y chur. As ta Brigaid ny Gillyn myrane lhien myr fir choonee."
"Brigaid ny Gillyn!"
"Dy jarroo; tra hoig ad dy bee feer varroo ry-yannoo v'ad eer ny s'jeeaney na ny deiney."
"Bee y chooish shoh myr dolley er y Feedoo Cheead!"
"As bee y thie eu y kiappag sooee. Vel uss toiggal dy ver magh leih pabyryn ny h-Europey as ny Steatyn Unnaneysit caslyssyn jiu? A propos, hug mee paart dy chaslyssyn-soilshey jeed as jeh dty huyr, as fow mee ad 'sy lioarlan, dys MATIN as DIE WOCHE; ta doghys aym nagh vel shiu shassoo noi shen. SketÁh jeh'n lhag greeish, neesht; s'cosoylagh dy jed y chooid smoo jeh'n varroo er jannoo er y lhag greeish."
Va ny h-ennaghtyn freaynagh ayns kione J. P. Huddle ro hrome son fosley er Áhengey, bunnys, agh dod eh caaghey magh: "Cha nel Ewnyn erbee 'sy thie shoh."
"Cha nel ec y traa t'ayn," dooyrt Clovis.
"Hem dys ny meoiryn-shee," deam Huddle as bree doaltattym er.
"Ayns y vooinney," dooyrt Clovis, "ta jeih deiney nyn shassoo, as oardaghey orroo dy lhiggey er dagh peiagh ta faagail y thie gyn mish cur y cowrey kieddagh. Ta possan elley nyn lhie cooyl-chlea faggys da'n giat toshee. Ta ny gillyn freayll arrey er y dorrys doont."
Ec y traa shoh datt builley gennal cayrn veih'n imman. Ren Huddle ratÁhal dys dorrys y halley, as ennaghtyn er myr dooinney ta lieh er doostey son tromlhie, as honnick eh y Reejerey Leon Birberry, er n'imman eh hene noal 'sy ghleashtan echey.
"Ghow mee y Áhellegram," dooyrt eh. "C'red ta jannoo?"
«hellegram? V'eh jeeaghyn dy nee laa Áhellegramyn v'ayn.
"Tar ayns shoh Áhelleeragh. Preaysagh. James Huddle," va cooid ny Áhaghteraght va goll er taishbyney roish sooillyn boirit Huddle.
"Ta mee toiggal y clane!" dyllee eh dy doaltattym, as e choraa craa lesh anvea. Lesh cur sooill angaaishagh coair y vooinney, hayrn eh y Birberry thanvaanit stiagh 'sy thie. Va mrastyr beg kiart er ngoll er jeshee 'sy halley, agh va Huddle lane-sevreain nish, as hayrn eh y keayrtagh seose ny greeishyn dyn y wooise da plaiyntyn. Tammylt beg lurg shen, va'n clane lught-thie er nyn symney neese dys yn ard shoh, sauÁhey dy shallidagh. Clovis ynrickan hug onnor da'n voayrd lesh soie rish; ny baanreydee 'sy lioarlan, s'cosoylagh dy row ad ro vaiht 'syn obbyr oc son cumrailys gerjagh lesh cappan dy hey as arran greddan. Hass y fer aeg un cheayrt, fo aggyrt y clageen dorrys, as hug eh entreilys da Mnr. Paul Isaacs, ny ghreasee as ny choonseilagh skeerey; v'eshyn reesht er ngoaill cuirrey preaysagh da The Warren. As scaa eajee cooyrtoilid er, nagh noddagh Borgia er ngeddyn laue yn eaghtyr er, hug lesh eh cappagh s'noa ny jeebin echey da kione y lhag greeish, raad va'n cuirreyder neuarryltagh fieau er.
As eisht haink oie liauyr as agglagh jeh arrey as fuirraghtyn. Keayrt ny ghaa daag Clovis y thie son dy hooyl harrish da'n vooinney, as haink eh erash dagh keayrt da'n lioarlan, son dy chur coontey giare, b'leayr eh. Un cheayrt, ghow eh ny lettyryn veih'n dooinney post fastyragh, as haink lesh eh ad dys kione ny greeish as cooyrtoilid mynchooishagh echey. Lurg y nah assaaraght, haink eh dys mean ny greeishyn son fogrey y chur daue.
"Ren Brigaid ny Gillyn marranys er y chowrey aym, as t'ad er marroo y dooinney post. Cha nel monney cliaghtey aym er lheid y red shoh, t'ou toiggal. Keayrt elley nee'm ny share."
Y chaillin thie, as ee naisht da'n dooinney post fastyragh, haink seaghyn trome urree.
"Cooinnee dy vel Áhingys king ec y ven thie," dooyrt J. P. Huddle (va Áhingys king Vnr. Huddle ny smessey).
Ren Clovis kirtaghey sheese, as lurg keayrt giare da'n lioarlan haink eh erash as Áhaghteraght elley echey:
"S'treih lesh yn Aspick dy vel Áhingys king er Bnr. Huddle. T'eh cur oardaghyn nagh lhisagh sleih jannoo ymmyd jeh armyn aile faggys da'n thie, cho foddey as jantagh. Marroo erbee ta femoil 'sy thie hene, jeanmayd eh lesh staillin 'eayr. Cha nhione da'n Aspick oyr erbee nagh lhisagh dooinney ve cooyrtoil chammah as ny Chreestee."
Shen y cheayrt s'jerree honnick ad Clovis; v'eh shiaght er y chlag, faggys, as by vie lesh y mooinjer mie-eashit echey coamrey son jinnair. Agh, ga dy row eh er nyn vaagail son dy bragh, va sannish jehsyn sheygin ayns ardjyn injil y thie car ooryn liauyr ny h-oie gyn cadley; as ec dagh jeest jeh ny greeishyn, dagh moostrey 'sy vooinney, va bree agglagh. Fy-yerrey, mysh shiaght y nah voghrey, ren gilley y ghareyder as y dooinney post leah shickyraghey y lught fakin nagh row dolley erbee er yn 'Eedoo Cheead foast.
"Er lhiam," smooinee Clovis er ard, choud's dymmyrk traen leah eh dys y valley, "nagh bee ad bwooisal er chor erbee er son y Lheeys Neuaash."
On the rack in the railway carriage immediately opposite Clovis was a solidly wrought travelling-bag, with a carefully written label, on which was inscribed, "J. P. Huddle, The Warren, Tilfield, near Slowborough." Immediately below the rack sit the human embodiment of the label, a solid, sedate individual, sedately dressed, sedately conversational. Even without his conversation (which was addressed to a friend seated by his side, and touched chiefly on such topics as the backwardness of Roman hyacinths and the prevalence of measles at the Rectory), one could have gauged fairly accurately the temperament and mental outlook of the travelling bag's owner. But he seemed unwilling to leave anything to the imagination of a casual observer, and his talk grew presently personal and introspective.
