“Give me the instant means of relieving the victim of thy treachery,” said Tressilian, “or take the last look of your Creator’s blessed sun!”
And while Varney, too confused or too sullen to reply, made a sudden effort to arise, his adversary drew back his arm, and would have executed his threat, but that the blow was arrested by the grasp of Michael Lambourne, who, directed by the clashing of swords had come up just in time to save the life of Varney.
“Come, come, comrade;” said Lambourne, “here is enough done and more than enough; put up your fox and let us be jogging. The Black Bear growls for us.”
“Off, abject!” said Tressilian, striking himself free of Lambourne’s grasp; “darest thou come betwixt me and mine enemy?”
“Abject! abject!” repeated Lambourne; “that shall be answered with cold steel whenever a bowl of sack has washed out memory of the morning’s draught that we had together. In the meanwhile, do you see, shog—tramp—begone—we are two to one.”
He spoke truth, for Varney had taken the opportunity to regain his weapon, and Tressilian perceived it was madness to press the quarrel further against such odds. He took his purse from his side, and taking out two gold nobles, flung them to Lambourne. “There, caitiff, is thy morning wage; thou shalt not say thou hast been my guide unhired.—Varney, farewell! we shall meet where there are none to come betwixt us.” So saying, he turned round and departed through the postern door.
Varney seemed to want the inclination, or perhaps the power (for his fall had been a severe one), to follow his retreating enemy. But he glared darkly as he disappeared, and then addressed Lambourne. “Art thou a comrade of Foster’s, good fellow?”
“Sworn friends, as the haft is to the knife,” replied Michael Lambourne.
“Here is a broad piece for thee. Follow yonder fellow, and see where he takes earth, and bring me word up to the mansion-house here. Cautious and silent, thou knave, as thou valuest thy throat.”
“Enough said,” replied Lambourne; “I can draw on a scent as well as a sleuth-hound.”
“Begone, then,” said Varney, sheathing his rapier; and, turning his back on Michael Lambourne, he walked slowly towards the house. Lambourne stopped but an instant to gather the nobles which his late companion had flung towards him so unceremoniously, and muttered to himself, while he put them upon his purse along with the gratuity of Varney, “I spoke to yonder gulls of Eldorado. By Saint Anthony, there is no Eldorado for men of our stamp equal to bonny Old England! It rains nobles, by Heaven—they lie on the grass as thick as dewdrops—you may have them for gathering. And if I have not my share of such glittering dewdrops, may my sword melt like an icicle!”
He was a man
Versed in the world as pilot in his compass.
The needle pointed ever to that interest
Which was his loadstar, and he spread his sails
With vantage to the gale of others’ passion.
—The deceiver, A tragedy.