Next morning, it occurred to the Squire that he had dismissed
Pentreddle too abruptly, or, rather–since the man wished to go–had
given him leave too easily. A thousand and one questions came into his
mind, which he desired to ask, and which he should have put to the
sailor during their hurried interview. But a recollection that Harry
was stopping at Hendle, and was holding himself at the disposal of his
feudal chief–modern style–reconciled him to the oversight, and he
decided that the second examination would be a longer one. “I shall
drive over to Hendle to-day and cross-examine him,” thought the
Squire; and completing his toilette he descended to breakfast with an
excellent appetite.

At the meal he heard news, for Akira stated that he would have to
return that day to London, as his Chief wanted him. “But I am coming
down again in a few days,” said the Japanese, stealing a glance at
Mara, who sat opposite to him, rosy-faced and interested, “in my

“I didn’t know you had a yacht, Akira,” said Basil, with the keen
interest of a sailor in his craft.

“Oh, yes,” replied the Count, composedly; “a very good yacht, my
friend. I have much money, you know, and have taken to your English
ways so far as to buy a steam yacht. Later, I propose returning to my
own country in her.”

Colpster was frankly relieved that Akira intended to leave. He did not
for one moment connect him with those who were hunting, or who had
been hunting for the Mikado Jewel; but while that curious object was
in the house he preferred the Count’s absence to his presence. There
was no doubt that if the little man did learn how the gem had returned
to its original possessors, that he would clamour for its restoration
to Kitzuki. And that was not to be thought of for one moment. The
Squire had not yet solved the problem as to why the jewel had been
sent to him, or how the sender had known that its presence was desired
at Beckleigh Hall by its master. He would have liked to question
Akira, for if a priest, according to Pentreddle, had snatched the
emerald from Patricia, Akira, as a Japanese, would best be able to
explain that same priest’s reasons for sending it to Devonshire. But
it was obviously impossible to ask such a question, so Colpster
contented himself with expressing regret that the Count had been
compelled to cut short his stay at the Hall. “I trust when you return
in your yacht you will at least complete your interrupted visit by
sleeping under my roof,” said Colpster.

“Thank you, no, sir,” replied the Japanese politely. “I shall remain
on my boat for the few days I stay here. And I hope,” he added, with a
comprehensive bow to all present, “that you will allow me to return
your great hospitality, Mr. Colpster, by giving an entertainment on

“An entertainment!” cried Mara, and her eyes sparkled.

“Yes! A Japanese entertainment, with Japanese food and drinks and
amusements, Miss Colpster. It will be a change for you, and no doubt
will give you a great deal of pleasure.”

“It will give us all pleasure,” said Patricia, smiling, for the black
eyes of the little man were fixed on her face.

“Then I ask you all to my entertainment. Even your servants must come,
Mr. Colpster. They never see anything unusual down here, so it will
amuse them to see how we Japanese live. I presume,” added Akira, with
an attempt at humour, “that you can allow this house to be empty for
one night?”

“Oh, yes,” said Theodore, laughing; “there are no robbers about here.”

“In that case, I hope my invitation will be accepted.”

“Certainly, Count, and thank you for the invitation,” observed the
Squire in a hearty manner. “On behalf of myself, my family and my
household, I accept.”

Akira bowed. “That is good, sir, for, as I depart for my own country,
after I leave this place in my yacht, I will not see you again for
many a long year. I have to remain at Tokio for official business. But
I have had a delightful stay here”–he looked round pleasantly–“and
you will see, all of you, how I can return your kindness.”

“But won’t you be tired travelling to London to-day?” said Theodore,

The Count’s piercing eyes seemed to look the questioner through and
through as if inquiring why he asked this particular question. “I
retired early last night, as you know, Mr. Dane,” he said quietly,
“and so I am not at all weary. Dane,” he turned sideways to Basil,
“you will drive me to Hendle?”

“You must allow me to do that, Count,” put in the Squire. “I have to
go to Hendle on business to-day.”

“Thank you, sir. You show true hospitality.”

Basil felt uneasy as he did not know if the guest spoke ironically or
not, and resolved to test the matter. “I can come also, Akira.”

“Ah, but no, it is not necessary.” Akira held up a protesting hand. “I
shall enjoy the drive with your uncle. Stay here, and we shall meet
again on board the _Miko_.”

Mara started. “The _Miko!_” she cried eagerly, and with shining eyes.

“The name of my yacht, Miss Colpster. I named her after the Divine

The girl looked as though she wished to ask further questions, but a
significant glance of Patricia’s directed towards the Squire, who knew
nothing about the Miko Dance, made Mara more prudent. She rose
abruptly from the table, and shortly the rest followed her example.
Akira went to see that his servant was packing his things properly,
and Basil accompanied him. As for Theodore, he followed his uncle into
the library and closed the door.

“What did Pentreddle say to you last night?” he asked anxiously.

“It’s a long story,” said Colpster, sitting down to look over his
correspondence; “he will tell it to you himself. I am driving over to
Hendle, and will bring him back with me. Akira I can drop at the
station to catch the afternoon express.”

“I should like to come also, uncle, as I am so anxious to hear Harry’s

“There is no room in the brougham for you,” said Colpster, coldly, and
showed very plainly by this unnecessary lie that he did not wish for
his nephew’s company. Theodore frowned. He knew that he was no

“At least, uncle, give me a short account of what you heard.”

The Squire at first refused, but Theodore was so persistent that in
the end he was obliged to yield, and hastily ran through the story.
“What do you think?” he asked, when he ended.

“I expect Harry is right, and that the priest with the scar murdered
his mother. No doubt the man learned why Harry was hanging round the
Home of Art and laid his plans accordingly.”

“But Martha did not possess the emerald!” insisted the Squire,

“The priest did not know that at the time,” said Dane, grimly; “his
accomplice watched Harry, apparently, while the man with the scar
watched the Crook Street house. He must have induced Martha to let him
in–she might have thought it was her son, you know. Then, when she
grew frightened, and threatened him with her stiletto, he used it
against her, and having murdered the poor old thing, finally searched
the house.”

Colpster nodded. He could see no other solution of the mystery.
“Curious, though, that the priest did not get caught by the police.”

“Oh, according to the evidence the fog was very bad, and one policeman
confessed in print that he did not patrol the _cul de sac_ carefully.
Pity he did not catch the brute.”

“Oh!” said Colpster, with a grim look, “Harry will see that the man is
punished. He is going from Amsterdam in a tramp steamer to Japan for
that very purpose.”

“I can’t understand,” said Theodore, after a pause, and tapping the
desk with his long fingers, “why Harry didn’t give me the emerald when
he met me. It would have saved all this trouble.”

The Squire coughed in rather an embarrassed manner. He could scarcely
tell Theodore that Harry, acting under his mother’s instructions,
wished particularly to prevent him from gaining possession of the
jewel. He therefore shrugged his shoulders and evaded the question.
“There are many things we cannot understand in connection with this

“Quite so,” said Theodore, with an uneasy look at the safe;
“particularly why the Mikado Jewel should have been sent to you.
Uncle,” he added, after a pause, “get rid of it. Sell it; pawn it;
return it to Akira to take back to Japan, but send it out of the
house, I beg of you.”

“Why?” demanded Colpster, drawing his brows together; “are you mad?”

Theodore wiped the perspiration from his high, white forehead. “On the
contrary, I am particularly sane. You heard what Akira said about the
reverse power possibly bringing the cliff down on the house.”

