Page:The King's Men (1884).djvu/32

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
22
THE KING'S MEN.

paper that my old schoolmate, Cedric Ruskin, has been arrested on a charge of high treason?"

"Alas! poor Cedric!—no, that was Yorick. Down, Bayard, down," she cried to her dog.

"A great many things may happen in two years, Miss Windsor. When chance first brought us together, I was a landed proprietor, and the heir of a noble lineage. Today I am a beggar at the feet of fatherless wealth."

"Excuse me. Lord Brompton, I have a father."

"Did I say I was at your feet, Miss Windsor?"

"You are the same clever creature as ever," she answered. "But I am beginning to believe you are in earnest. Is it possible that you are the Lord Brompton who told me once that fate's quiver held no shaft to terrify a philosopher? 'Dust to dust, and what matters it whether king or chaos rule?' Those were your words. I warned you then, but you laughed me to scorn—"

"And now you are deriding me."

"You are unjust. I met you with a proffer of hospitality, but you would none of it."

"Am I not to dine with you this evening?"

"True. Then as a further instance that you are still a stoic, come now and exhibit to me the treasures and secrets of Ripon House. I have got no farther than the picture gallery as yet. There is an ancestor of George the Third's time whose features are the prototype of yours—the same dreamy eye—the same careless smile—the same look of being petted. You remember I always said you had been spoiled by petting."

She led the way across the lawn, with Bayard bounding close at hand.

"I am sure there must be secret galleries and haunted