The Girl in the Place D’Armes
LESLIE GORDON BARNARD
WAS it just a coincidence that some minor accident at the power plant that night threw the village into darkness, leaving to the stars the task of lighting the wayfarer along the roadway? Later in the evening when a drifting wrack of clouds dimmed all but an occasional gleam of starlight, and a fine snow began sifting earthwards, it was difficult to keep to the ways at all—the world being mantled in a ghostly whiteness.
At all events the chance meeting with the girl only yesterday in the Place D’Armes has at last crystallized into action a long deferred intention to put on paper the strange facts of the case as I am in a position to know them. The bright greeting she gave me yesterday seemed at least to exculpate me from any share of blame as the unwitting instrument that helped shape the course of her affairs.
Are we, after all, mere puppets of fate, creatures of coincidence, or does some less impersonal power shape our ends, and weave with purpose the seemingly tangled skeins of existence?
Let speculation and opinion, however, give place to the plain statement of facts regarding the singular case of M’sieu Jacques Dumontel, and the incarnation of the Devil.
Often have I tried to put myself in the shoes of Jacques Dumontel as he stood that night outside the old stone house that is my country seat, at St. Zebedee. St Zebedee?
—forty-five miles from Montreal, as the crow flies, in a countryside that lures with a score-of voices in the hot days of summer, when the city pavements radiate heat and the narrowness of St. James Street offers little coolness; that lures scarcely less when the snow is even with the fencetops, and the sound of sleigh-bells is seldom missing from the ears, and the crackling of resinous logs on the hearth is a magnet for the most congenial company—not forgetting Notary Lachance, and M’sieu le Curé, and Old Paul Laberge, who makes up in accuracy what he lacks in politeness in the disposition of superfluous tobacco juice. Not to mention also friends of my wife, who join us at times, notably Mademoiselle Gabrielle de Rostand, whose aristocratic bearing and gracious manners—for a country girl— are supplemented by a tongue that lacks neither charm nor cleverness.
You may look in vain, though, for St. Zebedee—but the name will serve our purpose without indiscreet revelation.
They had been dancing this night — thos«1' who were young enough in spirit --dancing to the music of Notary Lachance himself, whose finj
gers were not j
the most supple (
but whose oldr
fashioned waltzes at least showed a proper appreciation of time.
I watched Gabrielle and my young friend Derry, noting the number of their dances together and the manner of them— few words but :
many glances, 'f-rTv
the glances of "
Mademoiselle being things few could withstand, though Derry himself could make a fair exchange at that!
I was not alone in my conclusions.
“How well they dance together.” My friend the Curé’s English is as irreproachable as his friendship for one not of his tongue. “Since Monsieur Derick visited you for so long last summer Gabrielle has been as one who dreams.”
The knitted brows ■sent my thoughts to possible complications of a religious nature, in which I misinterpreted his Reverence. “I am thinking of Jacques,” he added.
OLD Paul Laberge, nodding comfortably on the other side of the blazing hearth, showed that his hearing had not suffered the impairment that might reasonably be looked for at his age.
“Ver’ bad fing,” he said gravely. “I pass Jacques 0n
de road jus’ now a while ago. He’s legs are notgood. I t’ink maybe he’s ver’drunk again.” It was just about then that the lights failed, plunging the room into firelit gloom.
One couple, continuing to dance knocked over an ornamental vase which put an end to the waltz. The suggestion of candles was rejected in favor of the blazing hearth and darkness. The young people found congenial places. Over against the fireplace, in a tiny alcove with a low, leaded window, Derick Eliotson found a seat for Gabrielle. It did not occur to me then, as I watched with interest their animated faces touched by the soft gleam of firelight, how clearly silhouetted their figures would be against the glow, for one who chanced to pass outside the window.
From personal tête-à-têtes the conversation merged into a thing of general interest. Old Paul was a born raconteur -the spinner of many famous yarns, all tinged with the supernatural, and made vivid by the sincerity of the old man’s belief. Had he not himself—many years ago it is true,—once seen the Loup Garou.
“Come, Paul,” they cried. “Tell us a story.”
For a moment of silence the old
man stared into the fire" place. Against its glow his beak-like nose and high cheek-bones were grotesque in their ugliness. Finally he spat; into the fire as though to rid himself of an unwelcome thing.
“You ask old Paul for somet’ings ï tink for makde hair rise up. I know. Deyoung peoples tink it’s ver’ good fun. Listen—I tell you truth. To-night I pass along de road by ol’ maison of M’sieu Ronaldson. Always it is said to be ha’nted—I tink you call it? Tonight I know it is so.”
