At the first glance it looked as if the midnight chimes of a clock in an old city of the Midlands might most fitly ring in this history. But we live in a very small island, and its inhabitants have for so long been wanderers upon the face of the earth that one can hardly search amongst them for the beginnings of either people or events without slipping unexpectedly over the edge of England. So it is in this instance. For, although it was in England that Captain Rames, Mr. Benoliel, Cynthia, the little naturalized Frenchman, and the rest of them met and struggled more or less inefficiently to express themselves; although, too, Ludsey, the old city, was during a period the pivot of their lives; for the beginnings of their relationship one with another, it is necessary to go further afield, and back by some few years. One must turn toward a lonely estancia in the south-west of Argentina, where, on a hot, still night of summer, a heavy chandelier touched by no human hand swung gently to and fro.
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