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Minkie

Minkie
Category:
Author: Tracy Louis
Title: Minkie
Release Date: 2018-12-09
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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MINKIE

BY

LOUIS TRACY

Author of “The Wings of the Morning,” “The Pillar of Light,”
The Captain of the Kansas,” etc.

Publisher Logo

Toronto

McLeod & Allen

Publishers

1907


Copyright, 1907
By EDWARD J. CLODE.

Entered at Stationers’ Hall

The Plimpton Press Norwood Mass. U.S.A.


 

Minkie

CONTENTS

 PAGE
CHAPTER I
How a Bogey-Man Came to Dale End3
CHAPTER II
Prince John’s Strange Ally41
CHAPTER III
The White Man’s Way73
CHAPTER IV
The Black Man’s Way107
CHAPTER V
The Undoing of Schwartz143

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

“Minkie”Frontispiece
 PAGE
“Oh, indeed. And you are Miss Millicent, I
suppose?”
8
Minkie took the ivory doll from her pocket and
surveyed it seriously
69
But she stood there quite motionless91
The Old Man read the typewritten letter which
Schwartz gave him
114
My first call was at a jeweller’s in Piccadilly157

[Pg 3]

CHAPTER I

HOW A BOGEY-MAN CAME TO DALE END

Told by Bobby, the Horse

MINKIE says I ought to begin this story,because I am the biggest and strongest.I don’t see that at all, but she thinks I can’tsee much, anyhow, owing to my silly habit ofwearing blinkers, which is just her irritatingway of settling an argument—as if I madethe harness. And she knows better, too.I have an eye stuck on each side of my head toenable me to look nearly all round the circle;but that clever individual, man, tries to improveon Providence by making me don therogue’s badge. Well, it would make anyhorse laugh. You watch how the cleverindividual came to grief when Minkie andher gang tackled him. Yes, that is what theycall us—her “gang”—although Dandy, the[Pg 4]fox-terrier, won’t admit that Tibbie belongsto our crowd, and he gets furious if one evenmentions the Parrot. Perhaps he is prejudicedagainst Tibbie—I have noticed thatmost dogs seldom have a good word for a cat—butI do agree with him about that greenidiot, Polly. Of all the back-biting, screeching—Eh,what? Oh, don’t worry, as I tellDan when he trots in to my place to look fora rat—you’ll be in the middle of a real up-to-dateyarn in two buzzes of a gad-fly....

The fun started last Christmas Eve, whena small blue boy on a big red bicycle came toour front door and tried to pull the bell outby the roots after playing tricks with theknocker. Everybody thought it was a parcelfor herself. Dorothy sailed out of the drawing-room;Cookie and Evangeline, our housemaid(Mam wanted to call her Mary, butshe threatened to give notice), rushed fromthe kitchen; even dearest Mam dropped hersewing and wondered what the Guv’nor hadsent her; but Minkie tobogganed downstairson a tray, and came in an easy first. Danwas close up, as he simply hates every sort of[Pg 5]postman; so Minkie grabbed him with onehand and opened the door with the other.

And it was only a telegram.

When Mam opened it, she said “Goodgracious!”

“What is it, mother?” inquired Dorothy.

But Minkie had read it over Mam’s shoulderand it was just this:

“Schwartz arrived unexpectedly to-day.Have invited him to spend Christmas andNew Year with us. Send victoria meet 2.15.Tom.”

Tom is the Old Man. His other name isGrosvenor. He isn’t really old, but Jim callshim the Old Man, or the Guv’nor, and weare all pretty free and easy in the stable, youknow.

“Good gracious!” said Mam again, “hewill be here in half an hour. Evangeline,run and tell James to drive to the station atonce. Mr. Grosvenor is bringing a friendhome with him.”

Now, it is to be observed, in the first place,that ladies are always flustered by telegrams.The Old Man said nothing about “bringing”[Pg 6]Schwartz by the 2.15, and Mam knew quitewell that he expected to be detained at theoffice until the 5.30. Next, when two-leggedpeople are in a hurry, they put the rush onto their four-legged helpers. I was just enjoyinga nice wisp of hay when Jim banged inand rattled me into my harness, while Mole,the gardener, who also cleans the knives andboots, pulled the victoria out of the shed.

I was going through the gate in fine stylewhen Minkie came flying.

“Don’t stop,” she said, and skipped inside.

Jim thought Mam had sent her, but Jimis always wrong when he imagines anythingabout Minkie. The fact was, as she told meafterwards, she had heard a lot of talk aboutthis Schwartz, and she felt that it would begood for all parties if she took his measurea few minutes ahead of the rest of the family;so she jammed on a pirate cap and Dorothy’sfur coat, and slid across the lawn withoutany one’s being the wiser, except Dan, and hewas sore with her on account of the escapeof the telegraph boy. He tried to take it outof Tibbie, but she nipped up a tree, and the[Pg 7]parrot, who was watching him head downwardsthrough the drawing-room window,yelled “Yah!” at him. That settled it.He came after me and jumped up at mybit.

“Race you to the station,” he said, pretendinghe hadn’t seen Minkie.

“Right,” said I; “but, to make a matchof it, you ought to get Mole to harness youto his little girl’s toy pram.”

This remark seemed to hurt his feelings,but I didn’t know then about the rat-tatlingmessenger boy. Anyhow, he met the doctor’spoodle in the village, so he joined us atthe station in a good temper.

When the train arrived, it brought heapsof people. It always puzzles me that folkshould gorge more at Christmas time thanany other. Every man, woman, and childcarried half-a-dozen parcels, and nearly everyparcel held something to eat. Some of themen hugged long narrow boxes, which lookedas if they contained wax candles, but whichreally held a bottle of whisky. I know, becauseJim....

