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not afraid of all the Costigans in Ireland, and know quite 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-place as the latter retreated down the stairs.
IN WHICH A SHOOTING MATCH IS 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 gentleman to offer no hindrance to the marriage projected between Mr. Arthur Pendennis and his daughter, Miss Fotheringay, and to fix an early day for its celebration : or, in any other case, to give him the satisfaction which was usual between gentlemen of honor. And should Major Pendennis be disinclined to this alternative, the Captain hinted, that he would force him to accept it by the use of a horsewhip, which he should employ upon the Major's person. The precise terms of this letter we cannot give, for reasons which shall be specified presently; but it was, no doubt, couched in the Captain's finest style, and sealed elaborately with the great silver seal of the Costigan's — the only bit of the family plate which the Captain possessed.
Garbetts was despatched, then, with this message and letter; and bidding Heaven bless 'um, the General squeezed his ambassador's hand, and saw him depart. Then he took down his venerable and murderous duelling-pistols, with flint locks, that had done the business of many a pretty fellow in Dublin : and having examined these, and seen that they were in a satisfactory condition, he brought from the drawer all Pen's letters and poems which he kept there, and which he always read before he permitted his Emily to enjoy their perusal.
In a score of minutes Garbetts came back with an anxious and crest-fallen countenance.
“ Ye've seen 'um ? " the Captain said. “ Why, yes," said Garbetts.
“ And when is it for ? ” asked Costigan, trying the lock of one of the ancient pistols, and bringing it to a level with his oi - as he called that blood-shot orb.
“ When is what for ?" asked Mr. Garbetts. “ The meeting, my dear fellow ? "
“You don't mean to say you mean mortal combat, Captain ? " Garbetts said, aghast.
“What the devil else do I mean, Garbetts ?-I want to shoot that man that has trajuiced me honor, or meself dthrop a victim on the sod.”
“D— if I carry challenges,” Mr. Garbetts replied. “I'm a family man, Captain, and will have nothing to do with pistols -- take back your letter;" and, to the surprise and indignation of Captain Costigan, his emissary flung the letter down, with its great sprawl. ing superscription and blotched seal.
“Ye don't mean to say ye saw 'um and did n't give 'um the letter ?” cried out the Captain, in a fury.
“I saw him, but I could not have speech with him, Captain,” said Mr. Garbetts.
“And why the devil not?” asked the other.
“ There was one there I cared not to meet, nor would you,” the tragedian answered in a sepulchral voice. "The minion Tatham was there, Captain."
“ The cowardly scoundthrel !” roared Costigan. “He's frightened, and already going to swear the peace against me."
“I'll have nothing to do with the fighting, mark that,” the tragedian doggedly said, “and I wish I'd not seen Tatham neither, nor that bit of — "
“Hold your tongue! Bob Acres. It's my belief ye're no better than a coward,” said Captain Costigan, quoting Sir Lucius O'Trigger, which character he had performed with credit, both off and on the stage, and after some more parley between the couple they separated in not very good humor.
Their colloquy has been here condensed, as the reader knows the main point upon which it turned. But the latter will now see how it is impossible to give a correct account of the letter which the Captain wrote to Major Pendennis, as it was never opened at all by that gentleman.
When Miss Costigan came home from rehearsal, which she did in the company of the faithful Mr. Bows, she found her father pacing up and down their apartment in a great state of agitation, and in the midst of a powerful odor of spirits-and-water, which, as it appeared, had not succeeded in pacifying his disordered mind. The Pendennis papers were on the table surrounding the empty goblets and now useless teaspoon, which had served to hold and mix the Captain's liquor and his friend's. As Emily entered he seized her in his arms, and cried out, “ Prepare yourself, me child, me blessed child,” in a voice of agony, and with eyes brimful of tears.
“ Ye're tipsy again, Papa," Miss Fotheringay said, pushing back her sire. “Ye promised me ye would n't take spirits before dinner.”
“It's to forget me sorrows, me poor girl, that I've taken just a drop," cried the bereaved father — “it's to drown me care that I drain the bowl.”
“Your care takes a deal of drowning, Captain dear," said Bows, mimicking his friend's accent; “what has happened ? Has that soft-spoken gentleman in the wig been vexing you ?”
“ The oily miscreant! I'll have his blood !” roared Cos. Miss Milly, it must be premised, had fled to her room out of his embrace, and was taking off her bonnet and shawl there.
“I thought he meant mischief. He was so uncommon civil,” the other said. “What has he come to
"O Bows! He has overwhellum'd me,” the Captain said. “There's a hellish conspiracy on foot against me poor girl; and it's me opinion that both