Peregrine receives a letter from Hatchway, in consequence of which he repairs to the Garrison, and performs the last Offices to his Aunt — He is visited by Mr. Gauntlet, who invites him to his Marriage.
In this circle of amusements our hero’s time was parcelled out, and few young gentlemen of the age enjoyed life with greater relish, notwithstanding those intervening checks of reason, which served only to whet his appetite for a repetition of the pleasures she so prudently condemned; when he received the following letter, by which he was determined to visit his estate in the country:
Cousin Pickle — I hope you are in a better trim than your aunt, who hath been fast moored to her bed these seven weeks, by several feet of under-water lodging in her hold and hollop, whereby I doubt her planks are rotted, so that she cannot choose but fall to pieces in a short time. I have done all in my power to keep her tight and easy, and free from sudden squalls that might overstrain her. And here have been the doctors, who have scuttled her lower deck, and let out six gallons of water. For my own part, I wonder how the devil it came there; for you know as how it was a liquor she never took in. But as for those fellows the doctors, they are like unskilful carpenters, that in mending one leak make a couple; and so she fills again apace. But the worst sign of all is this here, she won’t let a drop of Nantz go between the combings of her teeth, and has quite lost the rudder of her understanding, whereby she yaws woundily in her speech palavering about some foreign part called the New Geereusalem, and wishing herself in a safe berth in the river Geordun. The parson, I must say, strives to keep her steady, concerning the navigation of her soul, and talks very sensibly of charity and the poor, whereof she hath left a legacy of two hundred pounds in her will. And here has been Mr. Gamaliel and your brother my lord, demanding entrance at the gate, in order to see her; but I would not suffer them to come aboard, and pointed my patereroes, which made them sheer off. Your sister, Mrs. Clover, keeps close watch upon her kinswoman, without ever turning in, and a kind-hearted young woman it is. I should be glad to see you at the garrison, if the wind of your inclination sits that way; and mayhap it may be a comfort to your aunt, to behold you alongside of her, when her anchor is apeak. So no more at present, but rests your friend and humble servant to command, “John Hatchway.”
Next morning, after the receipt of this epistle, Peregrine, in order to manifest his regard to his aunt, as well as his friendship for honest Jack, set out on horseback for their habitation, attended by Pipes, who longed to see his old messmate; but before he had reached the garrison, Mrs. Hatchway had given up the ghost, in the threescore and fifth year of her age. The widower seemed to bear his loss with resignation, and behaved very decently upon the occasion, though he did not undergo those dangerous transports of sorrow, which some tender-hearted husbands have felt at the departure of their wives. The lieutenant was naturally a philosopher, and so well disposed to acquiesce in the dispensations of Providence, that in this, as well as in every other emergency of his life, he firmly believed, that everything which happened was for the best.
Peregrine’s task, therefore, was not so great in comforting him, as in consoling his own sister, who, with great poignancy and sincerity of grief, lamented the death of the only relation with whom she had maintained any intimacy of correspondence; for her mother was as implacable as ever, in her enmity against her and Peregrine, and rather more determined in her rancour; that which was originally a sudden transport of indignation, being by this time settled into a confirmed inveteracy of hate. As for Gam, who was now dignified by the country people with the appellation of the young squire, he still acted in the capacity of minister to the caprice and vengeance of his mother, taking all opportunities of disturbing Julia’s peace, slandering her reputation, and committing outrages against the tenants and domestics of her husband, who was a man of quiet and timorous disposition.
