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Title: The Lady and The Lord
Author: Talbot Mundy
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Edition: 1
Language: English
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Date first posted: July 2006
Date most recently updated: July 2006

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The Lady and the Lord
Talbot Mundy

AN actress who is not exactly in the first flight is bound to be more
or less of a nomad; so there was nothing particularly astonishing in
not hearing from Mrs. Crothers for several months.

True, she might have written; but if she were ever to become famous,
her autograph would be valuable for its very rarity, for she seldom
wrote to anyone.

When she went away from New York with some touring company or other,
she simply dropped out of her friends' existence for a while; and when
she came back again, she resumed her acquaintanceship just as she had
left it off, without explanation or comment.

So it was even less astonishing that she should arrive at my flat one
afternoon, panting from the exertion of climbing so many stairs, and
demand tea. That was to be expected of her.

What really was remarkable was her gorgeous raiment. It was so
magnificent and up-to-date that even Ugly, my mongrel hound, scarcely
knew her.

She rang my bell as though it were a fire-alarm, and, when I opened
the door for her, pushed past me into the sitting-room with an air of
indescribable importance. Then she threw her new fur jacket over the
typewriter, as a signal that work was over for the day, and subsided
into my armchair.

I produced tea and cigarettes, and sent the boy out for cakes, and
while he was gone for them, I stood and gazed at her in the silent
wonder and admiration that I knew was expected of me.

As soon as the cakes came, Ugly laid his gigantic muzzle in her lap;
and it was not until she had given him about half a dollars worth that
she paid any attention to me.

"You'll make him awfully sick!" I ventured presently.

"Nonsense! A change of diet's good for him. Besides, I like to feed
him."

That, of course, settled it. I relapsed into my former condition of
awe and bewilderment.

"You notice it, then?" she asked me, with the least suspicion of a
smile, when Ugly had swallowed the last of the cakes.

"I'm not blind! Climb off that high horse, Kitty, and tell me all
about it."

"That's what I came round for."

"I knew you did. I'm waiting."

"You're in too much of a hurry. I don't think you've admired me enough
yet!"

"It's like Ugly and the cakes. You'd like some more awfully, but it
wouldn't be good for you. You'll have to tell me the story first, if
you want any more admiration. Besides, I'm too dazzled to be able to
think of any words that would do you justice."

"It isn't a story at all. It's something that really happened. I've
just come back from England."

This was really amazing. That Kitty Crothers should cross the Atlantic
was almost unbelievable. She hated to leave Broadway, and it was only
stern necessity that induced her to travel even in her own country.

"Did you get all that finery in London?"

"No, Paris! But I'll come to that presently. I must tell you first
what I went for."

"I can guess that. Your late husband owned some property over there,
or was heir to it, or said he was. You went over there to collect.
Isn't that right?"

"More or less. But how did you know?"

Shortly after her husband's death I had recommended a lawyer to her on
that very business. He had failed to trace any connection between the
late Amos Crothers and the Carruthers estates in Essex; but he sent in
a bill of costs which I had to settle. So the question seemed just a
leetle bit superfluous. But as she seemed to have forgotten the
incident, it seemed best to equivocate.

"You told me yourself," I said. "Go on."

"I'm going on, if you'll only give me time. The first trouble I had
was raising enough money for the trip. Of course the passage itself
didn't cost so much, but you've got to have some money at the other
end, haven't you?"

She seemed to expect an answer, so I said that in my experience money
was quite useful in England.

"Well, I never met with such difficulty in my life. I tried at first
to syndicate myself, but you'd never believe how incredulous people
are--at least, all the people who've got money!"

"That's how they get it, Kitty."

"Do they? It isn't how I got it."

Her face broke up into dimples as she smiled reminiscently. It was
evidently a good story that was coming, but she kept me waiting
several minutes for it while she enjoyed the memory of it herself.

I had to break into her reverie.

"How did you get the money for the trip?" I asked.

"I didn't get it. That's the funny part about it! I offered several
people ten percent of the whole thing if they would finance the trip.
That was businesslike, wasn't it?

"And I assured them that the estates were worth millions. But--you can
believe me or not, as you like--they simply wouldn't listen. I tried
everybody I knew, and scores of people I didn't know; but it was no
use. Positively nothing doing!

