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   Chapter 12 No.12

A Mummer's Wife By George Moore Characters: 32787

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:02


The rest of the journey was accomplished monotonously, the conversation drifting into a discussion, in the course of which mention was made of actors, singers, theatre, prices of admission, 'make-ups,' stage management, and music. It was in Birmingham that Ashton, Leslie's understudy, sang the tenor's music instead of her own in the first act of the Cloches: and poor So-and-so, who was playing the Grenicheux-how he did look when he heard his B flat go off!

'Flat,' murmured Montgomery sorrowfully, 'isn't the word. I assure you it loosened every tooth in my head. I broke my stick trying to stop her, but it was no bloody good.'

Then explanations of how the different pieces had been produced in Paris were volunteered, and the talents of the different composers were discussed; and all held their sides and roared when Dubois, who, Kate began to perceive, was the company's laughingstock, declared that he thought Offenbach too polkaic.

At last the train rolled into Derby, and Dick asked a red pimply-faced man in a round hat if he had secured good places for his posters.

'Spiffing,' the man answered, and he saluted Leslie. 'But I couldn't get you the rooms. They're let; and, between ourselves, you'll 'ave a difficulty in finding what you want. This is cattle-show week. You'd better come on at once with me. I know an hotel that isn't bad, and you can have first choice-Beaumont's old rooms; but you must come at once.'

Kate was glad to see that Mr. Bill Williams, the agent in advance, did not remember her. She, however, recognized him at once as the man who had sent Dick to her house.

'Cattle-show week! All the rooms in the town let!' cried Leslie, who had overheard part of Mr. Williams's whisperings. 'Oh dear! I do hope that my rooms aren't let. I hate going to an hotel. Let me out; I must see about them at once. Here, Frank, take hold of this bag.'

'There's no use being in such a hurry; if the rooms are let they are let.

What's the name of the hotel you were speaking of, Williams?'

'I forget the name, but if you don't find lodgings, I'll leave you the address at the theatre,' said the agent in advance, winking at Dick.

'You're too damned clever, Williams; you'll be making somebody's fortune one of these days.'

Kate had some difficulty in keeping close to Dick, for he was surrounded the moment he stepped out on the platform. The baggage-man had a quantity of questions to ask him, and Hayes was desirous of re-explaining how the ticket-collector had happened to misunderstand him. Pulling his long whiskers, the acting manager walked about murmuring, 'Stupid fool! stupid darned fool!' And there were some twenty young women who pleaded in turn, their little hands laid on the arm of the popular fat man.

'Yes, dear; that's it,' he answered. 'I'll see to it to-morrow. I'll try not to put you in Miss Crawford's dressing-room, since you don't agree.'

'And, Mr. Lennox, you will see that I'm not shoved into the back row by

Miss Dacre, won't you?'

'Yes, dear-yes, dear; I'll see to that too; but I must be off now; and you'd better see after lodgings; I hear that they are very scarce. If you aren't able to get any, come up to the Hen and Chickens; I hear they have rooms to let there. Poor little girls!' he murmured to Williams as they got into a cab. 'They only have twenty-five bob a week; one can't see them robbed by landladies who can let their rooms three times over.'

'Just as you like,' said Williams, 'but you'll have the hotel full of them.'

As they drove through the town Dick called attention to the animated appearance of the crowds, and Williams explained the advantages of the corners he had chosen; and at last the cab stopped at the inn, or rather before the archway of a stone passage some four or five yards wide.

'There's no inn here!'

'Oh yes, there is, and a very nice inn too; the entrance is a little way up the passage.'

It was an old-fashioned place-probably it had been a fashionable resort for sporting squires at the beginning of the century. The hall was wainscotted in yellow painted wood; on the right-hand side there was a large brown press, with glass doors, surmounted by a pair of buffalo horns; on the opposite wall hung a barometer; and the wide, slowly sloping staircase, with its low thick banisters, ascended in front of the street door. The apartments were not, however, furnished with archaeological correctness.

