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In which the Scene of our History is shifted from Calcutta to Arracan.
It was a happier fortnight both for Peregrine Pultuney and Julia Poggleton, than either of those two young people had anticipated—that fortnight, which immediately preceded our hero's departure for Arracan. It was greatly in their favour, that neither of them knew the precise day of the Seeva's sailing, for it seemed a far off when undetermined, and they both of them tacitly agreed to look upon the event as one distant and uncertain, perhaps after all never to be realized. Young people in their situation are the most ingenious self-deceivers in the world.
VOL. III. B
And so day after day passed by and the two young people, who were always together, were as happy as people can be, with a sword hanging over their heads. Peregrine, in anticipation of a long fast, spent the greater part of his time in innocent amusement with his cousin, who, indeed yielded herself up to his frolics in the most praiseworthy manner in the world. When not thus engaged the young gentleman was employed in laying in stores for Arracan, to which place, nothing being procurable there but fish, fowl, and fevers, it is necessary to take supplies for a fortnight, such being the average time that a European may expect to live there in a condition of body likely to require any other supplies than those which the company furnishes gratis, to wit, calomel, tartar-emetic and jalup.
In the course of this valedictory fortnight, Peregrine Pultuney saw all his acquaintance, which had enlarged itself to a considerable extent, for few young gentlemen have ever possessed more essentially all the elements of popularity; and he could not but observe that they every one of them regarded him with a look of grave commiseration, as though he had been going to be hanged, or to speak more classically, to be sacrificed. One old gentleman, Colonel Barbican, the town major, asked him what crime he had committed, that they condemned him to such a vile place, and Peregrine Pultuney answered that he really did not know, but that
he had serious thoughts of committing some, that he might get a transmutation of his punishment, and be consigned to New South Wales instead —a place to which the company's convicts and sick officers are equally glad to emigrate. But the day at last was fixed, and still Peregrine Pultuney bore up remarkably well, and Julia, if possible, a little better; nor was it till the very day had arrived and, as the young lovers were sitting together, holding one another's hands, beneath the table, Peregrine received a chit from Julian Jenks, who had promised to see him off, stating that the boat was to be at Chandpaul Ghaut, and that the tide would suit that evening at three o'clock, and Peregrine gave the letter to his cousin to read, when the young lady's strength deserted her utterly, and in spite of her struggles to restrain them, the tears gushed into her large blue eyes, and fell in heavy drops upon the marble slab, before which they were sitting. No words were spoken—but in the silence and agony of that hour, the young cousins understood one another. They felt how dear they were, each to each; the flimsy veil of sophistry, with which they had both of them so long striven to conceal the real state of their feelings even from their own selves, was now torn away from before them, and their whole souls were bared to one another. They did not even now speak of love; but they no longer tried to play the hypocrite; and very miserable, yet very delicious, was the abandonment into which