Part 2 out of 13
these solitudes, damme! I saw one of 'em only half an hour ago,
limping out of a wood yonder. Ah! a polished, smiling rascal--a
dangerous rogue! One of your sleepy libertines--one of your lucky
gamblers--one of your conscienceless young reprobates equally ready
to win your money, ruin your sister, or shoot you dead as the case
may be, and all in the approved way of gallantry, sir; and, being all
this, and consequently high in royal favor, he is become a very lion
in the World of Fashion. Would you succeed, young sir, you must
model yourself upon him as nearly as may be."
"And he was limping, you say?" inquired Barnabas, thoughtfully.
"And serve him right, sir--egad! I say damme! he should limp in
irons to Botany Bay and stay there if I had my way."
"Did you happen to notice the color of his coat?" inquired Barnabas
"Ay, 't was green, sir; but what of it--have you seen him?"
"I think I have, sir," said Barnabas, "if 't was a green coat he wore.
Pray, sir, what might his name be?"
"His name, sir, is Carnaby--Sir Mortimer Carnaby."
"Sir Mortimer Carnaby!" said Barnabas, nodding his head.
"And, sir," pursued his informant, regarding Barnabas from beneath
his frowning brows, "since it is your ambition to cut a figure in
the World of Fashion, your best course is to cultivate him, frequent
his society as much as possible, act upon his counsel, and in six
months, or less, I don't doubt you'll be as polished a young
blackguard as any of 'em. Good morning, sir."
Here the one-armed gentleman nodded and turned to enter the field.
"Sir," said Barnabas, "one moment! Since you have been so obliging
as to describe a Buck, will you tell me who and what in your
estimation is a gentleman?"
"A gentleman? Egad, sir! must I tell you that? No, I say I
won't--the Bo'sun shall." Hereupon the speaker faced suddenly about
and raised his voice: "Aft there!" he bellowed. "Pass the word for
the Bo'sun--I say where's Bo'sun Jerry?"
Immediately upon these words there came another roar surprisingly
hoarse, deep, and near at hand.
"Ay, ay, sir! here I be, Cap'n," the voice bellowed back. "Here I be,
sir, my helm hard a-starboard, studden sails set, and all a-drawing
alow and aloft, but making bad weather on it on account o' these
here furrers and this here jury-mast o' mine, but I'll fetch up
alongside in a couple o' tacks."
Now glancing in the direction of the voice, Barnabas perceived a
head and face that bobbed up and down on the opposite side of the
hedge. A red face it was, a jovial, good-humored face, lit up with
quick, bright eyes that twinkled from under a prodigious pair of
eyebrows; a square honest face whose broad good nature beamed out
from a mighty bush of curling whisker and pigtail, and was
surmounted by a shining, glazed hat.
Being come opposite to them, he paused to mop at his red face with a
neckerchief of vivid hue, which done, he touched the brim of the
glazed hat, and though separated from them by no more than the hedge
and ditch, immediately let out another roar--for all the world as
though he had been hailing the maintop of a Seventy-four in a gale
"Here I be, Cap'n!" he bellowed, "studden sails set an' drawing,
tho' obleeged to haul my wind, d'ye see, on account o' this here
spar o' mine a-running foul o' the furrers." Having said the which,
he advanced again with a heave to port and a lurch to starboard very
like a ship in a heavy sea; this peculiarity of gait was explained as
he hove into full view, for then Barnabas saw that his left leg was
gone from the knee and had been replaced by a wooden one.
"Bo'sun," said the Captain, indicating Barnabas, with a flap of his
empty sleeve, "Bo'sun--favor me, I say oblige me by explaining to
this young gentleman your opinion of a gentleman--I say tell him who
you think is the First Gentleman in Europe!"
The Bo'sun stared from Barnabas to the Captain and back again.
"Begging your Honor's parding," said he, touching the brim of the
glazed hat, "but surely nobody don't need to be told that 'ere?"
"It would seem so, Jerry."
"Why then, Cap'n--since you ax me, I should tell you--bold an' free
like, as the First Gentleman in Europe--ah! or anywhere else--was
Lord Nelson an' your Honor."
As he spoke the Bo'sun stood up very straight despite his wooden leg,
and when he touched his hat again, his very pigtail seemed
straighter and stiffer than ever.
"Young sir," said the Captain, regarding Barnabas from the corners
of his eyes, "what d' ye say to that?"
"Why," returned Barnabas, "now I come to think of it, I believe the
Bo'sun is right."
"Sir," nodded the Captain, "the Bo'sun generally is; my Bo'sun, sir,
is as remarkable as that leg of his which he has contrived so that
it will screw on or off--in sections sir--I mean the wooden one."
"But," said Barnabas, beginning to stroke his chin in the
argumentative way that was all his father's, "but, sir, I was
meaning gentlemen yet living, and Lord Nelson, unfortunately, is dead."
"Bo'sun," said the Captain, "what d' ye say to that?"
"Why, Cap'n, axing the young gentleman's pardon, I beg leave to
remark, or as you might say, ob-serve, as men like 'im don't die,
they jest gets promoted, so to speak."
"Very true, Jerry," nodded the Captain again, "they do, but go to a
higher service, very true. And now, Bo'sun, the bread!"
"Ay, ay, sir!" said the Bo'sun, and, taking the neat parcel the
Captain held out, dropped it forthwith into the crown of the glazed
"Bo'sun, the meat! the young fool will be hungry by now, poor lad!"
"Ay, ay, Cap'n!" And, the meat having disappeared into the same
receptacle, the Bo'sun resumed his hat. Now turning to Barnabas, the
Captain held out his hand.
"Sir," said he, "I wish you good-by and a prosperous voyage,
and may you find yourself too much a man ever to fall so low
as 'fashion,'--I say dammit! The bread and meat, sir, are for
a young fool who thinks, like yourself, that the World of Fashion
is _the_ world. By heaven, sir, I say by Gog and Magog! if
I had a son with fashionable aspirations, I'd have him triced up
to the triangles and flogged with the 'cat'--I say with the
cat-o'-ninetails, sir, that is--no I wouldn't, besides I--never
had a son--she--died, sir--and good-by!"
"Stay," said Barnabas, "pray tell me to whom I am indebted for so
much good instruction."
"My name, sir, is Chumly--plain Chumly--spelt with a U and an
M, sir; none of your _olmondeleys_ for me, sir, and I beg you to
know that I have no crest or monogram or coat of arms; there's
neither or, azure, nor argent about me; I'm neither rampant, nor
passant, nor even regardant. And I want none of your sables, ermines,
bars, escallops, embattled fiddle-de-dees, or dencette tarradiddles,
sir. I'm Chumly, Captain John Chumly, plain and without any
fashionable varnish. Consequently, though I have commanded many good
ships, sloops, frigates, and even one Seventy-four--"
"The 'Bully-Sawyer,' Trafalgar!" added the Bo'sun.
"Seeing I am only John Chumly, with a U and an M, I retire still a
captain. Now, had I clapped in an _olmondeley_ and the rest of the
fashionable gewgaws, I should now be doubtless a Rear Admiral at the
very least, for the polite world--the World of Fashion is rampant,
sir, not to mention passant and regardant. So, if you would achieve
a reputation among Persons of Quality nowadays--bow, sir, bow
everywhere day in and day out--keep a supple back, young sir, and
spell your name with as many unnecessary letters as you can. And as
regards my idea of a gentleman, he is, I take it, a man--who is
gentle--I say good morning, young sir." As he ended, the Captain
took off his hat, with his remaining arm put it on again, and then
reached out, suddenly, and clapped Barnabas upon the shoulder.
"Here's wishing you a straight course, lad," said he with a smile,
every whit as young and winning as that which curved the lips of
Barnabas, "a fair course and a good, clean wind to blow all these
fashionable fooleries out of your head. Good-by!" So he nodded,
turned sharp about and went upon his way.
Hereupon the Bo'sun shook his head, took off the glazed hat, stared
into it, and putting it on again, turned and stumped along beside
CONCERNING THE CAPTAIN'S ARM, THE BOSUN'S LEG, AND THE "BELISARIUS,"
"The 'Bully-Sawyer,' Trafalgar!" murmured the Bo'sun, as they went
on side by side; "you've 'eerd o' the 'Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four,
o' course, young sir?"
"I'm afraid not," said Barnabas, rather apologetically.
"Not 'eerd o' the 'Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four, Lord, young sir!
axing your pardon, but--not 'eerd o' the--why, she were in the van
that day one o' the first to engage the enemy--but a cable's length
to wind'ard o' the 'Victory'--one o' the first to come up wi' the
Mounseers, she were. An' now you tell me as you ain't 'eerd o'
the--Lord, sir!" and the Bo'sun sighed, and shook his head till it
was a marvel how the glazed hat kept its position.
"Won't you tell me of her, Bo'sun?"
"Tell you about the old 'Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four, ay surely, sir,
surely. Ah! 't were a grand day for us, a grand day for our Nelson,
and a grand day for England--that twenty-first o' October--though 't
were that day as they French and Spanishers done for the poor old
'Bully-Sawyer,' Seventy-four, and his honor's arm and my leg, d' ye
see. The wind were light that day as we bore down on their line--in
two columns, d' ye see, sir--we was in Nelson's column, the weather
line 'bout a cable's length astarn o' the 'Victory.' On we went,
creeping nearer and nearer--the 'Victory,' the old 'Bully-Sawyer,'
and the 'Temeraire'--and every now and then the Mounseers trying a
shot at us to find the range, d' ye see. Right ahead o' us lay the
'Santissima Trinidado'--a great four-decker, young sir--astarn o'
her was the 'Beaucenture,' and astarn o' her again, the 'Redoutable,'
wi' eight or nine others. On we went wi' the Admiral's favorite
signal flying, 'Engage the enemy more closely.' Ah, young sir, there
weren't no stand-offishness about our Nelson, God bless him! As we
bore closer their shot began to come aboard o' us, but the old
'Bully-Sawyer' never took no notice, no, not so much as a gun. Lord!