But the chief amusement of young Pickle, in his later years, was the chase, in which he acquired some renown by his intrepidity and remarkable figure, which improved every day in deformity; insomuch, as to suggest a ludicrous scheme of revenge to a gentleman in the neighbourhood. Having been affronted by the insolence of Crookback, he clothed a large baboon that was in his possession, in a dress that resembled the hunting equipage of Gam; and ordering the animal to be set astride, and tied upon the back of his keenest hunter, turned them out one day after the hounds. The horse in a little time outstripping all the rest in the field, the rider was mistaken for Gam by the whole company, who saluted him as he passed with a halloo, observing, that the squire had his usual good luck, in being better mounted than his neighbours. Pickle afterwards appearing in his own person, created great astonishment in the spectators, one of whom asked if he had split himself in twain, and pointed out his representative, who was, by this time, almost up with the hounds. Upon which the identical Gam went in pursuit of the impostor. When he overtook him, he was so much enraged at the counterfeit, that he attacked the baboon whip in hand, and, in all probability, would have sacrificed him to his resentment, had not he been prevented by the other fox-hunters. They interposed, in order to make up the difference betwixt two brothers of the sport, and were equally surprised and diverted when they distinguished the quality of Crookback’s antagonist, which they rescued from his rage, and reconveyed to its master.
Peregrine, at the request of his friend Jack, took charge of his aunt’s funeral, to which his parents were invited, though they did not think proper to appear, or pay the least regard to his solicitations, when he desired permission to wait upon them in person. Nevertheless, old Gamaliel, at the instigation of his wife, afterwards obtained an order from Doctors’ Commons, obliging Hatchway to produce the will of his wife, on the supposition that she had bequeathed to him some part of the money, which, he knew, was at her own disposal. But from this step he reaped no other satisfaction than that of finding himself altogether neglected by the testatrix, who had left all her effects to her husband, except one thousand pounds, with her jewels, to Julia’s daughter, the benefaction mentioned in the lieutenant’s letter, and some inconsiderable legacies to her favourite domestics.
A few days after the interment of this good lady, our hero was agreeably surprised with a visit from his friend Godfrey, who had come to England in consequence of that promotion which he owed to his interest, though the soldier himself placed it to the credit of a certain courtier who had formerly promised to befriend him, and now finding his advancement unowned, very modestly arrogated the merit of it to himself. He communicated his good-fortune to Pickle, who complimented him upon it as an event of which he had no precognition; and at the same time told him, that, in consequence of his preferment, his cousin at Windsor had consented to his being immediately united in the bands of wedlock with his lovely Sophy; that the wedding-day was already fixed; and that nothing would be wanting to his happiness, if Peregrine would honour the nuptials with his presence.
Our hero accepted the invitation with great eagerness, when he learned that Emilia would be there in quality of bridesmaid; and now repeated what he had formerly written to his friend, namely, that he was not only willing, but extremely impatient to atone for his mad behaviour to that young lady, by laying himself and his whole fortune at her feet. Godfrey thanked him for his honourable intention, and promised to use his influence, and that of Sophy, in his behalf, though he seemed dubious of their success, on account of his sister’s delicacy which could not pardon the least shadow of disrespect. He owned, indeed, he was not certain that she would appear in the same company with Pickle; but, as she made no stipulation on that score, he would interpret her silence in the most favourable manner, and keep her in ignorance of his design, until she should find it too late to retract with any decency. The hope of seeing and conversing with Emilia, and perhaps of being reconciled to her, after having suffered so much and so long from her displeasure, raised a tumult of ideas in his breast, and produced a strange inquietude of joy and perturbation. Gauntlet having stayed with him a few days, and signified the time appointed for his spousals, took his leave, in order to prepare for the occasion; while Peregrine, with his friend Hatchway, made a tour among his acquaintance in the country, with a view of sounding their inclinations touching a project which he had lately conceived, of offering himself as a candidate for a certain borough in the neighbourhood, at the ensuing election for members of parliament.
This scheme, which was suggested to him by one of his quality patrons, would have succeeded according to his wish, had the election taken place immediately; but, before that happened, his interest was overbalanced by some small accidents that will be recorded in the sequel. In the meantime, he repaired to Windsor on the eve of his friend’s marriage, and understood from Godfrey that it was with the utmost difficulty he and Sophy could prevail upon his sister to be present at the wedding. when she was informed that her lover was invited; and that her consent had not been obtained until they had promised, on the part of Peregrine, that he should not renew the old topic, nor even speak to her in the style of a former acquaintance.
