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his conduet; with you, sir, I shall not enter into any discussion of the subject. I neither know you nor Captain John Smith.

“ You have consulted a friend on the subject ?”

“I have spoken to several on what I considered impertinence. The last person was Mr. Thomas Allen.”

" I know him well. A man of honour. I will wait upon your friend, sir.”

“ As you please. You certainly may wait upon whom you choose to serve."

The button-merchant was not satisfied that the scheme worked well; but he reported to Allen-not exactly the words as delivered.

It was so contrived by the quizzers that the next day they were to meet in front of the theatre, and draw Spiffard from his business of the stage, so that he might witness a preconcerted pantomimic interview between Allen and Beaglehole. Accordingly, Spiffard's attention was drawn to the gentlemen by a remark made by Hilson.

“ What are Allen and Beaglehole so earnestly talking about over there in the park ?"

“ Settling a race,” said one of the club, “or a hoppingmatch. I will pit Young for a hop against anything."

Except a flea," said Hilson. “ But for a race I'll back Beaglehole.” you

think he could carry your weight?" “None of your quibbling, Tam. He'll beat any man I know at a run,

“ The Colonel shall beat him, if the enemy is in the

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rear.

“ Tom, I must fight you yet; by this I must.” And he touched a bauble suspended by a riband on his breast.

What? the goose-and-gridiron at your button-hole ?" 6. The eagle, sir.”

“ Your Ben Franklin-poor Richard-says the eagle is a dishonest bird.

The goose would have been much better as the emblem of rusticity or wisdom.".

Beaglehole shall beat any man in America at a race on all-fours," said Cooper.

High, low, jack and the game,” said Hilson;" that's allfours."

“ You know what I mean : at running on hands and feet.”

“ That depends on length of arms. The Colonel's are longer than any man's since Rob Roy. But see, the two gentlemen

66

are taking leave of each other. How formally they bow and touch their hats. The match is made.”

Spiffard saw the two gentlemen apparently conversing with great earnestness; and after a considerable time he saw them separate, each bowing with that kind of ceremony, which, to the attentive comedian, indicated an appointment, in the fulfilment of which, he, like the felon on his way to the gallows, was to be the principal performer.

Those who were in the secret enjoyed the earnest and eager glances of Spiffard at the two ceremonious friends of himself and Captain Smith. Mr. Beaglehole having dissappeared, Allen joined the knot. But the result of this important interview must be reserved for Spiffard's private ear, and the torture of suspense protracted as long as possible,

- What have you and Beaglehole been settling so gravely ?" asked one. “ Nothing."

Nothing comes of nothing,'” said Hilson. 6. What match have you been making? His bay against your gray, or himself against Young for a hop?”

“ It's most likely a pistol-firing at Tyler's," said another.

Although Spiffard had determined not to fight a duel, yet the thought of controversy with a duellist was excessively annoying. He might be insulted—perhaps reduced to the necessity of repelling blows by blows. * At length he was informed that Mr. Beaglehole would immediately acquaint Captain Smith that an apology was denied, and of course the captain's presence necessary. Spiffard did not see the necessity. He said nothing but he was impatient to have the affair over.

Two more days pass gloomily at home. The teasing question again is asked, “ Wat's the matter, Mr. Spiffard ?" and the uncharacteristic answer made- Nothing."

Then comes a notification that Captain Smith's second having written to his principal, said principal would be in NewYork the next day. Accordingly Beaglehole informs Allen that Smith expects the rencontre at 7 o'clock the next morning. Notice is given to Spiffard by Allen that he had agreed to the appointment. And thus, although without fear of death or the necessity of committing murder to avoid it, the young man is doomed to another day and night of anxiety. He had said enough on the subject to have made a real second throw up the office; but it was not the wish of Allen and his partners in mischief to understand; therefore preparations were made; and Spiffard, willing to be from home, (where his looks were

watched with very different feelings from those they produced upon the hoaxers), was induced to pass the hour of dinner which engrossed the evening with the same circle of convivialists, who were sporting with his honest credulity, and enjoying every token of his uneasiness.

It was now necessary that a new cause should be assigned for the disappointment of the next morning. A pretext must be found for the not meeting of combatants both so ready to meet, but who never could meet. A plot was suggested, discussed, agreed upon, and put in practice.

