" What do I hear? Surely you cannot nourish any regard for
that clownish Artliur Poynings?"
" Hush ! not so loud. You may be overheard."
"Overheard! Are there eavesdroppers near us? — Ah! I com-
prehend.. The impudent puppy is at hand — concealed near yonder
tower. Come with me, and you shall see how I will treat him."
" Oh ! nor— not there — don't take me there. I won't go. You
mustn't fight. Indeed, you mustn't," Lettice cried, vainly attempt-
ing to hold back, as he dragged her along.
Just then, a loud burst of laughter was heard, and several
persons were seen emerging from, the covert on the side of the
lopes.. This merry crew had evidently gained the terrace by the
same path, as Arthur. .
"Mercy on us!" Lettice exclaimed,- "that^ Mr. Monthermer's
voice. I wouldn^t for the universe.he found me here. Do let me
go, sir, I beg of you."
"Excuse me if I detain you a moment longer^ my angel," Sir
Randal repliisd, still, keeping fast hold of her. " I happen to have a
wager dependent upon our meeting, and Mr, Monthermer and the
other gentlemen must be satisfied, that you have really been con-
descending enough to grant me an interview."
" And what was the wager, may I ask ?" Lettice said.
72 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
'^Oh! a mere trifle. But I felt so certain you would not dis-
appoint me, that I would have hazarded thousands upon the issue,"
Sir Randal replied. *' I betted that you, MissFairlie, would meet
me here, according to my appointment — and I have won."
^' Ha ! ha ! ha !" Lettice broke out, unable to refrain from
*' You appear diverted by what I have told you," Sir Randal
*' I am indeed — excessively diverted," Lettice rejoined, laughing
more heartily than ever. " How very droll it is, to be sure — ha!
"I see nothing so very droll in it," Sir Randal observed; " but
I am glad you are amused."
*' There must be some mistake here," Gage cried, hastening to-
wards them. " I can never believe Clare Fairlie would conduct
herself with so much levity. Ah! 'tis as I suspected. You are
duped, Sir Randal — duped !"
'^ Duped! — impossible! — Nay, madam, I must insist upon be-
holding your face."
^' Wellj if I must, it can't be helped," Lettice rejoined, taking
off her hat, and fully disclosing her pretty features ; '^ I never told
you I was Miss Fairlie, sir."
"No, but you led me to believe as much," Sir Randal rejoined.
" As I live, a very pretty girl. I don't know that I haven't gained
by the exchange. Who the deuce is she ?"
" INIiss Fairlie's lady's maid, Lettice, sir, at your service," the
little soubrette replied, with a curtsey.
This announcement occasioned shouts of laughter at the young
baronet's expense. The merriment was rather increased than dimi-
nished as a stalwart personage, who had drawn near the group
unperceived, now stepped forward, and claiming the damsel as his
daughter, demanded rather gruffly what she was doing there ? On
seeing him, Lettice looked a good deal surprised, but nowise dis-
concerted, and in reply to his inquiry, said rather saucily,
"What are you doing here, father?"
"You shall laarn that presently, mistress," Mark replied.
" Meanwhile, please to come wi' me. You ha' stayed ower long
i' this disorderly house."
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 73
*• No such hurry, father ! I'm quite as good a judge as you
what's right and what's wrong. I shall please myself about accom-
panying you, and I've no such intention at present, I can promise
"Egad! the lass has a rare spirit!" Sir Randal cried, ap-
provingly. "You perceive, my good friend, that your presence
is altogether unnecessary, and I would recommend your imme-
" Not without my daughter," Mark rejoined, in a determined
tone. "It is from such roarin' lions as you I desire to guard
her. And if any one attempts to detain her after this notice,
let him look to hisself," he added, striking the ground with his
knotty buckthorn stick.
'^Your challenge is accepted, friend," Sir Randal replieu.
" Your daughter is a charming creature, and shall stay with me as
long as she thinks proper."
" Now then, Lettice, be ye comin', wench ?" Mark cried.
" A moment, father, and I will come," said the damsel, in a tone
calculated to appease the angry yeoman; adding in a whisper,
'* that is, if you hold to your mind about taking me with you.
What are you thinking about to go on so ? You seem to have
taken leave of your senses, jou silly man. Can't you trust me if
Miss Clare trusts me ?"
"Oh! she put ye up to this work, eh?" Mark said, rather
*' To be sure ! and you'll spoil all, if you don't take care. Why,
if there isn't Mr. Fairlie coming up to have a word with you."
"Nay, if he be here, I'd better make myself scarce, that's
sartin," Mark rejoined.
But it was too late. The steward was upon him before he could
" Good even to you, Rougham. Be pleased to let us know
what business has brought you here?" the steward said.
" I will explain my business to the Squire, Muster Fairlie, but
not to you," the yeoman rejoined.
" O, dear father, don't answer him so," Lettice whispered.
*' Moderate your speech."
" Tut, lass, I'm not afeard on him."
74' THI? SPENDTinirPT.
"The Squire will see how his kindness^ta you: has beeii abnsed,
when- he finds you have come^ here with Mr. Arthur Poynings;"
" If this is true, Mark, I shall indeed be deeply offended with,
you," Gtige said^
*^ Offended or not, your honour, Ixjannot deny it," Mark replied.
** I did come wi' him;"
^' He avows it, you see, sir," Fairlie cried, turning to. Gage.;
"he glories in his ill conduct:^'
" Tm right glad to ha' come hereto-night, if you mean that.
Muster Fairlie, becos it gies me an opportunity o' tellin^ his honour
that he hasn't a better friend, nor: one os '11 stand by him. more,
stoutly through thick and thin, than Muster Artliur."
'* And where may my good friend: be?" Gage demanded. " I
look for him in vain;"
"I dunnot doubt but he'll show hisself at the proper time,"
Mark replied; "and when he doesj I trust your honour wunnot
turn' a deaf ear to him; You may be quite sure he. has your true
welfare at 'eart."
^'^Oh ! I'm* quite sureof it," Gage rejoined,, ironically. " I'm
infinitely obliged to him fori the trouble hahas^taken on. my ac-
count, and shall not fail to diank him;"
" If you would like to speak to him, sir," Eettice. said, taking his
words literally, "you'll find him near the. tower.,, with my young
lady. I'm quite certain they're only talking about you, sir- — only
"They do me great honour, I. must say,, and I shall be sorry to
interrupt their pleasant discourse, be it about whom or what it may;
but as I wish to have a few words with Mr. Arthur Poynings, I
must crave your pardon for a fewmoments' absence, gentlemen."
" Will you not allow me to go with you, Monthermer?" Sir
" Or me?" Beau Freke added..
" Neither, I thank you," Gage rejoined^ in. a tone, that did not
admit of dispute.
But, in spite of his- expressed, wishes; to the. contrary, Fairlie
made a movement to accompany him, but the young man impa-
tiently waved him back, and proceeded. towards the tower alone.
THE SPENDTHEIFT. 79
GOOD AimCBTHEOWlT AWAY. — GAGE PKEFEES TKlVEUUrff POST-HXSTB ALONG
THE EOAD. TO RUIN. -
As Gage approached tHe tower, Arthur, wHo was standing near
the entrance with Clare, came forward, and greeting him cour-
teously; put forth his hand; but Gage refused to take it, and
haughtily returning the other's salutation, drew himself up, and
" I am sorry to interrupt this tete-a-tete, but having accidentally
heard that Mr: Arthur Poynings was here, I wished to satisfy
mjrself of the correctness of the information. I scarcely believed
it, for I did not think it possible that a gentleman would voluntarily
intrude himself upon the privacy of another, when no intimacy
subsisted between them to warrant the liberty. I have not for-
gotten the answer I received from Sir Hugh Po3mings when I did
myself the honour to invite him and his family to visit me on
my return Home; and after the insulting message then sent, and
which nothing but Sir Hugh's age caused me to overlook, I little
expected that the first time I should see his son would be in the
character of "a nocturnal intruder upon- my domains'."'
"I excuse your rudeness. Gage," Arthur replied, "and I trust
you will permit me to explain the motive for my apparent in-
"If an apology ik necessary, it is due from me," Clare interposed,
^ "since it was by my invitation that Arthur came hither."
^ " Enough," Gage rejoined, bowing stiffly. *' You exercise full
control here, Miss Fairlic; and consequently, your friend is quite
welcome to remain as long as his company may be agreeable to
you. I have only to express my regrets at disturbing you, but
kyou may rely upon it you shall experience no further annoyance."
76 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
"Stay, Gage," Clare cried; *'you must not go till you have
heard what we have to say. You are under an entire misappre-
hension as to the object of this meeting between Arthur and
myself. No change whatever has taken place in my sentiments
towards him ; but, as an honourable gentleman and a true friend,
he consented, at my instance, to come here for the purpose of aiding
me with his counsel."
" Had I not heard this from her own lips, I should not have
thought it possible Miss Fairlie could need advice," Gage rejoined,
sarcastically; "but as she affirms it^ doubtless it is so; and if a
counsellor must be chosen, none could be better qualified by age
and experience for the office than Mr. Arthur Poynings."
"None could be better qualified than he by old friendship for
the person I desire to serve," Clare said. " He has known him
and loved him from infancy — loves him still, though their friend-
ship has been overclouded. Arthur and he were brought up toge-
ther, Gage, and were once like brothers — nay, I have heard that,
in years gone by — happy, innocent years — they sported together,
in gamesome childhood, on these very terraces, and chased each
other amongst yonder ruins. It may be you remember such days,
Gage. If you have forgotten them, Arthur has not. He sees the
boy he loved become a man — unhappily estranged from him, but
not less dear. He sees him surrounded by false friends — by masked
enemies, by sharpers, parasites — all such creatures as make rich
men, who submit to their practices, their prey. He sees his friend
in danger, and heedless of their present coldness, thinking only of
the past, fl.ies, at the first summons, to his assistance."
"This is true. Gage," Arthur said. "Every word Clare has
uttered reflects a sentiment of mine. You are the friend I have
come to serve."
" Upon my word, I ought to feel greatly obliged by the
exhibition of so much zeal — so totally unmerited on my part,"
Gage rejoined; "but my satisfaction is somewhat tempered by the
reflection that no such officious interference was necessary in my
behalf; and I am therefore inclined to think it unwarrantable. I
am not in the habit of meddling with other people's concerns, and
I therefore conceive myself entitled to the privilege of being let
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 77
" You view the matter in a wrong light, Gage," Clare said,
" and do not give Arthur and myself credit for the motives that
actuate us. Having spoken for him, let me speak now for myself".
You have never had reason to doubt my sincerity, and on this
occasion, more than any other, ought not to question it. My
desire to serve you makes me bold — and has induced me to
transgress certain limits of decorum which I ought not to have
passed. Otherwise this meeting between Arthur and myself would
not have taken place. But it was appointed by me to devise some
scheme for your deliverance !"
" My deliverance !" Gage exclaimed, with a bitter laugh. *' One
would think I was a wild beast caught in the hunter's toils. On
my soul, I was not aware I was so entrapped."
'* It is the very unconsciousness that increases the danger by
which you are menaced," Clare rejoined. " If your eyes can be
opened to it, there will be nothing to apprehend. By all the affec-
tion you have professed for me — by any feelings you may still
entertain for me — I beseech you to pause in your headlong career,
which, if pursued, can only lead to destruction. Be worthy of
him from whom you sprung, and of your ancient race, and do not
be the first Monthermer to dishonour the name."
A pause ensued, during which it was evident the young man
was struggling with his feelings. At last, he broke out with fresli
impatience: " I will not be tutored thus by man or woman. I will
not give up my friends at the bidding of any one. You have
an answer, Clare. As to Mr. Arthur Poynings, I have nothing
more to say to him."
" O, Gage, I had hoped better of you," Clare cried, reproach-
fully. " Reflect! this may be the turning-point of your career."
** Listen to your good angel," Arthur said.
" I will listen to no one, so enjoined," Gage retorted. " If I am
a degenerate Monthermer, at least no one shall command me here."
" Gage ! Gage ! for the last time I implore you to listen to me,"
'* Change the subject of your discourse, and I will listen to you
with pleasure; but you keep too much upon one theme to be
" Clare, I can be of no further use to you," Arthur cried. " This
besotted young'mBn does notd^serve the interest" you take in Mm.
If there 'had been any good in him, lit must have been roused by
your zealous kindness. Leave himto his ifoithless associates, and
to 'the ruin and disgrace * they will infeUibly bring upon him."
■''You talk of concealed enemies, ^sir,"' Gage said; "lam glad
you yourself have at last thrown off the mask, and displayed your
features ' in their ' true light. I like 'you better as a foe than friend,
and though I leave you now, it ivill not be Jjong, J 'hope, tjere
another meeting shall be arranged between us."
" When and where you please, sir," Arthur rejoined.
'The tone of defiance in which these words were spoken could
not be misunderstood; and Clare saw that a duel between the two
young men was imminent. She almost despaired of preventing
it, but an effort must be made.
'^Arthur, for my sake, do not let this quarrel proceed," she
cried. "Gage, I entreat of you to be reconciled to your old friend.
If I fail in all else, let me accomplish thus much."
" My friends await me, madam," Monthermer rejoined, coldly.
" I have already trespassed too much upon their patience."
"Do not detain him longer, I beg of you, Clare," Arthur said.
" It were a pity not to give his ' friends' the opportunity they
desire of fleecing him. On my faith, I never saw so willing a
"Then spare him," Clare cried — ^*' spare him these bitter taunts,
which wound me more than they do him."
'"'Harkye, Mr. Arthur Poynings," Gage said ; " you talk fiercely
and freely enough in the presence of a lady. Will it please you to
accompany me, and repeat some of the choice epithets you have
so liberally bestowed upon^my friends in their hearing?"
'^ Willingly," the young man replied.
" You shall not stir, Arthur," Clare cried.
'^^^He'need not givehimself the trouble," Gage said, "for iheie
they come. They are tired of waiting for me, I suppose. — Just in
time, gentlemen," he added, as the others drew near.
^' Just in time for what?" Sir iRandal demanded, who was; a little
in advance ' of his companions.
" To hear your praises sung by this young gentleman," Gage
THE SPENDTHRIFT. '4S9
" I will endeavour not to disappoint your expectations, gentle-
men," Arthur said ; *' but before any further remarks are made,
I must request Mr. Fairlie, whom 1 see amongst you, to take
charge of his daughter, and remove her from a scene which must
be distressing to her."
" O, Arthur, forgive me for bringing you into this great peril,"
Clare tremblingly murmured.
" Have no fears for me," the young man rejoined. ^' Take her
hence, and quickly, sir," he said, consigning her to Fairlie, who
led her away.
On seeing her mistress depart in this way, Lettice instantly
quitted her father, and followed Clare towards the house. If
truth must be told, Mark was by no means sorry to be rid of her,
as, in spite of his. anger and frowns, she had been coquetting with
some of the gentlemen near her, and her absence enabled the
honest yeoman to .take up a ipost beside Arthur.
80 THE SPENDTHRIFT.
IN "WHICH SIR RANDAL PROVES HIMSELF AS EXPERT AT SWORD-PLAY AS AT
All altercations were suspended till Clare was out of hearing.
When this was understood to be the case, Sir Randal remarked
to Arthur, who was standing at a little distance from them, con-
versing in a low tone with Mark Rougham :
"Now, sir, you promised to treat us to something amusing.
We await it with impatience."
" I shall come to the point at once," Arthur rejoined. " I de-
nounce you all as a pack of gamblers and sharpers. Mr. Mon-
thermer best knows what his losses have been ; but he does not
know that he has been unfairly dealt with — plundered, in fact,
by a set of rooks."
Great was the tumult that ensued on this address. Oaths and
denunciations of vengeance against the speaker exploded on all
sides. Canes were flourished, and many a blow must have fallen
upon him if he had not been shielded by the stout arm and buck-
thorn stick of Mark Rougham, who kept the assailants at bay.*
Arthur, however, did not flinch for a moment, but manfully kept
his ground, till Gage took upon him to quell the disturbance.
" One at a time, gentlemen, if you mean to attack him, or I
shall be compelled to take his part," he cried ; " he must have
" You do not believe this foul-mouthed slanderer's assertions,
Gage ?" Sir Randal exclaimed. " For my own part, I hurl them
back in his teeth — and give him the lie direct."
" And so do I," Beau Freke added. "If he has courage
THE SPENDTHRIFT. 81
enough to stand by his word, he will have enough to do before
morning. This affair must not cool on our hands."
" I am glad to hear it, gentlemen," Arthur rejoined. " I am
ready for one or all of you."
" Ay, let 'em come on," Mark roared, making his stick whistle
round his head; " we'll show 'em sport, I'll warrant 'em. They're
three to one ; but three such puny creaters as them ben't equal
to one man, so the odds be in our favour — and besides that, we've
right o' our side. Take that, you dotterel," he added, striking
Brice's sword out of his grasp, and dealing him a rap on the
sconce which made him reel backwards, " and see how you like
the taste of a stout Suffolk cudgel."
"If I have any authority here," Gage cried, "I command an
instant cessation of hostilities on both sides. My words ought at
least to have weight with you, Mark, and I order you to be quiet.
You have broken poor Mr. Bunbury's head."
^' Nay, your honour," the yeoman replied, with a laugh, " I
think it be too thick to be so easily broken ; and if he loses a little
blood, it'll save the expense of calling in a barber-surgeon."
^' A truce to your ill-timed jests. Mr. Arthur Poynings, you
have brought most serious charges against my friends."
" Do you still style them ' friends' after what I have stated?"
*' You have heard me, and will therefore understand the im-
portance I attach to your slander."
" I am indeed amazed," Arthur said. *' I could not have be-
lieved in such blind infatuation without this proof of it."
*' It be enough to make his father rise from the grave," Mark
groaned. " I be out o' a' patience wi' him."
'^ You are a noble fellow, Monthermer," Beau Freke said, press-
ing his hand, while the others were equally warm in their expres-
sions of regard, *' and only do us justice. Our characters as gen-
tlemen, methinks, should have saved us from such imputations as
have been thrown out against us by this meddlesome and crazy
fellow — for crazy he must be to act in such a way. Nevertheless,
his folly and insolence must be punished."
" It must and shall be," Sir Randal cried. " I claim the right to
chastise him. His malice seemed chicflv directed asrainst me."
HZ THE SPENDTHRIFT.
''You do isrell to appropriate tke sting of my remarks, sir,''
Arthur remarked. " If I made any distinction among you, it
was that you, Sir Randal, had attained greater proficiency in your
nefarious practices than your companions, and are therefore entitled
to rank as leader."
" Look to yourself, sir," Sir Randal cried, foaming with rage.
and drawing his sword. " Stand aside, fellow."
" Not a step nearer, sir, as you value a whole skin," Mark said;
*' you saw how neatly I sarved your friend just now, and I can
disable you, as you'll find, before you can touch me ; so stand back,
or I be down upon you like a hammer."
" Sir Randal, you must give place to me in this afiair," Gage
said; "your turn may come by-and-by. I demand an apology
from Mr. Arthur Poynings for his intrusion, and a retractation
of the calumnies he has uttered against my friends."
" You shall have neither one nor the other, sir," Arthur re-
joined. "I came here to serve you; and as to what I have said of
your friends, so far from withdrawing the charges, I reiterate them
with greater force than before."
" Well done !" Mark exclaimed — " that be plain speakin', at all
"1^0 more ivords need be wasted," Grage cried. " Our present
appeal must be made to our swords."
" To it, then," Sir Randal cried; " I am impatient to be at bim.
I would give a hundred pounds for your chance."
*' You should not have it for two hundred," Gage replied, with
a laugh. " But we must proceed like men of honour. Lord Mel-
ton, will you do me the favour to act as second to Mr. Arthur
*' WilKngly," his lordship replied, "on the understanding that
if no one else manages to slit his weasand, I may have that plea-
Upon this he moved round to Arthur, and bowing to the young
man, who ceremoniously returned the salutation, profiered his
services as second, which were of course accepted. With some
difficulty, Mark Rougham was induced to stand aside, and as he
quitted his post he said to Gage, — " He wished Iiis honour and
Master Ai-thur could shake hands, and agree, and leave him to
fight it out wi' the rest of 'em."
THE SPENDTHRIFT. Ji3
In a few moments more the combatants had made the requi-
site preparations, and having taken up a position, made their
appeals, saluted each other, and stood on guard. The crescent
moon j-ode high in the cloudless sky, affording light enough for
their purpose. Gage was a very skilful swordsman, but being
heated with the wine he had drunk, he did not observe proper mea-
sure and distance, and therefore more than once exposed himself, if
Arthur had desired to take advantage of his indiscretion. But it
was obviously the young man's wish to disarm him, and he con-
tented himself for some time with parrying all Gage's feints and
thrusts without making a. reply. At length, he succeeded in his
design; and battering Gage's point as the latter recovered with a
stretched guard, flung down his sword.
"J own myself defeated," Monthermer cried. "You are a
gallant enemy, Arthur, and I wish the quarrel might terminate
*' Impossible !" Sir Randal exclaimed, '* unless Mr. Poynings
will admit he has spoken falsely and calumniously of us."
"That I will never do," Arthur rejoined; " and I .am as imxious
as yourself. Sir Eandal, that the afiair should prooeed."
*'.Be it so," the young baronet said.
The same forms were gone through as in the first encounter ;
but, before saluting. Sir Randal measured with his eye his adver-
sary's height and the length of his sword, and took up a distance
accordingly. When the conflict began, he tried Arthur witli
appeals, beatings, disengages, and extensions, in order to judge
of the thrusts he might deliver; but his designs were bafilcd by the
dexterity with which all his feints were parried. Never for a
moment did Arthur quit his adversary's blade — never for &
moment did his prudence or firmness desert him — -nor did he sufier
a glance or a movement to betray his own designs. The com-
batants were so well matched, and both so wary, that it seemed
impossible to foresee the issue of the strife. Cunning at length
decided it. Sir Randal laid a snare for his opponent, pressing
upon his blade, and turning his hand, as if about to parry