“Oh, rubbish,” said the Squire, roughly; “Akira doesn’t know that the
gem is in this house.”

“All the more reason for believing that he spoke truly,” said Dane,
with a desperate look. “I am sure the thing is evil. There is now an
in-drawing power, as you know. Miss Carrol felt it.”

“I don’t believe in all this rubbish. Patricia is a fanciful girl,”
said Colpster coldly. “The emerald is in my possession, and I intend
to keep it. If you dare to tell Akira about it, Theodore, I shall send
you out of the house and will never recognize you again as my nephew.”

“I am not so sure but what I would prefer to be out of the house,
while that damned thing is in it,” said Theodore between his teeth.
“You are playing with fire, uncle. See that you don’t get burnt,” and
with this warning he departed, leaving the old man looking after his
back contemptuously. He was a very material man was the Squire, and
considered that his nephew was an ass for believing in things which
could not be proved by arithmetic.

Theodore was not happy in his mind when Akira and Colpster departed,
for there were many matters which worried him. Basil, as usual, was
following Patricia about the house, and that was one grievance. Now
that Mara would not marry him he would certainly lose the chance of
inheriting, through her, the desirable acres of Beckleigh, and that
was another grievance. Finally, the presence of the charmed Mikado
Jewel in the house troubled him very much indeed. He felt certain that
Granny Lee’s prophecy concerned it, since Akira had spoken of the
occult powers of the stone. And Patricia had felt the reversion of the
power, so Theodore uneasily considered that it was just possible that
the cliff might be shaken down in ruins on the house.

He went out and looked at its mighty height, almost expecting to see
signs of crumbling. But, of course, there were none. The red cliff
stood up boldly and gigantically, as it had stood for centuries past.
The sight of its massive grandeur rather reassured Theodore.

“It’s all rubbish,” he muttered to himself, coming in out of the rain,
for all the morning there had been a downpour. “I daresay I am making
a mountain out of a mole-hill. All the same”–his eyes fell on the
safe in the library. In it he knew was the jewel safely locked away.
To shift the Mikado emerald he would need to shift the safe, and that
was impossible. “Oh, it is all rubbish!” he declared again, and then
went to his own rooms.

On the way he passed the library, and saw Mara lying on the cushions
of the sofa stringing beads: onyx, turquoise, malachite, pink coral
and slivers of amethyst. They gleamed like a rainbow as they slid
through her deft hands. Theodore wondered where she got them and
entered to inquire.

“Count Akira gave them to me,” said Mara, gaily, and tried the effect
of the glittering chain against her pale golden hair; “aren’t they

“Yes, but your father won’t like you taking presents from that
infernal Japanese, Mara,” said Theodore, crossly. His nerves were so
upset that he felt it would relieve him to vent his temper on someone.

Mara sprang to her feet like a small fury, and her face grew darkly
red, as her pale eyes blazed with anger. “You have no right to speak
in that way of Count Akira. I love him; I don’t care who hears me. I
love him!” She sat down again suddenly. “I wish he would take me to
Japan,” she ended viciously.

“Mara!” Theodore was horrified; “a Japanese?”

“Well. I was one ages ago,” she retorted.

“I don’t believe it.”

“Yes, you do. You know too much about these occult things to

Theodore, as a matter of fact, did believe, but he did not intend to
confess as much. “You can’t be sure,” he snapped, furiously.

“I can be sure, and I am sure,” said Mara, mutinously; “since I danced
the Round of the Divineress and heard the music, it all has come back
to me. I remember the Temple of Kitzuki quite well, and the
ceremonies. Oh, I wish I could go back there. It is my native land.”

Theodore looked at her stealthily, and his eyes glittered as an idea
struck him hard. “Would you go if Akira took you?”

“Yes.” Mara wet her lips and stared at him. “Perhaps he will take me,”
she said softly; “he is coming back in his yacht, you know.”

“If you went, your father would disown you.”

“I don’t care.”

“You would lose Beckleigh.”

“I don’t care.”

“You would be cut off from your own race.”

“I don’t care.”

“You are a fool,” shouted Theodore, savagely. “I’ll tell your father.”

Mara wreathed her many-hued beads artistically round her neck and
admired herself in the mirror over the fireplace. But she also had a
glimpse of her cousin’s face, and spoke from what she read written
thereon. “No, you won’t, Theodore,” she observed, coolly, and
meaningly; “you would be glad to see me run off with Count Akira and
give up everything.”

“Why should I be glad?” demanded Dane, taken aback by this shrewd
reading of his most secret thoughts.

“Because, as you say, my father would have nothing to do with me, and
you would inherit Beckleigh. I am safe in your hands.”

“There is no chance for me,” said Theodore tartly. “Failing you, Basil
would inherit.”

“I don’t think so if he marries Patricia.”

“Uncle George likes Patricia.”

“I know that: so do we all. But I don’t think he would like Basil to
marry her. In fact,” Mara faced him, “I believe that father would like
to make Patricia my step-mother.”

“What!” Theodore was now really astonished. “It’s absurd!”

“I don’t see that. Father is still a young man for his years,

“Oh, rubbish; nonsense!” Theodore broke furiously into her speech, and
fairly ran out of the room to think over the problem thus presented to

He believed that what his cousin said was perfectly true, as Mara was
an observant young person in spite of her dreamy ways. Then he
remembered how Colpster always professed to admire Patricia, and did
so loudly. He was always asking her if she liked the place and what he
could do for her, and telling her that he hoped she would stay there
for the rest of her life.

Theodore drew a long breath. “I see what the old man is up to,” he
considered. “As Mara won’t marry either Basil or myself, he intends to
marry Patricia in the hope of having an heir to the estate. That would
be an end to everything. Not that I believe the girl would have him.”

And yet of this Theodore could not be sure, as he judged Miss Carrol
by his own greedy self. Could any girl, penniless, as he knew Patricia
to be, resist the offer of so beautiful a home? Dane thought not, and
set his wits to work to bar any possible chance of this very
unexpected thing coming to pass. To do so, he had only to throw
Patricia into Basil’s arms and he believed that he knew how to do

“I’ll ask her to marry me,” thought Theodore with an evil smile; “and
then Basil will be so furious that he’ll ask her. She hates me and
loves him, so in the end they will become engaged. Then Uncle George
will kick them both out of the house. Mara evidently intends to elope
with Akira when he returns in his yacht. The little beast said that
the boat after leaving here was going straight to Japan. That will
settle her. Ha! I shall be the only person left to console Uncle
George, so he must as a reasonable man leave me the property. I can
see it all.”

Thus arranging his plans, he went away to find Patricia, and force her
into Basil’s arms. He was sorry to lose the girl because of her
psychic powers, but as she plainly hated him–he saw that
easily–there was not any chance for him. Since he could not make use
of her in one way, he therefore decided to make use of her in another.
Through her, Basil could be got rid of, and then Mara would ruin
herself by eloping with Akira. Dane rubbed his hands with delight, at
the prospect thus opened out before him. He even forgot his uneasiness
over the Mikado Jewel, and ceased for the moment to remember the
sinister prophecy of Mrs. Brenda Lee.

Of course, it was necessary to act a comedy so as to accomplish his
aims, and he suspected that he would suffer pain during his acting. If
he insulted Patricia, which he intended to do, Basil would assuredly
knock him down. But if the sailor did that he would be obliged to
declare his love for Patricia, if only to prove his rights to be her
champion. And what did a little pain matter to the prospective owner
of Beckleigh Hall?

