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      It was to a far narrower home than Blenheim that Emmeline had gone on her marriage with Mr Keeling, and though the greater part of Alfred Road had shaken their heads over her mating herself with a man so much below her socially, her mother, wife, and now widow of a retired P. & O. captain, had formed a juster estimate of her future son-in-laws chin. A silly, pretty girl like Emmeline, she thought, was very lucky to capture a man who{13} was going to make his way upwards so obviously as that strapping young fellow with the square jaw. He was then but the proprietor of the fishmongers shop at the end of the High Street, but Mrs Goodford knew very well, without being told so by young Keeling himself, that he was not of the sort which remain a small fishmonger. Events had justified her insight, and it was to a much bigger house than Mrs Goodfords that her daughter was being driven on this Sunday morning.

      "Nothing more likely," Frank answered.WALKING ON STILTS. WALKING ON STILTS.

      Wo-chang is the capital of the province of Hoo-peh, and the governor-general resides there. Our friends were fortunate enough to get a glimpse of this high official as he was carried through the streets in a sedan-chair, followed by several members of his staff. A Chinese governor never goes out without a numerous following, as he wishes the whole world to be impressed[Pg 351] with a sense of his importance; and the rank and position of an official can generally be understood by a single glance at the number of his attendants, though the great man himself may be so shut up in his chair that his decorations and the button on his hat may not be visible.

      Over an unsatisfactory meal he tried to think things out, conscious all the time that he was missing gastronomical opportunities through sheer inattention."What did you do then, Doctor?"

      "Look!" he said, and gave the glance and smile of the lady in the curtained wagon so perfectly that I cackled like a small boy. "Oh, you know that, do you? I dare you to say she didn't bring it!"Oh, yes; I saw your name among the subscribers when I was there yesterday, she said rather hurriedly.

      She looked up at him, and it was clear to each when their eyes met, that the same species of thought was in the mind of both: both at any rate were thinking of what had occurred yesterday. But immediately she looked away again, silently pondering something, and he, watching her, saw that soft frown like a vertical pencil-mark appear between her eyebrows. Then it cleared again, and she looked at him with a smile that conveyed her comprehension of the rubbishy reason, and a sudden flush that came over her face confirmed that to him. Naturally it was as awkward, even as impossible for her to speak of it, as it was for him; she could but consent to go or refuse to.

      Miss Propert, he said, dont think me impertinent, but if theres any question of expense about your going away, please let me advance you the money I shall be paying you for my catalogue. Youve done a good deal of work on it already: it is quite a reasonable proposal.[Pg 67]


      We galloped. A courier from the brigade-camp met us, and the Colonel scribbled a purely false explanation of our absence, begging that no delay be made because of it. As the man left us, who should come up from behind us but Harry, asking what was the matter. "Matter enough for you to come along," said the Arkansan, and we went two and two, he and Gholson, Harry and I. We reached camp at sundown, and stopped to feed and rest our horses and to catch an hour's sleep. Gholson's fatigue was pitiful, but he ate like a wolf, slept, and awoke with but little fever. The Colonel kept him under his eye, forcing on him the honors of his own board, bed and bottle, and at nine we galloped again.


      "Of course," replied the Clockwork man, clicking slightly, "quite different. The clock, you see, made man independent of Time and Space. It solved everything."


      At a guess I should say it was, she said.{139}