“Huzza!” shouted Jack Pringle; “that’s one good job.”
Henry looked rather resentful, which the admiral could not but observe, and so, less with the devil-may-care manner in which he usually spoke, the old man addressed him.
“Hark ye, Mr. Henry Bannerworth, you ain’t best pleased with me, and in that case I don’t know that I shall stay to trouble you any longer, as for your friend who has left you, sooner or later you’ll find him out—I tell you there’s no good in that fellow. Do you think I’ve been cruizing about for a matter of sixty years, and don’t know an honest man when I see him. But never mind, I’m going on a voyage of discovery for my nephew, and you can do as you like.”
“Heaven only knows, Admiral Bell,” said Henry, “who is right and who is wrong. I do much regret that you have quarrelled with Mr. Marchdale; but what is done can’t be undone.”
“Do not leave us,” said Flora; “let me beg of you, Admiral Bell, not to leave us; for my sake remain here, for to you I can speak freely and with confidence, of Charles, when probably I can do so to no one else. You knew him well and have a confidence in him, which no one else can aspire to. I pray you, therefore, to stay with us.”
“Only on one condition,” said the admiral.
“Name it—name it!
“You think of letting the Hall?”
“Let me have it, then, and let me pay a few years in advance. If you don’t, I’m d——d if I stay another night in the place. You must give me immediate possession, too, and stay here as my guests until you suit yourselves elsewhere. Those are my terms and conditions. Say yes, and all’s right; say no, and I’m off like a round shot from a carronade. D——me, that’s the thing, Jack, isn’t it?”
“Ay, ay, sir.”
There was a silence of some few moments after this extraordinary offer had been made, and then they spoke, saying,—
“Admiral Bell, your generous offer, and the feelings which dictated it, are by far too transparent for us to affect not to understand them. Your actions, Admiral—”
“Oh, bother my actions! what are they to you? Come, now, I consider myself master of the house, d—n you! I invite you all to dinner, or supper, or to whatever meal comes next. Mrs. Bannerworth, will you oblige me, as I’m an old fool in family affairs, by buying what’s wanted for me and my guests? There’s the money, ma’am. Come along, Jack, we’ll take a look over our new house. What do you think of it?”
“Wants some sheathing, sir, here and there.”
“Very like; but, however, it will do well enough for us; we’re in port, you know. Come along.”
“Ay, ay, sir.”
And off went the admiral and Jack, after leaving a twenty pound note in Mrs. Bannerworth’s lap.
SIR FRANCIS VARNEY’S SEPARATE OPPONENTS.—THE INTERPOSITION OF FLORA.