The schemer found the pair in the smoking-room, a cosy and somewhat
modern apartment–for the house–which was in the west wing. It
possessed a large plate-glass window which looked down the vista,
where the trees were cut down, to the beach and the waters of the bay.
Patricia, knitting a silk tie, sat on the sofa near the window, while
Basil lounged in a deep arm-chair smoking his pipe. The two were
laughing when Theodore entered, but suddenly became serious when they
saw who had disturbed them. It was strange that the elder Dane should
always produce a dull impression on the gayest of people. Perhaps it
was owing to the uncanny and disagreeable atmosphere which he always
carried about with him.

“What’s the joke?” asked the new-comer, throwing himself into an
arm-chair opposite to that in which his brother sat.

“Nothing,” said Basil shortly, and his brow wrinkled. “What do you

“To smoke a cigarette,” replied Theodore, producing his case; “the
room is free to all, isn’t it?”

“Quite free,” said Patricia colouring, for she did not like his tone.
When the two brothers were together she was always apprehensive of
trouble. For this reason, and because she hoped to throw oil on
troubled fraternal waters, did she refrain from leaving the room. Yet
Theodore’s look was so insolent that she half rose to do so. “I

“Don’t go, Patricia,” said the elder brother hastily.

“Mr. Dane, I do not like you to call me by my Christian name,” she
said, and her colour grew deeper than ever. She rose to her full
height now, and made ready to go.

“Theodore doesn’t know what he is saying,” muttered Basil in a tone of
suppressed rage; and his brother, looking at him mockingly, saw that
his face was as crimson as that of Patricia’s.

“Really, I seem to be like the Goddess of Discord,” went on the
intruder, intent upon bringing about a catastrophe; “you seemed jolly
enough when I entered, laughing and talking and—-”

“We’ll be jolly, again, when you leave,” snapped Basil savagely.

“I daresay. But you shan’t have Miss Carrol all to yourself. No, don’t
go, Miss Carrol, you see that I am addressing you with all respect.”
He rose and slipped between her and the door as he spoke. “I want
Basil to see that you like me as much as you do him.”

Patricia looked nervous and her feelings were not soothed when Basil
rose in his turn. “Go away, Miss Carrol,” he said sternly, and the
veins on his forehead stood out with rage. “I can deal with Theodore.”

“Theodore can deal with himself,” said that gentleman, turning on his
brother with a black look on his face. “You are always taking up
Patricia’s time, and I have a right to it also. Yes”–he faced to the
startled girl–“I intend to call you Patricia because I love you. I
want you to marry me.”

“Theodore, are you mad?” thundered Basil furiously.

“Is it mad to ask a girl’s hand in marriage?” sneered Theodore.

Patricia stopped the further speech of Basil with an imperative
gesture and looked at Theodore. “I am well able to take care of
myself,” she said quietly. “Mr. Dane, I thank you for your offer, but
I decline it.”

“Oh, I am not so handsome as Basil. I am not so rich as Uncle George!”

“Take care; take care!” breathed Basil savagely in his ear.

But Patricia again stopped him. Her temper rose, and her eyes sparkled
in an angry fashion. “What do you mean by your reference to Mr.

“You want to marry him, and–ah! keep off!”

Theodore flung out his hands with a scream, as Basil hit out. The blow
caught him fairly in his left eye, and he reeled towards the window to
fall on the sofa. “You bully!” he fairly sobbed.

“Apologise to Miss Carrol, or, by Heaven! I’ll break your neck!” raged
Basil, standing over the flabby man with clenched fists.

Patricia, admiring her strong lover, came forward and laid her hand on
his arm imploringly. “Leave him alone, Basil. He is not worth

Theodore struggled to his feet, and with his rapidly swelling eye
presented a miserable spectacle. “Basil!” he screamed, and his rage
was partly real; “so you call him Basil, and no doubt that that is for
him you are knitting. Oh!” he burst into mocking laughter, and pointed
a finger at them both; “so this is how you are carrying on! This

He got no further. Basil, breaking from Patricia, sprang forward, and
catching Theodore’s bulky body in his powerful arms, fairly flung him
through the window with a mighty heave. Patricia gasped with surprise
and delight as the glass smashed and Theodore swung across the grass
and down the slope like a stone fired from a catapult. “You devil!”
roared Basil, shaking his fist through the broken window. “I’ll kill
you it you come near me or Patricia!”

“Oh, he’s dead!” gasped the girl, clinging to the sailor.

“Not he! See!” and sure enough Theodore, with his face convulsed with
impotent rage, rose heavily and limped out of sight. “I’ve settled
him, the hound! and now—-” he looked at her meaningly.

Patricia shrank back flushing like a sunset. “Mr. Dane!”

“You called me Basil just now, and you shall call me Basil for the
rest of your life. You would not marry Theodore; but,” he said
masterfully, “you shall marry me.”

“Yes,” whispered Patricia, yielding to his embrace; “I always loved

“My darling! my darling! my darling!” cried the delighted sailor,
straining her to his breast. “Theodore meant to part us, but he only
succeeded in bringing us together!” and he kissed her again and again.

He little knew how Theodore had schemed to bring about that very kiss!

Misfortunes rarely come singly. Theodore was so damaged by Basil that
he was compelled to keep to his rooms, and had his meals sent up to
him. Apart from his physical pain, the schemer was very satisfied with
the result of the comedy he had played in the smoking-room. Lurking
unseen at the corner of the house, he had beheld Patricia in his
brother’s arms, and could believe the evidence of his own eyes that
the Rubicon had been crossed. Nevertheless, he felt a pang at losing
the girl, for apart from her psychic powers, which would have been
extremely useful to him in his studies, she was so pretty and charming
that a less susceptible man than Dane would have regretted the success
of another. But Theodore had by this time decided that he could not
have his cake and eat it, so it was necessary to lose either Beckleigh
or Patricia. It was characteristic of his greedy nature that he had
sacrificed the girl for the estate.

No doubt Mara’s hint that she might go with Akira to Japan had urged
him to the course he had adopted, for with both his brother and his
cousin out of the way, Dane did not see how he could lose Beckleigh.
He was the only one save these two who had the Colpster blood in his
veins, and even though his uncle disliked him, he could scarcely pass
him over. With aching limbs Theodore lay snug in bed, building castles
in the air. Next day he intended to arouse the old man’s jealousy by
telling him of the embrace, of the kisses, and of the probable
engagement. Then the lovers would be turned out of the house. Later,
when Akira came round in his yacht, Mara would go, and he would be
lord of all he surveyed. No wonder Theodore chuckled.

But then came the second misfortune, and an even more unexpected one.
Mr. Colpster was brought back from Hendle with a broken leg. He had
duly driven Akira and his servant to the railway station, but had
failed to find Harry Pentreddle at his lodgings. Rather annoyed, the
old man had left a note, saying that the sailor was to come to
Beckleigh and stay the night, so that he might repeat his story to the
Danes, and then had turned homeward. But on the winding road which led
down to the Hall, the horse had slipped on the rain-soaked ground, and
Mr. Colpster, having foolishly tried to get out, had been thrown over
the high bank. The coachman was uninjured, although, with the horse
and vehicle, he had rolled down the slope. But the Squire had been
picked up insensible by some labourers who had seen the accident, and
had been carried into his own house with a broken leg.

