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- Captain Brassbound's Conversion - 5/21 -
LADY CICELY (nodding affably to Marzo). Howdyedo? I love Italy. What part of it were you born in?
DRINKWATER. Worn't bawn in Hitly at all, lidy. Bawn in Ettn Gawdn (Hatton Garden). Hawce barrer an street pianner Hawtellian, lidy: thet's wot e is. Kepn Brarsbahnd's respects to yr honors; an e awites yr commawnds.
RANKIN. Shall we go indoors to see him?
SIR HOWARD. I think we had better have a look at him by daylight.
RANKIN. Then we must lose no time: the dark is soon down in this latitude. (To Drinkwater) Will ye ask him to step out here to us, Mr. Drinkwotter?
DRINKWATER. Rawt you aw, gavner. (He goes officiously into the house.)
Lady Cicely and Rankin sit down as before to receive the Captain. The light is by this time waning rapidly, the darkness creeping west into the orange crimson.
LADY CICELY (whispering). Don't you feel rather creepy, Mr. Rankin? I wonder what he'll be like.
RANKIN. I misdoubt me he will not answer, your leddyship.
There is a scuffling noise in the house; and Drinkwater shoots out through the doorway across the garden with every appearance of having been violently kicked. Marzo immediately hurries down the garden on Sir Howard's right out of the neighborhood of the doorway.
DRINKWATER (trying to put a cheerful air on much mortification and bodily anguish). Narsty step to thet ere door tripped me hap, it did. (Raising his voice and narrowly escaping a squeak of pain) Kepn Brarsbahnd. (He gets as far from the house as possible, on Rankin's left. Rankin rises to receive his guest.)
An olive complexioned man with dark southern eyes and hair comes from the house. Age about 36. Handsome features, but joyless; dark eyebrows drawn towards one another; mouth set grimly; nostrils large and strained: a face set to one tragic purpose. A man of few words, fewer gestures, and much significance. On the whole, interesting, and even attractive, but not friendly. He stands for a moment, saturnine in the ruddy light, to see who is present, looking in a singular and rather deadly way at Sir Howard; then with some surprise and uneasiness at Lady Cicely. Finally he comes down into the middle of the garden, and confronts Rankin, who has been glaring at him in consternation from the moment of his entrance, and continues to do so in so marked a way that the glow in Brassbound's eyes deepens as he begins to take offence.
BRASSBOUND. Well, sir, have you stared your fill at me?
RANKIN (recovering himself with a start). I ask your pardon for my bad manners, Captain Brassbound. Ye are extraordinair lek an auld college friend of mine, whose face I said not ten minutes gone that I could no longer bring to mind. It was as if he had come from the grave to remind me of it.
BRASSBOUND. Why have you sent for me?
RANKIN. We have a matter of business with ye, Captain.
BRASSBOUND. Who are "we"?
RANKIN. This is Sir Howrrd Hallam, who will be well known to ye as one of Her Majesty's judges.
BRASSBOUND (turning the singular look again on Sir Howard). The friend of the widow! the protector of the fatherless!
SIR HOWARD (startled). I did not know I was so favorably spoken of in these parts, Captain Brassbound. We want an escort for a trip into the mountains.
BRASSBOUND (ignoring this announcement). Who is the lady?
RANKIN. Lady Ceecily Waynflete, his lordship's sister-in-law.
LADY CICELY. Howdyedo, Captain Brassbound? (He bows gravely.)
SIR HOWARD (a little impatient of these questions, which strike him as somewhat impertinent). Let us come to business, if you please. We are thinking of making a short excursion to see the country about here. Can you provide us with an escort of respectable, trustworthy men?
DRINKWATER (in strong remonstrance). Nah, nah, nah! Nah look eah, Kepn, y'knaow--
BRASSBOUND (between his teeth). Hold your tongue.
DRINKWATER (abjectly). Yuss, Kepn.
RANKIN. I understood it was your business to provide escorts, Captain Brassbound.
BRASSBOUND. You were rightly informed. That IS my business.
