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“ What! he ain’t rich then ? ” Foker asked.
“ Upon my honour he has no more than what I say.”
“ And you ain’t going to leave him anything ? ”
The Major had sunk every shilling he could scrape together on annuity, and of course was going to leave Pen nothing; but he did not tell Foker this. “ How much do you think a Major on half-pay can save?” he asked. “If these‘people have been looking at him as a fortune, they are utterly mistaken—and—and you have made me the happiest man in the world.”
“Sir to You,” said Mr. Foker, politely, and when they parted for the night they shook hands with the greatest cordiality; the younger gentleman promising the elder not to leave Chatteris without a further conversation in the morning. And as the Major went up to his room, and Mr. Foker smoked his cigar against the door pillars of the George, Pen, very likely, ten miles off, was lying in bed kissing the letter from his Emily.
The next morning, before Mr. Foker drove off in his drag, the insinuating Major had actually got a letter of Miss Rouncy’s in his own pocket-book. Let it be a lesson to women how they write. And in very high spirits Major Pendennis went to call upon Doctor Portman at the Deanery, and told him what happy discoveries he had made on the previous night. As they sate in confidential conversation in the Dean’s oak breakfast parlour they could look across the lawn and see Captain Costigan’s window, at which poor Pen had been only too visible some three weeks since. The Doctor was most indignant against Mrs. Creed, the landlady, for her duplicity, in concealing Sir Derby Oaks’s constant visits to her lodgers, and threatened to excommunicate her out of the Cathedral. But the wary Major thought that all things were for the best; and, having taken counsel with himself over night, felt himself quite strong enough to go and face Captain Costigan.
“ I’m going to fight the dragon,” he said, with a laugh, to Doctor Portman.
“ And I shrive you, sir, and bid good fortune go with you,” answered the Doctor. Perhaps he and Mrs. Portman and Miss Mira, as they sate with their fiiend, the Dean’s lady, in her drawing-room, looked up more than once at the enemy’s window to see if they could perceive any signs of the combat.
The Major walked round, according to the directions given him, and soon found Mrs. Creed’s little door. He passed it, and as he ascended to Captain Costigan’s apartment, he could hear a stamping of feet, and a great shouting of “ Ha, ha!” within.
“ It’s Sir Derby Oaks taking his fencing lesson,” said the
child, who piloted Major Pendennis. “ He takes it Mondays,
Wednesdays, and Fridays.”
The Major knocked, and at length a tall gentleman came forth, with a foil and mask in one hand, and a fencing glove on the other.
Pendennis made him a deferential bow. “ I believe I have the honour of speaking to Captain Costigan—My name is Major Pendennis.” ‘
The Captain brought his weapon up to the salute, and said, “ Major, the honer is moine; I’m deloighted to see ye.”