Much concerned, Basil and Patricia had the Squire put to bed and sent
for a doctor. Mara, in an indifferent way, expressed her sorrow,
although she never offered to nurse her father. Instead of helping,
she went up to her cousin’s room to tell him of the accident. Not
finding him in the sitting-room, she knocked at his bed-room door, and
stood amazed to find that he–as she supposed–had gone to rest.

“Are you ill, Theo?” she asked, crossing to the bed.

Theodore groaned. “I had a row with Basil and he threw me out of the

Mara clapped her hands and her eyes sparkled. “How strong he is!” she
said, which was not the sympathetic speech Theodore desired to hear.
“Why did he fight you, Theo?”

“I asked Patricia to marry me and Basil cut up rough.”

“No wonder!” said Mara disdainfully. “Why, any fool could have seen
that Basil is in love with Patricia. He won’t let anyone come near
her. Oh!” she clapped her hands again and laughed gaily. “I should
have liked to see you flying through the window.”

“Little beast, you are,” snarled Theodore. “I’m all aches and pains,
and my eye is black where he struck me, damn him!”

“Would you like to see the doctor?”

“No. It’s not worth sending to Hendle for the doctor. Besides, he’d
only chatter. I know these local gossips.”

“But the doctor is coming here. You had better let him examine you,

Theodore, from the shadow of the curtains, stared at the delicate face
of his cousin. “Why is the doctor coming?”

“Oh, I quite forgot what I came up to tell you about,” said Mara in a
matter-of-fact tone. “Father has broken his leg.”

“Broken his leg!” With a groan of pain Theodore hoisted himself on one
elbow. “How did he do that?”

“The horse slipped coming down the winding road. Jarvis could not hold
him up and they all fell over the bank. Father tried to get out, and
broke his leg. But Jarvis and the horse are all right,” ended Mara

“I don’t believe you are sorry,” said Theodore, angered at her

“I don’t see what is the use of crying over spilt milk,” replied the
girl calmly. “If I cried my eyes out and tore my hair, it would do
father no good.”

“You might at least pretend to be sorry for him,” growled Dane,
sinking back.

“Well, I am. It’s horrid to suffer pain. I’ll tell him I’m sorry.”

“If you tell him in that voice he’ll box your ears,” said Theodore
grimly. “You don’t display much sorrow for me, young lady.”

“Because I don’t feel any,” said Mara coolly. “You brought it on
yourself, for I told you that Basil loved Patricia. Besides, I don’t
like you.”

“I’m not a Japanese. Eh?”

“No. You’re not anything half so nice. Would you like Basil to come
and see you?” she added maliciously. “I’m afraid Patricia can’t, as
she’s attending to father.”

“Oh, get out of the room and tell the cook to send up my dinner to me
here as soon as she can. When I’m up again, I’ll tell Uncle George

“What do you mean?”

“I shall tell him that Basil and that infernal girl are engaged, and
he’ll give her notice to quit. And I shall tell him that you intend to
run away with that beastly little Japanese.”

“Oh, I haven’t made up my mind what to do,” said Mara, retreating to
the door. “And if I decide to go with Akira, I shall do so, in spite
of father or anyone else. But you won’t tell, Theo; you’re only too
glad for me to go. You look like a great toad lying in bed.”

Theodore caught up one of his slippers. “Will you clear out?”

“Mum! Mum! Mum!” jeered Mara, with an elfish laugh. “You can’t do
anything. And even if I do go, even if Basil does marry Patricia, you
won’t get Beckleigh. Mum! Mum! Mum!” And she closed the door just in
time to escape the slipper which Theodore threw with all his strength.

The doctor duly arrived and put the Squire’s leg in splints. The old
man had recovered his senses, and considering his pain, behaved
himself very well. The doctor approved of his patient’s fine
constitution and cheerfully said that he would soon be on his legs
again. “You’re not dead yet, sir,” he remarked, when Colpster had been
made comfortable for the night.

“I don’t intend to die,” said the Squire coolly. “Quite other plans
are in my mind. But while I lie here I shan’t have anything disturbed
in the house. Patricia remember that. Should Akira’s yacht arrive, you
and Mara and Basil, together with Theodore and the servants, can go to
his entertainment.”

“Oh, we couldn’t leave you like that, Mr. Colpster,” said Patricia

“You can and you shall. I hate a lot of fuss.” And then the doctor
took Patricia out of the room to explain that the patient must be kept
very quiet, else he would work himself into a fever.

“Humour him, Miss Carrol, humour him,” said the doctor, as he took his
leave. “To-morrow I shall come over and see him. Don’t worry.”

But Patricia did worry, not so much over the Squire, who was getting
along fairly well considering his age, as over the fracas with
Theodore. She dreaded lest he might speak to the Squire. “And then I
should have to leave,” said Patricia, much distressed.

“I don’t see why, dearest,” replied Basil, twining his brown fingers
in her hair and wondering if God had ever created a more perfect

The two were seated, as usual, in the smoking-room, deeming that the
safest place, since Theodore since the quarrel had carefully avoided
entering it. It was now three days since the accident, and since Basil
had been driven to disclose his feelings. They had the house to
themselves almost entirely, for Mara rarely troubled them. Theodore,
although he had risen from his sick-bed with a more or less
discoloured eye, kept to his own rooms, and did not even present
himself at meals. He cherished a deep anger against Basil, and was
sullen with Patricia as the original cause of his humiliation. The
elder Dane had not a forgiving nature. Nor, indeed, did his brother
feel inclined to welcome any advances. He was too much disgusted with
Theodore to pardon him readily.

“I don’t see why, dearest,” said Basil again, and slipped his arm
round Patricia’s waist. “Uncle George can’t kill us.”

“He could turn me out of the house, and I have nowhere to go.”

“There is no reason why he should turn you out. He loves you like a
daughter. I’m certain of that.”

Patricia sighed. “You are wrong, Basil. He loves me, certainly, but
not like a daughter.”

“What!” Basil scowled with a brow of thunder. “Does he dare to—-”

“He dares nothing,” interposed Patricia hurriedly, and placed her pink
palm over his mouth to prevent further speech. “But I am certain that
he wants to marry me.”

“At his age. Ridiculous!”

“Why ridiculous? Older men than the Squire have married.”

Basil’s arm grew loose round her waist. “Do you admire him, then?”

“Of course. I both admire him and love him. Look how good he has been
to me. I hadn’t a shilling when he took me from The Home of Art.”

“Patricia, do you mean to say—-”

She stopped him again, and this time his mouth was closed with a kiss.
“I mean to say that you are a dear old stupid thing, darling. I can’t
help myself if your uncle admires me.”

“It shows his good taste. All the same—-”

“All the same, I’m going to marry you, my dear. But we’ll both be
turned out of the house, I’m sure of that.”

Basil hugged her again. “I knew you would never marry for money,
dearest,” he whispered.

“And if we are turned out we can live on my pay. I have to join the
Mediterranean Fleet when my leave is up in a couple of months from
now. My ship will be always at Malta–always calling in there, you
know. We’ll get a tiny flat, and you shall stay there when we’re

“Oh, darling, that will be heaven!”

“It will be poverty,” said Basil ruefully; “not what you’re used to.”

“My dear,” she put her arm round his neck and looked into his hazel
eyes, “what nonsense you talk. Since my father died I have been
desperately hard up in every way, and if your uncle had not taken pity
upon me, I really don’t know what I should have done. I can cook and
sew and look after a house splendidly. I’m just the wife for a hard-up

“You are, indeed,” said Basil fervently, and would have embraced her,
but that a knock came at the door. “Oh, hang it! here’s Sims.”

