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for the man was shrewd and bought influence. His predecessor, less politic, purchased gaudy wares, an Irish peerage, which is naught.

It was around the name and the fate of this predecessor that the anxieties of Mr. Rumbold thickened. The morning after a battle, and the year after a revolution, are unpleasant times: there is the cleaning-up to be done. This was the year following the Madras Cabal. A regularly appointed Lieutenant-Governor, one Lord Pigot, best remembered to-day as the sometime owner of the great Pigot Diamond, had been deposed by a mutinous council, arrested by a suborned aide and bribed troops, immured in his own garden-house, and never seen alive again. The man had cried in vain for help to the fleet upon the station, had appealed to the authorities at Home; but England was far and the Governors slow. He was in his enemies' hands the while: they were playing for a tremendous stake, and took no chances. When the despatches at last arrived-formal rebuke for the mutineers and reinstatement for their prisoner-the man was dead. "Climate and constitution," said his jailers; but found none to believe them at the time, nor since.

And the actual cause of this quarrel? Come, I will give it in brief. Conceive a Council of State cleft by opposing greeds as by a knife, its two halves not upon speaking terms, each striving for the casting vote of a Governor as greedy as themselves, and employing the minor servants of their company upon their private speculations.

To a meeting of such a council comes me in upon a Monday morning a clerk, a junior clerk, an it please ye, a fellow of small account, of exiguous salary (nominal), whose very name has perished, albeit his day's work remains upon the record. This understrapper

lays upon the council-table a petition for redress in his own name, praying the Honorable Council to collect a certain debt for him, moneys which he, the said understrapper, has lent to a certain Rajah, to wit, about a quarter of a million sterling (have patience: sober fact, I assure you). Having made his bow, presented and explained his petition, the fellow does what he should have done before doing either, runs his eye around the table. Enemies to a man! Not a friend was present! His heart sank; they were at him, he was bidden to explain, he stammered, flushed, and when heckled as to his details, presently admitted that one item of seventy thousand pounds sterling should have stood at twelve thousand, and so on. He is chidden from the room, not too vigorously, for the men around that table were deep in the game, and were playing it just as unscrupulously, and had their own man of straw with a claim of like amount upon the same estate. The bungler rushes to his friends, "Oh, why were you not there?" "Fool," they reply, "'twas not the day. We gave you Tuesday; you came on Monday. But, cheer up, things may be mended. Whilst the other side is laughing we will act. Come again tomorrow." He came, they were there to meet him, the others absent, celebrating their success, and by the time absentees were hurried up, the previous day's minutes had been rescinded, and the claim, seventy thousand and all, passed for collection in its original shape, with an explanatory censure upon the petitioner for "incivility of demeanor" at his first hearing to account for the change of front.

It was plain that the estate could not pay two such fines; who was to put in execution first? Let the Governor decide. His Excellency did decide (for considerations received, as one fears), the beaten party threatened,

the Governor attempted to arrest them, but was countermined; they arrested him: he had died in their hands.

Hence the usurper was an anxious man. Point after point he had scored, but the rubber was still in dispute. The rival party played doggedly on and held a card or two yet. The kidnapping and imprisonment had won the first game. The approval of Mr. Warren Hastings (for reasons still undisclosed) and the endorsement of the accomplished fact by a venal Court of Governors at Home had come within a pip of landing the second. The reversal of that endorsement by the Court of Proprietors had gone near to spoiling all, had not the opportune death of the prisoner in the gardenhouse deferred the issue.

A dead man neither tells tales nor is capable of reinstatement: that second game might be reckoned drawn. Back went the case to the India House for review; and whilst awaiting instructions, the acting Governor, with an angry ghost looking over his shoulder, sorted a weak hand for the final tussle, and led trumps. He would force the game; the French were always with us in the East; he fell upon them (in time of peace, look you).

The man had anticipated the declaration of hostilities, and had struck without waiting for permission; had succeeded indeed, but not to the full. Would the Honorable Court stand by him, or throw him over? Would the King's ministers back him up? He rubbed a dubious nose, reflecting that much depended upon how the thing was put before the big people at Home. He could indite despatches, none better; but who could tell how they would read at the other end? They could answer no questions; they might need amplifying, explaining, setting in a proper light. So a man must sail for Home forthwith, a man of the best, one whom he could trust to expound

his aims and smooth away difficulties. A confidential agent he must have, but not the sort he had sent the year before (he winced at remembering what that mission had cost him). The time had gone by for your backstairs crawler, skilled in the greasing of itching palms; the business had got beyond the Court of Governors: it would be an affair of la haute politique, and the final word would be with the King's minister, possibly with George himself.

Whom should he send? and once again, whom? He had about him men of parts and men of courage, but not a man whom he could trust. One of the beaten faction was not to be thought of, whilst his personal following was compromised; the taint of conspiracy, and of worse, clung to them one and all. Nor was he sure of them. General this, Colonel that, Member of Council the other: who would not sell him if he saw his market?

