Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/314

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


of war was held. The news-gatherer shipped aboard an outgoing vessel and disappeared from civilization. The reporter kept on reporting. Both had courage and both had the best blood of England in their veins, according to my view. Twenty years later the two met at a drawing-room in Buckingham Palace. The reporter had risen to a peer and the news-gatherer to a merchant prince. There was a hearty handshake, a furtive glance down the long, gold-encrusted corridor, and then, with a common impulse, the two moved to an open window and looked out. Below them lay the bench on which the two had slept twenty years before.”

“Of course!” shouted Le Blanc; “that’s just what I said—a case of good blood—that’s what kept them going. They owed it to their ancestors.”

“Ancestors be hanged! It was a case of pure grit!” shouted Louis in return. “All the blood in the world wouldn’t have helped them if it hadn’t been for that. Neither of them expected, when they started out in life, to be shown up six flights of marble stairs by a hundred flunkeys in silk stockings, but, as Brierley puts it, ‘they arrived all the same.’ Blood alone would have landed them as clerks in govern-