“I must attend to my duties,” said Patricia, as Sims entered. “It’s
the butcher, of course. Go on, Sims. I’m coming to the kitchen.” And
Sims discreetly departed with a knowing smile, while Patricia remained
for a last kiss.

The Beckleigh Hall servants saw very plainly what was taking place,
and even although they were old and jealous retainers, did not resent
it. Basil was an immense favourite with one and all, while Patricia
during the short time she had acted as housekeeper had captured all
hearts with great ease.

In the days which followed Patricia was kept closely in attendance on
the Squire, since Mara would do nothing, and Colpster objected to
being attended to wholly by the servants. She became rather pale and
thin, which only made her the more adorable in Basil’s eyes, and,
unfortunately, in the eyes of her patient also. The Squire had made up
his mind to ask Patricia to be his wife, notwithstanding the
difference in their ages. Since Mara resolutely refused to marry
either of her cousins, Colpster’s pet scheme for the family to be
re-established, now that the emerald had returned, fell to the ground.
Failing this, he wished to make Miss Carrol his wife, and hoped that
she would give him an heir in the direct line of descent. The more he
thought of the scheme, the more he liked it, as he was extremely fond
of Patricia, notwithstanding he had been so rude to her on the night
when the Mikado Jewel had arrived so mysteriously. It never struck him
that she might fall in love with a handsome young man like Basil.

Patricia saw how devoted the old man was becoming to her, and at times
she was quite embarrassed by the youthful fire of his eyes. Colpster
was now getting well rapidly, as it was a fortnight since the accident
and the leg was mending. He remained, of course, in bed, and received
various visits from the various members of his household. Theodore and
Mara did not pay many visits, as the former knew that his uncle
disliked him, and the latter was entirely without affection. The
Squire never did expect much from Mara, as he looked upon her as
weak-minded. She certainly was not, but her father never took the
trouble to see what qualities she possessed. It was little wonder that
Mara did not give affection, seeing that she never received any.

Mr. Colpster worried a great deal over the continued absence of Harry
Pentreddle, and had frequently sent Jarvis to Hendle to inform him
that he was wanted at the Hall. But Pentreddle had gone away from his
lodgings without leaving any message behind, and no one–not even Isa
Lee–knew where he was to be found. This absence and silence made the
Squire quite uneasy, especially when he remembered that Harry had seen
the emerald. He had stolen it before and–as the Squire, without any
grounds to go upon, considered–he might steal it again. Haunted by
this thought, Colpster gave Patricia the key of the safe and made her
bring him the Jewel. He slept with it under his pillow and hugged it
to his heart every day, talking meanwhile about the good luck it would

“It has not brought any good luck yet, Mr. Colpster,” said Patricia
one evening, after her lovemaking with Basil in the smoking-room.

“How do you mean, my dear?”

“Well, in the first place, you have broken your leg; in the second,
you have lost that lawsuit which—-”

The Squire groaningly interrupted her: “Yes, I have lost it, worse
luck, my dear. The land has gone, and my income will be diminished to
eight hundred. Yes, I admit that bad luck. And the weather is really
terrible too,” he added, looking at the streaming window-pane. “It so
rarely rains here, yet it has poured ever since my accident.”

“And before then,” Patricia reminded him. “The rain, by making the
road slippery, caused your accident. If I were you, Mr. Colpster, I
would send back the jewel to Japan with Count Akira. He is quite
right: the good luck it brought to your family centuries ago has
changed to bad.”

“How can you believe in such rubbish!” groaned the Squire, hugging his

“You believe in it,” said Miss Carrol, wondering at his want of logic,
“or you would let the Mikado Jewel go.”

“The luck will change now,” insisted Colpster, trying to persuade
himself into a kindly belief. “Everything will come right.”

“I hope so,” said Patricia, poking the bedroom fire, before which she
was kneeling. “You must write and tell me if it does.”

The Squire sat up in bed and gasped. “Write and tell you?”

“Yes. I am going away.”

“Nonsense! Why should you go away?”

“Mr. Colpster,” said Patricia, who had brought the conversation round
to this point that she might thoroughly explain herself, “you have
been very good to me, and I have been very happy here. But your nephew
Theodore has been rude to me; in fact, he has insulted me; so I cannot
remain under the same roof with him.”

“What?” the Squire’s scanty hair bristled and he trembled with rage.
“Has that dog of a Theodore been rude? He shall leave my house at

“No. That would not be fair. He is your nephew. I shall go.”

“I shan’t let you go, child. I love you too much to let you go. How
did he insult you–what did he say? Tell me and I’ll–I’ll—-” Rage
choked his further utterance, and he sank back on his pillows.

His nurse came forward and smoothed the bedclothes. “Don’t worry over
the matter, Mr. Colpster. It’s not worth it.”

“It’s worth everything when you want to leave. How did Theodore insult

Patricia looked down and sketched out figures with the tip of her
bronze shoe. “He is angry because I am engaged to Basil.”

Colpster flung himself forward and caught her wrist. His sunken eyes
filled with angry fire. “You are not engaged to Basil?” he said

“But I am. Leave go my wrist, Mr. Colpster, or I shall go away at

He still held her tightly. “You shan’t marry Basil. You shall marry

Patricia was greatly indebted to the old man, as she had admitted, and
was sorry for his misplaced passion. But she was also a woman, with a
woman’s feeling, and did not intend to allow him to dictate to her.
With a dexterous twist, she freed herself from his grip and retreated
to a safe distance. “If you behave like this, I shall leave the room
and never enter it again,” she exclaimed, angry at his want of

The threat brought the Squire to his knees. “No! no! Don’t go!” he
cried in piteous tones. “I can’t live without you. I wish to marry
you. See, Patricia, dear, I shall settle Beckleigh on you, and when
the emerald brings back the good luck you shall—-”

“The emerald will only bring bad luck,” said Patricia, interrupting
coldly. “And if you had millions I would not marry you. I love you as
a daughter, and I thought that you loved me in the same way. Basil and
I are engaged and intend to get married in a few months.”

“He has no money,” wailed the Squire, clutching the sheets; “no

“I don’t care. He is the man I love.”

“He has no right to ask you to marry him.”

“If he had not asked me, Mr. Colpster, I believe I should have asked
him,” was the girl’s quick answer. “Can’t you understand that he is
the only man in the world for me? If you don’t, then the sooner I
leave this house the better. You have no right to dictate co me, and I
won’t allow it.”

“I’ll cut Basil out of my will. I shall leave the property to

“That is a matter for your own consideration,” said Patricia coldly.
“Now it’s time for your beef-tea, and I must go and get it.”

“I shan’t take it,” cried the Squire childishly.

“Mr. Colpster, for a man of your years you are very silly.”

“My years–my years; you reproach me with those!”

“I reproach you with nothing,” said Miss Carrol, tired of the futile
argument. “Can’t you see that if you go on like this I must leave?”

“No, don’t,” he implored, with wild eyes. “I’ll be good.”

“Very well,” she said, in a matter-of-fact tone. “Now I shall get your
beef-tea,” and for that purpose she left the room.

