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“ Aunt !"' ejaculated the lady, “who on earth do you take me for? I do not remember ever having had the pleasure of seeing you before, Mr. Pultuney."
“ Most likely not,” said Peregrine; “ but still you may be my aunt; though I sadly fear there has been some mistake here. Are you—are you—I beg your pardon—but are you not—Mrs. Poggleton?”
- Mrs. Poggleton !—goodness gracious! I Mrs. Poggleton! That is a mistake-goodness gracious ! I Mrs. Poggleton !”
" I regret, exceedingly,” said Peregrine, " that I should have made such a mistake; but you must lay it to the account of my griffinage-Here comes somebody though, who will speak to my character, and answer for my not being a swindler-Miss Lucretia Gowanspec, how do you do?”
The young lady, who now entered the room, was in fact Miss Lucretia Gowanspec, and she was more surprised to see Peregrine Pultuney, than Peregrine Pultuney was to see her; for it had just begun to dawn upon the faculties of our hero, that the “nieces” to whom the lady of the house had been alluding, were no others than the Miss Gowanspecs. Still Peregrine was in a state of mystification. They had told him at the door that this was Poggleton sahib's,—the Baboo in the street had told him so too; but the lady had positively denied that she was Mrs. Poggleton, and had certainly not shown the cordiality of a relative in welcoming her nephew to India. There was a terrible mistake somewhere, and Miss Lucretia must clear it up.
The young lady, who was in reality delighted to see Peregrine, held out her hand and blushed deeply as she did it. This was enough for the old lady, who instantly resolved that our hero should never again enter the house; for she began to suspect that he was an impudent impostor after all, who had been acting a part from the beginning, only to accomplish an interview with her niece.
“ Miss Lucretia Gowanspec,” said Peregrine, smiling, “I must get you to speak to my character. I stand here suspected—I should not wonder in the least—of having entered this house under false pretences. Will you introduce me to your aunt by name?"
“ Oh! certainly,” said the young lady, still blushing very prettily. “ Aunt, let me introduce you to Mr. Pultuney. Mr. Pultuney, my aunt.”
“ By name, if you please,” suggested Peregrine.
“ Lah! I forgot,” simpered Miss Lucretia, “ how stupid ! Mr. Pultuney, my aunt-Mrs. Parkinson.”
“ Parkinson !” exclaimed Peregrine, " ah! there it is—I see the mistake now; those con—I mean those stupid Bengallees, deceived by the similarity of the name of the person I was inquiring after, have directed me to the wrong house. I really am very sorry, Mrs. Parkinson, that I have
disturbed you—you must have thought it very impertinent in a stranger like me to have called upon you without an introduction. You see, I hope, that my griffinism alone has been in fault, but if you will pardon it, I am sure that I will most readily, as it has afforded me the pleasure of renewing my acquaintance with Miss Lucretia Gowanspec and her sister.”
There was something so frank and so gentleman-like in the manner in which Peregrine Pultuney tendered this explanation, that Mrs. Parkinson was beginning to feel somewhat more kindly disposed towards him, and was just about to inform him that he had not committed such a solecism in good breeding as he supposed—it being the custom in India for strangers to be the first to call upon residents, when this unlucky allusion to his intimacy with Miss Lucretia, effectually ruined him in the opinion of Mrs. Parkinson.
" That's pretty well for a cadet-an impertinent cadet,”—thought the lady, when Peregrine had done,
"to renew his acquaintance,' indeed, with my niece—I think I see him! Don't I !”
But as Peregrine Pultuney was quite ignorant of the enormity he had committed, he went on chatting and talking in the pleasantest manner in the world, laughing at the mistake he had made, and making a fine joke of the supposed coolness of his respectable aunt, to all of which Miss Lucretia Gowanspec listened with the most profound and gratified attention, utterly heedless of the frowns which Mrs. Parkinson was telegraphing across the table, or the evident mortification of the lady, who tried ineffectually enough to conceal her chagrin by caressing her dog and sleeking down his long silken ears.
But morning visits, like all other earthly things, must come to an end at last, and so Peregrine, having enjoyed half an hour of very pleasant and exhilarating conversation, rose up to take his leave, and suddenly remembered that though he might take his leave, it was not so easy as it seemed, to take his departure, as Julian Jenks having deposited him, as was thought, at his aunt's, had driven off in the buggy to do his own business, without calculating in the least on such a contingency as that which now placed our hero in a dilemma.
But Peregrine's lucky star was in the ascendant. For just as he was about to throw himself upon the mercy of Mrs. Parkinson, and to explain to her his unfortunate situation, a card was put, by a bearer, into the lady's hand, and she had no sooner glanced at the address on it, than she pushed it towards Peregrine, as he thought with a somewhat contemptuous air, and exclaimed“ here, Mr. Pultuney, is your aunt.”
Peregrine looked at the card, read “ Mrs. Poggleton" upon it, and instantly ran down stairs to help his aunt out of the carriage, and introduce himself to her on the staircase.
Which follows the Footsteps of Julian Jenks, and is descriptive
of Life in Barracks.
LEAVING our friend Peregrine Pultuney to the tender mercies of his respectable aunt, we shall follow the footsteps, or rather the carriage-wheels, of Julian Jenks, who, having deposited his companion at the supposed Mrs. Poggleton's, drove off to do his own bidding, whatever that might happen to be.
But the young gentleman, having a great number of things to do, like many wiser people in his situation, was puzzled what to do first. Should he go and get his hair cut?-perhaps, that would wait—or to Messrs. Rank and Co.'s, to get measured for a suit of regimentals?-or should he deliver a few of his letters of introduction ?-or go home and write to his mother?-or leave his card at Government-house?-or, lastly, should he go to his agents, deliver his letter of credit, draw a few hundred rupees and replenish his purse, which had been
cor, lastly, tit. draw