‘Gentleman downstairs come rather late.’ The squire recapitulated the intelligence to possess it thoroughly. ‘Rather late, eh? Oh! Shove him into a bed, and give him hot brandy and water, and be hanged to him!’
Sewis had the office of tempering a severely distasteful announcement to the squire.
He resumed: ‘The gentleman doesn’t talk of staying. That is not his business. It ‘s rather late for him to arrive.’
‘Rather late!’ roared the squire. ‘Why, what’s it o’clock?’
Reaching a hand to the watch over his head, he caught sight of the unearthly hour. ‘A quarter to two? Gentleman downstairs? Can’t be that infernal apothecary who broke ‘s engagement to dine with me last night? By George, if it is I’ll souse him; I’ll drench him from head to heel as though the rascal ‘d been drawn through the duck-pond. Two o’clock in the morning? Why, the man’s drunk. Tell him I’m a magistrate, and I’ll commit him, deuce take him; give him fourteen days for a sot; another fourteen for impudence. I’ve given a month ‘fore now. Comes to me, a Justice of the peace!–man ‘s mad! Tell him he’s in peril of a lunatic asylum. And doesn’t talk of staying? Lift him out o’ the house on the top o’ your boot, Sewis, and say it ‘s mine; you ‘ve my leave.’
Sewis withdrew a step fr
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