Our young gentleman was nettled at this preliminary, to which, however, he said he would adhere; and so well did he think himself fortified with pride and resentment, that he resolved to behave towards her with such indifference, as would, he hoped, mortify her vanity, and thereby punish her for the implacability of her disposition. Armed with these sentiments, he was next day introduced by Godfrey to the bride, who received him with her usual sweetness of temper and affability; and Emilia being present, he saluted her with a distant bow, which she acknowledged with a cold courtesy, and an aspect of ice. Though this deportment confirmed his displeasure, her beauty undermined his resolution; he thought her charms infinitely improved since their last parting, and a thousand fond images recurring to his imagination, he felt his whole soul dissolving into tenderness and love.
In order to banish those dangerous ideas, he endeavoured to enter into a gay conversation with Sophy, on the subject of the approaching ceremony; but his tongue performed its office awkwardly, his eyes were attracted towards Emilia, as if they had been subject to the power of fascination; in spite of all his efforts, a deep sigh escaped from his bosom, and his whole appearance indicated anxiety and confusion. The bridegroom, perceiving his condition, abridged the visit, and having conducted his companion to his own lodgings, expressed his concern at having been the innocent occasion of his uneasiness, by exposing him to the sight of Emilia, which he perceived had given him pain. Peregrine, who had by this time recollected the dictates of his pride, assured him, that he was very much mistaken in the cause of his disorder, which was no other than a sudden qualm, to which he had been for some time subject; and to show him how philosophically he could bear the disdain of Emilia, which, with all deference to her conduct, he could not help thinking a little too severe, he desired, as the bridegroom had made preparation for a private ball in the evening, that he would provide him with an agreeable partner; in which case he would exhibit undoubted proofs of the tranquility of his heart. “I was in hopes,” answered Godfrey, “of being able, with the assistance of Sophy, to make up matters between you and my sister, and for that reason kept her unengaged to any other gentleman for the night; but since she was so peevishly obstinate, I shall take care to accommodate you with a very handsome young lady, whose partner will not be sorry to exchange her for Emilia.”
The thoughts of having an opportunity to coquette with another woman, under the eye of this implacable mistress, supported his spirits during the ceremony, which put Gauntlet in possession of his heart’s desire; and, by means of this cordial, he found himself so undisturbed at dinner, though he sat opposite to his fair enemy, that he was able to pass some occasional jokes upon the new-married couple, with some appearance of mirth and good-humour. Nor did Emily any otherwise seem affected by his presence, than by excepting him from the participation of those genial regards which she distributed to the rest of the company. This easiness of behaviour on her side reinforced his resolution, by giving him pretence to call her sensibility in question; for he could not conceive how any woman of acute feelings could sit unmoved in presence of a man with whom she had such recent and intimate connection; not considering that she had much more reason to condemn his affectation of unconcern, and that her external deportment might, like his own, be an effort of pride and resentment.
This contest, in point of dissimulation, continued till night, when the company was paired for dancing, and Peregrine began the ball by walking a minuet with the bride; then he took out the young lady to whom he was recommended by Gauntlet, being very well pleased to see that her person was such as might have inspired even Emily herself with jealousy, though, at the same time, he perceived his mistress coupled with a gay young officer, whom, with all due deference to his own qualifications, he considered as no despicable rival. However, he himself first began hostilities, by becoming all of a sudden particular with his partner, whom he forthwith assailed with flattering compliments, that soon introduced the subject of love, upon which he expatiated with great art and elocution, using not only the faculty of speech, but also the language of the eyes, in which he was a perfect connoisseur.
