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soul it's a pity, that you should not serve the rascal out handsomely, as of course, Drawlincourt, you
“Oh! yes; of course I can," returned Drawlincourt eagerly. “Of course I can-a mere boy. Indeed I don't see exactly that it becomes me to call him out."
“Ah! very well then," said Lieutenant Peterkin, who was still harping upon the prospects of a row in the Heoren-gracht; “very well-precisely so, Drawlincourt. If it does not become you to call him out, it becomes you to thrash him for his impertinence; so, as I said before, you had better do that first, and then trust to Providence for the consequence.”
But as the consequences did not promise to be of a peculiarly gratifying nature, and as the long cornet, who was religiously disposed, did not like to be beholden to Providence for any favours which he could not be grateful for, this proposal did not meet with as cordial a welcome as Lieutenant Peterkin could have wished. “ No, no,” said Drawlincourt, “ perhaps it would be better to meet the boy; unless I-I-that is to say unless I- "
“ Were to kick him," suggested the lieutenant.
" No, no," resumed Drawlincourt; “I don't mean that I mean—you see—that perhaps as he is such a child, a mere cadet, you know, I shouldn't get much credit if I were to pink him, or kick him, or horsewhip him, or any thing of that kind; and
perhaps it would serve him out best if I were to bring him to a court-martial.”
Lieutenant Peterkin was so lost in astonishment upon hearing this last proposal, that he was unable to utter a word; but the silence that ensued in consequence, was taken advantage of by Ensign Allworthy, who had been employed all this time in diminishing, by about seven-eighths, the supply of bread and cheese on the table, and assisting digestion by the aid of a few charitable reflections, to the effect that he considered Cornet Drawlincourt the greatest ass he had ever met with in his life, and that it would give him a particular measure of satisfaction to inflict personal chastisement upon him on the spot.
Improving upon the opportunity presented to him by the silence of Lieutenant Peterkin, this gentleman laid down his knife and remarked, “ But there is a serious objection, sir, to that.”
“ What objection, sir?" asked the long cornet.
“Oh! simply," replied Allworthy, stretching out his legs, as he spoke, and sliding forward on the seat of his chair,—" simply, sir, that if the gentleman is only a cadet, it is doubtful, sir, whether you can
“ To be sure not,” ejaculated Lieutenant Peterkin, who was by this time sufficiently recovered to speak; “ to be sure not, he has not got his commission. Court martial! Stuff and nonsensecourt-plaister for your wounded honour. Upon my soul, Drawlincourt, I couldn't have believed it, if I had not heard it with my own ears. Court-martial ! a pretty figure you would cut. No, no, Drawlincourt, that's not the ticket-upon my soul, that's not the ticket. If you have come here to ask my advice you must do something better than that. If you have not, I will hold my tongue—upon my soul I will hold my tongue, and have nothing to say to the business."
Lieutenant Peterkin, who was somewhat disappointed, and to do him justice, somewhat disgusted, for though he was a dissolute fellow, he was by no means deficient in pluck, uttered these last words in such a very decided manner, that the long cornet began to apprehend serious consequences at the hands of his friend, and thinking that it was better to have one enemy than two, and utterly despairing of its being possible to escape without fighting at least one duel, he abandoned himself, with a heavy sigh, to the tender mercies of the lieutenant, and magnanimously left the arrangement of the whole affair to that very disinterested individual.
“ Well now, there's some sense in that—upon my soul there's some sense in that,” observed the lieutenant, as he rose from the couch, in a sort of business-like way, as though he were in a hurry to begin. " We'll do the thing in good style, I promise younot a single flaw in the indictment. Now for it, now Drawlincourt, we'll begin if you please. What is the fellow's name?".
“ Pultuney,” replied the cornet, endeavouring to assume an air of supreme indifference, which was about as successful as the last efforts of a drowning cat to look pleased with its position. “ Peregrine Pultuney, cadet.”
At this announcement Ensign Allworthy, who, having finished his lunch and arrived at a conclusion that, on the whole, it would be more decorous in him to make himself scarce, was upon the point of leaving the room, began whistling with uncommon vehemence, and smiling and nodding his head in the pleasantest manner in the world.
" Hallo! Allworthy,” cried the astonished lieutenant, who was an involuntary spectator of these passages of pantomime, “ what the deuce is the matter with you, man?"
“Oh! nothing,” replied the gentleman addressed, “ nothing." Then turning to the cornet, he asked, in the politest manner conceivable, “ You don't happen to know, do you, sir, where Mr. Pultuney has taken up his quarters ?”
The long cornet did know very well. He had, “5 of course," made a point of informing himself that he might know how to address his challenge and all that sort of thing; though in reality he had gained the intelligence by a mere accident, with the nature of which we are not acquainted.
“But what," asked the lieutenant, “ what the devil — you don't know the hound, do you?"
"I don't know the hound, certainly,” returned Ensign Allworthy, in a tone of dignified rebuke;
“ but if you mean that expression, as appears probable, to bear reference to Mr. Peregrine Pultuney, I will tell you that I do know him, and that a finer fellow never walked the earth and honoured it by so doing. Good morning, gentlemen, any commands at the George?” And with this brief expression of irony, Mr. Allworthy bowed to his friends, and set out to see that cherished old schoolfellow, of whom he had so often thought during the last two years with the kindliest feelings of affectionate regret.
We will leave him to find his way to George's, whilst we briefly relate how Lieutenant Peterkin and the long cornet drew up a hostile epistle to Peregrine Pultuney, politely requesting him to name the earliest convenient time, and the nearest convenient place for an interchange of leaden civilities ; how the cornet, who secretly hoped that the letter would miscarry, received an answer much sooner than he expected, naming the very next morning, and some place or other in the outskirts of the town, between the Simon's bay road and the sea; how Lieutenant Peterkin was much better pleased than the cornet, with the prospects before them; and how the former gentleman, as a matter of course, asked the latter to the mess; how Mr. Drawlincourt drank a great deal of wine, made several wretched attempts at being merry, which reminded one forcibly of the humour of a boy, who puts his tongue out on his way up to be flogged;