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"Yes; master," returned Peer Khan, “ if master go lone, I go lone”—
“ What do you mean?" interrupted Peregrine.
" If master not want ayah (lady’s-maid),” began Peer Khan, looking down somewhat awkwardly, and halting in the middle of the sentence.
" Ayah !” exclaimed Peregrine, " what the deuce should I want an ayah for?"
“ Master make marry," suggested Peer Khan, " then master want ayah.”
“ That's very true,” returned Peregrine, laughing, “ but you don't think I'm going to make marry now.”
“: Master please, I not know-master, he not say -Beebee Poggleton ayah tell that Missee Baba going to make marry with master — Khansaman (butler), he tell too-I hear Anness barber, he tell all people.”
Hereupon Julian Jenks, who had been listening with a broad grin upon his face to the above conversation, burst out into an uproarious fit of laughter, and Peregrine Pultuney found considerable difficulty in preventing himself from doing the same. However, he was partially successful, but knowing that after this it would be utterly impossible to talk over matters in the presence of Peer Khan, with any degree of sobriety, he ordered that faithful servant to withdraw, and then turning round to his friend observed, that it certainly was eminently ridiculous.
“ Ridiculous !” exclaimed Jenks, " it's the best thing I've heard for a long time-you see that the fame of your amour with the fair Julia is as widely known as that of Petrarch and Laura.--I know well enough that all Calcutta is talking about it; and you see now that all Calcuttas servants are talking about it too. The very barber has the story ready for his customer.”
“ Yes," said Peregrine, " and that same Anness, or whatever his name is, is the greatest scandalmonger in Calcutta. He is a man who cuts the gentlemen's hair and makes false curls for the ladies, amongst the élite of Calcutta society, and knows as well on what footing Mr. This is with Miss Thatand when Mr. Somebody is going to be married to Miss Somebody else, as any body in the City of Palaces. He is, in this respect, a regular English hairdresser, for he has the news at his fingers' ends as well as any of the Bond-street curl-twisters; and carries tales from house to house as professionally as he does his scissors and curling-irons. Clay was telling me not long ago, an excellent story of this fellow, who is not always as well acquainted with the persons, as he is with the histories of the people whom he prattles about. Clay was living at Dr. Fitz-simon's, and sent for Anness to cut his hair one morning. It was before Clay was married, but after he had returned from England, an engaged man, and was very generally known as such; and as usual the dingy Truefitt began to talk about the different marriages upon the tapis, as well as the various qualities, bodily and mental, of the different young lady aspirants for matrimony, and after enumerating a few marriages and criticizing a few young ladies, he began to prate about Miss Skinner
She very elegant young lady, Miss E-skinner, for this accomplished gentleman always talks En. glish, • I hear she very fine lady at dance. One gentleman go there very often-he blue coat gentleman-come from Dum Dum, he very much at house-make marry.' • And what's the gentleman's name,' asked Clay, struggling hard to keep down his laughter. His name? it Mr. Clay-he artillery gentleman,' said the hair-dresser, he come from Dum-Dum every day.' Now I have about as much idea of marrying Miss Poggleton as Clay had of marrying Miss Skinner. The latter lady was married shortly afterwards to my friend Swallow, and I dare say that my cousin, Julia Pog. gleton, will soon be married to my friend somebody
“Nay; you don't think so," rejoined Julian Jenks, " you only think that you think so."
" Very well,” said Peregrine, “ we shall see as the little kittens said, when they were born blind we shall see in due course of time."
“ We shall,” echoed Julian Jenks, "and I dare say that a day or two will decide it. You go into Calcutta, of course, to-morrow?"
“Yes," returned Peregrine, " I must-for I am ordered to communicate with the quarter-master general about my passage to Arracan-no more main-guard for me at all events - I shall be in orders to night."
So on the following morning Peregrine Pultuney started in a Dum-Dummer for Calcutta, Julian Jenks bearing him company, for that gentleman either had or fancied that he had some very particular business to perform. As they were to go first to the Quarter-master-general's office, their road lay, after entering Calcutta, along one side of Tank-square and down Government-place. There was something in the locality, which affected Peregrine very sensibly, for they had not accomplished half the side of the square before be requested Julian Jenks to pull up the blinds of the carriage.
" What do you want to shut out?" asked Mr. Jenks, “ there is no sun upon this side."
" I know that,” returned Peregrine, “ but there are plenty of shops—I always pull up the blinds, or shut my eyes, when I come to this part of Calcutta. The very atmosphere breathes unpleasant reminis. cences—the very dust is laden with duns. Here live all the Calcutta tradesmen that it is worth one's while to run in debt with, and now that I must needs think of their vicinity, I may as well show you what I mean. Here is Moore and Hickey's—a bill there. Thompson's -a bill there. Pittar's-of course, a bill there. W. W. Robinson's-a bill there, of course. Rankin's—one must have clothes; and Thacker's—one must have books. Pittar and Lattey's—one can't help dealing with them. The tribe of ghosts that haunted King Richard in his
tent were nothing to the appearance of all these terror-laden shops to me. A bad conscience is a very bad thing I know, but I doubt whether it is half so tormenting as the consciousness of being in debt, for one cannot pass the house, or hear the name of the person you are indebted to, without feeling a pretty sharp prick. Now there is scarcely a shop along this side of the road, at which I, in common with hundreds of others, do not owe some money; and though I dare say I owe units where others owe hundreds, not having the wherewithal to pay the units, I do not pass along Tanksquare and Government-place, with any peculiarly strong feelings of pleasurable emotion, you may be sure."
“ One thing to be said is,” suggested Mr. Jenks, " that you have not been very much dunned."
“ No; I will say that for them,” returned Peregrine, " and vastly civil and obliging they are. All the more unpleasant the necessity of going away without paying what I rightfully owe them."
“ Oh!" said Julian Jenks, “ you young gentlemen in love are such monstrous extravagant simpletons, that you deserve to suffer for your folly. Now, I should like to know what a supernumerary second lieutenant, on a hundred and fifty rupees a month, I beg your pardon, a hundred and eighty--I forgot that lucky full-tentage memorial—but I should like to know what a supernumerary second lieutenant, on such a magnificent salary as this, has to do at Pittar's, or Pittar and Lattey's, just as much busi