Left alone, Mr. Colpster whimpered a little. He was old, he was sick,
and he was very sorry for himself. He had sought to woo a girl who was
young enough to be his daughter, and his wooing had taken the fashion
of trying to bribe her with house and land and money. To this insult
she had retorted by showing him the mother that is hidden in every
woman, married or unmarried. He felt like a naughty boy who had been
put in the corner, and at his age he did not like the new experience.
He could have kicked himself for having gone on his knees to be
whipped, for that was what it amounted to. In the darkness–it was
evening, and there was no light in the big bed-room save that of the
fire–he flushed and burned with shame. How, indeed, could she, having
found her mate in a young man of her own age, beautiful and ardent as
she was, be expected to accept his Philistine offer of beeves and

The Squire, with all his oddities, was a gentleman, and as he came
from a brave race he was a man. His age, his fantasy about refounding
the family, his sickness, had all landed him in this slough. It
behoved him, if he wished ever again to look his ancestors’ portraits
in the face, to get out of the quagmire and reassert his manhood as
well as his good breeding. Patricia should marry Basil and become his
niece-in-law. Mara could be given an income to indulge in her
fantasies, and he could live at Beckleigh with Mr. and Mrs. Colpster,
which was to be the married name of the young couple. In the middle of
these visions, Patricia returned with the beef-tea and a lamp. The
naughty boy came out of his corner to beg pardon.

“My dear,” he said, in an apologetic voice, “I’m an old fool.”

“Oh, no,” said Patricia kindly; “you are just one who has cried for
the moon.”

“I give the moon to Basil,” said the Squire, holding out his hand.
“And he will be my heir. Forgive me.”

“Willingly,” said Miss Carrol, and they shook hands gravely.

“But I agree with you,” sighed Colpster, ending the scene; “the jewel
has brought bad luck.”

Count Akira did not return so soon to Beckleigh as he had promised,
for he wrote that official business still detained him in London. But
during the third week after his departure, his yacht, _The Miko_,
steamed into the fairy bay and cast anchor a quarter of a mile off
shore. It was Basil who espied her first immediately after breakfast,
and he ran up a flag on the pole erected on the lawn. _The Miko_
dipped her ensign in reply, and shortly a boat put off, which
doubtless was bringing Akira on his return visit. Basil walked down to
the beach to meet him.

There was a tiny pier on the right of the beach which ran into deep
water, and the boat made for this. Basil, with his hands in his
pockets, stared at the yacht. She was a graceful boat of some two
thousand tons, and her hull was painted white while her one funnel was
darkly blue. The chrysanthemum flag of Japan streamed from one of her
mast-heads, and she looked a singularly beautiful object as she rocked
on the blue waters of the bay. Basil judged from her lines that she
was swift. But he had little time to take in much, as the boat which
approached at a furious pace was a small steam launch. She came
alongside the pier in a few minutes.

“And how is my good friend Dane?” asked Akira, hoisting himself up
like a monkey and removing his cap. “You see, I am here as promised.”

They shook hands, and Basil thought that Akira looked very workmanlike
in his smart blue yachting dress. A wiry brown lithe little man was
the Japanese, keen-eyed and alert. The most casual observer could see
that, if necessary, he could make himself very disagreeable.

“I am glad to see you again, Akira,” said Basil; “come up to the

The Count gave a few directions to the officer in charge of the launch
and then placed himself at his friend’s disposal. “All are well in
your family, I hope?” he remarked, as they strolled up through the

“My uncle has broken his leg, I regret to say.”

“Indeed!” Akira looked shocked. “I am very sorry. How did it happen?”

Basil gave him a hasty description of the accident. “In fact, Akira,”
he added, with a puzzled look, “since you went away everything has
gone wrong.”

“What do you mean?” asked the Japanese quietly, and his face became
entirely devoid of emotion.

“What I say. My uncle broke his leg and has lost a lawsuit, which he
hoped to gain. Theodore and I have quarrelled, and the house is as
dull as tombs.”

“I hope Miss Carrol is not dull?” observed Akira politely.

Dane turned swiftly to observe the expression of the little man’s
face. He had said more than he meant to say on the impulse of the
moment, and now that he had said so much, he deliberately said more.
Apparently Akira, who was very sharp, had noted, during his visit,
symptoms of lovemaking. It was just as well to let him know how
matters stood, for, after all, the Japanese was not a bad little
fellow. “Miss Carrol is engaged to marry me,” said Basil, drawing a
deep breath.

“I congratulate you, but I am not surprised. I saw much when I was
here on my visit”–he paused; then went on shrewdly, “I do not wonder
that you have had a quarrel with your brother.”

“Never mind that, Akira,” said Basil hastily; “I really did not intend
to tell you that. It slipped out.”

Akira nodded. “You must permit me to send you and Miss Carrol a
present from my own country when I reach it,” he remarked, changing
the subject.

“It is very good of you. I am sure Miss Carrol will be delighted. When
do you sail for the East?”

“To-morrow. I have secured an excellent appointment at Tokio.”

“It is very good of you to anchor here, and delay your journey,” said
Basil cordially; and Akira gave a little laugh as the young man spoke.

“Oh, I had a reason,” he said coolly. “I never do anything without a
reason, Dane. I shall tell my reason to Mr. Colpster, if he is to be

“Oh, yes. He is out of bed, although he has not yet left his room. The
leg is mending splendidly, and he lies mostly on the sofa in his
bedroom. I am sure he will be delighted to see you.”

“And Miss Mara? Will she be delighted?”

Basil again gave a side glance, but was far from suspecting why the
remark had been made. “Don’t you make her dance any more,” said Dane,

“No, I promise you that I won’t do that,” answered Akira, his face
again becoming so unemotional that Basil could not tell what he was
thinking about; “but you have not answered my question.”

“Here is Mara to answer for herself,” said Dane, and he spoke truly,
for as they advanced towards the front door of the house, it opened
suddenly and Mara flew out with sparkling eyes.

“Count Akira. I am so glad to see you again. Is that your boat? What a
nice boat she is. When did you arrive and what are—-”

“Mara, Mara, Mara!” remonstrated Basil laughing, “how can the man
answer so many questions all at once?”

“I would need Gargantua’s mouth as your Shakespeare says,” observed
Akira with a quiet smile, and his eyes also sparkled at the sight of
the girl.

“Come inside, Akira, and I will tell Miss Carrol,” said Dane

He stepped into the house, but Akira did not follow immediately. He
lingered behind with Mara, and, after a glance at the many windows of
the house, he gave her hand a friendly shake. But his words were
warmer than his gesture, for they were meant for Mara’s private ear,
while the handshake was for the benefit of any onlooker.

“I have come, you see. You are glad?” and his black eyes looked

Mara nodded, and from being a pale lily became a dewy rose. “Of
course. Did I not promise to love you for seven lives?”

“Your father will not understand that,” said Akira dryly.

Mara started. “Will you tell him?” she asked anxiously.

The Count bowed stiffly. “I am a Japanese gentleman,” he said in cool
and high-bred tones, “and so I can do nothing against my honour. I
cannot take you with me unless your father consents.”

“But he will not,” breathed Mara, becoming pale with emotion.

“He will. Already this morning he has received a long letter from me,
which I sent from London. It explains how I love you, and asks for
your hand.”

“But you are not of my religion!” whispered Mara distressed; “he may
object to that.”

“I think not, as your father, from what I saw, is of no particular
religion himself. I have a special license in my pocket. We can be
married to-day in your own church and by your own priest. When we
reach Japan we can be married according to Shinto rites.”

“But your family?”

“I have my uncle in London. On hearing all about you, he has agreed.
There will be no trouble with my family.”

Mara, still nervous, would have asked further questions and would have
put forward further objections, but that Patricia made her appearance
at the door. She looked singularly beautiful, although she was not so
in Akira’s eyes. He preferred the small features and colourless looks
of Mara. Patricia’s face was too boldly cut and too highly coloured to
be approved of by an Oriental.

