One July evening in the first year of the present century, two gentlemen were seated on the terrace of the mansion, kwn as Royabay. A small rose-wood table was placed between the deep arm-chairs, and thereon appeared wine, coffee, and a box of cigars. The young host smoked a briar and sipped coffee, but his guest, very wisely, devoted himself to superlative port and a fragrant cigar. Major Tidman was a battered old soldier of fortune, who appreciated good quarters and made the most of civilised luxuries, when other people paid for them. He had done full justice to a dinner admirably cooked and served, while Ainsleigh, the master of the feast had merely trifled with his food.