“Now, Polly, old girl,” said Peter, “cut out the sob-stuff. I accidentally ran into this Goyles chap last night at your Soviet Club. I asked that Miss Tarrant to introduce me, but the minute Goyles heard my name, he made tracks.
I rushed out after him, only meanin' to have a word with him, when the idiot stopped at the corner of Newport Court, potted me, and bunked. Silly-ass thing to do. I knew who he was. He couldn't help gettin' caught.”
“Peter——” said Mary in a ghastly voice.
“Look here, Polly,” said Wimsey. “I did think of you. Honest injun, I did.
Honest InjunIn the 1800s, Europeans romanticized the Native American as a “noble savage.” They were typically believed to be more honest than white men (who made treaties and then broke them, time and again.). The phrase is not politically correct today.The term noble savage (French, bon sauvage) expresses the concept of an idealized indigene, outsider, or "other" and refers to the literary stock character. In English, the phrase first appeared in the 17th century in John Dryden's heroic play, The Conquest of Granada (1672), wherein it was used by a Christian prince disguised as a Spanish Muslim to refer to himself, but it later became identified with the idealized picture of "nature's gentleman", which was an aspect of 18th-century sentimentalism. The noble savage achieved prominence as an oxymoronic rhetorical device after 1851, when used sarcastically as the title for a satirical essay by English novelist Charles Dickens, whom some believe may have wished to disassociate himself from what he viewed as the "feminine" sentimentality of 18th and early 19th-century romantic primitivism
I haven't had the man arrested. I've made no charge at all—have I, Parker? What did you tell 'em to do when you were down at the Yard this morning?”
“To detain Goyles pending inquiries, because he was wanted as a witness in the Riddlesdale case,” said Parker slowly.
“He knows nothing about it,” said Mary, doggedly now. “He wasn't anywhere near. He is innocent of that!”
“Do you think so?” said Lord Peter gravely. “If you know he is innocent, why tell all those lies to screen him? It won't do, Mary. You know he was there—and you think he is guilty.”
“Yes,” said Wimsey, grasping her with his sound hand as she shrank away. “Mary, have you thought what you are doing? You are perjuring yourself and putting Gerald in peril of his life, in order to shield from justice a man whom you suspect of murdering your lover and who has most certainly tried to murder me.”
“Oh,” cried Parker, in an agony, “all this interrogation is horribly irregular.”
“Never mind him,” said Peter. “Do you really think you're doing the right thing, Mary?”
The girl looked helplessly at her brother for a minute or two. Peter cocked up a whimsical, appealing eye from under his bandages. The defiance melted out of her face.
“I'll tell the truth,” said Lady Mary.
“Good egg,” said Peter, extending a hand. “I'm sorry. I know you like the fellow, and we appreciate your decision enormously. Truly, we do. Now, sail ahead, old thing, and you take it down, Parker.”
“Well, it really all started years ago with George. You were at the Front then, Peter, but I suppose they told you about it—and put everything in the worst possible light.”
“I wouldn't say that, dear,” put in the Duchess. “I think I told Peter that your brother and I were not altogether pleased with what we had seen of the young man—which was not very much, if you remember. He invited himself down one week-end when the house was very full, and he seemed to make a point of consulting nobody's convenience but his own. And you know, dear, you even said yourself you thought he was unnecessarily rude to poor old Lord Mountweazle.”
“He said what he thought,” said Mary. “Of course, Lord Mountweazle, poor dear, doesn't understand that the present generation is accustomed to discuss things with its elders, not just kow-tow to them. When George gave his opinion, he thought he was just contradicting.”
“To be sure,” said the Dowager, “when you flatly deny everything a person says it does sound like contradiction to the uninitiated. But all I remember saying to Peter was that Mr. Goyles's manners seemed to me to lack polish, and that he showed a lack of independence in his opinions.”
“A lack of independence?” said Mary, wide-eyed.
“Well, dear, I thought so. What oft was thought and frequently much better expressed, as Pope says—or was it somebody else? But the worse you express yourself these days the more profound people think you—though that's nothing new. Like Browning and those quaint metaphysical people, when you never know whether they really mean their mistress or the Established Church, so bridegroomy and biblical—to say nothing of dear S. Augustine—the Hippo man, I mean, not the one who missionised over here, though I daresay he was delightful too, and in those days I suppose they didn't have annual sales of work and tea in the parish room, so it doesn't seem quite like what we mean nowadays by missionaries—he knew all about it—you remember about that mandrake—or is that the thing you had to get a big black dog for? Manichee, that's the word. What was his name? Was it Faustus? Or am I mixing him up with the old man in the opera?”
