“With your permission, I will mark out the ground, Mr Osborn,” said I, walking up to the Major, and intending to pace twelve paces in the direction towards which he faced.
“Allow me to observe that I think a little more in this direction, would be more fair for both parties,” said Mr Osborn.
“It would so, my dear sir,” replied I, “but, submitting to your superior judgment, perhaps it may not have struck you that my principal will have rather too much of the sun. I am incapable of taking any advantage, but I should not do my duty if I did not see every justice done to the Major, who has confided to me in this unpleasant affair. I put it to you, sir, as a gentleman and man of honour, whether I am claiming too much?” A little amicable altercation took place on this point, but finding that I would not yield, and that at every reply I was more and more polite and bland in my deportment, Mr Osborn gave up the point. I walked the twelve paces, and Mr Osborn placed his principal. I observed that Lord Tineholme did not appear pleased; he expostulated with him, but it was then too late. The pistols had been already loaded—the choice was given to his lordship, and Major Carbonnell received the other from my hand, which actually trembled, while his was firm. I requested Mr Osborn to drop the handkerchief, as I could not make up my mind to give a signal which might be fatal to the Major. They fired—Lord Tineholme fell immediately—the Major remained on his feet for a second or two, and then sank down on the ground. I hastened up to him. “Where are you hurt?”
The Major put his hand to his hip—“I am hit hard, Newland, but not so hard as he is. Run and see.”
I left the Major, and went up to where Lord Tineholme lay, his head raised on the knee of his second.
“It is all over with him, Mr Newland, the ball has passed through his brain.”
The Major pays the only
debt of consequence he ever did pay, and I
find myself a man of property.
I hastened back to the Major, to examine his wound, and, with the assistance of Timothy, I stripped him sufficiently to ascertain that the ball had entered his hip, and probing the wound with my finger, it appeared that it had glanced off in the direction of the intestines; the suffusion of blood was very trifling, which alarmed me still more.
“Could you bear removal, Major, in the coach?”
“I cannot tell, but we must try; the sooner I am home the better, Japhet,” replied he faintly.