"Not a grain of 'em," said Brown, with an accent of conviction. "Well, now, I'll tell you the truth; I can read a gent by this time: and I'm no more afeared for the money than if I had it in my hand. But ye see, my stomach won't let me do it."
This was a sad disappointment; so sudden, too. " Your stomach?" said Alfred ruefully. "'What do you mean?"
"Ay, my stomach. Wouldn't _your_stomach rise against serving a man that had done you the worst turn one man can do another--been and robbed you of your sweetheart?"
Brown continued, and now with some emotion: "Hannah Blake and I were very good friends till you came, and I was thinking of asking her to name the day; but now she won't look at me. 'Don't come teasing me,' says she, 'I am meat for your master.' It's you that have turned the girl's head, sir."
"Bother the women!" said Alfred cordially. "Oh, what plagues they are! And how unjust _you_ are, to spite me for the fault of another. Can I help the fools from spooning upon me?" He reflected a moment then burst out: "Brown, you are a duffer, a regular duffer. What, don't you see your game is to get me out of the place? If you do, in forty-eight hours I shall be married to my Julia, and that dumpling-faced girl will be cured. But if you keep me here, by Gee, sir, I'll make hot love to your Hannah, boiling hot, hotter than ever was--out of the isles of Greece. Oh do help me out, and I'll give you the hundred pounds, and I'll give Hannah another hundred pounds, on condition she marries you: and, if she won't marry you, she shan't have a farthing, only a good hiding."
Brown was overpowered by his maniac's logic. "You have a head," said he; "there's my hand; I'll go in, if I die for it."
They now put their heads together over the means. Brown's plan was to wait, and wait, for an opportunity. Alfred's was to make one this very night.
"But how can I?" said Brown. "I shan't have the key of your room. I am not on watch in your part to-night."