As he lighted lamp after lamp and soft illumination crept
"A thousan' apology," said M. Beaucaire. "You will listen, I only beg, Lady Mary?"
She made an angry gesture of assent.
"Madam, I will be brief as I may. Two months ago there came to Bath a French gambler calling himself Beaucaire, a desperate fellow with the cards or dice, and all the men of fashion went to play at his lodging, where he won considerable sums. He was small, wore a black wig and mustachio. He had the insolence to show himself everywhere until the Master of Ceremonies rebuffed him in the pump-room, as you know, and after that he forbore his visits to the rooms. Mr. Nash explained (and was confirmed, madam, by indubitable information) that this Beaucaire was a man of unspeakable, vile, low birth, being, in fact, no other than a lackey of the French king's ambassador, Victor by name, de Mirepoix's barber. Although his condition was known, the hideous impudence of the fellow did not desert him, and he remained in Bath, where none would speak to him."
"Is your farrago nigh done, sir?"
"A few moments, madam. One evening, three weeks gone, I observed a very elegant equipage draw up to my door, and the Duke of Chateaurien was announced. The young man's manners were worthy - according to the French acceptance - and 'twere idle to deny him the most monstrous assurance. He declared himself a noble traveling for pleasure. He had taken lodgings in Bath for a season, he said, and called at once to pay his respects to me. His tone was so candid - in truth, I am the simplest of men, very easily gulled - and his stroke so bold, that I did not for one moment suspect him; and, to my poignant regret - though in the humblest spirit I have shown myself eager to atone - that very evening I had the shame of presenting him to yourself."
"Have patience, pray, madam. Ay, the shame! You know what figure he hath cut in Bath since that evening. All ran merrily with him until several days ago Captain Badger denounced him as an impostor, vowing that Chateaurien was nothing."
"Pardon," interrupted M. Beaucaire. "'Castle Nowhere' would have been so much better. Why did you not make him say it that way, monsieur?"
Lady Mary started; she was looking at the Duke, and her face was white. He continued: "Poor Captam Badger was stabbed that same day. - "