"'A dozen fellors well armed, might take the d d British craft, observed Desborough. 'How many men may there be aboard the Commissary. "'About forty, I reckon, under some d d old rig'lar Major. I've got a letter for him here to desire him to come on, if so be as we gets the craft out of the way.
"About politics of any sort," said I. "Don't you know, I was brought up with Grandmamma Desborough, who is a Whig so far as she is anything but she always said it was vulgar to get warm over politics, so I never had the chance of hearing much about it." "Poor old tabby!" said irreverent Angus. "But have you heard nothing since you came to Brocklebank?" asked Flora, with a surprised look.
But suddenly there was Janet with us Janet and my Lord Desborough, come with news that the fire had threatened even St. Paul's, and that he desired help to save his sick wife and thee, Dinah, ere the flames should have reached his abode. Janet told us much of the poor lady's state, and we made all fitting preparation to receive her.
"Then it isn't a question of property or next of kin?" said the consul. "Lord! no," said the lady vivaciously. "Why, goodness me! I reckon old Desborough could, at any time before he died, have 'bought up' or 'bought out' the whole lot of his relatives on this side of the big pond, no matter what they were worth. No, it's only a matter of curiosity and just sociableness."
I was speaking to him again when there came a puff of smoke from the rocks overhead, and down I went, head over heels. A bullet grazed my thigh, and killed my horse; so that during the fight that followed, I was sitting on a rock very sick and very stupid. "They've set a watch," said Captain Desborough. "They'll fight us now; they can't help it, thank God!"
Sam, from whom I get this account of affairs, had just time to notice this when he saw Captain Brentwood draw a pistol and fire it, and, at the same instant, a man dashed out of some scrub on the other side of the creek, and galloped away up the valley. "They have had the precaution to set two watches for us, which I hardly expected," said Captain Desborough.
They had gone two or three miles before Hawker said: "That young fellow I shot when you were after me, is he dead?" "By this time," said Desborough. "He was dying as I came away." "Would you mind stopping for a moment, captain? Now tell me who was he?" "Mr. Charles Hawker, son of Mrs. Hawker, of Toonarbin." Desborough told me his wild, despairing cry rang in his ears for years afterwards.
"I have not changed my mind," said Miss Desborough quietly, "and my baggage is already packed." After a pause, she said thoughtfully, "I've been wondering" "What?" said the consul eagerly.
But why should not folks remember? I am fairly dumfoozled with it all. How any mortal woman can get along with four men and seven maids to look after, passes me. I find Maria and Bessy and Sam enough, I can tell you: too many sometimes. Mrs Desborough must be up early and down late; or does Mrs Charles see to things?" I began to laugh.
"From the moment that the tapping commenced, Sambo and I stood motionless on the shore, and without trusting our voices again, even to a whisper. In a little time we heard the door open, and the low voice of Desborough in conversation with another.