The voice was that of Mr. Ralph Ashley.
MR. JINKS ON HORSE-BACK, GOING TO TAKE REVENGE.
Jinks remained silent a moment. Standing face to face, the two personages surveyed each other in silence—the one laughing, joyous, ready for any amusement which would be so obliging as to turn up; the other stately, warlike, and breathing terrible and malignant vengeance.
“I say, old fellow, what’s the matter?” he asked; “you look decidedly blood-thirsty.”
“I am, sir!”
“By Jove! I don’t doubt it: you resemble Achilles, when he and Agamemnon had their miff. What’s the odds?”
“I have been insulted, sir!”
Jinks remained silent for a moment, looking after Verty.
“Yes,” he said, with an awful scowl, “that young man has robbed me of my mistress—”
Ralph burst out laughing.
“What are you laughing at?” asked Jinks, with dignity.
“At your falling in love with Redbud Summers.”
“I am not, sir; perhaps in light moments I may have made that youthful damsel a few gallant speeches; but I did not refer to her, sir.”
“To whom, then?”
“To the perfidious Sallianna.”
“Oh!” cried Ralph, restraining his laughter by a powerful effort.
“What surprises you, sir?”
“Can’t help it. The idea of your thinking Verty your rival in the affections of Miss Sallianna! Jinks, my boy, you are blinded with love—open your eyes, and don’t think you can see while they are closed. I tell you, Verty is in love with Redbud—I know it, sir. Or, if he is not with Redbud, it’s Fanny. No, I don’t think it is Fanny,” murmured Ralph, with a thoughtful expression; “I think I’m safe there. A dangerous rival!”
And Ralph smiled at his own thoughts.
“What did you say, sir?” asked Jinks, frowning in the direction of the Bower of Nature.
“Nothing, my boy; but I say, Jinks, what makes you look so fierce? You resemble an ogre—you’re not going to eat Mr. Verty?”
“No, sir; but I’m going to call him to account. If he is not my rival, he has stood in my way.”
“The perfidious Sallianna has fallen in love with him!”
And Jinks groaned.
Ralph took his arm with a sympathizing expression, and restraining a violent burst of laughter, said:
“Is it possible! But I knew something must have happened to make you so angry.”
“Are you furious?”
“Come, now, I’ll bet a pistole to a penny that you are revengeful in your present feelings.
“I am, sir!”