Mrs. Perkin's Ball, by William Makepeace Thackeray

The Mulligan and Mr. Perkins.

The Mulligan and Mr. Perkins.

It was too true. I had taken him away after supper (he ran after Miss Little’s carriage, who was dying in love with him as he fancied), but the brute had come back again. The doctors of divinity were putting up their condiments: everybody was gone; but the abominable Mulligan sat swinging his legs at the lonely supper-table!

Perkins was opposite, gasping at him.

The Mulligan. — I tell ye, ye are the butler, ye big fat man. Go get me some more champagne: it’s good at this house.

Mr. Perkins (with dignity). — It IS good at this house; but —

The Mulligan. — Bht hwhat, ye goggling, bow-windowed jackass? Go get the wine, and we’ll dthrink it together, my old buck.

Mr. Perkins. — My name, sir, is PERKINS.

The Mulligan. — Well, that rhymes with jerkins, my man of firkins; so don’t let us have any more shirkings and lurkings, Mr. Perkins.

Mr. Perkins (with apoplectic energy). — Sir, I am the master of this house; and I order you to quit it. I’ll not be insulted, sir. I’ll send for a policeman, sir. What do you mean, Mr. Titmarsh, sir, by bringing this — this beast into my house, sir?

At this, with a scream like that of a Hyrcanian tiger, Mulligan of the hundred battles sprang forward at his prey; but we were beforehand with him. Mr. Gregory, Mr. Grundsell, Sir Giles Bacon’s large man, the young gentlemen, and myself, rushed simultaneously upon the tipsy chieftain, and confined him. The doctors of divinity looked on with perfect indifference. That Mr. Perkins did not go off in a fit is a wonder. He was led away heaving and snorting frightfully.

Somebody smashed Mulligan’s hat over his eyes, and I led him forth into the silent morning. The chirrup of the birds, the freshness of the rosy air, and a penn’orth of coffee that I got for him at a stall in the Regent Circus, revived him somewhat. When I quitted him, he was not angry but sad. He was desirous, it is true, of avenging the wrongs of Erin in battle line; he wished also to share the grave of Sarsfield and Hugh O’Neill; but he was sure that Miss Perkins, as well as Miss Little, was desperately in love with him; and I left him on a doorstep in tears.

“Is it best to be laughing-mad, or crying-mad, in the world?” says I moodily, coming into my street. Betsy the maid was already up and at work, on her knees, scouring the steps, and cheerfully beginning her honest daily labor.

This web edition published by:

The University of Adelaide Library
University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00