This behaviour soon manifested itself to the whole assembly, the greatest part of whom believed that he was in good earnest captivated by the charms of his partner; while Emilia, penetrating into his design, turned his own artillery upon himself, by seeming to listen with pleasure to the addresses of his rival, who was no novice in the art of making love. She even affected uncommon vivacity, and giggled aloud at every whisper which he conveyed into her ear, insomuch that she, in her turn, afforded speculation to the company, who imagined the young soldier had made a conquest of the bridegroom’s sister. Pickle himself began to cherish the same opinion, which gradually invaded his good-humour, and at length filled his bosom with rage. He strove to suppress his indignation, and called every consideration of vanity and revenge to his aid. He endeavoured to wean his eyes from the fatal object that disturbed him, but they would not obey his direction and command. He wished himself deprived of all sensation, when he heard her laugh, and saw her smile upon the officer; and, in the course of country-dancing, when he was obliged to join hands with her, the touch thrilled through all his nerves, and kindled a flame within him which he could not contain. In a word, his endeavours to conceal the situation of his thoughts were so violent, that his constitution could not endure the shock; the sweat ran down his forehead in a stream, the colour vanished from his cheeks, his knees began to totter, and his eyesight to fail; so that he must have fallen at his full length upon the floor, had not he retired very abruptly into another room, where he threw himself upon a couch, and fainted.
In this condition he was found by his friend, who, seeing him withdraw with such symptoms of disorder, followed him thither; and, when he recovered the use of his faculties, pressed him to make use of a bed in that house, rather than expose himself in the night air, by going home to his own lodgings; but not being able to prevail upon him to accept the offer, he wrapped him up in a cloak, and, conducting him to the inn where he lodged, helped him to undress and go to bed, where he was immediately seized with a violent fit of the ague. Godfrey behaved with great tenderness, and would have actually borne him company all night, notwithstanding the circumstances of his own situation, had not his friend insisted upon his returning to the company, and making his apology to his partner for his sudden departure. This was a step absolutely necessary towards maintaining the quiet of the assembly, which he found in great consternation, occasioned by his absence; for some of the ladies, seeing the bridegroom follow the stranger in his retreat, the meaning of which they did not comprehend, began to be afraid of a quarrel. Emilia, upon pretence of that supposition, was so much alarmed, that she could not stand, and was fain to have recourse to a smelling-bottle.
The bride, who understood the whole mystery, was the only person that acted with deliberation and composure; she imputed Emilia’s disorder to the right cause, which was no other than concern for the condition of her lover, and assured the ladies there was nothing extraordinary in Mr. Pickle’s going off, he being subject to fainting fits, by which he was often overtaken without any previous notice. The arrival of Gauntlet confirmed the truth of this declaration. He made an apology to the company in the name of his friend, who, he told them, was suddenly taken ill; and they returned to their diversion of dancing, with this variation: Emilia was so disordered and fatigued, that she begged to be excused from continuing the exercise; and Peregrine’s partner being disengaged, was paired with the young officer, for whom she was originally designed. Meanwhile, the bride withdrew into another apartment with her sister, and expostulated with her upon her cruelty to Mr. Pickle, assuring her, from Godfrey’s information, that he had undergone a severe fit on her account, which, in all likelihood would have a dangerous effect upon his constitution. Though Emily was inflexible in her answers to the kind remonstrances of the gentle Sophy, her heart was melting with the impressions of pity and love; and, finding herself unable to perform the duty of her function, in putting the bride to bed, she retired to her own chamber, and in secret sympathized with the distemper of her lover.
In the morning, as early as decency would permit him to leave the arms of his dear wife, Captain Gauntlet made a visit to Peregrine, who had passed a very tedious and uneasy night, having been subject to short intervals of delirium, during which Pipes had found it very difficult to keep him fast belayed. He owned indeed to Godfrey, that his imagination had been haunted by the ideas of Emilia and her officer, which tormented him to an unspeakable degree of anguish and distraction; and that he would rather suffer death than a repetition of such excruciating reflections. He was, however, comforted by his friend, who assured him, that his sister’s inclinations would in time prevail over all the endeavours of resentment and pride, illustrating this asseveration by an account of the manner in which she was affected by the knowledge of his disorder, and advising him to implore the mediation of Sophy, in a letter which she should communicate to Emilia.