"You've no idea how stuffy business people are! I thought at one time
of trying you; but I knew you couldn't even pay your club dues as a
general rule, so you were out of the question. I just didn't know what
to do."

"How on earth did you get across, then?"

"Oh, I had enough money for a second-class passage; but by the time
I'd tipped my cabin steward, and paid the cab fare at Southampton,
there was only forty dollars left; and it was even less when the
money-changer had finished swindling me.

"I never was good at arithmetic, and in the end I called one of those
delightful English policemen. He was polite, and even fatherly; and he
wouldn't even look at the dollar I offered him; but he figured it out
three times in his notebook, and got the result different each time,
and in the end I had to take what the banker offered me. But I know he
swindled me!"

"Did you go to a bank to change it?"

"Sure! Where else should I go?"

"What bank?"

"The London and Southwestern, I think it was called."

"And you called in a policeman?"

"I did."

"Whom did you see?"

"The manager, of course."

Now, the manager of a main branch of an English joint-stock bank is as
consequential as an admiral of the fleet, and much more important.

"I'll go on with the story when you've finished laughing," she said.

"I'd give a year's income to have been there when it happened! Didn't
he order you out of the bank?"

"Certainly not. He was as polite as possible. He offered me a chair,
and made a clerk bring another one for the policeman, and left us to
figure it out. He asked me, though, if I'd mind sitting in the outer
office while we worked it out, because he was busy; but he wasn't in
the least rude."

"Go on," I said. "I'm ready to hear anything after that."

"Well, of course I engaged a room at the best hotel. I had lots of
trunks, and the only thing I could do was to throw a bluff; so I went
to the best hotel, and took the best room there was in it. They must
have thought I had millions."

"I don't see how you make that out. Millionaires don't travel in the
second cabin, and they must have seen the labels on your trunks."

"What d'you suppose I tipped the cabin steward for? All my things were
marked, 'Wanted on the voyage,' and I made him pull all the labels off
before we got to Southampton and put on first-class labels."

"You ought to have been a criminal. But perhaps you are one. I'd
better wait until you've told me how you got the money."

"I went to bed early the first night, because I wanted to think out a
plan, and I can always think better in bed than anywhere else."

"D'you mean to say that you hadn't thought out a plan before you
started?"

"Oh! How stupid men are! How could I possibly make a plan when I
hadn't any money, and didn't know where I was going to stop, or what
Southampton was like or anything? It was different, of course, after
I'd landed and had taken a room at the hotel. I was on the scene then.
But, of course, I hadn't any plan until I got there."

"What was your idea, then? Just to trust to luck?"

"Something like that. At all events, the luck was all my way on that
trip. But it didn't look very promising that first night. I lay in
bed, and thought, and thought, and I couldn't make head or tail of it.
And at last I gave it up and went to sleep.

"I felt better in the morning, but even then I realized that my chance
of success was pretty thin. I hadn't enough money to pay one week's
bill at the hotel. It was an expensive place, and I had to order
expensive wine at dinner to keep up appearances. I'd got to be quick.

"So directly after breakfast I sent for the local directory, and
looked through the list of lawyers. There were dozens and dozens of
them; but I picked out the one with the most space allotted to him,
and then looked him out in another part of the book, and found he was
also the mayor. That was the man for me.

"I couldn't pay anybody's bill as things stood, so it seemed best to
me to run up a real, fat bill with a big man, who might possibly wait
for his money and give me a chance to turn round.

"Then I asked to see the proprietor of the hotel. When he'd finished
bowing--they're not in the least like American hotel proprietors,
they're really polite--I asked him if he knew Mr. Lewisohn; and he
told me that Mr. Lewisohn was his lawyer and conducted all his legal
business."

"He was probably the gentleman who sued the guests who neglected to
pay their bills," I suggested.

"Probably. But he said that Mr. Lewisohn was a most influential and
respected gentleman. I suppose he meant by that that he had a big
political pull; but they have such a funny way of expressing things in
England, and you can never be quite sure what they do mean."

"I know it," I said. "They call a 'four-flusher' a 'chancer,' even
when she's a woman and pretty."

She actually blushed.