A wall-paper of an antique design contrasted with a modern tablecloth, and the sombre red curtains were ill suited to the plate-glass which had replaced the narrow windows of old time. Dick did not like the dust nor the tarnish, but no other bed and sitting-room being available, a bargain was soon struck, and the proprietor, after hoping that his guests would be comfortable, informed them that the rule of his house was that the street door was barred and locked at eleven o'clock, and would be reopened for no one.

He was a quiet man who kept an orderly house, and if people could not manage to be in before midnight he did not care for their custom. After grumbling a bit, Dick remembered that the pubs closed at eleven, and as he did not know anyone in the town there would be no temptation to stay out.

Williams, who had been attentively examining Kate, said that he was going down to the theatre, and asked if he should have the luggage sent up.

This was an inconvenient question, and as an explanation was impossible before the hotel-keeper, Dick was obliged to wish Kate good-bye for the present, and accompany Williams down to the theatre.

She took off her bonnet mechanically, threw it on the table, and, sitting down in an armchair by the window, let her thoughts drift to those at home.

Whatever doubt there might have been at first, they now knew that she had left them-and for ever.

The last three words cost her a sigh, but she was forced to admit them. There could be no uncertainty now in Ralph's and his mother's mind that she had gone off with Mr. Lennox. Yes, she had eloped; there could be no question about the fact. She had done what she had so often read of in novels, but somehow it did not seem at all the same thing.

This was a startling discovery to make, but of the secret of her disappointment she was nearly unconscious; and rousing herself from the torpor into which she had fallen, she hoped Dick would not stop long away. It was so tiresome waiting. But soon Miss Leslie came running upstairs.

'Dinner has been ordered for five o'clock, and we've made up a party of four-you, Dick, myself, and Frank.'

'And what time is it now?'

'About four. Don't you think you'll be able to hold out till then?'

'Oh, dear me, yes; I'm not very hungry.'

'And I'll lend you anything you want for to-night.'

'Thanks, it's very kind of you.' Kate fell to wondering if her kindness had anything to do with Dick, and with the view to discovering their secret, if they had one, she watched them during dinner, and was glad to see that Mr. Frank Bret occupied the prima donna's entire attention.

Soon after dinner the party dispersed.

'You'll not be able to buy anything to-night,' Dick said, and Kate answered:

'Leslie said she'd lend me a nightgown.'

'And to-morrow you'll buy yourself a complete rig-out,' and he gave her five-and-twenty pounds and told her to pal with Leslie, that she was the best of the lot. It seemed to her quite a little fortune, and as Dick had to go to London next morning, she sent up word to Leslie to ask if she would come shopping with her. The idea of losing her lover so soon frightened her, and had it not been for the distraction that the buying of clothes afforded her the week she spent in Derby would have been intolerable. Leslie, it is true, often came to sit with Kate, and on more than one occasion went out to walk with her. But there were long hours which she was forced to pass alone in the gloom of the hotel sitting-room, and as she sat making herself a travelling dress, oppressed and trembling with thoughts, she was often forced to lay down her work. She had to admit that nothing had turned out as she had expected; even her own power of loving appeared feeble in comparison to the wealth of affection she had imagined herself lavishing upon Dick. Something seemed to separate them; even when she lay back and he held her in his arms, she was not as near to him as she had dreamed of being; and try as she would, she found it impossible to wipe out of her mind the house in Hanley. It rose before her, a dark background with touches of clear colour: the little girls working by the luminous window with the muslin curtains and the hanging pot of greenstuff; the stiff-backed woman moving about with plates and dishes in her hands; the invalid wheezing on the little red calico sofa. The past was still reality, and the present a fable. It didn't seem true: lying with a man who was still strange to her; rising when she pleased; getting even her meals when she pleased. She could not realize the fact that she had left for ever her quiet home in the Potteries, and was travelling about the country with a company of strolling actors. The spider that had spun itself from the ceiling did not seem suspended in life by a less visible thread than herself. Supposing Dick were never to return! The thought was appalling, and on more than one occasion she fell down on her knees to pray to be preserved from such a terrible misfortune.