Someone—I knew it was Derry—ventured a little laugh. Derry did not know how many years this word had persisted. A mile away, across the fields, the house stood passed by the road that one must travel to the schoolhouse that served this village and the next, so that, the children, even in the daytime, never dared step inside the thick cedar hedge, or tread its weed-grown walks once trimly gravelled; much less explore the great squarebuilt house whose masonry was falling away, whose grea , windows were gaping vacancies, like the vacant
sockets of a death’s-head. It was before my time as a resident, but few of the older villagers, at least, had forgotten the strange home coming of the Scotchman, Ronaldson, who had bought this old place and lived a peaceable existence until his wife died and his son left home. Then he had closed the house suddenly one summer and gone travelling —not for pleasure said those who saw his countenance—to return after eight months, a gaunt-cheeked, holloweyed invalid, whose returning health brought more soundness of body than of mind. A single servant— a silent, morose man from whom the curious could pry nothing—cared for him. This led up to that final tragedy—a thing too horrible for utterance; besides might, one not conjure up the spirit of the departed? This much was common property; that the manservant had disappeared, and the master been found one morning a raving maniac, bleeding from wounds, but with no cause that could be assigned, that is until the man-servant—at whose door the crime was laid was found buried in some bushes nearby, beneath so thin a layer of covering earth the dogs desecrated the place, unearthing the ghastly secret. The master, being pent up in an asylum, and no one being responsible for the property—or caring to become so—the place had lapsed into decay.
T^HESE things I briefly sketched to Derry now, check, mg a levity that had obviously offended old Paul a,,mr®’e.’ w^° n°dded solemn confirmation of my story, tonight, m’sieu,” he said, “I saw a light moving in the place!”
“, J caught Derry’s irreverent whisper to Gabrielle; hey always see lights, you know—quite the thing— ue ones are the most fashionable I believe.” But I noticed that she clung to him as though for protection.
Sa*rï Eaul Laberge, with unusual brevity of speech, also, m’sieu, I heard great outcry as of a lost soul in torment.”
Notary Lachance, who had resumed his seat by the fire stooped to stir the glowing logs into a blaze. The circle o laces in the light made a fascinating study. Some were stamped with plain evidence of terror; some hovered on he borderland between incredulity and superstition; Derry at least was smiling broadly. Old Paul turned on the sceptic, with a talon-like hand outstretched in accusa-
You tink I speak a lie!” he challenged. “You make a augh at old Paul. Mon Dieu, some day you shall know I speak truth!”
Derry paused to light a fresh cigarette before replying.
, Surry, he said, still smiling, “I can’tenthuse over it, though. You see, to me, it’s just a matter of—imagination, ’ and some trivial cause. Probably the wind or an animal shifting some broken bit of timber, and a reflection from a light in the road. I’ll stake what you like on it. What’s ^lewa cloud of smoke carelessly into the air I d Just as soon go there tonight as not.”
It was not old Paul who made the accusation this time. He, like the rest of us, turned to see a weird figure—at least so he appeared in the half-light—swaying a little just outside the circle gathered about the fire. I remembered then the impression that had come to rre a few minutes before of a door banging and some sound in the hallway.
Gabrielle gave a little cry, disengaging herself from the arm of Derry, which had been lending comfortable support. She checked herself with a single word.
“You—lie!” said Jacques Dumontel again, sticking to
his point with the persistence of the drunken. “I say_
you—lie!” Jacques’ business often took him to Montreal, and even jr) bis preterit state he spoke English without difficulty, .......
I heard you the first time, old top,” Derry assured him evenly, ‘and if you weren’t so—ah—just so—I’d have made proper answer at once. As it is we’ll let it pass. It seems to be a favorite word around here tonight.”
Jacques pushed further forward into the circle, waving an unsteady hand under Derick’s nose. I went to interpose, but Derry motioned me hr ck, smiling still.
‘Maybe,” said Jacques, “I’m not so drunk as you think, my friend. You say you’ll go to that place tonight—go into it alone? An’ I say—you lie—you’re afraid to go.” Rot!” returned Derry, watching him through narrowed lids.^ “What’s more if it weren’t such a confounded bad night I d show you. As it is it’s sheer nonsense ploughing through all this snow—”
Ha!” sneered Jacques, appealing to the wide-eyed circle, “he’s afraid, you see. Sapre”—he turned again on Derry, fiercely, “I repeat it to your face—you lie—just as you lie when you say Gabrielle de Rostand loves you— when she’s mine I tell you”—he hesitated a trifle—“mine before you came with your smooth tongue and little ways to make a fool of her!”