The first time that Spiffard joined the party, (after the important arrangement), it happened that he entered, as frequently occurred, sometime after the cloth had been removed, and the nuts and jokes had been cracked until attention was called to the colonel's history of his first campaign, or some other story which was a joke to the company.

The invasion of New-Jersey had broken up the school at which I had been flogged, in the hope of fitting me for Princeton college ; and to my great joy, I was at liberty for any mischief, without having the

fear of the ferule before my eyes. I have told you, that when the volunteers and minute-men turned out and trained, the boys of Burlington formed themselves into a company and trained too.”

“ Yes, Colonel," said Hilson, “ you have told that once or twice."

“ No, not twice. I never tell my stories twice to the same company. I never fight my battles o’er again-give us that decanter-over again, more than once to the same-lis teners

“Well, fill, and push the decanter this way; and push on—" • Where was I ? “ Just out of school."

“ Home didn't suit me. My head was full of drums, and by the by, did I tell you that I was drummer to our com

pany, and

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“ You were determined to make a noise in the world."
A stale joke, Hilson. Well, colonel-
“ I determined to join the army, and run away-
" A most heroic resolution !"
* From home.”

I thought it was from the enemy."
6 Tom, none of your jokes."
66 Go

colonel.” I was thought too small for a musket, and so I offered my

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self for drummer in a Pennsylvania regiment, and was accepted. Well,

my first knowledge of the whistling of a bullet was at Trenton."

“ Ah! That was when you stooped down and pretended to buckle

your shoe, while the Hessians made the balls whistle about the ears of those who carried their heads too high.”

“Let me light this cigar before I give you the battle of Trenton."

The entrance of the Vermonter gave an opportunity to change the subject which was gladly seized, and the battle of Trenton, which had been made rather familiar, was postponed for the present.

When Spiffard was preparing to go home, Allen accosted him thus :

“ It is necessary, Mr. Spiffard, that our watches should be in unison. We must be punctual. Rather before the time. How is yours

?" " It wants five minutes of twelve." “ I'm exactly half past eleven.' All the company applied to their watches, and all in concert cried, “half past eleven,” except Hilson, who said, “ it is only fifteen minutes past eleven, by Saint Paul's, the orthodox clock, and by Saint Paul's, I go.”

“ Every time you go to the theatre. No: it is exactly half past eleven.

All cried out, “ Half past eleven;" and Allen, asking Spiffard for his watch, and putting it back twenty minutes, said, “ there now, it is exactly ten minutes too fast. It is best for you to be before the time.”

“ I should not think so, if I was going to be hung, or shot,” said Hilson, “ but every one to his liking.”

“ I tell you what, Spiff,” said the colonel, “ you had better go to bed and sleep soundly, or you may not be in nerve. I make it a rule on such occasions to take a hearty supper, my bottle of sherry or madeira, as it may be; then sleep till my waiter calls me; take a bracer ; keep my hands warm during the ride or the sail, as it may be ; and, with all my muscles in order, coolly take my ground and my aim. Then, quick upon the trigger, your man's down. Good night."

It will be perceived from the foregoing that the meeting was talked of freely by the company; and as a meeting of deathdoing purpose. Spiffard had given hints, or more than hints, of his intentions, but they were passed by as unheard. The tormentors were determined to try him.

158

CHAPTER XIX.

Another victim.

It presses on my memory
Like damned guilty deeds to sinners' minds.",

Those that can pity, here
May, if they think it well, let drop a tear."

« The pale-faced moon looks bloody on the earth."

" Though what I ain I cannot avoid, yet to be what I would not, shall not make ine tame."

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"And when I ask'd you what the matter was,

You stared upon me with ungentle looks." --Shakspeare.

While Spiffard was passing his time with companions so unlike himself, what was doing at the house which ought to have been his home?

It was past eleven o'clock, and fast approaching midnight. In the same apartment, which the reader may remember being introduced to at the commencement of this history, sat Mrs. Epsom, her daughter, and her niece. They were all, at this late hour, busily employed. They surrounded, or occupied, different sides of a table, in the centre of the room, on which towered a brilliant lamp, throwing a pleasant mellow light, through its transparent shade, over the three very dissimilar figures and the materials on which they were employed. All were silent. The two actresses, mother and daughter, were intent upon what they called, in the technical language of the stage, study. Each had a manuscript before her; that is, a

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