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and uttered an expressive
Humph !” while Bagsby's ancient and meagre countenance underwent not the shadow of a change.
“ Do you know,” asked the gentleman of the dark suit, addressing the latter, as soon as he had recovered from his hilarious paroxysm, “ what was my principal reason for signing the paper which you have in your pocket?” “ Not I,” replied the lawyer, “I neither know
All I know is that my purpose is answered, and that is sufficient for me."
“ Then I'll tell you,” said the gentleman in black, “ I have been calculating that before the expiration of fourteen years, you will have ceased to be in a condition to oppose me.”
Humph!” grunted Bagsby, “ Literæ scriptæ manent—you may, perhaps, have no great cause for congratulating yourself when the time coines.”
“ What do you mean?” inquired the dark gentleman briskly.
Nothing more,” replied the lawyer calmly, “ than that I have taken proper care of my client's interest. All demands on either side, either for money or sin, cease for fourteen years, and, at the end of that period, as I have reserved to the Comte an option of cancelling whichever half of the eight and twenty years he pleases, I suppose he will find no great difficulty in sinning for a second on the first year of your renewed claim, and two seconds during the second, and so on; and moreover, in case he should have become particularly religious in his latter days, he will have the advantage of the clause introduced by yourself into the original bond, by which “ all sins committed before, and all sins which he may commit in future, over and above the stipulated agreement, are to be taken into account." So, altogether, if he makes proper use of the money yet remaining in his hands, what with interest and compound interest, I think you might almost as well be in Chancery. He, he! Why don't you laugh ?” and the old fellow cackled most triumphantly, till a fit of coughing put an end to his merriment.
The gentleman in black, in the meanwhile sat sadly crest-fallen and disconcerted, while the Jesuit appeared to be absorbed in some deep and abstruse calculations, his dark brow and pale cheek supported on his left hand, as he murmured at intervals, “Fourteen yearsand fourteen— twenty-eight—the mission—the Bourbons — Ferd — inquisit — emancipation -a glimpse of former-hem-magna est veritas ethem-twice fourteen-a general—why not ?".
" Fool that I was !" exclaimed the gentleman in black, rising and stamping violently on the floor, “ to think of signing any paper without bringing my own lawyer.”
“ It was very imprudent, certainly,” replied Bagsby, “ but what is done cannot be undone,
should not bear malice. I must now go and report progress to my client,” and thus saying, he arose and took his hat.
“I shall not lose sight of you,” exclaimed he of the black habiliments, somewhat angrily ; but in a moment curbing his passion, he made an effort at apparent magnanimity, and assuming his usual courteousness, continued, “I will do myself the pleasure of calling upon you at Lyons Inn ere long. I admire your talents, and shall cultivate a more intimate acquaintance; for you have convinced me that, notwithstanding a considerable portion of selfconceit to which I plead guilty, I have yet much to learn. People say that I have a very extensive circle of friends among gentlemen of your profession, but I assure you that the report is not to be relied on.
Indeed, considering the facilities of introduction which
possess, and the inducements I frequently
have in my power to hold out, I am often surprised that I have not more on my list.”
“I wish you a good morning,” said Bagsby, taking his leave.
“ Au revoir," replied the gentleman in black, bowing politely.—And so they parted.
A grand entertainment was given at the Comte D'Ormalle's hotel, whereat Bagsby “sported” a new wig, and was introduced as the Comte's most particular friend to many noble personages, and “gens comme il faut; but a whisper of the story of “a gentleman in black" had gone abroad, and he found himself alone in a crowd, though the “ admired of all admirers.” The ladies, in particular, reversing the usual custom of “place aux dames," made way for him wherever he moved. His was a painful preeminence, and therefore he lost no time in returning to the quietude of Lyons Inn, where he and old Jerry were alive some years ago, and going on in the old six-and-eightpenny style.