Lady Severn had survived the measured mile. Sir Creighton was jubilant. His daughter flew to him. How did the electric turbine work? What was the coefficient of energy developed over the measured mile? Was forty miles actually touched and what about the depression in the stern? Did the boat steer all right on the progressive principle? Did the Admiral grumble as usual?

Her father gave her a detailed account of the strong points of the new system of propulsion, which every one had recognised, and of the weak points, which he alone had detected, and then she was able to drink her tea, and so was Sir Creighton.

Lady Severn said the lunch was excellent; only when travelling by water at the rate of forty-two knots every one seemed inclined to eat at the rate of fifty knots.

After drinking a cup of tea Sir Creighton looked at the clock and sighed.

“The day is gone before one gets any work done,” he said. “I have not been in my room since yesterday afternoon, Joe,” he added, looking at Josephine as if hoping to find in her a sympathetic audience.

“You’ll get no sympathy from me, Sir Creighton,” she laughed. “You have done more to-day than all the men of your craft—I suppose that a turbine boat may be called a craft—have succeeded in accomplishing during the past hundred years—forty knots!—just think of it!—and yet you complain of not being able to get anything done! Oh, no; you’ll get no sympathy from me.”

Sir Creighton went across the room to her and his scientific skill enabled him to squeeze between his finger and thumb that part of her arm where all the sensitive nerves meet.

She shrieked.

“I will force you to sympathise with me,” he said. “You have still another arm. What! they are actually taking your part?”

Sir Creighton had a pretty wit. It was most exuberant when he had discovered a new torture founded on a purely scientific basis. That was how he kept himself young.

“Oh, by the way,” said Amber, when he was going once more towards the door, “Guy has picked up with some one from New South Wales whose father said he had once known you. His name is—now what on earth did he say his name was?”

“Wasn’t it Mr. Winwood?” said Josephine.

“Of course. Pierce Winwood. Do you remember any man of that name—long ago—it must have been long ago. He made a big fortune in the meantime?”

“Winwood—Winwood? No, I don’t remember any one bearing that name,” said Sir Creighton. “Better tell Guy to bring him out and I dare say he’ll draw the threads together.”

“I told Guy I was sure that you would like to have a chat with him—the son, I mean; he said the father, who claimed to know you, was dead.”

“There’s cause and effect for you,” said Sir Creighton. “Better ask him to dinner with Guy—the son, I mean.”

He spoke with his hand on the handle of the door, and then went whistling down the corridor to his study which opened out upon the garden of roses at the back of the house. The long table was covered with scale drawings and the smell of the tracing paper filled the room. Sir Creighton stood for a few moments looking down at those tracings of the sections of wheels—wheels within wheels—and the profiles of pinions.

“What the Nightingale sang to the Rose,” said the man of science. “Pah, what can any one say about the Nightingale and the Rose that has not been said before?”

He turned over several of the drawings critically, and counted the leaves of one of the pinions.

“He has made no allowance for end-shake,” he muttered. “A sixteenth on each pivot. Was it in the Garden of Gulistan? I rather think not. An English rose-garden—why not within the four-mile radius?”

He stood at the glass door leading out to his own garden, and remained there for some minutes looking out upon the great clusters of mixed blooms. Then he turned to one of the desks and unlocking one of the drawers and, drawing it out some way, slipped his hand inside, relieving the spring of a secret compartment that seemed to be a fixture. He drew out a sheaf of papers, covered with verses with many erasures and those countless corrections which commonly occur in the manuscripts of poets who are not only inspired but who add to the original impulse of inspiration a fastidiousness of phrase quite unknown to the older poets.

The topmost leaf of the sheaf contained a stanza and a half of a poem in an original metre describing how a nightingale came nightly to visit a certain rose, but the rose being only a bud, failed to understand what was the meaning of the music, until on the evening of a burning day, when the Star of Love shed the only light that came from the sky through the heavy scented air that hovered on the rose-garden, “The faithful nightingale sang this song: “....

That was where the manuscript ended. There was space enough on the paper for two more stanzas. All that was needed was to put into words the song that the nightingale sang to stir the rosebud into the bloom of passion.

That was the reflection of the man of science as he read the ambitious prelude which he had written the previous day just when the leader writers on all the newspapers in England were pointing out how the adaptation of electricity to the turbine boat marked the most important epoch in the history of marine engineering.

“That’s all I have got to do,” he muttered now, when the cables were carrying to all parts of the world the news that Sir Creighton Severn’s electric turbine had just been tested over the measured mile with the most surprising results, a record speed of forty-two knots having been noted. “Only the song of the nightingale,” said the man of science, seating himself at the desk with the unfinished poem in front of him.

He wrote for two hours, completing the poem entitled “What the Nightingale sang to the Rose,” which when published above the name “Alençon Hope” in a magazine three months later was so widely commented on, some critics going so far as to declare with that confidence which is the chief part of the equipment of the critic, that in all the recently published volume by the same author nothing more exquisite could be found.

It was Sir Creighton’s little fun to publish, unknown to any one in the world, a volume of verse that had achieved a brilliant success in the world and even in his own household where its apt lines were frequently quoted both by Amber and her brother. That was how it came about that Sir Creighton smiled quite vaguely when people remarked how strange it was that young Severn had shown an early taste for writing verse. Who was it that he took after, they enquired. They felt that the exigencies of the theory of heredity were fully satisfied when Lady Severn explained that there was a tradition in her family that her father had once sent a valentine to her mother. Still it was funny, they said, to find the son of a father who was a practical “scientist”—that was what they called Sir Creighton: a “scientist”—having a tendency to write verse.