"I don't know how it is," he told his friend, "I'm not much over forty, but I seem to have settled down into a deep groove of elderly middle-age. My sister shows the same tendency. We like everything to be exactly in its accustomed place; we like things to happen exactly at their appointed times; we like everything to be usual, orderly, punctual, methodical, to a hair's breadth, to a minute. It distresses and upsets us if it is not so. For instance, to take a very trifling matter, a thrush has built its nest year after year in the catkin-tree on the lawn; this year, for no obvious reason, it is building in the ivy on the garden wall. We have said very little about it, but I think we both feel that the change is unnecessary, and just a little irritating."
"Perhaps," said the friend, "it is a different thrush."
"We have suspected that," said J. P. Huddle, "and I think it gives us even more cause for annoyance. We don't feel that we want a change of thrush at our time of life; and yet, as I have said, we have scarcely reached an age when these things should make themselves seriously felt."
"What you want," said the friend, "is an Unrest-cure."
"An Unrest-cure? I've never heard of such a thing."
"You've heard of Rest-cures for people who've broken down under stress of too much worry and strenuous living; well, you're suffering from overmuch repose and placidity, and you need the opposite kind of treatment."
"But where would one go for such a thing?"
"Well, you might stand as an Orange candidate for Kilkenny, or do a course of district visiting in one of the Apache quarters of Paris, or give lectures in Berlin to prove that most of Wagner's music was written by Gambetta; and there's always the interior of Morocco to travel in. But, to be really effective, the Unrest-cure ought to be tried in the home. How you would do it I haven't the faintest idea."
It was at this point in the conversation that Clovis became galvanized into alert attention. After all, his two days' visit to an elderly relative at Slowborough did not promise much excitement. Before the train had stopped he had decorated his sinister shirt-cuff with the inscription, "J. P. Huddle, The Warren, Tilfield, near Slowborough."
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Two mornings later Mr. Huddle broke in on his sister's privacy as she sat reading Country Life in the morning room. It was her day and hour and place for reading Country Life, and the intrusion was absolutely irregular; but he bore in his hand a telegram, and in that household telegrams were recognized as happening by the hand of God. This particular telegram partook of the nature of a thunderbolt. "Bishop examining confirmation class in neighbourhood unable stay rectory on account measles invokes your hospitality sending secretary arrange."
"I scarcely know the Bishop; I've only spoken to him once," exclaimed J. P. Huddle, with the exculpating air of one who realizes too late the indiscretion of speaking to strange Bishops. Miss Huddle was the first to rally; she disliked thunderbolts as fervently as her brother did, but the womanly instinct in her told her that thunderbolts must be fed.
"We can curry the cold duck," she said. It was not the appointed day for curry, but the little orange envelope involved a certain departure from rule and custom. Her brother said nothing, but his eyes thanked her for being brave.
"A young gentleman to see you," announced the parlour-maid.
"The secretary!" murmured the Huddles in unison; they instantly stiffened into a demeanour which proclaimed that, though they held all strangers to be guilty, they were willing to hear anything they might have to say in their defence. The young gentleman, who came into the room with a certain elegant haughtiness, was not at all Huddle's idea of a bishop's secretary; he had not supposed that the episcopal establishment could have afforded such an expensively upholstered article when there were so many other claims on its resources. The face was fleetingly familiar; if he had bestowed more attention on the fellow-traveller sitting opposite him in the railway carriage two days before he might have recognized Clovis in his present visitor.
"You are the Bishop's secretary?" asked Huddle, becoming consciously deferential.
"His confidential secretary," answered Clovis. You may call me Stanislaus; my other name doesn't matter. The Bishop and Colonel Alberti may be here to lunch. I shall be here in any case."
It sounded rather like the programme of a Royal visit.
"The Bishop is examining a confirmation class in the neighbourhood, isn't he?" asked Miss Huddle.
"Ostensibly," was the dark reply, followed by a request for a large-scale map of the locality.
Clovis was still immersed in a seemingly profound study of the map when another telegram arrived. It was addressed to "Prince Stanislaus, care of Huddle, The Warren, etc." Clovis glanced at the contents and announced: "The Bishop and Alberti won't be here till late in the afternoon." Then he returned to his scrutiny of the map.
The luncheon was not a very festive function. The princely secretary ate and drank with fair appetite, but severely discouraged conversation. At the finish of the meal he broke suddenly into a radiant smile, thanked his hostess for a charming repast, and kissed her hand with deferential rapture.
Miss Huddle was unable to decide in her mind whether the action savoured of Louis Quatorzian courtliness or the reprehensible Roman attitude towards the Sabine women. It was not her day for having a headache, but she felt that the circumstances excused her, and retired to her room to have as much headache as was possible before the Bishop's arrival. Clovis, having asked the way to the nearest telegraph office, disappeared presently down the carriage drive. Mr. Huddle met him in the hall some two hours later, and asked when the Bishop would arrive.
"He is in the library with Alberti," was the reply.
"But why wasn't I told? I never knew he had come!" exclaimed Huddle.
"No one knows he is here," said Clovis; "the quieter we can keep matters the better. And on no account disturb him in the library. Those are his orders."
"But what is all this mystery about? And who is Alberti? And isn't the Bishop going to have tea?"
"The Bishop is out for blood, not tea."
"Blood!" gasped Huddle, who did not find that the thunderbolt improved on acquaintance.
"To-night is going to be a great night in the history of Christendom," said Clovis. "We are going to massacre every Jew in the neighbourhood."
"To massacre the Jews!" said Huddle indignantly. "Do you mean to tell me there's a general rising against them?"
"No, it's the Bishop's own idea. He's in there arranging all the details now."
"But--the Bishop is such a tolerant, humane man."
"That is precisely what will heighten the effect of his action. The sensation will be enormous."
That at least Huddle could believe.
"He will be hanged!" he exclaimed with conviction.
"A motor is waiting to carry him to the coast, where a steam yacht is in readiness."
"But there aren't thirty Jews in the whole neighbourhood," protested Huddle, whose brain, under the repeated shocks of the day, was operating with the uncertainty of a telegraph wire during earthquake disturbances.
"We have twenty-six on our list," said Clovis, referring to a bundle of notes. "We shall be able to deal with them all the more thoroughly."
"Do you mean to tell me that you are meditating violence against a man like Sir Leon Birberry," stammered Huddle; "he's one of the most respected men in the country."
"He's down on our list," said Clovis carelessly; "after all, we've got men we can trust to do our job, so we shan't have to rely on local assistance. And we've got some Boy-scouts helping us as auxiliaries."
"Yes; when they understood there was real killing to be done they were even keener than the men."
"This thing will be a blot on the Twentieth Century!"
"And your house will be the blotting-pad. Have you realized that half the papers of Europe and the United States will publish pictures of it? By the way, I've sent some photographs of you and your sister, that I found in the library, to the MATIN and DIE WOCHE; I hope you don't mind. Also a sketch of the staircase; most of the killing will probably be done on the staircase."
The emotions that were surging in J. P. Huddle's brain were almost too intense to be disclosed in speech, but he managed to gasp out: "There aren't any Jews in this house."
"Not at present," said Clovis.
"I shall go to the police," shouted Huddle with sudden energy.
"In the shrubbery," said Clovis, "are posted ten men who have orders to fire on anyone who leaves the house without my signal of permission. Another armed picquet is in ambush near the front gate. The Boy-scouts watch the back premises."