This was an opportunity which our hero thought too favourable to be neglected: calling for paper, he sat up in his bed, and, in the first transports of his emotion, wrote the following petition to Godfrey’s amiable wife:—
Dear Madam — The affliction of a contrite heart can never appeal to your benevolence in vain, and, therefore, I presume to approach you in this season of delight, with the language of sorrow, requesting that you will espouse the cause of an unhappy lover, who mourns with unutterable anguish over his ruined hope, and intercede for my pardon with that divine creature, whom, in the intemperance and excess of passion, I have so mortally offended. Good Heaven! is my guilt inexpiable? Am I excluded from all hope of remission? Am I devoted to misery and despair? I have offered all the atonement which the most perfect and sincere penitence could suggest, and she rejects my humility and repentance. If her resentment would pursue me to the grave, let her signify her pleasure; and may I be branded with the name of villain, and remembered with infamy and detestation to all posterity, if I hesitate one moment in sacrificing a life which is odious to Emilia. Ah! madam, while I thus pour forth the effusions of my grief and distraction, I look around the apartment in which I lie, and every well-known object that salutes my view, recalls to my remembrance that fond, that happy day, on which the fair, the good, the tender-hearted Sophy became my advocate, though I was a stranger to her acquaintance, and effected a transporting reconciliation between me and that same enchanting beauty, that is now so implacably incensed. If she is not satisfied with the pangs of remorse and disappointment, the transports of madness I have undergone, let her prescribe what further penance she thinks I ought to endure, and when I decline her sentence, let me be the object of her eternal disdain.
I commit myself, dear madam! dear Sophy! dear partner of my Friend! to your kind interposition. I know you will manage my cause, as a concern on which my happiness entirely depends; and I hope everything from your compassion and beneficence, while I fear everything from her rigour and barbarity. Yes! I call it barbarity, a savageness of delicacy altogether inconsistent with the tenderness of human nature; and may the most abject contempt be my portion, if I live under its scourge! But I begin to rave. I conjure you by your own humanity and sweetness of disposition, I conjure you by your love for the man whom Heaven hath decreed your protector, to employ your influence with that angel of wrath, in behalf of your obliged and obedient servant. “P. PICKLE.”
This epistle was immediately transmitted by Godfrey to his wife, who perused it with marks of the most humane sympathy; and, carrying it into her sister’s chamber, “Here is something,” said she, presenting the paper, “which I must recommend to your serious attention.” Emilia, who immediately guessed the meaning of this address, absolutely refused to look upon it, or even to hear it read, till her brother, entering her apartment, reprimanded her sharply for her obstinacy and pride, accused her of folly and dissimulation, and entered so warmly into the interests of his friend, that she thought him unkind in his remonstrances, and, bursting into a flood of tears, reproached him with partiality and want of affection. Godfrey, who entertained the most perfect love and veneration for his sister, asked pardon for having given offence, and, kissing the drops from her fair eyes, begged she would, for his sake, listen to the declaration of his friend.
Thus solicited, she could not refuse to hear the letter, which, when he had repeated, she lamented her own fate in being the occasion of so much uneasiness, desired her brother to assure Mr. Pickle that she was not a voluntary enemy to his peace; on the contrary, she wished him all happiness, though she hoped he would not blame her for consulting her own, in avoiding any future explanation or connection with a person whose correspondence she found herself under a necessity to renounce. In vain did the new-married couple exhaust their eloquence in attempting to prove, that the reparation which our hero had offered was adequate to the injury she had sustained: that in reconciling herself to a penitent lover, who subscribed to her own terms of submission, her honour would be acquitted by the most scrupulous and severe judges of decorum; and that her inflexibility would be justly ascribed to the pride and insensibility of her heart. She turned a deaf ear to all their arguments, exhortations, and entreaties, and threatened to leave the house immediately, if they would not promise to drop that subject of discourse.
