Successful Recitations eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 540 pages of information about Successful Recitations.

Again they met—­fired simultaneously, and the captain, who was unhurt, shattered the right elbow of his antagonist—­the very point upon which he had been struck with the second cherry-stone; and here ended the second lesson.  There was something awfully impressive in the modus operandi and exquisite skill of his antagonist.  The third cherry-stone was still in his possession, and the aggressor had not forgotten that it had struck the unoffending gentleman upon the left breast.  A month passed—­another—­and another, of terrible suspense; but nothing was heard from the captain.

At length, the gentleman who had been his second in the former duels once more presented himself, and tendered another note, which, as the recipient perceived on taking it, contained the last of the cherry-stones.  The note was superscribed in the captain’s well-known hand, but it was the writing evidently of one who wrote feebly.  There was an unusual solemnity also in the manner of him who delivered it.  The seal was broken, and there was the cherry-stone in a blank envelope.

“And what, sir, am I to understand by this?” inquired the aggressor.

“You will understand, sir, that my friend forgives you—­he is dead.”



“Years ago, when I was quite a young man, I was appointed chaplain to H.M.S. Octopus, then on guard at Gibraltar.  We had a very nice time of it, for ‘Gib.’ is a very gay place, and that winter there was plenty of fun somewhere nearly every night, and we were asked to most of the festivities.  Now, on board the Octopus was a young midshipman, whom I will call Munro.  He was a handsome young fellow, but rather delicate, and he had been sent to Gibraltar for the sake of the climate, in hopes that the sea-air and warm winter might set him up.  He was the life of the ship, and wherever he went he was popular; and it is possible he might have outgrown his weakness, for I don’t think there was any organic disease at this time, but he got a low fever, and died in a week.  This low fever was very prevalent, and at the same time that poor young Munro died, an admiral, one of the leading members of society at ‘Gib.,’ died of the same disease.  As it was considered infectious, the two bodies were placed in their coffins and carried to the mortuary till the funeral.  Oddly enough, both funerals were fixed for the same day; Munro’s in the morning, and the admiral’s in the afternoon.  The admiral’s was to be a very grand affair, all the troops in the garrison were to follow, as well as the naval officers and sailors on board the guardships; the ceremony was to be performed by the bishop, assisted by some other clergy while as for poor Munro, I was to bury him at ten o’clock in the morning, six men were told off to carry the coffin, and it was left to those who liked to act as mourners.

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Successful Recitations from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.