« НазадПродовжити »
sion, and only resorted to afterward in the Miss Van Vluyck pushed the volume privacy of each member's home. But on aside and turned slowly toward the exthe present occasion the desire to ascribe pectant group. their own confusion of thought to the vague “It's a river.” and contradictory nature of Mrs. Roby's “A river?” statements caused the members of the “Yes: in Brazil. Isn't that where she's Lunch Club to utter a collective demand been living?" for a book of reference,
“Who? Fanny Roby? Oh, but you At this point the production of her treas- must be mistaken. You've been reading ured volume gave Mrs. Leveret, for a mo- the wrong thing," Mrs. Ballinger exment, the unusual experience of occupying claimed, leaning over her to seize the the centre front; but she was not able to volume. hold it long, for Appropriate Allusions con- “It's the only Xingu in the Encyclopædia; tained no mention of Xingu.
and she has been living in Brazil,” Miss “Oh, that's not the kind of thing we Van Vluyck persisted. want!” exclaimed Miss Van Vluyck. She “Yes: her brother has a consulship cast a disparaging glance over Mrs. Bal- there,” Mrs. Leveret eagerly interposed. linger's assortment of literature, and added “But it's too ridiculous! I-we-why we impatiently: “Haven't you any useful all remember studying Xingu last yearbooks?”
or the year before last,” Mrs. Ballinger “Of course I have," replied Mrs. Bal- stammered. linger indignantly; “but I keep them in my “I thought I did when you said so," husband's dressing-room.”
Laura Glyde avowed. From this region, after some difficulty “I said so?” cried Mrs. Ballinger. and delay, the parlour-maid produced the “Yes. You said it had crowded everyW-Z volume of an Encyclopædia and, in thing else out of your mind.” deference to the fact that the demand for “Well, you said it had changed your it had come from Miss Van Vluyck, laid whole life!” the ponderous tome before her.
“For that matter, Miss Van Vluyck said There was a moment of painful suspense she had never grudged the time she'd while Miss Van Vluyck rubbed her spec- given it." tacles, adjusted them, and turned to Z; Mrs. Plinth interposed: “I made it clear and a murmur of surprise when she said: that I knew nothing whatever of the “It isn't here.”
original.” “I suppose,” said Mrs. Plinth, “it's not Mrs. Ballinger broke off the dispute with fit to be put in a book of reference.” a groan. “Oh, what does it all matter if
“Oh, nonsense!” exclaimed Mrs. Bal- she's been making fools of us? I believe linger. “Try X.”
Miss Van Vluyck's right—she was talking Miss Van Vluyck turned back through of the river all the while!” the volume, peering short-sightedly up and “How could she? It's too preposterdown the pages, till she came to a stop and ous," Miss Glyde exclaimed. remained motionless, like a dog on a point. "Listen.” Miss Van Vluyck had re
“Well, have you found it?” Mrs. Bal- possessed herself of the Encyclopædia, and linger enquired, after a considerable delay. restored her spectacles to a nose reddened
“Yes. I've found it,” said Miss Van by excitement. "'The Xingu, one of the Vluyck in a queer voice.
principal rivers of Brazil, rises on the Mrs. Plinth hastily interposed: “I beg plateau of Mato Grosso, and flows in a you won't read it aloud if there's any- northerly direction for a length of no less thing offensive.”
than one thousand one hundred and eighMiss Van Vluyck, without answering, teen miles, entering the Amazon near the continued her silent scrutiny.
mouth of the latter river. The upper “Well, what is it?" exclaimed Laura course of the Xingu is auriferous and fed Glyde excitedly.
by numerous branches. Its source was first "Do tell us!” urged Mrs. Leveret, feel- discovered in 1884 by the German exing that she would have something awful plorer von den Steinen, after a difficult and to tell her sister.
