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_An African millionaire: episodes in the life of the
illustrious Colonel Clay_ (1897)

          by Grant Allen  (1848 - 1899)



LIKE most South Africans, Sir Charles Vandrift is anything
but sedentary.  He hates sitting down.  He must always
'trek.'  He cannot live without moving about freely.  Six
weeks in Mayfair at a time is as much as he can stand.  Then
he must run away incontinently for rest and change to
Scotland, Homburg, Monte Carlo, Biarritz.  'I won't be a
limpet on the rock,' he says.  Thus it came to pass that in
the early autumn we found ourselves stopping at the
Metropole at Brighton.  We were the accustomed nice little
family party--Sir Charles and Amelia, myself and Isabel,
with the suite as usual.

  On the first Sunday morning after our arrival we strolled
out, Charles and I--I regret to say during the hours
allotted for Divine service--on to the King's Road, to get a
whiff of fresh air, and a glimpse of the waves that were
churning the Channel.  The two ladies (with their bonnets)
had gone to church; but Sir Charles had risen late, fatigued
from the week's toil, while I myself was suffering from a
matutinal headache, which I attributed to the close air in
the billiard-room overnight, combined, perhaps, with the
insidious effect of a brand of soda-water to which I was
little accustomed; I had used it to dilute my evening
whisky.  We were to meet our wives afterwards at the church
parade--an institution to which I believe both Amelia and
Isabel attach even greater importance than to the sermon
which precedes it.

  We sat down on a glass seat.  Charles gazed inquiringly up
and down the King's Road, on the look-out for a boy with
Sunday papers.  At last one passed.  '_Observer_,' my
brother-in-law called out laconically.

  'Ain't got none,' the boy answered, brandishing his bundle
in our faces.  ''Ave a _Referee_ or a _Pink 'Un_?'

  Charles, however, is not a Refereader, while as to the
_Pink 'Un_, he considers it unsuitable for public perusal on
Sunday morning.  It may be read indoors, but in the open air
its blush betrays it.  So he shook his head, and muttered,
'If you pass an _Observer_, send him on here at once to me.'

  A polite stranger who sat close to us turned round with a
pleasant smile.  'Would you allow me to offer you one?' he
said, drawing a copy from his pocket.  'I fancy I bought the
last.  There's a run on them to-day, you see.  Important
news this morning from the Transvaal.'

  Charles raised his eyebrows, and accepted it, as I
thought, just a trifle grumpily.  So, to remove the false
impression his surliness might produce on so benevolent a
mind, I entered into conversation with the polite stranger. 
He was a man of middle age and medium height, with a
cultivated air, and a pair of gold pince-nez; his eyes were
sharp; his voice was refined; he dropped into talk before
long about distinguished people just then in Brighton.  It
was clear at once that he was hand in glove with many of the
very best kind.  We compared notes as to Nice, Rome,
Florence, Cairo.  Our new acquaintance had scores of friends
in common with us, it seemed; indeed, our circles so largely
coincided, that I wondered we had never happened till then
to knock up against one another.

  'And Sir Charles Vandrift, the great African millionaire,'
he said at last, 'do you know anything of him?  I'm told
he's at present down here at the Metropole.'

  I waved my hand towards the person in question.

  'This is Sir Charles Vandrift,' I answered, with
proprietary pride; 'and I am his brother-in-law, Mr. Seymour

  'Oh, indeed!' the stranger answered, with a curious air of
drawing in his horns.  I wondered whether he had just been
going to pretend he knew Sir Charles, or whether perchance
he was on the point of saying something highly
uncomplimentary, and was glad to have escaped it.

  By this time, however, Charles laid down the paper and
chimed into our conversation.  I could see at once from his
mollified tone that the news from the Transvaal was
favourable to his operations in Cloetedorp Golcondas.  He
was therefore in a friendly and affable temper.  His whole
manner changed at once.  He grew polite in return to the
polite stranger.  Besides, we knew the man moved in the best
society; he had acquaintances whom Amelia was most anxious
to secure for her 'At Homes' in Mayfair--young Faith, the
novelist, and Sir Richard Montrose, the great Arctic
traveller.  As for the painters, it was clear that he was
sworn friends with the whole lot of them.  He dined with
Academicians, and gave weekly breakfasts to the members of
the Institute.  Now, Amelia is particularly desirous that
her salon should not be considered too exclusively financial
and political in character: with a solid basis of M.P.'s and
millionaires, she loves a delicate under-current of
literature, art, and the musical glasses.  Our new
acquaintance was extremely communicative: 'Knows his place
in society, Sey,' Sir Charles said to me afterwards, 'and is
therefore not afraid of talking freely, as so many people
are who have doubts about their position.'  We exchanged
cards before we rose.  Our new friend's name turned out to
be Dr. Edward Polperro.

