Reader, have you not elsewhere read in the mortal fray between knights, when the casque has been beaten off, the shield lost, and the sword shivered, how they have resorted to closer and more deadly strife with their daggers raised on high? Thus it was with Timothy: his means had failed, and disdaining any longer to wage a distant combat, he closed vigorously with his panting enemy, overthrew him in the first struggle, seizing from his basket the only weapons which remained, one single vial, and one single box of pills. As he sat upon his prostrate foe, first he forced the box of pills into his gasping mouth, and then with the lower end of the vial he drove it down his throat, as a gunner rams home the wad and shot into a thirty-two pound carronade. Choked with the box, the fallen knight held up his hands for quarter; but Timothy continued until the end of the vial breaking out the top and bottom of the pasteboard receptacle, forty-and-eight of antibilious pills rolled in haste down Red-head’s throat. Timothy then seized his basket, and amid the shouts of triumph, walked away. His fallen-crested adversary coughed up the remnants of the pasteboard, once more breathed, and was led disconsolate to the neighbouring pump; while Timothy regained our shop with his blushing honours thick upon him.
But I must drop the vein heroical. Mr Cophagus, who was at home when Timothy returned, was at first very much inclined to be wroth at the loss of so much medicine; but when he heard the story, and the finale, he was so pleased at Tim’s double victory over Mr Pleggit and his messenger, that he actually put his hand in his pocket, and pulled out half-a-crown.
Mr Pleggit, on the contrary, was any thing but pleased; he went to a lawyer, and commenced an action for assault and battery, and all the neighbourhood did nothing but talk about the affray which had taken place, and the action at law which it was said would take place in the ensuing term.
But with the exception of this fracas, which ended in the action not holding good, whereby the animosity was increased, I have little to recount during the remainder of the time I served under Mr Cophagus. I had been more than three years with him when my confinement became insupportable. I had but one idea, which performed an everlasting cycle in my brain—Who was my father? And I should have abandoned the profession to search the world in the hope of finding my progenitor, had it not been that I was without the means. Latterly, I had hoarded up all I could collect; but the sum was small, much too small for the proposed expedition. I became melancholy, indifferent to the business, and slovenly in my appearance, when a circumstance occurred which put an end to my further dispensing medicines, and left me a free agent.