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good night outside, Mereworth you get your Restoration kit had a glimpse of somebody in to-morrow. Good night.” a passing cab, and cried out, As Arthur Fairbrother “Good Lord !” Fairbrother, strolled to his flat, his soul was who had not seen the face somewhat comforted. This which had surprised his com- masquerade was not an ordinpanion, looked inquiringly at ary thing, and its meaning rehim. “Only a chap I thoughtflected some historical dignity was at the other end of on to himself.
He adopted a the world," Mereworth said. romantic expression as he “Good night, old man; mind looked in his bedroom glass.
Since Mrs Ogilvie said no showing, men said, of their more of Herbert Mardon, and qualities only an obstinacy of Fairbrother, being unsuspicious, character which pushed his and having a bad memory for vices and crazes against every names, did not ask anybody for opposition. Perhaps one may information concerning him, the say that he combined the virtask is laid on me that I should tues and vices of a savage with give you, in my own poor words, those of which genius has a some account of his history and common reputation. He was character. For, though explan- good-looking, fearless, a man of ation and analysis are tedious his hands; he was generous things, yet for the interest of and constant in friendship; he my story it is well that your was fickle and unscrupulous in sympathy with Arthur Fair- love; he could forgive, but the brother should be not wholly sentiment of revenge was dear exclusive of charity for him to him; he was vehement, prowhom you have slightly seen as fuse, reckless of opinion and of a child and a scapegrace.
-a man, in short, The Mardons of Great Mar- altogether unsuited to a comdon came in with the Conquer- mercial civilisation. In another or, and seemed finally to have age, as his wife thought, he gone out with Harry Mardon, might have climbed to acknowHerbert's father - Harry, the ledged greatness, leaving bewit, profligate, poet, gambler, hind him a track of blood and and champion of the oppressed, tears. Few people, probably, who for a few years set a daz- would have agreed with her zling light round the Mardon that he was a genius. Our name, and in those years sold countrymen of to-day want the last acre of the Mardon solid fruits of your geniusproperty. Harry's mother was big fortune, a premiership, a fat the daughter of a great and book. Harry Mardon spent his unstable man, but we need not money, his political course was go into that. Certainly he was eccentric and unprofitable, and different from his forefathers, those few lyrics which some
people thought perfect were not tory. And, alas ! Herbert was enough to fill the smallest duo- altogether his father's son, and decimo. He sat for a year as very little the son of the gentle the Tory member for Great philosopher, his mother. Mardon, and then, declaring child he was headstrong, but, himself a socialist, lost his seat: while she lived, tractable. She we were not all socialists then. died when he was fifteen years He lampooned and inveighed old. The little money she had against capital, and
capital, and capital was so left that out of it the folded its hands, watched him boy was to be educated as his with a smile, and when he was father had been and started in dead straightway forgot him. some profession, if he should There were women who sneered enter one she had thought at his wife, and his choice of of the army before he was her was perhaps strange in such twenty-one: in any case, what a man; but I am sure it was funds there were should be his wise, and that if any woman absolutely on his majority. It could have saved him, he would was thought an unwise distrihave been saved by this fragile, bution ; but she said that disintellectual woman a blue- advantages that braced a man stocking, as the phrase still were cruel to a boy—let him go was—who revelled in his bril- to Eton. As for the rest, she liancy, and looked on his way- said it would be no
use to wardness with a loving humour. attempt to control him. He He tried her with many infi- will throw his money away delities; but to the end there whatever you do, she said ; was kindness and gentleness when it is gone he will work : between them—to the end when if his father had lost his earlier, he shot himself in a little town he would have had a happier in Spain. He wrote to her that life. She was convinced of the he was sick of the times, and boy's likeness to his father, and, was too old to begin, on no- after all, there was but little thing, a life of probity: his money in question. The trusdeath would be better for her tee was Lord Mereworth, the and the boy than his life. He husband of her greatest friend hoped his boy would have bet- and a distant cousin of Harry ter luck and take after his Mardon, since whose death she mother. And there was an stayed at Mereworth almost end of Harry Mardon, poet continuously. and profligate.
So Herbert Mardon was sent I have written of him at this to Eton, and since he did not length, because in the case of a care for the army, to Oxford. very young man-Herbert was Neither institution complimentbut twenty-three when you saw ed him. He was idle, and the him last—who had given proofs more severe of his censors said he that he was very like his father, was vicious. He was not even that father's character may help a hero at games, so missing a one to understand him as well
sure means of grace. He learned as the few facts of his own his- to box effectively and to fence
more than well as a boy, and took, as the young take what at Oxford was known in a is given continually and in unsmall set as a remarkably good stinted measure, all their kindrider. But for the most part, ness as a thing of use and wont. like a more famous scapegrace, When we are young, and if we he spent his heart on passion have not been schooled in its and his head on rhymes.” A reverse, we do not value such boy's rhymes-savagelampoons, kindness till we lose it. Then, hotly erotic lyrics—but they had indeed, when the kindly home force and inevitable taste. His is gone or our place in it is taken passions were more graceless. from us, we think on it with an In fine, he too was a gifted infinite regret, and so I suppose savage, bold, profuse, and dissi- it was with Herbert Mardon. pated. One need not go about Then, no doubt, the pleasant to commend the state, for it is strolls and confidences, the a state of violent egotism, and romps, the merry evenings, in youth especially its selfish- were all charged in memory ness is without a sign of com- with bitterness and longing. promise. Oxford signified its “Too late” is a motto most of disapproval by sending Herbert us might write under a fool's Mardon down in his second cap for a crest. year.
