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In which certain strange Love-passages pass between Peregrine
Pultuney and the Long Cornet. We know not what effect this last performance of our hero's might not have had upon the feelings and the behaviour of the long cornet with the corkscrews, if just as he had commenced incontinently turning up a red face, his attention had not been diverted from Peregrine Pultuney to a new comer, who at this crisis happened to join the group by the gang-way under somewhat peculiar circumstances.
It is a remarkable fact that when an individual, like the long cornet, is in that very excitable state of feeling, which renders it probable that something like punching of the head will ensue in a short time, the occurrence of a very unimportant event will serve to divert the current of his bellicose thoughts into altogether a different channel. And so it was upon the present occasion, that the long cornet was suddenly so much engrossed with the new arrival who had just made his appearance, that he had not a corner in his mind left for a thought of Peregrine Pultuney, the insult that had been offered, and the head that was to have been punched.
This new arrival was no other than poor Doleton. With a white face, and a wild aspect, and a confused manner, his straight hair standing out in every possible direction, and his eyes leaping out of their sockets, the unhappy youth came rushing towards Peregrine Pultuney, and as he seized our hero by the arm, with a gripe that brought tears into his eyes, all unused to weeping as they were, the poor fellow faltered out, “ What is it? do tell me, Pultuney, what it is."
The nervous youth had heard the noise of the capstan in his cabin, which was just beneath it, and never having heard any thing like it before, he was seized with a sudden panic. In fear and trembling he waited a little while below; but human nature, such as his, could stand it no longer, so the poor youth rushed out of his cabin and made the best of his way upon deck, where the kind face of Peregrine Pultuney attracted him towards our hero for protection. He thought that the ship was going to pieces, and in truth when the capstan is at work it does not feel so very much unlike it.
" What is it?—what is it?-do tell me, Pultuney - is there any danger?” faltered the poor youth.
Peregrine was about to answer kindly and soothingly, when the long cornet anticipated him by saying, in the most solemn imaginable voice, “ Yes, sir, I fear there is.”
"Is there? oh! don't say so. What is it, sir? But you know best—dear Pultuney, tell me what it is."
" What is what ?" asked Peregrine Pultuney.
“ That noise—that horrid noise that I heard below?”—returned the unhappy youth, and he shuddered at the very thought of it.
The men were at that moment resting on the capstan-bars, so that the ship was comparatively quiet; but just as the nervous youth ceased to speak, the fiddler struck up a lively tune, and to it they all went to work again, stamping and bawling and making noise enough to awaken the seven sleepers.
Doleton clung to Peregrine, and grasped his arm more tightly than ever. “That is it” said the poor fellow.
“Oh!” said Peregrine Pultuney encouragingly, " that is only the capstan at work."
“And, sir,” continued the long cornet, taking up the words out of our hero's mouth, “the capstan is only worked, sir, when the ship is in imminent danger."
“ Don't believe him," said Peregrine, with the utmost coolness—"don't believe him, but come with me;" and as he said this, he took Doleton by the arm, led him away from the gangway, and as he went, he turned round to look at the long cornet, and let a long line of smoke pass over his shoulder, just like the train left behind a steam-vessel.
The long cornet hated Peregrine Pultuney most intensely from that moment. As for Peregrine, he never hated any one, but he thought to himself, as he walked away, “Before the voyage is out, my good fellow, you and I will have to strike a balance between us."
Peregrine Pultuney was not wrong-he never was on these occasions. He had no vindictive feelings in his heart, but he knew very well that the propensity of the long cornet to roast a greenhorn, whenever he met one, was very likely to entail on that respectable individual the advantages of a broken head.
But we shall come to this point anon, and shall not be long about it; for on reflection, we think it best, on the whole, to introduce our readers as briefly as possible, to the remainder of Peregrine Pultuney's fellow-passengers, who, not being intended to cut any very conspicuous figure in the scenes of our history, may be passed over in this place without any very elaborate notice.
There was, first and foremost, Colonel Coteloll, C.B., with a wife and two daughters, all very Scotch, very fair, and not very pretty; then there were Mr. and Mrs. Factor, of the civil service, not many months married, with a Master or Miss Factor—a “coming event” throwing something before it more substantial than a “ shadow.” Then there were two Misses Gowanspec, very healthy looking girls, with most unexceptionable ankles,
before it more subang event" throplaster or Miss
which caused them, we know not why, to have a particular partiality for the poop; and there was Major Lackywell, who had once been an A. D. C. and prided himself much on his carving; and “others of less note,” as Shelley says, in the shape of three assistant-surgeons, two young writers, and four or five nondescript gentlemen, whom nobody knew anything about.
We have reasons of our own for not describing very minutely the initial portion of our hero's voyage. Sea-sickness is a very repulsive subject at the best, and Cadet Doleton was very nearly dying of it. The long cornet recommended cigar-smoking as an antidote, and the poor youth was fool enough to believe him. Then there was another little skirmish between Peregrine Pultuney and the cornet, in which our hero got very much the best of it; and Julian Jenks, when he felt qualmish, railed more than ever against the confounded hole; and Peer Khan was excessively active and proved himself of immense service to our amiable hero, which was but a fair return for his favours.
As for that young gentlemen, he never felt sick more than once, and that was when the steward took advantage of a rough afternoon in the Bay of Biscay, to adorn the cuddy table with one of the dirtiest table cloths Peregrine Pultuney had ever seen his life. There was a great stain of curry-gravy just in front of our hero, which so offended his patrician sensibilities, that he turned his back on