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there, the right and the triumph were to he thought, “oot only particularly longs gether. Mr. Fisher liked Walter Hib- to go by your route, but thinks you a bert; and though by tacit agreement their genius for finding it out.” relations inside the office were purely He stopped for a moment to look at a formal, outside they were more intimate. bookshop; there was a box of second-band Occasionally they took the form of a quiet books outside; he hesitated, but rememdinner, or a few hours in the little house bered that he had no time to stay. As he near Portland Road, where Florence con- turned away some one touched him on the tributed a good deal to her husband's arm, and a voice said doubtfully: popularity.
“Will you speak to me, Walter?" He As he walked along the Strand that looked up and instantly held out his hand morning, Walter meditated on many ways with a smile. of improving his condition and at the same Why, it's Wimple,” he said; "how time of not overworking himself. He are you, old fellow?' Of course I'll speak found that it told on him considerably to to you. How are you?” be down late at the office three nights a The man who had stopped him was week, doing his article, and then, with the about eight-and-twenty, he was tall and excitement of work still upon bim, to go thin, his legs were too long and very rickhome tired and hungry in the small hours ety. To look at he was not prepossessing; of the morning. It was bad for Florence he had a pinky complexion, pale reddish too, for she generally sat up for him, de hair, and small, rouod, dark eyes with light claring that to tasté his supper and to lashes and weak lids. On either side of have a little chat with him did her good his face there were some straggling whis. and made her heart light. Sometimes he kers; his lips were thin and his whole thought he would take up a different line expression very grave. His voice was altogether (he knew his editor would aid low but firm in its tone, as though he and abet him in anything for his good) wished to convey that even in small mat. and try living in the country, and running ters it would be useless to contradict him. up to town every day if necessary. But He wore rather shabby, dark clothes, his this would never do, it would only make thin overcoat was unbuttoned and showed him restive. His position was not yet that the undercoat was faced with watered stroog enough to admit of taking things silk that had worn a little shiny; attached so easily. It was important to him to live to his waistcoat was a watchguard made among men of knowledge and influence, of brown hair ornamented here and there to be in the whirl and twirl of things, and with bright gold clasps. He did not look London was essentially the bull's-eye, not strong or very flourishing. He was fairly only of wealth and commerce, but of most gentleman-like, but only fairly so, and he other things with which men of all de did not look very agreeable. The appargrees concern themselves.
ent weakoess of his legs seemed to preAnd when he got to this point he came vent him from walking uprightly ; be to the conclusion that he was thinking too looked down a good deal at the toes of his much about himself. After all he only boots, which were well polished. The wanted a mooth's rest or a couple of oddest thing about him was that with all months' change of air; a friendly talk such his unprepossessing appearance he had a as he might possibly get in the next quar. certain air of sentiment; occasionally a ter of an hour would probably bring about sentimental tone stole into his voice, but either and in a far better form than he he carefully repressed it. Walter rememhimself could devise it. Mr. Fisher was bered the moment he looked at him that a map of iofinite resource, bot merely in the brown hair watchguard had been the regard to his paper, but for himself and gift of a pretty girl, the daughter of a his friends too, when they consulted him tailor to whom he had made love as if in about their personal affairs. It was one compensation for not paying her father's of his characteristics that he liked being bill. He wondered how it had ended, consulted. Walter felt that the best thing whether the girl had broken her heart for would be to get away alone with Florence, him or found him out. But the next moto some place where the climate had no ment he hated himself for his ungenerous cause to be ashamed of itself; he wanted thoughts, and forcing them back spoke in to be sated with sunshine. It was no good as friendly a voice as he could manage. going alone, and no matter how pleasant a " It's ages since we came across each friend went with him, a time always came other," he said, “and I should not have when he wanted to go by one route and seen you just now if you had not seen the friend by another. Now, your wife,” | me.”
