A Crooked Path

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The London season had not yet reached its height, some years ago, beforethe arch admitting to Constitution Hill had been swept back to make roomfor the huge, ever-increasing stream of traffic, or the plebeian 'bushad been permitted to penetrate the precincts of Hamilton Place. It wasthe forenoon of a splendid day, one of the earliest of June, and at thathour the roadway between the entrance to Hyde Park and the gate thensurmounted by the statue of the Duke of Wellington on his drooping steedwas comparatively free, when two gentlemen coming from oppositedirections recognized each other, and paused at the gate of ApsleyHouse--the elder, a stout, florid man of military aspect, middle age,and average height, with large gray mustache and small, slightlybloodshot eyes; the younger, who was tall and bony, might have beenthirty, or even forty, so grave and sedate was his bearing, although hiserect carriage, elastic step, and clear keen dark eyes suggested earliermanhood.
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