The Governor looked over the heads of the expectant crowd and beckoned to him a soldier on active service. The man had hardly rank enough; still, a major might pass. What status had Philip Francis when a King's minister pitchforked the fellow from his desk at the War Office into the Bengal Council?

Oh, but there was mortified surprise, and the silence of disappointed men with claims, who knew in their hearts that the choice could be justified. There were even some who could offer excuses.

His Excellency had gone outside the ring lest he should be pestered to death by unsuitable applicants: the case was far too grave for favoritism-a job at this juncture might ruin his noble self. He was in no humor to give a Government passage to some broken punter that he might escape his native creditors, or to help a rake to prolong a life already doomed by self-indulgence.

The Indiaman lay all but ready; her fruit and water aboard; her powder sent below; the sail-maker's gang had finished its labors, and the man she was to carry, the man of His Excellency's choice, was to dine at Government House that evening, and should sail at daybreak if the wind held.

Thus it befell that Major Wade Justin, his mails packed for the voyage, his final arrangements and farewells made, was riding out to Mylapore that afternoon upon an unexpected summons. He rode slowly, for the sun was strong, and he wished, if he might, to be seen at his best at His Excellency's table later. A quiet afternoon in quarters would have been more to his mind; but this was a man who, from the day upon which he had landed in India, had never spared himself, who had always gone for his duty as soon as he saw it plainly; and as he had begun he would finish.

Let us stand aside and watch him pass, the small black hoofs of his dapple-gray Arab lightly tapping the dusty track: the rider, a well-knit, light-boned man of forty, who might pass for five-and-twenty in the saddle, so close is his seat, so light his bridlehand, so gently have the crows' feet pressed the angles of his alert and kindly eyes. The fellow bears himself like a griffin in his first season, showing a firm, bronzed cheek, a well-chiselled lip and shapely chin, both exquisitely scraped, for the man is a bit of a beau, neat and dainty as a youngster of half his years. So well does he carry his age, and so helpfully does the mode of his day and his service cover the touches of time, that it is only when one looks him full in the face that one is conscious of a presence which only years can confer, and which is rarely conferred to a man upon the sunny side of thirty-five.

"A dd poor bottle-man," his mess had dubbed him whilst still a subal


tern, and Justin had owned the impeachment. with a disarming laugh: "You drink to the health of his Majesty, but I follow his example. ye point me to a better?" A placable, tactful fellow this, you perceive, who had been known to permit Philip sober to recall the cartel despatched by Philip in his cups. "Twas a duelling age: the crack of the pistol rings out sharply and often in the annals of the time. Our countrymen in the East were at least as keen upon the point of honor as their brethren at Home: neither the forlorn fewness of their numbers nor the tremendous issues which hung upon irreplaceable lives deterred them. Warren Hastings goes out with Francis-think of it! the veritable Junius of the Letters exchanges shots with the first and greatest of England's proconsuls; the bullet that might have changed the destiny of the East flies wide, it is the spiteful pamphleteer who takes a wound. Heavens! how men quarrelled in that day, and the lengths they went! The bitterness and the pertinacities of those old "affairs of honor"! fort, factory, and mess had its fireeater, the younger the fiercer; raw griffins, with their names to make, insisted upon going out, would take no denials, and fought across the handkerchief from preference. Justin had come through this furnace unscathed. As second, as referee, as president of courts of honor he had acted times without number; but not the hottest head in the Presidency, unless bemused with rack punch, had ventured to make a principal of this dapper, courteous little man, whose sword-arm was as cool and as supple as a steel rod, and who could kill a kite upon the wing with the pistol.


Nathless, 'tis probable the man's abstemious habit had retarded his promotion. Moderation is seldom popular. In our own time the general who fights

an entirely well-planned and successful campaign upon cold tea is detested and despised by the troops he leads to victory, and whose healths he sedulously preserved, whilst the rosy-gilled viveur, whose genial presence and bluff address are the mask of shaken nerve, may lose battle after battle and still be worshipped by his poor tipsified Tommies, kindred spirits, with a wink for frailties which they passionately deny. Justin was widely respected, but not loved as men love the victim of some endearing vice; nobody jobbed for him as men will job for a brother toper; but, otherwise, he had nothing to regret: at forty he had seen his mess out and was the doyen of the garrison, well thought of by the leading natives, and held to possess the best heart, the clearest head, and the cleanest sheet in Fort George.


Hence, since everything comes him who can wait, when his Excellency wanted an agent-extraordinary he picked this prim, silent fellow, grumbling as he made his selection, that if it came to heavy fighting, the Thirty-ninth would miss the best wingleader in India.

To return to our man on the gray Arab.

Where compound walls constricted a suburb lane, the rider must needs draw rein: a palki issuing from a garden entrance blocked the way. Some one within was swearing gruffly at a servant who hastily effaced chalk-marks from the door. The execrations passed into a joyful shout. "Ho, Justin, my good fellow! This is luck! Set me down, boys. Bearer, help me out of this. Wait. I'm with ye in a moment, old friend. Ha! Ha! My crutch. boy!" A hot-faced man of full habit, puffing and chuckling as he moved. approached the rider, whom courtesy compelled to dismount.

