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give me a little claret, Gilbert—there—thanks. —By the way, I don't know if I ever told you of a most formidable-looking accident that happened to me a vast many years ago, when my poor father and I were travelling in a postchaise down Shooter's Hill, just where the place built like Severndroog is"
"Bush, Pappy," said Tom, who had watched Cuthbert with considerable anxiety thus far, "you ave told hus that story hevery day this olidays. You should ear sister Kate tell it, just for all the world like you"
"Does she, my boy?" said Cuthbert; "how odd that is! Her poor dear mother had a strong turn for imitation. I didn't remember I had ever told Lieutenant Merman that story,—but wasn't it a miraculous escape?—we must have been dashed to pieces, if the horses had not stopped of themselves."
Lieutenant Merman, who evinced, by a look at me, his perfect intimacy with the catastrophe, then occupied at least three-quarters of an hour in relating a case of great hardship, in which
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it appeared that a Captain Dobbington had lodged his money for the majority of his regiment, and that Captain Winnowmore had been appointed— and that Lieutenant-colonel Somebody had died —and that the commander of the forces had done Dobbington a great injustice, and so had the adjutant-general, and the quarter-master-general— and so had the secretary at war, and the paymaster of the forces, and the judge-advocategeneral, and the general commanding the regiment, and, as far as I could collect, the Archbishop of Canterbury. However, Mr. Grub and Mr. Snob, two staunch redressors-general of all human wrongs, were to bring the case before the House of Commons the very first week of the next session, it being one of such importance, that the eyes of the whole army were directed to it, and the feelings of the whole nation in a consequent state of ebullition.
I listened; and at the conclusion of the details said I had not heard any thing of it through the public papers; and when I turned to Cuthbert, I found he was fast asleep, with his snuff-box still in Lis hand, but reversed, as the heralds would say, and the snuff " absent without leave," as the Lieutenant would have said, on the carpet. Not liking to rouse him from the soft slumber in which he was, like another Chrononhotonthologos, "unfatiguing himself," I pushed the wine again to Merman, who thinking, I suppose, that my doing so was an encouraging hint to resume his lamentations, continued to enlarge upon the infamous job which had been done, until the slumberer awoke.
In my mind there does not exist in the world a more anomalous character than a Radical officer of the army or the navy.—Pledged as they are to defend the king and country against all foes, foreign and domestic, and always eager to redeem that pledge
"E'en in the cannon's mouth," nothing can seem more extraordinary—I should say, perhaps, more disgusting—than to hear these members of the noble services to which they belong giving utterance to sentiments, the expression of which by any man not belonging to either, would at once stamp him for a disloyal and disaffected subject. It is always to me a convincing proof of great weakness or great wickedness. If they believe that the radical reform, of which they speak so enthusiastically, means any thing short of eventual revolution, the former is their misfortune. If with their eyes open to the ulterior results, they advocate the course which leads to them, and laud the men who uphold it, the latter is their crime; and in either case respect for themselves and society should keep them silent; for, as they are bound to fight for the existing order of things, and in the case of any outbreak, would in doing their duty be compelled to oppose and overthrow it, thei own previous proclamations, that what they did was contrary to their opinions and principles, would add but little to their reputation for sincerity, or their character for independence.
Merman's long tale having been quite unfolded, and Cuthbert awakened to the loss of his snuff, I suggested a removal to the drawing-room, anxious, I admit, to see the Minerva under whose fostering auspices two such promising girls as my pseudo-nieces were fast coming to maturity.
Cuthbert did not appear to evince any particular desire to greet the lady, which led me to think that his anxiety to show her civility had originated entirely in his devotion to his daughter-in-law. However, having got Lieutenant Merman to ring the bell for Hutton to come and fetch his snuff-box to be refilled, and then to wheel him across the hall to the edge of his couch in the drawing-room, we proceeded to an inspection of the all-accomplished Mrs. Brandyball.
I found her seated on one of the sofas between her young pupils. She was a plumpish dressy woman, of about fifty-four or five, with a florid countenance, and coal-black hair, which, upon the established principle of meum and tuum, was unquestionably her own; above which she wore a capacious white bonnet, decorated with flowers, which would have made Lee and Kennedy jealous, and have driven Colville mad; chains and rings adorned her neck and fingers, and although en