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tion. He took Fairbrother by the arm, and led him to a far corner, out of earshot of the few other men in the room.

"I was going to look you up to-morrow," he said; "it's about Whitsuntide. You're coming to Mereworth all right, aren't you? That's all right. Well, you know, on the 31st we have a sort of celebration. It's a very private, family sort of thing; but as you're going to be one of us, I should like you to be in it. It's a sort of family tradition, ever since the Restoration. You know, an ancestor of ours came back to the place then he'd managed to get the beggar who'd been given it by the Roundheads turned out, and he posted down from London two days after Charles II. came back, and there were great rejoicings, and all that. You see, it was great luck his getting back the place. He was rather a blackguard, I believe, himself—you don't mind my boring you with all this?" Fairbrother did not mind, indeed: the circumstances were а little satisfaction to his romance-craving soul. He drank some whiskyand-soda.

"Well," Mereworth continued, "we always keep that day, though the old chap wasn't a credit. You know how little customs become a tradition, and it gets to be a point of honour to keep 'em up. It used to be just a question of a speech after dinner something about being united and all that, you know, and we used to look at the old boy's portrait-it's in the dining-room, that one at the

end, you know-and drink his health or his memory. Then " -Mereworth paused for a moment "a fellow who used to be a great friend of ours persuaded us, years ago, when we were still at Eton, he and I, to dress up and sort of act the period, you know. We used to try to keep to their language and customs, dine in the afternoon-I daresay it sounds very dull, but we used to have good fun with it." He paused again, having spoken the last words reflectively and with a kind of shyness, as though with thoughts to which club smoking-rooms and whisky were not congenial. "We kept that up till four years ago, and then-we gave it up. But this year Hugh Sinclair-he'd been there once or twice in old days-made me promise to try it again; I forgot about it when I asked you down. Will it bore you? You could get the dress easily enough, and we've got swords and things. There's no infernal wig, you know,-that came in later. Will it bore you?

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"Indeed it won't," said Fairbrother. "It's just the sort of thing I should like.”

Mereworth looked at him with the faintest sign of doubt, but answered cheerfully: "Then that's settled. I'm very glad you'll join it. My mother won't be there that day-she rather shirks associations, you know. Betty will, of course, Bertha Mostyn, her great friend, you know, Hugh, me, and one or two others. I think we shall get some fun out of it."

The two young men left the club together, and as they said

good night outside, Mereworth
had a glimpse of somebody in to-morrow. Good night."

you get your Restoration kit

a passing cab, and cried out, "Good Lord!" Fairbrother, who had not seen the face which had surprised his companion, looked inquiringly at him. "Only a chap I thought was at the other end of the world," Mereworth said. "Good night, old man; mind

As Arthur Fairbrother strolled to his flat, his soul was somewhat comforted. This masquerade was not an ordinary thing, and its meaning reflected some historical dignity on to himself. He adopted a romantic expression as he looked in his bedroom glass.


Since Mrs Ogilvie said no more of Herbert Mardon, and Fairbrother, being unsuspicious, and having a bad memory for names, did not ask anybody for information concerning him, the task is laid on me that I should give you, in my own poor words, some account of his history and character. For, though explanation and analysis are tedious things, yet for the interest of my story it is well that your sympathy with Arthur Fairbrother should be not wholly exclusive of charity for him whom you have slightly seen as a child and a scapegrace.

The Mardons of Great Mardon came in with the Conqueror, and seemed finally to have gone out with Harry Mardon, Herbert's father-Harry, the wit, profligate, poet, gambler, and champion of the oppressed, who for a few years set a dazzling light round the Mardon name, and in those years sold the last acre of the Mardon property. Harry's mother was the daughter of a great and unstable man, but we need not go into that. Certainly he was different from his forefathers,

showing, men said, of their qualities only an obstinacy of character which pushed his vices and crazes against every opposition. Perhaps one may say that he combined the virtues and vices of a savage with those of which genius has a common reputation. He was good-looking, fearless, a man of his hands; he was generous and constant in friendship; he was fickle and unscrupulous in love; he could forgive, but the sentiment of revenge was dear to him; he was vehement, profuse, reckless of opinion and of consequences,-a man, in short, altogether unsuited to a commercial civilisation. In another age, as his wife thought, he might have climbed to acknowledged greatness, leaving behind him a track of blood and tears. Few people, probably, would have agreed with her that he was a genius. countrymen of to-day want solid fruits of your genius-a big fortune, a premiership, a fat book. Harry Mardon spent his money, his political course was eccentric and unprofitable, and those few lyrics which some


people thought perfect were not enough to fill the smallest duodecimo. He sat for a year as the Tory member for Great Mardon, and then, declaring himself a socialist, lost his seat: we were not all socialists then. He lampooned and inveighed against capital, and capital folded its hands, watched him with a smile, and when he was dead straightway forgot him. There were women who sneered at his wife, and his choice of her was perhaps strange in such a man; but I am sure it was wise, and that if any woman could have saved him, he would have been saved by this fragile, intellectual woman а bluestocking, as the phrase still was who revelled in his brilliancy, and looked on his waywardness with a loving humour. He tried her with many infidelities; but to the end there was kindness and gentleness between them-to the end when he shot himself in a little town in Spain. He wrote to her that he was sick of the times, and was too old to begin, on nothing, a life of probity: his death would be better for her and the boy than his life. He hoped his boy would have better luck and take after his mother. And there was an end of Harry Mardon, poet and profligate.

