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The Adventures Harry Richmond — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 638 pages of information about The Adventures Harry Richmond Complete.
We fed on plenty; nicer food than Rippenger’s, minus puddings.  After dinner I was ready for mischief.  My sensations on seeing Kiomi beg of a gentleman were remarkable.  I reproached her.  She showed me sixpence shining in the palm of her hand.  I gave her a shilling to keep her from it.  She had now got one and sixpence, she said:  meaning, I supposed upon reflection, that her begging had produced that sum, and therefore it was a good thing.  The money remaining in my pocket amounted to five shillings and a penny.  I offered it to Kiomi’s mother, who refused to accept it; so did the father, and Osric also.  I might think of them, they observed, on my return to my own house:  they pointed at Riversley.  ‘No,’ said I, ’I shan’t go there, you may be sure.’  The women grinned, and the men yawned.  The business of the men appeared to be to set to work about everything as if they had a fire inside them, and then to stretch out their legs and lie on their backs, exactly as if the fire had gone out.  Excepting Osric’s practice on the fiddle, and the father’s bringing in and leading away of horses, they did little work in my sight but brown themselves in the sun.  One morning Osric’s brother came to our camp with their cousin the prizefighter—­a young man of lighter complexion, upon whom I gazed, remembering John Thresher’s reverence for the heroical profession.  Kiomi whispered some story concerning her brother having met the tramp.  I did not listen; I was full of a tempest, owing to two causes:  a studious admiration of the smart young prizefighter’s person, and wrathful disgust at him for calling Kiomi his wife, and telling her he was prepared to marry her as soon as she played her harp like King David.  The intense folly of his asking a girl to play like David made me despise him, but he was splendidly handsome and strong, and to see him put on the gloves for a spar with big William, Kiomi’s brother, and evade and ward the huge blows, would have been a treat to others besides old John of Dipwell Farm.  He had the agile grace of a leopard; his waistcoat reminded me of one; he was like a piece of machinery in free action.  Pleased by my enthusiasm, he gave me a lesson, promising me more.

‘He’ll be champion some day,’ said Kiomi, at gnaw upon an apple he had given her.

I knocked the apple on the ground, and stamped on it.  She slapped my cheek.  In a minute we stood in a ring.  I beheld the girl actually squaring at me.

‘Fight away,’ I said, to conceal my shame, and imagining I could slip from her hits as easily as the prizefighter did from big William’s.  I was mistaken.

‘Oh! you think I can’t defend myself,’ said Kiomi; and rushed in with one, two, quick as a cat, and cool as a statue.

‘Fight, my merry one; she takes punishment,’ the prizefighter sang out.  ’First blood to you, Kiomi; uncork his claret, my duck; straight at the nozzle, he sees more lamps than shine in London, I warrant.  Make him lively, cook him; tell him who taught you; a downer to him, and I’ll marry you to-morrow!’

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