“How are you, Count?” said Miss Carrol, shaking hands.

“Very well; and you? But I need not ask, Miss Carrol.” Akira laughed
in a very sympathetic way for him. “Dane has told me.”

“Oh!” Patricia blushed.

“I wish you all happiness, and may you be united for seven lives.”

“What does that mean?”

“I know! I know!” cried Mara, clapping her hands and jumping; “in
Japan we all believe in reincarnation, and lovers promise each other
to love during seven earth-seasons.”

“But you are not a Japanese, Mara,” said Patricia, wondering that the
girl should so boldly couple herself with Akira.

“Yes, I am,” Mara asserted decidedly; “my body is English, but my soul
is Japanese. I know now that I was a Miko in the Temple of Kitzuki
three hundred years ago, and that I loved him,” she pointed to Akira,
who smiled assentingly.

“Oh, what nonsense!” said Miss Carrol, rather crossly; “it is your
imagination, you silly child!” and then, before Mara could contradict
her, she turned to the Count. “Mr. Colpster wants to see you,” she
remarked. “Will you follow me?”

“I want to come also,” said Mara; and grasping Akira’s hand she went
into the house. They looked at one another adoringly and smiled.

At the bedroom door Patricia left them, as the Squire had intimated
that he wished to see Akira privately. Miss Carrol therefore desired
to take Mara downstairs with her, but the girl refused to go. “I have
to speak to my father also,” she declared obstinately, “and I must do
so while the Count is present.”

“As you please,” replied Miss Carrol, finding it impossible to move
the girl, and knowing Mara’s obstinate disposition of old, “you will
find me in the library when you come down.”

“With Basil!” cried out Mara mischievously; and Patricia looked back
to give a smiling nod. Then the two entered the bedroom.

Mr. Colpster was lying on the sofa near a large fire, wrapped in his
dressing-gown, and looked thin, since his illness had rather pulled
him down. He also appeared to be somewhat cross, and shook at Akira
several sheets of blue paper with an angry air.

“I received your letter this morning,” he said sharply, and without
greeting his visitor in any way.

“That is good,” said Akira politely, “it will save me the trouble of
an explanation, Mr. Colpster.”

“I think not,” growled the Squire. “I must know more, and in any case
I do not intend to consent.”

“Oh, father, you must!” cried Mara, indignantly.

“Go down stairs, child,” said her father quickly; “I wish to speak
alone with this–this gentleman.”

But Mara stood her ground. “What the Count has to say concerns me,”
she declared obstinately. “I shan’t go!”

Colpster stormed vainly, while Akira looked on passively. But nothing
would move Mara from the position which she had taken up. She simply
laughed at her father, and in the end he had to yield a grudging
consent to her remaining in the room.

“And now, sir,” he said, when this was settled and again shaking the
sheets of blue paper at Akira. “I understand from this that you wish
to marry my daughter Mara. Of course, it is quite impossible!”

“Why?” asked Akira calmly, and holding Mara’s hand.

“Because you are not an Englishman,” spluttered the Squire.

“If I was a Frenchman, or a German, you would not object!” retorted
the Count coolly. “Why not say that it is because I am not a

“Very good then, I say it. You are of the yellow race, and Mara is of
the white. Marriage between you is ridiculous.”

“I don’t think so, sir.”

Mara looked at her father disdainfully. “I don’t know why you talk
so,” she said with a shrug. “I intend to marry Count Akira to-day, and
go away with him to-morrow, to Japan in our yacht.”

“Our yacht, indeed!” echoed the Squire angrily, and then stared at the
pale obstinate face of his daughter, framed in a nimbus of feathery
golden hair. “Oh you are a minx! You never loved me!”

“I can’t help that,” said Mara doggedly; “I never loved anyone until I
met with the Count. I couldn’t understand myself until I danced that
night in the drawing-room. Danced the Miko-kagura.”

“What is that? What is she talking about?” Colpster turned to Akira.

The Count explained politely. “When I came here, sir, I noticed that
Miss Colpster was greatly interested in what I had to say about my own
country. And often, when I told her of things, she said that she
remembered them.”

“How could that be when she has never been out of England?”

“That is what puzzled me, until I, one night–by way of an experiment
and to convince myself–placed on the fire some incense used in the
Temple of Kitzuki, and played on a flute the music of the Miko-kagura,
which is a holy dance. Miss Colpster rose and performed it perfectly.
Then all the past came back to her, as she told me later.”

“What past?” demanded the Squire, much bewildered.

“The past of her life in Japan, three hundred years ago.”

“Oh, that is rubbish!”

“It is true!” cried Mara in a thrilling voice, and raised her arms. “I
was a Miko of the Kitzuki Temple three hundred years ago. That is why
I remembered about the emerald, when Theodore sent me into a trance.
And for the same reason I could describe the shrine. I loved the Count
then, when we wore other bodies, and promised to love him for seven
lives. This time I have been born in England, but he has come for me
here, and I am going with him to my native land.”

“Oh, you are quite mad!” said Colpster furiously.

“Mad or sane, let me marry her, Mr. Colpster!” pleaded Akira. “From my
letter you can see that I am going to occupy an excellent official
position at Tokio, and that I am of very high rank in Japan, besides
being wealthy. I love your daughter, because, I truly believe–strange
as it may seem to you–that we loved three hundred years ago. I have a
special license in my pocket, and if you consent we can go to your
church this day and get married according to your religion. When we
reach Japan we shall be married according to mine. Do you consent?”

“No! It’s ridiculous! You have only known Mara a few weeks.”

“I have loved her for three hundred years!” insisted Akira, smiling.

“I don’t believe in that rubbish.”

Mara seized her lover’s hand. “I am tired of all this,” she said in
her old fashion, “why can’t you leave me alone. I marry the Count!”

Colpster saw that, whether he gave his consent or not, she would
certainly do so. And, after all, as he asked himself, what did it
matter? Mara had never displayed any affection for any single person,
since she had always lived in a dream-world of her own. Now that he
had decided to leave the property to Basil and Patricia on condition
that they assumed the name of Colpster, Mara was unnecessary. Finally,
it was certain that she would be happier in Japan than in England,
since there was evidently no future for her in the West. The Squire
did not believe in reincarnation. All the same, he admitted that
Mara’s many oddities suggested that she was a soul born out of time
and place. But that his daughter should marry one of the yellow race
offended the old man’s pride. He was just about to open his mouth and
refuse permission again when Akira spoke blandly.

“If you consent,” said Akira, “I will send you someone who can tell
you who killed your housekeeper.”

“How do you know?” asked Colpster, startled.

“I have been making inquiries in town. Consent, and you shall know

“And consent,” said Mara, stepping up to her father and bending to
whisper in his ear, “or I shall tell the Count that you have the

Colpster turned white. “How do you know?” he whispered back.

“I saw you slip it under your pillow one day. It is there now. If you
don’t let me marry the Count he shall take it from you now.”

The Squire breathed heavily and dark circles appeared under his sunken
eyes as Mara stepped back to stand beside her lover. He knew that his
daughter did not love him, or anyone else, but he had never believed
she would have spoken as she had done. Undoubtedly the theory of
reincarnation was a correct one. She was an Eastern soul in a Western
body. “I consent to the marriage,” he said in cold, dry hard tones.
“You can go to the church on the moor and get the affair settled. I
cannot come myself, but Basil and Patricia can go with you. Mara,
you had better tell your maid to pack your clothes, since you leave

“Everything is already packed,” said Mara, turning at the door and
looking cool and white and more shadowy than ever. “I shall come and
say good-bye.”

