Drop Behind and Lose Two
A. C. Allenson
MARMADUKE flipped his cigarette butt away, rested his elbows on the arms of his chair, and joined his finger tips together. I was his guest over Sunday at the Golf Club. There was a little dance at a house near by, to which we had been invited, so we dined comfortably at the club, and had an hour or so before we need start out. The crowd had gone and the place was ours. Marmaduke was in reminiscent mood.
It was the morning after the night before. Emphatically so! he declared. I breakfasted late. Felt somewhat jazzy as I toddled up to the links. Florida, you know, in January. On the veranda I discerned a frightful swarm of bees of the unwinged, male persuasion, buzzing round a girl dressed in white. Closer approach showed the flower to be none other than my own cousin Kate. I was and am frantically fond of my cousin Kate. She is not one of the class of cousins one esteems solely for their moral worth. A perpetual delight to me was, and is, my cousin Kate.
She is the daughter of my uncle—he’s the head and most of the rest of the body
ting respect, is somewhat of a buster. He has toyed so incessantly with things that fluctuate that he perpetually fluctuates between an office in the business quarter and Abraham’s bosom. Outwardly his resemblance, facially, to a bottle of tabasco sauce is most striking.
Well, when Kate saw me in the offing she waved the apiary aside and came running down to meet me. I lost the jazzy feeling immediately.
“Marmaduke, do you want to be a duck?” she asked, her hands on the lapels of my coat.
“Do you mean a lovey-dovey duck, or something whose feathers you wish to see fly?” I enquired.
“A lovey-dovey duck,” she answered, most alluringly.
“I yearn for the chance most frightfully,” I told her.
“Then ask me to play golf with you,” she said.
C 0 we wafted the hive away and set out, ^ deciding that caddies were an extravagance one ought not to afford. We had reached the sixth green on which Kate ran down a perfectly stunning putt. Then a baffling thing happened. She threw away her putter, and began to rub her eyes with her handkerchief. As I am
ii\\T E went back to town presently and ^ ^ I wired to Ottawa. The reply came next day saying that Captain Mordaunt’s injury was not serious and that, probably, he was on his way home on three months’ leave. It was very pleasant for Kate and for me. Kate was so grateful in such a nice way.
“He was rather silly,” she said next day, as we sat on the beach. “Irish, you know, and frightfully impulsive. Rather like the kind of awfully nice Irishmen one reads about in Lever’s books—polite, chivalrous, but quite unpractical. The kind of people whose men hunt four days a week in pink and cords, and whose perfectly delicious women live almost in the saddle, and who never have any money, and whose house roofs always let in the rain. Harry came to this side and worked on a newspaper—sixty dollars a month was all the mean things gave him—but he was so tremendously ambitious, and had such great ideas, that when he talked to you about business you were quite certain he would be a millionaire in a year or two. And most persuasive he was—but very, very silly and sentimental.”
“Made the most fearfully persuasive love to you?” I suggested.
“And I was the most brutal of little beasts to him,” she said, whipping out the postage stamp once more. “When the
wonderfully adept at removing flies from the eyes of pretty girls I leaped to her assistance.
“Don’t rub, Kate, let me get it out,” I
“Can’t you see I am crying?” she answered, rather pippily.
“How can I see, dear, with that white postage stamp in the way?” I remonstrated. “But not really, Kate?” Then I saw that she really was.
“It is about Harry,” she said wearily and tearily.
“Harry!” I mused. There were piles of Harrys, but, running over them, I could not spot one whom a girl like Kate would be in the least likely to weep over.
“Of course you don’t know him,” she said. “You were in Europe the year he came over here. Harry Mordaunt, Captain Harry Mordaunt.”
“One of your casualties, I suppose?” I asked.
“Don’t! Dont!” she cried. One saw she was in real distress. Then she took from her pocket a cutting from a six weeks’ old Canadian newspaper. It was a long, long list of casualties—hundreds of them—I found the name near the top —Captain Harry Mordaunt of such and such regiment, and an address somewhere, obviously a business office.
“Probably he is all right by this time,” I tried to comfort her. “Most of the casualties are not very serious, and the boys are glad to get a pass to Blighty.”
of the firm of which I am a hibernating partner — stocks, bonds, things of that de scr i p tion that fluctua t e . How ever he came to be the father of such a daughter as Kate is one of the most profoundly baffling secrets of mysterious Nature, for Uncle Ben, with all fit-
EDITOR’S NOTE. — Mr. Allenson is becoming very well known to MACLEAN’S readers. This is unquestionably one of the best short stories he has done. W. B. King, who illustrates the story, is on( of the best known of magazine artists and his work is to appear often in MACLEAN’S.
