"We shall find him at Roland's," said I.
Sir B---- M---- took Betty in his arms, and gazed at me with an air of content, as if he would have shewn me the greatness of an English heart-- a greatness which more than atones for its weakness.
"I understand your purpose," I said, "but you shall not execute your plans without me. Let me have the charge of seeing that justice is done you. If you will not agree, I shall start for Rome directly, I shall get there before you, and shall give the wretched actor warning of your approach. If you had killed him before I should have said nothing, but at Rome it is different, and you would have reason to repent of having indulged your righteous indignation. You don't know Rome and priestly justice. Come, give me your hand and your word to do nothing without my consent, or else I shall leave you directly."
Sir B---- M---- was a man of my own height but somewhat thinner, and five or six years older; the reader will understand his character without my describing it.
My speech must have rather astonished him, but he knew that my disposition was benevolent, and he could not help giving me his hand and his pledge.
"Yes, dearest," said Betty, "leave vengeance to the friend whom Heaven has sent us."
"I consent to do so, provided everything is done in concert between us."
After this we parted, and Sir B---- M----, being in need of rest, I went to tell the vetturino that we should start for Rome again on the following day.
"For Rome! Then you have found your pocketbook? It seems to me, my good sir, that you would have been wiser not to search for it."
The worthy man, seeing my hand done up in lint, imagined I had fought a duel, and indeed everybody else came to the same conclusion.
Sir B---- M---- had gone to bed, and I spent the rest of the day in the company of Betty, who was overflowing with the gratitude. She said we must forget what had passed between us, and be the best of friends for the rest of our days, without a thought of any further amorous relations. I had not much difficulty in assenting to this condition.
She burned with the desire for vengeance on the scoundrelly actor who had deceived her; but I pointed out that her duty was to moderate Sir B---- M----'s passions, as if he attempted any violence in Rome it might prove a very serious matter for him, besides its being to the disadvantage of his reputation to have the affair talked of.
"I promise you," I added, "to have the rogue imprisoned as soon as we reach Rome, and that ought to be sufficient vengeance for you. Instead of the advantages he proposed for himself, he will receive only shame and all the misery of a prison."
Sir B---- M---- slept seven or eight hours, and rose to find that a good deal of his rage had evaporated. He consented to abide by my arrangements, if he could have the pleasure of paying the fellow a visit, as he wanted to know him.
After this sensible decision and a good supper I went to my lonely couch without any regret, for I was happy in the consciousness of having done a good action.
We started at day-break the next morning, and when we reached Acquapendente we resolved to post to Rome. By the post the journey took twelve hours, otherwise we should have been three days on the road.
As soon as we reached Rome I went to the customhouse and put in the document relating to Betty's trunk. The next day it was duly brought to our inn and handed over to Betty.
As Sir B---- M---- had placed the case in my hands I went to the bargello, an important person at Rome, and an expeditious officer when he sees a case clearly and feels sure that the plaintiffs do not mind spending their money. The bargello is rich, and lives well; he has an almost free access to the cardinal-vicar, the governor, and even the Holy Father himself.
He gave me a private interview directly, and I told him the whole story, finally saying that all we asked for was that the rogue should be imprisoned and afterwards expelled from Rome.
"You see," I added, "that our demand is a very moderate one, and we could get all we want by the ordinary channels of the law; but we are in a hurry, and I want you to take charge of the whole affair.