As if some parties below had heard him give the word, two loud reports from the garden immediately ensued, and a crash of glass testified to the fact that some deadly missile had entered the room.
“Murder!” said the doctor, and he fell flat upon his back. “I don’t like this at all; it’s all in your line, admiral, but not in mine.”
“All’s right, my lad,” said the admiral; “now for it.”
He saw lying in the moonlight the pistols which he and the doctor had brought into the room, and in another moment he, to use his own words, returned the broadside of the enemy.
“D—n it!” he said, “this puts me in mind of old times. Blaze away, you thieves, while I load; broadside to broadside. It’s your turn now; I scorn to take an advantage. What the devil’s that?”
Something very large and very heavy came bang against the window, sending it all into the room, and nearly smothering the admiral with the fragments. Another shot was then fired, and in came something else, which hit the wall on the opposite side of the room, rebounding from thence on to the doctor, who gave a yell of despair.
After that all was still; the enemy seemed to be satisfied that they had silenced the garrison. And it took the admiral a great deal of kicking and plunging to rescue himself from some superincumbent mass that was upon him, which seemed to him to be a considerable sized tree.
“Call this fair fighting,” he shouted—“getting a man’s legs and arms tangled up like a piece of Indian matting in the branches of a tree? Doctor, I say! hilloa! where are you?”
“I don’t know,” said the doctor; “but there’s somebody getting into the balcony—now we shall be murdered in cold blood!”
“Where’s the pistols?”
“Fired off, of course; you did it yourself.”
Bang came something else into the room, which, from the sound it made, closely resembled a brick, and after that somebody jumped clean into the centre of the floor, and then, after rolling and writhing about in a most singular manner, slowly got up, and with various preliminary hiccups, said,—
“Come on, you lubbers, many of you as like. I’m the tar for all weathers.”
“Why, d——e,” said the admiral, “it’s Jack Pringle.”
“Yes, it is,” said Jack, who was not sufficiently sober to recognise the admiral’s voice. “I sees as how you’ve heard of me. Come on, all of you.”
“Why, Jack, you scoundrel,” roared the admiral, “how came you here? Don’t you know me? I’m your admiral, you horse-marine.”
“Eh?” said Jack. “Ay—ay, sir, how came you here?”
“How came you, you villain?”
“Boarded the enemy.”
“The enemy who you boarded was us; and hang me if I don’t think you haven’t been pouring broadsides into us, while the enemy were scudding before the wind in another direction.”
“Lor!” said Jack.
“Explain, you scoundrel, directly—explain.”