When they arrived, in this leisurely manner, at the head of Grosvenor Place, the gates of the park were opening and the bedraggled company of night-walkers were being at last admitted into that paradise of lawns. Challoner and his companion followed the movement, and walked for awhile in silence in that tatterdemalion crowd; but as one after another, weary with the night’s patrolling of the city pavement, sank upon the benches or wandered into separate paths, the vast extent of the park had soon utterly swallowed up the last of these intruders; and the pair proceeded on their way alone in the grateful quiet of the morning.
Presently they came in sight of a bench, standing very open on a mound of turf. The young lady looked about her with relief.
‘Here,’ she said, ‘here at last we are secure from listeners. Here, then, you shall learn and judge my history. I could not bear that we should part, and that you should still suppose your kindness squandered upon one who was unworthy.’
Thereupon she sat down upon the bench, and motioning Challoner to take a place immediately beside her, began in the following words, and with the greatest appearance of enjoyment, to narrate the story of her life.
Excerpt From Robert Louis Stevenson (Written in collaboration with Fanny Van De Grift Stevenson), “The Squire of Dames,” from “The Dynamiter,” 1885.