« PreviousContinue »
the watch, and there prove his innocence if he could.
But as he went along, it occurred to him, firstly, that he was under a special engagement to fight the long cornet on the following morning; and secondly, that the ship Hastings was under an engagement too to sail on the following evening; and these considerations, it may readily be believed, rendered Peregrine's position not a very pleasant one; but what was he to do in this extremity? The patrol, who was a remarkably strong man, had grasped one of Peregrine's arms as though with an iron vice, and there was no chance in the world of effecting an escape by main force from the clutches of so formidable a ruffian.
So he looked around him with a sort of vague hope that his friends might be somewhere near, and willing to render him assistance; but he did not see a soul in the street—there was not a creature before, behind, or on either side of him, but the patrol and the patrol's horse, who being a welltrained animal, and considerably used to these dilemmas, was following his master very quietly with the bridle loose over his neck.
“ I have one chance," thought Peregrine Pultuney, as he looked at the docile animal; and then he said aloud to the patrol—" you don't know, perhaps, that you hurt me."
The man, who understood very little English, made an unintelligible reply in Dutch, and Peregrine Pultuney began therefore to rub his shoulder, and make certain noises, comprehended in all countries, indicative of extreme pain.
The patrol understood him, and either in kindness or with the fear of consequences before his eyes, relaxed his grasp of our hero for a minute, and Peregrine began instantly to rub his arm with the utmost vehemence, whilst the policeman looked on with a grim smile bedecking his face.
But the smile soon passed away, for Peregrine began lustily to cry out " Jones—Jones-quickJones—come here—there's a good fellow-quick;" and the patrol knew just enough of what he said to make out that Peregrine was calling for the assistance of somebody, near at hand. So he turned his head round to see where the comrades of his prisoner were stationed, and Peregrine Pultuney took advantage of the occasion to spring upon the back of the patrol's horse, stick his heels into the animal's sides, and gallop off at full speed.
By a miracle, as it seemed to Peregrine, for he was almost utterly ignorant of the turnings of the streets, he found himself in a few minutes, opposite the guard-house; thence he knew very well the way to George's, for it is but a few strides, and having reached the door of his hotel he dismounted, sent the horse adrift, and entered the house, exulting in his own ingenuity.
There he found his two companions, who laughed heartily at his adventure, thought he was a great fool for not running away, said he had had a narrow escape, and finished the evening by calling for some spirits and water, which they had great difficulty in getting at such a late hour of the night.
But the adventure did not end here, for the long cornet had in the mean while been dining with Lieutenant Peterkin of the hundredth, in no very enviable condition of mind. As on the previous evening he drunk freely, but again failed to intoxicate himself, and when he emerged from the fort, he was as much alive to the extreme unpleasantness of his situation as he had been before dinner.
Mindful of the wretched time he had passed the night before, he did not proceed at once to his hotel, but branched off into the town, to divert his mind, to fatigue his body, or with some other object, the true nature of which he could not himself precisely define.
He walked very quick, then ran a little, then strode on with huge paces again, anxious, as people are in his situation, to run away if possible from himself. His cloak was an encumbrance to him, so he took it off and slung it over his shoulder-then ran on again at no very moderate pace, scarcely knowing what he was doing.
But in a little time he was brought suddenly to a stand still--a pair of strong arms were around his waist-he turned round and discovered that he was in the hands of a patrol—the very identical patrol it was, too, who had been served out by Peregrine Pultuney.
“I have caught one of them, at all events," said the man between his teeth, in a dire passion; “I know the cloak, he was running away too, there can't be any mistake,” and he led the long cornet by the arm towards the watch-house, pinching him even more than he had pinched Peregrine Pultuney.
“ Well,” thought the cornet, “I suppose somebody has laid an information against me for contemplating a breach of the peace to-morrow-I shall be bound over, the very thing I want,” and with these reflections in his mind he walked quietly to the watch-house, far happier than he had been for some time.
In which the nervous Youth is made the Victim of a splendid
What became of the long cornet after this, we do not precisely know, but we can confidently state, that on the following morning he was " found missing” by Lieutenant Peterkin, when that gentleman, punctual to the appointed time, called to escort him to the place of meeting; and we are equally well informed of the fact, that Lieutenant Peterkin, upon making the discovery above mentioned, invoked sundry maledictions upon the soul of the absent hero, and in the most disrespectful manner imaginable, reflected upon his friend as a “skulking hound,” whom he felt a very strong inclination to serve out, on his own responsibility, if ever he should chance to come across him.
As for Peregrine Pultuney and Julian Jenks, they fortunately discovered that Mr. Drawlincourt was not forthcoming, before they set out to give him the meeting. The latter gentleman observed that his second failure beat cock-fighting and