But her hours of solitude were not the worst she had to bear. Impelled by curiosity to hear all the details of the elopement, and urged by an ever-present desire to say unpleasant things, Miss Beaumont paid Kate many visits, and sitting with her thick legs crossed, she insinuated all she dared. She did not venture upon a direct statement, but by the aid of a smile and an indirect allusion it was easy to suggest that love in an actor's heart is brief. As long as Miss Beaumont was present Kate repressed her feelings, but when she found herself alone tears flowed down her cheeks, and sobs echoed through the dusty sitting-room.

It was in one of these trances of emotion that Dick found her when he returned, and that night she accompanied him to the theatre. The piece played was Les Cloches de Corneville. Miss Beaumont as Germaine disappointed her, and she could not understand how it was that the Marquis was not in love with Serpolette. But the reality that most grossly contradicted her idea was that Dick should be playing the part of the Baillie; and when she saw her hero fall down in the middle of the stage and heard everybody laugh at him, she felt both ashamed and insulted. The romantic character of her mind asserted itself, and, against her will, forced her to admire the purple-cloaked Marquis. Then her thoughts turned to considering if she would be able to act as well as any one of the ladies on the stage. It did not seem to her very difficult, and Dick had told her that, with a little teaching, she would be able to sing as well as Beaumont. The sad expression that her face wore disappeared, and she grew impatient for the piece to finish so that she might speak to Dick about taking lessons. They were now in the third act, and the moment the curtain was rung down she hurried away, asking as she went the way to the stage-door. It was by no means easy to find. She lost herself once or twice in the back streets, and when she at last found the right place, the hall-keeper refused her admittance.

'Do you belong to the company?'

After a moment's hesitation Kate replied that she did not; but that moment's hesitation was sufficient for the porter, and he at once said, 'Pass on; you'll find Mr. Lennox on the stage.'

Timidly she walked up a narrow passage filled with men talking at the top of their voices, and from thence made her way into the wings. There she was told that Mr. Lennox was up in his room, but would be down shortly.

For a moment Kate could not realize where she was, so different was the stage now from what it had been whenever she had seen it before. The present aspect was an entirely new one.

It was dark like a cellar, and in the flaring light that spurted from an iron gas-pipe, the stage carpenter carried rocking pieces of scenery to and fro. The auditorium was a round blank overclouded in a deep twilight, through which Kate saw the long form of a grey cat moving slowly round the edge of the upper boxes.

Getting into a corner so as to be out of the way of the people who were walking up and down the stage, she matured her plans for the cultivation of her voice, and waited patiently for her lover to finish dressing. This he took some time to do, and when he did at length come downstairs, he was of course surrounded; everybody as usual wanted to speak to him, but, gallantly offering her his arm, and bending his head, he asked in a whisper how she liked the piece, and insisted on hearing what she thought of this and that part before he replied to any one of the crowd of friends who in turn strove to attract his attention. This was very flattering, but she was nevertheless obliged to relinquish her plan of explaining to him there and then her desire to learn singing. He could not keep his mind fixed on what she was saying. Mortimer was telling a story at which everybody was screaming, and just at her elbow Dubois and Montgomery were engaged in a violent argument regarding the use of consecutive fifths. But besides these distractions there was a tall thin man who kept nudging away at Dick's elbow, begging of him to come over to his place, and saying that he would give him as good a glass of whisky as he had ever tasted. Nobody knew who the man was, but Dick thought he had met him somewhere up in the North.

