"What on earth, Sir, is the meaning of all this?" said Sir Thomas, encountering the man who was not his son-in-law in the sitting-room of the hotel.
"I have just run away with your daughter, Sir Thomas. That is the simple truth."
"And I have got the trouble of taking her back again."
"I have behaved like a gentleman through it all, Sir Thomas," said the Captain, thus defending his own character and the lady's. "You have behaved like a fool. What on earth am I to think of it, Sir? You were asked down to my house because you gave me to understand that you proposed to ask my niece, Miss Dormer, to be your wife; and now you have run away with my daughter. Is that behaviour like a gentleman?"
"Well, Sir?" Captain Batsby found the explanation very difficult; and hummed and hawed a great deal. "Do you mean to say that it was a lie from beginning to end about Miss Dormer?" Great liberties of speech are allowed to gentlemen whose daughters have been run away with, and whose hospitality has been outraged.
"Oh dear no. What I said then was quite true. It was my intention. But -- but -- ." The perspiration broke out upon the unhappy man's brow as the great immediate trouble of his situation became clear to him. "There was no lie -- no lie at all. I beg to assure you, Sir Thomas, that I am not a man to tell a lie."
"When I found how very superior a person your daughter was!" "It isn't a month since she was engaged to somebody else," said the angry father, forgetting all propriety in his indignation. "Gertrude?" demanded Captain Batsby.
"You are two fools. So you gave up my niece?"