The water was not more than two or three inches deep where he lay, but a little way beyond he could hear it passing with greater volume among the spiles of the bridge. Fortune had spared him a fall into the deeper channel, where even a foot of water might have drowned him, strengthless and fettered as he was. Fate had reserved him for this hour of vengeance.
Cap'n Bill was terribly disappointed at being recaptured, and so was Trot, who had eagerly followed his every movement from her window in the palace. The little girl would have cried with vexation, and I think she did weep a few tears before she recovered her courage; but Cap'n Bill was a philosopher, in his way, and had learned to accept ill fortune cheerfully.
He offered himself to Miss Hamilton, with this fortune, together with the almost certain hopes of being made a peer of the realm, by his master's credit; and, over-and-above all, as many sacrifices as she could desire of Lady Shrewsbury's letters, pictures, and hair; curiosities which, indeed, are reckoned for nothing in housekeeping, but which testify strongly in favour of the sincerity and merit of a lover.
What though they load him to-day with honors, or cast him tomorrow into chains? that is the fate of all immortal benefactors since our world began. His great soul should have soared beyond vulgar rewards. In the loftiness of his self-consciousness he should have accepted, without a murmur, whatever fortune awaited him.
Democrates shivered. The late spring sun was warm. He felt no heat. A mere charge of treason he was almost prepared now to endure. If Mistress Fortune helped him, he might refute it, but to be branded before Hellas as the destroyer of his bosom friend, and that by guile the like whereof Tantalus, Sisyphus, and Ixion conjoined had never wrought—what wonder his knees smote together?
"Talking of countries," replied Franz, "of what country is the count, what is his native tongue, whence does he derive his immense fortune, and what were those events of his early life a life as marvellous as unknown that have tinctured his succeeding years with so dark and gloomy a misanthropy? Certainly these are questions that, in your place, I should like to have answered."
I was enchanted with the frankness of this noble gentleman, and did not hesitate to tell him all, and we laughed together at our bad fortune: I had to promise to call on him at Genoa, and tell him whatever happened between us during the two days I purposed to remain at Avignon. He asked me to sup with him and admire the fair recalcitrant.
But other perils lay before him and only vigilance and good fortune saved him more than once from death or capture. Surrounded by foes and with scarce a friend who dared aid him in the whole district, his final escape seemed impossible.
Poor little wanderers! many a lonely emigrant, who had left all he loved behind to try his fortune in an unknown land, felt sympathy for them. Seeing nothing but water and sky to interest us without, we turned our attention to our fellow-passengers within.
"But but we shall be married at once, Clem?" He shook his head. "How can you ask it? My poor little all twenty pounds is gone on twopenny-halfpenny presents during the past week or two. It seemed so little compared to the fortune that was coming. It's all over. The great day is further off by twenty pounds than it was before that poor drunken old fool lied to me.