I can see her now as she bore down on their line; every sail drawing
aloft, the white decks below--the gleam o' her guns wi' their crews
stripped to the waist, every eye on the enemy, every man at his
post--very different she looked an hour arterwards. Well, sir, all
at once the great 'Santissima Trinidado' lets fly at us wi' her
whole four tiers o' broadside, raking us fore and aft, and that begun
it; down comes our foretopmast wi' a litter o' falling spars and
top-hamper, and the decks was all at once splashed, here and there,
wi' ugly blotches. But, Lord! the old 'Bully-Sawyer' never paid no
heed, and still the men stood to the guns, and his Honor, the Captain,
strolled up and down, chatting to his flag officer. Then the enemy's
ships opened on us one arter another, the 'Beaucenture,' the 'San
Nicholas,' and the 'Redoutable' swept and battered us wi' their
murderous broadsides; the air seemed full o' smoke and flame, and
the old 'Bully-Sawyer' in the thick o' it. But still we could see the
'Victory' through the drifting smoke ahead o' us wi' the signal
flying, 'Engage the enemy more closely,' and still we waited and
waited very patient, and crept down on the enemy nearer and nearer."
"And every minute their fire grew hotter, and their aim truer--down
came our mizzen-topgallant-mast, and hung down over our quarter;
away went our bowsprit--but we held on till we struck their line
'twixt the 'Santissima Trinidado' and the 'Beaucenture,' and, as we
crossed the Spanisher's wake, so close that our yard-arms grazed her
gilded starn, up flashed his Honor's sword, 'Now, lads!' cried he,
hailing the guns--and then--why then, afore I'd took my whistle
from my lips, the old 'Bully-Sawyer,' as had been so patient, so
very patient, let fly wi' every starboard gun as it bore, slap into
the great Spanisher's towering starn, and, a moment arter, her
larboard guns roared and flamed as her broadside smashed into the
'Beaucenture,' and 'bout five minutes arterwards we fell aboard o'
the 'Fougeux,' and there we lay, young sir, and fought it out
yard-arm to yard-arm, and muzzle to muzzle, so close that the flame
o' their guns blackened and scorched us, and we was obliged to heave
buckets o' water, arter every discharge, to put out the fire. Lord!
but the poor old 'Bully-Sawyer' were in a tight corner then, what
wi' the 'Fougeux' to port, the 'Beaucenture' to starboard, and the
great Spanisher hammering us astarn, d' ye see. But there was our
lads--what was left o' 'em--reeking wi' sweat, black wi' powder,
splashed wi' blood, fighting the guns; and there was his Honor the
Cap'n, leaning against the quarter-rail wi' his sword in one hand,
and his snuff-box in t' other--he had two hands then, d'ye see,
young sir; and there was me, hauling on the tackle o' one o' the
quarter-guns--it happened to be short-handed, d'ye see--when, all at
once, I felt a kind o' shock, and there I was flat o' my back, and
wi' the wreckage o' that there quarter-gun on this here left leg o'
mine, pinning me to the deck. As I lay there I heerd our lads a
cheering above the roar and din, and presently, the smoke lifting a
bit, I see the Spanisher had struck, but I likewise see as the poor
old 'Bully-Sawyer' were done for; she lay a wreck--black wi' smoke,
blistered wi' fire, her decks foul wi' blood, her fore and mainmasts
beat overboard, and only the mizzen standing. All this I see in a
glance--ah! and something more--for the mizzen-topgallant had been
shot clean through at the cap, and hung dangling. But now, what wi'
the quiver o' the guns and the roll o' the vessel, down she come
sliding, and sliding, nearer and nearer, till the splintered end
brought up ag'in the wreck o' my gun. But presently I see it begin
to slide ag'in nearer to me--very slow, d'ye see--inch by inch, and
there's me pinned on the flat o' my back, watching it come. 'Another
foot,' I sez, 'and there's an end o' Jerry Tucker--another ten inches,
another eight, another six.' Lord, young sir, I heaved and I
strained at that crushed leg o' mine; but there I was, fast as ever,
while down came the t'gallant--inch by inch. Then, all at once, I
kinder let go o' myself. I give a shout, sir, and then--why
then--there's his Honor the Cap'n leaning over me. 'Is that you,
Jerry?' sez he--for I were black wi' powder, d' ye see, sir. 'Is
that you, Jerry?' sez he. 'Ay, ay, sir,' sez I, 'it be me surely,
till this here spar slips down and does for me.' 'It shan't do that,'
sez he, very square in the jaw. 'It must,' sez I. 'No,' sez he.
'Nothing to stop it, sir,' sez I. 'Yes, there is,' sez he. 'What's
that,' sez I. 'This,' sez he, 'twixt his shut teeth, young sir. And
then, under that there hellish, murdering piece of timber, the Cap'n
sets his hand and arm--his naked hand and arm, sir!' In the name o'
God!' I sez, 'let it come, sir!' 'And lose my Bo'sun?--not me!' sez
he. Then, sir, I see his face go white--and whiter. I heerd the
bones o' his hand and arm crack--like so many sticks--and down he
falls atop o' me in a dead faint, sir."
"But the t'gallant were stopped, and the life were kept in this here
carcase o' mine. So--that's how the poor old 'Bully-Sawyer,'
Seventy-four, were done for--that's how his Honor lost his arm, and
me my leg, sir. And theer be the stocks, and theer be our young
gentleman inside o' 'em, as cool and smiling and comfortable as you
WHICH CONCERNS ITSELF, AMONG OTHER MATTERS, WITH THE VIRTUES OF A
PAIR OF STOCKS AND THE PERVERSITY OF FATHERS
Before them was a church, a small church, gray with age, and, like
age, lonely. It stood well back from the road which wound away down
the hill to the scattered cottages in the valley below.
About this church was a burial ground, upon whose green mounds and
leaning headstones the great square tower cast a protecting shadow
that was like a silent benediction. A rural graveyard this, very far
removed from the strife and bustle of cities, and, therefore, a good
place to sleep in.
A low stone wall was set about it, and in the wall was a gate with a
weather-beaten porch, and beside the gate were the stocks, and in
the stocks, with his hands in his pockets, and his back against the
wall, sat a young gentleman.
A lonely figure, indeed, whose boots, bright and polished, were
thrust helplessly enough through the leg-holes of the stocks, as
though offering themselves to the notice of every passer-by. Tall he
was, and _point-de-vice_ from those same helpless boots to the
gleaming silver buckle in his hat band.
Now observing the elegance of his clothes, and the modish languor of
his lounging figure, Barnabas at once recognized him as a gentleman
par excellence, and immediately the memory of his own country-made
habiliments and clumsy boots arose and smote him. The solitary
prisoner seemed in no whit cast down by his awkward and most
undignified situation, indeed, as they drew nearer, Barnabas could
hear him whistling softly to himself. At the sound of their approach,
however, he glanced up, and observed them from under the brim of the
buckled hat with a pair of the merriest blue eyes in the world.
"Aha, Jerry!" he cried, "whom do you bring to triumph over me in my
abasement? For shame, Jerry! Is this the act of a loving and
affectionate Bo'sun, the Bo'sun of my innocent childhood? Oh, bruise
and blister me!"
"Why, sir," answered the Bo'sun, beaming through his whiskers,
"this be only a young genelman, like yourself, as be bound for Lonnon,
The face, beneath the devil-may-care rake of the buckled hat, was
pale and handsome, and, despite its studied air of gentlemanly
weariness, the eyes were singularly quick and young, and wholly
Now, as they gazed at each other, eye to eye--the merry blue and the
steadfast gray--suddenly, unaffectedly, as though drawn by instinct,
their hands reached out and met in a warm and firm clasp, and, in
that instant, the one forgot his modish languor, and the other his
country clothes and blunt-toed boots, for the Spirit of Youth stood
between them, and smile answered smile.
"And so you are bound for London, sir; pray, are you in a hurry to
"Not particularly," Barnabas rejoined.
"Then there you have the advantage of me, for I am, sir. But here I
sit, a martyr for conscience sake. Now, sir, if you are in no great
hurry, and have a mind to travel in company with a martyr, just as
soon as I am free of these bilboes, we'll take the road together.
What d' ye say?"
"With pleasure!" answered Barnabas.
"Why then, sir, pray sit down. I blush to offer you the stocks, but
the grass is devilish dewy and damp, and there's deuce a chair to be
had--which is only natural, of course; but pray sit somewhere until
the Bo'sun, like the jolly old dog he is, produces the key, and lets
"Bo'sun, you'll perceive the gentleman is waiting, and, for that
matter, so am I. The key, Jerry, the key."
"Axing your pardons, gentlemen both," began the Bo'sun, taking
himself by the starboard whisker, "but orders is orders, and I was
to tell you, Master Horatio, sir, as there was firstly a round o'
beef cold, for breakfus!"
"Beef!" exclaimed the prisoner, striking himself on the crown of the
"Next a smoked tongue--" continued the Bo'sun.
"Tongue!" sighed the prisoner, turning to Barnabas. "You hear that,
sir, my unnatural father and uncle batten upon rounds of beef, and
smoked tongues, while I sit here, my legs at a most uncomfortable
angle, and my inner man as empty as a drum; oh, confound and curse it!"
"A brace o' cold fowl," went on the Bo'sun inexorably; "a biled 'am--"
"Enough, Jerry, enough, lest I forget filial piety and affection and
rail upon 'em for heartless gluttons."
"And," pursued the Bo'sun, still busy with his whisker and
abstracted of eye--"and I were to say as you was now free to come
out of they stocks--"
"Aha, Jerry! even the most Roman of fathers can relent, then. Out
with the key, Jerry! Egad! I can positively taste that beef from here;
unlock me, Jerry, that I may haste to pay my respects to Roman parent,
uncle, and beef--last, but not least, Jerry--"
"Always supposing," added the Bo'sun, giving a final twist to his
whisker, "that you've 'ad time to think better on it, d' ye see, and
change your mind, Master Horatio, my Lord."
Barnabas pricked up his ears; a lord, and in the stocks! preposterous!
and yet surely these were the boots, and clothes, and hat of a lord.