“I wasn't sure whether you would refuse, and it's a beggarly sum, after all." speak to me,” Mr. Wimple said solemnly To which Walter answered nothing. He as they went towards Fleet Street together, had always felt angry with himself for not and then almost hurriedly, as if to avoid liking Alfred better; they were such very thinking about unpleasant things, he old friends. They had been schoolfellows asked, “How is your wife ?"
| long ago, and afterwards, when Walter “All right, thank you. But how are was at Cambridge and Alfred was you, and how are you getting on ?" articled clerk in London (he was by three
"I am not at all well, Walter" - Mr. years the younger of the two), there had Wimple coughed, as if to show that he been occasions when they had met and was delicate
"and my uncle has be spent many pleasant hours together. To haved shamefully to me.
do Walter justice, it had always been AlWhy, what has he done?” Walter fred who had sought him and not he who asked, wishing that he felt more cordial, bad sought Alfred, for in spite of the latfor he had known Alfred Wimple longer ter's much professed affection Walter almost than he had known any one. Old never wholly trusted him; he hated him. acquaintance was not to be lightly put self for it, but the fact remained. The aside. It constituted a claim in Walter's worst of Alfred is, that he lies," he had eyes as strong as did relatiocship, though said to himself long ago. He remembered it was only when the claim was made on his own remark to-day with a certain him, and never when he might have amount of reproach, but he knew that he pressed it for his own advantage, that he had not been unjust; still, after all, he remembered this.
thought it was not so very great a crime ; “ Done! why, he has turned me out of many people lied nowadays, sometimes his office, just because he wanted to make without being aware of it. He was inroom for the son of a rich client, for noth- clined to think that he had been rather ing else in the world."
hard on Alfred, who had been very con“That was rough," Walter answered, stant to him. Besides, Wimple had been thinking almost against his will that Wim- unlucky; he had been left a penniless lad ple had never been very accurate and that to the care of an uncle, a rich city solicitor, this account was possibly not a fair one. who had not appreciated the charge; he " What excuse did he make?”
had never had a soul who cared for him, “He said my health was bad, that I and must have been very miserable and was not strong enough to do the work, lonely at times. If he had had a mother and had better take a few months' holiday. or sister, or any one at all to look after It is quite true about my health. I am him, he might have been different. Then very delicate, Walter." He turned, and too Walter remembered that once when looked at his friend with round, dark eyes he was very ill in the vacation it was Althat seemed to have no pupils to them, as fred who had turned up and nursed him though he wanted to see the effect of his with almost a woman's anxiety. A kindstatement. “I must take a few months' ness like that made a link too strong for a rest."
few disagreeables to break. He could not “ Then perhaps he was right after all. help thinking that he was a brute not to But can you manage the few months' like his old friend better. rest?” Walter asked, hesitating, for he “ I am sorry things are so bad with you, knew the question was expected from him. old man; you must come and dine and In old days he had had so much to do talk them over." with Wimple's affairs that he did not like Mr. Wimple looked him earnestly in to ignore them altogether.
the face. “He makes me an allowance, of course, "I don't like to come,” he said, in a but it's not sufficient,” Alfred Wimple an-half-ashamed, half-pathetic voice; “I be. swered reluctantly; “I wanted him to haved so badly to you about that thirty keep my post open for a few months, but pounds, but luck was against me.” he refused, though he's the only relation “ Never mind, you shall make it all I have."
right when luck is with you," Walter an“Well, but he has been pretty good," swered cheerfully, determined to forget all Walter said, in a pacific voice, "and per- unpleasant bygones. “Why not come to. haps he thinks you really want rest. It's night? we shall be alone.” not bad of him to make you an allowance. Mr. Wimple shook his head. It's more than any one would do for me if “No, not to-night," he said ; “ I am not I had to give up work for a bit.”
well, and I am going down to the country “ He only does it because he can't well till Wedoesday; it will do me good.” Å
little smile hovered round his mouth as he would come on Thursday instead of on added, "Some nice people in Hampshire Wednesday, I expect an old friend and have asked me to stay with them." should like you to meet him; he is clever
"In Hampshire. Whereabouts in Hamp- and rather off luck just now; of course shire ?"
you'll get your chat with my wife all right There was a certain hesitation in Mr. -in fact better if there are one or two Wimple's manner as he answered: people to engross me."