Derry was on his feet in an instant, a blaze growing in his usually mild blue eyes.
“We’ll leave the little lady out of it,” he said, steel in his voice. For a moment I had thought he was going to strike; Mademoiselle, too, seemed about 'o interpose. But Derry just stood facing Jacques squarely, and I saw the latter’s glance shift to the girl an 1 then fall. The flush in his face was not the aftermath oí drink. Then Derry excused himself abruptly and went out. I followed him into the hallway, where he was feeling for his coat.
“Derry,” I protested, “what’s the idea?”
He turned on me impatiently.
“Let go, Billy,” he said, shaking me off. “I may be a blasted fool to notice him, but no man drunk or sober can give me the lie that way. I’ll settle the first point now. the other can wait until he’s sobered up. No, I won’t listen. I know my way there, and I’m going.” Sudden lightness of spirits seized him. “I always was one for a lark. Billy—d’ye mind the times we used to have in musty old Oxford?” Derry and I have things in common. I shrugged my shoulders then, knowing the uselessness of further argument, and went back to try and restore cheerfulness to the group, but the evening was spoiled.
One by one the guests made their apologies, and took their departure.
Mademoiselle de Rostand alone remained—and Jacques, the uninvited guest. Poor Jacques
—somehow as I saw him sitting there, his head sunk forward dejectedly, staring into the dying fire, I felt sorry for him. I had heard, of course, of his life-long devotion to Gabrielle; of her seeming acceptance of it—until Derry came with his cheery good-nature and his happy knack of comradeship to breathe romance into her life. The first danger signals of dissipation were beginning to mar the finely-modélled features of this lad before
“You shall stay the night with us, Gabrielle. There —don’t worry. Derry will be back presently chuckling over his adventure.” Thus my wife, placing an affectionate arm about the girl.
“You are so good to me, Mrs. Trudale,” Gabrielle said in alow voice. “Then I must phone down to Bedards’ and have them send Alphonse, the boy, over with a message. Maman will worry.”
They left the room and I took the opportunity to slip over to Jacques. He looked up as I put a hand on his shoulder.
“M’sieu—he’s gone?” I took it that he meant Derry, and nodded. Jacques shivered. The drunken blaze in his eyes . had died, leaving only dull smoulderings. He began to murmur apologies for his intrusion. Some compelling force had sent him here tonight. Perhaps I looked my sympathy, for his head went forward into his hands.
Mon Dieu, m’sieu,” he said, “I can’t—give up Gabrielle. Since we were this high m’sieu. . ”—he broke off—“Curse him anyhow what for he should break in, m’sieu, to spoil our lives? M’sieu”—he looked up in sudden appeal—
“you know I never drank like this—before. Ask them at the village—anyone will tell it is so. But now—” His gesture was one of hopeless resignation to the inevitable, but it ended in a quick exclamation; “Ah, Gabrielle!”
Following his disturbed glance I turned around. The girl stood there, white as a sheet, the pallor of her skin accentuated by the simple low-cut black frock she wore.
When she spoke it was with the mechanical enunciation °f i °ne shaken almost beyond realization of the words.
Something must be done. At once, m’sieu. They say at the village that the man Ronaldson has escaped— word has come by wire—it is thought he has returned to the old place—lights have been seen. M’sieu—” her reserve broke, bringing a torrent of speech in her native tongue—“they say he is dangerous. He thinks the devil is to appear and he must kill him. M’sieu, in everyone he sees the devil—” She stopped, taking hold of my arm.
I looked for my wife, but she had gone upstairs to prepare the spare room. My thoughts ran to Derry on his way up there, to the old ruin, light-heartedly; with this maniac waiting to kill—to kill whoever should come. . . .
I had forgotten the man behind us, until the girl made her sudden accusation.
“Jacques—you knew! You sent him to his death!”. This was no question ; it was the statement of one who has been seized by a definite conviction.