"Change my mind, Jerry!" exclaimed his Lordship, "impossible; you
know I never change my mind. What! yield up my freedom for a mess of
beef and tongue, or even a brace of cold fowl--"
"Not to mention a cold biled 'am, Master Horatio, sir."
"No, Jerry, not for all the Roman parents, rounds of beef,
tyrannical uncles and cold hams in England. Tempt me no more, Jerry;
Bo'sun, avaunt, and leave me to melancholy and emptiness."
"Why then," said the Bo'sun, removing the glazed hat and extracting
therefrom the Captain's meat packages, "I were to give you this meat,
Master Horatio, beef and bread, my Lord."
"From the Captain, I'll be sworn, eh, Jerry?"
"Ay, ay, my Lord, from his Honor the Cap'n."
"Now God bless him for a tender-hearted old martinet, eh, Bo'sun?"
"Which I begs to say, amen, Master Horatio, sir."
"To be sure there is nothing Roman about my uncle." Saying which,
his Lordship, tearing open the packages, and using his fingers as
forks, began to devour the edibles with huge appetite.
"There was a tongue, I think you mentioned, Jerry," he inquired
"Ay, sir, likewise a cold biled 'am."
His Lordship sighed plaintively.
"And yet," said he, sandwiching a slice of beef between two pieces
of bread with great care and nicety, "who would be so mean-spirited
as to sell that freedom which is the glorious prerogative of man
(and which I beg you to notice is a not unpleasing phrase, sir) who,
I demand, would surrender this for a base smoked tongue?"
"Not forgetting a fine, cold biled 'am, Master Horatio, my Lord. And
now, wi' your permission, I'll stand away for the village, leaving
you to talk wi' this here young gentleman and take them vittles
aboard, till I bring up alongside again, Cap'n's orders, Master
Horatio." Saying which, the Bo'sun touched the glazed hat, went about,
and, squaring his yards, bore away for the village.
"Sir," said his Lordship, glancing whimsically at Barnabas over his
fast-disappearing hunch of bread and meat, "you have never
been--called upon to--sit in the stocks, perhaps?"
"Never--as yet," answered Barnabas, smiling.
"Why, then, sir, let me inform you the stocks have their virtues.
I'll not deny a chair is more comfortable, and certainly more
dignified, but give me the stocks for thought, there's nothing like
'em for profound meditation. The Bible says, I believe, that one
should seek the seclusion of one's closet, but, believe me, for deep
reverie there's nothing like the stocks. You see, a poor devil has
nothing else to do, therefore he meditates."
"And pray," inquired Barnabas, "may I ask what brings you sitting in
this place of thought?"
"Three things, sir, namely, matrimony, a horse race, and a father.
Three very serious matters, sir, and the last the gravest of all.
For you must know I am, shall I say--blessed? yes, certainly,
blessed in a father who is essentially Roman, being a man of his word,
sir. Now a man of his word, more especially a father, may prove a
very mixed blessing. Speaking of fathers, generally, sir, you may
have noticed that they are the most unreasonable class of beings,
and delight to arrogate to themselves an authority which is, to say
the least, trying; my father especially so--for, as I believe I
hinted before, he is so infernally Roman."
"Indeed," smiled Barnabas, "the best of fathers are, after all, only
"Aha!" cried his Lordship, "there speaks experience. And yet, sir,
these human fathers, one and all, believe in what I may term the
divine right of fathers to thwart, and bother, and annoy sons old
enough to be--ha--"
"To know their own minds," said Barnabas.
"Precisely," nodded his Lordship. "Consequently, my Roman father and
I fell out--my honored Roman and I frequently do fall out--but this
morning, sir, unfortunately 't was before breakfast." Here his
Lordship snatched a hasty bite of bread and meat with great appetite
and gusto, while Barnabas sat, dreamy of eye, staring away across
"Pray," said he suddenly, yet with his gaze still far away,
"do you chance to be acquainted with a Sir Mortimer Carnaby?"
"Acquainted," cried his Lordship, speaking with his mouth full.
"Oh, Gad, sir, every one who _is_ any one is acquainted with Sir
"Ah!" said Barnabas musingly, "then you probably know him."
"He honors me with his friendship."
"Hum!" said Barnabas.
Here his Lordship glanced up quickly and with a slight contraction
of the brow.
"Sir," he retorted, with a very creditable attempt at dignity,
despite the stocks and his hunch of bread and meat, "Sir, permit me
to add that I am proud of his friendship."
"And pray," inquired Barnabas, turning his eyes suddenly to his
companion's face, "do you like him?"
"Like him, sir!"
"Or trust him!" persisted Barnabas, steadfast-eyed.
"Trust him, sir," his Lordship repeated, his gaze beginning to wander,
"trust him!" Here, chancing to espy what yet remained of the bread
and meat, he immediately took another bite, and when he spoke it was
in a somewhat muffled tone in consequence. "Trust him? Egad, sir,
the boot's on t'other leg, for 'twixt you and me, I owe him a cool
thousand, as it is!"
"He is a great figure in the fashionable world, I understand," said
"He is the most admired Buck in London, sir," nodded his Lordship,
"the most dashing, the most sought after, a boon companion of
Royalty itself, sir, the Corinthian of Corinthians."
"Do you mean," said Barnabas, with his eyes on the distance again,
"that he is a personal friend of the Prince?"
"One of the favored few," nodded his Lordship, "and, talking of him,
brings us back to my honored Roman."
"How so?" inquired Barnabas, his gaze on the distance once more.
"Because, sir, with that unreasonableness peculiar to fathers, he
has taken a violent antipathy to my friend Carnaby, though, as far
as I know, he has never met my friend Carnaby. This morning, sir, my
father summoned me to the library. 'Horatio,' says he, in his most
Roman manner,--he never calls me Horatio unless about to treat me to
the divine right of fathers,--'Horatio,' says he, 'you're old enough
to marry.' 'Indeed, I greatly fear so, sir,' says I. 'Then,' says he,
solemn as an owl, 'why not settle down here and marry?' Here he
named a certain lovely person whom, 'twixt you and me, sir, I have
long ago determined to marry, but, in my own time, be it understood.
'Sir,' said I, 'believe me I would ride over and settle the matter
with her this very morning, only that I am to race 'Moonraker'
(a horse of mine, you'll understand, sir) against Sir Mortimer
Carnaby's 'Clasher' and if I should happen to break my neck, it
might disappoint the lady in question, or even break her heart.'
'Horatio,' says my Roman--more Roman than ever--'I strongly
disapprove of your sporting propensities, and, more especially, the
circle of acquaintances you have formed in London.' 'Blackguardedly
Bucks and cursed Corinthians!' snarls my uncle, the Captain,
flapping his empty sleeve at me. 'That, sirs, I deeply regret,' says
I, preserving a polite serenity, 'but the match is made, and a man
must needs form some circle of acquaintance when he lives in London.'
'Then,' says my honored Roman, with that lack of reasonableness
peculiar to fathers, 'don't live in London, and as for the horse
match give it up.' 'Quite impossible, sir,' says I, calmly determined,
'the match has been made and recorded duly at White's, and if you
were as familiar with the fashionable sporting set as I, you would
understand.' 'Pish, boy,' says my Roman--'t is a trick fathers have
at such times of casting one's youth in one's teeth, you may
probably have noticed this for yourself, sir--'Pish, boy,' says he,
'I know, I know, I've lived in London!' 'True, sir,' says I, 'but
things have changed since your day, your customs went out with your
tie-wigs, and are as antiquated as your wide-skirted coats and
buckled shoes'--this was a sly dig at my worthy uncle, the Captain,
sir. 'Ha!' cries he, flapping his empty sleeve at me again, 'and
nice figure-heads you made of yourselves with your ridiculous stocks
and skin-tight breeches,' and indeed," said his Lordship, stooping
to catch a side-view of his imprisoned legs, "they are a most
excellent fit, I think you'll agree."
"Marvellous!" sighed Barnabas, observing them with the eyes of envy.
"Well, sir," pursued his Lordship, "the long and short of it was--my
honored Roman, having worked himself into a state of 'divine right'
necessary to the occasion, vows that unless I give up the race and
spend less time and money in London, he will clap me into the stocks.
'Then, sir,' says I, smiling and unruffled, 'pray clap me in as
soon as you will'; and he being, as I told you, a man of his
word,--well--here I am."
"Where I find you enduring your situation with a remarkable fortitude,"
"Egad, sir! how else should I endure it? I flatter myself I am
something of a philosopher, and thus, enduring in the cause of
freedom and free will, I scorn my bonds, and am consequently free.
Though, I'll admit, 'twixt you and me, sir, the position cramps
one's legs most damnably."
"Now in regard to Sir Mortimer Carnaby," persisted Barnabas,
"your father, it would seem, neither likes nor trusts him."
"My father, sir, is--a father, consequently perverse. Sir Mortimer
Carnaby is my friend, therefore, though my father has never met Sir
Mortimer Carnaby, he takes a mortal antipathy to Sir Mortimer Carnaby,
Q.E.D., and all the rest of it."
"On the other hand," pursued Barnabas the steadfast-eyed,
"you--admire, respect, and honor your friend Sir Mortimer Carnaby!"
"Admire him, sir, who wouldn't? There isn't such another all-round
sportsman in London--no, nor England. Only last week he drove
cross-country in his tilbury over hedges and ditches, fences and all,
and never turned a hair. Beat the 'Fighting Tanner' at Islington in
four rounds, and won over ten thousand pounds in a single night's
play from Egalité d'Orléans himself. Oh, egad, sir! Carnaby's the
most wonderful fellow in the world!"
"Though a very indifferent boxer!" added Barnabas.
"Indiff--!" His Lordship let fall the last fragments of his bread
and meat, and stared at Barnabas in wide-eyed amazement. "Did you
"I did," nodded Barnabas, "he is much too passionate ever to make a
"Why, deuce take me! I tell you there isn't a pugilist in England
cares to stand up to him with the muffles, or bare knuckles!"
"Probably because there are no pugilists left in England, worth the
name," said Barnabas.