At this moment the cheerful hoot of a motor-horn was heard from the drive. Huddle rushed to the hall door with the feeling of a man half awakened from a nightmare, and beheld Sir Leon Birberry, who had driven himself over in his car. "I got your telegram," he said what's up?"
Telegram? It seemed to be a day of telegrams.
"Come here at once. Urgent. James Huddle," was the purport of the message displayed before Huddle's bewildered eyes.
"I see it all!" he exclaimed suddenly in a voice shaken with agitation, and with a look of agony in the direction of the shrubbery he hauled the astonished Birberry into the house. Tea had just been laid in the hall, but the now thoroughly panic-stricken Huddle dragged his protesting guest upstairs, and in a few minutes' time the entire household had been summoned to that region of momentary safety. Clovis alone graced the tea-table with his presence; the fanatics in the library were evidently too immersed in their monstrous machinations to dally with the solace of teacup and hot toast. Once the youth rose, in answer to the summons of the front-door bell, and admitted Mr. Paul Isaacs, shoemaker and parish councillor, who had also received a pressing invitation to The Warren. With an atrocious assumption of courtesy, which a Borgia could hardly have outdone, the secretary escorted this new captive of his net to the head of the stairway, where his involuntary host awaited him.
And then ensued a long ghastly vigil of watching and waiting. Once or twice Clovis left the house to stroll across to the shrubbery, returning always to the library, for the purpose evidently of making a brief report. Once he took in the letters from the evening postman, and brought them to the top of the stairs with punctilious politeness. After his next absence he came half-way up the stairs to make an announcement.
"The Boy-scouts mistook my signal, and have killed the postman. I've had very little practice in this sort of thing, you see. Another time I shall do better."
The housemaid, who was engaged to be married to the evening postman, gave way to clamorous grief.
"Remember that your mistress has a headache," said J. P. Huddle. (Miss Huddle's headache was worse.)
Clovis hastened downstairs, and after a short visit to the library returned with another message:
"The Bishop is sorry to hear that Miss Huddle has a headache. He is issuing orders that as far as possible no firearms shall be used near the house; any killing that is necessary on the premises will be done with cold steel. The Bishop does not see why a man should not be a gentleman as well as a Christian."
That was the last they saw of Clovis; it was nearly seven o'clock, and his elderly relative liked him to dress for dinner. But, though he had left them for ever, the lurking suggestion of his presence haunted the lower regions of the house during the long hours of the wakeful night, and every creak of the stairway, every rustle of wind through the shrubbery, was fraught with horrible meaning. At about seven next morning the gardener's boy and the early postman finally convinced the watchers that the Twentieth Century was still unblotted.
"I don't suppose," mused Clovis, as an early train bore him townwards, "that they will be in the least grateful for the Unrest-cure."
Woaill clag ny shamyr-ghreddaney nane-jeig er y chlag lesh meenid fer as bea gyn tastey y cronney t'echey. Tra veagh roie shaghey traa er n'eginaghey sheeltys as arraghey dy feer, veagh y farrys-hoilshaghey cowrey shen rere'n aght cliaghtey.
Shey minnidyn lurg shen haink Clovis da'n voayrd-shibber, as jerkallys sheeoil dooinney t'er n'ee dy neuchorrym as foddey er-dy-henney er.
"Ta accrys mooar orrym," ren eh fockley magh, jannoo eab dy hoie sheese dy jesh as lhaih y kaart bee ec y traa cheddin.
"Myr hoig mee," dooyrt e charrey, "er y fa dy row uss dy traa, faggys. Lhisin er n'insh dhyt dy nee Aachrootagh Bee mish. Hug mee stiagh oardagh da daa veilley arran-as-bainney as kuse dy vrishtee slaynt. Ta treisht orrym dy vel shen mie dy liooar."
Rieau ny yei, lhig Clovis er nagh daink eh dy ve bane harrish y linney-coillar eer rish thurrick.
"Myr shen hene," dooyrt eh, "nagh lhisagh oo jannoo spotÁh er lheid y red. Ta sleih myr shen ayn dy feer. Ta enney aym er sleih haink dyn guaiyl. Smooinnee! Ooilley ny reddyn feeu ooashley dy nod oo ee 'sy theihll shoh, as adsyn ceau nyn mea lesh caigney meein saaue as goaill moyrn ass."
"T'ad myr scuitÁheyderyn y Vean Eash, goll mygeayrt smaghtaghey ad hene."
"Va leshtal ocsyn," dooyrt Clovis. "Ren adsyn eh son sauail ny h-anmeenyn beayn oc, nagh ren? Cha nhegin dhyt insh dou dy vel annym ec dooinney mannagh mie lesh ooastyryn as lus ny sooghid as feeyn mie; ny gailley noadyr. Cha nel echeysyn agh beoyn trome da meevaynrys.
Huitt stiagh Clovis rish ymmodee thurrickyn airhey ayns ainjys graihagh lesh straih dy h-ooastyryn va skellal roish dy tappee.
"Er lhiam dy vel ooastyryn ny s'aaley na credjue erbee," ghow eh toshiaght reesht er tammylt. "Cha nel ad leih dooin y neuchenjallys lhien ynrican; t'ad nyn ngreinney dy gholl er ve slane deinyssagh daue. Tra t'ad Áheet dys y voayrd-shibber, t'eh jeeaghyn dy vel ad goaill ayrn ayns bree y chooish. Cha nel nhee erbee ayns Creestiaght ny Buddhaght slane cosoylagh rish feoiltys erreeishagh ooastyr. Mie lhiat y perree noa aym? Ta mee dy cheau son y chied cheayrt noght."
"T'eh jeeaghyn gollrish ymmodee fir elley t'ou er geau er y gherrid, agh ny smessey. T'ou Áheet dy ve cliaghtit rish perreeyn noa."
"T'ad gra dy bee oo geeck son roudaght aegid dy kinjagh; bwooise da Jee, cha nel eh feer mychione ny h-eaddagh t'ayd. Ta my voir smooinaghtyn er poosey."
"She'n chied cheayrt t'ayn."
"Dy dooghyssagh, lhisagh fys y ve ayd. Heill mee dy row ee er boosey keayrt ny ghaa er y chooid sloo."
"Tree keayrtyn, dy ve cruinn dy maddaghtoil. Va mee gra dy nee y chied cheayrt smooinee ish er; ny keayrtyn elley, ren ee eh gyn smooinaght. Dy insh yn 'irriney, she mish hene ta smooinaghtyn er er-e-son 'sy chooish shoh. T'ou fakin, she daa vlein hene neayr's hooar e dooinney s'jerree baase."
"S'leayr dou dy nee girrid bree treoghys er lhiat."
"Wahll, honnick mee dy row ee Áheet dys groamid, as goaill toshiaght soieaghey; cha jean eh cooie jee er chor erbee. Y chied chowrey honnick mee, shen ish goaill toshiaght accan dy row shin baghey harrish ny Áheet-stiagh ain. Ta dagh ooilley pheiagh doaeiagh baghey harrish y Áheet-stiagh echey nish, as adsyn nagh vel doaiagh, t'ad baghey harrish Áheet-stiagh sleih elley. Ta beggan beg schleioil jannoo y ghaa."