Who wrote “The Tale of the Joyful Jane," “By the Tip of an Eyelash," etc.
war came in 1914 he rushed to see me. We were in the country then.” “ ‘There’s war, Kate,’ he said. ‘I came out to say good-bye to you.’ “‘Why, where are you going, Harry?’ I asked. “ ‘To the nearest enlistment place,’ he told me. “ ‘But you are not going to fight, Harry?’ I said, horribly scared. ‘You have your fortune to make, and to become
a millionaire, and-.’ Well, I didn’t
remind him of all the plans we had made.
“ ‘It is fearfully hard,’ he said.
“ ‘But you need not go, Harry,’ I told him. T positively will not let you go.’
“ ‘I must go, Kate,’ he replied. He had never been obstinate before, and I loved to think that I could turn him round my little finger. Now I knew it was not so, and for the moment it made me angry and jealous.
“‘Have they sent for you?’ I asked.
“ ‘No, dear, they never send for us,’ he answered in a proud way that made me 1—like him all the more. ‘When the standard goes up we have usually been somewhere round. Why, Kate, my fathers—all that have gone before me — would haunt me to my grave, and disown me in the next world if I hung back. We simply can’t do it if we would.’
“ ‘Then I don’t count at all?’ I said, like a little idiot.
“‘Yes, before all, except that,’ he told me. ‘And I am going among other things because I know when the surprise has passed you would be ashamed of me if I did not go.’
“I was horribly mean and bitter, Marmaduke, and I told him that if he cared for fighting more than he did for me he might say good-bye and go. We just shook hands, but one minute after he had gone I would have given everything 1 had— well, you know, Marmy dear,” and I nodded.
“And you never wrote to him, Kate?” I asked.
“Only seventeen times,” she replied, again tearily, and dabbed her eyes with the ball into which she had made her handkerchief. “I got back nine postcards and eight letters. You know the kind of postcards, all ready printed. T am well,’ ‘I am not well,’ ‘It is fine,’ ‘It is raining,’ and you cross out the untrue parts. I sent him parcels of things, socks, smoking things, candy, and cakes. The letters he wrote were the most fearfully stilted things, ‘Dear Miss Hampson,' they began.
“Of course, he knew that those blighters, the censors, would read them,” I suggested.
“Yes, I thought of that,” she replied. “Still, if he had said ‘Dear Kate,’ and the Germans had got hold of the letter it could not have given them much aid or comfort. The last two lots of cake I made myself and I wished to know if he liked them especially.”
“Of course, he would like them, most frightfully,” I told her. “Boys in the trenches have camels’ appetites and goats’ digestions. Anything at all in reason they can down. If the stuff is too utterly baffling they feed it to the German prisoners as reprisals for Ruhleben and Wittenberg. The Boche can expect no mercy from the Canadian.”
She was silent for a bit, which showed she was framing up something.
“He is coming back for three months, Marmaduke,” she mused. “And I—am— just—going—home.”
That was the way she said it, one little hand punching firmly into the
palm of the other. Of course, one realized that she would go too.
“Father means to stay till the end of March, and he does not approve of Harry —nothing in the least personal, you know— but he declares that it is ridiculous, and that nothing less than twenty thousand a year would keep my husband out of the bankruptcy courts. I mean to show him.”
Well, it sounded very fine. On paper it would look good, except the kind of paper they make bills out on.
“I have told father I am just downright
ashamed of staying here,” she continued, “with all the work to be done to help on the Allies, and our own boys particularly. They^ told me you were leaving, Marma-
“Yes, the doctor says I am all right, so I thought I would run up and see how things are,” I told her.
“Well, I am going North with you,” she said. “You know father thinks I am only just out of my cradle, and cannot go about alone. He will let me go under your wing. Hortense will come, too, and she and I will take a small apartment till father comes home. Then we will be on hand whatever happens.”
