“Deny to a such judge?”
“Ha!” said Bantison. “What more do you want, Molyneux? Fellow, do you deny that you came to London in the ambassador’s suite?”
“No, I do not deny.”
“He admits it! Didn’t you come as his barber?”
“Yes, my frien’, as his barber.” Lady Mary cried out faintly, and, shuddering, put both hands over her eyes.
“I’m sorry,” said Molyneux. “You fight like a gentleman.”
“I thank you, monsieur.”
“You called yourself Beaucaire?”
“Yes, monsieur.” He was swaying to and fro; his servants ran to support him.
“I wish—” continued Molyneux, hesitating. “Evil take me!—but I’m sorry you’re hurt.”
“Assist Sir Hugh into my carriage,” said Lady Mary.
“Farewell, mademoiselle!” M. Beaucaire’s voice was very faint. His eyes were fixed upon her face. She did not look toward him.
They were propping Sir Hugh on the cushions. The Duke rode up close to Beaucaire, but Francois seized his bridle fiercely, and forced the horse back on its haunches.
“The man’s servants worship him,” said Molyneux.
“Curse your insolence!” exclaimed the Duke. “How much am I to bear from this varlet and his varlets? Beaucaire, if you have not left Bath by to-morrow noon, you will be clapped into jail, and the lashing you escaped to-night shall be given you thrice tenfold!”
“I shall be-in the—Assemily—Room’ at nine—o’clock, one week —from—to-night,” answered the young man, smiling jauntily, though his lips were colorless. The words cost him nearly all his breath and strength. “You mus’ keep—in the—backgroun’, monsieur. Ha, ha!” The door of the coach closed with a slam.
“Drive on!” said Lady Mary.
M. Beaucaire followed the carriage with his eyes. As the noise of the wheels and the hoof-beats of the accompanying cavalcade grew fainter in the distance, the handkerchief he had held against his side dropped into the white dust, a heavy red splotch.
“Only—roses,” he gasped, and fell back in the arms of his servants.
Beau Nash stood at the door of the rooms, smiling blandly upon a dainty throng in the pink of its finery and gay furbelows. The great exquisite bent his body constantly in a series of consummately adjusted bows: before a great dowager, seeming to sweep the floor in august deference; somewhat stately to the young bucks; greeting the wits with gracious friendliness and a twinkle of raillery; inclining with fatherly gallantry before the beauties; the degree of his inclination measured the altitude of the recipient as accurately as a nicely calculated sand-glass measures the hours.