JACQUES tried to square his big shoulders and mei the situation, but his eyes were evasive. “I heard,” he said dully. “Jean Thibeaudeau told in as he drove by on the road. I was drunk, m’sieu, when came up here, but when I saw them through the windowthis stranger in the place where I should be—I saw rec m’sieu. I think, like old Ronaldson, I was mad. ' Somt thing said, when I came inside: ‘Remember Jean’s word. Challenge him to go.’ I knew m’sieu, they waited fo aid at the village.” The old fierceness flared into hi eyes again. “What right had he to try and take awa; Jacques Dumontel’s girl? I tell you he won’t have her-
Continued on page 44
Continued from page 14
Gabrielle had sunk into a chair; his gaze wandered to her; he went over, asking with what I could only think of as gentle fierceness: “Tell me—why should you
care so much? What is he to you?”
She covered her face with her hands, as though she could not bear to look upon him. I have since thought there were two reasons for this.
“Jacques—Jacques! Derry and I are engaged—and now you—you have sent him to Ms death!”
For me surprise was swallowed up by other emotions. The memory of the look in the man’s eyes at that moment lingered with me long afterwards. It was the look of a man who, having refused to believe in its existence, has suddenly seized a bitter cup and drunk it to the dregs. I was busy with the fainting girl, and so it happened that I did not see him leave, and only knew by the harsh bang of the closing door that he had gone out to face his tragedy alone.
By road, the old Ronaldson place is, as I have said, more than a mile distant from my house. Less than half a mile
away the road turns sharply to the left» stretching beyond in a long, straight incline to a tree-topped crest, upon which the crumbling square of masonry can be seen in gray desolation in the winter time, though in summer the foliage gives a kindly burial of green.
Through the stark branches of the leafless trees we could ordinarily have seen the light long before we reached the top of the hill. I say we, for I roused our hired man to get the cutter out and accompany me. He grumbled not a little, but was disinclined to quarrel with his bread and butter. As it was, the drifting snow obscured familiar landmarks, making progress difficult, and the road so beyond recognition that I simply let the mare have her head. So it was that we came to the place suddenly, and saw a flicker of light through a gaping opening that had once been a window.
I drew rein, telling the man to tie up the mare and follow me.
“M’sieu!” he pleaded.
“The mare cannot be left. See how she trembles. She will run, m’sieu.”
“Then see that she doesn’t and that you don’t,” I told him curtly, little liking the task ahead at best, and not relishing going on alone. Only the thought of Derry sustained me.
The ghostly whiteness of the night impressed me with a sense of unreality. I experienced a feeling of detached loneliness such as might come to one in winter in a graveyard. Better some noise, I thought, than this deathly stillness. Imagination pictured Derry—but why particularize?
I STEPPED forward through the knee-deep snow. The light gleamed from the front of the house; I decided that the side door offered the most favorable means of entry. I touched against a bush and its frozen shaking set my nerves jangling. By the steps at the side, broken and worn in places so that the covering of snow was a source of danger to one’s limbs, I crouched a moment listening. From within came the sound of something that might have been human—the low moaning, perhaps of Paul Laberge’s “lost soul in torment.”
“Good God!” I said aloud, and at the same moment was blinded by a glare of light. In my state of nerves I almost fired a shot. Then my heart leaped at the sound of a familiar voice.
“Bless my imagination,” said Derry quite casually, “if it isn’t his nibs! What in the name of commonsense—”
I could have slain him for joy, but instead welcomed him as one from the dead.
“Killed?” said Derry in answer to my question. “Bless you, I’ve just arrived. Tried to take that confounded ‘short’ cut—and lost the way. So here I am— full of snow and burrs and wrath. If I had that silly ass Dumontel I’d—? Hist ye—what’s that? No ghost about that, lad, but human voices. Here, give me a lift—I think the window’s safer than those steps.”
He waved aside my attempted explanation of the situation.
“Maniac nothing. I’m going to have a look. Besides I said I’d enter the house alone, so I suppose I’m still within my technical rights at that. Up we go.”
He made the ledge easily with my help, and dropped down lightly to the floor. With some trepidation I waited, but in a moment I could make out his hig, snowcaked form framed in the window.
“Reach up,” he said in a low tone, “and I’ll give you a lift. There’s something here needs explaining.”
There are times when I still think of the thing as something akin to a dream— this thing that Derry and I saw as we crouched there watching, through a break in the mouldering partition, the drama in the next room.
Upon a couch that still withstood the passing of the years lay a recumbent form, deathly still, bleeding apparently from a great gash above the temple. The lower part of the face was shadowed by the strange figure between it and the guttering end of candle. For kneeling beside the couch was a man who had once been of more than ordinary size, now shrunk into a semblance of humanity— a monstrosity of skin and bone; a framework illy-covered with wrinkled parchment, surmounted by a grizzled face in which alone we caught the gleam that linked him with humanity. The man was crooning over the deathlike figure— crooning as a mother over her babe.
