page, but can't have any wine or cigars without the butler, and can't dress without my valet."
I offered to help him dress, but he would not hear of it; and besides, he said he would not feel comfortable unless dressed by a practiced hand. However, he finally concluded that he was such old friends with the Earl that it would not make any difference how he was dressed. So we took a cab, he gave the driver some directions, and we started. By and by we stopped before a large house and got out. I never had seen this man with a collar on. He now stepped under a lamp and got a venerable paper collar out of his coat pocket, along with a hoary cravat, and put them on. He ascended the stoop, and entered. Presently he reappeared, descended rapidly, and said:
" Come — quick !"
We hurried away, and turned the corner. " Now we're safe," he said, and took off his collar and cravat and returned them to his pocket.
" Made a mighty narrow escape," said he. " How?" said I.
" B' George, the Countess was there!" *" Well, what of that?— don't she know you?" " Know me? Absolutely worships me. I just did happen to catch a glimpse of her before she saw me — and out I shot. Haven't seen her for two months — to rush in on her without any warning might have been fatal. She could not have stood it. I didn't know she was in town — thought she was at the castle. Let me lean on you — just a moment — there; now I am better — thank you; thank you ever so much. Lord bless me, what an escape !"
So I never got to call on the Earl after all. But I marked the house for future reference. It proved to be an ordinary family hotel, with about a thousand plebeians roosting in it.