Godfrey, very much chagrined at the bad success of his endeavours, returned to his friend, and made as favourable a report of the affair, as the nature of his conversation with Emilia would permit; but as he could not avoid mentioning her resolution in the close, Peregrine was obliged to drink again the bitter draught of disappointment, which put his passions into such a state of agitation, as produced a short ecstasy of despair, in which he acted a thousand extravagances. This paroxysm, however, soon subsided into a settled reserve of gloomy resentment, which he in secret indulged, detaching himself, as soon as possible, from the company of the soldier, on pretence of retiring to rest.
While he lay ruminating upon the circumstances of his present situation, his friend Pipes, who knew the cause of his anxiety, and firmly believed that Emilia loved his master at her heart, howsoever she might attempt to disguise her sentiments; I say, Thomas was taken with a conceit which he thought would set everything to rights, and therefore put it in execution without further delay. Laying aside his hat, he ran directly to the house of Sophy’s father, and, affecting an air of surprise and consternation, to which he had never before been subject, thundered at the door with such an alarming knock, as in a moment brought the whole family into the hall. When he was admitted, he began to gape, stare, and pant at the same time, and made no reply, when Godfrey asked what was the matter, till Mrs. Gauntlet expressed her apprehensions about his master. When Pickle’s name was mentioned, he seemed to make an effort to speak, and, in a bellowing tone, pronounced, “Brought himself up, split my topsails!” So saying, he pointed to his own neck, and rose upon his tiptoes, by way of explaining the meaning of his words.
Godfrey, without staying to ask another question, rushed out, and flew towards the inn, with the utmost horror and concern; while Sophy, who did not rightly understand the language of the messenger, addressing herself to him a second time, said, “I hope no accident has happened to Mr. Pickle?”—“No accident at all,” replied Tom; “he has only hanged himself for love.” These words had scarcely proceeded from his mouth, when Emilia, who stood listening at the parlour door, shrieked aloud, and dropped down senseless upon the floor; while her sister, who was almost equally shocked at the intelligence, had recourse to the assistance of her maid, by whom she was supported from falling. Pipes, hearing Emily’s voice, congratulated himself upon the success of his stratagem. He sprung to her assistance, and, lifting her up into an easy chair, stood by her, until he saw her recover from her swoon, and heard her call upon his master’s name, with all the frenzy of despairing love. Then he bent his course back to the inn, overjoyed at the opportunity of telling Peregrine what a confession he had extorted from his mistress, and extremely vain of this proof of his own sagacity.
In the meantime Godfrey arriving at the house in which he supposed this fatal catastrophe had happened, ran upstairs to Peregrine’s chamber, without staying to make any inquiry below; and, finding the door locked, burst it open with one stroke of his foot. But what was his amazement, when, upon entrance, our hero, starting up from the bed, saluted him with a boisterous exclamation of “Zounds! who’s there?” He was struck dumb with astonishment, which also riveted him to the place where he stood, scarce crediting the testimony of his own senses, till Peregrine, with an air of discontent, which denoted him displeased with his intrusion, dispelled his apprehension by a second address, saying, “I see you consider me as a friend, by your using me without ceremony.” The soldier, thus convinced of the falsehood of the information he had received, began to imagine, that Pickle had projected the plan which was executed by his servant; and looking upon it as a piece of unjustifiable finesse, which might be attended with very melancholy consequences to his sister or wife, he answered, in a supercilious tone, that Mr. Pickle must blame himself for the interruption of his repose, which was entirely owing to the sorry jest he had set on foot.
