The Honourable Mr. Tawnish (Chapter 8, page 1 of 6)

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Chapter 8

So swift and altogether unexpected had been the end, that for a long minute there was a strange, tense stillness, a silence wherein all eyes were turned from the motionless form on the floor, with the ever-widening stain upon the snow of his shirt, to where Mr. Tawnish stood, leaning upon his small-sword. Then all at once pandemonium seemed to break loose--some running to lift the wounded man, some wandering round aimlessly, but all talking excitedly, and at the same time.

"Dick and Bentley," says Jack, mopping at his face with his handkerchief, "it's in my mind that we have made a cursed mistake for once--the fellow is a man."

"I've known that this month and more," says I.

"I say a man," repeated Jack, "and devil anoint me, I mean a man!"

"Who writes verses!" added Bentley.

"And what of that, sir?" cries Jack, indignantly. "I did the same myself once--we all did."

"A patched and powdered puppy-dog!" sneers Bentley; "look at him."

Now at this, glancing across at Mr. Tawnish, I saw that he still stood as before, only that the point of his sword was buried deep in the floor beneath his weight, while his pale face seemed paler even than its wont. As we watched, his hand slipped suddenly from the hilt, and he tottered slightly; then I noticed for the first time that blood was running down his right arm, and trickling from his finger-tips.

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