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“ You mean Balmaine. He was to come Mr. Balmaine—a very arduous position, full last night, but I have not seen him yet. I of anxiety; and the worst of it is that I suppose he would first pay his respects to hardly ever get a moment's leisure,—so very Leyland and Mayo in the office below.” much to do.” (Alfred thought of Furbey.)
“Do you know anything of him ?" “Now you have come I shall not be so tied.
“Nothing; except that he has been on a But I have not told you about Milnthorpe. country paper.”
He came here a fortnight since, poor devil, “They should have given me that place.” begging for something to do. I felt really
"You don't know German, and they want sorry for him and persuaded Leyland and somebody who does."
Mayo to let me try him as second sub“German is not so necessary as they make editor, at thirty francs a week—that is all out, and I would have undertaken to learn he gets—thirty francs a week. And he is it, and I know Italian. But Mayo is no really working very well, translates with friend of mine, nor Gibson either."
facility, and seems to have that journalistic “Hush! that is Gibson's step on the stairs." instinct without which nobody can become a Whereupon Delane betakes himself to his pressman worth his salt, let his other qualifiscissors and paste, Corfe becomes absorbed cations be what they may. And now about in a copy of the Journal de Lacustrie, and your own work. You will look through the silence reigns once more. The next moment German and the German-Swiss papers and the door opens again and the editor-in-chief, turn into English whatever you may find followed by Balmaine, advances into the suitable, boiling down or padding out at your room.
discretion. You have studied the paper, of “Let me introduce you to your new col course ?" league-Mr. Balmaine," he says, after an “Of course, Mr. Gibson.” exchange of greetings.
“Well, you will see the style of thing we Whereupon Alfred is presented in form to want. The details—the make-up of the Delane and Milnthorpe and to Mr. Corfe, paper and so forth-you had better leave to one of our contributors."
Mr. Delane; he is a very clever young fellow 'Any letters for me ?” asks the editor. and I want you to work with him. You
“ You will find several in your room,” says understand ?" Delane.
“Perfectly." “ Has Lud plenty of copy ?”
“ And do you think you will be able to do “Enough for the present, and we are me an occasional leader or leaderet ?” making more. What time will your leader
“I think so.
I will do my best." be ready, Mr. Gibson ?"
It would be a great relief. “I have not thought of a subject yet. You have no idea how much I have to do. About six o'clock, I hope. Will you step When you see your way to a subject let me this way, Balmaine ?”
know. As to politics, we ought to be neutral, As the editor spoke he opened an inner but at present our proclivities are Liberal.” door, which led into his own sanctum. It “At present?” said Balmaine with a smile. was much better furnished than the sub- Yes," returned the editor gravely. “I editors' apartment. The chairs, as well as said it advisedly, for a short time ago our Mr. Gibson's desk, were of mahogany; there proclivities were Conservative, and for aught was a well-filled bookcase, and, ranged in a I know they may be Conservative again. long rack, were files of the Helvetic News and Leyland and Mayo, our proprietor and his of several English and other journals. manager, are sometimes hardish up—this is,
“I am glad you called on me first,” said of course, in confidence, though you will prothe editor, a big-boned middle-aged man, bably find it out soon enough for yourselfwith an intelligent and kindly, though not and require financial help. In plain English, very well favoured face, as he glanced they have to raise the wind and we trim our through his letters. “It is always pleasanter political sails so as to catch, or shall I say to be introduced than to introduce yourself. encourage, the favouring breeze. You were not aware, I suppose, that we had trimming just now. Our financial ally-I got a second sub-editor ?”
ought almost to say our co-proprietor, for I “No; the last I heard was that you were am by no means sure that he has not bought shorthanded.”
a share-is an American banker, who lately So we were. Delane and I had to do all opened an office here and is carrying all the work, and at the best I have my hands before him—a man of immense energy. He quite full. This is a very arduous position, is a Liberal—all Americans are, I think—and
6. Thank you.
for that reason we are rather patting Liberal- Pottering about with it! Why, if I had ism on the back. Three months ago we not scattered the paper with my stick you were doing the other thing."