"Cha niarrin schlei; she keird t'ayn."
"Haink y geyre-ghaue," as Clovis reesht, "tra hug ee er ard dy doaltattym y sheiltynys dy vel ooryn anmagh jannoo olk dou, as v'ee laccal mish sthie roish un er y chlag dagh oie. Eaisht rish shen nish; lheid y red dou, as mish hoght-jeig er y laa ruggyree s'jerree aym."
"Er y daa laa ruggyree s'jerree, dy ve cruinn dy maddaghtoil."
"Wahll, cha lhiams y foill. Cha bee'm Áheet dys nuy-jeig choud's ta my voir tannaghtyn er shiaght-jeig as feed. Shegin dou scansh cooie y chur da ny veagh sleih smooinaghtyn."
"Foddee dy beagh soieaghey cur beggan eash er dty voir."
"Shen y red s'jerree jinnagh ee smooinaghtyn er. Ta ooilley aachummey mraane goaill toshiaght er loghtyn sleih elley. Shen y fa va'n eie dooinney poost cho mie lhiam."
"Hie uss cho foddey as y dooinney y reih, ny nagh ren oo agh cur roish yn eie chadjin, as croghey er niart sannish?"
"As uss laccal red jeant dy tappee, t'eh ort eh y yannoo dty hene. Ghow mee fer sidooragh va taaghey mygeayrt y chlub dy taaue, as haink lhiam eh da kirbyl keayrt ny ghaa. Cheau eh e vea er y chagliagh Injinagh son y chooid smoo, troggal raaidyn, as cur couyr noi gortey as jannoo sloo jeh craayn-hallooin, as ooilley ny reddyn shen t'ad jannoo er cagliaghyn. Foddee eh loayrt keeall da cobrey correydank ayns queig-jeig Áhengaghyn ny Áheerey, as shione da ny lhisagh oo jannoo dy beagh oo feddyn elefant feie er yn 'aaie chrokay, s'cosoylagh; agh t'eh faitagh as lhiastey rish mraane. Dooyrt mee er lheh da my voir dy row eh ny 'eohder ben shenn-chliaghtit, as myr shen dy dooghyssagh, v'ee soit er flideragh lesh ooilley y fys t'eck; as shen feeu tastey."
"As row y dooinney freggyragh?"
"Chluinnee mee dy dinsh eh da peiagh ennagh 'sy chlub dy row eh jeeaghyn son obbyr Choloinagh, as ram obbyr chreoi eck, son carrey aeg; myr shen ta mee toiggal dy vel smooinaght echey er poosey stiagh 'sy chlein."
"T'eh jeeaghyn dy bee aachummey yn erree ort, ny yei."
Ghlen Clovis luirg chaffee Turkagh as toshiaght vongey veih ny meill echey, as lhig eh e 'arvollee Áheu-yesh sheese dy moal. As er baght, s'cosoylagh dy row bree shen, "Er lhiam NAGH bee!"
The grill-room clock struck eleven with the respectful unobtrusiveness of one whose mission in life is to be ignored. When the flight of time should really have rendered abstinence and migration imperative the lighting apparatus would signal the fact in the usual way.
Six minutes later Clovis approached the supper-table, in the blessed expectancy of one who has dined sketchily and long ago.
"I'm starving," he announced, making an effort to sit down gracefully and read the menu at the same time.
"So I gathered;" said his host, "from the fact that you were nearly punctual. I ought to have told you that I'm a Food Reformer. I've ordered two bowls of bread-and-milk and some health biscuits. I hope you don't mind."
Clovis pretended afterwards that he didn't go white above the collar-line for the fraction of a second.
"All the same," he said, "you ought not to joke about such things. There really are such people. I've known people who've met them. To think of all the adorable things there are to eat in the world, and then to go through life munching sawdust and being proud of it."
"They're like the Flagellants of the Middle Ages, who went about mortifying themselves."
"They had some excuse," said Clovis. "They did it to save their immortal souls, didn't they? You needn't tell me that a man who doesn't love oysters and asparagus and good wines has got a soul, or a stomach either. He's simply got the instinct for being unhappy highly developed."
Clovis relapsed for a few golden moments into tender intimacies with a succession of rapidly disappearing oysters.
"I think oysters are more beautiful than any religion," he resumed presently. "They not only forgive our unkindness to them; they justify it, they incite us to go on being perfectly horrid to them. Once they arrive at the supper-table they seem to enter thoroughly into the spirit of the thing. There's nothing in Christianity or Buddhism that quite matches the sympathetic unselfishness of an oyster. Do you like my new waistcoat? I'm wearing it for the first time to-night."
"It looks like a great many others you've had lately, only worse. New dinner waistcoats are becoming a habit with you."
"They say one always pays for the excesses of one's youth; mercifully that isn't true about one's clothes. My mother is thinking of getting married."
"It's the first time."
"Of course, you ought to know. I was under the impression that she'd been married once or twice at least."
"Three times, to be mathematically exact. I meant that it was the first time she'd thought about getting married; the other times she did it without thinking. As a matter of fact, it's really I who am doing the thinking for her in this case. You see, it's quite two years since her last husband died."
"You evidently think that brevity is the soul of widowhood."
"Well, it struck me that she was getting moped, and beginning to settle down, which wouldn't suit her a bit. The first symptom that I noticed was when she began to complain that we were living beyond our income. All decent people live beyond their incomes nowadays, and those who aren't respectable live beyond other peoples. A few gifted individuals manage to do both."
"It's hardly so much a gift as an industry."
"The crisis came," returned Clovis, "when she suddenly started the theory that late hours were bad for one, and wanted me to be in by one o'clock every night. Imagine that sort of thing for me, who was eighteen on my last birthday."
"On your last two birthdays, to be mathematically exact."
"Oh, well, that's not my fault. I'm not going to arrive at nineteen as long as my mother remains at thirty-seven. One must have some regard for appearances."
"Perhaps your mother would age a little in the process of settling down."
"That's the last thing she'd think of. Feminine reformations always start in on the failings of other people. That's why I was so keen on the husband idea."
"Did you go as far as to select the gentleman, or did you merely throw out a general idea, and trust to the force of suggestion?"
"If one wants a thing done in a hurry one must see to it oneself. I found a military Johnny hanging round on a loose end at the club, and took him home to lunch once or twice. He'd spent most of his life on the Indian frontier, building roads, and relieving famines and minimizing earthquakes, and all that sort of thing that one does do on frontiers. He could talk sense to a peevish cobra in fifteen native languages, and probably knew what to do if you found a rogue elephant on your croquet-lawn; but he was shy and diffident with women. I told my mother privately that he was an absolute woman-hater; so, of course, she laid herself out to flirt all she knew, which isn't a little."
"And was the gentleman responsive?"
"I hear he told some one at the club that he was looking out for a Colonial job, with plenty of hard work, for a young friend of his, so I gather that he has some idea of marrying into the family."
"You seem destined to be the victim of the reformation, after all."
