I said, "to serve the interests of your niece and your family, and I think I have established some slight claim to be favoured with your attention in return."
"Don't bully me!" exclaimed Mr. Fairlie, falling back helplessly in the chair, and closing his eyes. "Please don't bully me. I'm not strong enough."
I was determined not to let him provoke me, for Laura Fairlie's sake.
"My object," I went on, "is to entreat you to reconsider your letter, and not to force me to abandon the just rights of your niece, and of all who belong to her. Let me state the case to you once more, and for the last time."
Mr. Fairlie shook his head and sighed piteously.
"This is heartless of you, Gilmore—very heartless," he said. "Never mind, go on."
I put all the points to him carefully—I set the matter before him in every conceivable light. He lay back in the chair the whole time I was speaking with his eyes closed. When I had done he opened them indolently, took his silver smelling-bottle from the table, and sniffed at it with an air of gentle relish.
"Good Gilmore!" he said between the sniffs, "how very nice this is of you! How you reconcile one to human nature!"
"Give me a plain answer to a plain question, Mr. Fairlie. I tell you again, Sir Percival Glyde has no shadow of a claim to expect more than the income of the money. The money itself if your niece has no children, ought to be under her control, and to return to her family. If you stand firm, Sir Percival must give way—he must give way, I tell you, or he exposes himself to the base imputation of marrying Miss Fairlie entirely from mercenary motives."
Mr. Fairlie shook the silver smelling-bottle at me playfully.
"You dear old Gilmore, how you do hate rank and family, don't you? How you detest Glyde because he happens to be a baronet. What a Radical you are—oh, dear me, what a Radical you are!"
A Radical!!! I could put up with a good deal of provocation, but, after holding the soundest Conservative principles all my life, I could NOT put up with being called a Radical. My blood boiled at it—I started out of my chair—I was speechless with Indignation.
"Don't shake the room!" cried Mr. Fairlie—"for Heaven's sake don't shake the room! Worthiest of all possible