’They got the two together, William. Who are you? I’m a Dauphin; who are you? I’m Ik Dine, bar sinister. Oh! says the other, then I take precedence of you! Devil a bit, says the other; I’ve got more spots than you. Proof, says one. You first, t’ other. Count, one cries. T’ other sings out, Measles. Better than a dying Dauphin, roars t’ other; and swore both of ’m ’twas nothing but Port-wine stains and pimples. Ha! ha! And, William, will you believe it?—the couple went round begging the company to count spots—ha! ha! to prove their big birth! Oh, Lord, I’d ha’ paid a penny to be there! A Jack o’ Bedlam Ik Dine damned idiot!—makes name o’ Richmond stink.’ (Captain Bulsted shot a wild stare round the room to make sure that the ladies had gone.) ’I tell ye, William, I had it from Lord Shale himself only yesterday on the Bench. He brought it to us hot from town—didn’t know I knew the fellow; says the fellow’s charging and firing himself off all day and all night too-can’t make him out. Says London’s mad about him: lots o’ women, the fools! Ha, ha! a Dauphin!’
‘Ah, well, sir,’ Captain Bulsted supplicated feverishly, rubbing his brows and whiskers.
’It ’s true, William. Fellow ought to be taken up and committed as a common vagabond, and would be anywhere but in London. I’d jail him ’fore you cocked your eye twice. Fellow came here and talked me over to grant him a couple o’ months to prove he hasn’t swindled his son of every scrap of his money. We shall soon see. Not many weeks to run! And pretends —fellow swears to me—can get him into Parliament; swears he’ll get him in ‘fore the two months are over! An infernal—’
‘Please to recollect, sir; the old hereditary shall excuse you——’
‘Gout, you mean, William? By——’
’You are speaking in the presence of his son, sir, and you are trying the young gentleman’s affection for you hard.’
’Eh? ‘Cause I’m his friend? Harry,’ my grandfather faced round on me, ’don’t you know I ’m the friend you can trust? Hal, did I ever borrow a farthing of you? Didn’t I, the day of your majority, hand you the whole of your inheritance from your poor broken-hearted mother, with interest, and treat you like a man? And never played spy, never made an inquiry, till I heard the scamp had been fastening on you like a blood-sucker, and singing hymns into the ears of that squeamish dolt of a pipe-smoking parson, Peterborough—never thought of doing it! Am I the man that dragged your grandmother’s name through the streets and soiled yours?’
I remarked that I was sensible of the debt of gratitude I owed to him, but would rather submit to the scourge, or to destitution, than listen to these attacks on my father.
‘Cut yourself loose, Harry,’ he cried, a trifle mollified. ’Don’t season his stew—d’ ye hear? Stick to decent people. Why, you don’t expect he’ll be locked up in the Tower for a finish, eh? It’ll be Newgate, or the Bench. He and his Dauphin—ha! ha! A rascal crow and a Jack Dauphin!’