by Georgette Heyer
The moonlight glinted on the pistol, and the hand that held it. Letty cried: "Don't, don't!" and tried with feverish haste to unclasp the single row of pearls from round her throat.
"Not you!" said the highwayman, even more ferociously.
The pistol was now pointing straight at Nell, but instead of shrinking away, or making hast (as Letty quaveringly implored her to do) to strip off her bracelets and rings and the large pendant that flashed on her breast, she was sitting bolt upright, her incredulous gaze fixed at first on the hand that grasped the pistol, and then lifting to the masked face.
"Quick!" commanded the highwaymen harshly. "If you don't want me to put a bullet through you!"
"Hell and the devil confound it!" ejaculated his lordship, adding, however, in a hasty attempt to cover this lapse: "None o' that! Hand over the gewgaws!"
"Take the pistol away!" ordered Nell. "How dare you try to frighten me like this? Of all the outrageous things to do -! It is a great deal too bad of you! What in the world possessed you?"
"Well, if you can't tell that you must be a bigger sapskull than I knew!" said his lordship disgustedly. He pulled off his mask, and called over his shoulder: "Bubbled, Corny!"
"There, what did I tell you?" said Mr Fancot, putting up the weapon with which he had been covering the coachman, and riding up to bow politely to the occupants of the carriage. "You ought to have let me do the trick, dear boy: I said her ladyship would recognise you!"
"Well, I don't know how the devil she should!" said the Viscount, considerably put-out.
"Oh, Dy, how absurd you are!" Nell exclaimed, trying not to laugh. "The moonlight was shining on the ring Mama gave you when you came of age! And then you said Not you! to Letty! Of course I recognised you!"
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