dangerous expedition through a region inhabited by tribes still in the Stone Age of "At least,” said Miss Glyde with a culture. »
touch of bitterness, “she succeeded in inThe ladies received this communication teresting her, which was more than we in a state of stupefied silence from which did.” Mrs. Leveret was the first to rally. “She “What chance had we?" rejoined Mrs. certainly did speak of its having branches.” Ballinger. “Mrs. Roby monopolised her
The word seemed to snap the last thread from the first. And that, I've no doubt, of their incredulity. “And of its great was her purpose—to give Osric Dane a length,” gasped Mrs. Ballinger.
false impression of her own standing in the "She said it was awfully deep, and you Club. She would hesitate at nothing to couldn't skip—you just had to wade attract attention: we all know how she through," Miss Glyde subjoined.
took in poor Professor Foreland.” The idea worked its way more slowly “She actually makes him give bridgethrough Mrs. Plinth's compact resistances. teas every Thursday,” Mrs. Leveret piped “How could there be anything improper up. about a river?" she inquired.
Laura Glyde struck her hands together. "Improper?"
“Why, this is Thursday, and it's there “Why, what she said about the source she's gone, of course; and taken Osric that it was corrupt?”
with her!” “Not corrupt, but hard to get at,” “And they're shrieking over us at this Laura Glyde corrected. “Some one who'd moment,” said Mrs. Ballinger between her been there had told her so. I daresay it teeth. was the explorer himself—doesn't it say the This possibility seemed too preposterous expedition was dangerous ?”
to be admitted. “She would hardly dare," "'Difficult and dangerous,'” read Miss said Miss Van Vluyck, “confess the imVan Vluyck.
posture to Osric Dane." Mrs. Ballinger pressed her hands to her “I'm not so sure: I thought I saw her throbbing temples. “There's nothing she make a sign as she left. If she hadn't said that wouldn't apply to a river—to this made a sign, why should Osric Dane have river!" She swung about excitedly to the rushed out after her?” other members. “Why, do you remember “Well, you know, we'd all been telling her telling us that she hadn't read “The her how wonderful Xingu was, and she Supreme Instant' because she'd taken it said she wanted to find out more about on a boating party while she was staying it,” Mrs. Leveret said, with a tardy imwith her brother, and some one had pulse of justice to the absent.
shied' it overboard-shied' of course was T his reminder, far from mitigating the her own expression?".
wrath of the other members, gave it a The ladies breathlessly signified that the stronger impetus. expression had not escaped them.
“Yes—and that's exactly what they're “Well—and then didn't she tell Osric both laughing over now," said Laura Dane that one of her books was simply Glyde ironically. saturated with Xingu? Of course it was, Mrs. Plinth stood up and gathered her if some of Mrs. Roby's rowdy friends had expensive furs about her monumental form. thrown it into the river!”
“I have no wish to criticise,” she said; This surprising reconstruction of the “but unless the Lunch Club can protect scene in which they had just participated its members against the recurrence of such left the members of the Lunch Club inar- —such unbecoming scenes, I for one ” ticulate. At length Mrs. Plinth, after visibly “Oh, so do I!” agreed Miss Glyde, rising labouring with the problem, said in a heavy also. tone: “Osric Dane was taken in too." Miss Van Vluyck closed the Encyclo
Mrs. Leveret took courage at this. “Per- pædia and proceeded to button herself into haps that's what Mrs. Roby did it for. her jacket. “My time is really too valuShe said Osric Dane was a brute, and she able_” she began. may have wanted to give her a lesson.” “I fancy we are all of one mind," said
Miss Van Vluyck frowned. “It was Mrs. Ballinger, looking searchingly at Mrs. hardly worth while to do it at our expense.” Leveret, who looked at the others.
"I always deprecate anything like a in this opinion, she ought to be alone in scandal—” Mrs. Plinth continued. deciding on the best way of effacing its
“She has been the cause of one to-day!” its really deplorable consequences.” exclaimed Miss Glyde.
