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Barry Lyndon

Chapter 2
I Show Myself To Be A Man Of Spirit
During this dispute, my cousin Nora did the only thing that a lady, under such
circumstances, could do, and fainted in due form. I was in hot altercation with Mick at
the time, or I should have, of course, flown to her assistance, but Captain Fagan (a dry
sort of fellow this Fagan was) prevented me, saying, 'I advise you to leave the young lady
to herself, Master Redmond, and be sure she will come to.' And so indeed, after a while,
she did, which has shown me since that Fagan knew the world pretty well, for many's the
lady I've seen in after times recover in a similar manner. Quin did not offer to help her,
you may be sure, for, in the midst of the diversion, caused by her screaming, the faithless
bully stole away.
'Which of us is Captain Quin to engage?' said I to Mick; for it was my first affair, and I
was as proud of it as of a suit of laced velvet. 'Is it you or I, Cousin Mick, that is to have
the honour of chastising this insolent Englishman?' And I held out my hand as I spoke,
for my heart melted towards my cousin under the triumph of the moment.
But he rejected the proffered offer of friendship. 'You--you!' said he, in a towering
passion; 'hang you for a meddling brat: your hand is in everybody's pie. What business
had you to come brawling and quarrelling here, with a gentleman who has fifteen
hundred a year?'
'Oh,' gasped Nora, from the stone bench, 'I shall die: I know I shall. I shall never leave
this spot.'
'The Captain's not gone yet,' whispered Fagan; on which Nora, giving him an indignant
look, jumped up and walked towards the house.
'Meanwhile,' Mick continued, 'what business have you, you meddling rascal, to interfere
with a daughter of this house?'
'Rascal yourself!' roared I: 'call me another such name, Mick Brady, and I'll drive my
hanger into your weasand. Recollect, I stood to you when I was eleven years old. I'm
your match now, and, by Jove, provoke me, and I'll beat you like--like your younger
brother always did.' That was a home-cut, and I saw Mick turn blue with fury.
'This is a pretty way to recommend yourself to the family,' said Fagan, in a soothing tone.
'The girl's old enough to be his mother,' growled Mick.
'Old or not,' I replied: 'you listen to this, Mick Brady' (and I swore a tremendous oath, that
need not be put down here): 'the man that marries Nora Brady must first kill me--do you
mind that?'
 
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