'I've been about, gentlemen, in America, and in France, and I lead a bachelor life. My house is across the way, and if you'll do me the honour to come in and have a glass with me, I shall feel highly honoured. If there's one thing I do enjoy more than another, it's the conversation of intellectual men, and after the performance of to-night I don't see how I can do better than to come to you for it. But,' he continued gallantly, 'if I said just now that I was a bachelor, it is, I assure you, not because I dislike the sex. My solitary state is my misfortune, not my fault, and if these ladies will accompany you, gentlemen, need I say that I shall be charmed and honoured?'

'We'll do the honouring and the ladies will do the charming,' Mortimer said, and on these words the whole party followed the tall thin man to his house, a small affair with a porch and green blinds such as might be rented by a well-to-do commercial traveller.

The furniture was mahogany and leather, and when the sideboard was opened, the acrid odour of tea and the sickly smells of stale bread and rank butter were diffused through the room; but these were quickly dominated by the fumes of the malt. A bottle of port was decanted for the ladies. To the host nothing was too much trouble; his guests must eat as well as drink, and he went down to the kitchen and helped the maid-servant to bring up all the eatables that were in the house-some cold beef and cheese-and after having partaken of these the company stretched themselves in their chairs. Hayes drank his whisky in silence, while Montgomery, his legs thrown over the arm of his chair, tried to get in a word concerning the refrain of a comic song he had just finished scoring; but as the song was not going to be sung in any of the pieces they were touring with, no one was interested, and Mortimer's talk about the regeneration of the theatre was becoming so boring that Leslie and Beaumont had begun to think of bedtime, and might have taken their departure if Dubois had not said that all the great French actresses had lovers and that the English would do well to follow their examples. A variety of opinions broke forth, and everyone seemed to wake up; anecdotes were told that brought the colour to Kate's cheeks and made her feel uncomfortable. Dubois had lived a great deal in France; it was not certain that he had not acted in French, and sitting with his bishop's hat tilted on the back of his head, he related that Agar had described George Sand as a sort of pouncing disease that had affected her health more than all her o

ther lovers put together. Dubois was declared to have insulted the profession; Dick agreed that Dubois did not know what he was talking about-George Sand was a woman, not a man-and Montgomery, who had a sister-in-law starring in Scotland, refused to be appeased until he was asked to accompany Leslie and Bret in a duet. The thin man, as everybody now called him, said he had never been so much touched in his life, a statement which Beaumont did her best to justify by going to the piano and singing three songs one after another. The third was a signal for departure, and while Montgomery vowed under his breath that it was quite enough to have to listen to Beaumont during business hours, Dick tried to awaken Hayes. He had fallen fast asleep. Their kind host said that he would put him up for the night, but the mummers thought they would be able to get him home. So, bidding the kindest of farewells to their host, whom they hoped they would see the following evening at the theatre, they stumbled into the street, pushing and carrying the drunken man between them. It was very hard to get Hayes along; every ten or a dozen yards he would insist on stopping in the middle of the roadway to argue the value and the sincerity of the friendship his comrades bore for him. Mortimer strove to pacify him, saying that he would stand in a puddle all night if by doing so he might prove that he loved him, and Dubois entreated him to believe him when he said that to sit with him under a cold September moon talking of the dear dead days would be a bliss that he could not forego. But the comedian's jokes soon began to seem idle and flat, and the ladies proposed to walk on in front, leaving the gentlemen to get their friend home as best they could.

'You're thinking of your beds,' Dick cried, and that reminded him that the hotel-keeper had told him that he shut his doors at eleven and would open them for no one before morning.

'What are we to do?' asked Leslie; 'it's very cold.'

'We'll ring him up,' said Dubois.

'But if he doesn't answer?' suggested Bret.

'I'll jolly soon make him answer,' said Dick. 'Now then, Hayes, wake up, old man, and push along.'

'Pou-sh-al-long! How can-you-talk to me like that? Yer-yer-shunting me-me-for one of those other fellows.'

'We'll talk about that in the morning, old man. Now, Mortimer, you get hold of his other arm and we'll run him along.'

