Tobias Smollett, The Expedition of Humphry Clinker: Ch. 66

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The whole house was immediately in commotion. — Macalpine made a soldierly retreat with two horses; but the captain was suddenly surrounded and disarmed by the footmen, whom a French valet de chambre headed in this exploit; his sword was passed through a close-stool, and his person through the horse-pond. In this plight he returned to the inn, half mad with his disgrace. So violent was the rage of his indignation, that he mistook its object. — He wanted to quarrel with Mr Bramble; he said, he had been dishonoured on his account, and he looked for reparation at his hands. — My uncle's back was up in a moment; and he desired him to explain his pretensions. — 'Either compel lord Oxmington to give me satisfaction (cried he), or give it me in your own person.' 'The latter part of the alternative is the most easy and expeditious (replied the 'squire, starting up): if you are disposed for a walk, I'll attend you this moment.'

Here they were interrupted by Mrs Tabby, who had overheard all that passed. — She now burst into the room, and running betwixt them, in great agitation, 'Is this your regard for me (said she to the lieutenant), to seek the life of my brother?' Lismahago, who seemed to grow cool as my uncle grew hot, assured her he had a very great respect for Mr Bramble, but he had still more for his own honour, which had suffered pollution; but if that could be once purified, he should have no further cause of dissatisfaction. The 'squire said, he should have thought it incumbent upon him to vindicate the lieutenant's honour; but, as he had now carved for himself, he might swallow and digest it as well as he could — In a word, what betwixt the mediation of Mrs Tabitha, the recollection of the captain, who perceived he had gone too far, and the remonstrances of your humble servant, who joined them at this juncture, those two originals were perfectly reconciled; and then we proceeded to deliberate upon the means of taking vengeance for the insults they had received from the petulant peer; for, until that aim should be accomplished, Mr Bramble swore, with great emphasis, that he would not leave the inn where we now lodged, even if he should pass his Christmas on the spot.

In consequence of our deliberations, we next day, in the forenoon, proceeded in a body to his lordship's house, all of us, with our servants, including the coachman, mounted a-horseback, with our pistols loaded and ready primed. — Thus prepared for action, we paraded solemnly and slowly before his lordship's gate, which we passed three times in such a manner, that he could not but see us, and suspect the cause of our appearance. — After dinner we returned, and performed the same cavalcade, which was again repeated the morning following; but we had no occasion to persist in these manoeuvres. About noon, we were visited by the gentleman, at whose house we had first seen lord Oxmington. — He now came to make apologies in the name of his lordship, who declared he had no intention to give offence to my uncle, in practising what had been always the custom of his house; and that as for the indignities which had been put upon the officer, they were offered without his Lordship's knowledge, at the instigation of his valet de chambre. — 'If that be the case (said my uncle, in a peremptory tone), I shall be contented with lord Oxmington's personal excuses; and I hope my friend will be satisfied with his lordship's turning that insolent rascal out of his service.' — 'Sir (cried Lismahago), I must insist upon taking personal vengeance for the personal injuries I have sustained.'

After some debate, the affair was adjusted in this manner. — His lordship, meeting us at our friend's house, declared he was sorry for what had happened; and that he had no intention to give umbrage. — The valet de chambre asked pardon of the lieutenant upon his knees, when Lismahago, to the astonishment of all present, gave him a violent kick on the face, which laid him on his back, exclaiming in a furious tone, 'Oui je te pardonne, gens foutre.'

Such was the fortunate issue of this perilous adventure, which threatened abundance of vexation to our family; for the 'squire is one of those who will sacrifice both life and fortune, rather than leave what they conceive to be the least speck or blemish upon their honour and reputation. His lordship had no sooner pronounced his apology, with a very bad grace, than he went away in some disorder, and, I dare say, he will never invite another Welchman to his table.

We forthwith quitted the field of this atchievement, in order to prosecute our journey; but we follow no determinate course. We make small deviations, to see the remarkable towns, villas, and curiosities on each side of our route; so that we advance by slow steps towards the borders of Monmouthshire: but in the midst of these irregular motions, there is no abberration nor eccentricity in that affection with which I am, dear Wat,

Yours always,
J. MELFORD
Sept. 28.