Uncle Ben made less fuss than I though the dear old blighter would. He’s a patriotic sort of buster down at
bottom—-no end of a good sort—and he only fluctuated moderately. So I escorted Kate and her French maid, Hortense, up North. There they settled down peacefully for about two days. Then Kate began to get frightfully fidgetty about Harry. We wired to Ottawa, but the chappies there were a bit indefinite. Got to be careful, I suppose, about ship sailings and so forth; but Kate was not in the least satisfied.
“I want to go to Ottawa, M a r m a -duke,” she said. “1 think if I saw the authorities there I i Ö 4 á if! might be able to get / ¡Yjlts ** some precise inform-
It was most probable, I thought. Kate has a way with
her, and military chappies are quite human. In the end, the three of us, Kate, Hortense, and I, set out for Ottawa, to see about this person whom Kate had told to go away, and, in essence, bidden to roll his own hoop without the least regard
So we fared forth to Ottawa, interviewed sundry and several official lads. I did the preamble to the act, then Kate took up the details. There were artillery, and infantry, and cavalry, and aviation, and departmental chaps, and Kate had them as old Hindenberg never could get them. Polite! That wasn’t the word for it. Kate, you know, is one of the sportingest little girls, and she had official, civil and military Canada as a sort of retinue. We stayed at the Chateau
Laurier, and the flowers that were sent in every day would have stocked a fashionable florist to repletion. She had to buy an extra valise to hold the buttons and badges she annexed as tribute tokens. The lads were nice about Harry, but the enthusiasm was not quite the same. This we did elicit, that he was due any minute, and would have to report to Ottawa, as he was to be assigned to some special temporary duty.
Then Kate was keen to get back home as she was sure he would hustle along that way, and, of course, it would not look quite proper considering the terms on which they had parted, for him to find her hunting for him so openly. About a thousand or so of her slaves promised to wire her the minute he turned up, so things seemed in order. Some of the artful young blighters strongly advised against leaving so soon, as they said a most frightful storm was coming on. But it was no good ; we went aboard the night train.
“Kate!” I said. “All that is needed to end this war is for you to walk a step or so ahead of these soldier boys in the direction of Berlin. They would be strolling down Unter den Linden in about two weeks after.”
“Bully boys, aren’t they?” she said. “They like me because of Harry, don’t you know. In a way I belong to the family.”
And I observed: “Just so!”
\\TELL, those weather sharps turned out perfectly right after all. We had scarcely started when a most frightful blizzard blew up—wind, you know, and clouds of snow. There was a snow plough, or something of that description, sent to keep the track clear, and the bally thing got off the line. There we were, neatly boxed up, and the snow meantime drifting yards high. Kate and Hortense went to bed and I headed for the smoking section. It looked pretty snug, so I dropped into a chair and took out a pipe. There were three other Johnnies scattered round, affable, chirpy kind of blighters, and everybody talking war. That’s the way in Ontario and the West. War’s the business. Stay with it, stick it out to a winning finish, no matter what it costs.
Then when conversation was losing steam a bit the curtain at the door was drawn aside and two soldier lads came in, captain and lieutenant. On the captain’s coat was a little white and violet ribbon. Military Cross laddie! On his left sleeve were four little gold stripes, run up from the cuff. Four times he had been found by the Boche. He was one of those chappies you take a fancy to on sight. Middle height, sturdily built, blue eyes, the red and white complexion of a girl. He had little to say and then mostly to his companion, a tall, dark, rather gloomy looking chap. He spoke the crisp, clear, perfectly enunciated English one finds nowhere just as in Dublin among the cultivated classes. After a cigarette or two he went off to turn in for the night, but his companion stayed. And pretty soon he got loosened up a bit and began to talk war, in answer to baiting questions.
Thirty months the two had been in the trenches, he said. They were just back for the first trip home. He seemed, in a reserved but polite way, as if he didn’t want to talk. Then it came out that he was going down to New York to see his mother, and that thawed him out. She didn’t know he was coming, and he was as excited as a boy, and one thing led to another till we got him fairly into the war zone. It was great! The blizzard beating the snow against the windows. Every-
thing snug and comfortable, and those names running off the boy’s tongue as if they had been home-town streets—Ypres, the hellish salient, Festubert. Givenchy, the Somme, Loos, Lens, Po^eringhe, Dickebusch. Plug Street, Hyde Park Corner, and a dozen other places! The boy’s slow, drawling voice, his face half hidden, as he looked at his outstretched boots, and the tale of trench life, as one might relate a dream. Not a word of boasting, not a hint of self, alwavs the other chappie doing the fine thing—and the whole thing a damned evil, foul, brutish business, that had to be done, just had to be done, and would be done. Most wonderful tale! I wished Kate could have heard it.
