"'Ware his teeth," said the one they called Gil. "He has a knife in his trotter." The evil faces of the four were growing merry. They were worthless soldiers, but adepts in murder. Loot was their first thought, but after that furtive slaying. There seemed nothing to rob here, but there was weak flesh to make sport of. Gil warily crept on one side, where he held his spear ready.
Not that he was walking fast, on the contrary, he was strolling with that leisurely gait peculiar to himself. Elliott was beside him and two bulldogs covered the rear. Elliott was reading the "Gil Blas," from which he seemed to extract amusement, but deeming boisterous mirth unsuitable to Clifford's state of mind, subdued his amusement to a series of discreet smiles.
Confirmed or not, on hearing of them Gil Uraga receives a shock which sends the blood rushing in quick current through his veins; while upon his countenance comes an expression of such bitter malignity, that the traitor, in fear for his own safety, repents having told him. But Uraga has no spite against him no motive for having it.
What I have said of Milton, I would say of Dante, or Ariosto, of Petrarch, and of Tasso; nor less would I say it of Boccaccio and Chaucer, of Camoens and Spenser, of Rabelais and of Cervantes, of Gil Blas and the Vicar of Wakefield, of Byron and of Shelley, of Goethe and of Schiller.
"`And why then, sez he, argumentifying on to me like a shot, `and why then shouldn't there be such a thing as the sea sarpint? "This flummuxed me a bit, for I couldn't find an answer handy, so I axed him another question to get out of my quandary. "`But why, Gil, did you say you had seed a ghost, when it was a sarpint? "This time he was bothered for a moment.
She could almost hear him drawing on his gloves. One of the servants went out. "Fadrique," said Don John, "leave out my riding-cloak. I may like to walk on the terrace in the moonlight, and it is cold. Have my drink ready at midnight and wait for me. Send Gil to sleep, for he was up last night."
Still, the fact remains, that of book-learning of any kind Dickens remained, to the end of his days, perhaps more utterly innocent than any other famous English writer since Shakespeare. His biographer labours to prove that he had read Fielding and Smollett, Don Quixote and Gil Blas, The Spectator, and Robinson Crusoe. Perhaps he had, like most men who have learned to read.
The lamp shone full upon John Saltram's face as he sat at his desk; and after looking at him for a moment by that vivid light, Gilbert Fenton gave a cry of surprise. "What is the matter, Gil?" "You are the matter. You are looking as worn and haggard as if you'd had a long illness since I saw you last. I never remember you looking so ill. This kind of thing won't do, John.
"The generous wine of Fielding," says Taine, "in Smollett's hands becomes brandy of the dram-shop." A partial exception to this is to be found in his last and best novel, Humphrey Clinker, 1770. The influence of Cervantes and of the French novelist, Le Sage, who finished his Adventures of Gil Bias in 1735, are very perceptible in Smollett.
He regarded the shell with which he was toying with a thoughtful smile, held it up that the light might strike through its rose and pearl, then crushed it to dust between his fingers. "Ay," he said with an oath. "If you win against the cutlass of Red Gil, the best blade of Lima, and the sword of Paradise, you may call yourself the devil an you please, and we will all subscribe to it."