|Newspaper Title||Southern Argus (Port Elliot, SA : 1866 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||The Kennises|
(.Written expressly for the SoutJtern Argut.)
By Godfrey Egbemont. [Author's rights reserved. J
(Continued from our last.) Chapter II.
* The devil you are 1' exclaimed Sam ; 1 if Miss Helen only favored ms as she does yon— yon still lucky beggar — I'd undertake to satisfy him in other re spects ; I'm bifir enough, anyhow.* The speaker stood over six feet in his socks, and owning proportionate breadth there 'was warranty for the assertion. 1 Better try, Sam,7 Harry returned gloomily, ' I believe the old brute would sell her to Mephistophiles himself, if that gentleman produced a compensating
amount of treasure.' Here John Cremer entered the room and passed by their seat. Sam returned his salutation, but Harry stared him in the face, and cut him dead. The attorney's pale cheek became livid, he mattered something, and went forward to the table, soon making one in a four handed game. ' What's the matter?' Sam asked. * Cremer and yourself were very good friends.' ' Yes ; but we are not now,' Harry answered ; * nor shall we ever be friends again.' Sam asks no more questions, feeling instinctively that the subject is distaste ful, and immediately afterwards they move nearer the table, watching the game. Oremer and his partner- win easily, and Harry thinks of Jeaving the room, when someone calls, ' Kennis, take a cue, and beat me if you can for five shillings, fifty up.' * No, thank you,' Harry says smiling, * I'm not playing to-night.' ' Not playing ?' the other responds, with a vivid recollection of the English man's cool all-round play, besides cer tain pet hazards and difficult spot strokes. * Nonsense, here's your favor ite cue.' *No, really you must excuse me,' and he prepares to go. ' Mr. Kennis,' John Cremer re marked distinctly, bo that every person present could hear, and presuming, as his kind of men do, that because he had the legal whip-hand no check would be imposed on anything he might choose to say. ' Mr. Eeiinis has not the mosey to spare.' Harry stopped and turned, but quite coolly, and eyed the speaker disdainfully. 'Mr. Kennis, I repreat' continued Cremer insultingly * needs any money, he has to pay his debts, and can ..^have no business in a billiard-room.' Those near who knew Harry Kennis beBt expected to see him grapple with Cremer the next moment, but still he stood quietly looking at the attorney, a convulsive twitching of the mouth alone showing that a fire raged within. * Harry ! Harry Kennis 1' shouted Sam Tyrrell at length, ' are you a man and stand this ?' Harry Kennis made no answer, but Cremer should have noticed before mak ing sure of his position, how his debtor's hands were clasped and unclasped, and how his debtor's deep chest rose and fell with 6upressed passion as though the tightly fitting frock-coat would burst. * I am certain of the truth of what I say, Mr. Kennis does not deny it.' If Mr. John Cremer had known why he was not chastised at once, what had saved him so far, he would never have continued as he did with venomous deliberateness. * *Mr. Harry Kennis, gentlemen, Is a pauper who can't pay his debts, and, I once more repeat, has no business here.' 'Damnation!' Sam yelled, 'if you don't thrash the fellow, Harry, I'll thrash you 1 By ? I will ! Off with your coat !' Uttering a kind of hoarse moan, Harry, unable to contain himself longer, said suddenly and savagely, * Hold ray coat, Sam,' and tore it off. Then lhe secret of his forbearance was exposed. It was seen that so poor had he become, no shirt adorned his back, a ' dickey' taking the place of a front and maintaining conventional respectability. The knotted muscles on his bare, sinewy arms told their tale to the knowing ones, it was capital fighting-costume, though. 'Now, Mr. John Cremer,' he said savagely, ' I am going to make my first payment, so take care of yourself, you contemptible scoundrel.' The attorney stood on the defensive, having wofally mistaken his man. Hate and envy gleamed from his eyes as he hit out furiously, and made him seem formidable at first. Here, how ever, he was not master, for Harry's scientific boxing gave an advantage which nothing else could counterbalance. The thrashing of John Cremer was a comparatively easy matter. Details of such a one-sided affair would not even be interesting, and in any case are never pleasant. Let it suffice the reader to know that fi-.e minutes after the ' dickey' was shown, Harry threw Cremer over his knees and, almost laughing, smacked him vigorously behind as mothers treat their naughty children. Humiliated thus before all, strangers and others having flocked thither, Mr. John Cre mer writhed, swore, shrieked, and strug gled for freedom in vain. Finally he wept like a coward as he was, arid beg ged for mercy. Harry, tired of tne pastime, flung the notary public away, put on his coat, made a boa- of luucb Seeming fetiuii itv, and abkeJ bkntiiy, 'How do vou like ? dickey,' Mv. John Cremer ?' Long af.er this nig'i f, whenever auv impudent btackiiUHVii in lha did. net ie ceivfil a we.)i inm^d -:ii;-:Usfiueiit, \\in young fellows called it ' giving him dickey.' To be continued in our next.