"I wasn't a four-flusher. And if you're going to be rude, I won't tell
you the story. I knew that I was after a certainty; the only
difficulty was in getting somebody with money to believe it."

"I was only citing an instance," I said guiltily. "Go on with the
story."

"Well, I told Mr. Bertram--that was the proprietor's name--that mine
was most important business, and that I wouldn't have an inkling of it
get in the papers for anything; and I asked him to be sure not to
answer any questions about me to anybody. He said he would be most
discreet--just like that--'most discreet.'

"Then I asked him whether I could count on Mr. Lewisohn to be most
discreet, and he assured me that I could; so I asked him to telephone
for an appointment for me, and he did it at once. Later on I ordered a
carriage to drive round to the lawyer's office.

"They tried to palm off a one-horse thing on me at first; but I sent
it back and ordered a landau with two horses, and the proprietor of
the hotel came out himself and helped me into the carriage.

"In Southampton people don't usually drive when they're going to see
their lawyers; they walk. I know that, because when I got there I
wasn't kept waiting a minute. The clerk showed me right in.

"Mr. Lewisohn proved to be a little man, with a shiny bald head and a
ring of coal-black curly hair all round it, just like a monk's. He was
sitting in a dark corner at a large roll-top desk, with rows and rows
of black steel boxes on shelves behind him.

"Until your eyes got used to the light you could scarcely make out his
features at all, and he made me sit on a chair where the light fell
right on me. But I'd taken a lot of trouble with my toilet that
morning, and I didn't feel nervous in the least.

"He didn't put his feet on the desk, or smoke, as Broadway lawyers do;
but he sat back and listened to what I had to say with his hands
folded in front of him, and his thumbs twisting round and round each
other slowly. And every time I stopped talking he nodded.

"I told him that I had had a letter of introduction to another lawyer,
whose name I wouldn't mention; but that Mr. Bertram, the proprietor of
the hotel, had told me that Mr. Lewisohn was much the best lawyer in
the place, and I had decided to place my business in his hands.

"I'm not sure even now whether he was so used to hearing himself
described as the best lawyer in the place that it had ceased to
interest him, or whether he was suspicious of any attempt at flattery.
I'm inclined to think he was suspicious--the least attempt at
civility makes the English suspicious--I've found that out. At all
events, he didn't seem to appreciate it very much.

"But he kept on nodding and nodding while I talked, and when I
mentioned the Carruthers estates he woke up at once and began making
notes. At last he made another appointment for the following day; and
I had evidently succeeded in impressing him favorably, because he
showed me to the door of the office himself, instead of letting the
clerk do it.

"And, of course, then he couldn't help seeing the carriage and pair; I
was glad of that.

"Of course, I knew he'd telephone to Bertram before I had time to get
back to the hotel, but that didn't worry me; all Bertram could say was
that I had first-cabin labels on my trunks, and that I had engaged an
expensive room. Besides, he knew nothing against me, anyhow.

"I wasn't afraid of Bertram; and, as it turned out, I must have been
right, because when I went back the next day Mr. Lewisohn was
politeness itself, and after we'd talked for nearly an hour he took me
out to lunch. I kept the carriage waiting all the time, and drove him
back to his office afterward. It would never have done to seem worried
about money."

"He didn't let you pay for the lunch, did he?"

"Of course not. But I had to pay for the carriage--or, rather, I had
it charged up on my bill. I was getting so short of ready money that I
was beginning to feel desperate. I hadn't enough money to pay my fare
back to New York, even third class, by that time, because I'd been
spending my ready money pretty freely in order to keep up appearances.

"I was seriously considering a visit to the hockshop, and was
wondering whether I'd got anything with me that an 'uncle' could be
induced to lend money on, when who should come to stay at the hotel
but a real English aristocrat--the kind you only read about in the
Sunday paper, and never come across in real life.

"He was about twenty-two years old, with red hair and a pimply face,
and simply oceans of money. It was he who saved the situation.

"Of course, he didn't carry the money with him; but you could tell he
had it by the awful arrogance of his manservant and the deference the
hotel people paid him. You can always tell when a man's got money."

"How was it, then, that the hotel people couldn't tell that you hadn't
any?"

"I'm not a man--I'm a woman."