“Laddie—laddie—they thought to kill you, thought to do ye to death, but they’ve got to kill your father first. I promised your mother, boy, I’d go out and look for you and I kept my promise—after she’d gone on. It’s all just a bad dream, son. They thought they’d killed ye—you who loved to teach them an’ help them.... they thought you were a devil—you a devil, boy, with a face so like your mother’s
____” He fell to crooning inarticulately,
and, shifting his position, revealed the face of the man on the couch. I clutched Derry’s arm at the same time as he made a grab for ini ne.
“Derry,” I cried, half aloud, “it’s Jacques Dumontel!”
Like a flash the old man was on his feet, facing towards Us, alarmed at the sound, his eyes roving the wall with a wild light.
“It’s the devil,” he cried. “The devil— I tell you! He’s coming. I’ll kill him— torture him—like they did my son— and devils they were and sons of the devil.” Derry had my shoulder in a tense grip. - “We’ve got to fix him someway, poor old chap. Don’t fancy it’ll be an easy job
even for two, but that fellow’s bleeding to death.”
HE ROSE to act, but a rotten board gave way, and the noise sent the madman into another frenzy. A terrible thing to look upon—this wild figure, armed with an iron rod he had seized from somewhere, as he stood there facing the door-way, swinging the weapon rhythmically, chanting some wild strain the while.
Then it was we heard the sound of the party coming to take him. The authorities had reached their man. I had a momentary feeling of siding with this wild creature—a mental outcast from his kind, t Derry slipped noiselessly out to apprise them of the situation.
An exultant strain sounded in the old voice. The old man evidently sensed the coming of many enemies. His rod swung gleaming in the dim light of the candles.
There came to my mind like a flash, then, the remembrance of a story I had heard or read of a lad named Ronaldson— a young man who had gone out to some far-off islands—my memory failed at this point—and, desirous of spreading the message of light to every part, had gone to an obscure island, with none but his native helpers. The story gripped my mind at the time because of its unusual sequel. Native prophets or “medicine-men” had been predicting the appearance of the Devil on this island. And so the “Bringer of Light”—as his own people called him—• went to his death at the hands of fanatics, two only of his party escaping to carry the news. Not hard then, surely, to fill in the details of the elder Ronaldson, wrapped up in the son, and, under promise to the dead mother, weakening mentally under the strain of visiting the grave, most likely, in that far-off isle, and learning the terrible details of the death.
The story reconstructed itself in the present drama. The old man’s mind seemed to swing from one delusion to the otherat one time the devil himself was coming and must be killed, at another the figure on the sofa was his own son and must be protected. Perhaps some likeness in Dumontel to the dead son had meant the saving of a life. For a moment now he relaxed his menacing aspect, dropping beside the insensible lad to mutter: “They’re coming, lad, coming—but they’ll not get you—they’ll never get you.” He swung into place again, on guard.
Figures appeared in the doorway; one or two flashlights and a lantern played upon the quarry. A man in some sort of uniform—I afterwards learned he was Ronaldson’s personal attendant at the asylum—stepped forward, allowing the light to play on his own features. I saw the old man raise his terrible weapon— then falter before the steady gaze of this keeper whose word had been law all these years, whose influence seemed compelling. The rod fell from his grasp; enfeeblement came to his limbs; his tense muscles re» laxed; he fell backward. When we reached him his eyes were glazing fast, but the human thing within him triumphed in this hour. His last words were calm and gentle.
, “I’m coming, son, coming. They’ll —never—separate us—again.”
Derry and I carried Jacques Dumontel, still insensible but with his wounds cared for as best we could, to the cutter, and so to the house. The journey to his own home in the village was out of the question; we could take no chances on loosing the final cord. A fractured skull, was the Doctor’s verdict, with the terse comment: “He has a chance.”
Mademoiselle de Rostand had come out to meet us, an awed, lovely figure clad in some wrapper of my wife’s. At sight of Derry she cried out with pleasure, but when she saw the muffled figure on the improvised stretcher we had made, she ran forward with a little cry of pity and fear. Derry stood aside as she stooped quickly to kiss the bandaged brow, content for once to have her go to him afterwards
After that none of us saw much of the girl. Mademoiselle was installed as nurse, and never was a more faithful attendant.
Those were trying days for old Derry. Business took him back to town, as it did myself, but he always returned weekends with me. I reproached him for his failing appetite, his long silences. He passed it off with some reference to Jacques’ condition. He walked miles, trudging tirelessly through the snow, but always alone.
