“Won, won!” said Lambourne, darting on the stakes.
“Not till he comes, if you please,” said the mercer, interfering.
“Why, ’sblood, he is at the threshold,” replied Michael.—“What said he, boy?”
“If it please your worship,” answered the messenger, “he looked out of window, with a musquetoon in his hand, and when I delivered your errand, which I did with fear and trembling, he said, with a vinegar aspect, that your worship might be gone to the infernal regions.”
“Or to hell, I suppose,” said Lambourne—“it is there he disposes of all that are not of the congregation.”
“Even so,” said the boy; “I used the other phrase as being the more poetical.”
“An ingenious youth,” said Michael; “shalt have a drop to whet thy poetical whistle. And what said Foster next?”
“He called me back,” answered the boy, “and bid me say you might come to him if you had aught to say to him.”
“And what next?” said Lambourne.
“He read the letter, and seemed in a fluster, and asked if your worship was in drink; and I said you were speaking a little Spanish, as one who had been in the Canaries.”
“Out, you diminutive pint-pot, whelped of an overgrown reckoning!” replied Lambourne—“out! But what said he then?”
“Why,” said the boy, “he muttered that if he came not your worship would bolt out what were better kept in; and so he took his old flat cap, and threadbare blue cloak, and, as I said before, he will be here incontinent.”
“There is truth in what he said,” replied Lambourne, as if speaking to himself—“my brain has played me its old dog’s trick. But corragio—let him approach!—I have not rolled about in the world for many a day to fear Tony Foster, be I drunk or sober.—Bring me a flagon of cold water to christen my sack withal.”
While Lambourne, whom the approach of Foster seemed to have recalled to a sense of his own condition, was busied in preparing to receive him, Giles Gosling stole up to the apartment of the pedlar, whom he found traversing the room in much agitation.
“You withdrew yourself suddenly from the company,” said the landlord to the guest.
“It was time, when the devil became one among you,” replied the pedlar.
“It is not courteous in you to term my nephew by such a name,” said Gosling, “nor is it kindly in me to reply to it; and yet, in some sort, Mike may be considered as a limb of Satan.”
“Pooh—I talk not of the swaggering ruffian,” replied the pedlar; “it is of the other, who, for aught I know—But when go they? or wherefore come they?”