“No, don’t!” shuddered the Squire, as she went out. “You go also,

The Count smiled blandly and walked to the door. “I shall keep my
promise, sir, and to-night you will receive one who will be able to
tell you the whole truth of what has puzzled you for so long.”

When Akira disappeared, the Squire tore up the blue letter and threw
the pieces into the fire. He had done with Mara: she was no longer any
daughter of his. And, indeed, she never had been. Always cold: always
indifferent: a very shadow of what a daughter should have been. He was
well rid of her, this traitress, who would have surrendered the
emerald. Colpster felt under his sofa pillow and pulled out the gem.
It was wrapped in paper, and he unfolded this to gaze at it. A knock
at the door made him hastily smuggle it away again. Basil entered
immediately and looked worried.

“Is it true, uncle, that Akira and Mara are to be married?” he asked

“Quite true. Akira has brought down a special license. Go with
Patricia and see that all is shipshape.”

“But, Uncle George, surely you don’t want Mara to marry a Japanese?”

“What does it matter? Whether I give my consent or not, Mara will do
what she wants to do. There is some rubbish about reincarnation
between them–about loving for seven lives, or for three hundred
years. I don’t understand these things. But what I do understand,”
cried Colpster with cold fury, raising himself on his elbow, “is that
Mara does not love me, and that I intend to cut her out of my will.
Send Jarvis to Hendle and tell Curtis the lawyer to come over at once.
You will have the property, Basil, and then can marry Patricia.
Theodore can go away. I won’t have him in the house after the way he
has insulted your future wife. As to Mara, she can go to the devil! or
to Japan. I never wish to set eyes on her again!”

“But what has she done?” asked Basil, bewildered.

The Squire could have told him, but did not intend to, since that
would mean revealing that the Mikado Jewel was under the sofa pillow.
“Never mind; I am well rid of her, and so are you, and so are we all.
Only see that this Japanese marries her properly.”

Dane argued, implored and stormed, but all to no purpose. His uncle
vowed that if Mara remained, he would turn her penniless from the
house, and Basil was sufficiently acquainted with his obstinate
character to be certain that he would keep his word. Under the
circumstances it seemed reasonable that Mara should lie on the bed she
had made and the young man, making the best of a bad job, went away to
get Patricia. He would act as Akira’s best man, and Patricia could
follow Mara as her solitary bridesmaid. Whatever might be the outcome
of this sudden arrangement, Basil determined to see that the marriage
was legal. And when he saw the joy and delight of Mara and the
lover-like attentions of Akira, he began to think that his uncle had
acted for the best. In the face of Mara’s obstinacy, nothing else
could be done, although Basil, being a true Englishman, did not relish
the Japanese as a cousin-in-law. All the same, he approved of Akira’s
fine qualities, and knew that from a worldly point of view Mara was
making a brilliant match.

Obeying instructions, he sent Jarvis for the Hendle lawyer, when, with
the prospective bride and bridegroom, he and Patricia were on their
way to the quaint old church on the moor, where so many Colpsters were
buried. The clergyman could not disobey a special license, so that was
all right, and he hoped to return later with the pair married. Indeed,
had Basil possessed a special license himself, he also would have
stood before the altar with Patricia, but such things were far beyond
the means of a poor lieutenant of His Majesty’s Navy.

Meanwhile, the Squire received Curtis and made a new will, which made
no mention of Mara and Theodore, but left the entire Colpster estates
to Basil, provided that he took the family name and married Patricia
Carrol. When the testament had been duly signed, sealed and delivered,
the Squire decided to keep it in his possession until the morrow, so
that he could show it to the young couple. Curtis wished to take it
with him, but Colpster refused, and finally departed without even a
copy of the document. However, he promised to call the next day and
take it with him for safety. Just as the lawyer departed, Theodore
entered the bedroom.

“What’s all this about?” he asked sharply.

His uncle looked at him with a frown. “What do you mean entering my
room without knocking?” he demanded in his turn.

“I beg your pardon,” said Theodore with forced politeness, “but
everything seems at sixes and sevens since that infernal yacht came
in. All the servants are getting themselves ready to go to the
entertainment to-night, and I can’t get anyone to answer my bell.”

“Wait until Miss Carrol returns and she will see to things,” said
Colpster indifferently. “I can’t be bothered.”

“Where is Miss Carrol? I have been in my room all day, and when I came
down I couldn’t find anyone.”

“Basil and Patricia have gone to attend the marriage of Mara and

Theodore stepped back and then stepped forward. He could scarcely
believe his ears. “Have you allowed that?” he asked in consternation.

“Yes. Akira is a good match, and Mara loves him.”

“But he’s a Japanese?”

“What does that matter?”

“I don’t believe in marriages between members of different races.”

Colpster looked at him cynically. “What the devil does it matter what
you believe! I agreed to the marriage for two, or rather, for three
reasons. In the first place, Mara would have married in any case had I
not consented. In the second, she threatened, if I did not agree, to
tell Akira about the emerald, which he would then have taken from me.
In the third place, Akira said that if I agreed, he would send someone
to-night to tell me all about the murder of Martha and reveal the name
of the person who did it.”

“It was the priest with the scar on his cheek who did it,” said
Theodore in vigorous tones. “Will he–Akira that is–send him?”

“I don’t know. Don’t bother me!” said the Squire, turning over on his
pillows. “I’ll see him when you are all out of the house.”

“I’m not going to that infernal entertainment,” said Theodore
snappishly, “as I don’t approve of Mara marrying that yellow man. I
shall stay here and listen to what this emissary of Akira’s has to

“Oh, do what you like; do what you like; only don’t bother me!” said
Colpster again, and very sharply. “Clear out, please!”

“All right!” Theodore went towards the door; “only I want to say one
thing. Curtis has been here. Have you cut Mara out of your will?”

“Yes; although it is no business of yours. When she marries Akira, she
will have plenty of money.”

“Well, then, I suppose,” said Theodore, shooting his arrow, “you know
that Patricia and Basil are engaged?”

“Yes, I am aware of that, and I wish them joy.”

“Aren’t you angry, uncle?” Theodore was astounded.

“No. Why should I be? I like Patricia.”

“I fancied you loved her and wished to marry her.”

Colpster rolled over and glared fiercely. He was annoyed that his
secret should have been discovered by Theodore, of all people, since
he hated him so ardently. “I never did wish to marry Patricia,” he
said furiously, and telling a smooth lie. “I look upon her as a
daughter. I have always looked upon her as a daughter. When Basil told
me that she had consented to be his wife, I was delighted. I am

“Oh!” growled Theodore, wincing and thrusting his hands deep into his
pockets; “so you brought Curtis over to alter your will!”

“Yes! I have left everything to Basil and Patricia!”

“What about me?” Theodore by this time was ghastly pale.

“Oh, you can go to the devil!” said his uncle carelessly. “You
insulted Miss Carrol, so I pay you out. The will cutting you off is
here,” he patted his pocket.

Before Theodore could express the rage which consumed him, there came
the sound of advancing feet and the laughter of happy people. The door
was suddenly thrown open by Basil, and Patricia entered, followed by
the bridegroom and the bride, arm-in-arm English fashion.

“Allow me,” said Patricia gaily, and in a ringing voice, “to present
to you, Mr. Colpster, the Count and Countess Akira.”