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The Satyr
by [?]

Myra Larose was a good governess, capable, and highly certificated.

At Salston Hill School they rewarded her services with forty pounds per annum, and board and lodging during term-time. She had often been fortunate enough to secure private pupils for the holidays, and she knew a stationer who bought hand-painted Christmas cards. At the end of four years’ work she had thirty-five pounds saved and in the Post Office. And then Aunt Jane, the last of her relatives, died, and left her a fine two hundred and fifty. This meant another ten pounds per annum.

Things were not so bad, but they did not, of course, justify the very mad idea that came into her pretty head–a head that, so far, had proved itself sane and practical.

The girls of the school considered that Miss Larose was strict but just, and that she had nice eyes. The principal, Mrs Dewlop, when prostrate from the horrible Davenant scandal, had declared that she would never think highly of any human being again; but she did think highly of Myra, even to the extent of considering the possibility of an increase of salary. Myra’s fellow-teachers thought her sensible, and chaffed her mildly at times about her economies and her accumulation of wealth. No one would have supposed her capable of anything wild and extravagant.

Possibly a book that she had been reading put the idea into her head. Then there was the accident that nearly all her clothes were new simultaneously. Her eyes fell on the advertisement which showed her the advantages of hiring a petrol landaulet by the day in London. Thoughts of the theatre swam into her head. She loved the theatre, and had not been in one for years. She might lunch at the Ritz. She might deny herself nothing–for one day. Grey routine and miserable economies suddenly found her insurgent. Yes, she would have one great day–one day during which she would live at the rate of two thousand a year.

So, on one splendid morning, at the station of her northern suburb, she had occasion to be severe with the booking-clerk. (“I said first return–not third. You should pay more attention.”) She bought a sixpenny periodical to read on the way up, and when she reached King’s Cross she deliberately left the valuable magazine in the carriage behind her. That struck the high, reckless note. How often had she nursed a halfpenny paper through the whole of a traffic-distracted day that she might read the feuilleton at night!

“Taxi, miss?” suggested the porter when he had ascertained that she had no luggage.

“I think not,” said Myra. “I believe my car’s waiting for me.” She felt that she had said it perfectly–without obvious pleasure, and without that air of intense languor that is always accepted on the stage as indicative of aristocracy, and never seen elsewhere.

She could tell the porter how to recognise the car–information supplied to her by the company from whom she had hired it–and the porter brought it up for her. Her first thought was that it looked splendid. Her second thought was that beyond a doubt she had recognised the face of the liveried driver.

She gave the porter a shilling, and sent him away. (Her usual tips for porters had varied from nothing to twopence, with a preference for the former.) Then she turned to the driver, a young man, with a handsome, clean-shaven face and dark, rebellious eyes.

“I know you,” she said. “You are Mr Davenant.”

“Quite true, Miss Larose. But that need make no difference. You have bought my services for the day, you know. You will find me just as attentive and respectful as any other servant. Where to, miss?”

“No, no. I want to talk to you. I must. Oh, it’s too awful that you should have come down to this. Mrs Dewlop must have been vindictive indeed.”