SOMEBODY asked the laddie the usual kinds of foolish questions about the biggest things he had seen. He made no answer for a time, it seemed as if he wasn’t going to notice it, then he suddenly spoke.
“Finest army I have seen!” He repeated the question. “The Old Contemptibles, the boys that died, the first British Army. The rest of us that came later had a chance. They went to die, knew it, and went to it as men to meet their girls. You hear about what we did, and so on, but not much about them, for they are in their graves. Greatest sight? The Irish Guards going over the top in front of Ypres. Parading through hell with a machine gun in the hand of every devil spitting at them. When a man dropped the next closed up, no fuss, perfect ranks, and then the whirlwind charge! The Prussian Guard is good, in the bunch, the Bavarian good, too, but the Paddies went through them like a circus girl through a paper hoop. We Canucks watched them, and it made the heart leap into your throat. We got up on top*of the trenches and yelled for the sheer glory of it till our throats nigh burst. The Boche might have wiped us out as we stood, but he was as dazed with the sight as we were.” “Biggest thing I was ever in!” He paused a moment.
“In a way I was in it, and yet I wasn’t,” he continued. “Got plugged, and they yanked me along with them. While it was going on I was on the trench bottom. The man who went out just now could tell you better all about it—but he wouldn’t. It was the second battle of Ypres. You know how they cracked us up about it. Barred the road to the Channel ports and so on. It was a near go. How near we only realized later. There was a wood at the top of the slope, jammed with Fritzies—machine guns, and all the rest of it. The order came to take the wood. The officers thought it might be a mistake and asked confirmation. It came—and over we went. It was some fight in and out and round about the trees. Talk about hide and seek and picnic parties! It was a hell of a mix-up. Machine guns in little bushes, and a free for all—all round the mulberry bush. Nothing asked, nothing given away, bloody war to the death. We had seen what they did to a pal or two of ours whom they caught. We got ’em out. It was a baddish spot, trees, you know, make a fine artillery mark, and they would pepper that wood till the cows came home. So we decided to move on a bit.
“There was a trench down the slope so we went for it and bundled the Boche out. We counted noses when we got there, sixty-two men with three machine guns, seven big guns away back of us sending over things now and again. Seven, with orders not to exceed 25 shells a day.
Those were the times. We just hadn’t got the shells to use, and had to make out as best we could with rifle fire. Air full of shells, but all coming the wrong way. Then hell broke out on us. No getting back, for nothing could live on the slope. Sixty-two boys and three machine guns. Two or three of us useless at the trench bottom. Seven times the Fritzies came, and seven times went back. We had ’em again at night, but they only got to the trench once, and we had more defences for the parapet in the morning. Grub gone, water gone. We saw the smoke of their trains, back of the lines, bringing up reinforcements to rub out our bit of a line. Then the ammunition stock began to worry us.
“ ‘Enough for ten minutes more, boys,’ said the Loot. ‘No Kamerad business! Stick it! Stick it!’
“Up they came again, massed formation, and the boys took toll of them as a machine reaper does in a wheat field. Again they went back. You could hear their officers barking curses, but they would not face it. It was the wind-up
“‘Bayonets, boys!’ the order came. ‘When they come again, up and over. We’ll go west fighting, taking a few along.’ There was the still music of the steel, and the minutes went by. That’s the hard time. Foot on the step, ready to go over. Never get quite used to it. You begin to think about things, your folks, your girl, and what you’ve done and wish you hadn’t, and why the hell they don’t come on and have it over and done
“ ‘You wish you had never been a soldier, and then glad you are one, and you wonder if the old life was real, the places, the folks, the girls. So we waited for the pegging out, but the Boche never came again. Why, we couldn’t make out. We were more than half crazy, and, like a lot of damned idiots, the lads made up a party that night and did a raid on their own.
“They relieved us that morning. The papers gave us puffs, and it was all mighty fine. Blocked the road to Calais, they told us, but it was the hell of a block —sixty-two men and three machine guns. Well, I’ll turn in. Pretty windy, but the Flanders winds were worse. The snow looks cold, but it’s warm to the mud and water of a Flanders trench.”
