“I will not stir unless you accompany me,” said Rochester.
“Then I have no alternative,” rejoined Leonard. “You know your father’s determination—I would willingly spare you, Amabel.”
“Oh, goodness! what will become of us?” cried Patience—“if there isn’t Mr. Bloundel coming downstairs.”
“Amabel,” said Leonard, sternly, “the next moment decides your fate. If the earl departs, I will keep your secret.”
“You hear that, my lord,” she cried; “I command you to leave me.”
And disengaging herself from him, and hastily passing her father, who at that moment entered the kitchen, she rushed upstairs.
On hearing the alarm of the grocer’s approach, Pillichody took refuge in a cupboard, the door of which stood invitingly open, so that Bloundel only perceived the earl.
“What is the matter?” he cried, gazing around him. “Whom have we here?”
“It is a quack doctor, whom Blaize has been consulting about the plague,” returned Leonard.
“See him instantly out of the house,” rejoined the grocer, angrily, “and take care he never enters it again. I will have no such charlatans here.”
Leonard motioned Rochester to follow him, and the latter reluctantly obeyed.
As soon as Bloundel had retired, Leonard, who had meanwhile provided himself with his cudgel, descended to the kitchen, where he dragged Pillichody from his hiding-place, and conducted him to the back door. But he did not suffer him to depart without belabouring him soundly. Locking the door, he then went in search of Blaize, and administered a similar chastisement to him.
THE TWO WATCHMEN.
On the day following the events last related, as Leonard Holt was standing at the door of the shop,—his master having just been called out by some important business,—a man in the dress of a watchman, with a halberd in his hand, approached him, and inquired if he was Mr. Bloundel’s apprentice.
Before returning an answer, Leonard looked hard at the newcomer, and thought he had never beheld so ill-favoured a person before. Every feature in his face was distorted. His mouth was twisted on one side, his nose on the other, while his right eyebrow was elevated more than an inch above the left; added to which he squinted intolerably, had a long fell of straight sandy hair, a sandy beard and moustache, and a complexion of the colour of brickdust.
“An ugly dog,” muttered Leonard to himself, as he finished his scrutiny; “what can he want with me? Suppose I should be Mr. Bloundel’s apprentice,” he added, aloud, “what then, friend?”
“Your master has a beautiful daughter, has he not?” asked the ill-favoured watchman.
“I answer no idle questions,” rejoined Leonard, coldly.
“As you please,” returned the other, in an offended tone. “A plan to carry her off has accidentally come to my knowledge. But, since incivility is all I am likely to get for my pains in coming to acquaint you with it, e’en find it out yourself.”