"Gad, sir! we are all pugilists nowadays--the Manly Art is all the
fashion--and, I think, a very excellent fashion. And permit me to
tell you I know what I'm talking of, I have myself boxed with nearly
all the best 'milling coves' in London, and am esteemed no novice at
the sport. Indeed love of the 'Fancy' was born in me, for my father,
sir--though occasionally Roman--was a great patron of the game, and
witnessed the great battle between 'Glorious John Barty' and
"At Dartford!" added Barnabas.
"And when Bell was knocked down, at the end of the fight--"
"After the ninety-seventh round!" nodded Barnabas.
"My father, sir, was the first to jump into the ring and clasp the
Champion's fist--and proud he is to tell of it!"
"Proud!" said Barnabas, staring.
"Proud, sir--yes, why not? so should I have been--so would any man
have been. Why let me tell you, sir, at home, in the hall, between
the ensign my uncle's ship bore through Trafalgar, and the small
sword my grandfather carried at Blenheim, we have the belt John Barty
wore that day."
"His belt!" exclaimed Barnabas, "my--John Barty's belt?"
"So you see I should know what I am talking about. Therefore, when
you condemn such a justly celebrated man of his hands as my friend
Carnaby, I naturally demand to know who you are to pronounce judgment?"
"I am one," answered Barnabas, "who has been taught the science by
that very Nathaniel Bell and 'Glorious John' you mention."
"Hey--what?--what?" cried his Lordship.
"I have boxed with them regularly every day," Barnabas continued,
"and I have learned that strength of arm, quickness of foot, and a
true eye are all unavailing unless they be governed by a calm,
unruffled temper, for passion clouds the judgment, and in fighting
as in all else, it is judgment that tells in the long run."
"Now, by heaven!" exclaimed his Lordship, jerking his imprisoned
legs pettishly, "if I didn't happen to be sitting trussed up here,
and we had a couple of pair of muffles, why we might have had a
friendly 'go' just to take each other's measures; as it is--"
But at this moment they heard a hoarse bellow, and, looking round,
beheld the Bo'sun who, redder of face than ever and pitching and
rolling in his course, bore rapidly down on them, and hauling his
wind, took off the glazed hat.
"Ha, Jerry!" exclaimed his Lordship, "what now? If you happen to
have anything else eatable in that hat of yours, out with it, for I
am devilish sharp-set still."
"Why, I have got summat, Master Horatio, but it aren't bread nor yet
beef, nor yet again biled 'am, my Lord--it can't be eat nor it can't
be drank--and here it be!" and with the words the Bo'sun produced a
ponderous iron key.
"Why, my dear old Jerry--my lovely Bo'sun--"
"Captured by his Honor, Master Horatio--carried off by the Cap'n
under your own father's very own nose, sir--or as you might say, cut
out under the enemy's guns, my Lord!" With which explanation the old
sailor unfastened the padlock, raised the upper leg-board, and set
the prisoner free.
"Ah!--but it's good to have the use of one's legs again!" exclaimed
his Lordship, stretching the members in question, "and that," said he,
turning to Barnabas with his whimsical smile, "that is another value
of the stocks--one never knows how pleasant and useful a pair of
legs can be until one has sat with 'em stretched out helplessly at
right angles for an hour or two." Here, the Bo'sun having stowed
back the key and resumed his hat, his Lordship reached out and
gripped his hand. "So it was Uncle John, was it, Jerry--how very
like Uncle John--eh, Jerry?"
"Never was nobody born into this here vale o' sorrer like the
Cap'n--no, nor never will be--nohow!" said the Bo'sun with a solemn
"God bless him, eh, Jerry?"
"Amen to that, my Lord."
"You'll let him know I said 'God bless him,' Jerry?"
"I will, my Lord, ay, ay, God bless him it is, Master Horatio!"
"Now as to my Roman--my father, Jerry, tell him--er--"
"Be you still set on squaring away for London, then, sir?"
"As a rock, Jerry, as a rock!"
"Then 't is 'good-by,' you're wishing me?"
"Yes, 'good-by,' Jerry, remember 'God bless Uncle John,'
and--er--tell my father that--ah, what the deuce shall you tell him
now?--it should be something a little affecting--wholly dutiful, and
above all gently dignified--hum! Ah, yes--tell him that whether I
win or lose the race, whether I break my unworthy neck or no, I
shall never forget that I am the Earl of Bamborough's son. And as
for you, Jerry, why, I shall always think of you as the jolly old
sea dog who used to stoop down to let me get at his whiskers, they
were a trifle blacker in those days. Gad! how I did pull 'em, Jerry,
even then I admired your whiskers, didn't I? I swear there isn't such
another pair in England. Good-by, Jerry!" Saying which his Lordship
turned swiftly upon his heel and walked on a pace or two, while
Barnabas paused to wring the old seaman's brown hand; then they went
on down the hill together.
And the Bo'sun, sitting upon the empty stocks with his wooden pin
sticking straight out before him, sighed as he watched them striding
London-wards, the Lord's son, tall, slender, elegant, a gentleman to
his finger tips, and the commoner's son, shaped like a young god,
despite his homespun, and between them, as it were linking them
together, fresh and bright and young as the morning, went the joyous
Spirit of Youth.
Now whether the Bo'sun saw aught of this, who shall say, but old
eyes see many things. And thus, perhaps, the sigh that escaped the
battered old man-o'-war's man's lips was only because of his own
vanished youth--his gray head and wooden leg, after all.
WHICH DESCRIBES A PERIPATETIC CONVERSATION
"Sir," said his Lordship, after they had gone some way in silence,
"you are thoughtful, not to say, devilish grave!"
"And you," retorted Barnabas, "have sighed--three times."
"No, did I though?--why then, to be candid,--I detest saying
'Good-by!'--and I have been devoutly wishing for two pair of muffles,
for, sir, I have taken a prodigious liking to you--but--"
"But?" inquired Barnabas.
"Some time since you mentioned the names of two men--champions
both--ornaments of the 'Fancy'--great fighters of unblemished
"You mean my--er--that is, Natty Bell and John Barty."
"Precisely!--you claim to have--boxed with them, sir?"
"Every day!" nodded Barnabas.
"With both of them,--I understand?"
"With both of them."
"Sir," said Barnabas, growing suddenly polite, "do you doubt my word?"
"Well," answered his Lordship, with his whimsical look, "I'll admit
I could have taken it easier had you named only one, for surely, sir,
you must be aware that these were Masters of the Fist--the greatest
since the days of Jack Broughton and Mendoza."
"I know each had been champion--but it would almost seem that I have
entertained angels unawares!--and I boxed with both because they
happened to live together."
"Then, sir," said the Viscount, extending his hand in his frank,
impetuous manner, "you are blest of the gods. I congratulate you and,
incidentally, my desire for muffles grows apace,--you must
positively put 'em on with me at the first opportunity."
"Right willingly, sir," said Barnabas.
"But deuce take me!" exclaimed the Viscount, "if we are to become
friends, which I sincerely hope, we ought at least to know each
other's name. Mine, sir, is Bellasis, Horatio Bellasis; I was named
Horatio after Lord Nelson, consequently my friends generally call me
Tom, Dick, or Harry, for with all due respect to his Lordship,
Horatio is a very devil of a name, now isn't it? Pray what's yours?"
"Barnabas--Beverley. At your service."
"Barnabas--hum! Yours isn't much better. Egad! I think 't is about
as bad. Barnabas!--No, I'll call you Bev, on condition that you make
mine Dick; what d' ye say, my dear Bev?"
"Agreed, Dick," answered Barnabas, smiling, whereupon they stopped,
and having very solemnly shaken hands, went on again, merrier than
"Now what," inquired the Viscount, suddenly, "what do you think of
marriage, my dear Bev?"
"Marriage?" repeated Barnabas, staring.
"Marriage!" nodded his Lordship, airily, "matrimony, Bev,--wedlock,
my dear fellow?"
"I--indeed I have never had occasion to think of it."
"Fortunate fellow!" sighed his companion.
"Until--this morning!" added Barnabas, as his fingers encountered a
small, soft, lacy bundle in his pocket.
"Un-fortunate fellow!" sighed the Viscount, shaking his head.
"So you are haunted by the grim spectre, are you? Well, that should
be an added bond between us. Not that I quarrel with matrimony, mark
you, Bev; in the abstract it is a very excellent institution,
though--mark me again!--when a man begins to think of marriage it is
generally the beginning of the end. Ah, my dear fellow! many a
bright and promising career has been blighted--sapped--snapped
off--and--er--ruthlessly devoured by the ravenous maw of marriage.
There was young Egerton with a natural gift for boxing, and one of
the best whips I ever knew--we raced our coaches to Brighton and
back for a thousand a side and he beat me by six yards--a splendid
all round sportsman--ruined by matrimony! He's buried somewhere in
the country and passing his days in the humdrum pursuit of being
husband and father. Oh, bruise and blister me! it's all very pitiful,
and yet"--here the Viscount sighed again--"I do not quarrel with
the state, for marriage has often proved a--er--very present help in
the time of trouble, Bev."
"Trouble?" repeated Barnabas.
"Money-troubles, my dear Bev, pecuniary unpleasantnesses, debts, and
duns, and devilish things of that kind."
"But surely," said Barnabas, "no man--no honorable man would marry
and burden a woman with debts of his own contracting?"
At this, the Viscount looked at Barnabas, somewhat askance, and fell
to scratching his chin. "Of course," he continued, somewhat hurriedly,
"I shall have all the money I need--more than I shall need some day."
"You mean," inquired Barnabas, "when your father dies?"
Here the Viscount's smooth brow clouded suddenly.
"Sir," said he, "we will not mention that contingency. My father is
a great Roman, I'll admit, but, 'twixt you and me,--I--I'm devilish
fond of him, and, strangely enough, I prefer to have him Romanly
alive and my purse empty--than to possess his money and have him
dea--Oh damn it! let's talk of something else,--Carnaby for instance."
"Yes," nodded Barnabas, "your friend, Carnaby."
"Well, then, in the first place, I think I hinted to you that I owe
him five thousand pounds?"
