“I am sorry for Ian Stafford,” was the response.
“Men get over such things,” came the quietly cynical reply.
“Jasmine takes a lot of getting over,” answered Jasmine’s father. “She has got the brains of all the family, the beauty her family never had—the genius of my father, and the wilfulness, and—”
He paused, for, after all, he was not talking to the mother of his child.
“Yes, all of it, dear child,” was the enigmatical reply.
“I wish—Nelly, I do wish that—”
“Yes, I know what you wish, Cuthbert, but it’s no good. I’m not of any use to her. She will work out her own destiny alone—as her grandfather did.”
“God knows I hope not! A man can carry it off, but a woman—”
Slow and almost stupid as he was, he knew that her inheritance from her grandfather’s nature was a perilous gift.
THE PARTNERS MEET
England was more stunned than shocked. The dark significance, the evil consequences destined to flow from the Jameson Raid had not yet reached the general mind. There was something gallant and romantic in this wild invasion: a few hundred men, with no commissariat and insufficient clothing, with enough ammunition and guns for only the merest flurry of battle, doing this unbelievable gamble with Fate—challenging a republic of fighting men with well-stocked arsenals and capable artillery, with ample sources of supply, with command of railways and communications. It was certainly magnificent; but it was magnificent folly.
It did not take England long to decide that point; and not even the Laureate’s paean in the organ of the aristocracy and upper middle class could evoke any outburst of feeling. There was plenty of admiration for the pluck and boldness, for the careless indifference with which the raiders risked their lives; for the romantic side of the dash from Pitsani to the Rand; but the thing was so palpably impossible, as it was carried out, that there was not a knowing mind in the Islands which would not have echoed Rhodes’ words, “Jameson has upset the apple-cart.”
Rudyard Byng did not visit Jasmine the next evening at six o’clock. His world was all in chaos, and he had not closed his eyes to sleep since he had left her. At ten o’clock at night, as he had arranged, “The Partners” and himself met at his chambers, around which had gathered a crowd of reporters and curious idlers; and from that time till the grey dawn he and they had sat in conference. He had spent two hours at the Colonial Office after he left Jasmine, and now all night he kneaded the dough of a new policy with his companions in finance and misfortune.