by A. E. W. Mason
TELLS OF A DOOR AJAR AND OF A LAD WHO STOOD BEHIND IT
I had never need to keep any record either of the date or place. It was the fifteenth night of July, in the year 1758, and the place was Lieutenant Clutterbuck’s lodging at the south corner of Burleigh Street, Strand. The night was tropical in its heat, and though every window stood open to the Thames, there was not a man, I think, who did not long for the cool relief of morning, or step out from time to time on to the balcony and search the dark profundity of sky for the first flecks of grey. I cannot be positive about the entire disposition of the room: but certainly Lieutenant Clutterbuck was playing at ninepins down the middle with half a dozen decanters and a couple of silver salvers; and Mr. Macfarlane, a young gentleman of a Scottish regiment, was practising a game of his own.