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whilst others are ruining themselves in the cadet barracks, with no other society but that of young men as heedless as themselves, we find ourselves following our profession-mixing in good fellowship with older officers, before whom we should be ashamed to act in a way unbecoming a man—we feel ourselves too, of some importance as occupying a definite station in society; and knowing that our conduct is observed by others-by those below as well as those above—we are naturally desirous to set an example to the former, whilst we are gaining the commendations of the latter, and ensuring the respect of both, as well as of our ownselves.
“I think I hear you exclaim. What Peregrine turned moralist! Wonders will never cease.' Well then, Harry, if you like it, I am turned moralist, all things by comparison of course. I was a sad wild fellow when I left England-we all are at some time or other—and I believe that the earlier we sow our wild oats the better it is for us; and besides, Harry, I was at the mess till very late last night, and I have got just the least bit of a headache.
“I dare say you will think in your heart, that people are never so well disposed to be discreet as when they are suffering from their indiscretions; but I can assure you that the very headach I have got now is a strong evidence of the quiet life I am leading. A few months ago I could have drunk just double the quantity that I did last night, with
out feeling any inconvenience. It used to be my boast once, that I could see much older men under the table; but now I wonder that I could ever have prided myself on a qualification of such questionable merit.
“But I must drop this egotism, and tell you what I can about other people, though, as you have no very particular friends in these parts, you will not be much interested in my items of personal news. In the first place, then, I must inform you that our Uncle Poggleton is an uncommonly clever, hard-working man, very dull company, generally speaking, but full of facts as a cyclopædia, when once he begins to hold forth; whilst Aunt Poggleton is the very reverse of this, talks an infinite deal of nothing, and, without meaning in the least to be severe, says the most ill-natured things of her neighbours that could enter into the most malevolent heart to conceive. Yet I honestly do not think that she is spiteful-her head, not her heart, is at fault; and I really believe that, if she knew the way, she would put herself to considerable inconvenience to serve her husband, her daughter, or myself, for I must tell you that I am a prime favourite. She is excessively selfish about small things; but I think that if an opportunity should offer, she would astonish those who know her best, some of these days, by-showing herself a worthier creature than she is esteemed. This, however, is only my vaunted penetration, and I may, after all, be wondrously mistaken.
“ But as for our cousin Julia, I think that I do know her; and the more I see of her, Harry, the more convinced I am that she is as superior to every other girl in Calcutta, as—what shall I say?-as Paris was to all the shepherds on Mount Ida. No, that won't do—as Venus—hang it, my similes flash in the pan. But Julia—she is very pretty, very ladylike, and very amiable-amiable without insipidity; for she is full of fun and of satire too, but her satire is general not personal satire, and as such I do not much object to it. Then she sings very sweetly, and her conversation is full of shrewdness and wit. As a companion she is never wearisome, never dull for a minute; and I must say, that the happiest hours I have passed, since I left England, have been passed in her society. Do not think, Harry, that I am smitten-ours is a sort of brotherly and sisterly league, quite free from all absurdity and restraint, and very pleasant, I hope, to both parties—pure platonism, I can assure you, yet very delightful nevertheless. The worst of it is, that I have only got one horse; and am compelled therefore to spend a mint of money on hack carriages between this and Calcutta— Dum-Dum-ers' as the people call them, and very useful conveyances too, being cheap and nasty, and the only vehicles that are at all fitted to get over our execrable roads. Yet, cheap as they are, three trips a week into Calcutta make a good hole in a subaltern's pay.
“You remember my friend Jenks—the fellow with
the good-natured round face, who was one of our party that night to the Cyder Cellars—well, he and I are living together. We took a house between us, when we first came here, made it tolerably comfortable inside, and provisioned it in first-rate style. Very silly and griffish we were too, for we bought Burgundy, Champaign, and Curaçao, (things quite unbecoming a subaltern) and took it into our heads to give tiffin parties. This was all very well, whilst the money lasted, and our house got the name of Stangy (quasi, distingué) Hall; but two thousand rupees will not last for ever, and I am now obliged to live upon my pay, which I assure you is difficult enough. However, as my purse got low, my ideas got humble in proportion : before I landed, I fully intended to buy a buggy and two horses; after a little time, my thoughts descended to a buggy and horse; and at last I finished by purchasing a horse, without any buggy at all. It is the fashion here for gentlemen, who have no office duties, to attend the auctions in Calcutta—the auction-marts are a sort of lounge, and to many people they furnish the main interest of life. I was foolish enough to attend a few of them myself, and one day I made a purchase of five hundred rupees worth of books, the greater part of which were Persian manuscripts, of which I can scarcely decypher a letter. But I assure you, Harry, that I have had a design ever since I arrived in the country to set to work vigorously at the Oriental languages, but somehow I have not advanced any further than the act of spreading the Persian manuscripts and my dictionaries out on the table, and purchasing some Indian ink. Some day or other, I hope that I shall get a little further than this, for, like most other young gentlemen on first arriving in the country, I have set my heart on a staff appointment, and am only at present weighing the respective advantages of the residency of Lucknow, and the head of the Secreteriat department. At present the latter weighs the heaviest.
“I told you, I think, in my letter from the Cape, of my adventures with the long cavalry officer, Mr. Drawlincourt, on board ship. We never had it out after all, for twice the long cornet was missing, and the second time, he not only forgot to keep his engagement, but he lost his passage in the ship, and very glad we were all of us to get rid of him you may be sure. Whether this happened by accident or design I do not pretend to say ; but, however, he has arrived now—at least I have seen his name in a list of passengers, belonging to a ship now coming up the river. To tell you the truth, I have very considerable doubts of the gallant cornet's pugnacious desires—I suppose though that I must give him a chance, and for this purpose, as soon as the vessel is arrived off the ghaut, I shall send Julian Jenks to inform him that, if he is still of the same mind as he was, I am always to be found at Dum-Dum. After having horsewhipped him so soundly, I cannot well do less, Harry. My friends,