"Five thousand! indeed, no, it was only one, when you mentioned it
to me last."
"Was it so? but then, d'ye see, Bev, we were a good two miles nearer
my honored Roman when I mentioned the matter before, and trees
sometimes have ears, consequently I--er--kept it down a bit, my dear
Bev, I kept it down a bit; but the fact remains that it's five, and
I won't be sure but that there's an odd hundred or two hanging on to
it somewhere, beside."
"You led your father to believe it was only one thousand, then?"
"I did, Bev; you see money seems to make him so infernally Roman,
and I've been going the pace a bit these last six months. There's
another thousand to Jerningham, but he can wait, then there's six
hundred to my tailor, deuce take him!"
"Six hundred!" exclaimed Barnabas, aghast.
"Though I won't swear it isn't seven."
"To be sure he is a very excellent tailor," Barnabas added.
"Gad, yes! and the fellow knows it! Then, let's see, there's another
three hundred and fifty to the coach builders, how much does that
"Six thousand, nine hundred and fifty pounds!"
"So much--deuce take it! And that's not all, you know."
"No, Bev, I dare say I could make you up another three or four
hundred or so if I were to rake about a bit, but six thousand is
enough to go on with, thank you!"
"Six thousand pounds is a deal of money to owe!" said Barnabas.
"Yes," answered the Viscount, scratching his chin again, "though,
mark me, Bev, it might be worse! Slingsby, a friend of mine, got
plucked for fifteen thousand in a single night last year. Oh! it
might be worse. As it is, Bev, the case lies thus: unless I win the
race some three weeks from now--I've backed myself heavily, you'll
understand--unless I win, I am between the deep sea of matrimony and
the devil of old Jasper Gaunt."
"And who is Jasper Gaunt?"
"Oh, delicious innocence! Ah, Bev! it's evident you are new to London.
Gaunt is an outcome of the City, as harsh and dingy as its bricks,
as flinty and hard as its pavements. Gad! most of our set know
Jasper Gaunt--to their cost! Who is Jasper Gaunt, you ask; well, my
dear fellow, question Slingsby of the Guards, he's getting deeper
every day, poor old Sling! Ask it, but in a whisper, at Almack's, or
White's, or Brooke's, and my Lord this, that, or t'other shall tell
you pat and to the point in no measured terms. Ask it of wretched
debtors in the prisons, of haggard toilers in the streets, of
pale-faced women and lonely widows, and they'll tell you, one and all,
that Jasper Gaunt is the harshest, most merciless bloodsucker that
ever battened and grew rich on the poverty and suffering of his
fellow men, and--oh here we are!"
Saying which, his Lordship abruptly turned down an unexpected and
very narrow side lane, where, screened behind three great trees, was
a small inn, or hedge tavern with a horse-trough before the door
and a sign whereon was the legend, "The Spotted Cow," with a
representation of that quadruped below, surely the very spottiest
of spotted cows that ever adorned an inn sign.
"Not much to look at, my dear Bev," said the Viscount, with a wave
of his hand towards the inn, "but it's kept by an old sailor, a
shipmate of the Bo'sun's. I can at least promise you a good breakfast,
and the ale you will find excellent. But first I want to show you a
very small demon of mine, a particularly diminutive fiend; follow me,
my dear fellow."
So, by devious ways, the Viscount led Barnabas round to the back of
the inn, and across a yard to where, beyond a gate, was a rick-yard,
and beyond that again, a small field or paddock. Now, within this
paddock, the admired of a group of gaping rustics, was the very
smallest groom Barnabas had ever beheld, for, from the crown of his
leather postilion's hat to the soles of his small top boots, he
could not have measured more than four feet at the very most.
"There he is, Bev, behold him!" said the Viscount, with his
whimsical smile, "the very smallest fiend, the most diminutive demon
that ever wore top boots!"
The small groom was engaged in walking a fine blood horse up and
down the paddock, or rather the horse was walking the groom, for
the animal being very tall and powerful and much given to divers
startings, snortings, and tossings of the head, it thus befell that
to every step the diminutive groom marched on terra firma, he took
one in mid-air, at which times, swinging pendulum-like, he poured
forth a stream of invective that the most experienced ostler, guard,
or coachman might well have envied, and all in a voice so gruff, so
hoarse and guttural, despite his tender years, as filled the
listening rustics with much apparent awe and wonder.
"And he can't be a day older than fourteen, my dear Bev," said the
Viscount, with a complacent nod, as they halted in the perfumed
shade of an adjacent rick; "that's his stable voice assumed for the
occasion, and, between you and me, I can't think how he does it. Egad!
he's the most remarkable boy that ever wore livery, the sharpest,
the gamest. I picked him up in London, a ragged urchin--caught him
picking my pocket, Been with me ever since, and I wouldn't part with
him for his weight in gold."
"Picking your pocket!" said Barnabas, "hum!"
The Viscount looked a trifle uncomfortable. "Why you see, my dear
fellow," he explained, "he was so--so deuced--small, Bev, a wretched
little pale-faced, shivering atomy, peeping up at me over a ragged
elbow waiting to be thrashed, and I liked him because he didn't
snivel, and he was too insignificant for prison, so, when he told me
how hungry he was, I forgot to cuff his shrinking, dirty little head,
and suggested a plate of beef at one of the à la mode shops. 'Beef?'
says he. 'Yes, beef,' says I, 'could you eat any?' 'Beef?' says he
again, 'couldn't I? why, I could eat a ox whole, I could!' So I
naturally dubbed him Milo of Crotona on the spot."
"And has he ever tried to pick your pocket since?"
"No, Bev; you see, he's never hungry nowadays. Gad!" said the
Viscount, taking Barnabas by the arm, "I've set the fashion in tigers,
Bev. Half the fellows at White's and Brooke's are wild to get that
very small demon of mine; but he isn't to be bought or bribed or
stolen--for what there is of him is faithful, Bev,--and now come in
So saying, the Viscount led Barnabas across the yard to a certain
wing or off-shoot of the inn, where beneath a deep, shadowy gable
was a door. Yet here he must needs pause a moment to glance down at
himself to settle a ruffle and adjust his hat ere, lifting the latch,
he ushered Barnabas into a kitchen.
A kitchen indeed? Ay, but such a kitchen! Surely wood was never
whiter, nor pewter more gleaming than in this kitchen; surely no
flagstones ever glowed a warmer red; surely oak panelling never
shone with a mellower lustre; surely no viands could look more
delicious than the great joint upon the polished sideboard, flanked
by the crisp loaf and the yellow cheese; surely no flowers could
ever bloom fairer or smell sweeter than those that overflowed the
huge punch bowl at the window and filled the Uncle Toby jugs upon
the mantel; surely nowhere could there be at one and the same time
such dainty orderliness and comfortable comfort as in this kitchen.
Indeed the historian is bold to say that within no kitchen in this
world were all things in such a constant state of winking, twinkling,
gleaming and glowing purity, from the very legs of the oaken table
and chairs, to the hacked and battered old cutlass above the chimney,
as in this self-same kitchen of "The Spotted Cow."
And yet--and yet! Sweeter, whiter, warmer, purer, and far more
delicious than anything in this kitchen (or out of it) was she who
had started up to her feet so suddenly, and now stood with blushing
cheeks and hurried bosom, gazing shy-eyed upon the young Viscount;
all dainty grace from the ribbons in her mob-cap to the slender,
buckled shoe peeping out beneath her print gown; and Barnabas,
standing between them, saw her flush reflected as it were for a
moment in the Viscount's usually pale cheek.
"My Lord!" said she, and stopped.
"Why, Clemency, you--you are--handsomer than ever!" stammered the
"Oh, my Lord!" she exclaimed; and as she turned away Barnabas
thought there were tears in her eyes.
"Did we startle you, Clemency? Forgive me--but I--that is,
we are--hungry, ravenous. Er--this is a friend of mine--Mr.
Beverley--Mistress Clemency Dare; and oh, Clemency, I've had no
But seeing she yet stood with head averted, the Viscount with a
freedom born of long acquaintance, yet with a courtly deference also,
took the hand that hung so listless, and looked down into the
flushed beauty of her face, and, as he looked, beheld a great tear
that crept upon her cheek.
"Why, Clemency!" he exclaimed, his raillery gone, his voice suddenly
tender, "Clemency--you're crying, my dear maid; what is it?"
Now, beholding her confusion, and because of it, Barnabas turned
away and walked to the other end of the kitchen, and there it
chanced that he spied two objects that lay beneath the table, and
stooping, forthwith, he picked them up. They were small and
insignificant enough in themselves--being a scrap of crumpled paper,
and a handsome embossed coat button; yet as Barnabas gazed upon this
last, he smiled grimly, and so smiling slipped the objects into his
"Come now, Clemency," persisted the Viscount, gently, "what is wrong?"
"Nothing; indeed, nothing, my Lord."
"Ay, but there is. See how red your eyes are; they quite spoil your
"Beauty!" she cried. "Oh, my Lord; even you!"
"What? What have I said? You are beautiful you know, Clem, and--"
"Beauty!" she cried again, and turned upon him with clenched hands
and dark eyes aflame. "I hate it--oh, I hate it!" and with the
words she stamped her foot passionately, and turning, sped away,
banging the door behind her.
"Now, upon my soul!" said the Viscount, taking off his hat and
ruffling up his auburn locks, "of all the amazing, contradictory
creatures in the world, Bev! I've known Clemency--hum--a goodish time,
my dear fellow; but never saw her like this before, I wonder what
But at this juncture a door at the further end of the kitchen opened,
and a man entered. He, like the Bo'sun, was merry of eye, breezy of
manner, and hairy of visage; but there all similarity ended, for,
whereas the Bo'sun was a square man, this man was round--round of
head, round of face, and round of eye. At the sight of the Viscount,
his round face expanded in a genial smile that widened until it was
lost in whisker, and he set two fingers to his round forehead and
made a leg.
