'I do, I said, 'and I am Cyril Aylwin's kinsman, whom you call his cousin, so perhaps, as every word your friend has said about Sinfi Lovell and me is false, you will allow me to call him a liar. A look of the greatest glee at the discomfiture of his companion overspread his face. 'Certainly, he said with a loud laugh.

I said to him: 'This idea o f my father's which has inspired you, and resulted in such great work, what is its nature? 'I am a painter, Mr. Aylwin, and nothing more, he replied. 'I could only express Philip Aylwin's ideas by describing my picture and the predella beneath it. Will you permit me to do so? 'May I ask you, I said, 'as a favour to do so?

Aylwin's father was violated by some undiscovered miscreant, and I know that the words Sinfi uttered just now are the words of a curse written by the dead man on a piece of parchment, and stolen with a jewel from his tomb. I have seen the parchment itself, and I know the words well. Her father, Panuel Lovell, is as innocent of the crime of sacrilege as my poor father was.

His face took a pleased meditative look. He was thinking of Canon Aylwin's last volume of essays of their fine scholarship, their delicate, unique qualities of style. As for Lucy, it seemed to her that all the principalities and powers of this world were somehow arraying themselves against her in that terrible drawing-room they were so soon to enter.

When his spirits were at their highest he was without an equal as a wit, without an equal as a humourist. He had more than even Cyril Aylwin's quickness of repartee, and it was of an incomparably rarer quality.

By the fever-fires in my brain I seemed to see the very faces of the corpses. 'Who am I? I said to myself, as I thought, but evidently aloud; 'I am the Fool of Superstition. I am Fenella Stanley's Fool, and Sinfi Lovell's Fool, and Philip Aylwin's Fool, who went and averted a curse from one of the heads resting down here, averted a curse by burying a jewel in a dead man's tomb.

It was not the woman but myself I was cursing when I cried out, 'Fool! besotted fool! Not till now had the wild hope fled which had led me back to the den. As I stood shuddering on the doorstep in the cold morning light, while the whole unbearable truth broke in upon me, I could hear my lips murmuring, 'Fool of ancestral superstitions! Fenella Stanley's fool! Philip Aylwin's fool!

'But how did you attain to this superlative excellence, Mr. Wilderspin? I asked. 'That would indeed be a long story to tell, said he. 'Yet Philip Aylwin's son has a right to know all that I can tell.

In Great Britain it is the Gypsies alone who understand nature's supreme charm, and enjoy her largesse as it used to be enjoyed in those remote times described in Percy Aylwin's poems before the Children of the Roof invaded the Children of the Open Air, before the earth was parcelled out into domains and ownerships as it now is parcelled out.

Yet, in a certain deep sense, it may be said of Philip Aylwin's name that since his lamented death it has even become famous. 'Philip Aylwin! I said. 'Why, that was my father. He famous! The recollection of the essay upon 'Hamalet and Hamlet, the thought of the brass-rubbings, the kneecaps and mittens, came before me in an irresistibly humorous light, and I could not repress a smile.