  'In practice here?' I inquired, though his garb belied it.

  'Oh, not medical,' he answered.  'I am an LL.D. don't you
know.  I interest myself in art, and buy to some extent for
the National Gallery.'

  The very man for Amelia's 'At Homes'!  Sir Charles snapped
at him instantly.  'I've brought my four-in-hand down here
with me,' he said, in his best friendly manner, 'and we
think of tooling over to-morrow to Lewes.  If you'd care to
take a seat I'm sure Lady Vandrift would be charmed to see

  'You're very kind,' the Doctor said, 'on so casual an
introduction.  I'm sure I shall be delighted.'

  'We start from the Metropole at ten-thirty,' Charles went

  'I shall be there.  Good morning!'  And, with a satisfied
smile, he rose and left us, nodding.

  We returned to the lawn, to Amelia and Isabel.

  Our new friend passed us once or twice.  Charles stopped
him and introduced him.  He was walking with two ladies,
most elegantly dressed in rather peculiar artistic dresses. 
Amelia was taken at first sight by his manner.  'One could
see at a glance,' she said, 'he was a person of culture and
of real distinction.  I wonder whether he could bring the
P.R.A. to my Parliamentary "At Home" on Wednesday

  Next day, at ten-thirty, we started on our drive.  Our
team has been considered the best in Sussex.  Charles is an
excellent, though somewhat anxious--or, might I say better,
somewhat careful?--whip.  He finds the management of two
leaders and two wheelers fills his hands for the moment,
both literally and figuratively, leaving very little time
for general conversation.  Lady Belleisle of Beacon bloomed
beside him on the box (her bloom is perennial, and applied
by her maid); Dr. Polperro occupied the seat just behind
with myself and Amelia.  The Doctor talked most of the time
to Lady Vandrift: his discourse was of picture-galleries,
which Amelia detests, but in which she thinks it incumbent
upon her, as Sir Charles's wife, to affect now and then a
cultivated interest.  Noblesse oblige; and the walls of
Castle Seldon, our place in Ross-shire, are almost covered
now with Leaders and with Orchardsons.  This result was
first arrived at by a singular accident.  Sir Charles wanted
a leader--for his coach, you understand--and told an
artistic friend so.  The artistic friend brought him a
Leader next week with a capital L; and Sir Charles was so
taken aback that he felt ashamed to confess the error.  So
he was turned unawares into a patron of painting.

  Dr. Polperro, in spite of his too pronouncedly artistic
talk, proved on closer view a most agreeable companion.  He
diversified his art cleverly with anecdotes and scandals; he
told us exactly which famous painters had married their
cooks, and which had only married their models; and
otherwise showed himself a most diverting talker.  Among
other things, however, he happened to mention once that he
had recently discovered a genuine Rembrandt--a quite
undoubted Rembrandt, which had remained for years in the
keeping of a certain obscure Dutch family.  It had always
been allowed to be a masterpiece of the painter, but it had
seldom been seen for the last half-century save by a few
intimate acquaintances.  It was a portrait of one Maria
Vanrenen of Haarlem, and he had bought it of her descendants
at Gouda, in Holland.

  I saw Charles prick up his ears, though he took no open
notice.  This Maria Vanrenen, as it happened, was a remote
collateral ancestress of the Vandrifts, before they
emigrated to the Cape in 1780; and the existence of the
portrait, though not its whereabouts, was well known in the
family Isabel had often mentioned it.  If it was to be had
at anything like a reasonable price, it would be a splendid
thing for the boys (Sir Charles, I ought to say, has two
sons at Eton) to possess an undoubted portrait of an
ancestress by Rembrandt.

  Dr. Polperro talked a good deal after that about this
valuable find.  He had tried to sell it at first to the
National Gallery; but though the Directors admired the work
immensely, and admitted its genuineness, they regretted that
the funds at their disposal this year did not permit them to
acquire so important a canvas at a proper figure.  South
Kensington again was too poor; but the Doctor was in treaty
at present with the Louvre and with Berlin.  Still, it was a
pity a fine work of art like that, once brought into the
country, should be allowed to go out of it.  Some patriotic
patron of the fine arts ought to buy it for his own house,
or else munificently present it to the nation.