Clovis wiped the trace of Turkish coffee and the beginnings of a smile from his lips, and slowly lowered his dexter eyelid. Which, being interpreted, probably meant, "I DON'T think!"
Roie er «hea ny Ben-«hiarn Bastable
"Veagh eh feer choar dy verragh uss aaght da Clovis rish shey laghyn ny smoo tra ta mish goll twoaie da ny MacGregoryn," dooyrt Bnr. Sangrail harrish y voayrd-anjeeal, as blass cadlee er e coraa. B'oaylleagh ee gyn lhimmey loayrt dy cadlagh as dy gerjoil tra erbee v'ee jeean dy neuchadjin er red ennagh; haink eh er sleih gyn yss, as dy mennick, v'ad coardail rish e mian roish my hug ad my ner dy row ee shirrey red erbee. Agh y Ven-«hiarn Bastable, cha row eh cho aashagh Áheet urreeish gyn yss; foddee dy row enney eck er y choraa shoh as ny v'eh cowraghey - raad erbee, va enney eck er Clovis.
Yeeagh ee er slissag arran greddan lesh grouig as dee ee eh feer voal, myr by vie lhee soilshaghey magh dy row yn obbyr gortaghey ee hene ny smoo na'n arran greddan, agh cha daink lhiuraghey aaght cour Clovis da ny meillyn eck.
"Veagh eh ny chooney mooar dou," ren Bnr. Sangrail lhiantyn rish, lesh ceau ass y blass neuchurrym. "Cha naillym cur lhiam eh da ny MacGregoryn er chor erbee, as cha bee eh agh shey laghyn."
"Bee eh ny sodjey dooys," dooyrt y Ven-«hiarn Bastable, as ee doolagh. "Y cheayrt s'jerree hannee eh ayns shoh rish shiaghtin - "
"Ta fys aym," haink stiagh y ven elley dy tappee, "agh shen daa vlein er dy henney, faggys. V'eh ny saa ec y traa shid."
"Agh cha nel eh er jeet my laue," dooyrt e ben oast; "cha nel monney feeu ayns Áheet dy ve ny shinney mannagh vel oo ynsaghey agh aghtyn drogh-ymmyrkey noa."
Cha dod Bnr. Sangrail jannoo arganeys er y chooish; neayr's va Clovis er jeet dy ve shiaght-jeig, cha row ee er scuirr veih dobberan y kione-daanys neuchastey echey da'n lane chiarkyl ainjys eck. Veagh ourys cooyrtoil er jeet noi y tannish sloo jeh aachummey ry-heet. Cheau ass ee yn eab fardailagh er breigey, as ren ee ymmyd jeh sollaghey-laue gyn follaghey.
"My vees oo cur aaght da rish ny shey laaghyn, nee'm dolley magh y feeaghan biritÁh gyn eeck."
Cha row eh agh nuy skillin as daeed, agh va'n Ven-«hiarn Bastable cur graih mooar as niartal er skillinyn. Coayl argid liorish biritÁh as gyn eeck eh, shen nane jeh ny taghyrtyn goaney hug drualtys er y voayrd-kaartyn er lhee; drualtys nagh beagh echey er nonney. Va Bnr. Sangrail slane currit da'n argid cosney eck myrgeddin; agh va caa eck e mac ayns thie stoyr y chur, dy caaoil, rish shey laghyn. Chammah as shen, dy taghyrtagh, foddee ish spaarail tailley raad yiarn da'n twoaie da; dod ee soiaghey jeh'n oural. Tra ren Clovis taishbyney eh hene ec y voayrd-anjeeal, va'n coardailys jeant.
"Smooinee," dooyrt Bnr. Sangrail dy cadlagh, "ta'n Ven-«hiarn Bastable er dty chuirrey dy hannaghtyn ayns shoh tra ta mish cur shilley er ny MacGregoryn."
Dooyrt Clovis reddyn cooie ayns aght slane neuchooie, as ghow eh toshiaght turryssyn kerree eddyr ny siyn anjeeal y yannoo; y groam v'er e eddin, veagh eh er eebyrt y cronnane magh ass cohaggloo shee. Y coardail v'er ny yannoo dy chooyl, v'eh meevlasstal da er daa oyr. Hoshiaght, va mian er lheh er dy ynsaghey pokyr da ny gillyn MacGregor, gillyn oddagh fordrail eh dy mie; 'sy nah ynnyd, va'n lhongeydys Bastable rere yn scoill phalÁhys varbagh, as er lesh Clovis, shen palÁhys ta cur ort reddyn barbagh y ghra. Jeeaghyn er trooid farvollee erreayrtagh cadlagh, as soilshaghey shennaghys liauyr eck, haink fys er e voir dy beagh boggey er barriaght y chrout foddey roish y traa. By un chooish ee, Clovis stiagh ayns cooill chaaoil haaue-jeeragh y thie y chur; by chooish elley ee cur er tannaghtyn ayns shen.
Va'n Ven-«hiarn Bastable cliaghtit rish goll ergooyl ayns staydoilys dys y Áhamyr-voghree Áhelleeragh lurg anjeeal, as oor feagh y cheau liorish cur sooill happee er ny pabyrn-naight; v'ad ayns shen, as myr shen lhisagh ee goaill feeu yn argid magh assdaue. Cha row monney anaase eck er politickaght, agh va drogh-aaishnys lhiantynagh eck; laa dy beagh, veagh irree magh cadjin, as ragh cagh er marroo liorish cagh elley. "Hig eh ny s'leaie na ta shin credjal," v'ee cliaghtit rish fockley magh, as blass dorraghey eck; y date faggyssagh y reih jeh bunneydys goan as anveaghee y jeean-loayrtys shoh, veagh ee ny feysht neulheieagh da ard-oayllee vaddaght.