" You don't know them, and I don't sup- “Very well, Thursday if you like; it pose you ever heard of the place, Walter; will do equally well for me; I am free both it is called Liphook.”
evenings as far as I know.” “ Liphook, why of course I know it, it “ Agreed then," and Walter went down is on the Portsmouth line ; we have a cot- the office stairs pleased at his own success. tage, left us by my wife's aunt only last year, which is in the same direction, only “ That horrid Mr. Wimple will spoil nearer town. How long are you going to our dinner ; I never liked him," Florence stay there?
exclaimed when she heard of the arrangeTill Wednesday. I will come and ment. dine with you on Thursday, if you will “I know you didn't, and I don't like have me.”
him either, which is mean of me, for he's a * All right, old man, 7.30. Perhaps you very old friend.” had better tell me where to write in case "But if we neither of us like him, why I have to put you off for business rea- should we inflict him on our lives?” sons."
“We won't; we'll cut him as soon as Mr. Wimple hesitated a minute, and he has five hundred a year; but it wouldn't then gave his London address, adding that be fair to do so just now when he's down he should be back on Wednesday night or on his luck; he and I have been friends Thursday morning at !atest. They were too long for that.” standing by the newspaper office.
“But not very great friends ?” “ Do you think there might be anything “Perhaps not; but we won't throw him I could do here?” he asked, nodding at over in bad weather - try and be a little the poster outside the door ; “I might re- nice to him to please me, there's a dear view legal books or something of that Floggie,” which instantly carried the day. sort."
“ You had better ask Ethel Dunlop; Fisher “I expect Fisher has a dozen men is fond of music, and she will amuse him ready for anything at a moment's notice," when he is tired of Airting with you," Walter answered, " but I'll put in a word Walter suggested. for you if I get the chance;" and with a “He'll never tire of that,” she laughed, certain feeling of relief he shook his “but I'll invite her if you like. She can friend's hand and rushed up-stairs. The sing while you talk to Mr. Wimple and atmosphere seemed a little clearer when your editor discusses European politics he was alone. “I'll do what I can for with me." him," he thought, “but I can't stand much “ He'll probably discuss politics outside of his company. There is a want of fresh Europe, if he discusses any,” her husband air about him that bothers me so. Per- answered; "things look very queer in the haps he could do a legal book occasion. East." ally, he used to write rather well. I'll try “ They always do," she said wisely, what can be done."
“but I believe it's all nonsense, and only But his talk with Mr. Fisher was so our idea because we live so far off.” important to himself and so interesting in “You had better tell Fisher to send me many ways that he forgot all about Alfred out to see.” until he was going out of the door ; and “Us, you mean." then it was too late to speak about him. “No, me. They wouldn't stand you, Suddenly a happy thought struck him dear," and he looked at her anxiously; " ! Mr. Fisher was to dine with Walter next shouldn't be much surprised if he asked week, he would ask him for Thursday. me to go for a bit - indeed, I think he Then if he liked Alfred it might go all has an idea of it.” right. He remembered, too, that Alfred Oh, Walter, it would be horrible.” always dressed carefully and looked his “Not if it did me good; sometimes I best in the evening and laid himself out think I need a thorough change.” to be agreeable.
She looked at him for a moment. “ By the way, Fisher, I wonder if you “ No, not then," she answered.
