“Lift my hand! O, Mrs. Julaper, you couldn’t think that; you little know me; I did not mean that; I never dreamed of hurting Sir Bale. Good heavens! Mrs. Julaper, you couldn’t think that! It all comes of my poor impatient temper, and complaining as I do, and my misery; but O, Mrs. Julaper, you could not think I ever meant to trouble him by law, or any other annoyance! I’d like to see a stain removed from my family, and my name restored; but to touch his property, O, no!—O, no! that never entered my mind, by heaven! that never entered my mind, Mrs. Julaper. I’m not cruel; I’m not rapacious; I don’t care for money; don’t you know that, Mrs. Julaper? O, surely you won’t think me capable of attacking the man whose bread I have eaten so long! I never dreamed of it; I should hate myself. Tell me you don’t believe it; O, Mrs. Julaper, say you don’t!”
And the gentle feeble creature burst into tears and good Mrs. Julaper comforted him with kind words; and he said,
“Thank you, ma’am; thank you. God knows I would not hurt Bale, nor give him one uneasy hour. It is only this: that I’m—I’m so miserable; and I’m only casting in my mind where to turn to, and what to do. So little a thing would be enough, and then I shall leave Mardykes. I’ll go; not in any anger, Mrs. Julaper—don’t think that; but I can’t stay, I must be gone.”
“Well, now, there’s nothing yet, Master Philip, to fret you like that. You should not be talking so wild-like. Master Bale has his sharp word and his short temper now and again; but I’m sure he likes you. If he didn’t, he’d a-said so to me long ago. I’m sure he likes you well.”
“Hollo! I say, who’s there? Where the devil’s Mr. Feltram?” called the voice of the baronet, at a fierce pitch, along the passage.
“La! Mr. Feltram, it’s him! Ye’d better run to him,” whispered Mrs. Julaper.
“D—n me! does nobody hear? Mrs. Julaper! Hollo! ho! house, there! ho! D—n me, will nobody answer?”
And Sir Bale began to slap the wainscot fast and furiously with his walking-cane with a clatter like a harlequin’s lath in a pantomime.
Mrs. Julaper, a little paler than usual, opened her door, and stood with the handle in her hand, making a little curtsey, enframed in the door-case; and Sir Bale, being in a fume, when he saw her, ceased whacking the panels of the corridor, and stamped on the floor, crying,
“Upon my soul, ma’am, I’m glad to see you! Perhaps you can tell me where Feltram is?”
“He is in my room, Sir Bale. Shall I tell him you want him, please?”
“Never mind; thanks,” said the Baronet. “I’ve a tongue in my head;” marching down the passage to the housekeeper’s room, with his cane clutched hard, glaring savagely, and with his teeth fast set, like a fellow advancing to beat a vicious horse that has chafed his temper.