would not have been able to put the fire out “I understand,” said Alfred gravely, with your feet. But you look thirsty, and I though inwardly much amused.
feel half stifled. Come and have a drink." “ ì think that is about all I have to say at “Won't I just! Will you bear us compresent," resumed the editor, wetting his pany, Balmaine? All right; come along. I pen and shuffling his "copy" paper, as if he shall be back in ten minutes, Milnthorpe, had hit upon a suitable subject for a leader and there is plenty of copy for the present." and was anxious to begin. " There is no
CHAPTER XVI. —CORFE. hurry about seeing Leyland and Mayo today; I will introduce you to them to-morrow. CORFE ordered absinthe. Balmaine and Why, bless me, what is that ?"
his colleague drank beer. “ That” was a tremendous uproar in the “How do you like Geneva ?” Delane asked. next room, whither the editor, followed by Alfred said he liked it very well ; and Balmaine, excitedly rushed. Delane had well he might. The café garden in which set his newspapers in a blaze, and he and they sat commanded a magnificent prospect. Milnthorpe were trying to stamp the fir On one side of them, far away, towered the out, looking, as they danced among the storm-swept peaks of the Pennine Alps, on flames, like a couple of lunatics. Corfe was the other rose the wood-crowned heights of making play with his stick, but taking care, the purple Jura, while, almost at their feet, as Alfred noticed, not to go near enough to flowed swiftly the arrowy and amethystine hurt himself. Gibson trampled among the Rhone, bearing on its bosom the tribute of a burning embers like a hero, and his feet thousand glaciers. Hard by was a broad being of abnormal size, the fire was soon got boulevard, fringed with trees and lined with under, but not until the pile of journals had handsome shops, the windows of most of them been reduced to charred morsels.
resplendent with gold and precious stones. “Now look here, Delane," said Gibson, as People were sitting under awnings outside soon as he had recovered his wind, “no the cafés, sipping coffee and absorbing ices, more smoking, if you please ; at any rate, and the streets, though sufficiently thronged when you are making copy. It is a wonder to be lively, were not unpleasantly crowded. you were not burnt to death. Send for the What a change from Calder! Balmaine boy to clear up the mess.”
could hardly believe that a week had not yet Delane looked very wild and a good deal elapsed since he left home. And a correscared. He could hardly be more than sponding change had been wrought in his twenty, and was decidedly good-looking- spirits; never since his father's death had he curly black hair and a silky moustache, a dark felt so free from care and so full of hope. oval face, and deep blue eyes with long lashes. “Is this your first visit to Switzerland ?” Milnthorpe was at least ten years older, light asked Corfe, as he carelessly sipped his ab
, sinthe. long, serious face was so rarely relaxed by a “Not only that ; it is my first visit to the smile that Delane, who, like so many jour. Continent.” nalists, was an Irishman, had christened him “You are like me, I think, not much of the “Knight of the Rueful Countenance." a traveller," put in Delane. “I had never
“A dear smoke that,” said Delane, looking been on the Continent before I landed at sadly at his foot gear as Gibson withdrew to Calais on my way here. I suppose you his own room. Spoiled me a new pair of have spent half your life on the Continent, boots. They cost me eighteen francs only Corfe ?" last week. That would keep me in Vevey fins “A good deal of it, at any rate," said for a twelvemonth-four à penny, aren't Corfe complacently, as if to spend half one's they, Corfe ?"
life in foreign countries were something to “You ought to know better than I,” re- be proud of. turned Corfe rather sneeringly. “I never “Do you prefer it to England ?" smoke them.”
“That depends on circumstances. If I “I beg your pardon. I was forgetting had ten thousand a year I should probably you were a swell and smoked nothing under prefer England; but as I have a good deal a penny. I hope your cane is no worse. I less than ten thousand shillings, I prefer the saw you pottering about with it,” said De- Continent. You can get far more enjoyment lane with a smile.
out of life on little abroad than you can at
home. I wonder poor people don't emigrate probably accounts for my having gathered so from England en masse, by gad!”