"Lord love me, my Lord, and is it you?" he exclaimed, clasping the
hand the Viscount had extended. "Now, from what that imp of a
bye--axing his parding--your tiger, Mr. Milo, told me, I were to
expect you at nine sharp--and here it be nigh on to ten--"
"True, Jack; but then both he and I reckoned without my father. My
father had the bad taste to--er--disagree with me, hence I am late,
Jack, and breakfastless, and my friend Mr. Beverley is as hungry as
I am. Bev, my dear fellow, this is a very old friend of mine--Jack
Truelove, who fought under my uncle at Trafalgar."
"Servant, sir!" says Jack, saluting Barnabas.
"The 'Belisarius,' Seventy-four!" smiled Barnabas.
"Ay, ay," says Jack, with a shake of his round head, "the poor old
'Bully-Sawyer'--But, Lord love me! if you be hungry--"
"Devilish!" said the Viscount, "but first, Jack--what's amiss with
"Clemency? Why, where be that niece o' mine?"
"She's run away, Jack. I found her in tears, and I had scarce said a
dozen words to her when--hey presto! She's off and away."
"Tears is it, my Lord?--and 'er sighed, too, I reckon. Come now--'er
sighed likewise. Eh, my Lord?"
"Why, yes, she may have sighed, but--"
"There," says Jack, rolling his round head knowingly, "it be nought
but a touch o' love, my Lord."
"Love!" exclaimed the Viscount sharply.
"Ah, love! Nieces is difficult craft, and very apt to be took all
aback by the wind o' love, as you might say--but Lord! it's only
natural arter all. Ah! the rearing o' motherless nieces is a
ticklish matter, gentlemen--as to nevvys, I can't say, never 'aving
'ad none _to_ rear--but nieces--Lord! I could write a book on 'em,
that is, s'posing I could write, which I can't; for, as I've told
you many a time, my Lord, and you then but a bye over here on a
visit, wi' the Bo'sun, or his Honor the Cap'n, and you no older then
than--er--Mr. Milo, though longer in the leg, as I 've told you many
a time and oft--a very ob-servant man I be in most things, consequent'
I aren't observed this here niece--this Clem o' mine fair weather
and foul wi'out larning the kind o' craft nieces be. Consequent',
when you tell me she weeps, and likewise sighs, then I make bold to
tell you she's got a touch o' love, and you can lay to that, my Lord."
"Love," exclaimed the Viscount again, and frowning this time;
"now, who the devil should she be in love with!"
"That, my Lord, I can't say, not having yet observed. But now, by
your leave, I'll pass the word for breakfast."
Hereupon the landlord of "The Spotted Cow" opened the lattice, and
sent a deep-lunged hail across the yard.
"Ahoy!" he roared, "Oliver, Penelope, Bess--breakfast ho!--breakfast
for the Viscount--and friend. They be all watching of that theer
imp--axing his pardon--that theer groom o' yours, what theer be of
him, which though small ain't by no means to be despised, him being
equally ready wi' his tongue as his fist."
Here entered two maids, both somewhat flushed with haste but both
equally bright of eye, neat of person, and light of foot, who very
soon had laid a snowy cloth and duly set out thereon the beef, the
bread and cheese, and a mighty ham, before which the Viscount seated
himself forthwith, while their sailor host, more jovial than ever,
pointed out its many beauties with an eloquent thumb. And so, having
seen his guests seated opposite each other, he pulled his forelock
at them, made a leg to them, and left them to their breakfast.
IN WHICH FISTS ARE CLENCHED; AND OF A SELFISH MAN, WHO WAS AN
APOSTLE OF PEACE
Conversation, though in itself a blessed and delightful thing, yet
may be sometimes out of place, and wholly impertinent. If wine is a
loosener of tongues, surely food is the greatest, pleasantest, and
most complete silencer; for what man when hunger gnaws and food is
before him--what man, at such a time, will stay to discuss the
wonders of the world, of science--or even himself?
Thus our two young travellers, with a very proper respect for the
noble fare before them, paid their homage to it in silence--but a
silence that was eloquent none the less. At length, however, each
spoke, and each with a sigh.
_The Viscount_. "The ham, my dear fellow--!"
_Barnabas_. "The beef, my dear Dick--!"
_The Viscount and Barnabus_. "Is beyond words."
Having said which, they relapsed again into a silence, broken only
by the occasional rattle of knife and fork.
_The Viscount_ (hacking at the loaf). "It's a grand thing to be hungry,
my dear fellow."
_Barnabas_ (glancing over the rim of his tankard). "When you have the
means of satisfying it--yes."
_The Viscount_ (becoming suddenly abstracted, and turning his piece of
bread over and over in his fingers). "Now regarding--Mistress Clemency,
my dear Bev; what do you think of her?"
_Barnabas_ (helping himself to more beef). "That she is a remarkably
_The Viscount_ (frowning at his piece of bread). "Hum! d'you think so?"
_Barnabas_. "Any man would. I'll trouble you for the mustard, Dick."
_The Viscount_. "Yes; I suppose they would."
_Barnabas_. "Some probably do--especially men with an eye for fine
_The Viscount_ (frowning blacker than ever). "Pray, what mean you
_Barnabas_. "Your friend Carnaby undoubtedly does."
_The Viscount_ (starting). "Carnaby! Why what the devil put him into
your head? Carnaby's never seen her."
_Barnabas_. "Indeed, I think it rather more than likely."
_The Viscount_ (crushing the bit of bread suddenly in his fist).
"Carnaby! But I tell you he hasn't--he's never been near this place."
_Barnabas_. "There you are quite wrong."
_The Viscount_ (flinging himself back in his chair). "Beverley, what
the devil are you driving at?"
_Barnabas_. "I mean that he was here this morning."
_The Viscount_. "Carnaby? Here? Impossible! What under heaven should
make you think so?"
"This," said Barnabas, and held out a small, crumpled piece of paper.
The Viscount took it, glanced at it, and his knife clattered to the
"Sixty thousand pounds!" he exclaimed, and sat staring down at the
crumpled paper, wide-eyed. "Sixty thousand!" he repeated. "Is it
sixty or six, Bev? Read it out," and he thrust the torn paper across
to Barnabas, who, taking it up, read as follows:--
--felicitate you upon your marriage with the lovely
heiress, Lady M., failing which I beg most humbly to remind
you, my dear Sir Mortimer Carnaby, that the sixty thousand
pounds must be paid back on the day agreed upon, namely
Your humble, obedient Servant,
"Jasper Gaunt!" exclaimed the Viscount. "Sixty thousand pounds! Poor
Carnaby! Sixty thousand pounds payable on July sixteenth! Now the
fifteenth, my dear Bev, is the day of the race, and if he should lose,
it looks very much as though Carnaby would be ruined, Bev."
"Unless he marries 'the lovely heiress'!" added Barnabas.
"Hum!" said the Viscount, frowning. "I wish I'd never seen this
cursed paper, Bev!" and as he spoke he crumpled it up and threw it
into the great fireplace. "Where in the name of mischief did you get
"It was in the corner yonder," answered Barnabas. "I also found this."
And he laid a handsomely embossed coat button on the table.
"It has been wrenched off you will notice."
"Yes," nodded the Viscount, "torn off! Do you think--"
"I think," said Barnabas, putting the button back into his pocket,
"that Mistress Clemency's tears are accounted for--"
"By God, Beverley," said the Viscount, an ugly light in his eyes,
"if I thought that--!" and the hand upon the table became a fist.
"I think that Mistress Clemency is a match for any man--or brute,"
said Barnabas, and drew his hand from his pocket.
Now the Viscount's fist was opening and shutting convulsively, the
breath whistled between his teeth, he glanced towards the door, and
made as though he would spring to his feet; but in that moment came
a diversion, for Barnabas drew his hand from his pocket, and as he
did so, something white fluttered to the floor, close beside the
Viscount's chair. Both men saw it and both stooped to recover it,
but the Viscount, being nearer, picked it up, glanced at it, looked
at Barnabas with a knowing smile, glanced at it again, was arrested
by certain initials embroidered in one corner, stooped his head
suddenly, inhaling its subtle perfume, and so handed it back to
Barnabas, who took it with a word of thanks and thrust it into an
inner pocket, while the Viscount stared at him under his drawn brows.
But Barnabas, all unconscious, proceeded to cut himself another
slice of beef, offering to do the same for the Viscount.
"Thank you--no," said he.
"What--have you done, so soon?"
"Yes," said he, and thereafter sat watching Barnabas ply knife and
fork, who, presently catching his eye, smiled.
"Pray," said the Viscount after a while, "pray are you acquainted
with the Lady Cleone Meredith?"
"No," answered Barnabas. "I'll trouble you for the mustard, Dick."
"Have you ever met the Lady Cleone Meredith?"
"Never", answered Barnabas, innocent of eye.
Hereupon the Viscount rose up out of the chair and leaned across the
"Sir," said he, "you are a most consummate liar!"
Hereupon Barnabas helped himself to the mustard with grave
deliberation, then, leaning back in his chair, he smiled up into the
Viscount's glowing eyes as politely and with as engaging an air as
"My Lord," said he gently, "give me leave to remark that he who says
so, lies himself most foully." Having said which Barnabas set down
the mustard, and bowed.
"Mr. Beverley," said the Viscount, regarding him calm-eyed across
the table, "there is a place I know of near by, a very excellent
place, being hidden by trees, a smooth, grassy place--shall we go?"
"Whenever you will, my Lord," said Barnabas, rising.
Forthwith having bowed to each other and put on their hats, they
stepped out into the yard, and so walked on side by side, a trifle
stiffer and more upright than usual maybe, until they came to a stile.
Here they must needs pause to bow once more, each wishful to give
way to the other, and, having duly crossed the stile, they presently
came to a place, even as the Viscount had said, being shady with
trees, and where a brook ran between steep banks. Here, too, was a
small foot-bridge, with hand-rails supported at either end by posts.
Now upon the right-hand post the Viscount set his hat and coat, and
upon the left, Barnabas hung his. Then, having rolled up their
shirt-sleeves, they bowed once more, and coming to where the grass
was very smooth and level they faced each other with clenched fists.