From Blackwood's Magazine. every stone, every lizard, every every: SKETCHES FROM EASTERN TRAVEL
“He is a very uncanny personage !”
exclaims Philippa — “never speaking a THE SYRIAN DESERT, FROM DAMASCUS
word, but every now and then suddenly TO KARYATEN.
breaking into a hoarse, quiet, cackliog It is the first of May. Behold our trav. laugh, for no reason whatever." lers bidding a last farewell to Damascus, “He is evidently not used to Euro. with its shady gardens and cool, clear peans," says the sister. “I suppose he streams of water, its crowded bazaars (re- is greatly amused at our outlandish ways." splendent with rich silken stuffs of all the Quietly and swiftly the bright hours colors of the rainbow, and more especially slip away. The chief event of the day is stocked to overlowing with an endless that, at different points on the line of variety of delectable sweetmeats), and march, the cavalcade encounters three lastly its pale-faced inhabitants, richly huge droves of camels, the smallest of robed, but sad of countenance through wbich contains sixty at least. They are this moon of Ramadan, fasting from dawn in the charge of a few Bedouin folk who to sunset, and feasting by night. Behold have brought them across the desert from the familiar cavalcade threading its way Bagdad, intending to sell them in Damas. through those
bazaars — Qarrow Many of the camels are quite young, streets which scarcely allow room for the and most of them seem very wild riders to pass between the “shops" on least so thinks the trembling Sebaste when each side, so that the horses have to pick they crowd up to her, showing their teeth, their way among the goods set out for and craning forward their ostrich-like sale.
pecks as though debating whether to peck At last the city is left behind, and first herself or her beloved steed. through its belt of shady gardens the pro. The plain is crossed in a north-easterly cession winds on to the open plain beyond. direction, the travellers ascend the slopes The travellers present a more picturesque of its bounding chain of hills, and, in the appearance than hitherto, for (rightly afternoon, descend the other side to the judging that no amount of muslin pugga- plain beyond, where they camp outside rees will avail against the power of desert the village of Muadameyeh. Gathered suns) they have provided themselves with round the supper-table in the sitting-tent huge kefiyehs of gorgeous Damascus silks, after dark, the wanderers indulge in wild which, bound round their hats, shade the conjectures about the unknown regions on eyes, and fall over the shoulders in pro- which they are entering. tecting folds. The cavalcade is now head. “What is the name of our next camp. ed by the stately figure of Sheikh Nasring-place, Cæsar?” asks the father, as the ibn Abdullah, his dark eyes sparkling as young dragoman appears with a dish of he feels his steed bound beneath him, and dried dates. scents afar off the air of the desert. Truly “ To-morrow, sir," is the answer, “we it is a goodly sight to see the dark-robed shall not gamb at no blace. We shall be sheikh galloping across the plain, some in the wilderness." times (with one hand on his horse's mane) Accordiogly, in the course of next day's bending to the ground, and, without draw- march our travellers find themselves at ing rein, picking some flower which he last in the Syrian desert. It is a perfectly gravely presents to one or other of the level plain, bounded to north and south ladies. And whithersoever goes the son by two ranges of bare hills. At first the of Abdullah thither follows him Sheikh breadth of the plain from range to range 'Ali, his cousin and attendant. Pronounce is only a very few miles, but day by day, not his name, good reader, without due as the travellers advance eastward, the attention to the apostrophe. It symbol- plain grows broader and broader, an ocean izes an Arabic consonant which the sister of bluish green. Yes, really green, for explains to represent the sound heard be. (though at a later season the sandy ground tween two consecutive bleats of a camel. is parched and bare) at this time of year “So now you know how to pronounce his it is more or less covered with tufts of name,” says she; “but for my part I shall outlandish desert weeds with strange arocall him the Man with the Eyes. His matic scents, and sometimes the plain is face is so muffled up that nothing but his gay with wild flowers. Otherwise there eyes is visible, and such quick, penetrat. is no vegetation whatever - not so much ing, observant eyes I never beheld in my as the ghost of a tree or shrub over all life. He notices every blade of grass, the level plaio, which stretches away and
away to right and left toward the rocky | as she brings her horse alongside of her hills, and eastward is unbroken to the sister's, “when we get home, I thiuk I utmost horizon. Oh, the delight of a gal. shall publish a pamphlet entitled “The lop over those level tracts of desert! World, a Mirage,' proving that what we Ladylike eanterings do very well for the call the Universe - that is, the subjective confined plains of inhabited countries, but side of material nature - is as different when you have hundreds of miles of des- from the objective reality as is that lake ert before you, then is the time to let your we saw just now from the quivering par. horse start off with a bound and rush like ticles of heated air which caused the deluthe wind over the vanishing plain, away sion ! and away toward the changeless horizon. “Eh ?" says Sophia absently ;“ did you Only Abu Hassan (wretch that he is !) speak?". has a notion that horses with eight hours' "Sophia!" exclaims Sebaste reproachwork before them ought not to gallop fully, " have you no sympathy for the ex: much in the broiling sunshine — and Cæ alted imaginings of philosophic minds? sar countenances him!
