THE LIBERTINE PUNISHED.
Sir Paul Parravicin and Major Pillichody arrived without any particular adventure at the top of the Haymarket, where the former dismissed the coach he had hired in Cheapside, and they proceeded towards Piccadilly on foot. Up to this time the major had been in very high spirits, boasting what he would do, in case they encountered Disbrowe, and offering to keep guard outside the door while the knight remained in the house. But he now began to alter his tone, and to frame excuses to get away. He had noticed with some uneasiness, that another coach stopped lower down the Haymarket, at precisely the same time as their own; and though he could not be quite certain of the fact, he fancied he perceived a person greatly resembling Captain Disbrowe alight from it. Mentioning the circumstance to his companion, he pointed out a tall figure following them at some distance; but the other only laughed at him, and said, “It may possibly be Disbrowe—but what if it is? He cannot get into the house without the key; and if he is inclined to measure swords with me a second time, he shall not escape so lightly as he did the first.”
“Right, Sir Paul, right,” returned Pillichody, “exterminate him—spare him not. By Bellerophon! that’s my way. My only apprehension is lest he should set upon us unawares. The bravest are not proof against the dagger of an assassin.”
“There you wrong Disbrowe, major, I am persuaded,” returned Parravicin. “He is too much a man of honour to stab a foe behind his back.”
“It may be,” replied Pillichody, “but jealousy will sometimes turn a man’s brain. By the snakes of Tisiphone! I have known an instance of it myself. I once made love to a tailor’s wife, and the rascal coming in unawares, struck me to the ground with his goose, and well nigh murdered me.”
“After such a mischance, I am surprised you should venture to carry on so many hazardous intrigues,” laughed the knight. “But you proposed just now to keep watch outside the house. If it is Disbrowe who is following us, you had better do so.”
“Why, Sir Paul—you see,”—stammered the major, “I have just bethought me of an engagement.”
“An engagement at this hour—impossible!” cried Parravicin.
“An assignation, I ought to say,” returned Pillichody.
“Couches of Cytheraea!—an affair like your own. You would not have me keep a lady waiting.”
“It is strange you should not recollect it till this moment,” replied Parravicin. “But be your inamorata whom she may—even the rich widow of Watling-street, of whom you prate so much—you must put her off to-night.”
“But, Sir Paul——”
“I will have no denial,” replied the knight, peremptorily. If you refuse, you will find me worse to deal with than Disbrowe. You must remain at the door till I come out. And now let us lose no more time. I am impatient to behold the lady.”