"Mr. Beverley," said the Viscount, "you will remember I sighed for
muffles, but, sir, I count this more fortunate, for to my mind there
is nothing like bare fists, after all, to try a man's capabilities."
"My Lord," said Barnabas, "you will also remember that when I told
you I had boxed daily both with 'Glorious John' and Nathaniel Bell,
you doubted my word? I therefore intend to try and convince you as
speedily as may be."
"Egad!" exclaimed the Viscount, his blue eyes a-dance, "this is
positively more than I had ventured to hope, my dear fell--Ah!
Mr. Beverley, at your service, sir?"
And, after a season, Barnabas spoke, albeit pantingly, and dabbing
at his bloody mouth the while.
"Sir," said he, "I trust--you are not--incommoded at all?" whereupon
the Viscount, coming slowly to his elbow and gazing round about him
with an expression of some wonder, made answer, albeit also
pantingly and short of breath:
"On the contrary, sir, am vastly--enjoying myself--shall give
myself the pleasure--of continuing--just as soon as the ground
subsides a little."
Therefore Barnabas, still dabbing at his mouth, stepped forward
being minded to aid him to his feet, but ere he could do so, a voice
"Stop!" said the voice.
Now glancing round, Barnabas beheld a man, a small man and slender,
whose clothes, old and worn, seemed only to accentuate the dignity
and high nobility of his face.
Bareheaded he advanced towards them and his hair glistened silver
white in the sunshine, though his brows were dark, like the glowing
eyes below. Upon his cheek was the dark stain of blood, and on his
lips was a smile ineffably sweet and gentle as he came forward,
looking from one to the other.
"And pray, sir," inquired the Viscount, sitting cross-legged upon
the green, "pray, who might you be?"
"I am an apostle of peace, young sir," answered the stranger,
"a teacher of forgiveness, though, doubtless, an unworthy one."
"Peace, sir!" cried the Viscount, "deuce take me!--but you are the
most warlike Apostle of Peace that eyes ever beheld; by your looks
you might have been fighting the Seven Champions of Christendom, one
down, t' other come on--"
"You mean that I am bleeding, sir; indeed, I frequently do, and
therein is my joy, for this is the blood of atonement."
"The blood of atonement?" said Barnabas.
"Last night," pursued the stranger in his gentle voice, "I sought to
teach the Gospel of Mercy and Universal Forgiveness at a country
fair not so very far from here, and they drove me away with sticks
and stones; indeed, I fear our rustics are sometimes woefully
ignorant, and Ignorance is always cruel. So, to-day, as soon as the
stiffness is gone from me, I shall go back to them, sirs, for even
Ignorance has ears."
Now whereupon, the Viscount got upon his legs, rather unsteadily,
"Sir," said he, "I humbly ask your pardon; surely so brave an
apostle should do great works."
"Then," said the stranger, drawing nearer, "if such is your thought,
let me see you two clasp hands."
"But, sir," said the Viscount, somewhat taken aback, "indeed we
"So much the better," returned the teacher of forgiveness with his
gentle smile, and laying a hand upon the arm of each.
"But, sir, I went so far as to give this gentleman the lie!" resumed
"Which I went so far as to--return," said Barnabas.
"But surely the matter can be explained?" inquired the stranger.
"Possibly!" nodded the Viscount, "though I generally leave
explanations until afterwards."
"Then," said the stranger, glancing from one proud young face to
the other, "in this instance, shake hands first. Hate and anger
are human attributes, but to forgive is Godlike. Therefore now,
forget yourselves and in this thing be gods. For, young sirs,
as it seems to me, it was ordained that you two should be friends.
And you are young and full of great possibilities and friendship
is a mighty factor in this hard world, since by friendship comes
self-forgctfulness, and no man can do great works unless he forgets
Self. So, young sirs, shake hands!"
Now, as they looked upon each other, of a sudden, despite his split
lip, Barnabas smiled and, in that same moment, the Viscount held out
"Beverley," said he, as their fingers gripped, "after your most
convincing--shall we say, argument?--if you tell me you have boxed
with all and every champion back to Mendoza, Jack Slack, and
Broughton, egad! I'll believe you, for you have a devilish striking
and forcible way with you at times!" Here the Viscount cherished his
bruised ribs with touches of tender inquiry. "Yes," he nodded,
"there is a highly commendable thoroughness in your methods, my dear
Bev, and I'm free to confess I like you better and better--but--!"
"But?" inquired Barnabas.
"As regards the handkerchief now--?"
"I found it--on a bramble-bush--in a wood," said Barnabas.
"In a wood!"
"In Annersley Wood; I found a lady there also."
"A lady--oh, egad!"
"A very beautiful woman," said Barnabas thoughtfully, "with
wonderful yellow hair!"
"The Lady Cleone Meredith!" exclaimed the Viscount, "but in a--wood!"
"She had fallen from her horse."
"How? When? Was she hurt?"
"How, I cannot tell you, but it happened about two hours ago, and
her hurt was trifling."
"And you--found her?"
"I also saw her safely out of the wood."
"And you did not know her name?"
"I quite--forgot to ask it," Barnabas admitted, "and I never saw her
until this morning."
"Why, then, my dear Bev," said the Viscount, his brow clearing,
"let us go back to breakfast, all three of us."
But, now turning about, they perceived that the stranger was gone,
yet, coming to the bridge, they presently espied him sitting beside
the stream laving his hurts in the cool water.
"Sir," said Barnabas, "our thanks are due to you--"
"And you must come back to the inn with us," added the Viscount;
"the ham surpasses description."
"And I would know what you meant by the 'blood of atonement,'" said
Barnabas, the persistent.
"As to breakfast, young sirs," said the stranger, shaking his head,
"I thank you, but I have already assuaged my hunger; as to my story,
well, 'tis not over long, and indeed it is a story to think upon--a
warning to heed, for it is a story of Self, and Self is the most
insidious enemy that man possesses. So, if you would listen to the
tale of a selfish man, sit down here beside me, and I'll tell you."
OF THE STRANGER'S TALE, WHICH, BEING SHORT, MAY PERHAPS MEET WITH
THE READER'S KIND APPROBATION.
"In ancient times, sirs," began the stranger, with his gaze upon the
hurrying waters of the brook, "when a man had committed some great
sin he hid himself from the world, and lashed himself with cruel
stripes, he walked barefoot upon sharp flints and afflicted himself
with grievous pains and penalties, glorying in the blood of his
atonement, and wasting himself and his remaining years in woeful
solitude, seeking, thereby, to reclaim his soul from the wrath
to come. But, as for me, I walk the highways preaching always
forgiveness and forgetfulness of self, and if men grow angry at my
teaching and misuse me, the pain of wounds, the hardships, the
fatigue, I endure them all with a glad and cheerful mind, seeking
thereby to work out my redemption and atonement, for I was a very
selfish man." Here the stranger paused, and his face seemed more
lined and worn, and his white hair whiter, as he stared down into
the running waters of the brook.
"Sirs," he continued, speaking with bent head, "I once had a daughter,
and I loved her dearly, but my name was dearer yet. I was proud of
her beauty, but prouder of my ancient name, for I was a selfish man."
"We lived in the country, a place remote and quiet, and consequently
led a very solitary, humdrum life, because I was ever fond of books
and flowers and the solitude of trees--a selfish man always. And so,
at last, because she was young and high-spirited, she ran away from
my lonely cottage with one who was a villain. And I grieved for her,
young sirs, I grieved much and long, because I was lonely, but I
grieved more for my name, my honorable name that she had besmirched,
because, as I told you, I was a selfish man." Again the stranger was
silent, sitting ever with bent head staring down at the crystal
waters of the brook, only he clasped his thin hands and wrung them
as he continued:
"One evening, as I sat among my roses with a book in my hand, she
came back to me through the twilight, and flung herself upon her
knees before me, and besought my forgiveness with sobs and bitter,
bitter tears. Ah, young sirs! I can hear her weeping yet. The sound
of it is always in my ears. So she knelt to me in her abasement with
imploring hands stretched out to me. Ah, the pity of those white
appealing hands, the pity of them! But I, sirs, being as I say a
selfish man and remembering only my proud and honorable name, I, her
father, spurned her from me with reproaches and vile words, such
burning, searing words as no daughter should hear or father utter."
"And so, weeping still, she turned away wearily, hopelessly, and I
stood to watch her bowed figure till she had crept away into the
evening and was gone."
"Thus, sirs, I drove her from me, this wounded lamb, this poor
broken-hearted maid--bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh--I drove her
from me, I who should have comforted and cherished her, I drove her
out into the night with hateful words and bitter curses. Oh, was
ever sin like mine? Oh, Self, Self! In ancient times, sirs, when a
man had committed some great sin he lashed himself with cruel stripes,
but I tell you no rod, no whip of many thongs ever stung or bit so
sharp and deep as remorse--it is an abiding pain. Therefore I walk
these highways preaching always forgiveness and forgetfulness of self,
and so needs must I walk until my days be done, or until--I find her
again." The stranger rose suddenly and so stood with bent head and
very still, only his hands griped and wrung each other. Yet when he
looked up his brow was serene and a smile was on his lips."
"But you, sirs, you are friends again, and that is good, for
friendship is a blessed thing. And you have youth and strength, and
all things are possible to you, therefore. But oh, beware of self,
take warning of a selfish man, forget self, so may you achieve great
"But, as for me, I never stand upon a country road when evening
falls but I see her, a broken, desolate figure, creeping away from me,
always away from me, into the shadows, and the sound of her weeping
comes to me in the night silences." So saying, the stranger turned
from them and went upon his way, limping a little because of his
hurts, and his hair gleamed silver in the sunshine as he went.
IN WHICH BARNABAS MAKES A CONFESSION
"A very remarkable man!" said the Viscount, taking up his hat.
"And a very pitiful story!" said Barnabas, thoughtfully.
"Though I could wish," pursued the Viscount, dreamy of eye, and
settling his hat with a light tap on the crown, "yes, I do certainly
wish that he hadn't interfered quite so soon, I was just beginning
"It must be a terrible thing to be haunted by remorse so bitter as
his, 'to fancy her voice weeping in the night,' and to see her
creeping on into the shadows always--away from him," said Barnabas.
