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by [?]

“Sackville!” No answer.

“Hi-Sackville!” No answer.

“Now what the devil can have become of that butler? I never allow a servant to–Oh, confound that idiot, he’s got the keys. Can’t get into the other rooms without the keys.”

(I was just wondering at his intrepidity in still keeping up the delusion of the champagne, and trying to imagine how he was going to get out of the difficulty.)

Now he stopped calling Sackville and began to call “Anglesy.” But Anglesy didn’t come. He said, “This is the second time that that equerry has been absent without leave. To-morrow I’ll discharge him.” Now he began to whoop for “Thomas,” but Thomas didn’t answer. Then for “Theodore,” but no Theodore replied.

“Well, I give it up,” said Rogers. “The servants never expect me at this hour, and so they’re all off on a lark. Might get along without the equerry and the page, but can’t have any wine or cigars without the butler, and can’t dress without my valet.”

I offered to help him dress, but he would not hear of it; and besides, he said he would not feel comfortable unless dressed by a practised hand. However, he finally concluded that he was such old friends with the Earl that it would not make any difference how he was dressed. So we took a cab, he gave the driver some directions, and we started. By and by we stopped before a large house and got out. I never had seen this man with a collar on. He now stepped under a lamp and got a venerable paper collar out of his coat pocket, along with a hoary cravat, and put them on. He ascended the stoop, and entered. Presently he reappeared, descended rapidly, and said:


We hurried away, and turned the corner.

“Now we’re safe,” he said, and took off his collar and cravat and returned them to his pocket.

“Made a mighty narrow escape,” said he.

“How?” said I.

“B’ George, the Countess was there!”

“Well, what of that?–don’t she know you?”

“Know me? Absolutely worships me. I just did happen to catch a glimpse of her before she saw me–and out I shot. Haven’t seen her for two months–to rush in on her without any warning might have been fatal. She could not have stood it. I didn’t know she was in town–thought she was at the castle. Let me lean on you–just a moment–there; now I am better–thank you; thank you ever so much. Lord bless me, what an escape!”

So I never got to call on the Earl, after all. But I marked the house for future reference. It proved to be an ordinary family hotel, with about a thousand plebeians roosting in it.

In most things Rogers was by no means a fool. In some things it was plain enough that he was a fool, but he certainly did not know it. He was in the “deadest” earnest in these matters. He died at sea, last summer, as the “Earl of Ramsgate.”