  All the time Charles said nothing.  But I could feel him
cogitating.  He even looked behind him once, near a
difficult corner (while the guard was actually engaged in
tootling his horn to let passers-by know that the coach was
coming), and gave Amelia a warning glance to say nothing
committing, which had at once the requisite effect of
sealing her mouth for the moment.  It is a very unusual
thing for Charles to look back while driving.  I gathered
from his doing so that he was inordinately anxious to
possess this Rembrandt.

  When we arrived at Lewes we put up our horses at the inn,
and Charles ordered a lunch on his wonted scale of princely
magnificence.  Meanwhile we wandered, two and two, about the
town and castle.  I annexed Lady Belleisle, who is at least
amusing.  Charles drew me aside before starting.  'Look
here, Sey,' he said, 'we must be very careful.  This man,
Polperro, is a chance acquaintance.  There's nothing an
astute rogue can take one in over more easily than an Old
Master.  If the Rembrandt is genuine I ought to have it; if
it really represents Maria Vanrenen, it's a duty I owe to
the boys to buy it.  But I've been done twice lately, and I
won't be done a third time.  We must go to work cautiously.'

  'You are right,' I answered.  'No more seers and curates!'

  'If this man's an impostor,' Charles went on--'and in
spite of what he says about the National Gallery and so
forth, we know nothing of him--the story he tells is just
the sort of one such a fellow would trump up in a moment to
deceive me.  He could easily learn who I was--I'm a
well-known figure; he knew I was in Brighton, and he may
have been sitting on that glass seat on Sunday on purpose to
entrap me.'

  'He introduced your name,' I said, 'and the moment he
found out who I was he plunged into talk with me.'

  'Yes,' Charles continued.  'He may have learned about the
portrait of Maria Vanrenen, which my grandmother always said
was preserved at Gouda; and, indeed, I myself have often
mentioned it, as you doubtless remember.  If so, what more
natural, say, for a rogue than to begin talking about the
portrait in that innocent way to Amelia?  If he wants a
Rembrandt, I believe they can be turned out to order to any
amount in Birmingham.  The moral of all which is, it behoves
us to be careful.'

  'Right you are,' I answered; 'and I am keeping my eye upon

  We drove back by another road, overshadowed by beech-trees
in autumnal gold.  It was a delightful excursion.  Dr.
Polperro's heart was elated by lunch and the excellent dry
Monopole.  He talked amazingly.  I never heard a man with a
greater or more varied flow of anecdote.  He had been
everywhere and knew all about everybody.  Amelia booked him
at once for her 'At Home' on Wednesday week, and he promised
to introduce her to several artistic and literary

  That evening, however, about half-past seven, Charles and
I strolled out together on the King's Road for a blow before
dinner.  We dine at eight.  The air was delicious.  We
passed a small new hotel, very smart and exclusive, with a
big bow window.  There, in evening dress, lights burning and
blind up, sat our friend, Dr. Polperro, with a lady facing
him, young, graceful, and pretty.  A bottle of champagne
stood open before him.  He was helping himself plentifully
to hot-house grapes, and full of good humour.  It was clear
he and the lady were occupied in the intense enjoyment of
some capital joke; for they looked queerly at one another,
and burst now and again into merry peals of laughter.

  I drew back.  So did Sir Charles.  One idea passed at once
through both our minds.  I murmured, 'Colonel Clay!'  He
answered, 'And Madame Picardet!'

  They were not in the least like the Reverend Richard and
Mrs. Brabazon.  But that clinched the matter.  Nor did I see
a sign of the aquiline nose of the Mexican Seer.  Still, I
had learnt by then to discount appearances.  If these were
indeed the famous sharper and his wife or accomplice, we
must be very careful.  We were forewarned this time. 
Supposing he had the audacity to try a third trick of the
sort upon us we had him under our thumbs.  Only, we must
take steps to prevent his dexterously slipping through our

  'He can wriggle like an eel,' said the Commissary at Nice. 
We both recalled those words, and laid our plans deep to
prevent the man's wriggling away from us on this third

  'I tell you what it is, Sey,' my brother-in-law said, with
impressive slowness.  'This time we must deliberately lay
ourselves out to be swindled.  We must propose of our own
accord to buy the picture, making him guarantee it in
writing as a genuine Rembrandt, and taking care to tie him
down by most stringent conditions.  But we must seem at the
same time to be unsuspicious and innocent as babes; we must
swallow whole whatever lies he tells us; pay his price--
nominally--by cheque for the portrait; and then, arrest him
the moment the bargain is complete, with the proofs of his
guilt then and there upon him.  Of course, what he'll try to
do will be to vanish into thin air at once, as he did at
Nice and Paris; but, this time, we'll have the police in
waiting and everything ready.  We'll avoid precipitancy, but
we'll avoid delay too.  We must hold our hands off till he's
actually accepted and pocketed the money; and then, we must
nab him instantly, and walk him off to the local Bow Street. 
That's my plan of campaign.  Meanwhile, we should appear all
trustful innocence and confiding guilelessness.'