Y moghrey shoh er lheh, fakin y Ven-«hiarn Bastable ny benrein eddyr ny papyryn-naight, hug eshyn da Clovis y faaue dy row e inÁhyn er shirrey car y traa anjeeal. Va'n voir echey er ngoll seose er son dy stiurey yn obbyr paggal, as v'eh ny lomarcan er laare y thalloo marish e ven oast - as y vooinjer. B'ocsyn feaysley y chooish. Lesh brishey stiagh ayns ny shamyryn aarlee, dyllee Clovis aghin er rouyl agh fastagh dy cruinn: "Y Ven-«hiarn Bastable voght! Ayns yn Áhamyr-voghree! Oh, jean siyr!" Ayns shallid, va'n botleyr, y coagyragh, y gilley, caillin ny tree, as gareyder v'ayns shamyr-aarlee wooie myr haghyr eh, roie gollrish y jouyl lurg Clovis erash da'n Áhamyr-voghree. Hie y Ven-«hiarn Bastable er moostey veih seihll oayllys ny pabyryn-naight liorish clashtyn scaa Shapaanagh 'sy halley tuittym lesh tharmane. Eisht vrish y dorrys stiagh, as roie e goaldagh aeg trooid y Áhamyr myr fer keoie, lesh yllaghey jee "Y Jacquerie! T'ad Áheet!" as ratÁhal gollrish shawk seyrit magh ass trooid ny h-uinniagyn Frangagh. Vrish y Áhionnal mooinjerey stiagh kiart ny yei, as aggle er. Va'n gareyder foast greimmey corran, kiart er maarey cleighyn liorish, as y garrey driss kiontoyrtagh v'orroo, dymmyrk eh ad harrish y laare pharkay, skyrrey as snapperal, cour y chaair raad va'n ven thie ny soie, as ard-yindys sevreainagh urree. Dy beagh thurrick er ve eck er son smooinaghtyn, veagh e h-ymmyrkey er ve lane ooasle, myr hoilshee magh ee rieau ny yei. S'cosoylagh dy nee y corran ren y briwnys er-e-son, agh aghterbee, hie ee myr Clovis trooid yn uinniag Frangagh, as roie ee foddey as dy braew harrish yn 'aaie roish sooillyn y vooinjer thanvaanit.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Cha nee arrym ny red foddee oo goaill eh erash ayns thurrick, as da'n Ven-«hiarn Bastable as y botleyr myrgeddin, va'n obbyr Áheet erash cho guinniagh as couyral moal veih baih, faggys. Eer my t'eh jeant fo shalee slane arrymagh, cha nod eh agh faagail ny yei blass ennagh nearey. Tra haink traa kirbyl, ny yei, va beasaght er ny h-aahickyraghey hene daa wheesh, myr lheim ergooyl veih'n chleddal jeianagh, as er cur y lhongey va staydoilaght 'eayr rere aght Baisantagh, bunnys. Ec mean y lhongey, hie poagey screeuyn er trenshoor argid er cur da Bnr. Sangrail, slane crauee. «heusthie va sheck feeu nuy skillin as daeed.
Dynsee ny gillyn MacGregor pokyr y chloie; ny yei, dod ad fordrail eh.
The Stampeding of Lady Bastable
"It would be rather nice if you would put Clovis up for another six days while I go up north to the MacGregors'," said Mrs. Sangrail sleepily across the breakfast-table. It was her invariable plan to speak in a sleepy, comfortable voice whenever she was unusually keen about anything; it put people off their guard, and they frequently fell in with her wishes before they had realized that she was really asking for anything. Lady Bastable, however, was not so easily taken unawares; possibly she knew that voice and what it betokened--at any rate, she knew Clovis.
She frowned at a piece of toast and ate it very slowly, as though she wished to convey the impression that the process hurt her more than it hurt the toast; but no extension of hospitality on Clovis's behalf rose to her lips.
"It would be a great convenience to me," pursued Mrs. Sangrail, abandoning the careless tone. "I particularly don't want to take him to the MacGregors', and it will only be for six days."
It will seem longer," said Lady Bastable dismally.
"The last time he stayed here for a week -
"I know," interrupted the other hastily, "but that was nearly two years ago. He was younger then."
"But he hasn't improved," said her hostess; "it's no use growing older if you only learn new ways of misbehaving yourself."
Mrs. Sangrail was unable to argue the point; since Clovis had reached the age of seventeen she had never ceased to bewail his irrepressible waywardness to all her circle of acquaintances, and a polite scepticism would have greeted the slightest hint at a prospective reformation. She discarded the fruitless effort at cajolery and resorted to undisguised bribery.
"If you'll have him here for these six days I'll cancel that outstanding bridge account."
It was only for forty-nine shillings, but Lady Bastable loved shillings with a great, strong love. To lose money at bridge and not to have to pay it was one of those rare experiences which gave the card-table a glamour in her eyes which it could never otherwise have possessed. Mrs. Sangrail was almost equally devoted to her card winnings, but the prospect of conveniently warehousing her offspring for six days, and incidentally saving his railway fare to the north, reconciled her to the sacrifice; when Clovis made a belated appearance at the breakfast-table the bargain had been struck.
"Just think," said Mrs. Sangrail sleepily; Lady Bastable has very kindly asked you to stay on here while I go to the MacGregors'."
Clovis said suitable things in a highly unsuitable manner, and proceeded to make punitive expeditions among the breakfast dishes with a scowl on his face that would have driven the purr out of a peace conference. The arrangement that had been concluded behind his back was doubly distasteful to him. In the first place, he particularly wanted to teach the MacGregor boys, who could well afford the knowledge, how to play poker-patience; secondly, the Bastable catering was of the kind that is classified as a rude plenty, which Clovis translated as a plenty that gives rise to rude remarks. Watching him from behind ostentatiously sleepy lids, his mother realized, in the light of long experience, that any rejoicing over the success of her manoeuvre would be distinctly premature. It was one thing to fit Clovis into a convenient niche of the domestic jig-saw puzzle; it was quite another matter to get him to stay there.
Lady Bastable was wont to retire in state to the morning-room immediately after breakfast and spend a quiet hour in skimming through the papers; they were there, so she might as well get their money's worth out of them. Politics did not greatly interest her, but she was obsessed with a favourite foreboding that one of these days there would be a great social upheaval, in which everybody would be killed by everybody else. "It will come sooner than we think," she would observe darkly; a mathematical expert of exceptionally high powers would have been puzzled to work out the approximate date from the slender and confusing groundwork which this assertion afforded.
On this particular morning the sight of Lady Bastable enthroned among her papers gave Clovis the hint towards which his mind had been groping all breakfast time. His mother had gone upstairs to supervise packing operations, and he was alone on the ground-floor with his hostess--and the servants. The latter were the key to the situation. Bursting wildly into the kitchen quarters, Clovis screamed a frantic though strictly non-committal summons: "Poor Lady Bastable! In the morning-room! Oh, quick!" The next moment the butler, cook, page-boy, two or three maids, and a gardener who had happened to be in one of the outer kitchens were following in a hot scurry after Clovis as he headed back for the morning-room. Lady Bastable was roused from the world of newspaper lore by hearing a Japanese screen in the hall go down with a crash. Then the door leading from the hall flew open and her young guest tore madly through the room, shrieked at her in passing, "The Jacquerie! They're on us!" and dashed like an escaping hawk out through the French window. The scared mob of servants burst in on his heels, the gardener still clutching the sickle with which he had been trimming hedges, and the impetus of their headlong haste carried them, slipping and sliding, over the smooth parquet flooring towards the chair where their mistress sat in panic-stricken amazement. If she had had a moment granted her for reflection she would have behaved, as she afterwards explained, with considerable dignity. It was probably the sickle which decided her, but anyway she followed the lead that Clovis had given her through the French window, and ran well and far across the lawn before the eyes of her astonished retainers.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Lost dignity is not a possession which can be restored at a moment's notice, and both Lady Bastable and the butler found the process of returning to normal conditions almost as painful as a slow recovery from drowning. A jacquerie, even if carried out with the most respectful of intentions, cannot fail to leave some traces of embarrassment behind it. By lunch-time, however, decorum had reasserted itself with enhanced rigour as a natural rebound from its recent overthrow, and the meal was served in a frigid stateliness that might have been framed on a Byzantine model. Halfway through its duration Mrs. Sangrail was solemnly presented with an envelope lying on a silver salver. It contained a cheque for forty-nine shillings.
The MacGregor boys learned how to play poker-patience; after all, they could afford to.