“Well, anyway,” said Mary, without stopping to disentangle the Duchess's sequence of ideas, “George was the only person I really cared about—he still is. Only it did seem so hopeless. Perhaps you didn't say much about him, mother, but Gerald said lots—dreadful things!”
“Yes,” said the Duchess, “he said what he thought. The present generation does, you know. To the uninitiated, I admit, dear, it does sound a little rude.”
Peter grinned, but Mary went on unheeding.
“George had simply no money. He'd really given everything he had to the Labour Party one way and another, and he'd lost his job in the Ministry of Information: they found he had too much sympathy with the Socialists abroad. It was awfully unfair. Anyhow, one couldn't be a burden on him; and Gerald was a beast, and said he'd absolutely stop my allowance if I didn't send George away. So I did, but of course it didn't make a bit of difference to the way we both felt. I will say for mother she was a bit more decent. She said she'd help us if George got a job; but, as I pointed out, if George got a job we shouldn't need helping!”
“But, my dear, I could hardly insult Mr. Goyles by suggesting that he should live on his mother-in-law,” said the Dowager.
“Why not?” said Mary. “George doesn't believe in those old-fashioned ideas about property. Besides, if you'd given it to me, it would be my money. We believe in men and women being equal. Why should the one always be the bread-winner more than the other?”
“I can't imagine, dear,” said the Dowager. “Still, I could hardly expect poor Mr. Goyles to live on unearned increment when he didn't believe in inherited property.”
“That's a fallacy,” said Mary, rather vaguely. “Anyhow,” she added hastily, “that's what happened. Then, after the war, George went to Germany to study Socialism and Labour questions there, and nothing seemed any good. So when Denis Cathcart turned up, I said I'd marry him.”
“Why?” asked Peter. “He never sounded to me a bit the kind of bloke for you. I mean, as far as I could make out, he was Tory and diplomatic and—well, quite crusted old tawny, so to speak. I shouldn't have thought you had an idea in common.”
Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada. Historically it also had exponents in former parts of the British Empire, for instance the Loyalists of British America who sided with Britain and the Crown during the American Revolutionary War. The Tory ethics can be summed up with the phrase 'God, King and Country'. Tories generally advocate monarchism, are usually of a High Church Anglican religious heritage, and are opposed to the radical liberalism of the Whig faction.The Tory political faction emerged within the Parliament of England to uphold the legitimist rights of James, Duke of York to succeed his brother Charles II to the throne. James II was a Catholic, while the state institutions had broken from the Catholic Church—this was an issue for the Exclusion Bill supporting Whigs, the political heirs to the nonconformist Roundheads and Covenanters. There were two Tory ministries under James II; the first led by Lord Rochester, the second by Lord Belasyse. Some were later involved in his usurpation with the Whigs, which they saw as defending the Anglican Church. Tory sympathy for the Stuarts ran deep however and some supported Jacobitism, which saw them isolated by the Hanoverians until Lord Bute's ministry under George III.Conservatism emerged by the end of the 18th century—which synthesised moderate Whig positions and some of the old Tory values to create a new political ideology, in opposition to the French Revolution. Edmund Burke and William Pitt the Younger led the way in this. Due to this faction eventually leading to the formation of the Conservative Party, members of that party are colloquially referred to as Tories, even if they are not traditionalists. Actual adherents to traditional Toryism in contemporary times tend to be referred to as High Tories to avoid confusion.
“No; but then he didn't care twopence whether I had any ideas or not. I made him promise he wouldn't bother me with diplomats and people, and he said no, I could do as I liked, provided I didn't compromise him. And we were to live in Paris and go our own ways and not bother. And anything was better than staying here, and marrying somebody in one's own set, and opening bazaars and watching polo and meeting the Prince of Wales. So I said I'd marry Denis, because I didn't care about him, and I'm pretty sure he didn't care a halfpenny about me, and we should have left each other alone. I did so want to be left alone!”
“Was Jerry all right about your money?” inquired Peter.
“Oh yes. He said Denis was no great catch—I do wish Gerald wasn't so vulgar, in that flat, early-Victorian way—but he said that, after George, he could only thank his stars it wasn't worse.”
“Make a note of that, Charles,” said Wimsey.
“Well, it seemed all right at first, but, as things went on, I got more and more depressed. Do you know, there was something a little alarming about Denis. He was so extraordinarily reserved. I know I wanted to be left alone, but—well, it was uncanny! He was correct. Even when he went off the deep end and was passionate—which didn't often happen—he was correct about it. Extraordinary. Like one of those odd French novels, you know, Peter: frightfully hot stuff, but absolutely impersonal.”
“Charles, old man!” said Lord Peter.
“That's important. You realize the bearing of that?”
“Never mind. Drive on, Polly.”
