Page by Page Books
Read Books Online, for Free
Dead Men Tell No Tales E. W. Hornung

Chapter X Wine and Weakness

Page 6 of 7

Table Of Contents: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Previous Page

Next Page

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

More Books

Instead of taking it he looked at me very hard.

"The place doesn't suit you," said he. "I see it doesn't, and I'm devilish sorry! Take my advice and try something milder; now do, to-morrow; for I should never forgive myself if it made you worse instead of better; and the air is too strong for lots of people."

I was neither too ill nor too vexed to laugh outright in his face.

"It's not the air," said I; "it's that splendid old Madeira of yours, that was too strong for me, if you like! No, no, Rattray, you don't get rid of me so cheaply-much as you seem to want to!"

"I was only thinking of you," he rejoined, with a touch of pique that convinced me of his sincerity. "Of course I want you to stop, though I shan't be here many days; but I feel responsible for you, Cole, and that's the fact. Think you can find your way?" he continued, accompanying me to the gate, a postern in the high garden wall. "Hadn't you better have a lantern?"

No; it was unnecessary. I could see splendidly, had the bump of locality and as many more lies as would come to my tongue. I was indeed burning to be gone.

A moment later I feared that I had shown this too plainly. For his final handshake was hearty enough to send me away something ashamed of my precipitancy, and with a further sense of having shown him small gratitude for his kindly anxiety on my behalf. I would behave differently to-morrow. Meanwhile I had new regrets.

Tired of reading? Add this page to your Bookmarks or Favorites and finish it later.

At first it was comparatively easy to see, for the lights of the house shone faintly among the nearer oaks. But the moon was hidden behind heavy clouds, and I soon found myself at a loss in a terribly dark zone of timber. Already I had left the path. I felt in my pocket for matches. I had none.

My head was now clear enough, only deservedly heavy. I was still quarrelling with myself for my indiscretions and my incivilities, one and all the result of his wine and my weakness, and this new predicament (another and yet more vulgar result) was the final mortification. I swore aloud. I simply could not see a foot in front of my face. Once I proved it by running my head hard against a branch. I was hopelessly and ridiculously lost within a hundred yards of the hall!

Some minutes I floundered, ashamed to go back, unable to proceed for the trees and the darkness. I heard the heck running over its stones. I could still see an occasional glimmer from the windows I had left. But the light was now on this side, now on that; the running water chuckled in one ear after the other; there was nothing for it but to return in all humility for the lantern which I had been so foolish as to refuse.

And as I resigned myself to this imperative though inglorious course, my heart warmed once more to the jovial young squire. He would laugh, but not unkindly, at my grotesque dilemma; at the thought of his laughter I began to smile myself. If he gave me another chance I would smoke that cigar with him before starting home afresh, and remove, front my own mind no less than from his, all ill impressions. After all it was not his fault that I had taken too much of his wine; but a far worse offence was to be sulky in one s cups. I would show him that I was myself again in all respects. I have admitted that I was temporarily, at all events, a creature of extreme moods. It was in this one that I retraced my steps towards the lights, and at length let myself into the garden by the postern at which I had shaken Rattray's hand not ten minutes before.

Page 6 of 7 Previous Page   Next Page
Who's On Your Reading List?
Read Classic Books Online for Free at
Page by Page Books.TM
Dead Men Tell No Tales
E. W. Hornung

Home | More Books | About Us | Copyright 2004