Yn Uinniag 'oshlit
"Hig my naunt sheese dy gerrid, Vnr. Nuttel," dooyrt ben aeg feer hene-barrantagh, as ee cha nel agh queig-jeig d'eash; "derrey shen, shegin diu eab y yannoo mish y hurranse."
Ren Framton Nuttel eab y red kiart y ghra, red jinnagh brynney inneen shayrey y traa dy cooie, gyn jannoo beg jeh'n naunt ry-heet dy meechooie. Da hene, va ny smoo ourys er na rieau dy beagh ny keayrtyn formoil da sleih slane joaree cur monney cooney da'n lheeys aash v'eh goaill, myr yein.
"Shione dou ny taghyree," dooyrt e huyr tra v'eh jannoo aarloo dy arraghey da'n 'astee Áheerey shoh; "bee oo keiltyn dty hene heese ayns shen gyn loayrt rish annym bio, as bee dty nearagyn ny smessey na rieau trooid groamid. Verym dhyt lettyryn enney da ooilley'n sleih ayns shen as enney aym orroo. Kuse jeu, choud's s'cooin lhiam ad, v'ad coar dy liooar."
Smooinee Framton er my va Bnr. Sappleton, ish v'eh cur nane jeh ny lettyryn enney jee, 'sy rheynn coar ny dyn.
"Vel enney eu er ram sleih 'syn ard shoh?" dreggyr yn inneen shayrey, tra va commeeys tostagh dy liooar jeant oc, er lhee.
"Cha nel er peiagh erbee, faggys," dooyrt Framton. "Va'n Áhuyr aym tannaghtyn ec y thie pessonagh, fys ayd, mysh kiare bleeantyn er dy henney, as hug ee dou lettyryn enney da kuse dy 'leih ayns shoh."
Va blass arrysagh baghtal er yn 'ockley s'jerree.
"As myr shen, cha nel fys erbee eu er my naunt?" hie er yn inneen aeg hene-barrantagh.
"Cha nel agh yn ennym as enmys eck," ghow rish y keayrtagh. V'eh smooinaghtyn er my row Bnr. Sappleton poosit ny treoghit. Red erbee neuenmyssit 'sy Áhamyr, va blass thie firrinagh er.
"Haghyr y doo-skeeal mooar kiart tree bleeantyn er dy henney," dooyrt y paitÁhey; "shen erreish da'n Áhuyr eu faagail, gyn ourys."
"Doo-skeeal?" dreggyr Framton; er aght ennagh, 'sy voayl Áheeragh kiune shoh, va doo-skeealyn ass ynnyd, er lesh.
"Foddee dy vel yindys erriu dy vel shin freayll yn uinniag slane foshlit er fastyr Luanistyn," dooyrt yn inneen shayrey, as chowree magh ee uinniag Frangish vooar va foslit da faaie.
"She blah dy liooar son imbagh ny bleeaney," dooyrt Framton; "agh vel yn uinniag shen bentyn rish y doo-skeeal?"
"Magh ass yn uinniag shoh, cruinn tree bleeantyn er dy henney, hie y dooinney as y daa vraar eck son laa lhiggee. Cha daink ad rieau erash. Tra v'ad goll tessen y voanee da'n reih voayl-lhiggee coaryn heddagh oc, hie y trass er sluggey ayns ard curree cryggylagh. She sourey 'liugh agglagh v'ayn, fys eu, as buill va sauÁhey bleeantyn elley, v'ad brishey gyn raaue. Cha dooar ad rieau ny corpyn. Shen y chooish agglagh." Nish chaill coraa y phaitÁhey y blass hene-barrantagh as haink ee dy ve ny coraa gheiney, leaystagh. "Ta naunt voght credjal dy jig ad erash laa ry-heet, adsyn as y moddey Spaainagh dhone beg hie er coayl maroo, as dy jig ad stiagh 'syn uinniag shoh myr v'ad cliaghtey. Shen y fa dy vel yn uinniag foshlit dagh oie derrey'n cheeirid. Naunt veen voght, t'ee er ninsh dou dy mennick yn aght hie ad magh, cooat bane jeenagh er roih e dooinney, as y braar beg, Ronnie, goaill 'Bertie, why do you bound' myr v'eh dy bragh, son dy brasnaghey ee. Fys eu, ny keayrtyn er fastyr kiune feagh myr shoh, ta'n eie neuheiltagh aym, faggys, dy bee ad ooilley shooyl stiagh 'syn uinniag shoh -"
Vrish jeh ee as ren ee bibbernee beggan. V'eh feaysley er Framton tra siyree y naunt stiagh 'sy Áhaymr, lesh ceau da leshtallyn dy row ee cho anmagh taishbyney e hene.
"S'treisht lhiam dy row Vera dty oltaghey?" as ee.
"V'ee feer anaasagh," dooyrt Framton.
"S'treisht lhiam nagh vel yn uinniag foshlit boirey ort," dooyrt Bnr. Sappleton dy bioal; "bee'n dooinney as braaraghyn aym Áheet thie ny sheyn veih lhiggey, as t'ad Áheet stiagh shoh dy bragh. V'ad shirrey coaryn heddagh 'sy churragh jiu, as bee ad jannoo brock er ny brattyn laarey aym dy shickyr. Slane aght deiney, nagh vel?"
Loayr ee roish dy cabberagh mychione lhiggey as goanid ein, as doghys son thunnagyn 'sy yeurey. Da Framton, va'n clane agglagh glen. Ren eh eab breeoil y choloayrtys y hayrn dys cooishyn sloo agglagh, agh cha daink eh lesh agh lieh. V'eh baghtal da nagh row y ven-oast cur da agh rheynn jeh'n tastey eck; va ny sooillyn eck goll er shaghryn shaghey dy kinjagh, da'n uinniag foshlit as yn 'aaie ny lurg. Dy shickyr, she drogh-haghyrt v'ayn, eshyn cur shilley orroo er y laa bleeaney branagh shoh.
"Ta ny fir-lhee ayns coardailys: slane fea, gyn musthaa inÁhynagh ny red erbee gollrish obbyraghey corpagh breeoil," ren Framton soilshaghey magh. Va'n far-hoiggal cadjin dy liooar echey dy row accrys er sleih slane joarree as ainjyssee foddey magh son fys erbee mychione yn aslaynt echey. "Mychione bee, cha nel lane choardailys oc," hie er eh.
"Nagh vel?" dooyrt Bnr. Sappleton, jannoo focklyn jeh mennuigh kiart ec y jerrey. Eisht haink bree as geill urree - agh cha nel bentyn rish ny va Framton gra.
"Shoh adsyn fy yerrey!" dyllee ish. "Kiart dy traa da mrastyr beg, as nagh vel ad fakin dy ve slaait lesh laagh!"
Ren Framton bibbernee beggan, as hyndaa eh coar yn inneen shayrey, lesh cur jee blick son dy haishbyney toiggal co-ennaghtagh. Va'n paitÁhey blakey magh ass yn uinniag, as aggle thanvaanit ayns e sooillyn. Fo greain feayr aggle, ren Framton cassey er y toiag as jeeaghyn 'sy troa cheddin.