1 followed him out. “I wonder,” I said to him, “if you know a man in whom I am rather interested, Captain Harry Mordaunt?”
“Just a little bit,” grinned the lad. “He was the officer in command of the forward trench. Got the Military Cross for it. If you want to see him, better wait till the morning. He was the man who came into the smoking room with me.”
IN the morning I rose rather late. The car in which Kate and Hortense were in had been made up for the day. Hortense was reading, but no Kate was in
“She went out that way some time ago,” explained Hortense. She was quite a wise kind of a girl, with black, snappy
I went in the direction indicated, a feeling in my heart that I had suddenly become rather superfluous. My fears were justified. On the outer platform, regardless of the nippy cold were my cousin Kate and young Captain Mordaunt. That would never do. The child would have pneumonia. I brought them in, almost as frightfully fiercely as Uncle Ben would have done. Mordaunt seemed a cheery
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sort of lad, and apparently regarded me as something quite noteworthy because I was Kate’s cousin.
“I have searched the whole train,” I told them. “There is not a crumb of food, or a drop of drink to be had. Rather rank state of affairs!”
From their indifference I don’t think either of them minded, just for the moment, whether there ever was any food in our world again or not.
So the hours dragged by, frightfully rottenly for me. Hortense became courteously interested in a spruce young drummer, who spoke French rather well. Now and again there were rumors that the train was about to budge, but nothing came of them. There was a house, with nice smoky chimneys about half a mile from the track. It looked like the kind of house that would have bacon and eggs, and chicken to fry, and hot coffee, and so forth. I suggested it. Kate admitted that she was getting hungry, whereupon the soldier chappie exhibited the quality of anxiety he would suffer were the dear girl in mortal distress.
“What is the good of sitting and starving here?” demanded the captain, his foraging spirit roused. “I can see several hens, and there is a cow, so it should be a snap to have beefsteak. The train probably won’t start for hours. Let’s rush the place.”
I was hungry, but the snow was fearfully deep, and, on the whole, the expedition did not look inviting to me.
“You stay here, sir,” said the artful young blighter, solicitously. “You wouldn’t mind a bit of snow, Kate?” She answered precisely as she would have done if he had enquired winningly whether she did not like rattle-snakes as pets.
“Kate and I will go down and get something to eat, and we will bring you lots back in the most frightful hurry,” he said.
It did not seem a bad plan, so they muffled up. He put on her rubbers as if she were a piece of the most fragile porcelain, and off they w.ent.
THERE were some of the awfulest drifts, but the Captain managed quite nicely, supporting her often quite superfluously and, when there was an extra layer of snow, lifting her over, and so forth. They reached their destination and vanished. Not ten minutes had dragged by when the engine gave an asthmatical kind of snort. It had bluffed much in the same way several times before. But this time it was followed by a spasmodic jerk —and we were off!
It was a tragic situation. The conductor was fearfully sorry, so he said, but it couldn’t be helped. Hortense appeared to be impressed by the humorous aspect of the affair, but I was in a fright-
fui hole as escort and chaperon. If Uncle Ben got to know about it he would fluctuate more violently than ever. The next stop, the conductor said, was ten miles off.
Matters had to be thought out very quickly and carefully. One could not leave the two in the snowbound wilds of Ontario. The line might be blocked for days, as the snow was still falling heavily. We must manage to link up in some way.
“The best thing, Hortense,“ I said to the snappy-eyed girl, “will be for us to leave the train at the next station, and drive back to the farm-house.”
Hortense thought it a neat suggestion, so we packed up our few belongings and descended to the platform at the next stop. It was an eerie kind of place-—the shack station, and a vast landscape, snowcovered, with just one house on its face.
“Nobody round to-day?” I remarked to a youth, who appeared very desirous of making himself scarce.
“Sunday!” he replied, and so it was. I had quite forgotten it.
“Any place where we can get a carriage?” I enquired. He shook his head.
“Whose house is that?” I persisted.
“The minister’s," he said.
“Indeed,” I observed. The more I viewed the situation the less it appealed to me.
“Yes,” said the boy confirmatorily.
“Well, I want to get to the last station, the place with a red-roofed farmhouse near it,” I told him.
“Roads all blocked, maybe for days," said the optimist.
