`And he carries his drubbing with him, does he?' said Ralph, turning away -- `pockets his bruises, and sneaks off without the retaliation of a word, or seeking the smallest reparation!'

`He's too ill,' said Newman.

`Too ill!' repeated Ralph `Why I would have it if I were dying; in that case I should only be the more determined to have it, and that without delay -- I mean if I were he. But he's too ill! Poor Sir Mulberry! Too ill!'

Uttering these words with supreme contempt and great irritation of manner, Ralph signed hastily to Newman to leave the room; and throwing himself into his chair, beat his foot impatiently upon the ground.

`There is some spell about that boy,' said Ralph, grinding his teeth. `Circumstances conspire to help him. Talk of fortune's favours! What is even money to such Devil's luck as this?'

He thrust his hands impatiently into his pockets, but notwithstanding his previous reflection there was some consolation there, for his face relaxed a little; and although there was still a deep frown upon the contracted brow, it was one of calculation, and not of disappointment.

`This Hawk will come back, however,' muttered Ralph; `and if I know the man -- and I should by this time -- his wrath will have lost nothing of its violence in the meanwhile. Obliged to live in retirement -- the monotony of a sick-room to a man of his habits -- no life -- no drink -- no play -- nothing that he likes and lives by. He is not likely to forget his obligations to the cause of all this. Few men would; but he of all others -- no, no!'

He smiled and shook his head, and resting his chin upon his hand, fell a musing, and smiled again. After a time he rose and rang the bell.

`That Mr Squeers; has he been here?' said Ralph.

`He was here last night. I left him here when I went home,' returned Newman.

`I know that, fool, do I not?' said Ralph, irascibly. `Has he been here since? Was he here this morning?'

`No,' bawled Newman, in a very loud key.

`If he comes while I am out -- he is pretty sure to be here by nine tonight -- let him wait. And if there's another man with him, as there will be -- perhaps,' said Ralph, checking himself, `let him wait too.'

`Let 'em both wait?' said Newman.

`Ay,' replied Ralph, turning upon him with an angry look. `Help me on with this spencer, and don't repeat after me, like a croaking parrot.'

`I wish I was a parrot,' Newman, sulkily.

`I wish you were,' rejoined Ralph, drawing his spencer on; `I'd have wrung your neck long ago.'

Newman returned no answer to this compliment, but looked over Ralph's shoulder for an instant, (he was adjusting the collar of the spencer behind, just then,) as if he were strongly disposed to tweak him by the nose. Meeting Ralph's eye, however, he suddenly recalled his wandering fingers, and rubbed his own red nose with a vehemence quite astonishing.

Bestowing no further notice upon his eccentric follower than a threatening look, and an admonition to be careful and make no mistake, Ralph took his hat and gloves, and walked out.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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