258 TYLNEY HALL. the Creole ; " and my sight is not so keen as to pierce through deal boards." " But you thought I was there,, at any rate," retorted Ringwood. The Creole was silent. He could not deny that he had supposed Flora's votary to be with her in her temple, but he did not care to enter on the reasons which had led to that inference ; nor did he choose voluntarily to give up Twigg, junior, as the culprit. This hesitation was attributed to guilt by the passionate Ringwood, whose blood was now " risen to boiling heat. You are a coward, and a liar to boot," he " said fiercely ; but the punishment shall match the offence ;" and he seized the handle of the engine with one hand, and the pipe with the other. St. Kitts, who saw through his design, sprang forward to resist its execution, and in an instant they were engaged in a desperate struggle for mastery. Every sinew was stretched to the utmost, the muscles started out on their hands, and the veins of their temples swelled almost to bursting ; but the superior strength of Ringwood prevailed. With a sudden and violent effort he wrenched the grasp of St. Kitts from the engine, and dashed him staggering some paces back- ward, where, before he could recover himself, a gushing jet of water drenched his whole person, from head to heel. " " You shall repent this, by Heaven ! said the Creole, as soon as he recovered from the blindness and surprise of the shock. " It is water that drips from me, but you shall " welter in blood ! f: The old story," replied Ringwood contemptuously ; " but you are freely welcome to all you are likely to draw from me, whether at boxing or single-stick ; for of course you mean the weapons that belong to your caste." " Ringwood!" said the Creole, with eager earnestness, " grant me one request. Promise me, by your honour, that if the stain on my birth should ever be removed, you will meet me as your equal, with the arms of gentlemen ? " " Oh, with all my heart," answered " Ringwood ; there's my hand on it; but, mind, I must have good proof, evidence in black and white, and not in whitey-brown,
TYLNEY HALL. 259 that your mother was no slave among the sugar-canes. shouldn't like, when I thought I was letting good blood, to find it was only treacle." " Enough," said the Creole, with a hard squeeze of the hand that was held out to him ; " remember your honour is pledged;" and, hastily turning away, the speaker sprang over the fence, which was only a paling, and disappeared. At the same moment, a smothered haw ! haw ! haw ! from behind a clump of shrubs proved that this water-scene had been observed and enjoyed by the projector of the joke. " So here you are," said Raby, making his appearance, ce in this strange out of the way corner; I fancied I heard your voice at high words with St. Kitts. Pray, what was the matter?" " Nothing at all ; he only began to blaze, and so I got him under," answered Ringwood, carelessly pointing with his finger to the garden-engine. And he lounged off' into the bower, where he found the Goddess in statu quo. deluge wiped up, and his During this interlude the dulness of the rest of the company had rather increased, and the gaudy flag, that still drooped motionless on its staff, seemed a proper emblem of their listless and inanimate condition. They stood about the grounds in groups, idle, weary, and dreary, and seemed by common consent to have adopted the line of conduct of the Hon. Mr. Danvers, a sort of exclusive of those days, who, in answer to every proposition of amusement, lisped languidly, " that he preferred to look on." " It's very odd a man of my property can't have a merry party," thought Twigg, as he looked round on his grand to-do, and saw the festive scene with a visible damp over it, like a wet night at Vauxhall. In the bitterness of his heart he sidled up to Mrs. Twigg, who was standing near the marquee, and said to her, in a low tone, fc Our friends, d n them, are as dull as ditch-water. What the devil can we do with them ? " " Nine, ten, eleven," said Mrs. Twigg, with an abstracted look, and a little nod of her head at each number.