But now, having helped each other into their coats, they set off
back to the inn.
"My ribs," said the Viscount, feeling that region of his person with
tender solicitude as he spoke, "my ribs are infernally sore, Bev,
though it was kind of you not to mark my face; I'm sorry for your lip,
my dear fellow, but really it was the only opening you gave me; I
hope it isn't painful?"
"Indeed I had forgotten it," returned Barnabas.
"Then needs must I try to forget my bruised ribs," said the Viscount,
making a wry face as he clambered over the stile.
But here Barnabas paused to turn and look back at the scene of their
encounter, quite deserted now, for the stranger had long since
disappeared in the green.
"Yes, a very remarkable man!" sighed Barnabas, thoughtfully.
"I wish he had come back with us to the inn and--Clemency. Yes, a
very strange man. I wonder now--"
"And I beg you to remember," added the Viscount, taking him by the
arm, "he said that you and I were ordained to be friends, and by Gad!
I think he spoke the truth, Bev."
"I feel sure of it, Viscount," Barnabas nodded.
"Furthermore, Bev, if you are 'Bev' to me, I must be 'Dick' to you
henceforth--amen and so forth!"
"Then, my dear Bev?" said the Viscount impulsively.
"Yes, my dear Dick?"
"Suppose we shake hands on it?"
"Willingly, Dick, yet, first, I think it but honorable to tell you
that I--love the Lady Cleone Meredith."
"Eh--what?" exclaimed the Viscount, falling back a step, "you love
her? the devil you do! since when?"
"Since this morning."
"Love her!" repeated the Viscount, "but you've seen her but once in
"True," said Barnabas, "but then I mean to see her many times,
"Ah! the deuce you do!"
"Yes," answered Barnabas. "I shall possibly marry her--some day."
The Viscount laughed, and frowned, and laughed again, then noting
the set mouth and chin of the speaker, grew thoughtful, and
thereafter stood looking at Barnabas with a new and suddenly
awakened interest. Who was he? What was he? From his clothes he
might have been anything between a gentleman farmer and a gamekeeper.
As for Barnabas himself, as he leaned there against the stile with
his gaze on the distance, his eyes a-dream, he had clean forgotten
his awkward clothes and blunt-toed boots.
And after all, what can boots or clothes matter to man or woman?
indeed, they sink into insignificance when the face of their wearer
is stamped with the serene yet determined confidence that marked
Barnabas as he spoke.
"Marry--Cleone Meredith?" said the Viscount at last.
"Marry her--yes," said Barnabas slowly.
"Why then, in the first place let me tell you she's devilish high
"'T is so I would have her!" nodded Barnabas.
"And cursedly hard to please."
"So I should judge her," nodded Barnabas.
"And heiress to great wealth."
"No matter for that," said Barnabas.
"And full of whims and fancies."
"And therefore womanly," said Barnabas.
"My dear Beverley," said the Viscount, smiling again, "I tell you
the man who wins Cleone Meredith must be stronger, handsomer, richer,
and more accomplished than any 'Buck,' 'Corinthian,' or 'Macaroni'
of 'em all--"
"Or more determined!" added Barnabas.
"Or more determined, yes," nodded the Viscount.
"Then I shall certainly marry her--some day," said Barnabas.
Again the Viscount eyed Barnabas a while in silence, but this time,
be it noted, he smiled no more.
"Hum!" said he at last, "so it seems in finding a friend I have also
found myself another rival?"
"I greatly fear so," said Barnabas, and they walked on together.
But when they had gone some distance in moody silence, the Viscount
"Beverley," said he, "forewarned is forearmed!"
"Yes," answered Barnabas, "that is why I told you."
"Then," said the Viscount, "I think we'll--shake hands--after all."
The which they did forthwith.
Now it was at this moment that Milo of Crotona took it upon himself
to become visible.
CONCERNING THE BUTTONS OF ONE MILO OF CROTONA
Never did a pair of top boots, big or little, shine with a lustre
more resplendent; never was postilion's jacket more excellent of fit,
nattier, or more carefully brushed; and nowhere could there be found
two rows of crested silver buttons with such an air of waggish
roguery, so sly, so knowing, and so pertinaciously on the everlasting
wink, as these same eight buttons that adorned the very small person
of his groomship, Milo of Crotona. He had slipped out suddenly from
the hedge, and now stood cap in hand, staring from the Viscount to
Barnabas, and back again, with his innocent blue eyes, and with every
blinking, twinkling button on his jacket. And his eyes were wide and
guileless--the eyes of a cherub; but his buttons!
Yea, forsooth, it was all in his buttons as they winked slyly one to
another as much as to say:
"Aha! we don't know why his Lordship's nankeens are greened at the
knees, not we! nor why the gent's lower lip is unduly swelled. Lord
love your eyes and limbs, oh no!"
"What, my imp of innocence!" exclaimed the Viscount. "Where have you
"Ah! and what might you have been doing in the hedge now?"
"And what were you thinking?"
"I were think'n', m'lud, as the tall genelman here is a top-sawyer
wi' 'is daddies, m'lud. I was."
"Aha! so you've been watching, eh?"
"Not watchin'--oh no, m'lud; I just 'appened ter notice--that's all,
"Ha!" exclaimed the Viscount; "then I suppose you happened to notice
me being--knocked down?"
"No, m'lud; ye see, I shut my eyes--every time."
"Every time, eh!" said his Lordship, with his whimsical smile.
"Oh Loyalty, thy name is Milo! But hallo!" he broke off, "I believe
you've been fighting again--come here!"
"Fightin', m'lud! What, me?"
"What's the matter with your face--it's all swollen; there, your
"Swellin', m'lud; I don't feel no swellin'."
"No, no; the other cheek."
"Oh, this, m'lud. Oh, 'e done it, 'e did; but I weren't fightin'."
"Who did it?"
"S' Mortimer's friend, 'e done it, 'e did."
"Sir Mortimer's friend?"
"Ah, 'im, m'lud."
"But, how in the world--"
"Wi' his fist, m'lud."
"'Cos I kicked 'im, I did."
"You--kicked Sir Mortimer Carnaby's friend!" exclaimed the Viscount.
"What in heaven's name did you do that for?"
"'Cos you told me to, m'lud, you did."
"I told you to kick--"
"Yes, m'lud, you did. You sez to me, last week--arter I done up that
butcher's boy--you sez to me, 'don't fight 'cept you can't 'elp it,'
you sez; 'but allus pertect the ladies,' you sez, 'an if so be as
'e's too big to reach wi' your fists--why, use your boots,' you sez,
an' so I did, m'lud."
"So you were protecting a lady, were you, Imp?"
"Miss Clemency, mam; yes, m'lud. She's been good ter me, Miss Clemency,
mam 'as--an' so when I seen 'im strugglin' an' a-tryin' to kiss
'er--when I 'eered 'er cry out--I came in froo de winder, an' I kicked
'im, I did, an' then--"
"Imp," said the Viscount gravely, "you are forgetting your aitches!
And so Sir Mortimer's friend kissed her, did he? Mind your aitches
"Yes, m' lud; an' when Hi seen the tears hin her eyes--"
"Now you are mixing them, Imp!--tears in her eyes. Well?"
"Why then I kicked him, m' lud, an' he turned round an' give me this
"And what was Sir Mortimer's friend like?"
"A tall--werry sleepy gentleman, wot smiled, m' lud."
"Ha!" exclaimed the Viscount, starting; "and with a scar upon one
His Lordship frowned. "That would be Chichester," said he
thoughtfully. "Now I wonder what the devil should bring that fellow
so far from London?"
"Well, m' lud," suggested Milo, shaking his golden curls, "I kind of
'specks there's a woman at the bottom of it. There mostly generally
"Hum!" said the Viscount.
"'Sides, m' lud, I 'eard 'im talkin' 'bout a lady to S' Mortimer!"
"Did they mention her name?"
"The sleepy one 'e did, m' lud. Jist as S' Mortimer climbed into the
chaise--'Here's wishing you luck wi' the lovely Meredyth,' 'e sez."
"Meredith!" exclaimed the Viscount.
"Meredith, m' lud; 'the lovely Meredith,' 'e sez, an' then, as he
stood watchin' the chaise drive away, 'may the best man win,' sez 'e
to himself, 'an' that's me,' sez'e."
"Boy," said the Viscount, "have the horses put to--at once."
"Werry good, m' lud," and, touching his small hat, Milo of Crotona
turned and set off as fast as his small legs would carry him.
"Gad!" exclaimed his Lordship, "this is more than I bargained for. I
must be off."
"Indeed!" said Barnabas, who for the last minute or so had been
watching a man who was strolling idly up the lane, a tall, languid
gentleman in a jaunty hat. "You seem all at once in a mighty hurry
to get to London."
"London!" repeated the Viscount, staring blankly. "London? Oh, why
yes, to be sure, I was going to London; but--hum--fact of the matter
is, I've changed my mind about it, my dear Bev; I'm going--back. I'm
"Ah!" said Barnabas, still intent upon the man in the lane,
"Oh, damn the fellow!" exclaimed the Viscount.
"But--he is your friend."
"Hum!" said the Viscount; "but Carnaby is always--Carnaby, and she--"
"Meaning the Lady Cleone," said Barnabas.
"Is a woman--"
"'The lovely Meredith'!" nodded Barnabas.
"Exactly!" said the Viscount, frowning; "and Carnaby is the devil
"But not this woman," answered Barnabas, frowning a little also.
"My dear fellow, men like Carnaby attract all women--"
"That," said Barnabas, shaking his head, "that I cannot believe."
"Have you known many women, Bev?"
"No," answered Barnabas; "but I have met the Lady Cleone--"
"Once!" added the Viscount significantly.
"Once!" nodded Barnabas.
"Hum," said the Viscount. "And, therefore," added Barnabas,
"I don't think that we need fear Sir Mortimer as a rival."
"That," retorted the Viscount, shaking his head, "is because you
don't know him--either."
Hereupon, having come to the inn and having settled their score, the