"I see. Is there any way of telling when it's a woman?"

"Not unless you're a woman yourself. A woman can sometimes guess. But
I'll never finish if you keep on interrupting so."

"All right; I'll be good."

"When his lordship came into the hotel and saw me in the lobby he
stared harder than was polite; so I went upstairs to my room and
stayed there. But you can bet I didn't have dinner upstairs.

"I got out my very best dress--the one I'd been keeping for
emergencies--and came down just a little late--not too late, you
understand--but late enough not to have to go in with the crowd. He
was waiting about in the hall to watch me go in, and, though he didn't
stare quite so hard that time, he followed me into the dining room and
sat down at the next table, with his back toward me."

"Beastly rude of him!"

I thought I was wanted to sympathize, but I mistook my cue.

"I told you not to interrupt. He wasn't rude at all. He must have
bribed the head waiter like a whole board of aldermen, because the man
came over to me at once and said that my table had been reserved by
some other people, and would I mind if I sat at the next table for
that evening.

"He said that Lord Tipperary had the next table, but that he was sure
that Lord Tipperary wouldn't mind. And he actually had the nerve to go
to Lord Tipperary and ask him if I might sit at his table, just as if
they hadn't fixed it all up between them before dinner.

"So I pretended to be rather annoyed; but not too annoyed, and changed
places; and, of course, the head waiter had to put some other people
at my table, though there were several other tables in the room that
were disengaged all through dinner; and in about a quarter of an hour
Lord Tipperary and I were quite like old friends.

"It was the first time that I'd ever talked to a lord, and I found he
was quite like a human being. I was never more surprised in my life.
He didn't say 'Haw!' or 'Don'tcherknow!' like English lords are always
supposed to; in fact, he didn't give himself any airs at all; but he
used the most astonishing slang I ever listened to, and I don't think
I understood more than half of it.

"After dinner we went out and sat together in the lobby--to watch the
people, he said--but he was too busy talking to me to see much of what
was going on.

"Of course, I had to be awfully careful what I said to him; and I was
so busy puzzling out how to make use of him that I suppose I must have
seemed rather absentminded, and after a bit he noticed it and asked me
if I wasn't feeling well. I had to say something, so I told him that I
found English surroundings a bit depressing at first.

He was an awfully nice boy, and he said at once that he knew a way to
change all that. He offered to take me driving in his four-in-hand
next morning. He said that a drive round the countryside would make me
fall in love with the country, 'and all that kind of thing.' He said
that he wasn't much of a 'dabster' at quoting poetry, but the scenery
was 'simply spiffing,' and that was about the most intelligible thing
he did say about it.

"He told me that he was down to see his lawyer on business connected
with his property in the neighborhood, and that he'd brought his
horses with him 'because that man Lewisohn's as slow as a hearse, and
he's sure to keep me hangin' about here for the best part of a month.'

"When I discovered that Mr. Lewisohn was his lawyer, too, I had to go
up to my room. I wanted to be alone, and laugh, and make a fool of
myself.

"Of course, it was a bit early yet to be jubilant, and I still didn't
see how I was going to manage. But I knew that a coincidence like that
only happens about once in a lifetime, and I knew I'd have brains
enough to make use of it when the right time came. But the difficulty
was to wait for the right time.

"I was in a desperate hurry, and beginning to get excited, and I knew
that if I was to play my cards properly I'd have to let off steam at
once. So I went upstairs and kicked my pillow all round the room for
about ten minutes. After that I felt better and went to bed.

"Next morning I told Lord Tipperary what I was in England for--at
least, I told him as much as I thought necessary. He seemed to be
interested; and when I told him I'd been to Lewisohn, and that I was
afraid I wouldn't get the same amount of attention as an old client
would have done, he offered to take me round that very afternoon and
introduce me to Lewisohn in a proper manner.

"He said: 'Why, he's my lawyer! I'll take you round and tell him
you're a friend of mine. He'll look after you, all right. He's as slow
as one of his own horses, and he's stagy; but he's honest, and there
isn't a better lawyer in England. I borrow money off him when I get
broke--that's to say pretty often.'

"So we had lunch together at the hotel, and I took him a little more
into my confidence. I didn't tell him that I had only thirty shillings
left, though it was a fact; but I did say that I'd be tickled to death
to get my business settled up, because I needed the money very badly.