It was after he had been sent Up to this time he had made down from Oxford that Lady his home at Mereworth, occa- Mereworth told him that Meresionally at Lord Mereworth's worth was no longer his home. house in town, and on that She had seen, the day before, a family were centred all his pretty scene acted in the formal gentler affections, and his love garden by two people who was returned by the whole—by thought themselves unobserved. Lord Mereworth and his wife, It was not a violent scene; but by Bob, Herbert's senior by two it showed something more than years, and to her grief by Lady good comradeship between the Betty, his contemporary. It is children, now grown up, who a sad injustice to the virtuous had acted those years ago, and that these scapegraces
do she felt that she had kept a often win affection. The Flairs promise of kindness too reckwere a tolerant, easy folk : they lessly. Lady Mereworth did smiled at things at which many not believe that wild and pleaspeople frowned; and that a ure - loving young people of young man, a boy, should be twenty-one were likely to make extravagant and gamble and themselves miserable for a fondsometimes drink and take his ness for each other—but Herpleasure struck them in nowise bert Mardon must go. “We've as wonderful. And Herbert not left off loving you," she was a winning scapegrace: he said, “and we're not a very was handsome and frank, with prudish set. But you're too a ready laugh and sympathy, wild, my dear, you're too wild with a gay courtesy and affec- -and there's Betty." tionateness. For his part, he The boy flushed, and said,
“I'd best be honest ; I'm afraid twenty-one is not good for a I love Betty very much." young man of the savage type, “And you can't marry her, and it quickened the pace of his You must go.
If natural instincts. He wrote a one could have any hope that little volume of verse; and since you would work hard and get he was primitive in feeling, and on- but how can one ? You with all the wholesome instincts must go, my dear.”
in excess, the sapient called him “Glad you told me straight,” decadent and laughed at him. he said, and kissed her hand. He was man enough to join in
Lord Mereworth said, “You're the laugh, of course; but the like your dad, boy. But remem- circumstance turned him from ber he started life with a big that unlikely field of endeavour, income, and you haven't a shil- and he did not trouble himself ling, or won't have soon. Pull to find another. He was not yourself together: if you've got unpopular, for he suffered fools, to sail a ship, you can't disre- and they who remembered the gard your soundings.”
famous Harry were amused by “ All right, sir,” Herbert said. his excesses. They would not
Bob, the only son, was equally be profitable to describe : I sententious. “I'm not much in question if Herbert enjoyed the moral line, myself," he said; them so much as his father “ but I know the world better before him. The crash came in than you, old chap. Why don't two years. His money was you chuck it? Why don't you gone, bills had been backed by buck up and do something friends. Lord Mereworth was clever? Go on the Stock Ex- hardly able to help him, and change or something? Be a another touch was put on his beastly millionaire and marry plight by a divorce case, during Betty, and lend me a few thou- which the boy's name decorated sands. You see, we must have the daily papers. It was not a dibs. Buck up!”
bad case, as such
there was Lady Betty said little ; she no meanness and hardly a delooked perplexed. “I wish you ception involved—the boy had weren't mad, dear old Herbert.” little, indeed, beyond the main
They were alone in the little fact, for which to answer. But garden. Herbert kissed her, it confirmed the world in the and Lady Betty sighed a big opinion that Herbert Mardon sigh.
an irretrievable ne'er-doIn the next two years, while well; and he himself, indifferhe grew from twenty-one to ent, like his father, to opinion, twenty-three, a Berserker fury was keenly sensitive to coldness of folly seemed to have settled from his friends. on Herbert Mardon. In his He was ready to accept the more nervous temperament, the offer of a cousin whom Harry passion and waywardness he Mardon, in his prosperous days, inherited came to a premature had started in a profession in head. To feel remorse and bit- which he had grown rich. This terness for kindness forfeited at cousin was strongly of opinion
that the other end of the world Whither, after the adieux we would be a good place for Her- have witnessed, Herbert went. bert, a place from which he Such was the slight history himself would not be easily of the young man who, on the accessible, even to reports. He day following the conversations paid the bills on which the of the last chapter, met Lady friends' names stood in dismal Betty Flair by secret appointsignificance, on condition that ment in the north part of Herbert went to Australia. Kensington Gardens.
“Well, Betty, how are you? well - cut tweed suit, with a Thank you very much for com- straw hat and a neat black tie. ing." Herbert spoke casually, “The clothes ? Oh, I left a but looked very hard at the lot with the man in my old girl as he spoke. His pale diggings, and I went there face was lightly browned by last night,-I only arrived last the sun, and he looked more night. I couldn't resist putting wholesome and
than on my evening things first when he went away, but older time for two years—and going -five or ten years more than to a decent place to dine. I his age. Lady Betty returned don't think anybody saw me.' his serious gaze, and as she “Bob saw you in the street looked she smiled with pleasure, last night --- at least, he says and grew grave perplexedly. he was nearly certain. He was
“It's good to see you again, awfully excited about it this Herbert."
morning. He said he was going He laughed lightly, in the to your old rooms to ask if you boyish manner she remembered. had been there." “ That's not a sentiment many “That was nice of old Bob. people will share,” he said; I saw him all right - outside "and I shan't give many of White's. I was going by in a them the opportunity.
For- cab." give my making this secret “No, it wasn't nice. Bob was sort of appointment. I couldn't a beast this morning.” She go to Curzon Street very well, flushed as she spoke. “He said could I? And, by the way, he was going to ask you not to I'm not in England at all-or come to the house. He said he only to as few people as I can hoped you were going away
at help. But I'll explain that once. He's afraid—if he knew later. Tell me all about your- I've seen you this morningself—been having a gala time, she stopped, and tapped the or got into any scrapes ?” ground with her parasol. Her
"No," she answered, quickly; bert raised his eyebrows and “ tell me about yourself first. waited. He tried to meet her You don't look down on your eyes, but her big hat concealed luck." He was dressed in a her little bent head.