When the major had finished his story, the lady was affected to tears, and besought her husband to make the gentleman such amends as the case demanded. But, indeed, that was unnecessary, for the Georgian had become so affected that he would have gone upon his knees and offered the major any apology he might in reason demand. But the lady sprang to her feet, and saying she would dress the injured man’s wounds with her own hands, proceeded to her beaureau and with her cologne bottle and sponge set about bathing his temples, and performing such other little kindnesses as pleased the major wonderfully, and made him declare he believed it the fate of every truly great public man to suffer in this way. In truth, he was not so sure that we appreciated it to the extent of its value, for it disciplined a man and prepared his mind for meeting the great things that were required of it in this world. “I have no fears of my reputation, madam,” he concluded, “but being the guest of the city, I fear if my enemies see the bruised condition of my head, they will say I have had a difficulty with an alderman.” While they were each trying to emulate the other in consoling the major in his distress, the lady, who had just then discovered the singular plight General Benthornham was in, caught sight of his bare extremities, which so affected her that she shrieked, and swooned in the arms of her husband.
Which relates the very Unmilitary predicament the major was found in on the following morning, when his presence was expected at the review.
General Benthornham was every inch a gentleman, and though he had what the vulgar call a very ugly conk nose, the ladies held him in high favor, and doubtless had never seen him except in full uniform, when he appeared to excellent advantage, for the point of his hat aided to detract from the immensity of his nose. As soon, therefore, as he saw the lady faint, and was made conscious of the cause, he took to his heels, and scampered out of sight with the nimbleness of a boy of fifteen, muttering apologies as he went, and saying to himself, “Isn’t this a pretty pickle for a military man of my age to be in?” The Georgian was nevertheless inclined to treat this second fainting effort of his wife with no great degree of sympathy, and without further ceremony told her, while almost suffocating her with hartshorn, not to make such a fool of herself, for it was the devil who put bad thoughts into the heads of virtuous women. As to the general, he was an old man, and had nothing about him a female of good morals need fear. This suddenly brought her to her senses, when she indulged in a few of those epithets females, however delicate, will use when resolved to show their lords