Fo cheeiragh ny h-oie va tree deiney shooyl harrish yn 'aaie cour yn uinniag; va gunn fo roih dagh fer, as myrgeddin va cooat bane ny errey elley er geaylin 'er jeu. Va moddey Spaainagh skee faggys ec ny cassyn oc. Gyn sheean haink ad faggys da'n thie, as eisht ren coraa pheeaghaneagh aeg goaill canteyraght magh ass y choleayrtys: "I said, Bertie, why do you bound?"
Ghow Framton greim keoie jeh'n vaidjey as edd echey; va dorrys y halley, bayr garvel, giat toshee nyn glaghyn meilley da Áhea er mullagh king. Va daawheeylleyder Áheet sheese y raad; begin da roie stiagh 'sy chleigh dys scapail covuilley baggyrtagh.
"Shoh shin, my chree," dooyrt eshyn as y macintosh bane echey, lesh Áheet stiagh 'syn uinniag; "laaghit dy liooar, agh ta'n chooid smoo jeh Áhirrym. Quoi eshyn roie magh as shinyn Áheet rish?"
"Mnr. Nuttel, ny ghooinney feer neuchadjinagh," dooyrt Bnr. Sappleton; "nagh dod eh loayrt agh mychione e aslaynt, as eisht roie eh ersooyl gyn faagail slane ny leshtal tra haink shiu rish. Heilagh oo dy row eh er n'akin scaan."
"Er lhiams dy nee y moddey Spaainagh eh bun shen," dooyrt yn inneen shayrey dy kiune; "dinsh eh dou dy grayn lesh moddee. Keayrt dy row, v'eh shelgit stiagh ayns ruillick er brooinyn ny Ganges liorish Áhionnal moddee oainjeragh, as begin da yn oie y cheau ayns oaye noa-reurit, as adsyn gyrnal as keshal as feeacklaghey kiart er-e-skyn. Dy liooar dy chur er peiagh erbee e ghaanys y choayl."
Va far-skeealeraght gyn aarlaghey y sur-cheird eck.
The Open Window
"My aunt will be down presently, Mr. Nuttel," said a very self-possessed young lady of fifteen; "in the meantime you must try and put up with me."
Framton Nuttel endeavoured to say the correct something which should duly flatter the niece of the moment without unduly discounting the aunt that was to come. Privately he doubted more than ever whether these formal visits on a succession of total strangers would do much towards helping the nerve cure which he was supposed to be undergoing.
"I know how it will be," his sister had said when he was preparing to migrate to this rural retreat; "you will bury yourself down there and not speak to a living soul, and your nerves will be worse than ever from moping. I shall just give you letters of introduction to all the people I know there. Some of them, as far as I can remember, were quite nice."
Framton wondered whether Mrs. Sappleton, the lady to whom he was presenting one of the letters of introduction, came into the nice division.
"Do you know many of the people round here?" asked the niece, when she judged that they had had sufficient silent communion.
"Hardly a soul," said Framton. "My sister was staying here, at the rectory, you know, some four years ago, and she gave me letters of introduction to some of the people here."
He made the last statement in a tone of distinct regret.
"Then you know practically nothing about my aunt?" pursued the self-possessed young lady.
"Only her name and address," admitted the caller. He was wondering whether Mrs. Sappleton was in the married or widowed state. An undefinable something about the room seemed to suggest masculine habitation.
"Her great tragedy happened just three years ago," said the child; "that would be since your sister's time."
"Her tragedy?" asked Framton; somehow in this restful country spot tragedies seemed out of place.
"You may wonder why we keep that window wide open on an October afternoon," said the niece, indicating a large French window that opened on to a lawn.
"It is quite warm for the time of the year," said Framton; "but has that window got anything to do with the tragedy?"
"Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day's shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor to their favourite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered. That was the dreadful part of it." Here the child's voice lost its self-possessed note and became falteringly human. "Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back some day, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with them, and walk in at that window just as they used to do. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it is quite dusk. Poor dear aunt, she has often told me how they went out, her husband with his white waterproof coat over his arm, and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing 'Bertie, why do you bound?' as he always did to tease her, because she said it got on her nerves. Do you know, sometimes on still, quiet evenings like this, I almost get a creepy feeling that they will all walk in through that window-"
She broke off with a little shudder. It was a relief to Framton when the aunt bustled into the room with a whirl of apologies for being late in making her appearance.
"I hope Vera has been amusing you?" she said.
"She has been very interesting," said Framton.
"I hope you don't mind the open window," said Mrs. Sappleton briskly; "my husband and brothers will be home directly from shooting, and they always come in this way. They've been out for snipe in the marshes to-day, so they'll make a fine mess over my poor carpets. So like you men-folk, isn't it?"
She rattled on cheerfully about the shooting and the scarcity of birds, and the prospects for duck in the winter. To Framton it was all purely horrible. He made a desperate but only partially successful effort to turn the talk on to a less ghastly topic; he was conscious that his hostess was giving him only a fragment of her attention, and her eyes were constantly straying past him to the open window and the lawn beyond. It was certainly an unfortunate coincidence that he should have paid his visit on this tragic anniversary.
"The doctors agree in ordering me complete rest, an absence of mental excitement, and avoidance of anything in the nature of violent physical exercise," announced Framton, who laboured under the tolerably widespread delusion that total strangers and chance acquaintances are hungry for the least detail of one's ailments and infirmities, their cause and cure. "On the matter of diet they are not so much in agreement," he continued.
"No?" said Mrs. Sappleton, in a voice which only replaced a yawn at the last moment. Then she suddenly brightened into alert attention-but not to what Framton was saying.
"Here they are at last!" she cried. "Just in time for tea, and don't they look as if they were muddy up to the eyes!"
Framton shivered slightly and turned towards the niece with a look intended to convey sympathetic comprehension. The child was staring out through the open window with dazed horror in her eyes. In a chill shock of nameless fear Framton swung round in his seat and looked in the same direction.
In the deepening twilight three figures were walking across the lawn towards the window; they all carried guns under their arms, and one of them was additionally burdened with a white coat hung over his shoulders. A tired brown spaniel kept close at their heels. Noiselessly they neared the house, and then a hoarse young voice chanted out of the dusk: "I said, Bertie, why do you bound?"
Framton grabbed wildly at his stick and hat; the hall-door, the gravel-drive, and the front gate were dimly-noted stages in his headlong retreat. A cyclist coming along the road had to run into the hedge to avoid an imminent collision.
"Here we are, my dear," said the bearer of the white mackintosh, coming in through the window; "fairly muddy, but most of it's dry. Who was that who bolted out as we came up?"
"A most extraordinary man, a Mr. Nuttel," said Mrs. Sappleton; "could only talk about his illnesses, and dashed off without a word of good-bye or apology when you arrived. One would think he had seen a ghost."
"I expect it was the spaniel," said the niece calmly; "he told me he had a horror of dogs. He was once hunted into a cemetery somewhere on the banks of the Ganges by a pack of pariah dogs, and had to spend the night in a newly dug grave with the creatures snarling and grinning and foaming just above him. Enough to make anyone their nerve."
Romance at short notice was her speciality.