It is your stop-at-homes who “That would be a bad job for the rich, make money." though," observed Delane, "they would have “I must not stop here any longer, though," neither servants nor tenants.”
exclaimed Delane, rising from his seat, “or I "Serve 'em right!”
shall make no copy.
I suppose we shall have “ Why, Corfe, I thought you were a Con- nothing from you for a few days, Balmaine ?” servative.”
" Mr. Gibson said there was no hurry, “ If I were rich I probably should be, but that I might take a day or two before buckbeing poor I am naturally a Rad,” returned | ling to; and I must look out for lodgings. Corfe, with a pleasant, almost gay laugh, But I don't like being idle, and as Mr. Gibwhich showed a set of strong white teeth. son has so much to do I must do my best to “ But, really, I have been so long abroad help him.” that I have ceased to take any interest in “He said so, did he?" asked the sub-editor, home politics."
with a significant smile. "I wish-however, At this moment a white-faced little man, you will see for yourself. As for lodgings, I with little black eyes, came up and, after think I can put you in the way of finding a making a profound salute, exchanged a few pension that will suit you. Can you look words with Corfe in Italian.
in at the office about nine o'clock to-night “You know Italian, then," said Balmaine and I will take you to my place ? Madame when the new-comer was gone.
Guichard will find you quarters on reason“I should do," replied Corfe. “I received able terms.” half my education in Italy. Yes, I think I Alfred thanked Delane for his offer and know Italy and the Italians better than I agreed to meet him as proposed, whereupon know England and the English. And I like the latter, who had outstayed his ten minutes the life there. Geneva is all very well, but by half an hour, ran back to his work. give me Florence or Milan, Naples or the “I live quite alone,” said Corfe. “I have Baths of Lucca."
a room for which I pay fifteen francs a week, “The Baths of Lucca ?” said Balmaine. I and I cook my own breakfast. My other " What are they like ?”
meals I get first at one place, then at another. The mention of the place made him think It is quite as cheap, and I don't like pensions. of the lost Hardys. It was at Lucca that You have to pay for your dinner whether Philip Hardy had negotiated several of his you eat it or not, and you get the same dishes largest drafts.
and meet the same people every day. But “Lucca is an awfully nice place, I can tell you may perhaps prefer it; chacun à son goût, you. We used always to go there for the you know. If Madame Guichard asks you season ; my father goes there still.”
too much, try my plan. I know where you “How long is that ago, Mr. Corfe ?” can get a good room for fifteen francs, perhaps Why, were you ever there ?”
less, if economy is an object with you ?” "Have I not just said that this is my
first Alfred said that economy was very much visit to the Continent? I take a great interest an object with him. He thought it best to in Italy, and long intensely to see it, though.” make no disguise on that score, but he ob
"I almost forget how long it is since I was served that, before trying Corfe's plan, he last at Lucca-perhaps eight years. But we would like to see what Madame Guichard used to live there part of every year. Per could do for him. Bacco ! I wish I was there now.”
“I guessed as much," went on Corfe, "If you like Italy so much, why don't "economy is an object to everybody on the you go back there ?” Delane asked.
Helvetic, I think, except the swells-Leyland, “For a very good reason ; because I am Mayo, and Gibson. But as for us moneyless under the necessity of living, though, 'pon my folks, we are beggars; we are even worseword, I often think it is not worth the trouble. we are slaves. For what is a man, placed And if life is easy in Italy, it is far from easy between the alternatives of work which he to make a living there. Greece is not a bad detests and starvation, but a slave ?" country, but it has the same fault."
“At that rate,” replied Alfred with a laugh, “You have been in Greece, then ?” said we are all slaves, and slavery is a condition Balmaine.
of life. But, for my part, I see no hardship “Yes ; Hellas is one of the countries I in work.” have lived in. Egypt is another.