Mr. Hayes struggled, declaring the while he would no longer believe in the world's friendship; but with Montgomery pushing from behind, the last hundred yards were soon accomplished, and the drunken burden deposited against the wall of the passage.

Dick pulled the bell; the whole party listened to the distant tinkling, and after a minute or two of suspense, Mortimer said:

'That won't do, Dick; ring again. We shall be here all night.'

Tinkle, tinkle, tinkle, went the bell, and a husky voice, issuing from the dark shadow of the wall, said:

'I rang for another whisky, waiter, that's all.'

'The still-room maid has gone to sleep, sir,' Mortimer answered; and the bell was rung again and again, and whilst one of the company was pulling at the wire, another was hammering away with the knocker. All the same, no answer could be obtained, and the mummers consulted Leslie and Bret, who proposed that they should seek admittance at another hotel; Dubois, that they should beg hospitality of the other members of the company; Montgomery, that they should go back to the theatre. But the hotel-keeper had no right to lock them out, and they had a perfect right to break into his house, and the chances they ran of 'doing a week' were anxiously debated as they searched for a piece of wood to serve as a ram. None of sufficient size could be found, much to the relief of the ladies and Dubois, who strongly advised Dick to renounce this door-smashing experiment.

'Oh, Dick, pray don't,' whispered Kate. 'What does it matter; it will be daylight in a few hours.'

'That's all very well, but I tell you he has no right to lock us out; he's a licensed hotel-keeper. Are you game, Mortimer? We can burst in the door with our shoulders.'

'Game!' said Mortimer, in a nasal note that echoed down the courtyard; 'partridges are in season in September. Here goes!' and taking a run, he jumped with his full weight against the door.

'Out of the way,' cried Dick, breaking away from Kate, and hurling his huge frame a little closer to the lock than the comedian had done.

The excitement being now at boiling pitch, the work was begun in real earnest, and as they darted in regular succession out of the shadow of the buttress across the clear stream of moonlight flowing down the flagstones, they appeared like a procession of figures thrown on a cloth by a magic-lantern. Mr. Hayes' white stocking served for a line, and bump, bump, they went against the door. Each effort was watched with different degrees of interest by the ladies. When little Dubois toddled forward, and sprang with what little impetus his short legs could give him, it was difficult not to laugh, and when Montgomery's reed-like shanks were seen passing, Kate clung to Miss Leslie in fear that he would crush his frail body against the door; but when it came to the turn of any of the big ones, the excitement was great. Mortimer and Bret were watched eagerly, but most faith was placed in Dick, not only for his greater weight, but for his superior and more plucky way of jumping. Springing from the very middle of the passage, his head back and his shoulder forward, he went like a thunderbolt against the door. It seemed wonderful that he did not bring down the wall as well as the woodwork, and a round of applause rewarded each effort. Hayes, who fancied himself in bed, and that the waiter was calling him at some strange hour in the morning, shouted occasionally the most fearful of curses from his dark corner. The noise was terrific, and the clapping of hands, shrieks of laughter, and cries of encouragement reverberated through the echoing passage and the silent moonlight.

At last Dick's turn came again, and enraged by past failures, he put forth his whole strength and jumped from the white stocking with his full weight against the door. It gave way with a crash, and at that moment the proprietor appeared, holding a candle in his hand.

Everybody made a rush, and picking up Dick, who was not in the least hurt, they struck matches on the wall and groped their way up to their rooms, heedless of the denunciations of the enraged proprietor, who declared that he would take an action against them all. In his dressing-gown, and by the light of his candle, he surveyed his dismantled threshold, thinking how he might fasten up his house for the night. The first object he caught sight of was Mr. Hayes' white stocking. As he did so a wicked light gleamed in his eyes, and after a few efforts to awake the drunkard he walked to the gateway and looked up and down the street to see if a policeman were in sight. In real truth he was doubtful as to his rights to lock visitors out of their hotel, and, did not feel disposed to discuss the question before a magistrate. But what could be said against him for requesting the removal of a drunken man? He did not know who he was, nor was he bound to find out. So argued the proprietor of the Hen and Chickens, and Mr. Hayes, still protesting he did not want to be called before ten, was dragged off to the station.

