“Simply these two. The first it is not difficult to adhere to: I make a rule never to lose but a certain sum if I am unlucky when I commence—say twenty stakes, whatever may be the amount of the stake that you play. This rule is easily adhered to, by not taking more money with you; and I am not one of those to whom the croupier or porters will lend money. The second rule is the most difficult, and decides whether you are a gambler or not. I make a rule always to leave off when I have won a certain sum—or even before, if the chances of my game fluctuate. There is the difficulty; it appears very foolish not to follow up luck, but the fact is, fortune is so capricious, that if you trust her more than an hour, she will desert you. This is my mode of play, and with me it answers; but it does not follow that it would answer with another. But it is very late, or rather, very early—I wish you a good-night.”
I become principal instead
of second in a duel, and risk my own
and another’s life, my own and others’ happiness and peace of
mind, because I have been punished as I deserved.
After Captain Atkinson had left me, I stated to Timothy what had passed. “And do you think you will have to fight a duel, sir?” cried Timothy with alarm.
“There is no doubt of it,” replied I.
“You never will find your father, sir, if you go on this way,” said Timothy, as if to divert my attention from such a purpose.
“Not in this world, perhaps, Tim; perhaps I may be sent the right road by a bullet, and find him in the next.”
“Do you think your father, if dead, has gone to heaven?”
“I hope so, Timothy.”
“Then what chance have you of meeting him, if you go out of the world attempting the life of your old friend?”
“That is what you call a poser, my dear Timothy, but I cannot help myself; this I can safely say, that I have no animosity against Mr Harcourt—at least, not sufficient to have any wish to take away his life.”
“Well, that’s something, to be sure; but do you know, Japhet, I’m not quite sure you hit the right road when you set up for a gentleman.”
“No, Timothy, no man can be in the right road who deceives; I have been all wrong; and I am afraid I am going from worse to worse: but I cannot moralise, I must go to sleep, and forget everything if I can.”
The next morning, about eleven o’clock, a Mr Cotgrave called upon me on the part of Harcourt. I referred him to Captain Atkinson, and he bowed and quitted the room. Captain Atkinson soon called; he had remained at home expecting the message, and had made every arrangement with the second. He stayed with me the whole day; the Major’s pistols were examined and approved of; we dined, drank freely, and he afterwards proposed that I should accompany him to one of the hells, as they are called. This I refused, as I had some arrangements to make; and as soon as he was gone I sent for Timothy.