Page:The King's Men (1884).djvu/15

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5
RIPON HOUSE.

poaching and the garden stuff his old servant managed to raise in the two-acre lot surrounding the lodge. Almost the only modern things in his room were the guns and fishing tackle in the corners and the electric battery for charging the cartridges; and now he was judicially informed that he must poach no more, the mortgage had been finally foreclosed, and he looked out of his window upon lands no longer his even in name. It is a sad thing to be ruined, and if ever man was ruined beyond all hope, Geoffrey Ripon, Earl of Brompton, was the man; it is hard to feel you are the last of your race, that you are almost an outlaw in your own land—and Ripon's king, George the Fifth, was suffered to play out his idle play of royal state, in Boston, Massachusetts. Ripon had never been in America. He pushed back his chair from the fire, as it gave out a heat too great for any man to stand. He walked to the window, and stood looking out upon the long perspective of elms, where the avenue stretched away in the direction of Ripon House. As his eye wandered over the broad view of park and forest, a carriage, drawn by four horses, insolent in the splendor of its trappings, rolled toward him from the castle. In that moment it seemed to Ripon that he felt all the bitterness of hatred and envy that might have rankled in the hearts of all the poor wayfarers who had in eight hundred years peered through the park gate and looked at those broad acres that his race so long had held. The carriage rolled swiftly by him, with a glitter of silver harness and liveries; on one seat were an elderly man and a young girl. As he saw her face Ripon started in surprise. Then, after a moment, he walked to the table and filled his pipe.

"Bah!" he said to himself, "it cannot be possible."