"So here I have ye! Ha ha!-the man of all I was dyin' to see! Come,

my dear major-ye know my gardens. What? An engagement? Absurd! Oh, but ye must and shall!"

"Nay, Sir Robin, I thank ye heartily; my time is not my own, and, with your leave, I must not and shall not!" replied Justin, with a certain smiling crispness, and it was the florid general who yielded, as men always did yield to the impenetrable courtesy of Justin.

"What, not a bottle? and ye sail tonight. A parting glass, then!" urged the other.

"Not a thimbleful, as you love me. Come, I appeal to your judgment: I have far to ride in this sun, and am to dine with the Governor."

"Hang the Governor!" growled the Governor's Commander-in-Chief, for it was he, no less; and instantly forcing the jolly laugh for which he was famous, hobbled nearer to his companion and caught his sleeve; "Then, as ye will not sit with me, ye piece of cruelty, I must make my adieux standing, though I swear my toe is on fire already. Look here, my boy, I congratulate ye. "Tis Home ye are going, and with despatches. The billet was mine by rights, ha! ha! But let that pass."

"They couldn't spare Sir Robin

"And that's truer than ye know," with a meaning nod and a grimace. "Justin, my boy, I may call ye?—I've always stood your friend. Ye'll admit as much; 'twas your cursed punctiliousness, not my ill-will, that has kept ye a poor man. Ye've had your chances." "Have I complained?"

"Never! But, as I was saying, I have always given ye my good word, and now I am by way of wanting a bit of my own back, for I have need of yours. Yes!" The speaker's jovial face was drawn and earnest now, and his voice husky and caressing, his bloodshot eye sought to catch and hold his man's. Justin, detained by the

sleeve, stiffened instinctively, apprehending disagreeables.

"Ye will back me before the Governors, Justin? Ye will? We have pulled through a ticklish time together. Poor Pigot was an arrogant fool, and greedy; and that's God's truth, though the man's dead. He had made three fortunes. Why couldn't he go Home and give the rest a chance? 'Twas bound to come in some form or other, for we are none of us here for our healths. We all want a dip in the lucky-bag (all but yourself, ha! ha!). But, as for what happened, ye know, Justin, as well as any man, that I had no hand in it. need not particularize; but there are things which an officer and a gentleman- That arrest, now, 'twas mutiny, no less; and the manner of it was infernally inhospitable. To drink a man's wine, share his carriage and all, with the warrant in one's pocket! No, no; a Fletcher couldn't do it, but a Stuart, faugh! These adventurers are not squeamish. No; I assure you, I

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"Just so. You were not involved. As I was given to understand, your gout"

"Was 'unpardonably opportune.' Rumbold's word, confound him! Not to my face, but I know what they say in the closet. O, I have still my friends! ha ha! But none like you, my boy, none! And 'tis your good offices with the Court I am building upon."

But Justin gave no sign. He was courteously anxious to escape, but had seen no opening yet. Fletcher ran on, edging nearer: there was more to come. His eye twinkled as if he had perpetrated a joke; he emitted small humorous sounds and indulged in grotesque facial contortions whilst loosing at intervals a rich, throaty laugh as if to point a good story; standing back from his man to watch the jape home, still holding to his sleeve. 'Twas Sir Robert's way ("Robin" he was for being

called)-it was his manner, his temperament, as courteous reserve was Justin's; but the world must be amused, and is apt to undervalue staid, good service whilst profuse to its favorite buffoon.

"These fellows have had the devil's own luck, so far; but, mark me, the thing will miscarry, yet. That gardenhouse business-we know what will out; eh, my boy?" The husky voice fell low and tremulous.

"Sir Robin, I know nothing, and have shut my ears to bazaar gup. You had sent me upon special service up-country before the trouble began, and I have been engaged with the French in one form or another ever since"

"You? Who is talking of you?" blurted the other with momentary loss of patience. "It is I who am in the cleft stick, and need you, O, more than I can tell! Yet ye have put off coming to me until the last moment, and want to give me the go-by: I swear ye do! Have I not writ to ye twice? Never say ye did not get-Whew! Then, begad, 'tis as I feared; our people have been got at: there's a hedge about us. I was upon my way to ye when ye came up. I swear 'tis a providence. Ha ha!" he laughed. "For, lookye, Justin, 'twas necessary for me to have speech with ye at all hazards, and here we are, though I fancy at some risk to us both." He glanced sharply down the lane and chuckled grimly.

"So bad as that, Sir Robin ?"

"My boy, ye know nothing: that's your safety. But I know all, to my danger. Both sides approached me: Iwell-I played with 'em. What was a man to do? And it seems I've fallen between two stools. You were away, but a man upon the spot, as I was, and with my tom-toe in a vice, and in such agony that I signed anything that that villain Stuart put before me They acted without my knowledge; I was as innocent as a babe; I swear it;

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