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Chapter 8
HOST. I will hear you, Master Fenton; and I will, at the
least, keep your counsel.--MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR.
It becomes necessary to return to the detail of those circumstances which
accompanied, and indeed occasioned, the sudden disappearance of Tressilian from the
sign of the Black Bear at Cumnor. It will be recollected that this gentleman, after his
rencounter with Varney, had returned to Giles Gosling's caravansary, where he shut
himself up in his own chamber, demanded pen, ink, and paper, and announced his
purpose to remain private for the day. In the evening he appeared again in the public
room, where Michael Lambourne, who had been on the watch for him, agreeably to his
engagement to Varney, endeavoured to renew his acquaintance with him, and hoped
he retained no unfriendly recollection of the part he had taken in the morning's scuffle.
But Tressilian repelled his advances firmly, though with civility. "Master Lambourne,"
said he, "I trust I have recompensed to your pleasure the time you have wasted on me.
Under the show of wild bluntness which you exhibit, I know you have sense enough to
understand me, when I say frankly that the object of our temporary acquaintance having
been accomplished, we must be strangers to each other in future."
"VOTO!" said Lambourne, twirling his whiskers with one hand, and grasping the hilt of
his weapon with the other; "if I thought that this usage was meant to insult me--"
"You would bear it with discretion, doubtless," interrupted Tressilian, "as you must do at
any rate. You know too well the distance that is betwixt us, to require me to explain
myself further. Good evening."
So saying, he turned his back upon his former companion, and entered into discourse
with the landlord. Michael Lambourne felt strongly disposed to bully; but his wrath died
away in a few incoherent oaths and ejaculations, and he sank unresistingly under the
ascendency which superior spirits possess over persons of his habits and description.
He remained moody and silent in a corner of the apartment, paying the most marked
attention to every motion of his late companion, against whom he began now to nourish
a quarrel on his own account, which he trusted to avenge by the execution of his new
master Varney's directions. The hour of supper arrived, and was followed by that of
repose, when Tressilian, like others, retired to his sleeping apartment.
He had not been in bed long, when the train of sad reveries, which supplied the place of
rest in his disturbed mind, was suddenly interrupted by the jar of a door on its hinges,
and a light was seen to glimmer in the apartment. Tressilian, who was as brave as steel,
sprang from his bed at this alarm, and had laid hand upon his sword, when he was
prevented from drawing it by a voice which said, "Be not too rash with your rapier,
Master Tressilian. It is I, your host, Giles Gosling."