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The secretary shook his head. "I had already considered that possibility. We are certainly very busy at presentDon Alejandro is making a complete revision of the affairs of the bank, and he has also on hand some very large operations on the London exchange market. No man is entirely in his confidence-not even I; but from whatever angle I study those operations, I can see no ground for anxiety. The bank was never more flourishing. With regard to his private life, you may say that of late years he has had no private life."

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'We are in the dark, then." The doctor knitted his brows. "Do you, Don Mario, continue to act as you have been doing -that is, protect him as much as possible from annoyance or friction. Meanwhile, I will make a point of seeing him, and if his trouble is not what I suspect, but merely some physical ailment, rest assured that I shall do what is necessary."

At half-past seven that evening Dr Locksley ascended the marble steps of the Club de la Constitucion. The physician made his way to the readingroom, sure that, unless he were bed-ridden, Don Alejandro VOL. CCXXI.-NO. MCCCXXXV.

would be in his accustomed corner. Unobserved, he seated himself at a distance from the old banker, and looked him over with a professional eye. Undoubtedly the secretary had grounds for apprehension. Don Alejandro had a sunken look about the eyes, and the healthy ivory of his skin had turned a livid white in patches. The more the doctor looked, the less he liked what he saw, and he crossed the room and took an adjacent chair.

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Good - evening, Mr Mackenzie," he remarked. how are you?"

The banker looked up. "Fine, thank ye," he replied. For all his San Martinian birth, his Scots tongue had been inherited intact from his father.

"The deuce you are," observed the doctor inwardly. "Well, you don't look it, my beauty. How did you get yourself into this shape, I wonder? Aloud he said, "I wish I was. I can't get any proper sleep, these hot nights."

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The doctor, baulked in his approach, abruptly changed his tactics.

"Only that? I shouldn't have thought so. You look as if you'd been overworking, Don Alejandro. Better take a day or two off."

"Overwork! Either there's no such a thing, or I've been doing it all my life."

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Poof, my dear sir! A man of your good sense knows as much about what overwork can do as any doctor. I tell you seriously, you're not looking well. In your position you can't afford to play tricks with yourself. I'm your medical man, you know. Go down to your country place for a week, and forget about whatever it is that's on your mind. I can see there's something."

Don Alejandro had a momentary impulse towards confidence, a sudden desire to pour out his heart. But it was only a passing weakness, gone as soon as come. The dourness of his inarticulate nature, and his lifelong habit of silence, reasserted themselves. Besides, what could he have said?

"I tell ye," he remarked flatly, "I'm not ill. I'm not troubled at present by anything, forby a most impudent sawbones. With your permission I'll be on with my reading."

Four months later Dr Locksley received another visitor in his consulting-room-Don Julio Mackenzie, plump, blue-jowled, and olive-skinned, with quick


black eyes: a San Martinian of the San Martinians. But still, so tenacious is that northern strain, speaking English with that clear-cut purity which stamps the educated Scotsman. "You ask me what your father died of," the doctor was saying. Well, my dear Don Julio, I will be frank with you. I don't know what your father died of. They called me over to the bank, but, of course, there was nothing to be done. He must have simply snuffed out like a candle as he sat at his desk. From my examination-a thorough one, I assure you-I can say that there was nothing whateverphysically the matter with him. He was an extremely healthy specimen for his time of life, and ought to have lived another fifteen years. His trouble was mental. He had some secret weight upon his mind, which neither I nor any of his dependants, nor his friends-he had more, perhaps, than he was aware of-could locate. Perhaps, now that you have taken over the family affairs, you may be wiser in that respect."


The younger man shook his head.

"His affairs, and those of the bank, are in excellent shape," he said. "Before his death, he completed a most thorough overhaul of our business, and there is not a link in our organisation which is not entirely sound. Certainly, there is evidence that he was much preoccupied by this very ill

considered move on the part of the Government-I refer, of course, to the recent note issue, which has led to the present low exchange and business dislocation. But, of course, there was nothing in that to affect him personally, and indeed, owing to the extremely shrewd steps he took when the project became known to banking circles, we have even profited by it so far. No, there was nothing in that. My father had faced many a crisis of much more vital importance to his interests, and I really believe he enjoyed such things."

The doctor nodded, a reminiscent gleam in his eye. There was much evidence, almost legendary, to the same effect.

"What you have said," continued Don Julio, "simply confirms what Santelices and the others in the bank have told me. He appeared suddenly to fall away, for no visible reason. My father was, as you know, a man of extreme reserve, even with us who knew him intimately. I fear he lacked the capacity to confide-he never in his life put his feelings into words. I know, none better, that behind his manner he could

feel very deeply; but what this secret sorrow may have been I cannot even guess."

