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"The Costigans, too, have met with misfortunes; and our house of Castle Costigan is by no manes what it was. I have known very honest men apothecaries, sir, and there's some in Dublin that has had the honor of dining at the Lord Leftenant's teeble."
"You are very kind to give us the benefit of your charity," the Major continued: "but permit me to say that is not the question. You spoke just now of my little nephew as heir of Fairoaks Park, and I don't know what besides."
"Funded property, I 've no doubt, Meejor, and something handsome eventually from yourself."
"My good sir, I tell you the boy is the son of a country apothecary," cried out Major Pendennis; "and that when he comes of age he won't have a shilling."
"Pooh, Major, you 're laughing at me," said Mr. Costigan, "me young friend, I make no doubt, is heir to two thousand pounds a-year."
"Two thousand fiddlesticks! I beg your pardon, my dear sir; but has the boy been humbugging you ? — it is not his habit. Upon my word and honor, as a gentleman and an executor to my brother's will too, he left little more than five hundred a-year behind him."
"And with aconomy, a handsome sum of money too, sir," the Captain answered. "Faith, I've known a man drink his clar't, and drive his coach-and-four on five hundred a-year and strict aconomy, in Ireland, sir. We'1l manage on it, sir—trust Jack Costigan for that."
"My dear Captain Costigan — I give you my word that my brother did not leave a shilling to his son Arthur."
"Are ye joking with me, Meejor Pendennis?" cried Jack Costigan. "Are ye thrifling with the feelings of a father and a gentleman?"
"I am telling you the honest truth," said Major Pendennis. "Every shilling my brother had, he left to his widow: with a partial reversion, it is true, to the boy. But she is a young woman, and may marry if he offends her — or she may outlive him, for she comes of an uncommonly long-lived family. And I ask you as a gentleman and a man of the world, what allowance can my sister, Mrs. Pendennis, make to her son out of five hundred a-year, which is all her fortune — that shall enable him to maintain himself and your daughter in the rank befitting such an accomplished young lady?"
"Am I to understand, sir, that the young gentleman, your nephew, and whom I have fosthered and cherished as the son of me bosom, is an imposther who has been thrifling with the affections of me beloved child?" exclaimed the General, with an outbreak of wrath. "Have a care, sir, how you thrifle with the honor of John Costigan. If I thought any mortal man meant to do so, be heavens, I'd have his blood, sir — were he old or young."
"Mr. Costigan!" cried out the Major.
"Mr. Costigan can protect his own and his daughter's honor, and will, sir," said the other. "Look at that chest of dthrawers, it contains heaps of letthers that that viper has addressed to that innocent child. There's promises there, sir, enough to fill a band-box with; and when I have dragged the scoundthrel before the Courts of Law, and shown up his perjury and his dishonor, I have another remedy in yondther mahogany case, sir, which shall set me right, sir, with any individual—ye mark me words, Major Pendennis— with any individual who has counselled your nephew to insult a soldier and a gentleman. What? Me daughter to be jilted, and me gray hairs dis
VOL. IX. —11
honored by an apothecary's son! By the laws of Heaven, sir, I should like to see the man that shall do it."
"I am to understand then that you threaten in the first place to publish the letters of a boy of eighteen to a woman of eight-and-twenty: and afterwards to do me the honor of calling me out," the Major said, still with perfect coolness.
"You have described my intentions with perfect accuracy, Meejor Pendennis," answered the Captain, as he pulled his ragged whiskers over his chin.
"Well, well; these shall be the subjects of future arrangements, but before we come to powder and ball, my good sir, — do have the kindness to think with yourself in what earthly way I have injured you? I have told you that my nephew is dependent upon his mother, who has scarcely more than five hundred ayear."
"I have my own opinion of the correctness of that assertion," said the Captain.
"Will you go to my sister's lawyers, Messrs. Tatham here, and satisfy yourself?"
"I decline to meet those gentlemen," said the Captain, with rather a disturbed air. "If it be as you say, I have been athrociously deceived by some one, and on that person I 'll be revenged."
"Is it my nephew?" cried the Major, starting up and putting on his hat. "Did he ever tell you that his property was two thousand a-year? If he did, I'm mistaken in the boy. To tell lies has not been a habit in our family, Mr. Costigan, and I don't think my brother's son has learned it as yet. Try and consider whether you have not deceived yourself; or adopted extravagant reports from hearsay. As for me, sir, you are at 'liberty to understand that I am not afraid of all the Costigans in Ireland, and knowquite well how to defend myself against any threats from any quarter. I come here as the boy's guardian to protest against a marriage, most absurd and unequal, that cannot but bring poverty and misery with it: and in preventing it I conceive I am quite as much your daughter's friend (who I have no doubt is an honorable young lady), as the friend of my own family: and prevent the marriage I will, sir, by every means in my power. There, I have said my say, sir."
"But I have not said mine, Major Pendennis — and ye shall hear more from me," Mr. Costigan said, with a look of tremendous severity.
"'Sdeath, sir, what do you mean?" the Major asked, turning round on the threshold of the door, and looking the intrepid Costigan in the face.
"Ye said, in the course of conversation, that ye were at the George Hotel, I think," Mr. Costigan said in a stately manner. "A friend shall wait upon ye there before ye leave town, sir."
"Let him make haste, Mr. Costigan," cried out the Major, almost beside himself with rage. "I wish you a good morning, sir." And Captain Costigan bowed a magnificent bow of defiance to Major Pendennis over the landing-plaee as the latter retreated down the stairs.
IN WHICH A SHOOTING MATCH 18 PROPOSED.
Early mention has been made in this history of Mr. Garbetts, Principal Tragedian, a promising and athletic young actor, of jovial habits and irregular inclinations, between whom and Mr. Costigan there was a considerable intimacy. They were the chief ornaments of the convivial club held at the Magpie Hotel; they helped each other in various bill transactions in which they had been engaged, with the mutual loan of each other's valuable signatures. They were friends, in fine; and Mr. Garbetts was called in by Captain Costigan immediately after Major Pendennis had quitted the house, as a friend proper to be consulted at the actual juncture. He was a large man, with a loud voice and fierce aspect, who had the finest legs of the whole company, and could break a poker in mere sport across his stalwart arm.
"Run, Tommy," said Mr. Costigan to the little messenger, "and fetch Mr. Garbetts from his lodgings over the tripe shop, ye know, and tell 'em to send two glasses of whiskey-and-water, hot, from the Grapes." So Tommy went away; and presently Mr. Garbetts and the whiskey came.
Captain Costigan did not disclose to him the whole of the previous events, of which the reader is in possession; but, with the aid of the spirits-and-water, he composed a letter of a threatening nature to Major Pendennis's address, in which he called upon that