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   Chapter 15 SATISFACTION.

The Twins By Martin Farquhar Tupper Characters: 6675

Updated: 2017-12-06 00:03


Sir Abraham Tamworth, G.C.B.-a fine old Admiral of the White, who somewhat looked down upon the rank of General, H.E.I.C.S.-was astonished, as well he might be, at Mr. Saunders, and his message: and, of course, most gladly acquiesced in acting as poor Emily's protector. Accordingly, however jealous Lady Tamworth and her daughters might heretofore have felt of that bright beauty at the balls, they were now all genuine sympathy, indignation, and affection. Emily, I need hardly say, went straight up stairs to have her cry out.

"Whom are you writing to, George, in such a hurry?" asked the admiral, of a fine moustachioed son, George St. Vincent Tamworth, of the Royal Horse Guards, who had just got six months' leave of absence for the sake of marriage with his cousin.

The gallant soldier tossed a billet to his father, who mounted his spectacles, and quietly read it at the lamp.

"Captain Tamworth desires Mr. Julian Tracy's company to-morrow morning, at seven o'clock, in the third meadow on the Oxton road. The captain brings a friend with him; also pistols and a surgeon; and he desires Mr. Tracy to do the like: Prospect House, Thursday evening."

"So, George, you consider him a gentleman, do you? I am afraid it's a poor compliment to our fair young friend." And he quietly crumpled up the challenge in his iron hand.

"Really, sir!-you surprise me;-pardon me, but I will send that note: mustn't I chastise the fellow for this insufferable outrage?"

"No doubt, George, no doubt of it at all: when a lady is insulted, and a man (not to say a queen's officer) stands by without taking notice of it, he deserves whipping at the cart's-tail, and Coventry for life. I've no patience, boy, with such mean meekness, as putting up with bullying insolence when a woman's in the case. Let a man show moral courage, if he can and will, in his own affront; I honour him who turns on his heel from common personal insult, and only wish my own old blood was cool enough to do so: but the mother, wife, and sister, ay, George, and the poor defenceless one, be she lady, peasant, or menial, who comes to us for safety in a woman's dress, we must take up their quarrel, or we are not men!-"

"Don't interrupt him, George," uxoriously suggested Lady Tamworth, "your father hasn't done talking yet." For George was getting terribly impatient; he knew, from sad experience, how much the admiral was given to prosing. However, the oration soon proceeded to our captain's entire satisfaction, after his progenitor had paused awhile for breath's sake in his eloquence.

"-Take up their quarrel, or we are not men. Nevertheless, boy, I cannot see the need of pistols. The only conceivable case for violent redress, is woman's wrong: and he who wrongs a woman, cannot be a gentleman; therefore, ought not to be met on equal terms. For other causes of duello, as hot-headed speeches, rudenesses, or slights, forgive, forbear to fan the flame, and never be above apologizing: but in an outrage such as this, let a fine-built fellow, such as you are, George (and the women should show wisdom in their choice of champions), let a man, and a queen's officer as you are, treat this brute, Julian Tracy, as a martinet huntsman would a hound thrown out. As for me, boy, I'm going to call on Mrs. Tracy at eleven o'clock to-morrow morning-an

d, without presuming to advise a six foot two of a son, I think-I think, if I were you, I would be dutiful enough to say-'Father, I will accompany you-and take a horsewhip with me.'"

"Agreed, agreed, sir!" replied the well-pleased son, and her ladyship too vouchsafed her approbation.

Emily had gone to bed long ago, or rather to her chamber; where the three Misses Tamworth had been all kindness, curiosity, and consolation. So, Sir Abraham and his lady, now the speech was finished, followed their example of retirement: and the captain newly blood-knotted his hunting-whip, con amore, not to say con spirito, overnight.

Nobody will wonder to hear, that when the gallant representatives of army and navy called next morning at number seven, Mrs. Tracy and her son were "not at home:" and of course it would be far too Julian-like a proceeding, for true gentleman to think of forcing their company on the probably ensconced in-dwellers. Accordingly, they marched away, without having deigned to leave a card; the captain taking on himself the duty of perambulating sentinel, while his father proceeded to the library as usual. Judge of the glad surprise, when, within ten minutes, our vindictive George perceived the admiral coming back again, full-sail, with the mother and son in tow, creeping amicably enough up the terrace. Sir Abraham had given her his arm, and precious Mr. Julian was a little in the rear: for the old folks were talking confidentially.

George St. Vincent, placing his whip in the well-known position of "Cane, a mystery," advanced to meet them; and, just after passing his father, with whom he exchanged a very comfortable glance, discovered that the heroic Julian, who had caught a glimpse of the ill-concealed weapon, was slinking quickly round a corner to avoid him. It was certainly undignified to run, but the gallant captain did run, nevertheless and soon caught the coward by the collar.

Then, at arm's length, was the hunting-whip applied, full-swing; up the terrace, and down the parade, and through High-street, and Smith-street, and Oxton-road, and aristocratical Pacton-square, and the well-thronged plebeian market-place; lash, lash, lash, in furious and fast succession on the writhing roaring culprit; to the universal excoriation of Mr. Julian Tracy, and the amazement of an admiring and soon-collected crowd-the rank, beauty, and fashion-of Burleigh Singleton. Julian was strong indeed, and a coal-heaver in build, but conscience had unnerved him; and the coarse noisy bully always is a coward: therefore, it was a pleasant thing to see how easy came the captain's work to him-he had nothing to do but to lash, lash, lash, double-thonged, like a slave-driver: and, except that he made the caitiff move along, to be a spectacle to man and woman, up and down the town, he might as well, for any difficulty in the deed, have been employed in scarifying a gate-post.

At last, thoroughly exhausted with having inflicted as much punishment as any three drummers at a soldier's whipping-match, and spying out his "tiger" in the throng, our gallant Avenging Childe tossed the heavy whip to the trim cockaded little man, that he might carry home that instrument of vengeance, deliberately wiped his wet mustachios, and giving Julian one last kick, let the fellow part in peace.

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