  In pursuance of this well-laid scheme, we called next day
on Dr. Polperro at his hotel, and were introduced to his
wife, a dainty little woman, in whom we affected not to
recognise that arch Madame Picardet or that simple White
Heather.  The Doctor talked charmingly (as usual) about art
--what a well-informed rascal he was, to be sure!--and Sir
Charles expressed some interest in the supposed Rembrandt. 
Our new friend was delighted; we could see by his
well-suppressed eagerness of tone that he knew us at once
for probable purchasers.  He would run up to town next day,
he said, and bring down the portrait.  And in effect, when
Charles and I took our wonted places in the Pullman next
morning, on our way up to the half-yearly meeting of
Cloetedorp Golcondas, there was our Doctor, leaning back in
his arm-chair as if the car belonged to him.  Charles gave
me an expressive look.  'Does it in style,' he whispered,
'doesn't he?  Takes it out of my five thousand; or discounts
the amount he means to chouse me of with his spurious

  Arrived in town, we went to work at once.  We set a
private detective from Marvillier's to watch our friend; and
from him we learned that the so-called Doctor dropped in for
a picture that day at a dealer's in the West-end (I suppress
the name, having a judicious fear of the law of libel ever
before my eyes), a dealer who was known to be mixed up
before then in several shady or disreputable transactions. 
Though, to be sure, my experience has been that picture
dealers are--picture dealers.  Horses rank first in my mind
as begetters and producers of unscrupulous agents, but
pictures run them a very good second.  Anyhow, we found out
that our distinguished art-critic picked up his Rembrandt at
this dealer's shop, and came down with it in his care the
same night to Brighton.

  In order not to act precipitately, and so ruin our plans,
we induced Dr. Polperro (what a cleverly chosen name!) to
bring the Rembrandt round to the Metropole for our
inspection, and to leave it with us while we got the opinion
of an expert from London.

  The expert came down, and gave us a full report upon the
alleged Old Master.  In his judgment, it was not a Rembrandt
at all, but a cunningly-painted and well-begrimed modern
Dutch imitation.  Moreover, he showed us by documentary
evidence that the real portrait of Maria Vanrenen had, as a
matter of fact, been brought to England five years before,
and sold to Sir J. H. Tomlinson, the well-known connoisseur,
for eight thousand pounds.  Dr. Polperro's picture was,
therefore, at best either a replica by Rembrandt; or else,
more probably, a copy by a pupil; or, most likely of all, a
mere modern forgery.

  We were thus well prepared to fasten our charge of
criminal conspiracy upon the self-styled Doctor.  But in
order to make assurance still more certain, we threw out
vague hints to him that the portrait of Maria Vanrenen might
really be elsewhere, and even suggested in his hearing that
it might not improbably have got into the hands of that
omnivorous collector, Sir J. H. Tomlinson.  But the vendor
was proof against all such attempts to decry his goods.  He
had the effrontery to brush away the documentary evidence,
and to declare that Sir J. H. Tomlinson (one of the most
learned and astute picture-buyers in England) had been
smartly imposed upon by a needy Dutch artist with a talent
for forgery.  The real Maria Vanrenen, he declared and
swore, was the one he offered us.  'Success has turned the
man's head,' Charles said to me, well pleased.  'He thinks
we will swallow any obvious lie he chooses to palm off upon
us.  But the bucket has come once too often to the well. 
This time we checkmate him.'  It was a mixed metaphor, I
admit; but Sir Charles's tropes are not always entirely
superior to criticism.

  So we pretended to believe our man, and accepted his
assurances.  Next came the question of price.  This was
warmly debated, for form's sake only.  Sir J. H. Tomlinson
had paid eight thousand for his genuine Maria.  The Doctor
demanded ten thousand for his spurious one.  There was
really no reason why we should higgle and dispute, for
Charles meant merely to give his cheque for the sum and then
arrest the fellow; but, still, we thought it best for the
avoidance of suspicion to make a show of resistance; and we
at last beat him down to nine thousand guineas.  For this
amount he was to give us a written warranty that the work he
sold us was a genuine Rembrandt, that it represented Maria
Vanrenen of Haarlem, and that he had bought it direct,
without doubt or question, from that good lady's descendants
at Gouda, in Holland.