Pickle, who was the child of passion, and more than half mad with impatience before this visit, hearing himself treated in such a cavalier manner, advanced close up to Godfrey’s breast, and assuming a stern, or rather frantic countenance, “Hark ye, sir,” said he, “you are mistaken if you think I jest; I am in downright earnest, I assure you.” Gauntlet, who was not a man to be browbeaten, seeing himself thus bearded by a person of whose conduct he had, he thought, reason to complain, put on his military look of defiance, and, erecting his chest, replied with an exalted voice, “Mr. Pickle, whether you were in jest or earnest, you must give me leave to tell you, that the scheme was childish, unseasonable, and unkind, not to give it a harsher term.”—“Death, sir!” cried our adventurer, “you trifle with my disquiet; if there is any meaning in your insinuation, explain yourself, and then I shall know what answer it will befit me to give.”—“I came with very different sentiments,” resumed the soldier, “but since you urge me to expostulation, and behave with such unprovoked loftiness of displeasure, I will, without circumlocution, tax you with having committed an outrage upon the peace of my family, in sending your fellow to alarm us with such an abrupt account of your having done violence upon yourself.” Peregrine, confounded at this imputation, stood silent, with a most savage aspect of surprise, eager to know the circumstance to which his accuser alluded, and incensed to find it beyond the sphere of his comprehension.
While these two irritated friends stood fronting each other with mutual indignation in their eyes and attitudes, they were joined by Pipes, who, without taking the least notice of the situation in which he found them, told his master, that he might up with the top-gallant masts of his heart, and out with his rejoicing pendants; for as to Miss Emily, he had clapped her helm aweather, the vessel wore, and now she was upon the other tack, standing right into the harbour of his good-will. Peregrine, who was not yet a connoisseur in the terms of his lacquey, commanded him, upon pain of his displeasure, to be more explicit in his intelligence; and by dint of divers questions, obtained a perfect knowledge of the scheme which he had put in execution for his service. This information perplexed him not a little; he would have chastised his servant upon the spot for his temerity, had he not plainly perceived that the fellow’s intention was to promote his case and satisfaction; and, on the other hand, he knew not how to acquit himself of the suspicion which he saw Godfrey entertain of his being the projector of the plan, without condescending to an explanation, which his present disposition could not brook. After some pause, however, turning to Pipes with a severe frown, “Rascal!” said he, “this is the second time I have suffered in the opinion of that lady, by your ignorance and presumption; if ever you intermeddle in my affairs for the future, without express order and direction, by all that’s sacred, I will put you to death without mercy! Away, and let my horse be saddled this instant.”
Pipes having withdrawn, in order to perform this piece of duty, our young gentleman, addressing himself again to the soldier, and laying his hand upon his breast, said, with a solemnity of regard, “Captain Gauntlet, upon my honour, I am altogether innocent of that shallow device which you impute to my invention; and I don’t think you do justice either to my intellect or honour, in supposing me capable of such insolent absurdity. As for your sister, I have once in my life affronted her in the madness and impetuosity of desire; but I have made such acknowledgments, and offered such atonement, as few women of her sphere would have refused; and before God I am determined to endure every torment of disappointment and despair, rather than prostrate myself again to the cruelty of her unjustifiable pride.” So saying, he stalked suddenly down-stairs, and took horse immediately, his spirits being supported by resentment, which prompted him to vow within himself, that he would seek consolation for the disdain of Emilia, in the possession of the first willing wench he should meet upon the road.
While he set out for the garrison with these sentiments, Gauntlet, in a suspense between anger, shame, and concern, returned to the house of his father-in-law, where he found his sister still violently agitated from the news of Peregrine’s death; the mystery of which he forthwith unravelled, recounting at the same time the particulars of the conversation which had happened at the inn, and describing the demeanour of Pickle with some expressions of asperity, which were neither agreeable to Emilia, nor approved by the gentle Sophy, who tenderly chid him, for allowing Peregrine to depart in terms of misunderstanding.
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