I have written of him at this length, because in the case of a very young man-Herbert was but twenty-three when you saw him last-who had given proofs that he was very like his father, that father's character may help one to understand him as well as the few facts of his own his


And, alas! Herbert was altogether his father's son, and very little the son of the gentle philosopher, his mother. As a child he was headstrong, but, while she lived, tractable. She died when he was fifteen years old. The little money she had was so left that out of it the boy was to be educated as his father had been and started in some profession, if he should enter one she had thought of the army before he was twenty-one: in any case, what funds there were should be his absolutely on his majority. It was thought an unwise distribution; but she said that disadvantages that braced a man were cruel to a boy-let him go to Eton. As for the rest, she said it would be no attempt to control him. will throw his money away whatever you do, she said; when it is gone he will work: if his father had lost his earlier, he would have had a happier life. She was convinced of the boy's likeness to his father, and, after all, there was but little money in question. The trustee was Lord Mereworth, the husband of her greatest friend and a distant cousin of Harry Mardon, since whose death she stayed at Mereworth almost continuously.

use to


So Herbert Mardon was sent to Eton, and since he did not care for the army, to Oxford. Neither institution complimented him. He was idle, and the more severe of his censors said he was vicious. He was not even a

hero at games, so missing a sure means of grace. He learned to box effectively and to fence

more than well as a boy, and at Oxford was known in a small set as a remarkably good rider. But for the most part, like a more famous scapegrace, he spent "his heart on passion and his head on rhymes." A boy's rhymes-savagelampoons, hotly erotic lyrics-but they had force and inevitable taste. His passions were more graceless. In fine, he too was a gifted savage, bold, profuse, and dissipated. One need not go about to commend the state, for it is a state of violent egotism, and in youth especially its selfishness is without a sign of compromise. Oxford signified its disapproval by sending Herbert Mardon down in his second year.


Up to this time he had made his home at Mereworth, occasionally at Lord Mereworth's house in town, and on that family were centred all his gentler affections, and his love was returned by the whole-by Lord Mereworth and his wife, by Bob, Herbert's senior by two years, and to her grief by Lady Betty, his contemporary. It is a sad injustice to the virtuous that these scapegraces do often win affection. The Flairs were a tolerant, easy folk: they smiled at things at which many people frowned; and that a young man, a boy, should be extravagant and gamble and sometimes drink and take his pleasure struck them in nowise as wonderful. And Herbert was a winning scapegrace: he was handsome and frank, with a ready laugh and sympathy, with a gay courtesy and affectionateness. For his part, he

took, as the young take what is given continually and in unstinted measure, all their kindness as a thing of use and wont. When we are young, and if we have not been schooled in its reverse, we do not value such kindness till we lose it. Then, indeed, when the kindly home is gone or our place in it is taken from us, we think on it with an infinite regret, and so I suppose it was with Herbert Mardon. Then, no doubt, the pleasant strolls and confidences, the romps, the merry evenings, were all charged in memory with bitterness and longing. "Too late" is a motto most of us might write under a fool's cap for a crest.

It was after he had been sent down from Oxford that Lady Mereworth told him that Mereworth was no longer his home. She had seen, the day before, a pretty scene acted in the formal garden by two people who thought themselves unobserved. It was not a violent scene; but it showed something more than good comradeship between the children, now grown up, who had acted those years ago, and she felt that she had kept a promise of kindness too recklessly. Lady Mereworth did not believe that wild and pleasure-loving young people of twenty-one were likely to make themselves miserable for a fondness for each other-but Herbert Mardon must go. "We've not left off loving you," she said, "and we're not a very prudish set. But you're too wild, my dear, you're too wild and there's Betty."

The boy flushed, and said,

"I'd best be honest; I'm afraid I love Betty very much."

"And you can't marry her, my dear. You must go. If

one could have any hope that you would work hard and get on-but how can one? You must go, my dear."

"Glad you told me straight," he said, and kissed her hand.

Lord Mereworth said, "You're like your dad, boy. But remember he started life with a big big income, and you haven't a shilling, or won't have soon. Pull yourself together: if you've got to sail a ship, you can't disregard your soundings."

"All right, sir," Herbert said. Bob, the only son, was equally sententious. "I'm not much in the moral line, myself," he said; "but I know the world better than you, old chap. Why don't you chuck it? Why don't you buck up and do something clever? Go on the Stock Exchange or something? Be a beastly millionaire and marry Betty, and lend me a few thousands. You see, we must have dibs. Buck up!"

Lady Betty said little; she looked perplexed. "I wish you weren't mad, dear old Herbert."

They were alone in the little garden. Herbert kissed her, and Lady Betty sighed a big sigh.

In the next two years, while he grew from twenty-one to twenty-three, a Berserker fury of folly seemed to have settled on Herbert Mardon. In his more nervous temperament, the passion and waywardness he inherited came to a premature head. To feel remorse and bitterness for kindness forfeited at

twenty-one is not good for a young man of the savage type, and it quickened the pace of his natural instincts. He wrote a little volume of verse; and since he was primitive in feeling, and with all the wholesome instincts in excess, the sapient called him decadent and laughed at him. He was man enough to join in the laugh, of course; but the circumstance turned him from that unlikely field of endeavour, and he did not trouble himself to find another. He was not unpopular, for he suffered fools, and they who remembered the famous Harry were amused by his excesses. They would not be profitable to describe: I question if Herbert enjoyed them so much as his father before him. The crash came in two years. His money was gone, bills had been backed by friends. Lord Mereworth was hardly able to help him, and another touch was put on his plight by a divorce case, during which the boy's name decorated the daily papers. It was not a bad case, as such go; there was no meanness and hardly a deception involved the boy had little, indeed, beyond the main fact, for which to answer. it confirmed the world in the opinion that Herbert Mardon was an irretrievable ne'er-dowell; and he himself, indifferent, like his father, to opinion, was keenly sensitive to coldness from his friends.


He was ready to accept the offer of a cousin whom Harry Mardon, in his prosperous days, had started in a profession in which he had grown rich. This cousin was strongly of opinion

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