The Amateur Gentleman (Chapter 5, page 3 of 3)


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Chapter 5

Suddenly the bottle-green coat ripped and tore as its wearer broke
free; there was the thud of a blow, and Barnabas staggered back with
blood upon his face--staggered, I say, and in that moment, as his
antagonist rushed, laughed fierce and short, and stepped lightly
aside and smote him clean and true under the chin, a little to one
side.

The gentleman's fists flew wide, he twisted upon his heels, pitched
over upon his face, and lay still.

Smiling still, Barnabas looked down upon him, then grew grave.

"Indeed," said he, "indeed it was a great pity to spoil such a
wonderful coat."

So he turned away, and coming to where she, who was the unwitting
cause of all this, yet lay, stopped all at once, for it seemed to
him that her posture was altered; her habit had become more decorous,
and yet the lashes, so dark in contrast to her hair, those shadowy
lashes yet curled upon her cheek. Therefore, very presently, Barnabas
stooped, and raising her in his arms bore her away through the wood
towards the dim recesses where, hidden in the green shadows, his
friend the brook went singing upon its way.

And in a while the gentleman stirred and sat up, and, beholding his
torn coat, swore viciously, and, chancing upon his purse, pocketed it,
and so went upon his way, and by contrast with the glory of the
morning his frown seemed the blacker.

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