“Aren't I making your head ache?”
“Damnably; but I like it. Do go on. I'm not sprouting a lily with anguish moist and fever-dew, or anything like that. I'm getting really thrilled. What you've just said is more illuminating than anything I've struck for a week.”
Peter quotes from the poem the Belle Dame sans Merci: La Belle Dame sans Merci (French: "The Beautiful Lady Without Mercy" ) is a ballad written by the English poet John Keats. It exists in two versions, with minor differences between them. The original was written by Keats in 1819. He used the title of a 15th century poem by Alain Chartier, though the plots of the two poems are different. The poem is considered an English classic, stereotypical to other of Keats' works. It avoids simplicity of interpretation despite simplicity of structure. At only a short twelve stanzas, of only four lines each, with a simple ABCB rhyme scheme, the poem is nonetheless full of enigmas, and has been the subject of numerous interpretations.
“Really!” Mary stared at Peter with every trace of hostility vanished. “I thought you'd never understand that part.”
“Lord!” said Peter. “Why not?”
Mary shook her head. “Well, I'd been corresponding all the time with George, and suddenly he wrote to me at the beginning of this month to say he'd come back from Germany, and had got a job on the Thunderclap—the Socialist weekly, you know—at a beginning screw of £4 a week, and wouldn't I chuck these capitalists and so on, and come and be an honest working woman with him. He could get me a secretarial job on the paper. I was to type and so on for him, and help him get his articles together. And he thought between us we should make £6 or £7 a week, which would be heaps to live on. And I was getting more frightened of Denis every day. So I said I would. But I knew there'd be an awful row with Gerald. And really I was rather ashamed—the engagement had been announced and there'd be a ghastly lot of talk and people trying to persuade me. And Denis might have made things horribly uncomfortable for Gerald—he was rather that sort. So we decided the best thing to do would be just to run away and get married first, and escape the wrangling.”
“Quite so,” said Peter. “Besides, it would look rather well in the paper, wouldn't it? 'Peer's Daughter Weds Socialist—Romantic Side-car Elopement—“£6 a Week Plenty,” says Her Ladyship.'”
“Pig!” said Lady Mary.
“Very good,” said Peter, “I get you! So it was arranged that the romantic Goyles should fetch you away from Riddlesdale—why Riddlesdale? It would be twice as easy from London or Denver.”
“No. For one thing he had to be up North. And everybody knows one in town, and—anyhow, we didn't want to wait.”
“Besides, one would miss the Young Lochinvar touch. Well, then, why at the unearthly hour of 3 a.m.?”
Marmion is an epic poem by Walter Scott about the Battle of Flodden Field (1513). It was published in 1808.Scott started writing Marmion, his second major work, in November 1806. When Archibald Constable, the publisher, learnt of this, he offered a thousand guineas for the copyright unseen. William Miller and John Murray each agreed to take a 25% share in the project. Murray observed: "We both view it as honourable, profitable, and glorious to be concerned in the publication of a new poem by Walter Scott." Scott later said that he thoroughly enjoyed writing the work. He told his son-in-law, Lockhart, "Oh, man, I had many a grand gallop among these braes when I was thinking of Marmion."Lochinvar was a character in that poem.
“He had a meeting on Wednesday night at Northallerton. He was going to come straight on and pick me up, and run me down to town to be married by special license. We allowed ample time. George had to be at the office next day.”
“I see. Well, I'll go on now, and you stop me if I'm wrong. You went up at 9.30 on Wednesday night. You packed a suit-case. You—did you think of writing any sort of letter to comfort your sorrowing friends and relations?”
“Yes, I wrote one. But I——”
“Of course. Then you went to bed, I fancy, or, at any rate, turned the clothes back and lay down.”
“Yes. I lay down. It was a good thing I did, as it happened——”
“True, you wouldn't have had much time to make the bed look probable in the morning, and we should have heard about it. By the way, Parker, when Mary confessed her sins to you last night, did you make any notes?”
“Yes,” said Parker, “if you can read my shorthand.”
“Quite so,” said Peter. “Well, the rumpled bed disposes of your story about never having gone to bed at all, doesn't it?”
“And I thought it was such a good story!”
“Want of practice,” replied her brother kindly. “You'll do better, next time. It's just as well, really, that it's so hard to tell a long, consistent lie. Did you, as a matter of fact, hear Gerald go out at 11.30, as Pettigrew-Robinson (damn his ears!) said?”
“I fancy I did hear somebody moving about,” said Mary, “but I didn't think much about it.”
“Quite right,” said Peter, “when I hear people movin' about the house at night, I'm much too delicate-minded to think anything at all.”