LADY CICELY. Then why won't you do it for us?
BRASSBOUND. You are not content with an escort. You want respectable, trustworthy men. You should have brought a division of London policemen with you. My men are neither respectable nor trustworthy.
DRINKWATER (unable to contain himself). Nah, nah, look eah, Kepn. If you want to be moddist, be moddist on your aown accahnt, nort on mawn.
BRASSBOUND. You see what my men are like. That rascal (indicating Marzo) would cut a throat for a dollar if he had courage enough.
MARZO. I not understand. I no spik Englis.
BRASSBOUND. This thing (pointing to Drinkwater) is the greatest liar, thief, drunkard, and rapscallion on the west coast.
DRINKWATER (affecting an ironic indifference). Gow orn, Gow orn. Sr Ahrd ez erd witnesses to maw kerrickter afoah. E knaows ah mech to believe of em.
LADY CICELY. Captain Brassbound: I have heard all that before about the blacks; and I found them very nice people when they were properly treated.
DRINKWATER (chuckling: the Italian is also grinning). Nah, Kepn, nah! Owp yr prahd o y'seolf nah.
BRASSBOUND. I quite understand the proper treatment for him, madam. If he opens his mouth again without my leave, I will break every bone in his skin.
LADY CICELY (in her most sunnily matter-of-fact way). Does Captain Brassbound always treat you like this, Mr. Drinkwater?
Drinkwater hesitates, and looks apprehensively at the Captain.
BRASSBOUND. Answer, you dog, when the lady orders you. (To Lady Cicely) Do not address him as Mr. Drinkwater, madam: he is accustomed to be called Brandyfaced Jack.
DRINKWATER (indignantly). Eah, aw sy! nah look eah, Kepn: maw nime is Drinkworter. You awsk em et Sin Jorn's in the Worterleoo Rowd. Orn maw grenfawther's tombstown, it is.
BRASSBOUND. It will be on your own tombstone, presently, if you cannot hold your tongue. (Turning to the others) Let us understand one another, if you please. An escort here, or anywhere where there are no regular disciplined forces, is what its captain makes it. If I undertake this business, I shall be your escort. I may require a dozen men, just as I may require a dozen horses. Some of the horses will be vicious; so will all the men. If either horse or man tries any of his viciousness on me, so much the worse for him; but it will make no difference to you. I will order my men to behave themselves before the lady; and they shall obey their orders. But the lady will please understand that I take my own way with them and suffer no interference.
LADY CICELY. Captain Brassbound: I don't want an escort at all. It will simply get us all into danger; and I shall have the trouble of getting it out again. That's what escorts always do. But since Sir Howard prefers an escort, I think you had better stay at home and let me take charge of it. I know your men will get on perfectly well if they're properly treated.
DRINKWATER (with enthusiasm). Feed aht o yr and, lidy, we would.
BRASSBOUND (with sardonic assent). Good. I agree. (To Drinkwater) You shall go without me.
DRINKWATER. (terrified). Eah! Wot are you a syin orn? We cawn't gow withaht yer. (To Lady Cicely) Naow, lidy: it wouldn't be for yr hown good. Yer cawn't hexpect a lot o poor honeddikited men lawk huz to ran ahrseolvs into dineger withaht naow Kepn to teoll us wot to do. Naow, lidy: hoonawted we stend: deevawdid we fall.
LADY CICELY. Oh, if you prefer your captain, have him by all means. Do you LIKE to be treated as he treats you?
DAINKWATER (with a smile of vanity). Weoll, lidy: y cawn't deenaw that e's a Paffick Genlmn. Bit hawbitrairy, preps; but hin a genlmn you looks for sich. It tikes a hawbitrairy wanne to knock aht them eathen Shikes, aw teoll yer.
BRASSBOUND. That's enough. Go.
DRINKWATER. Weoll, aw was hownly a teolln the lidy thet-- (A threatening movement from Brassbound cuts him short. He flies for his life into the house, followed by the Italian.)
BRASSBOUND. Your ladyship sees. These men serve me by their own
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