Heartsease or Brother's Wife
But one, I wis, was not at home,
Another had paid his gold away,
Another called him thriftless loone,
And bade him sharply wend his way.--Heir of Lynne
'He is done for. That wife of his may feel the consequence of meddling in other
folk's concerns. Not that I care for that now, there's metal more attractive; but she
has crossed me, and shall suffer for it.' These short sentences met the ear of a
broad- shouldered man in a rough coat, as, in elbowing his way through the
crowd on the quay at Boulogne, he was detained for a moment behind two
persons, whose very backs had all the aspect of the dissipated Englishman
abroad. Struggling past, he gained a side view of the face of the speaker. It was
one which he knew; but the vindictive glare in the sarcastic eyes positively made
him start, as he heard the laugh of triumph and derision, in reply to some remark
from the other.
'Ay! and got enough to get off to Paris, where the old Finch has dropped off his
perch at last. That was all I wanted of him, and it was time to wring him dry and
have done with him. He will go off in consumption before the year is out--'
As he spoke, the stranger turned on him an honest English face, the lips
compressed into an expression of the utmost contempt, while indignation flashed
in the penetrating gray eyes, that looked on him steadily. His bold defiant gaze
fell, quailing and scowling, he seemed to become small, shrink away, and
'When scamp number two looks round for scamp number one, he is lost in the
crowd,' muttered the traveller, half smiling; then, with a deep breath, 'The hard-
hearted rascal! If one could only wring his neck! Heaven help the victim! though,
no doubt, pity is wasted on him.'
He ceased his reflections, to enter the steamer just starting for Folkestone, and
was soon standing on deck, keeping guard over his luggage. The sound of a
frequent cough attracted his attention, and, looking round, he saw a tall figure
wrapped in great-coats leaning on the leeward side of the funnel.
'Hollo! you here, Arthur! Where have you been?'
'What, Percy? How d'ye do?' replied a hoarse, languid voice.
'Is Mrs. Martindale here?'
'No.' He was cut short by such violent cough that he was obliged to rest his
forehead on his arm; then shivering, and complaining of the cold, he said he
should go below, and moved away, rejecting Percy's offered arm with some
The weather was beautiful, and Percy stood for some time watching the receding
shore, and scanning, with his wonted keen gaze, the various countenances of
the passengers. He took a book from his pocket, but did not read long; he looked
out on the sea, and muttered to himself, 'What folly now? Why won't that name
let one rest? Besides, he looked desperately ill; I must go and see if they have
made him comfortable in that dog-hole below.'