“I will upon my honour,” said Tressilian; “but when that space is expired—”
“Then that space is expired,” she said, interrupting him, “you are free to act as your judgment shall determine.”
“Is there nought besides which I can do for you, Amy?” said Tressilian.
“Nothing,” said she, “save to leave me,—that is, if—I blush to acknowledge my helplessness by asking it—if you can spare me the use of this apartment for the next twenty-four hours.”
“This is most wonderful!” said Tressilian; “what hope or interest can you have in a Castle where you cannot command even an apartment?”
“Argue not, but leave me,” she said; and added, as he slowly and unwillingly retired, “Generous Edmund! the time may come when Amy may show she deserved thy noble attachment.”
What, man, ne’er
lack a draught, when the full can
Stands at thine elbow, and craves emptying!—
Nay, fear not me, for I have no delight
To watch men’s vices, since I have myself
Of virtue nought to boast of—I’m a striker,
Would have the world strike with me, pell-mell, all.
Tressilian, in strange agitation of mind, had hardly stepped down the first two or three steps of the winding staircase, when, greatly to his surprise and displeasure, he met Michael Lambourne, wearing an impudent familiarity of visage, for which Tressilian felt much disposed to throw him down-stairs; until he remembered the prejudice which Amy, the only object of his solicitude, was likely to receive from his engaging in any act of violence at that time and in that place.
He therefore contented himself with looking sternly upon Lambourne, as upon one whom he deemed unworthy of notice, and attempted to pass him in his way downstairs, without any symptom of recognition. But Lambourne, who, amidst the profusion of that day’s hospitality, had not failed to take a deep though not an overpowering cup of sack, was not in the humour of humbling himself before any man’s looks. He stopped Tressilian upon the staircase without the least bashfulness or embarrassment, and addressed him as if he had been on kind and intimate terms:—“What, no grudge between us, I hope, upon old scores, Master Tressilian?—nay, I am one who remembers former kindness rather than latter feud. I’ll convince you that I meant honestly and kindly, ay, and comfortably by you.”
“I desire none of your intimacy,” said Tressilian—“keep company with your mates.”
“Now, see how hasty he is!” said Lambourne; “and how these gentles, that are made questionless out of the porcelain clay of the earth, look down upon poor Michael Lambourne! You would take Master Tressilian now for the most maid-like, modest, simpering squire of dames that ever made love when candles were long i’ the stuff—snuff; call you it? Why, you would play the saint on us, Master Tressilian, and forget that even now thou hast a commodity in thy very bedchamber, to the shame of my lord’s castle, ha! ha! ha! Have I touched you, Master Tressilian?”