Cashel Byron's Profession
Cashel's pupils frequently requested him to hit them hard--not to play with them--to
accustom them to regular, right down, severe hitting, and no nonsense. He only
pretended to comply; for he knew that a black eye or loosened tooth would be
immoderately boasted of if received in combat with a famous pugilist, and that the
sufferer's friends would make private notes to avoid so rough a professor. But when
Miss Carew's note reached him he made an exception to his practice in this respect. A
young guardsman, whose lesson began shortly after the post arrived, remarked that
Cashel was unusually distraught. He therefore exhorted his instructor to wake up and
pitch into him in earnest. Immediately he received a blow in the epigastrium that
stretched him almost insensible on the floor. Rising with his complexion considerably
whitened, he recollected an appointment which would prevent him from finishing his
lesson, and withdrew, declaring in a somewhat shaky voice that that was the sort of
bout he really enjoyed.
Cashel did not at first make any profitable use of the leisure thus earned. He walked to
and fro, cursing, and occasionally stopping to read the letter. His restlessness only
increased his agitation. The arrival of a Frenchman whom he employed to give lessons
in fencing made the place unendurable to him. He changed his attire, went out, called a
cab, and bade the driver, with an oath, drive to Lydia's house as fast as the horse could
go. The man made all the haste he could, and was presently told impatiently that there
was no hurry. Accustomed to this sort of inconsistency, he was not surprised when, as
they approached the house, he was told not to stop but to drive slowly past. Then, in
obedience to further instructions, he turned and repassed the door. As he did so a lady
appeared for an instant at a window. Immediately his fare, with a groan of mingled rage
and fear, sprang from the moving vehicle, rushed up the steps of the mansion, and rang
the bell violently. Bashville, faultlessly dressed and impassibly mannered, opened the
door. In reply to Cashel's half-inarticulate inquiry, he said,
"Miss Carew is not at home."
"You lie," said Cashel, his eyes suddenly dilating. "I saw her."
Bashville reddened, but replied, coolly, "Miss Carew cannot see you to-day."
"Go and ask her," returned Cashel sternly, advancing.
Bashville, with compressed lips, seized the door to shut him out; but Cashel forced it
back against him, sent him reeling some paces by its impact, went in, and shut the door
behind him. He had to turn from Bashville for a moment to do this, and before he could
face him again he was clutched, tripped, and flung down upon the tessellated pavement
of the hall.