Next morning the hotel-keeper denied knowing anything whatever about the matter. It was true he had called the policeman's attention to the fact that there was a man asleep under the archway, but he did not know that the man was Mr. Hayes. This story was rejected by the company, and vowing that they would never again go within a mile of his shop, they all went to see poor Hayes pulled out before the beak. It was a forty-shilling affair or the option of a week, and in revenge, Dick invited last night's party to dinner at a restaurant. They weren't going to put their money into the pocket of that cad of an inn-keeper. Hayes was the hero of the hour, and he made everybody roar with laughter at the way in which he related his experiences. But after a time Dick, who had always an eye to business, drew his chair up to Mortimer's, and begged of him to try to think of some allusions to the adventures which could be worked into the piece. The question was a serious one, and until it was time to go to the theatre the art of gagging was warmly argued. Dubois held the most liberal views. He said that after a certain number of nights the author's words should be totally disregarded in favour of topical remarks. Bret, who was slow of wit, maintained that the dignity of a piece could only be maintained by sticking to the text, and cited examples to support his opinion. It was, however, finally agreed that whenever Mortimer came on the stage, he should say, 'Derby isn't a safe place to get drunk in,' and that Dubois should reply, 'Rather not.'

Owing to these little emendations, the piece went with a scream, the receipts were over a hundred, and Morton and Cox's Operatic Company, having done a very satisfactory week's business, assembled at the station on Sunday morning bound for Blackpool.

Kate and Dick jumped into a compartment with the same people as before, plus a chorus-girl who was making up to Montgomery in the hopes of being allowed to say on the entrance of the duke, 'Oh, what a jolly fellow he is!' Mortimer shouted to Hayes, who always went with the pipe-smokers, and Dick spoke about the possibility of producing some new piece at Liverpool. Dubois, Mortimer, Bret, and the chorus-girl settled down to a game of nap. Dick, Leslie, and Montgomery were singing tunes or fragments of tunes to each other, and talking about 'effects' that might be introduced into the new piece. But would Dick produce a new piece?

The conversation changed, and it was asked if no money could be saved this trip in the taking of the tickets, and Dick was closely questioned as to when, in his opinion, it would be safe to try their little plant on again. Instead of answering he leant back, and gradually a pleasant smile began to trickle over his broad face. He was evidently maturing some plan. 'What is it, Dick? Do say like a good fellow,' was repeated many times, but he refused to give any reply. This aroused the curiosity of the company, and it grew to burning pitch when the train drew up at a station and Dick began a conversation with the guard concerning the length of time they would have at Preston, and where they would find the train that was to take them on to Blackpool.

'You'll have a quarter of an hour's wait at Preston. You'll arrive there at 4.20 and at thirty-five past you'll find the train for Blackpool drawn up on the right-hand side of the station.'

'Thanks very much,' replied Dick as he tipped the guard; and then, turning his head towards his friends, he whispered, 'It's as right as a trivet; I shall be back in a minute.'

'Where's he off to?' asked everybody.

'He's just gone into the telegraph office,' said Montgomery, who was stationed at the window.

A moment after Dick was seen running up the platform, his big hat giving him the appearance of an American. As he passed each compartment of their carriage he whispered something in at the window.

'What can he be saying? What can he be arranging?' asked Miss Leslie.

'I don't care how he arranges it as long as I get a drink on the cheap at

Preston,' said Mortimer.

'That's the main point,' replied Dubois.

'Well, Dick, what is it?' exclaimed everybody, as the big man sat down beside Kate.

'The moment the train arrives at Preston we must all make a rush for the refreshment-rooms and ask for Mr. Simpson's lunch.'

