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“I wish you were not so fond of your joke, Jemmy,” he said. “I wish, my dear, you were not quite so fond of your joke.”
“Joke?” repeated his son. “It would be serious enough in some people’s eyes, I can tell you. nike air max 2013 Miss Gwilt has been tried for her life; and the papers in that black bag are the lawyer’s instructions for the Defense. Do you call that a joke?”
The father started to his feet, and looked straight across the table at the son with a smile of exultation that was terrible to see.
“She’s been tried for her life!” he burst out, with a deep gasp of satisfaction. “She’s been tried for her life!” He broke into a low, prolonged laugh, and snapped his fingers exultingly. “Aha-ha-h nike air max sale a! Some cheap nike air max trainers thing to frighten Mr. Armadale in that !”
Scoundrel as he was, the son was daunted by the explosion of pent-up passion which burst on him in those words.
“Don’t excite yourself,” he said, with a sullen suppression of the mocking manner in which he had spoken thus far.
Mr. Bashwood sat down again, and passed his handkerchief over his forehead. “No,” he said, nodding and smiling at his son. “No, no — no excit nike air max 2012 ement, as you say — I can wait now, Jemmy nike air max 90 ; I can wait now.”
He waited with immovable patience. At intervals, he nodded, and smiled, and whispered to himself, “Something to frighten Mr. Armadale in that !” But he made no further attempt, by word, look, or action, to hurry his son.
Bashwood the younger finished his breakfast slowly, out of pure bravado; lit a cigar with the utmost deliberation; looked at his father, and, cheap nike air max seeing him still as immovably patient as ever, opened the black bag at last, and spread the papers on the table.
“How will you have it?” he asked. “Long or short? I have got her whole life here. The counsel who defended her at the trial was instructed to hammer hard at the sympathies of the jury: he went head over ears into the miseries of her past career, and shocked everybody in court in the most workman-l nike air max classic ike manner. Shall I take the same line? Do you want to know all about her, from the time when she was in short frocks and frilled trousers? or do you prefer getting on at once to her first appearance as a prisoner in the dock?”
“I want to know all about her,” said his father, eagerly. “The worst, and the best — the worst particularly. Don’t spare my feelings, Jemmy — whatever you do, don’t spare my feelings! Can’t I l nike air max 1 ook at the papers myself?”
“No, you can’t. They would be all Greek and Hebrew to you. Thank your stars that you have got a sharp son, who can take the pith out of these papers, and give it a smack of the right flavor in serving it up. There are not ten men in England who could tell you this woman’s story as I can tell it. It’s a gift, old gentleman, of the sort that is given to very few people — and it lodges h ere.”
He tapped his forehead smartly, and turned to the first page of the manuscript before him, with an unconcealed triumph at the prospect of exhibiting his own cleverness, which was the first expression of a genuine feeling of any sort that had escaped him yet.
“Miss Gwilt’s story begins,” said Bashwood the younger, “in the market-place at Thorpe Ambrose. One day, something like a quarter of a century ago, a traveling quack doctor, who dealt in perfumery as well as medicines, came to the town with his cart, and exhibited, as a living example of the excellence of his washes and hair-oils and so on, a pretty little girl, with a beautiful complexion and wonderful hair. His name was Oldershaw. He had a wife, who helped him in the perfumery part of his business, and who carried it on by herself after his death. She has risen nike air max 95 in the world of late years; and she is identical with that sly old lady who employed me professionally a short time since. As for the pretty little girl, you know who she was as well as I do. While the quack was haranguing the mob and showing them the child’s hair, a young lady, driving through the marketplace, stopped her carriage to hear what it was all about, saw the little girl, and took a violent fancy to her on the spot. The young lady was the daughter of Mr. Blanchard, of Thorpe Ambrose. She went home, and interested her father in the fate of the innocent little victim of the quack doctor. The same evening, the Oldershaws were sent for to the great house and were questioned. They declared themselves to be her uncle and aunt — a lie, of course!— and they were quite willing to let her attend the village school, while t air max 2013 hey stayed at Thorpe Ambrose, when the proposal was made to them. The new arrangement was carried out the next day. And the day after that, the Oldershaws had disappeared, and had left the little girl on the squire’s hands! She evidently hadn’t answered as they expected in the capacity of an advertisement, and that was the way they took of providing for her for life. There is the first act of the play for you! Clear enough, so far, isn’t it?”
“Clear enough, Jemmy, to clever people. But I’m old and slow. I don’t understand one thing. Whose child was she?”
“A very sensible question. Sorry to inform you that nobody can answer it — Miss Gwilt herself included. These Instructions that I’m refering to are founded, of course, on her own statements, sifted by her attorney. All she could remember, on being questioned, was that she w nike air max as beaten and half starved, somewhere in the country, by a woman who took in children at nurse. The woman had a card with her, stating that her name was Lydia Gwilt, and got a yearly allowance for taking care of her (paid through a lawyer) till she was eight years old. At that time, the allowance sto nike air max 90 sale pped; the lawyer had no explanation to offer; nobody came to look after her; nobody wrote. The Oldershaws saw her, and thought she might answer to exhibit; and the woman parted with her for a trifle to the Oldershaws; and the Oldershaws parted with her for good and all to the Blanchards. That’s the story of her birth, parentage, and education! She may be the daughter of a duke, or the daughter of a costermonger. The circumstances may be highly romantic, or utterly commonplace. Fancy anything you like — there’s nothing to stop y cheap nike air max ou. When you’ve had your fancy out, say the word, and I’ll turn over the leaves and go on.”
“Please to go on, Jemmy — please to go on.” ③

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