THERE was a certain piquancy in the predicament that was not without interest. Stranded in the middle of Ontario with a snappy-eyed, frivolous French maid as a companion. I looked at Hortense and had to admire the philosophy of the maiden. Some women might have made no end of a fuss, hysterics, and so forth. Not so, Hortense. She laughed ia little.
“C'est diole. Monsieur!" she said, and so it was, frightfully so. “Le pasteur Pres-hy-ter-ien! Mon dieu!”
She summed it up quite correctly. Rather a facer! Strolling up to the house of the village minister, on a snowy Sunday morning, with a neat little French maid. Probably he would call the police.
“Well, we’ve got to put a bold face on it, Hortense,” I said.
She smiled amiably and off we started. The snow was frightfully deep in places so the girl had to take my arm and be helped through the worst. Hortense was a thunderingly good looking girl, of a type I distinctly admired. Pert a bit, in a not unpleasantly demure manner, and would flirt with a letter box if nothing livelier was round.
I knocked at the door, and we waited, Hortense giggling a bit. When the door opened a severe looking man — red whiskers and so forth—peered forth.
“I do not perform marriages on the Sabbath day,” he greeted us. The little hussy on my arm giggled most furiously, and pinched my sleeve—probably accidentally, for she was an excitable kind of girl.
“We do not wish to get married,” I replied. “We require only food and a little hospitality.”
“This is the Manse,” he replied with an air that was worse than the blizzard.
Just then a little woman came on the scene, and she straightened things out in a few minutes. She was the minister’s wife, of course, and was a woman of intelligent perceptions.
We got the Brown farm on the telephone, and Kate’s voice sounded. She
fairly screamed with delight when she heard of our predicament, as if hers wasn’t just as bad. Then she talked to Hortense, and the two laughed and giggled over the wire till I thought the minister would surely interfere.
It was three days before we could get away, but the time was not at all bad. The minister was a good sort, and his wife several degrees better. Hortense fixed some hats and things for her in a fashionable way, so she was frightfully delighted.
“You have got to square up with father now, Marmaduke,” said Kate. “Harry and I are going to get married as soon as ever possible. Father will positively roar when he hears of you and Hortense.”
“Kate!” I told her. “I have always loved you as a cousin should, and quite a bit more. When I started out on this you said I was to be a lovey-dovey kind of duck, not one whose feathers you like to see fly.”
“So you are, a lovey-dovey duck, she replied nicely. “But you must fix things with dad. He takes quite a lot of notice
TT meant a trip to Florida, but the cause A was good.
“Uncle Ben,” I said, “I have news for you, but you must not fluctuate because of it. You are invited to become a fatherin-law.”
“A what?” he exclaimed.
“Kate is frightfully anxious to get married, and if you take my advice, which you usually don’t, you won t^get at all beany, but will play the game.
“Kate wants to get married? Who the devil to?” he demanded.
“His name is Mordaunt. Harry Mordaunt,” I told him.
“A news boy! Bless my soul, he ^“Nothing of the kind,” I rebutted,
stiffly„ , , j
“Well, a reporter,” he amended. i won’t stand for it. Why he couldn’t keep Kate in shoe laces. Nice, clean lad, and all that, but what she wants is a twenty thousand a year man. She can t have this chap, so that’s all there is to it. ( King the bell and have a drink, Marmy.
“He’s an army captam, I told him.
“No money, Marmaduke,” he replied.
“Fought his way up from private. Thirty months in the trenches, I added.
“You don’t say?” exclaimed Uncle Ben.
“Four wounded stripes on his sleeve, I
went on. , . „ , .,
“Bv jinks! Seen something, he said.
“And he wears a little white and violet ribbon that takes the devil of a lot of earning,” followed up. _
“Bully boy! I knew he had the stuff in him,” said Uncle Ben.
“Was in the front row in the salient. Isn’t that as good a record as if he had been smugging dollars in an office. Kate deserves a real man.” „
“Give me that darned telegram pad, he said. “It’s been all trade and dollars with my crowd. We can stand for a touch of the game strain.” .
He slopped over quite disgracefully in the wire, then nothing would do but he must take the train for the North.
He bucked up so finely that, to reward him, I told him of the Hortense episode— and of our plans, Hortense’s and mine. It was rather a pity, for he fluctuated so much that for a time it did look like Abraham’s bosom by the apoplexy toute.
So it came out right in the end. At the time some things looked rather frightful, but it isn’t everybody who can drop behind, lose two, and bring the game off.