The Lion and the Unicorn
by Davis

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THE LION AND THE UNICORN

by RICHARD HARDING DAVIS




IN MEMORY OF MANY HOT DAYS AND SOME HOT CORNERS
THIS BOOK IS DEDICATED TO
LT.-COL. ARTHUR H. LEE, R.A.
British Military Attache with the United States Army




Contents

THE LION AND THE UNICORN

ON THE FEVER SHIP

THE MAN WITH ONE TALENT

THE VAGRANT

THE LAST RIDE TOGETHER




THE LION AND THE UNICORN

Prentiss had a long lease on the house, and because it stood in
Jermyn Street the upper floors were, as a matter of course,
turned into lodgings for single gentlemen; and because Prentiss
was a Florist to the Queen, he placed a lion and unicorn over his
flowershop, just in front of the middle window on the first
floor. By stretching a little, each of them could see into the
window just beyond him, and could hear all that was said inside;
and such things as they saw and heard during the reign of Captain
Carrington, who moved in at the same time they did! By day the
table in the centre of the room was covered with maps, and the
Captain sat with a box of pins, with different-colored flags
wrapped around them, and amused himself by sticking them in the
maps and measuring the spaces in between, swearing meanwhile to
himself. It was a selfish amusement, but it appeared to be the
Captain's only intellectual pursuit, for at night, the maps were
rolled up, and a green cloth was spread across the table, and
there was much company and popping of soda-bottles, and little
heaps of gold and silver were moved this way and that across the
cloth. The smoke drifted out of the open windows, and the
laughter of the Captain's guests rang out loudly in the empty
street, so that the policeman halted and raised his eyes
reprovingly to the lighted windows, and cabmen drew up beneath
them and lay in wait, dozing on their folded arms, for the
Captain's guests to depart. The Lion and the Unicorn were rather
ashamed of the scandal of it, and they were glad when, one day,
the Captain went away with his tin boxes and gun-cases piled high
on a four-wheeler.

Prentiss stood on the sidewalk and said: "I wish you good luck,
sir." And the Captain said: "I'm coming back a Major,
Prentiss." But he never came back. And one day--the Lion
remembered the day very well, for on that same day the
newsboys ran up and down Jermyn Street shouting out the news of
"a 'orrible disaster" to the British arms. It was then that a
young lady came to the door in a hansom, and Prentiss went out to
meet her and led her upstairs. They heard him unlock the
Captain's door and say, "This is his room, miss," and after he
had gone they watched her standing quite still by the centre
table. She stood there for a very long time looking slowly about
her, and then she took a photograph of the Captain from the frame
on the mantel and slipped it into her pocket, and when she went
out again her veil was down, and she was crying. She must have
given Prentiss as much as a sovereign, for he called her "Your
ladyship," which he never did under a sovereign.