The two looked at each other face to face. The intuition and ready wit of the woman pierced the disguise which had baffled the soldier.
“Father,” she cried, “it’s not Smithlord, it’s Lord Smith. George!”
“Rosamund!” cried George. We cannot keep the secret any longer from our readers; it was Lord Smith.
“Tut, tut, sir, what is this?” said the Colonel. “I turned you out of the Regiment three weeks ago. What the deuce,” he said, for, like all military men, he was addicted to strong language—“what the deuce does this mean?”
“I was innocent, sir.”
“Father, he was innocent.”
“He was innocent,” said a hollow voice from the next bed.
In amazement they all looked at the officer lying there.
“Rosamund,” he cried, “am I so greatly changed?”
The Colonel handed him his pocket mirror.
“Yes,” sighed the Major, “I understand. But I am Major Murgatroyd.”
“Major Murgatroyd!” they all cried.
“This gallant fellow here, whom I now know to be Lord Smith, saved my life; I cannot let him suffer any longer. It was I who hid the secret document in his pocket. I did it for love of you, Rosamund.” He held out his hand. “Say you forgive me, my dear Lord Smith.”
Lord Smith shook his hand warmly.
But little more remains to tell. A month later our hero was back in England. Fortunately the Quartermaster had kept his buttons; and in a very short time he was back in the dear old uniform, and the wedding of Second-Lieutenant Lord Smith to Rosamund Blowhard was one of the events of the season.
And what of Major Murgatroyd? He has learnt his lesson; and as commandant of a rest camp on the French coast he is the soul of geniality to all who meet him.
THE BALLAD OF PRIVATE CHADD
I sing of George Augustus Chadd,
Who’d always from a baby had
A deep affection for his Dad—
In other words, his Father;
Contrariwise, the father’s one
And only treasure was his son,
Yes, even when he’d gone and done
Things which annoyed him rather.
For instance, if at Christmas (say)
Or on his parent’s natal day
The thoughtless lad forgot to pay
The customary greeting,
His father’s visage only took
That dignified reproachful look
Which dying beetles give the cook
Above the clouds of Keating.
As years went on such looks were rare;
The younger Chadd was always there
To greet his father and to share
His father’s birthday party;
The pink “For auld acquaintance sake”
Engraved in sugar on the cake
Was his. The speech he used to make
Was reverent but hearty.
The younger Chadd was twentyish
When War broke out, but did not wish
To get an A.S.C. commish
Or be a rag-time sailor;
Just Private Chadd he was, and went
To join his Dad’s old regiment,
While Dad (the dear old dug-out) sent
For red tabs from the tailor.