  It was capitally done.  We arranged the thing to
perfection.  We had a constable in waiting in our rooms at
the Metropole, and we settled that Dr. Polperro was to call
at the hotel at a certain fixed hour to sign the warranty
and receive his money.  A regular agreement on sound stamped
paper was drawn out between us.  At the appointed time the
'party of the first part' came, having already given us over
possession of the portrait.  Charles drew a cheque for the
amount agreed upon, and signed it.  Then he handed it to the
Doctor Polperro just clutched at it.  Meanwhile, I took up
my post by the door, while two men in plain clothes,
detectives from the police-station, stood as men-servants
and watched the windows.  We feared lest the impostor, once
he had got the cheque, should dodge us somehow, as he had
already done at Nice and in Paris.  The moment he had
pocketed his money with a smile of triumph, I advanced to
him rapidly.  I had in my possession a pair of handcuffs. 
Before he knew what was happening, I had slipped them on his
wrists and secured them dexterously, while the constable
stepped forward.  'We have got you this time!' I cried.  'We
know who you are, Dr. Polperro.  You are--Colonel Clay,
alias Senor Antonio Herrera, alias the Reverend Richard
Peploe Brabazon.'

  I never saw any man so astonished in my life!  He was
utterly flabbergasted.  Charles thought he must have
expected to get clear away at once, and that this prompt
action on our part had taken the fellow so much by surprise
as to simply unman him.  He gazed about him as if he hardly
realised what was happening.

  'Are these two raving maniacs?' he asked at last, 'or what
do they mean by this nonsensical gibberish about Antonio

  The constable laid his hand on the prisoner's shoulder.

  'It's all right, my man,' he said.  'We've got warrants
out against you.  I arrest you, Edward Polperro, alias the
Reverend Richard Peploe Brabazon, on a charge of obtaining
money under false pretences from Sir Charles Vandrift,
K.C.M.G., M.P., on his sworn information, now here
subscribed to.'  For Charles had had the thing drawn out in
readiness beforehand.

  Our prisoner drew him-self up.  'Look here, officer,' he
said, in an offended tone, 'there's some mistake here in
this matter.  I have never given an alias at any time in my
life.  How do you know this is really Sir Charles Vandrift?
It may be a case of bullying personation.  My belief is,
though, they're a pair of escaped lunatics.'

  'We'll see about that to-morrow,' the constable said,
collaring him.  'At present you've got to go off with me
quietly to the station, where these gentlemen will enter up
the charge against you.'

  They carried him off, protesting.  Charles and I signed
the charge-sheet; and the officer locked him up to await his
examination next day before the magistrate.

  We were half afraid even now the fellow would manage
somehow to get out on bail and give us the slip in spite of
everything; and, indeed, he protested in the most violent
manner against the treatment to which we were subjecting 'a
gentleman in his position.'  But Charles took care to tell
the police it was all right; that he was a dangerous and
peculiarly slippery criminal, and that on no account must
they let him go on any pretext whatever, till he had been
properly examined before the magistrates.

  We learned at the hotel that night, curiously enough, that
there really as a Dr. Polperro, a distinguished art critic,
whose name, we didn't doubt, our impostor had been assuming.

  Next morning, when we reached the court, an inspector met
us with a very long face.  'Look here, gentlemen,' he said,
'I'm afraid you've committed a very serious blunder.  You've
made a precious bad mess of it.  You've got yourselves into
a scrape; and, what's worse, you've got us into one also. 
You were a deal too smart with your sworn information. 
We've made inquiries about this gentleman, and we find the
account he gives of himself is perfectly correct.  His name
is Polperro; he's a well-known art critic and collector of
pictures, employed abroad by the National Gallery.  He was
formerly an official in the South Kensington Museum, and
he's a C.B. and LL.D., very highly respected.  You've made a
sad mistake, that's where it is; and you'll probably have to
answer a charge of false imprisonment, in which I'm afraid
you have also involved our own department.'

  Charles gasped with horror.  'You haven't let him out,' he
cried, 'on those absurd representations?  You haven't let
him slip through your hands as you did that murderer

  'Let him slip through our hands?' the inspector cried.  'I
only wish he would.  There's no chance of that, 
unfortunately.  He's in the court there, this moment,
breathing out fire and slaughter against you both; and we're
here to protect you if he should happen to fall upon you. 
He's been locked up all night on your mistaken affidavits,
and, naturally enough, he's mad with anger.'