"When I said that he looked at me quite sharply, with his eyebrows
raised ever such a little, and I saw that I'd made a mistake.

"They're not so easy as they look, those English! I suppose that rich
English lords have so many people trying to play them for suckers that
they get naturally suspicious, anyway. But just as I was thinking that
I'd put my foot in it, and had spoiled my only chance, I had an
inspiration that was absolutely divine.

"I asked him if he ever gambled; and he said at once that he did. He
said he was always gambling, and nearly always losing--backing horses,
for the most part--but that he would gamble on almost anything; and he
asked me if I knew of anything to gamble on.

"Then I knew that I'd won--all but the shouting. The rest was easy.

"I said that I hadn't ever gambled, which was perfectly true; but I
said I was going to begin. He nodded, and said he would stand in with
me, because 'beginners' luck always was a good thing to bet on. He
said he didn't care 'a continental' what it was that I was going to
bet about, he was going to 'back me to win.'

"So I told him that that was my reason for being in such a hurry to
get some money; I wanted to get the money on before the good thing was
a thing of the past. But I wouldn't tell him what the good thing was.
I didn't know yet myself, for one thing. But I had to tell him
something.

"Suddenly I remembered a second cousin of mine who used to be
secretary, or something like that, in a zinc works at Pittsburgh, and
that gave me another idea. Poor old Amos always used to be pestering
my cousin at Pittsburgh to give him information so that he could play
the market, and the only time he ever did give him any Amos played it
and lost. He lost nearly all we had.

"So what I said was that I had received some private information from
a man who used to be a friend of my late husband. Before my husband
died he had promised him that he would look after me, and this was his
way of doing it. He had told me to raise every cent I could, and buy
certain shares and hold them for a rise.

"Lord Tipperary got awfully excited. He hadn't ever gambled on the
Stock Exchange, and the idea of doing it simply tickled him to death.
He wanted to know the name of the shares at once, so that he could 'go
up to town and get the money on.' He said it was 'awfully sporting' of
me to want to 'put all my money on one horse,' and he didn't like it
in the least when I refused to tell him which shares they were.

"But I couldn't tell him, for the simple reason that I didn't know the
name of any shares, and I'd have to look them up first in a newspaper.
So I got out of it for the time being by saying that the information
had been given to me under a strict pledge of secrecy, and that I
couldn't think of divulging it to anybody.

"That afternoon he drove me round to Mr. Lewisohn's office, and he
introduced me properly, as he had promised to do. We had a long talk
with the lawyer, but nothing much came of it, except that he promised
to be as quick as he could about my business.

"Lord Tipperary asked him at once how long he thought it would be
before he had my affairs settled up, and he said: 'Some weeks.' Then
Lord Tipperary looked at me with the most comical expression of
concern, and I had to laugh outright; and Lewisohn seemed awfully
surprised that Lord Tipperary should take so much interest in my
affairs, but he didn't say anything--at least, not then.

"After we left the office that boy did nothing but pester me to let
him into the secret; and at dinnertime he said: 'Look here, Mrs.
Crothers, it's an awful shame your not being able to get any money out
of old Lewisohn for a month or two; you'll probably miss having the
flutter through it. Can't we work it this way. I'll go up to town and
open an account with a firm of brokers that I know of, and arrange it
so that you can buy the shares on my account without my knowing the
name of them; then we'll go shares in the profits. How's that?

"'Then, tomorrow morning I'll go round to old Lewisohn before I go to
town, and tell him to be sure and let me have a few thousands at once,
so that we sha'n't be stuck for money. He's arranging to borrow some
money for me, and he can easily let me have a few thousands right
away.'

"Remember, it was pounds he was talking about, and not dollars! And
there was poor little me, with only a few shillings in the wide world,
and a great, fat hotel bill running up! Do you wonder I began to fed
excited? Of course, I agreed to that arrangement, and the next morning
I went round to the Public Library to look up Pittsburgh.

"I read up all about Pittsburgh in a fat sort of encyclopedia; and
though reading about it in that book bored me almost to tears, and
reminded me in some indescribable way of Monday morning's breakfast at
a boarding house--I can't tell you why, but it did!--I managed to
concentrate my mind on it sufficiently to remember afterward that the
National Zinc Amalgamation was one of the biggest concerns there.