Sir Creighton, when he had finished writhing at the word “scientist,” smiled quite vaguely; for no one seemed to entertain the idea that the inspiration which had enabled the man of science to look into the future and see ships moving silently over the water at a speed of forty-two knots an hour was precisely the same quality which permitted of his translating into English metre the passionate song sung by the Nightingale to the Rose.

No one knew how refreshed he felt on returning to his electrical designs after spending an hour or two over those exquisite fabrics of verse which appeared in the volume by “Alençon Hope” Rhythm and arithmetic seem to many people to be the positive and negative poles of a magnet, but both mean the same thing in the language from which they are derived.

“Poor old pater!” said Amber when the girls were left alone with Lady Severn. “He is back again at one of those problems which he has set himself to solve for the good of the world. Poor old pater!”

“Old!” cried Josephine. “I never met any one so young in the whole course of my life. In his presence I feel quite mature.”

“The greatest problem that he has solved is the science of living,” said Lady Severn. “If he has not discovered the secret of perpetual youth, he has mastered the more important mystery of perpetual happiness.”

“He knows that it is best seen through another’s eye,” said Josephine.

At this point a young man with a very shiny hat in his hand was shown in. He was greeted by Amber by the name of Arthur and by the others as Mr. Galmyn. He was a somewhat low-sized youth with very fair hair breaking into curls here and there that suggested the crests of a wave blown by the wind. It was not his curls, however, but his eyes that attracted the attention of most people; for his eyes were large and delicately blue. Sentimentalists who sat opposite him in an omnibus—an omnibus is full of sentimental people, six on each side—were accustomed to see a certain depth of sadness in Arthur Galmyn’s eyes. He would have felt greatly disappointed if they had failed to think them sad. He had long ago formed a definite opinion about their expression. They had caused him a great deal of thought and some trouble in his time, but he had long ago come to feel every confidence in their sadness. It was his aim to see that his life was congenially tinged with a mild melancholy.

He quoted from “The Lotus Eaters” and tried to realise a life “in which it always seemed afternoon.”

He took tea punctually at five.

“If you please,” he said. “I know that the tea leaves are never allowed to remain in your tea-pot. I have no disquieting recollection of your tea-pot, Amber. And a cake—one of the hot ones, Miss West. They have no currants. I know that I shall never run the chance of coming in personal contact with a currant, change you your cakes never so often. I found myself confronted with a currant without a moment’s warning a few days ago at Lady March’s. I was saddened. And I thought I knew her tea-cakes so well. I felt for some days as if I had heard of a dear friend’s committing a forgery—as if I had come across you suddenly in the Park wearing mauve, instead of pink, Amber.”

“It does tinge one’s life with melancholy. Have you made any money to-day?” said Amber in one breath.

He drank his cup of tea and bit off a segment from the circle of the tea cake, then he looked earnestly at the tips of his fingers. Two of them were shiny.

“I’ve not done badly,” he said. “I made about eight pounds. It doesn’t seem much, does it? But that eight pounds is on the right side of the ledger, and that’s something.”

“It’s excellent,” said Lady Severn.

“I consider it most praiseworthy if you made it by fair dealing,” said Josephine.

“Oh, Joe, don’t discourage him so early in his career,” cried Amber.

Arthur Galmyn finished the tea in his cup and laid it thoughtfully before Amber to be refilled.

“It’s quite delicious,” he said. “Quite delicious. I wonder if anything is quite fair in the way of making money—except the tables at Monte Carlo: there’s no cheating done there.”

“That’s what I wonder too,” said Josephine.

“Anyway I’ve only made eight pounds to-day—there’s not much cheating in eight pounds, is there, Miss West?” said Mr. Galmyn.

“Everything must have a beginning,” said Miss West.

“Don’t be discouraged, Arthur,” said Amber. “If you only continue on this system I’ve laid down for you you’ll make plenty of money, and what’s better still you will become reformed.”

“I’ve given up poetry already,” said he, in the sad tone that one adopts in speaking of one’s pleasant vices which one is obliged to relinquish through the tyranny of years.

“That’s a step in the right direction,” said Amber. “Oh, I’ve no doubt as to your future, Arthur. But you must study hard—oh, yes, you must study hard.”

“So I do: I can tell you the closing price of all Home Rails to-day without referring to a list.”

“Really? Well, you are progressing. What about Industrials?” said Amber.

“I’m leaving over Industrials for another week,” he replied. “I’ve given all my attention to Home Rails during the past fortnight. I dare say if I don’t break down under the strain I shall go through a course of Industrials inside another week, and then go on to Kaffirs.”

“It’s at Industrials that the money is to be made, you must remember,” said Amber. “Let me enforce upon you once more the non-speculative business—don’t think of coups. Aim only at a half per cent, of a rise, and take advantage of even the smallest rise.”

“That’s how I made my eight pounds to-day,” said he. “You see when things were very flat in the morning there came the report of a great British victory. I knew that it wasn’t true, but half a dozen things went up ten shillings or so and I unloaded—unloaded. It’s so nice to have those words pat; it makes you feel that you’re in the swim of the thing. If I only knew what contango meant, I think I could make an impressive use of that word also.”

At this point another visitor was announced. His name was Mr. William Bateman. He was a bright looking man of perhaps a year or two over thirty, and though he was close upon six feet in height he probably would have ridden under ten stone, so earnest was the attention that he had given to his figure.

He would not take any tea.

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