It was on the following morning that
Jean and Frank returned, their faces glowing with
country sunshine and spring wind, their hearts quickened
with anticipation. In the train coming home they
had exchanged many confidences. Could he possibly
manage to get married before he went out to India?
Frank wondered. Would Lucas have to wait till
he had sold a few more pictures? wondered Jean.
He ran whistling up the steps and rang the bell.
She burst radiantly into the somber hall. And
then, at twelve o’clock in the morning of an
ordinary working week-day, they found the junior partner
at home to receive them. Such a portent had never
before been seen.
“Where’s father?” asked Jean.
Andrew’s cheeks twitched nervously;
yet on the whole he maintained a compassionate expression
highly honorable to his fraternal instincts.
In a hushed voice he addressed his sister.
“I want to have a word with you,” said
He took her apart from her brother
and shut the library door securely. Frank was
such a hot-tempered young fellow; and he had suffered
one physical outrage already. In a voice as appropriate
as his face he gently broke the news-
“Our father has been removed to an asylum.”
“Removed-to an asylum!” gasped
She did not strike him, but on the
whole he was even more glad when that interview came
to an end than when he saw the widow’s muscular
back at last turn from the front door.
A few days afterwards a tall man in
a sportsmanlike ulster walked up the gangway of a
steamship bound for a port in South America. He
was followed on board by a friend with very blue eyes
and a cavalier mustache. They talked for a few
minutes and then shook hands affectionately.
“Well, Lucas, good-by, old fellow,”
said the passenger. “And remember now what
you’re to tell them. They’re not to
drop a hint-not a whisper of what they
know. Just keep your tails up all of you, as best
you can. Handy thing, this revolver we chose.
I must practise shooting from the hip pocket.
I say, take special care of Jean. Tell her I know
how plucky she is-she’ll be staunch-she’ll
wait. Tell her I’ll often be thinking-Hullo,
last bell; you’d better get on shore.”
A little later the steamer was in
the middle of the gray Thames, bearing Heriot, his
fortunes, and his six-shooter far, far from the office
of Walkingshaw & Gilliflower. The protagonist
of virtuous respectability sat there triumphantly
enshrined. He had done everything a good man
could reasonably be expected to do; only he had not
imagined Lucas Vernon waving a farewell to his late