“Of course,” interposed the Duchess, “particularly in England, where it is so oddly improper to think. I will say for Peter that, if he can put a continental interpretation on anything, he will—so considerate of you, dear, as soon as you took to doing it in silence and not mentioning it, as you so intelligently did as a child. You were really a very observant little boy, dear.”
“And still is,” said Mary, smiling at Peter with surprising friendliness.
“Old bad habits die hard,” said Wimsey. “To proceed. At three o'clock you went down to meet Goyles. Why did he come all the way up to the house? It would have been safer to meet him in the lane.”
“I knew I couldn't get out of the lodge-gate without waking Hardraw, and so I'd have to get over the palings somewhere. I might have managed alone, but not with a heavy suit-case. So, as George would have to climb over, anyhow, we thought he'd better come and help carry the suit-case. And then we couldn't miss each other by the conservatory door. I sent him a little plan of the path.”
“Was Goyles there when you got downstairs?”
“No—at least—no, I didn't see him. But there was poor Denis's body, and Gerald bending over it. My first idea was that Gerald had killed George. That's why I said, 'O God! you've killed him!'” (Peter glanced across at Parker and nodded.) “Then Gerald turned him over, and I saw it was Denis—and then I'm sure I heard something moving a long way off in the shrubbery—a noise like twigs snapping—and it suddenly came over me, where was George? Oh, Peter, I saw everything then, so clearly. I saw that Denis must have come on George waiting there, and attacked him—I'm sure Denis must have attacked him. Probably he thought it was a burglar. Or he found out who he was and tried to drive him away. And in the struggle George must have shot him. It was awful!”
Peter patted his sister on the shoulder. “Poor kid,” he said.
“I didn't know what to do,” went on the girl. “I'd so awfully little time, you see. My one idea was that nobody must suspect anybody had been there. So I had quickly to invent an excuse for being there myself. I shoved my suit-case behind the cactus plants to start with. Jerry was taken up with the body and didn't notice—you know, Jerry never does notice things till you shove them under his nose. But I knew if there'd been a shot Freddy and the Marchbankses must have heard it. So I pretended I'd heard it too, and rushed down to look for burglars. It was a bit lame, but the best thing I could think of. Gerald sent me up to alarm the house, and I had the story all ready by the time I reached the landing. Oh, and I was quite proud of myself for not forgetting the suit-case!”
“You dumped it into the chest,” said Peter.
“Yes. I had a horrible shock the other morning when I found you looking in.”
“Nothing like the shock I had when I found the silver sand there.”
“Out of the conservatory.”
“Good gracious!” said Mary.
“Well, go on. You knocked up Freddy and the Pettigrew-Robinsons. Then you had to bolt into your room to destroy your farewell letter and take your clothes off.”
“Yes. I'm afraid I didn't do that very naturally. But I couldn't expect anybody to believe that I went burglar-hunting in a complete set of silk undies and a carefully knotted tie with a gold safety-pin.”
“No. I see your difficulty.”
“It turned out quite well, too, because they were all quite ready to believe that I wanted to escape from Mrs. Pettigrew-Robinson—except Mrs. P. herself, of course.”
“Yes; even Parker swallowed that, didn't you, old man?”
“Oh, quite, quite so,” said Parker gloomily.
“I made a dreadful mistake about that shot,” resumed Lady Mary. “You see, I explained it all so elaborately—and then I found that nobody had heard a shot at all. And afterwards they discovered that it had all happened in the shrubbery—and the time wasn't right, either. Then at the inquest I had to stick to my story—and it got to look worse and worse—and then they put the blame on Gerald. In my wildest moments I'd never thought of that. Of course, I see now how my wretched evidence helped.”
“Hence the ipecacuanha,” said Peter.
“I'd got into such a frightful tangle,” said poor Lady Mary, “I thought I had better shut up altogether for fear of making things still worse.”
“And did you still think Goyles had done it?”
“I—I didn't know what to think,” said the girl. “I don't now. Peter, who else could have done it?”
“Honestly, old thing,” said his lordship, “if he didn't do it, I don't know who did.”
“He ran away, you see,” said Lady Mary.
“He seems rather good at shootin' and runnin' away,” said Peter grimly.
“If he hadn't done that to you,” said Mary slowly, “I'd never have told you. I'd have died first. But, of course, with his revolutionary doctrines—and when you think of Red Russia and all the blood spilt in riots and insurrections and things—I suppose it does teach a contempt for human life.”
“My dear,” said the Duchess, “it seems to me that Mr. Goyles shows no especial contempt for his own life. You must try to look at the thing fairly. Shooting people and running away is not very heroic—according to our standards.”
“The thing I don't understand,” struck in Wimsey hurriedly, “is how Gerald's revolver got into the shrubbery.”