have reverenced more of the two the one who showed respect to us. And yet nine gentleman out of ten make this dull mistake when dealing with the class below them!

Uncle Reuben made his very best scrape, and then walked up to the table, trying to look as if he did not know himself to be wealthier than both the gentlemen put together. Of course he was no stranger to them, any more than I was; and, as it proved afterwards, Colonel Harding owed him a lump of money, upon very good security. Of him Uncle Reuben took no notice, but addressed himself to De Whichehalse.

The Baron smiled very gently, so soon as he learned the cause of this visit, and then he replied quite reasonably.

‘A warrant against the Doones, Master Huckaback. Which of the Doones, so please you; and the Christian names, what be they?’

‘My lord, I am not their godfather; and most like they never had any. But we all know old Sir Ensor’s name, so that may be no obstacle.’

‘Sir Ensor Doone and his sons—so be it. How many sons, Master Huckaback, and what is the name of each one?’

‘How can I tell you, my lord, even if I had known them all as well as my own shop-boys? Nevertheless there were seven of them, and that should be no obstacle.’

‘A warrant against Sir Ensor Doone, and seven sons of Sir Ensor Doone, Christian names unknown, and doubted if they have any. So far so good Master Huckaback. I have it all down in writing. Sir Ensor himself was there, of course, as you have given in evidence—’

‘No, no, my lord, I never said that: I never said—’

‘If he can prove that he was not there, you may be indicted for perjury. But as for those seven sons of his, of course you can swear that they were his sons and not his nephews, or grandchildren, or even no Doones at all?’

‘My lord, I can swear that they were Doones. Moreover, I can pay for any mistake I make. Therein need be no obstacle.’

‘Oh, yes, he can pay; he can pay well enough,’ said Colonel Harding shortly.

‘I am heartily glad to hear it,’ replied the Baron pleasantly; ‘for it proves after all that this robbery (if robbery there has been) was not so very ruinous. Sometimes people think they are robbed, and then it is very sweet afterwards to find that they have not been so; for it adds to their joy in their property. Now, are you quite convinced, good sir, that these people (if there were any) stole, or took, or even borrowed anything at all from you?’

‘My lord, do you think that I was drunk?’

‘Not for a moment, Master Huckaback. Although excuse might be made for you at this time of the year. But how did you know that your visitors were of this particular family?’

‘Because it could be nobody else. Because, in spite of the fog—’

‘Fog!’ cried Colonel Harding sharply.

‘Fog!’ said the Baron, with emphasis. ‘Ah, that explains the whole affair. To be sure, now I remember, the weather has been too thick for a man to see the head of his own horse. The Doones (if still there be any Doones) could never have come abroad; that is as sure as simony. Master Huckaback, for your

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