A deep silence followed this unexpected Mrs. Leveret moaned: “I don't see how outbreak of Mrs Plinth's long-stored reshe could !” and Miss Van Vluyck said, sentment. picking up her note-book: “Some women “I don't see why I should be expected to stop at nothing."
ask her to resign—"Mrs. Ballinger at length "—but if,” Mrs. Plinth took up her began; but Laura Glyde turned back to re: argument impressively, "anything of the mind her: “You know she made you say kind had happened in my house" (it never that you'd got on swimmingly in Xingu.” would have, her tone implied), “I should An ill-timed giggle escaped from Mrs. have felt that I owed it to myself either Leveret, and Mrs. Ballinger energetically to ask for Mrs. Roby's resignation-or to continued “—but you needn't think for a offer mine."
moment that I'm afraid to!” “Oh, Mrs. Plinth—" gasped the Lunch The door of the drawing-room closed on Club.
the retreating backs of the Lunch Club, and “Fortunately for me,” Mrs. Plinth con- the President of that distinguished associatinued with an awful magnanimity, “the tion, seating herself at her writing-table, matter was taken out of my hands by our and pushing away a copy of “The Wings President's decision that the right to en- of Death” to make room for her elbow, tertain distinguished guests was a privilege drew forth a sheet of the club's note-paper, vested in her office; and I think the other on which she began to write: “My dear members will agree that, as she was alone Mrs. Roby
By Susan Dyer
In truth, a lonely prisoner I must dwell.
Yet has mine unknown Warden granted me
THE INVASION OF ENGLAND
By Richard Harding Davis
ILLUSTRATIONS BY WALLACE MORGAN
AE ATHIS is the true, inside story were to be convoyed by battle-ships two hun
of the invasion of England dred and forty miles through the North Sea, in 1911, by the Germans, and thrown upon the coast of Norfolk and why it failed. I got my somewhere between the Wash and Mundesdata from Baron von Gott- ley. The fact that this coast is low-lying
lieb, at the time military at- and bordered by sand flats which at low taché of the German Government with the water are dry, that England maintains no Russian army in the second Russian-Jap- North Sea squadron, and that her nearest anese War, when Russia drove Japan out naval base is at Chatham, seem to point of Manchuria, and reduced her to a third- to it as the spot best adapted for such a rate power. He told me of his part in the raid. invasion as we sat, after the bombardment What von Gottlieb thought was eviof Tokio, on the ramparts of the Emperor's denced by the fact that as soon as he read palace, watching the walls of the paper the book he mailed it to the German Ambashouses below us glowing and smoking like sador in London, and under separate cover the ashes of a prairie fire.
sent him a letter. In this he said: “I sugTwo years before, at the time of the in- gest your Excellency brings this book to the vasion, von Gottlieb had been Carl Schultz, notice of a certain royal personage, and of the head-waiter at the East Cliff Hotel at the Strategy Board. General Bolivar said, Cromer, and a spy.
'When you want arms, take them from the The other end of the story came to me enemy. Does not this also follow when through Lester Ford, the London corre- you want ideas?” spondent of the New York Republic. They What the Strategy Board thought of the gave me permission to tell it in any fashion plan is a matter of history. This was in I pleased, and it is here set down for the 1910. A year later, during the coronation first time.
week, Lester Ford went to Clarkson's to In telling the story, my conscience is not rent a monk's robe in which to appear at in the least disturbed, for I have yet to find the Shakespeare Ball, and while the assistany one who will believe it.
ant departed in search of the robe, Ford What led directly to the invasion was that was left alone in a small room hung with some week-end guest of the East Cliff Hotel full-length mirrors and shelves, and packed left a copy of “The Riddle of the Sands” in with the uniforms that Clarkson rents for the coffee-room, where von Gottlieb found Covent Garden balls and amateur theatriit; and the fact that Ford attended the cals. While waiting, Ford gratified a long, Shakespeare Ball. Had neither of these secretly cherished desire to behold himself events taken place, the German flag might as a military man, by trying on all the uninow be flying over Buckingham Palace. forms on the lower shelves; and as a result, And, then again, it might not.
when the assistant returned, instead of findAs every German knows, “The Riddle ing a young American in English clothes of the Sands” is a novel written by a very and a high hat, he was confronted by a clever Englishman in which is disclosed a German officer in a spiked helmet fighting plan for the invasion of his country. Ac- a duel with himself in the mirror. The cording to this plan an army of infantry was assistant retreated precipitately, and Ford, to be embarked in lighters, towed by shal- conscious that he appeared ridiculous, tried low-draft, sea-going tugs, and despatched to turn the tables by saying, “Does a Gersimultaneously from the seven rivers that man uniform always affect a Territorial form the Frisian Isles. From there they like that?”
