He begged permission to take breath a minute.
’I know you for my son’s friend, Mr. Temple: here is my son, my boy, Harry Lepel Richmond Roy. Have patience: I shall presently stand unshelled. I have much to relate; you likewise have your narrative in store. That you should have lit on me at the critical instant is one of those miracles which combine to produce overwhelming testimony—ay, Richie! without a doubt there is a hand directing our destiny.’ His speaking in such a strain, out of pure kindness to Temple, huskily, with his painful attempt to talk like himself, revived his image as the father of my heart and dreams, and stirred my torpid affection, though it was still torpid enough, as may be imagined, when I state that I remained plunged in contemplation of his stocking of red silk emerging from the full bronzed breech, considering whether his comparison of himself to a shell-fish might not be a really just one. We neither of us regained our true natures until he was free of every vestige of the garb of Prince Albrecht Wohlgemuth. Attendants were awaiting him at the garden-gate of a beautiful villa partly girdled by rising fir-woods on its footing of bright green meadow. They led him away, and us to bath-rooms.
WE PASS A DELIGHTFUL EVENING, AND I HAVE A MORNING VISION
In a long saloon ornamented with stags’ horns and instruments of the chase, tusks of boars, spear-staves, boarknives, and silver horns, my father, I, and Temple sat down to a memorable breakfast, my father in his true form, dressed in black silken jacket and knee-breeches, purple-stockings and pumps; without a wig, I thanked heaven to see. How blithely he flung out his limbs and heaved his chest released from confinement! His face was stained brownish, but we drank old Rhine wine, and had no eye for appearances.
‘So you could bear it no longer, Richie?’ My father interrupted the narrative I doled out, anxious for his, and he began, and I interrupted him.
‘You did think of me often, papa, didn’t you?’
His eyes brimmed with tenderness.
‘Think of you!’ he sighed.
I gave him the account of my latest adventures in a few panting breaths, suppressing the Bench. He set my face to front him.
‘We are two fools, Mr. Temple,’ he said.
‘No, sir,’ said Temple.
‘Now you speak, papa,’ said I.
He smiled warmly.
‘Richie begins to remember me.’
I gazed at him to show it was true.
‘I do, papa—I’m not beginning to.’
At his request, I finished the tale of my life at school. ’Ah, well! that was bad fortune; this is good!’ he exclaimed. ’Tis your father, my son: ’tis day-light, though you look at it through a bed-curtain, and think you are half-dreaming. Now then for me, Richie.’
My father went on in this wise excitedly: