+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

arrival; "I never saw such a spoony-looking
snob in all my life."

"A regular pump," replied the other.

Delamour's attention was attracted.
"Spoony!"  he thought, "snobpump!
What are the fellows talking of?"

"And yet I believe the booby thinks he
has made a conquest of one of the prettiest
girls in Herts!"  continued the first speaker.
To which the other, who was not eloquent,
said only, "Ha, ha!—what a muff!"

"Oh, by George, this won't do," thought
Delamour.  "I'll let the puppies know I
overhear them."  So saying, he coughed so loud
a cough that it sounded something like a crow
of defiance, and looked at the unconscious
speakers as if he wished to assault them
on the spot.  A policeman, however, came
out from the booking-office and changed the
current of his thoughts.

"I advise you to be on your guard, gentlemen,"
said the policeman addressing the two
young men who had excited Delamour's
wrath; "one of the London swell-mob came
by the last train, and is perhaps lurking
about still."

The friends instinctively looked at the only
other person on the platform; but, seeing
only a very good-looking, well-dressed
gentleman, they resumed their conversation,
after thanking the policeman for his warning.
The look was not thrown away on the irritated
Delamour. He vented his rage on
the policeman.

"Why didn't you give the notice also to
me?" he inquired in a very bitter tone. "I
believe,"  he added when the two companions
had come within ear-shot, "that the swell-mob
frequently go in couples," so saying he
fixed his ferocious eyes on the countenances
of the friends, "and generally pretend to be
military men."

"You seem to be up to their dodges pretty
well,"  said the guardian of the laws, who was
offended at the tone and manner of
Wormwood's address. "You can, perhaps, be on
your guard against them, without telling, as
you're so up to their tricks."  And pulling
from his breast-pocket a half sheet of paper,
he began to read it with great attention,
casting angry glances from time to time on
the indignant Delamour. His patience could
stand it no longer. He went up to the man
and said, "You insolent caitiff!  How dare
you insult me by such conduct?  How dare
you think me a thief?"

"I don't, sir,—leastways, I never told you
so;" said the man, amazed.

"Arn't you reading a description of a
swell-mob man, in that extract from the Hue
and Cry?" continued Delamour, "measuring
my features, noting the colour of my eyes,
the length of my hair?—I will report you to
your superiorsyou shall be turned out of
your corps if it costs me a thousand

"I say, I say,—what has the man done?"
said one of the gentlemen, arrested by the

"Copying the example of gross impertinence
set him by you and your friend,"  replied

The fine manner of the gay stranger
instantly disappeared. He spoke plainly, and
like a man. "You are either under a great
mistake,"  he said, "or are desirous of picking
a quarrel with people who never offended
you. I desire to know what is the meaning
of your language."

"Didn't you call me a pump, a few minutes
ago,—a spoony snob,—a muff?"

"I hadn't the honour of being aware of
such an individual's existence," replied the
gentleman, "and certainly never honoured
you by making you the subject of my

"Then I'm exceedingly sorry if, in the
heat of the moment——"

"There is no need of sorrow," said the
stranger, smiling, "and still less for heat. I
should be inclined to be more exacting if I
thought you were a gentleman; but, after
your altercation with the policeman, I take
no notice of what you say. Good morning."

"Here's the paper I was reading, sir,"
said the policeman, "my instructions for the
luggage-van by next train. And now what
have you got to say?"

Delamour was in such fierce wrath at the
two young officers who had just stepped into
their fly, that he could say nothing to the
triumphant constable.

"Who are those vulgar fellows in the
carriage?"  he cried, hoping to be overheard
by the objects of his question. "If I knew the
coxcombs' names, they should answer for
their behaviour."

"They're Captain Harleigh and another
officer of the Queen's Blazers. You can
find 'em at the barracks, easy," said the
policeman, with a malicious grin.  "But I
advise you to be quiet if you want to keep
a whole bone in your body."

Delamour gulped the information, and the
insult. The name of the Queen's Blazers
had struck him dumb. Phillis's brother was
a lieutenant in that ferocious regiment, and
if he was told of his absurd behaviour, of his
quickness in taking offence, his ungovernable
temper, what would he say? In perfect
silence he took his seat in the fly when it
drew up, and placed half-a-sovereign in the
policeman's hand. With a cautious look to
see that his inspector was not on the watch,
the policeman pocketed the money, and said,
as the fly moved off, "Don't be afraid. I
won't tell the captain where you be gone, or
you'd get as good a kicking as e'er you had
in your life."

If a look could have strangled the
good-natured policeman, B 30 would have been a
dead man. As it was, it was a murderous
glance thrown away, and Delamour pursued
his way through country lanes and wreathing