The assistant laughed good-naturedly. Oxford men. The country hasn't stopped
“It did give me quite a turn,” he said. laughing yet. You give us a rag!” chal“It's this talk of invasion, I fancy. But for lenged Herbert. “Make it as hard as you a fact, sir, if I was a Coast Guard, and you like; something risky, something that will come along the beach dressed like that, make the country sit up, something that I'd take a shot at you, just on the chance, will send us all to jail, and Phil and I will anyway.”
put it through whether it takes one man “And, quite right, too!” said Ford. or a dozen. Go on,” he persisted, “and
He was wondering when the invasion I bet we can get fifty volunteers right here did come whether he would stick at his post in town and all of them undergraduates." in London and dutifully forward the news “Give you the idea, yes!” mocked Belto his paper, or play truant and as a war lew, trying to gain time. “That's just what correspondent watch the news in the mak- I say. You boys to-day are so dull. You ing. So the words of Mr. Clarkson's as- lack initiative. It's the idea that counts. sistant did not sink in. But a few weeks Anybody can do the acting. That's just later young Major Bellew recalled them. amateur theatricals!” Bellew was giving a dinner on the terrace “Is it!” snorted Herbert. “If you want of the Savoy Restaurant. His guests were to know what stage fright is, just go on his nephew, young Herbert, who was only board a British battle-ship with your face five years younger than his uncle, and Her- covered with burnt cork and insist on bebert's friend Birrell, an Irishman, both in ing treated like an ambassador. You'll their third term at the University. After find it's a little different from a first night five years' service in India, Bellew had with the Simla Thespians!” spent the last “Eights” week at Oxford, Ford had no part in the debate. He had and was complaining bitterly that since his been smoking comfortably and with wellday the undergraduate had deteriorated. timed nods, impartially encouraging each He had found him serious, given to study, disputant. But now he suddenly laid his far too well behaved. Instead of Jorrocks, cigar upon his plate, and, after glancing he read Galsworthy; instead of “wines” quickly about him, leaned eagerly forward. he found pleasure in debating clubs where They were at the corner table of the terrace, he discussed socialism. Ragging, practi- and, as it was now past nine o'clock, the cal jokes, ingenious hoaxes, that once were other diners had departed to the theatres wont to set England in a roar, were a lost and they were quite alone. Below theni, art. His undergraduate guests combated outside the open windows, were the trees of these charges fiercely. His criticisms they the embankment, and beyond, the Thames, declared unjust and without intelligence. blocked to the west by the great shadows
“You're talking rot!” said his dutiful of the Houses of Parliament, lit only by the nephew. “Take Phil here, for example. flame in the tower that showed the Lower I've roomed with him three years and I can House was still sitting. testify that he has never opened a book. “I'll give you an idea for a rag," whisHe never heard of Galsworthy until you pered Ford. “You want one that is risky, spoke of him. And you can see for your- that will make the country sit up, and that self his table manners are quite as bad as ought to land you in jail? Have you read yours!”
'The Riddle of the Sands?'" "Worse!” assented Birrell loyally. Bellew and Herbert nodded; Birrell made
"And as for ragging! What rags, in no sign. your day, were as good as ours; as the “Don't mind him," exclaimed Herbert Carrie Nation rag, for instance, when five impatiently. “He never reads anything! hundred people sat through a temperance Go on!” lecture and never guessed they were listen- “It's the book most talked about," exing to a man from Balliol ?"
plained Ford. “And what else is most "And the Abyssinian Ambassador rag!” talked about?” He answered his own cried Herbert. "What price that? When question. “The landing of the Germans the Dreadnought manned the yards for in Morocco and the chance of war. Now, him and gave him seventeen guns. That I ask you, with that book in everybody's was an Oxford rag, and carried through by mind and the war scare in everybody's