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“ I told you that my friend had come here to offer you an apology and shake hands with you; what the devil do you talk about fighting for?"
“ Because, I like it,” was the gracious response.
“ So it seems," rejoined Mr. Jenks, smiling, and thinking to himself that it was a pity the long cornet did not like fighting as well as talking about it; “ but as we have not come here to debate upon these matters, I think we may as well withdraw.”
“Very well—do as you like and to-morrow morning—where shall we have it? I dare say I could stand against a tree.”
“Stuff and nonsense," returned Julian Jenks, who could not help smiling at the accession of valour, which the cornet had gained, since he had been incapacitated from proving it, “ if you have become so confoundedly blood-thirsty all of a sudden, and are resolved not to accept an apology, we will wish you good bye for the present, and call upon you when you are well enough to fight, with our hair triggers all ready in the buggy. I can assure you, sir, that my friend has not the least objection to accommodate you at twelve paces; but having twice disappointed him on a similar occasion, he requests you will be more punctual next time.”
“ What did you send the policeman then after me for?" asked Drawlincourt.
“What policeman ?" asked both the other young gentlemen.
" Why; the d-d fellow who put me in quod, and caused me to lose my passage," said Drawlincourt.
The two friends looked at one another.
“ Ah! you understand, I see,” continued the long cornet, “ but you shall not have me that way in India.”
" I'll tell you what it is,” cried Peregrine, who was somewhat indignant at being made the subject of such insinuations as these; “ we know nothing about the fellow who put you in quod that night, but we were deuced nearly being put into quod ourselves, for painting the Zuid Afrikain signboard."
“ Then I'll be cursed if they did not take me for you, and yet they might have known my moustaches,” blustered the cornet.
The two friends exchanged glances again; both were astonished beyond measure at this revelation, and yet neither of them could abstain from laughing. It was, indeed, eminently ludicrous, and the cornet was horribly annoyed at finding himself the subject of their laughter. So he swore a little, grinned a great deal, and expressed very serious regret at his present inability to crush the young men beneath his feet. To this, however, they paid no manner of attention; the object of their visit was one of conciliation, and they determined, if possible, to carry it through. So again they returned to the point whence they had set out, and again they were repulsed by the artifices of the cornet, who, as we have before hinted, was making strenuous endeavours to establish a character for gallantry at the smallest possible personal expense to himself.
“ Then,” said Julian Jenks, " we must give it up -you are a most unreasonable person. My friend comes here to tender you an apology, at a time when one would suppose you most willing to accept itand yet you reject his overtures. Had I entertained a thought of your doing this, we should not have come here; for our visit, as it stands, must have done you a great deal more harm than good; and so I am sorry that we came. But good bye, you shall hear from us again, depend upon it, when you are getting better.”
“ St-st-st-stay,” stammered the cornet, when he saw Peregrine Pultuney and Julian Jenks were actually taking their departure—" perhaps, you see I say, I think-yes, perhaps something may be done.”
“ What may be done?” asked Mr. Jenks.
" Why, you see that if I were to have a ve-vevery ample apology-a ve-very humble apology, you see, I might perhaps be induced to—that is, I might let off your friend, if he will give me an ample – a very humble, you understand me, written apology.”
- Moderate, certainly," muttered Peregrine" Jenks, am I to do this?”
“ Write nothing," whispered Julian Jenks.
" Very well,” returned Peregrine, and turning to the long cornet, he continued, “ I am ready to say any thing you like; but I am not very partial to writing. You must remember, Mr. Drawlincourt, that you were the agressor, and that what I did towards you, was only a small return for the benefit you conferred upon me. It was proper, I know, that after such an interchange of favours, we should finally settle matters, according to the rules of society; and I dare say that you have not forgotten, how we were twice disappointed of meeting one another, when all ready prepared to blow one another's brains out, in the pursuit of what is called satisfaction. You will give me credit, I am sure, for not having avoided the meeting; and I dare say you will willingly believe, that I am still quite ready to meet you, when you are off the sick-list, if you are still bent upon prosecuting this affair. The choice rests with you, Mr. Drawlincourt. Here is my hand if you like to take it; and as to apology I am ready to-to-"
"Don't stick at it now, Pultuney, suggested Mr. Jenks, in a low voice, “ that was very good; but go on with it."
" As to apology, then,” continued Peregrine Pultuney, “ I am ready to that is I have placed my case in Mr. Jenks's hands, and he will make any apology for me, that he thinks the occasion warrants."
" Then,” said Julian Jenks, stepping forward, " I will state that my friend, Mr. Pultuney, regrets hav. ing done the violence to your person that he did on board the Hastings, in the presence of the whole ship's company; and I hope that you, Mr. Drawlincourt, regret also, that you caused the disturbance alluded to, by throwing a glass of wine in Mr. Pultuney's face.”
But the long cornet, now that he perceived how ready the two young gentlemen were to come to a peaceable arrangement, and make him any apology he wanted, began, as a matter of course, to hold out again, and to become warlike and exacting, in proportion to the peaceful and compliant demonstrations of his adversaries. Endeavouring again to look excessively fierce, and sleeking his moustaches with the forefinger of his left hand, he hemmed and hawed a little, and then said—“ No, no—that won't do, upon my soul. D-n it all, that won't do. You want me to apologize, do you? It won't act, sir - I'd rather die, that I would.”
“ Then die and be ” something, began Peregrine Pultuney, whose patience was now fairly exhausted; but Julian Jenks laid his hand upon his friend's mouth, pushed him aside bodily, and ere the curse was uttered, stepped before him and said, in a calm but decided voice: “ Then you give me to understand, Mr. Drawlincourt, that my negotiations for peace have failed utterly, and so I shall take away my friend. You shall hear from us again, when you are recovered from your sickness, and in