"understand me, squire. if i go in with you we go in fifty-fifty. complete equals. i'm not your bloody batman any more."
valentine took another sip of his ale. "why, of course, old fellow, no need to belabor the point. i have been out of the regiment and out in the street now for almost two years now. if i -ah - continue to dress a bit more elegantly than yourself it is only for show. to fool people, which is something i need do on a regular basis.
i am as much on the bum as you are, maybe more so." valentine smiled. "as i don't really know your circumstances, do i?"
"ah," gobbins replied. "i think you can see my circumstances well enough, squire."
he rapped his finger on the table.
" all right then, what exactly is this business about?"
"do you not want to hear the rest of what i have to say?" garland stammered.
her guest smiled patronizingly.
103. a voice for moderation
"calm yourself, gwyneth."
104. no shilly-shallying
"behind every fortune, they say, is a great crime."
"get on with it, squire."
105. a charming landscape
how lovely the day is, thought the orphan, as she looked out the window of the train at the passing landscape. from the distance afforded by the high embankment on which the tracks ran , it presented a very picture of bucolic charm.
how i could enjoy it if i were not on this ridiculous wild goose chase -
she checked her thoughts. she did not wish to surrender to the despair of the previous night.
and, ridiculous as it might be, she could not help feeling that the little man seated across from her in the compartment could read her mind.
the little man smiled at her. "a lovely scene, is it not?" he addressed her with unseemly familiarity.
he had indeed been reading her mind!
the orphan blushed.
"unless you have something else to add , miss, i must respectfully express the opinion that this is all moonshine."
107. a forthright man
"thank you, sir," garland managed to say with some composure, "for your forthrightness. i am sorry to have troubled you."
"not at all. forthrightness is my stock in trade."