“Sir, I thank you,” said John Law, “but perhaps I do not need advice.” He did not rise from his seat.
“Have it then at any rate, and be civil!” cried the older man. “You seem a swaggering sort, with your talk of love and luck, and such are sure to get their combs cut early enough here among Englishmen. I’ll not tolerate your allusion to a lady you have never met, and one I honor deeply, sir, deeply!”
“I am but a young man started out to seek his fortune,” said John Law, his eye kindling now for the first time, “and I should do very ill if I evaded that fortune, whatsoever it may be.”
“Then you’ll take back that talk of Mrs. Lawrence!”
“I have made no talk of Mrs. Lawrence, sir,” said Law, “and even had I, I should take back nothing for a demand like yours. ’Tis not meet, sir, where no offense was meant, to crowd in an offensive remark.”
Pembroke said nothing. The situation was ominous enough at this point. A sudden gravity and dignity fell upon the young men who sat there, schooled in an etiquette whose first lesson was that of personal courage.
“Sirrah!” cried Beau Wilson, “I perceive your purpose. If you prove good enough to name lodgings where you may he found by my friends, I shall ask leave to bid you a very good night.”
So speaking, Wilson flung out of the room. A silence fell upon those left within.
“Sirs,” said Law, a moment later, “I beg you to bear witness that this is no matter of my seeking or accepting. This gentleman is a stranger to me. I hardly got his name fair.”
“Wilson is his name, sir,” said Pembroke, “a very good friend of us all. He is of good family, and doth keep his coach-and-four like any gentleman. For him we may vouch very well.”
“Wilson!” cried Law, springing now to his feet. “’Tis not him known as Beau Wilson? Why, my dear sirs, his father was friend to many of my kin long ago. Why, sir, this is one of those to whom my mother bade me look to get my first ways of London well laid out.”
“These are some of the ways of London,” said Pembroke, grimly.
“But is there no fashion in which this matter can be accommodated?”
Pembroke and Castleton looked at each other, rose and passed him, each raising his hat and bowing courteously.
“Your servant, sir,” said the one; and, “Your servant, sir,” said the other.
DIVERS EMPLOYMENTS OF JOHN LAW
“And when shall I send these garments to your Lordship?” asked the haberdasher, with whom Law was having speech on the morning following the first night in London.
“Two weeks from to-day,” said Law, “in the afternoon, and not later than four o’clock. I shall have need for them.”
“Impossible!” said the tradesman, hitherto obsequious, but now smitten with the conviction regarding the limits of human possibilities.