JACQUES Dumontel lingered long between life and death, but there came at last an abatement of the symptoms, and so a lessening of anxiety in the household. Even Derry tried to assume a more cheery attitude. Only Mademoiselle remained aloof—a soft-footed wraith of classic beauty, holding herself apart, busy with a thousand tender ministrations. The weeks had told on her.
I shall never forget that day Derry came to me as I stood in the sunporch, watching the first touch of really warm sunshine honeycombing a snowbank, as though trying to delude itself into a belief that spring had come.
“Billy,” he sai’d, “I want to talk with you.” I knew then what was coming; had been expecting him to speak, but respecting his silence. “I’ve had a letter from home.” Home for Derry was somewhere in Surrey. “They want me to go back again. The mater’s not so young as she used to be, you know. I want your advice.”
“Of course,” I said; “you mean Gabrielle?”
He nodded. Then he told me:
“I’ve my own opinion of an eavesdropper, Billy, and I fancy you have, but I happened to be passing the room, and— well, I listened. I’m not strong on my French, you know, but I understood enough. He was speaking—Jacques,
I mean—he said he wanted to thank her, -for saving his life; but he wanted nothing that had happened to make any difference. He went up that night not for my sake—he was perfectly frank about that— but because he saw she loved me. Old Ronaldson attacked him, but a curious switch of fancy made him take the crumpled figure for his son. That saved his life. He told Gabrielle, Billy, told her something then that kind of—got me.” Derry went over and looked out the long low window to where the haze of distance lent beauty to the far end of the valley.
“He said he’d never forgotten the curé one night telling the story—years ago when they were quite kids—about Sidney Carton. That was when first Jacques came to look upon Gabrielle as something —more than a comrade, you know. He felt then that Carton’s was the real standard and measure of love. It came to him again that night—after she told him she was engaged to me, Billy. You can see how it worked on him—how in himself he saw the dissolute young lover, giving, in his loyalty which rejection could not shake, the final gift of devotion. Nothing heroic about the way he told her, Billy— just that he tried in a small way to measure up.”
Derry paced the little room, whistling tunelessly.
“He wished her every happiness then, Billy, and shook hands on it and smiled
un at her bravely, but when she looked away I saw him—for I could see through the crack in the open door-I w jm turn his face to the wall. I shouian t have done it, Billy, but perhaps you 11 understand why.” , j «„A.
“And Mademoiselle? I asked, find ¡nir voice with difficulty. . , , ,
“Sat there with a face that might have been chiselled by a Rodin. I oouMn t bear it Billy, so I slipped away, wonder ing. You see, Billy, I’ve sometimes wondered if I’m just her kind. She s such a little home body, and I’m a restes bird of passage. Then she’s not my religion a though that's not a final reason He spoke quickly as though his reasons would lose weight if given due consideration “So I’ve decided to go to-day. I’ve written a letter-explaining everything, and enclosed a telegraph form ready filled out. If she wants—me back she
ta" turned away from the thing I saw m his eyes. It was too sacred and sublime to look upon.
ASI write I have before me a yellow JA form. On it I can decipher the words in Derrv’s now almost illegible scrawl, “Come back on conditions "d The telegram has never been tiled, mit on it I can mark the traces of a woman s
teTn‘ my desk is a letter from Derry. England called and claimed him again. He sends a picture of a dream cottage, with great clumps of rhododendrons ma profusion of beauty by the door, and m the distance the purpling loveliness of the Surrey moors. Derry was always handy with his brushes. Another picture this time a photograph—shows, against the same background, a happy-faced youngster in the arms of a woman whose features a man could look upon as a source of constant inspiration. Underneath, in familiar handwriting: “Derry Junior,
and the Best of All.”
Yesterday, as I have said, I_met a young woman in the Place D Armes, coming out from the shadow of Notre Dame. I fancy, from her face, she must have been giving thanks for happiness before the shrine of her patron saint. She was on the way, she told me, to meet young Jacques Dumontel at the tram.
Facing me, on the wall, two portraits hang side by side. In one I seem to see the type that has made the Anglo-Saxon race so potent in the world; in the other I find, beneath a less polished exterior, something of the chivalry of ancient France. Underneath each I can think of no more fitting inscription than the familiar one to be found frequently in all well-ordered Art Gallery catalogues I have even ventured to place under each, in small, clear type, this inscription: “Portrait of a gentleman.”