I am a
“You misunderstand me. I said work rolling stone, Mr. Balmaine, a fact which | which you detest. There are some sorts of
work I like-writing for the Helvetic, for the boy for the last proofs. Gibson went instance—though they do give me so little away an hour ago. He always hooks it when for it. But I hate giving lessons. I can he has seen a pull of his leader-sometimes make my copy when and where it pleases before-and Milnthorpe is let off evening me; but teaching must be done at the time duty in consideration of coming so soon in appointed, whether you are in the humour the morning.” or not; and it is always the same infernal The Pension Guichard was on the edge of a round. Pupils are so awfully stupid, too, green on the outskirts of the town, a low, and mine being mostly grown up, I cannot old-fashioned house, in a little, old-fashioned relieve my feelings by telling them so.' garden, which for some not very obvious
“Oh, I did not know you gave les- reason was below the level of the road. You sons."
had to down to it by steps. In the middle "I am obliged, or you may be sure I would of the garden was a large mulberry-tree, and not. It is a case of force majeure, Mr. Bal- the stuccoed front of the house was covered maine. Won't you have another glass of with a trailing grape-vine. When Balmaine beer? No! Well, then, if you have nothing returned to the pension on the following particular to do, I will show you a few of day he saw that the garden stood in sore our principal buildings and streets, so that need of weeding, and the woodwork of you may know your way about.”
paint. The offer was accepted, and the two walked As Delane opened the door their noses about for an hour or more, Corfe talking were greeted with an odoriferous smell of pleasantly about the countries he had visited roast meat and onions, with a dash of garlic and the people he had met. Before they and old clothes. separated Balmaine accepted an invitation to “We are just in time for supper," said the “take a bit of supper” with him on the fol- sub-editor. lowing Saturday evening.
As they take their seats in the little salle Alfred did not quite know what to make of à manger half-a-dozen pensionnaires file into Corfe. Gibson and Delane he liked, and felt the room. One, as Delane whispers to Balsure that he should find in them agreeable maine, is a Polish prince; another an Italian colleagues ; but Corfe was less easily read, count; a third a German baron. Alfred had and his cynical remarks, an occasional hard- never been in such aristocratic company ness of tone, and an indefinable something before. There are also three ladies-one in his manner, made Balmaine suspect that he youthful and not ill-looking, one moustached was selfish, and might be insincere. But he and middle-aged, one very old, with painted could be extremely pleasant when he liked, cheeks, false teeth, and a most palpable wig. and it was possible that he might improve The conversation was, naturally, in French, on further acquaintance. He was a likely and Balmaine had a difficulty in following it; man, too, having been so much in Italy, to for though he read it with ease, and wrote it ask about the missing Hardys. But that fairly, his ear had not yet become attuned to would come later; it was too soon yet to the music of the language, and he expressed begin making inquiries.
himself with difficulty. But the three men
talked so loudly and incessantly that even if CHAPTER XVII.-THE PENSION GUICHARD.
he could have spoken with facility he would AFTER dining at his hotel-a very modest not have found it very easy to make himself one, near the station-Balmaine strolled heard. over the Pont du Mont Blanc to the Jardin “They are a queer lot," whispered Delane; Anglais and listened to the martial music of "they carry on like that every night, and a band while the sun went down behind the sometimes they make such an infernal noise Jura and the crescent moon rose above the that anybody outside might think they were Savoyard hills. The scene was lovely, the Irishmen waking a corpse. There are two time bewitching and propitious for thought; or three others, but they are out, and there and if it had not been for a neighbouring are changes pretty nearly every week. It is clock striking nine his appointment with no use telling you their names—you would Delane might have been forgotten.
forget them in five minutes ; but if you decide A few minutes later he was at the office of to come I'll introduce you in form. It is the Helvetic News. He found the sub-editor not a first-class pension, by any means, but it all by himself reading proofs.
is cheap and clean, and that's more than "All right,” said Delane, when he saw you can say of some pensions that are the Alfred, “I have just finished. Here comes reverse of cheap."
