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you are? What you have done is a shame, Charley Beisize. I tell you it is unmanly, and cowardly.”
“Pst!” says Florac, “numero deux, voilà le mot lâche.”
“Don't bite your thumb at me," Kew went on. “I know you could thrash me, if that's what you mean by shaking your fists; so could most men. I tell you again-you have done a bad deed; you have broken your word of honour, and you knocked down Clara Pulleyn to-day as cruelly as if you had done it with your hand.”
With this rush upon him, and fiery assault of Kew, Belsize was quite bewildered. The huge man flung up his great arms, and let. them drop at his side as a gladiator that surrenders, and asks for pity. He sank down once more on the iron bed.
“I don't know," says he, rolling and rolling round, in one of his great hands, one of the brass knobs of the bed by which he was seated,. “ I don't know, Frank,” says he," what the world is coming to, or me either; here is twice in one night I have been called a coward by you, and by that little what-d’-you-callm. I beg your pardon, Florac. I don't know whether it is very brave in you to hit a chap when he is down; hit again, I have no friends. I have acted like a blackguard, I own that; I did break my promise ; you had that safe enough, Frank, my boy; but I did not think it would hurt her to see me," says he with a dreadful sob in his voice.“ By — I would have given ten years of my life to look at her. I was going mad without her. I tried. every place, everything; went to Ems, to Wiesbaden, to Hombourg, and played like hell. It used to excite me once, and now I don't care for it. I won no end of money,—no end for a poor beggar like me, that is; but I couldn't keep away“I couldn't; and if she had been at. the North Pole, by Heavens I would have followed her.”
“ And so just to look at her, just to give your confounded stupid eyes two minutes' pleasure, you must bring about all this pain, you great baby," cries Kew, who was very soft-hearted, and in truth quite torn himself by the sight of poor Jack's agony.
“Get me to see her for five minutes, Kew, cries the other, griping his comrade's hand in his; “but for five minutes."
“For shame," cries Lord Kew, shaking away his hand; “be a. man, Jack, and have no more of this puling. It's not a baby, that must have its toy, and cries because it can't get it. Spare the poor girl this pain, for her own sake, and baulk yourself of the pleasure of bullying and making her unhappy." ...Belsize started up with looks that were by no means pleasant. “There's enough of this chaff. I have been called names, and blackguarded quite sufficiently for one sitting. I shall act as I please. I choose to take my own way, and if any gentleman stops me he has full warning." And he fell to tugging his mustachios, which were of
a dark tawny hue, and looked as warlike as he had ever done on any field-day.
“I take the warning !” said Lord Kew. “And if I know the way you are going, as I think I do, I will do my best to stop you, madman as you are! You can hardly propose to follow her to her own doorway and pose yourself before your mistress as the murderer of her father, like. Rodrigue in the French play. If Rooster were here it would be
on myself, and I say to you, Charles Belsize, in the presence of these gentlemen, that any man who insults this young lady, who persecutes her with his presence, knowing it can but pain her, who persists in following her when he has given his word of honour to avoid her, that such a man is- "
“What, my Lord Kew ?” cries Belsize, whose chest began to heave.
“ You know what," answers the other. “You know what a man is who insults a poor woman, and breaks his word of honour. Consider the word said, and act upon it as you think fit.”
“I owe you four thousand pounds, Kew," says Belsize," and I have got four thousand on the bills, besides four hundred when I came out of that place."
“ You insult me the more," cries Kew flashing out, " by alluding to the money. If you will leave this place to-morrow, well and good ; if not, you will please to give me a meeting. Mr. Newcome, will you be so kind as to act as my friend? We are connexions you know, and this gentleman chooses to insult a lady who is about to become one of our
“ C'est bien, milord. Ma foi ! c'est d'agir en vrai gentilhomme,” says Florac, delighted. " Touchez-là, mon petit Kiou. Tu as du cour. Godam! you are a brave! A brave fellow!” and the Viscount reached out his hand cordially to Lord Kew.
His purpose was evidently pacific. From Kew he turned to the great guardsman, and taking him by the coat began to apostrophise him. “And you, mon gros,” says he, “is there no way of calming this hot blood without a saignée? Have you a penny to the world! Can you hope to carry off your Chimène, O Rodrigue, and live by robbing afterwards on the great way? Suppose you kill ze Fazér, you kill Kiou, you kill Roostere, your Chimêne will have a pretty moon of honey."
