This free script provided by
After our bout, Hannah kissed me and bolted off, and I drank a tumbler of water with a few drops of balsam in it and, feeling none the worse for my affaire par hasard, at once joined the shooting party.
I did a fair share of bagging, though the birds were scarcely wild enough to suit my taste.
I hate the fashionable battue business of today. but do not mean to imply that it was anything like that, for I am speaking of more than twenty years ago, but still Leveson's keepers had fed them too well, and they scarcely rose to the tramp of a foot near their cover.
We returned to the hall for lunch, and Mrs Leveson enquired as to the results of our morning's work. We told her it had been fair, but I half hinted at my preference for seeing a bit of the country, as I was a fickle sportsman, and one morning's shooting was enough for me. She, without a moment's hesitation, offered to become my cicerone and, procuring two horses from the stable, we sallied forth together.
'Now, you must be my mentor in everything, please, Mrs Leveson,' I told her. 'I must admit to being dreadfully ignorant of country matters.' We rode fully fifteen miles, and although I felt my way cautiously, I began to see there was an iron barrier between us which would probably prove impassable.
The instant there was the slightest hint or suggestion which implied a double entente her cheek flushed, and she looked fully in my face with her sparkling eyes, and a gaze of steady searching frankness as if to say, 'Do my ears deceive me, or are you trying to insult me?'
'Damn it,' I thought, 'James Clinton, you've met your match this time.' And a still small voice never left off whispering, 'See what the balsam will do, try a few drops of it.' But I never got the opportunity, and as we cantered down the broad gravel walk that led to the front lawn, she with her face flushed with the excitement of riding, mine flushed also, but with the excitement of a 'horn' which I now had the satisfaction of knowing could be relieved without quitting the mansion, De Vaux met us.
'Well,' he said in an undertone to me, after he had assisted Mrs Leveson to dismount, 'how does the bet stand?'
'Blast the bet,' I said, 'I'll give you six dozen to let me off.'
He laughed and said he would take one hundred and forty-three bottles, and leave me the other to get drunk upon and drown my disappointment.