"Then I went back to the hotel and sat in the lobby, studying out the
financial column of a morning paper. The American papers are bad
enough, if you open them at the financial page, and I don't believe
the jargon they put in them really means anything at all; but the
English papers are infinitely worse; and I'm sure I nearly cried
trying to understand it.

"There were two different things named in one column that might,
either of them, have been the Zinc Amalgamation. They were both called
N.Z. Am., but one had the word 'com.' after it with a full stop, and
the other had the word 'pref.' There was a footnote at the bottom of
the column which said that the 'com.' had been largely dealt in. The
'com.' and the 'pref.' were quoted at different prices, and I think it
was the most confusing mix--up that I ever tried to puzzle out.

"I never would have puzzled it out if it hadn't been for Bertram, the
proprietor. He passed me where I was sitting in the lobby, and smiled.
I asked him what he was smiling about, and he said that it was easy to
tell my nationality without hearing me speak, because American women
were the only women who ever read the financial columns of the papers.

"I told him I was only reading out of curiosity, and I asked him what
'com.' and 'pref.' meant. He gave me quite a little lecture, and
explained the whole thing; and after that I began to feel ready for
the fray.

"At about twelve o'clock a telephone message came from Mr. Lewisohn,
asking me to call round at his office; so I ordered out the carriage
again, wondering what it meant. When I got there I was shown right in
to his office, and he lost no time in coming to the point.

"He sat in his usual corner blinking at me, and he made me sit right
in the sunlight that was streaming through the window. He watched my
face as carefully as a cat watches a mouse, and I hoped I had not put
too much powder on--I came away in rather a hurry. His first question
completely took my breath away. He said:

"'Mrs. Crothers, how much money have you in your possession?'

"I suppose my face showed that I was taken by surprise, and he must
have guessed the rest; for he said at once:

"'You needn't tell me. I think I know sufficient. Now, Mrs. Crothers,
Lord Tipperary is a valued client of mine. I have known him since he
was a boy. His father was also a client of mine, and his grandfather
used to entrust his business to my father. You will perhaps admit that
I have a right to be interested in his welfare.

"'Now I want you to tell me exactly what is the nature of the business
that you have entered into with Lord Tipperary. He called on me this
morning, and told me a little, but not enough. There is no sense in a
case like this in beating about the bush. I will give you fifty pounds
for your information.'

"I said: 'I will take your fifty pounds, Mr. Lewisohn, because I need
it, but I would have told you the nature of the business at once if
you had asked me.'

"The expression on his face changed a little, as though he didn't
believe me, and were smiling inside himself; but he was too polite to
let it appear on the surface; he merely bowed, and motioned to me to
proceed. So I told him the same story of the shares that I had told
Lord Tipperary.

"But he seemed to expect something else, and when I had finished he
sat with his eyebrows raised a little, waiting for me to continue.

"When I said nothing, he asked me: 'And the name of the shares?'

"I said: 'No, Mr. Lewisohn, that was not in the bargain. If I tell you
the name of the shares, the secret will be out!'

"He said: 'Madam, it was distinctly in the bargain. I must insist on
knowing the name of the shares. So far as the secret is concerned,
there is no safer depository for a secret of any kind than within the
four walls of a lawyer's private office. I can assure you--in fact, I
promise you faithfully--that what you may tell me will remain an
absolute secret.'

"'But even Lord Tipperary doesn't know,' I objected.

"'I am aware of that, madam. In fact, that is precisely why I insist
on knowing myself.'

"He pulled a lovely crinkly Bank of England note for fifty pounds out
of his waistcoat pocket, and made it crackle absentmindedly between
his fingers; and all at once I blurted out that the shares were called
National Zinc Amalgamation, Common.

"He passed me over the fifty pounds at once; and I think I never saw a
man look so utterly surprised in all my life.

"He said: 'Madam, I have to apologize. We are all liable to make
mistakes, and I have made one. Your secret is, of course, safe in my
keeping; and in return for it I will tell you one of mine. I am myself
a heavy buyer of National Zinc, Common, and I believe it will
eventually reach par or somewhere near it.

