“While you’re safe,” added his daughter, with a threatening gesture.
“Go and get yourself ‘arf a pint o’ warm lemonade,” chimed in the voice of the daring Joseph.
Mr. Russell stepped towards him, but Mr. Vickers, seizing him by the coat, held him back and implored him to remember where he was.
“I’d bump the lot of you for two pins,” said the disappointed Mr. Russell, longingly. “And it’ud do you good; you’d all be the better for it. You’d know ’ow to behave to people when they come in to see you, then. As for Selina, I wouldn’t marry her now for all her money.”
“Money?” said the irate Selina, scornfully. “What money?”
“The money in the paper,” said Mr. Russell, with a diabolical leer in the direction of the unfortunate Mr. Vickers. “The paper what your father found in your box. Didn’t he tell you?”
He kicked over a chair which stood in his way and, with a reckless swagger, strode to the door. At the “Horse and Groom,” where he spent the remainder of the evening, he was so original in his remarks upon women that two unmarried men offered to fight him, and were only appeased by hearing a full and true account of the circumstances responsible for so much bitterness.
“Tried!” said Captain Bowers, indignantly. “I have tried, over and over again, but it’s no use.”
“Have you tried the right way?” suggested Ed ward Tredgold.
“I’ve tried every way,” replied Captain Bowers, impatiently.
“We must think of another, then,” said the imperturbable Edward. “Have some more beef?” The captain passed his plate up. “You should have seen her when I said that I was coming to supper with you this evening,” he said, impressively. Mr. Tredgold laid down the carving knife and fork. “What did she say?” he inquired, eagerly. “Grunted,” said the captain. “Nonsense,” said the other, sharply.
“I tell you she did,” retorted the captain. “She didn’t say a word; just grunted.”
“I know what you mean,” said Mr. Tredgold; “only you are not using the right word.”
“All right,” said the captain, resignedly; “I don’t know a grunt when I hear it, then; that’s all. She generally does grunt if I happen to mention your name.”
Mr. Tredgold resumed his meal and sat eating in silence. The captain, who was waiting for more beef, became restless.
“I hope my plate isn’t in your way,” he said, at last.
“Not at all,” said the other, absently.
“Perhaps you’ll pass it back to me, then,” said the captain.
Mr. Tredgold, still deep in thought, complied. “I wish I could persuade you to have a little more,” he said, in tones of polite regret. “I’ve often noticed that big men are small eaters. I wonder why it is?”
“Sometimes it is because they can’t get it, I expect,” said the indignant captain.