'Who's Mr. Simpson? What lunch? Oh, do tell us! What a mysterious fellow you are!' were the exclamations reiterated all the way along the route. But the only answer they received was, 'Now what does it matter who Mr. Simpson is? Eat and drink all you can, and for the life of you don't ask who Mr. Simpson is, but only for his lunch.'

And as soon as the train stopped actors, actresses, chorus-girls and men, conductor, prompter, manager, and baggage-man rushed like a school towards the glass doors of the refreshment-room, where they found a handsome collation laid out for forty people.

'Where's Mr. Simpson's lunch?' shouted Dick.

'Here, sir, here; all is ready,' replied two obliging waiters.

'Where's Mr. Simpson's lunch?' echoed Dubois and Montgomery.

'This way, sir; what will you take, sir? Cold beef, chicken and ham, or a little soup?' asked half a dozen waiters.

The ladies were at first shy of helping themselves, and hung back a little, but Dick drove them on, and, the first step taken, they ate of everything. But Kate clung to Dick timidly, refusing all offers of chicken, ham, and cold beef.

'But is this paid for?' she whispered to him.

'Of course it is. Mr. Simpson's lunch. Take care of what you're sayin'. Tuck into this plate of chicken; will you have a bit of tongue with it?' and not having the courage to refuse, Kate complied in silence. Dick crammed her pockets with cakes. But soon the waiters began to wonder at the absence of Mr. Simpson, and had already commenced their inquiries.

Approaching Mortimer, the head waiter asked that gentleman if Mr. Simpson was in the room.

'He's just slipped round to the bookstall to get a Sunday paper. He'll be back in a minute, and if you'll get me another bit of chicken in the meantime I shall feel obliged.'

In five minutes more the table was cleared, and everybody made a movement to retire, and it was then that the refreshment-room people began to exhibit a very genuine interest in the person of Mr. Simpson. One waiter begged of Dick to describe the gentleman to him, another besought of Dubois to say at what end of the table Mr. Simpson had had his lunch. In turn they appealed to the ladies and to the gentlemen, but were always met with the same answer. 'Just saw him a minute ago, going up to the station; if you run after him you're sure to catch him.' 'Mr. Simpson? Why, he was here a minute ago; I think he was speaking about sending a telegram; perhaps he's up in the office.' The train bell then rang, and, like a herd in motion, the whole company crowded to the train. The guard shouted, the panic-stricken waiters tumbled over the luggage, and, running from carriage to carriage, begged to be informed as to Mr. Simpson's whereabouts.

'He's in the end carriage, I tell you, back there, just at the other end of the train.'

The seedy black coats were then seen hurrying down the flags, but only to return in a minute, breathless, for further information. But this could not last for ever, and the guard blew his whistle, the actors began gagging. And, oh, the singing, the whistling, the cheers of the mummers as the train rolled away into the country, now all agleam with the sunset! Tattoos were beaten with sticks against the woodwork of each compartment. Dick, with his body half out of the window and his curls blowing in the wind, yelled at Hayes. Montgomery disputed with Dubois for possession of the other window, and three chorus-girls giggled and, munching stolen cakes, tried to get into conversation with Kate. But though love had compensated her for virtue, nothing could make amends to her for her loss of honesty. She could break a moral law with less suffering than might be expected from her bringing up, but the sentiment the most characteristic, and naturally so, of the middle classes is a respect for the property of others; and she had eaten of stolen bread. Oppressed and sickened by this idea, she shrank back in her corner, and filled with a sordid loathing of herself, she moved instinctively away from Dick.

At Blackpool Mr. Williams's pimply face was the first thing that greeted them. There was the usual crowd of landladies who presented their cards and extolled the comfort and cleanliness of their rooms. One of these women was introduced and specially recommended by Mr. Williams. He declared that her place was a little paradise, and an hour later, still plunged in conscientious regrets at having eaten a luncheon that had not been paid for, Kate sat sipping her tea in a rose-coloured room.

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