The supper, though composed of several duced by M. Delane, for whom I have a percourses, was very simple and quickly des- fect esteem, I should be obliged to charge patched. A vegetable soup, some boiled five francs or, at any rate, four francs meat, which neither Delane nor Alfred could fifty.” christen, and baked veal made three dishes,
in astonishment. spinach à la beurre made a fourth, and for “Four francs a day, without second breaksweets they had stewed prunes. Everybody fast! You forget that M. Balmaine will get drank wine ; but this, as the sub-editor in his second breakfast in town. Four francs formed Balmaine, was an extra, and not is much too much.” included in the pension price.
“But it is such a charming bedroom, ” When the prunes appeared and the men pleads Madame. "It is really the best
“ began to smoke, Delane introduced Alfred chamber in the pension, and Monsieur will to the landlady. Madame Guichard was a have the enjoyment of the garden (it was stalwart, rosy-cheeked, middle-aged Vaudoise. about thirty feet square), and though nourishShe did nearly all the household work with ment is so frightfully dear, I keep a good her own hands, and had both cooked the table, as Monsieur has seen. No, M. Delane, supper and served it; that was the reason I cannot accept Monsieur for less than four why she could not see Alfred sooner. Delane francs.” inquired if she could give his friend a bed- “I shall not let him pay a centime more room. Perfectly; she would do anything to than I pay, Madame Guichard," answers oblige a friend of M. Delane. She had a Delane resolutely, “and that is three francs pretty little chamber, overlooking the garden, fifty.” altogether at the disposition of Monsieur.
chamber is au troisième ; that Would they give themselves the trouble to makes a great difference. mount on high and look at it ? So up they “Well, give me a room on the third floor went, Madame leading the way and dis- also,” puts in Balmaine. “I think I would coursing with much animation on the mani- rather be a little higher up; it will be ever fold advantages offered by her pension—its so much pleasanter. salubrious situation, vast garden, and its “But, sirs, unfortunately I have not a contiguity to the common. And then its chamber au troisième free.” quietness for men of letters, like Monsieur “In that case Monsieur must look for Delane and his friend, could not be too highly lodgings elsewhere, Madame Guichard. I extolled. They might write all day long am very sorry, but it is impossible for him without being disturbed by a single dis- to pay so much as four francs.” cordant sound. As for the bedroom, it was "Oh, but he must not go elsewhere,” exsimply delightful—there was hardly such claims Madame eagerly. "I do not like to another chambre de garçon in all Geneva. separate friends; and though it is a great The bed in so charming a little alcove, the sacrifice I will make a little diminution. I window so nicely draped, the floor so brightly will consent to take three francs fifty if waxed, the little secretaire, which would be Monsieur, on his part, will consent to pay a so convenient for the writing of Monsieur. franc a week for services." What could one wish for better? It was “I think that will do, Balmaine," says a bedroom and a workroom rolled into Delaine, "twenty two francs a week, all
comprised, except wine and candles, is not “The room will do, though it might be bad. You will not do better, I am sure.' bigger," observes Belmaine," but how about “All right,” replies Alfred, “I agree. the terms ? "
6. We are in accord then ?” asks the landMadame, with Swiss keenness, guesses lady with a smile of satisfaction. “It is a what Balmaine is saying, and smiles plea- thing agreed.” santly.
" It is a thing agreed," answers Balmaine, "I will make Monsieur_very favourable and it was arranged that he should take conditions,” she says. "For the sleeping possession of his room on the following chamber, which is good enough for his High- morning. ness the Prince of Wales, and the pension of "I don't think I should come to the office two repasts daily, the use of the salon and this week if I were you,” said Delane as the enjoyment of the garden-everything he walked with Alfred across La Plaine. comprised save wine and candles, I ask "This is Thursday; on Saturday there is Monsieur only the insignificant sum of four nothing going on, and we might make the francs. If Monsieur had not been intro- tour of the lake. I can get a permis, so that