"I can illustrate what I mean by an analogous case," observed the doctor. "You remember Francis Arthur Francis, the broker-who lost his wife and two children when the Guayaquil went down with all hands three years ago ? There was nothing the matter with him either, but he died in three months. That was exactly how your father died -as if he had lost child very dear to him. Does that give you no indication?"

Don Julio shrugged his shoulders-an entirely Latin shrug, expressing the most complete bewilderment.

"I fear I shall never know," he replied.

Across the street, within sight of the two men as they rose from their chairs, a clerk was chalking a blackboard outside a money-changer's office. He slowly wrote: "Cambio sobre Londres-427 peniques." In the almacen next door the Italian grocer removed a price ticket from a pile of yellow sugar, and substituted another indicating a rise in price.



THE opening scene is laid in a city which has three different names, ending in -berg, -wow, and -opol respectively.

The great waiting-room of the railway station has a chill stone floor, and walls adorned by still more chilly-looking classical statuary of heroic size, but of distinct merit.

As you sip your milkless tea out of an octagonal glass, you watch the local squireens come in and out in their long, frogged, fur-lined coats with immense many - pleated skirts such as men wear in Persia. They stamp the snow from their Vfronted high-heeled jackboots, strew out their gear, and settle down, as people do in spacious countries, where trains come in and out at all hours of the twenty-four. Every now and Every now and again a fresh party drives up in a sleigh, slithering over the dirty hard-packed snow of the station yard.

You drink almost endless glasses of tea as you wait for the rest of your party and for your train. Tea is peculiar in this country very peculiar, because it is called by a name not, as in all other languages, derived from the Chinese. Your Tibetan's Tsambo and your Irishman's tay are philologically the same, however different they may taste. One could hardly expect tea made

by a Tibetan with a Laputan mind, and with pepper, salt, and butter in it, to resemble the "gun-fire " of the ould country.

Where we now are we call it Herbata, no doubt from the desire to be different. When two men of this country meet, you will there encounter three opinions. Praise God for the diversity of his creatures.

Your train, when at last it comes into real being out of the frozen murk of the first dawn, stimulates your feeling of adventure - glamour. For not only has the towering locomotive with shiny works outside a real practicable cowcatcher, but it boasts also a vast bulging smoke-stack with a very Texan spark-arrester ; and a bell, no less.

The entraining of even a small shooting party, whose dogs wind themselves round every one's legs and whose innumerable gun-cases fill every corner, is no small matter. There are many weird and odd packages. The doors are few and narrow, and situate at the top of several steps at the ends of the high slab-sided coaches.

But in this country even railway conductors have an awed respect for the sport of the "Pans," and really no

one is in a hurry, genuinely speaking.

The train is steam-heated almost to suffocating point; the morn is extremely young and not yet properly aired, so very soon three sportsmen are sprawling in somnolent contortions all over the baggage jumbled on the floor.

Then the early dawn converts the frosty murk first into pearly slashes, then to a turquoise blue. As one's sleeve scours the hoar from the windows, the rising day discloses a landscape half Asiatic and half Irish.

Bouldery river-beds, undyked and unrevetted, take one's mind back to the valleys of Miranzai, or of the Jaxartes, as the train rumbles over rough-and-ready timber bridges across affluents of rude Borysthenes.

Now and again burnt-out gable-ends like blackened fangs obtrude from the kind earth, and bend one's thoughts towards Irish Constabulary Barracks and Court-houses in Kerry and Clare.

The countryside rolls down southward in big gentle slopes.

There is spaciousness, and the eye is not hemmed in by the close hedges of England nor distracted by telegraphpoles. It can as often as not traverse a quadrant of the horizon without being jarred by some rasping ugliness made by humans..

There are few trees below the foothills. This increases the feeling of emptiness, and even of bareness.

Here and there a line of sparse poplars marks the line of a road, or a thicker clump almost hides a village of whitewashed or yellow-washed single storey houses.

The rich black soil becomes thin as it slopes down to the stones and shingle of the shallow water-courses, which the unfenced railway crosses on unfenced timber bridges.

Though the countryside looks bare to the English eye, the land is rich and fertile to the last degree. So much so, indeed, that the German in his military occupation in 1917 loaded the very earth of the fields into trains, and transported it to enrich the hungry plains of Prussia. Thus is the Teuton.

An old retainer driving a Magyar caleche meets the party at the wayside station, and in some extraordinary way all the multifarious gear is packed into it. Now one packs oneself in with bear-skins and wolfskins, and glad to do so. Though the city and all around was under snow, here, several hundred feet higher, the roads are almost free, and one can drive on wheels. The longtailed scarcely groomed horses take the carriage along at a spanking pace, more usually a canter than a trot. It rocks and sways over the ridges of the frozen road. The harness is good, made of well-greased supple leather, its components fastened together with raw hide thongs, and all goes well.

Now we sway through a sleepy village, unpaved and un

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