“What the devil do you mean about your Chimène and your Rodrigue? What do you mean, Viscount?” says Belsize, Jack Belsize once more, and he dashed his hand across his eyes. “ Kew has riled me and he drove me half wild. I ain't much of a Frenchman, but I know enough of what you said, to say it's true, by Jove, and that Frank Kew's a trump. That's what you mean. Give us your hand, Frank. God bless you, old boy; don't be too hard upon me, you know I'm d- d miserable, that I am. Hullo. What's this?" Jack's pathetic speech was interrupted at this instant, for the Vicomte de Florac in his enthusiasm rushed into his arms, and jumped up towards his face and proceeded to kiss Jack. A roar of immense laughter, as he shook the little Viscount off, cleared the air and ended this quarrel.
said “he loved to laugh même when he did not know why.” And now came the moment of the evening, when Clive, according to Lord Kew's saying, behaved so well and prevented Barnes from incurring a great danger. In truth, what Mr. Clive did or said amounted exactly to nothing. What moments can we not all remember in our lives when it would have been so much wittier and wiser to say and do nothing?
Florac, a very sober drinker like most of his nation, was blessed with a very fine appetite, which, as he said, renewed itself thrice a day at least. He now proposed supper, and poor Jack was for supper too, and especially more drink, champagne and seltzer-water; “bring champagne and seltzer-water, there is nothing like it." Clive could not object to this entertainment, which was ordered forthwith, and the four young men sat down to share it.
Whilst Florac was partaking of his favourite écrevisses, giving not only his palate but his hands, his beard, his mustachios and cheeks a full enjoyment of the sauce which he found so delicious, he chose to revert now and again to the occurrences which had just passed, and which had better perhaps have been forgotten, and gaily rallied Belsize upon his warlike humour. “If ze petit prétendu was here, what would you have done wiz him, Jac? You would croquer 'im, like zis écrevisse, hein ? You would mache his bones, hein ?"
Jack, who had forgotten to put the seltzer-water into his champagne, writhed at the idea of having Barnes Newcome before him, and swore, could he but see Barnes, he would take the little villain's life.
And but for Clive, Jack might actually have beheld his enemy. Young Clive after the meal went to the window with his eternal cigar, and of course began to look at That Othei window. Here, as he looked, à carriage had at the moment driven up. He saw two servants descend, then two gentlemen, and then he heard a well
checked the exclamation which was on his lips, and when he came back to the table did not announce to Kew or his right-hand neighbour Belsize that his uncle and Barnes had arrived. Belsize, by this time, had had quite too much wine: when the Viscount went away, poor Jack's head was nodding; he had been awake all the night before; sleepless for how many nights previous. He scarce took any notice of the Frenchman's departure.
Lord Kew remained. He was for taking Jack to walk, and for reasoning with him farther, and for entering more at large than perhaps he chose to do before the two others upon this family dispute. Clive took a moment to whisper to Lord Kew, “My uncle and Barnes are arrived: don't let Belsize go out; for goodness' sake let us get him to bed.”
“And lest the poor fellow should take a fancy to visit his mistress by moonlight, when he was safe in his room Lord Kew softly turned the key in Mr. Jack's door.
A RETREAT. AS Clive lay awake revolving the strange incidents of the day, and Il speculating upon the tragedy in which he had been suddenly called to take a certain part, a sure presentiment told him that his own happy holiday was come to an end, and that the clouds and storm which he had always somehow foreboded, were about to break and obscure this brief pleasant period of sunshine. He rose at a very early hour, flung his windows open, looked out no doubt towards those other windows in the neighbouring hotel, where he may have fancied he saw a curtain stirring, drawn by a hand that every hour now he longed more to press. He turned back into his chamber with a sort of groan, and surveyed some of the relics of the last night's little feast, which still remained on the table. There were the champagne flasks which poor Jack Belsize had emptied; the tall seltzer-water bottle, from which the gases had issued and mingled with the hot air of the previous night's talk; glasses with dregs of liquor, ashes of cigars, or their black stumps, strewing the cloth; the dead men, the burst guns of yesterday's battle. Early as it was, his neighbour J. J. had been up before him. Clive could hear him singing as was his wont when the pencil went well, and the colours arranged themselves to his satisfaction over his peaceful and happy work.
He pulled his own drawing-table to the window, set out his board and colour-box, filled a great glass from the seltzer-water bottle, drank some of the vapid liquor, and plunged his brushes in the rest, with which he began to paint. The work all went wrong. There was no song for him over his labour; he dashed brush and board aside after a while, opened his drawers, pulled out his portmanteaus from under the bede and fell to packing mechanically. J. J. heard the noise from the next room, and came in smiling, with a great painting-brush in his mouth.
“ Have the bills in," says Clive. “ Leave your cards on your friends, old boy; say good-by to that pretty little strawberry-girl whose picture you have been doing; polish it off to-day, and dry the little thing's tears. I read PPC. in the stars last night, and my familiar spirit came to me in a vision, and said, 'Clive, son of Thomas, put thy travelling boots on.'"