‘She took him. Why should she not take me?’
‘He has—no offence—a title, Mr. Pomeroy.’
‘And is a fool.’
Mr. Thomasson raised his hands in deprecation. Such a saying, spoken of a lord, really offended him. But his words went to another point. ‘Besides, it’s a marriage-brocage contract, and void,’ he muttered. ‘Void in law.’
‘You don’t trust me?’
‘’Twould be of no use, Mr. Pomeroy,’ the tutor answered, gently shaking his head, and avoiding the issue presented to him. ’You could not persuade her. She was in such a humour to-day, my lord had special advantages. Break it off between them, and she’ll come to herself. And she is wilful—Lord! you don’t know her! Petruchio could not tame her.’
‘I know nothing about Petruchio,’ Mr. Pomeroy answered grimly. ’Nor who the gentleman was. But I’ve ways of my own. You can leave that to me.’
But Mr. Thomasson, who had only parleyed out of compliance, took fright at that, and rose from the table, shaking his head.
‘You won’t do it?’ Mr. Pomeroy said.
The tutor shook his head again, with a sickly smile. ’’Tis too far in the bush,’ he said.
‘Ten thousand,’ Mr. Pomeroy persisted, his eyes on the other’s face. ‘Man,’ he continued forcibly, ’Do you think you will ever have such a chance again? Ten thousand! Why, ’tis eight hundred a year. ’Tis a gentleman’s fortune.’
For a moment Mr. Thomasson did waver. Then he put the temptation from him, and shook his head. ‘You must pardon me, Mr. Pomeroy,’ he said. ’I cannot do it.’
‘Will not!’ Pomeroy cried harshly. ‘Will not!’ And would have said more, but at that moment Jarvey entered behind him.
‘Please, your honour,’ the man said, ‘the lady would see my lord.’
‘Oh!’ Pomeroy answered coarsely, ’she is impatient, is she? Devil take her for me! And him too!’ And he sat sulkily in his place.
But the interruption suited Mr. Thomasson perfectly. He went to the outer door, and, opening it, called Lord Almeric, who, hearing what was afoot, hurried in.
‘Sent for me!’ he cried, pressing his hat to his breast. ’Dear creature!’ and he kissed his fingers to the gallery. ’Positively she is the daintiest, sweetest morsel ever wore a petticoat! I vow and protest I am in love with her! It were brutal not to be, and she so fond! I’ll to her at once! Tell her I fly! I stay for a dash of bergamot, and I am with her!’
‘I thought that you were going to take us with you,’ said Mr. Pomeroy, watching him sourly.
’I will! ‘Pon honour, I will!’ replied the delighted beau. ’But she will soon find a way to dismiss you, the cunning baggage! and then, “Sweet is pleasure after pain.” Ha! Ha! I have it aright this time. Sweet is Plea—oh! the doting rascal! But let us to her! I vow, if she is not civil to you, I’ll—I’ll be cold to her!’