Philippa, dear, you will listen to me?” The morning start from the desert camp “Not if it's about Subjective and Obis generally an early one. Sometimes jective, as it always is, Sebaste !” says breakfast is over, the tents and their furni- Philippa severely. “ I have told you beture have been packed up, and the caval-fore that I consider that division to be cade is on the move before six o'clock. merely a conventional way of speaking, This ensures three hours of reasonably conveying, to my mind, very little meancool riding. Wonderful are the tendering indeed!” colors of the shadowy distance, gleaming in Sebaste subsides. the first rays of the sun. All around the When midday comes the travellers no desert creatures are stirring : bright-eyed longer look about for shade, knowing that jerboas, furry and soft and brown, dart out that commodity does not grow in the of their holes to look at you ; terrified liz- desert, but alight in the midst of the endards with upturned tails scurry hither and less plain, holding fast their horses while thither between your horse's hoofs; huge the Syrian folk are busy pitching the now yellow locusts fit and swim through the indispensable luncheon-tent. Then, when clear, fresh air; a lark is singing over the Syrians are at liberty, the travellers head; even that venomous old snake (the creep under its delicious shade, and conwhich approach at your peril !) is enjoying tentedly watch the preparations for the his morning exercise of twisting and coil. midday meal. Cæsar delicately carves ing and gliding about the tufts of desert the fowl in true Arab fashion (be not overweed.
shocked, fastidious reader !) with "the On ride the travellers, gaily conversing knife and fork that heaven gave him;" through the early hours of coolness. But and from out the magic saddle-bags of about nine o'clock the heat comes upon Abu Hassan appear lemons, oranges, them suddenly, irresistibly. The morning dates, dried figs, raisins, and so forth breeze drops to a perfect stillness, there sumptuous feast in the midst of the desis no sound but that of the horses' hoofs ert. on the hot ground, conversation dies away, Luncheon over, while the baggage and the riders go on and on in silence, passes out of sight on its way to the camptheir heads muffled in their silk kefiyehs, ing-place, there ensues a delicious hour - not oppressed by the heat, but quietly or more of quiescence. Space is limited enjoying the glowing atmosphere.
in the tent, wherefore Irene and the father Then do the desert fairies begin their generally retire to their respective palanfreaks; and, as you ride on over the end. quins, where Irene studies the guide. less plain, suddenly you see before you a book with indefatigable diligence (though cool, still lake of shining water, dotted scanty, indeed, is the intelligence to be with islands, and reflectiog its rocky extracted therefrom conceroing these outshores and headlands. It is all so per- landish regions); while the father instructs fectly clear and natural that your eyes, Hassan, who reclines on the ground on dazzled by the hot sunshine, rest with de the shady side of his palanquin, in the light on the cool, clear water. But pres- English cardinal numerals. The father is ently, alas ! the lake begins to dry up, never weary of extolling the marvellous contracting at every forward step, till all quickness of his young Arab pupil, who before you is once more desert – unend. at the beginning of the journey knew not ing desert.
one word of English, but who now, start“Sophia,” says Sebaste confidentially, I ing at one, goes on almost unprompted all