“Newland,” said he, “I don’t know what you may think of me—you may have heard that I’m a roue, &c. &c. &c., but this I always do, which is, caution those who are gamesters from their hearts. I have watched you to-night, and I tell you, that you will be ruined if you continue to frequent that table. You have no command over yourself. I do not know what your means may be, but this I do know, that if you were a Croesus, you would be a beggar. I cared nothing for you while you were the Mr Newland, the admired, and leader of the fashion, but I felt for you when I heard that you were scouted from society, merely because it was found out that you were not so rich as you were supposed to be. I had a fellow-feeling, as I told you. I did not make your acquaintance to win your money—I can win as much as I wish from the scoundrels who keep the tables, or from those who would not scruple to plunder others; and I now entreat you not to return to that place—and am sorry, very sorry, that ever I took you there. To me, the excitement is nothing—to you, it is overpowering. You are a gamester, or rather, you have it in your disposition. Take, therefore, the advice of a friend, if I may so call myself, and do not go there again. I hope you are not seriously inconvenienced by what you have lost to-night.”
“Not the least,” replied I. “It was ready money. I thank you for your advice, and will follow it. I have been a fool to-night, and one folly is sufficient.”
Atkinson then left me. I had lost about two hundred and fifty pounds, which included my winnings of the night before. I was annoyed at it, but I thought of Harcourt’s safety, and felt indifferent. The reader may recollect, that I had three thousand pounds, which Mr Masterton had offered to put out at mortgage for me, but until he could find an opportunity, by his advice I had bought stock in the three per cents. Since that he had not succeeded, as mortgages in general are for larger sums, and it had therefore remained. My rents were not yet due, and I was obliged to have recourse to this money. I therefore went into the city, ordered the broker to sell out two hundred pounds, intending to replace it as soon as I could—for I would not have liked that Mr Masterton should have known that I had lost money by gambling. When I returned from the city, I found Captain Atkinson in my apartments waiting for me.
“Harcourt is doing well, and you are not doing badly. I have let all the world know that you intend to call out whoever presumes to treat you with indifference.”
“The devil you have! but that is a threat which may easier be made than followed up by deeds.”
“Shoot two or three more,” replied Atkinson, coolly, “and then, depend upon it, you’ll have it all your own way. As it is, I acknowledge there has been some show of resistance, and they talk of making a resolution not to meet you, on the score of your being an impostor.”