Terence Denville

Author: Bret Harte

Chapter IV. Count Moscow’s Narrative.

I am a foreigner. Observe! To be a foreigner in England is to be mysterious, suspicious, intriguing. M. Collins has requested the history of my complicity with certain occurrences. It is nothing, bah! absolutely nothing.

I write with ease and fluency. Why should I not write? Tra la la? I am what you English call corpulent. Ha, ha! I am a pupil of Macchiavelli. I find it much better to disbelieve everything, and to approach my subject and wishes circuitously, than in a direct manner. You have observed that playful animal, the cat. Call it, and it does not come to you directly, but rubs itself against all the furniture in the room, and reaches you finally—and scratches. Ah, ha, scratches! I am of the feline species. People call me a villain—bah!

I know the family, living No. 27 Limehouse Road. I respect the gentleman,—a fine, burly specimen of your Englishman,—and madame, charming, ravishing, delightful. When it became known to me that they designed to let their delightful residence, and visit foreign shores, I at once called upon them. I kissed the hand of madame. I embraced the great Englishman. Madame blushed slightly. The great Englishman shook my hand like a mastiff.

I began in that dexterous, insinuating manner, of which I am truly proud. I thought madame was ill. Ah, no. A change, then, was all that was required. I sat down at the piano and sang. In a few minutes madame retired. I was alone with my friend.

Seizing his hand, I began with every demonstration of courteous sympathy. I do not repeat my words, for my intention was conveyed more in accent, emphasis, and manner, than speech. I hinted to him that he had another wife living. I suggested that this was balanced—ha!—by his wife’s lover. That, possibly, he wished to fly; hence the letting of his delightful mansion. That he regularly and systematically beat his wife in the English manner, and that she repeatedly deceived me. I talked of hope, of consolation, of remedy. I carelessly produced a bottle of strychnine and a small vial of stramonium from my pocket, and enlarged on the efficiency of drugs. His face, which had gradually become convulsed, suddenly became fixed with a frightful expression. He started to his feet, and roared: "You d—d Frenchman!"

I instantly changed my tactics, and endeavored to embrace him. He kicked me twice, violently. I begged permission to kiss madame’s hand. He replied by throwing me down stairs.

I am in bed with my head bound up, and beef-steaks upon my eyes, but still confident and buoyant. I have not lost faith in Macchiavelli. Tra la la! as they sing in the opera. I kiss everybody’s hands.


Related Resources

None available for this document.

Download Options

Title: Terence Denville

Select an option:

*Note: A download may not start for up to 60 seconds.

Email Options

Title: Terence Denville

Select an option:

Email addres:

*Note: It may take up to 60 seconds for for the email to be generated.

Chicago: Bret Harte, "Chapter IV. Count Moscow’s Narrative.," Terence Denville, ed. Davis, Charles Belmont, 1866-1926 in Terence Denville (New York: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1920), Original Sources, accessed June 4, 2023, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=GDYWGP83LTIMEE3.

MLA: Harte, Bret. "Chapter IV. Count Moscow’s Narrative." Terence Denville, edited by Davis, Charles Belmont, 1866-1926, in Terence Denville, Vol. 22, New York, Doubleday, Page & Company, 1920, Original Sources. 4 Jun. 2023. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=GDYWGP83LTIMEE3.

Harvard: Harte, B, 'Chapter IV. Count Moscow’s Narrative.' in Terence Denville, ed. . cited in 1920, Terence Denville, Doubleday, Page & Company, New York. Original Sources, retrieved 4 June 2023, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=GDYWGP83LTIMEE3.