[Pg 8]

“Mr. Grosvenor hasn’t come, miss,” saidJim, when the crowd thinned.

“Who said he was coming?” asked Minkie.

“Well, Evangeline thought—”

“Evangeline never thinks. The doctor haswarned her against it. If ever she tries to doanything of the kind the excitement will killher. No, Jim. Dad has told a Mr. Schwartzto come on by this train, and make himselfat home until he joins him later. Schwartzis German for black. Most Germans aredumpy. But things often go by contraries.Our green-grocer is named Brown, so Mr.Schwartz should be a tall thin man, withstraw hair and white eyebrows.”

Nail my shoes, she wasn’t far out of it.A humpbacked porter came along with acouple of portmanteaux, followed by a heavyswell who was up to specification except asto the color of his hair, which was chestnut.

“This is Mr. Grosvenor’s carriage, sir,”said the porter.

“Oh, indeed. And you are Miss Millicent,I suppose?” said the newcomer, grinning atMinkie.

 

“Oh, indeed. And you are Miss Millicent, Isuppose?”
 

[Pg 9]

“Are you Mr. Schwartz?” she asked, and Dan inspected his calf, because Minkie’stone told us she had taken a violent disliketo the visitor at first sight.

“Yes,” he smirked, being so busy lookingat her that he paid no heed to the porter, whowas waiting for his tip.

“Well, if you give the porter a shilling I’lldrive you to our place. Mother is expectingyou.”

“Are you particular as to the exactamount?” he inquired, still grinning. Infact, he was one of those silly men who believethat you must laugh when you want tobe amiable; so please imagine Mr. Schwartzalways guffawing—at least, not always, becausehe could scowl very unpleasantly attimes. Tickle my withers, we made himscowl all right before we were through withhim.

“No,” said Minkie, giving the porter justone little look. “As it is Christmas time,you might make it half a crown.”

Schwartz got his hand down quick. Becausehe was a rich man, he thought tuppence[Pg 10]would be ample. He produced a florin, butMinkie spotted it.

“If you haven’t another sixpence I canlend you one,” she said sweetly, and I sawDan licking his lips when he heard her speakin that way.

“Don’t trouble,” said Schwartz, rathershortly, and he handed the porter three shillings.That was another of his queer ways.He liked to impress people, but cheaply. Hewanted a girl of fourteen to realize what agrand person he was, yet he was afraid shewould spring him up to a crown, or even halfa sovereign, if he didn’t make haste.

Then Minkie made room for him by herside, and Dan hopped in too.

“Is that dog yours?” he inquired.

“Yes.”

“And does your father permit a beast withmuddy paws to sit in his carriage?”

“Not often,” said Minkie, looking at hisboots. “Dandy, you wicked imp, get out atonce.”

Dan took a header into the roadway, and ranup alongside me, barking for all he was worth.

[Pg 11]

“Tell you what, Bob,” he cried, nearlychoking himself with joy, “this red-headedJew is going to find trouble. He is sure todrop into the stable to-morrow. I’ll keepyou posted in affairs inside the house, and,when I give you the office, you’ll let him haveboth heels in the right place, eh?”

“I’ll do my best,” I coughed, and Jimwondered what was the matter, as there areno flies about in winter-time.

Meanwhile, Minkie took Schwartz in hand,and my long ears were not given me foramusement.

“We thought you were not coming untilnext week,” she said, by way of being polite.

“I finished some business in Paris soonerthan I expected, and Mr. Grosvenor wasgood enough to ask me to spend Christmasand New Year at Dale End. I shall enjoythe visit immensely, I am sure. I have nothad a Christmas at home for many years.”

“At home?” Minkie raised her large blueeyes so innocently. I knew exactly how shelooked, and I rattled my harness to tell her Iwas listening.

[Pg 12]

“Yes; in England, I mean.”

“Ah.”

“Don’t you call England ‘home,’ too?”

“Of course, but I live here.”

“So do I.”

“Sorry. I fancied you just said you hadbeen in some other country for a long time.”

“Well, I’m a bit of a cosmopolitan, I admit.Do you know what a cosmopolitan is?”

“It means anything but English.”

Mr. Schwartz roared. “Gad!” he cried,“that is not so far wrong.”

An old gentleman passed us in a mailphaeton, drawn by a pair of fat cobs, yourbellows-to-mend and step-short sort. Theydon’t like me, because I always make a pointof giving them the dust in summer, so one ofthem snorted, “Station hack!”

“Going to have a shave?” I asked, quitecivilly, he being all of a lather.

Minkie gave the old gentleman a smile anda bow. He was rather surprised, which wasreasonable enough, seeing that she usuallysails along without seeing anybody; but hegot his hat off in good time.

[Pg 13]

“Who is that?” inquired Schwartz.

“Jack’s uncle,” said Minkie.

“Jack is a friend of yours, eh?”

“Um, yes, but he—perhaps I shouldn’tsay anything about it. Jack is twenty-five,you see.”

“Oh, is he?” Schwartz was not smilingnow. It was easy to guess that by his voice.“I suppose he is better acquainted with yoursister than with you?”

“Yes, heaps.”

“What is his other name?”

“Percival Stanhope.”

“Mr. John Percival Stanhope, in fact?Odd that I should not have heard of him, ifhe is such a great friend of the family?”

“Dolly doesn’t say much about him. He’sin India, and India is such a long wayoff.”

“Jolly good job, too, or you would befrizzling to-day.” Mr. Schwartz was brighteningup again.

“I think you are mistaken,” said Minkie,quietly. “Jack says it is ever so cold in thePunjab at Christmas-time.”

[Pg 14]

“Does he write to you, then?” demandedSchwartz.

“No; that was in a letter to Dolly.”

“A recent letter?”

“He was

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