She was excited and stunned by her immediate experience in the transfer of money, and she said, ’I ‘m sure I don’t know what you want.’
‘Yes!’ cried they, striking their bosoms as guitars, and attempting the posture of the thrummer on the instrument; ’she knows. She does know. Handsome Susie knows what we want.’ And one ejaculated, mellifluously, ‘Oh!’ and the other ‘Ah!’ in flagrant derision of the foreign ways they produced in boorish burlesque—a self-consolatory and a common trick of the boor.
Caseldy was behind. He pushed forward and bowed to them. ’Sirs, will you mention to me what you want?’
He said it with a look that meant steel. It cooled them sufficiently to let him place the duchess under the protectorship of Mr. Beamish, then entering from another room with Chloe; whereupon the pair of rustic bucks retired to reinvigorate their valiant blood.
Mr. Beamish had seen that there was cause for gratitude to Caseldy, to whom he said, ‘She has lost?’ and he seemed satisfied on hearing the amount of the loss, and commissioned Caseldy to escort the ladies to their lodgings at once, observing, ‘Adieu, Count!’
‘You will find my foreign title of use to you here, after a bout or two,’ was the reply.
’No bouts, if possibly to be avoided; though I perceive how the flavour of your countship may spread a wholesome alarm among our rurals, who will readily have at you with fists, but relish not the tricky cold weapon.’
Mr. Beamish haughtily bowed the duchess away.
Caseldy seized the opportunity while handing her into
her sedan to say,
‘We will try the fortune-teller for a lucky day to have our revenge.’
She answered: ’Oh, don’t talk to me about playing again ever; I’m nigh on a clean pocket, and never knew such a sinful place as this. I feel I’ve tumbled into a ditch. And there’s Mr. Beamish, all top when he bows to me. You’re keeping Chloe waiting, sir.’
‘Where was she while we were at the table?’
‘Sure she was with Mr. Beamish.’
‘Ah!’ he groaned.
‘The poor soul is in despair over her losses to-night,’ he turned from the boxed-up duchess to remark to Chloe. ’Give her a comfortable cry and a few moral maxims.’
‘I will,’ she said. ‘You love me, Caseldy?’
‘Love you? I? Your own? What assurance would you have?’
‘None, dear friend.’
Here was a woman easily deceived.
In the hearts of certain men, owing to an intellectual contempt of easy dupes, compunction in deceiving is diminished by the lightness of their task; and that soft confidence which will often, if but passingly, bid betrayers reconsider the charms of the fair soul they are abandoning, commends these armoured knights to pursue with redoubled earnest the fruitful ways of treachery. Their feelings are warm for their prey, moreover; and choosing to judge their victim