Unhand Me, Villain! by Robert E. Howard
Published in The Tattler (Brownwood High School paper), February
“BE MINE, MY LOVE!” pleaded young Reginald
Adjernon Lancelot Montmorency to the beautiful Gwinivere de Readycash, the
lovely and accomplished heiress, daughter of old Readycash, the multi-
“Alas,” she sighed; “It cannot be. My father does not
like you. Only today he mentioned you and made some remarks about you in a
language I took to be Greek for I could not understand it. And there is the
duke de Blooey from Montenegro. He is courting me and father likes him
because he can play checkers.”
“I will call the scoundrel out,” whooped Reginald
passionately; “he shall fight a duel with me!”
“No, no!” begged Gwinivere, clinging to her lover’s
necktie; “you must not! I beg you!”
“Very well, my love!” replied Reggie, with great relief;
“I knew you would say so or I would not have—I mean it is a good
thing for the duke that I love you too much to disobey your command. I will
not force himm into a duel.”
He was silent for a few minutes, then “But what are we to
She chewed a cud of gum meditatively for several seconds. “Why not
ask father for me?” she suggested.
“I will,” he exclaimed. “This very hour! I will be
masterful with him! I shall say, ‘Sir, I am your new son-in-law. No
arguments now!’ “
“But don’t harm him, Reggie!” she begged;
“remember he is my father.”
“I will not touch him,” he promised magnanimously; “I
will quell him with the power of my eye.”
He rushed from the room. As he strode toward old Readycash’s study,
he rehearsed the speech he would make. “I will say, ‘Sir, I am
going to marry your daughter. Be silent, sir! I have decided to do this and I
will not be balked by a gouty old father-in-law. I want you to understand
that from now on I am the master of this house. You may write out a check for
ten thousand dollars for our honeymoon.’ If he refuses and talks
impudently I may forget he is my future father-in-law and handle him
He was now at the door of the study. He paused before it. Glancing around,
he found several cushions on chairs and sofas. These he placed on the floor
in front of the door. Then after several attempts, he put on a bold front and
knocked timidly on the door. A deep, gruff voice from within said,
Reginald pushed open the door and entered cautiously. Old man Readycash
glared furiously at him.
“Oh, it’s you, eh? What the —— do you
“Why,” replied Reginald, “ I, er, you, er, that is, your
girl, I mean my girl, what I meant to say is that I, er she, you, er, that is
to say you.”
“No doubt,” old Readycash answered dryly, “have you
anything else to tell me?”
“Sir,” said Reginald with dignity, “you have a
“Remarkable,” exclaimed the old man.
“As I said, sir,” continued Reginald, ignoring the
interruption, “ you have a daughter.”
“I have several,” was the reply; “also seven old maid
sisters. I will introduce them to you, if you like.”
Reginald shuddered. “I ccccame ttto aaask yyou ffor your
daughter’s, your daughter’s, your daughter’s.”
“My daughter’s what?” roared old man Readycash.
“Hand!” gasped Reginald.
Old Readycash rose. “Would you just as soon take my foot?” he
Reggie fled. As he neared the door he was struck from behind by a force
that lifted him from his feet and propelled him irresistibly through the door
which was opened just then by a well-dressed gentleman with a monocle and
mustache. Reggie lit on this gentleman and they rolled across the hall, until
stopped by the wall.
“Sapristi!” exclaimed the duke de Blooey (for it was he),
leaping to his feet. “Caramba! Le diable! Tamale! Asparagus tips! I
will have your life for this!”
Just at that moment old Readycash charged out of his room. “You
young villain!” he yelled at Reggie, “what do you mean by
knocking down my guests?”
Reggie fled toward the stairs. At the top step he felt the same force that
had sent him from the presence of Readycash. The young man soared gracefully
into the air and floated down the stairs.
“What!” yelled old Readycash; “you still here? Get out
of my house! And as for you,” turning to the girl, “you shall
marry the duke this very day.”
“But father,” began Gwinivere.
“Shut up!” yelled old Readycash, brutally; “do you want
me to whip you?”
The duke seized her by the wrist. “Aha, me proud beauty,” he
exclaimed, diabolically; “I have you in my power at last!”
“Unhand me, villain!” she cried.
At that moment the door flew open and two men rushed in. One was a tall,
thin man and the other a short stocky man.
They rushed upon the duke, knocked him down and handcuffed him.
“Aha,” exclaimed the tall man, “a duke now, are you,
“What does this mean, sir?” asked old Readycash.
“This man is a crook in disguise,” the tall man answered.
“I have followed him half across the world. You see before you,”
he continued, kicking off the duke’s mustache and monocle, “Booze
Bill, the Bowery Bum! One of the slickest crooks on record.”
“Curses,” hissed the duke. “One thousand curses. Ay, one
thousand five hundred curses!”
“As for you, sir,” the stranger continued, to old Readycash,
“your daughter wants to marry this young man,” indicating Reggie,
“and you give him your consent and your check for £10,000. Also a
check for the same amount to me as a token of your gratitude in preventing
you from marrying your daughter to a villain. If you do not I will send you
to jail for 2,000 years. I used to drink my beer at Dinty Moore’s
saloon when you were bartender there and you often shortchanged me.”
Then to the short man, “Take the prisoner outside and call a cab,
Colonel; I will follow presently.”
“But, who are you?” asked old Readycash, as he reached for his
checkbook and Reggie and Gwinivere fell into each other’s arms,
“who are you?”
“I?” answered the stranger with a smile; “I am Hawkshaw,