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night. Take my word for it, malt's your onlyit is, I'll take my oath ;" and having delivered this speech in the style of one who ought to know something about the matter, he requested the ensign to reach him the mug, and took a tolerable long swig to prove the sincerity of the opinion he had expressed.
He had no sooner performed this feat, than his servant entered, and put into his hand a glazed card, with some letters engraved upon it, in such remarkably small text, that a short-sighted man would have required the assistance of an uncommonly strong magnifying glass to have deciphered them. But Lieutenant Peterkin, though he was often blind-drunk, was not organically blind, so he read the name on the card, and drawled out “ Show him in, Williams,” and then turning to Ensign Allworthy, said—“Here's a friend out of a ship, my good fellow, Allworthy, I must make you acquainted with him. Drawlincourt of the Dragoons, a monstrous fine fellow, on my soul. Ah! Drawlincourt, glad to see you—Allworthy, Mr. Drawlincourt, of the -- Dragoons-Drawlincourt, Mr. Allworthy of the 120th ;" and having gone through this ceremony of introduction, and shaken the long cornet by his two middle fingers, Lieutenant Peterkin, who very much to his personal inconvenience had been obliged to sit up for a minute, stretched himself again at full length, and exclaimed, “Drawlincourt, I've got such a headach, upon my soul I have, it's just as though they were sponging out my head with a spongestaff and boring a gimblet through my brain. Do you know what that sensation is—I'll take my oath it's just like it."
“I can't say that I do,” returned Drawlincourt, who thought the description was somewhat confused, but had too much politeness to say so.
“Well then, perhaps you know what it is to be confoundedly seedy," continued Lieutenant Peterkin; and this time the long cornet was candid enough to own the soft impeachment, which led to a great deal of desultory conversation about claret and champagne, and sherry and porter, and this elicited a question as to the excellence of the wines on board the Hastings, and the wines led naturally enough to the passengers, a subject which drew out the cornet in great force, and was the occasion of as grand a display of blasphemy and abuse as ever reverberated through the hallowed precincts of Billingsgate.
“And to crown it all,” continued the cornet, who had worked himself up into a state of feeling bordering upon insanity, which was sufficiently denoted by a livid face, rolling eyes, and a foaming mouth; "to crown it all, I was publicly insulted by a blackguard cadet, an upstart hobbledehoy, whom I would not have spoken to anywhere else but on board ship—a confounded levelling place as it is. Publicly insulted, sir, grossly insulted, and
tely seedy Carenner the audiolf that the
then put under arrest !” and so great was the excitement under which the cornet laboured, after delivering himself of this last speech, that he strode up and down the room like a maniac, grasping a dessert knife in his hand, and furiously masticating a mouthful of cheese.
When, by this process of locomotion, the intensity of the long cornet's feelings had been in some small measure subdued, Lieutenant Peterkin, who was taking as much pleasure in the scene as a person desperately seedy can take in any thing, ventured to ask in what manner the audacious cadet had insulted him, thinking within himself that the question was almost sure to lash the sensibilities of Cornet Drawlincourt into a still more furious whirlpool of excitement.
Nor was he mistaken ; almost inarticulate with passion, the long cornet spluttered out—"How did he insult me? you may well ask. How should you think he insulted me?-grossly, sir-disgracefully, sir, he-he-he-he-he horsewhipped me!"
Upon this announcement Lieutenant Peterkin drew himself up with a long breath, whistled in a most extraordinary manner, and exclaimed “Hoi. ty-toi-ty!" in a sort of ascending scale, which we find great difficulty in describing on paper.
The cornet seated himself down utterly exhausted. Ensign Allworthy smiled and hid his face in his porter-mug; whilst Lieutenant Peterkin rubbed his hands between his knees and put on a most extraordinary grimace.
" And what do you intend to do ?" asked the latter gentleman, who delighted in a spree of this kind, as long as he was not a principal party, and who now thought that he saw a pleasant prospect before him.
“Do!” cried the long cornet,' “ crush him!” and he suited the action to the word with a stamp of the foot that might have flattened a rhinoceros into tortoise-shell combs. .“ Ah! true," drawled Lieutenant Peterkin, in a sneering voice, amiably intended to exasperate the cornet, if possible, still more.
“ Every body determines upon crushing his enemy, and a very laudable determination it is too; but, don't you think, Drawlincourt, that the word is just a little vague ?”
* Vague! curse him," cried Drawlincourt, “he shan't find it vague either. I'll make pretty plain demonstrations; yes, that I will, on the varmint's hide."
- There's some sense in that,” remarked Peterkin; “ you can polish him off in the Heeren gracht, and mind you tell me when you do it, that I may not be far off.”
The long cornet looked astonished, did his best to get up a smile, found it was a failure, so gave it up in despair, and contented himself with observing instead, that Lieutenant Peterkin had mistaken altogether the nature of the demonstrations alluded to, which were of a far more deadly nature, than any to
be made with the fist. “In fact,” said Drawlincourt, “ I intend to shoot him."
“ Ah! you can do that afterwards," suggested Lieutenant Peterkin, who had an amiable desire to make as much as he could out of the matter in hand, and who did not at all relish the idea of passing over the preliminary stage of the proceedings. “ You must horsewhip him first, you know-upon my soul, you must horsewhip him first, so as to meet him on equal terms, my good fellow; you must see the force of that."
But the long cornet was most provokingly blind, and he did not see the force of that; moreover, he had especial reasons of his own for not entering upon such an adventure. He thought it was decidedly low-undignified-plebeian; besides the issue thereof wore a dubious aspect in the mind of the long cornet, which prevented him from seeing his way very clearly to the end of the business. The memory of his late horsewhipping was still fresh in his mind; and he had derived too much personal inconvenience therefrom to desire a repetition of the dose, which was very likely to be the upshot of an attempt upon his part to polish off Peregrine Pultuney. So he prudently demurred to the suggestion of Lieutenant Peterkin, and hinted that, as he had thrown a glass of wine into the face of his enemy at the outset of the affair, there was not so much disparity between them after all.
“ A pity,” said Lieutenant Peterkin; "upon my