"'I made the great mistake of supposing that you were an adventuress,
and that you were trying to work off some worthless securities on my
client. Believe me, such a thing is quite common, and in every case
that has come under my notice it has been done through the agency of a
woman. I suppose your idea is to take the shares off the market, and
hold for a rise?'

"I hadn't the least idea what he meant by taking them off the market,
but I know that poor old Amos lost all his money by speculating on
margin--whatever that means. So I told him that I had a horror of
margins. That seemed to tickle him to death.

"He rubbed his hands together, and his eyes sparkled, and he beamed at
me over the top of his spectacles for quite a minute before he said
anything else. Then he shifted in his chair, and turned right round
toward me, leaning forward with one elbow resting on his knee.

"'Now, listen to me, Mrs. Crothers,' he said. 'I'm going to make you a
little confidence. My client, Lord Tipperary, has been spending far
too much money. Too much for his own good. He is altogether too fond
of borrowing, and still fonder, I am sorry to say, of gambling.

"'I have been trying for over a year past to persuade him to pull up,
and pay some attention to improving his financial position. You appear
to have found the key to the situation, and my proposal to you is
this.

"'Let me manage the account for you. We will let Lord Tipperary
imagine that he is gambling, whereas as a matter of fact I will
purchase the shares outright in his name, and hold them for him until
the right moment comes to sell them again.

With the funds belonging to him that I can get together I can purchase
a considerable block of shares, and their increase in value within say
about six months or a year should help materially toward straightening
out his finances.

"'Once I have his written permission to buy the shares, and his
promise not to sell them before they reach a certain figure, I can
manage the rest. One of his pleasant little peculiarities is that he
never breaks his promises.

"'As for yourself, how would it be if you were to receive ten percent
of the net profits on the transaction? I am sure Lord Tipperary would
agree to that, and I think you are justly entitled to it for
persuading my client to do what I could not talk him into doing
myself.

"'Of course, I am aware that under the present arrangement existing
between you, you would receive half the profits; but knowing Lord
Tipperary as I do, and with all due respect to yourself, I would doubt
very much there being any profits to divide. When too entirely
inexperienced people open an account on the Stock Exchange, there can
be only one result--a dead loss. Don't you think my arrangement would
be better?'

"Well, of course, I thought it was better, and when Lord Tipperary
returned from London I made him go round and settle it that way with
Mr. Lewisohn. The lawyer agreed to supply me with funds as long as the
agreement lasted, and though his idea and mine on what constituted
enough money to go on with were slightly divergent, I got enough out
of him from time to time to pay my hotel bills.

"And National Zinc, Common, went up, and up, and up. I'm not going to
tell you how much I made out of it!

"But that isn't all. Before the agreement came to an end, and while I
was still waiting in Southampton, Mr. Lewisohn discovered that as
Amos's widow I was entitled under somebody or other's will to a life
interest in a small part of the Carruthers estates. So Amos was right,
after all! The income isn't much, but it's regular and safe, and I
needn't go on the stage again.

"Lord Tipperary is the nicest boy in the world, but I couldn't have
him falling so violently in love with me that people began to talk
about it; so when I had got all the money that was coming to me, I
said good-by to him and Mr. Lewisohn, and absconded to Paris. I bought
all the clothes I wanted in Paris, at least all the clothes I
absolutely couldn't do without, packed up my belongings, and then came
straight back to New York.

"You can't think how glad I am to be back! There's no street like
Broadway in the world! Now, where are you going to take me to dinner?"

I looked at her for some moments, studying her finery, and considering
ways and means.

"The nattiest place in town," I said at last. "Wait while I put some
decent clothes on."

"Not a bit of it," she said firmly. "They won't allow Ugly in a natty
place. Besides, you can't afford it!"

So we went to the same place that we used to go to in the old days
when she was hard up resting in New York between engagements.

And we enjoyed ourselves just as much as we used to; even if the
restaurant was a cheap one. Afterwards, when I had seen her home, and
we were still chattering on the pavement outside her apartment, I
said:

"Well, good night, Kitty. I've come to the conclusion that you're a
better actress off the stage than on it!"

"You're getting too wise," she said, laughing. "Good night!"


THE END



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