  'If you haven't let him go, I'm satisfied,' Charles
answered.  'He's a fox for cunning.  Where is he?  Let me
see him.'

  We went into the court.  There we saw our prisoner
conversing amicably, in the most excited way, with the
magistrate (who, it seems, was a personal friend of his);
and Charles at once went up and spoke to them.  Dr. Polperro
turned round and glared at him through his pince-nez.

  'The only possible explanation of this person's
extraordinary and incredible conduct,' he said, 'is, that he
must be mad--and his secretary equally so.  He made my
acquaintance, unasked, on a glass seat on the King's Road;
invited me to go on his coach to Lewes; volunteered to buy a
valuable picture of me; and then, at the last moment,
unaccountably gave me in charge on this silly and
preposterous trumped-up accusation.  I demand a summons for
false imprisonment.'

  Suddenly it began to dawn upon us that the tables were
turned.  By degrees it came out that we had made a mistake. 
Dr. Polperro was really the person he represented himself to
be, and had been always.  His picture, we found out, was the
real Maria Vanrenen, and a genuine Rembrandt, which he had
merely deposited for cleaning and restoring at the
suspicious dealer's.  Sir J. H. Tomlinson had been imposed
upon and cheated by a cunning Dutchman; his picture, though
also an undoubted Rembrandt, was not the Maria, and was an
inferior specimen in bad preservation.  The authority we had
consulted turned out to be an ignorant, self-sufficient
quack.  The Maria, moreover, was valued by other experts at
no more than five or six thousand guineas.  Charles wanted
to cry off his bargain, but Dr. Polperro naturally wouldn't
hear of it.  The agreement was a legally binding instrument,
and what passed in Charles's mind at the moment had nothing
to do with the written contract.  Our adversary only
consented to forego the action for false imprisonment on
condition that Charles inserted a printed apology in the
_Times_, and paid him five hundred pounds compensation for
damage to character.  So that was the end of our
well-planned attempt to arrest the swindler.

  Not quite the end, however; for, of course, after this,
the whole affair got by degrees into the papers.  Dr.
Polperro, who was a familiar person in literary and artistic
society, as it turned out, brought an action against the
so-called expert who had declared against the genuineness of
his alleged Rembrandt, and convicted him of the grossest
ignorance and misstatement.  Then paragraphs got about.  The
_World_ showed us up in a sarcastic article; and _Truth_,
which has always been terribly severe upon Sir Charles and
all the other South Africans, had a pungent set of verses on
'High Art in Kimberley.'  By this means, as we suppose, the
affair became known to Colonel Clay himself; for a week or
two later my brother-in-law received a cheerful little note
on scented paper from our persistent sharper.  It was
couched in these terms:--
  'Oh, you innocent infant!

  'Bless your ingenuous little heart!  And did it believe,
then, it had positively caught the redoubtable colonel?  And
had it ready a nice little pinch of salt to put upon his
tail?  And is it true its respected name is Sir Simple
Simon?  How heartily we have laughed, White Heather and I,
at your neat little ruses!  It would pay you, by the way, to
take White Heather into your house for six months to
instruct you in the agreeable sport of amateur detectives. 
Your charming naivete quite moves our envy.  So you actually
imagined a man of my brains would condescend to anything so
flat and stale as the silly and threadbare Old Master
deception!  And this in the so-called nineteenth century!  O
sancta simplicitas!  When again shall such infantile
transparency be mine?  When, ah, when?  But never mind, dear
friend.  Though you didn't catch me, we shall meet before
long at some delightful Philippi.

  'Yours, with the profoundest respect and gratitude,

                         'ANTONIO HERRERA,
                    'Otherwise RICHARD PEPLOE BRABAZON.'

  Charles laid down the letter with a deep-drawn sigh. 
'Sey, my boy,' he mused aloud, 'no fortune on earth--not
even mine--can go on standing it.  These perpetual drains
begin really to terrify me.  I foresee the end.  I shall die
in a workhouse.  What with the money he robs me of when he
is Colonel Clay, and the money I waste upon him when he
isn't Colonel Clay, the man is beginning to tell upon my
nervous system.  I shall withdraw altogether from this
worrying life.  I shall retire from a scheming and polluted
world to some untainted spot in the fresh, pure mountains.'

  'You must need rest and change,' I said, 'when you talk
like that.  Let us try the Tyrol.'