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the meantime, I shall take care that Mr. Pultuney practises daily at a button or the wick of a candle: and I think you know, that he has the reputation of being a first-rate shot.”
This was enough, or too much, for the cornet, who had long ago made up his mind to accept any species of apology, however meagre it might be, and who now began to fear, that he had been shillyshallying with the young gentlemen a little too long. The button and the candle-wick were awful things to talk about, especially as he remembered very well, that Peregrine Pultuney had smashed all the claret bottles, that were thrown overboard from the poop of the Hastings, with his rifle; and had abundantly proved himself to be by far the best shot of the party. So he gave in at once, and very prudently came to terms before it was too late.
“No-no-no,” he stammered out. “I didn't mean I wouldn't apologize, that is accept an apology. If Mr. Pultuney says he is sorry for what he has done-why, that, I suppose, is as much as can be expected. To be sure, I gave him great provocation. I did begin, as you observe -I threw a glass of wine in his face-and-and-and-perhaps, we are equal; so if Mr. Pultuney will shake hands —"
“Do-do," whispered Julian Jenks, to our hero, who now seemed inclined to hang back himself.
“ I don't know what to say about it,” said Peregrine.
“ Stuff and nonsense, you do," urged Julian Jenks, " or if you don't, hold out your hand and say nothing at all."
“ Well; here it is then,” said Peregrine, as he took Drawlincourt's hand into his, and found, to his great surprise, that it was not nearly so hot as he anticipated; "and, I hope, Mr. Drawlincourt, that you will be soon well enough to-to-to take a drive on the course."
Had it been any body else than long Drawlincourt, or if Peregrine had not remembered just at that moment what a scoundrel the long cornet was, and how he had swindled poor Doleton out of all that unhappy youth's money, he would have said, " I hope you will soon be well enough to come and dine with me at Dum Dum;" but these remembrances checked his incipient kindness, and the invitation was not given.
But the two young gentlemen did not quit the sick chamber until they had done something to contribute to the comfort of its unaimable tenant. They made the servants, with which Drawlincourt's landlord had provided him, put the room into decent order, helped the sick man to indue a clean shirt
administered to him some excellent lemonade of their own brewing, and having ascertained, from the state of the cornet's skin and pulse, that the fever was, at all events for the time being, considerably abated, they took their departure, with a promise to ask Dr. Martingale, whom Peregrine knew very
well, to call on the patient in the course of the evening.
The long cornet was not long about recovering. The first intimation he received of the forthcoming apology, had done him a world of good; and the fever soon rapidly left him. Peregrine Pultuney, who cordially forgave all Drawlincourt's misconduct to him, though he could not forget the rascally manner in which he had cheated the nervous youth, called several times to see the sick man at Spence's, and did him a number of little kindnesses, which we are sorry to say, were not very graciously received, though most cordially tendered. A few weeks saw the cornet again on his legs, or rather on his back, journeying to Meerut, where his regiment was stationed, and thinking himself a remarkably fortunate fellow, in having escaped so easily from the dangers that had environed him.
In the meantime Peregrine Pultuney and Julian Jenks, were pursuing the even tenour of their way at Dum-Dum. It would have been difficult to find, in the whole regiment, two more agreeable or more popular young officers; nor, perhaps, in the whole of India, two young gentlemen better disposed to look upon the bright side of the picture of human life. They enjoyed themselves, as only youth can enjoy itself, and found glories, as the poet says, in all the shady places into which fortune happened to lead them. We must be distinctly understood, however, to say all this figuratively
metaphorically; for to find shady places in Bengal, or, having found them, to wish to make glories in them, is not at all according to nature and probability, if we take the passage in its literal acceptation. All we mean to say is, that our two friends, unlike the majority of Bengallees, did not think that there was so much sunshine outside their doors, that they could readily dispense with it from inside their hearts. Bright as were the suns of Bengal, they did not eclipse the sunshine in these two young gentlemen's breasts.
As for Peregrine Pultuney, he was truly happy -happy as young love could make him; and though love is a delightful thing in any shape, we question whether it is ever half so delightful as when it first creeps insidiously into our hearts and nestles there, without our acknowledging its presence. And thus with Peregrine Pultuney, whose platonic affection for his pretty cousin, was nothing less than love true and genuine love-in its most beautiful virgin aspect. He went on from day to day-from month to month-in a dreamy state of delicious excitement-never asking himself any questions, but when questioned by others, responding that it was all friendship-esteem-quite brotherly-quite platonical-any thing, indeed, in the world—but love.
The cold weather passed away, as it always does with young gentlemen in his situation, that is to say, in constant enjoyment, and yet in constant regret, that he was not permitted to enjoy it much
more. The cold weather in India would certainly be the most delicious thing in the world_except young love-if we were permitted to do what we like in it. But with the cold weather, to the military man, come eternal parades and eternal practice; and always at the very times, which he particularly wants to set aside for his own recreations, he is called out to drill or to be drilled to work instead of to play—to prepare for inspections, field-days, reviews, and a host of other military nuisances. As for Peregrine Pultuney, he made the best of it, and so indeed did Julian Jenks, though he was just as loud as ever in his execrations of the “confounded. hole," into which it had pleased Providence to throw him. When he wanted to play at cricket, and was obliged, as he was most evenings in the week, to be playing at siege-battery instead, and throwing about a heavier species of projectiles than Mr. Duke's inimitable cricket-balls, until it was so dark that the fuzes in the shells looked like stars going the circuit,—then Dum Dum was a “confounded hole.” When he wished to be out with the Calcutta Hounds, and was obliged to be out with the field-battery bullocks, hunting for colds on a foggy morning in the wet grass, then Dum-Dum was a “confounded hole.” When he wanted to go into Calcutta, to join a pic-nic to the Botanical Gardens, and was obliged to go to the Expense Magazine, to weigh out powder and prepare cartridges, instead of drinking champaign and