Hereupon Jack, who did not much admire the peremptory tone of Mr. Sawbridge, and who during the answer had taken a seat, crossed his legs and played with the gold chain to which his watch was secured, after a pause very coolly replied,
And pray, who are you?
Who am I, sir? replied Sawbridge, jumping out of his chairmy name is Sawbridge, sir, and I am the firstlieutenant of the Harpy. Now, sir, you have your answer.
Mr. Sawbridge, who imagined that the name of the firstlieutenant would strike terror to a culprit midshipman, threw himself back in the chair, and assumed an air of importance.
Really, sir, replied Jack, what may be your exact situation on board, my ignorance of the service will not allow me to guess, but if I may judge from your behaviour, you have no small opinion of yourself.
Look ye, young man, you may not know what a firstlieutenant is, and I take it for granted that you do not, by your behaviour; but depend upon it, Ill let you know very soon. In the meantime, sir, I insist upon it, that you go immediately on board.
Im sorry that I cannot comply with your very moderate request, replied Jack, coolly. I shall go on board when it suits my convenience, and I beg that you will give yourself no further trouble on my account.
Jack then rang the bell; the waiter, who had been listening outside, immediately entered, and before Mr. Sawbridge, who was dumb with astonishment at Jacks impertinence, could have time to reply,
Waiter, said Jack, show this gentleman downstairs.
By the god of war! exclaimed the firstlieutenant, but Ill soon show you down to the boat, my young bantam; and when once I get you safe on board, Ill make you know the difference between a midshipman and a firstlieutenant.
I can only admit of equality, sir, replied Jack; we are all born equal,I trust youll allow that.
Equalitydamn it, I suppose youll take the command of the ship. However, sir, your ignorance will be a little enlightened byandby. I shall now go and report your conduct to Captain Wilson; and I tell you plainly, that, if you are not on board this evening, tomorrow morning, at daylight, I shall send a sergeant and a file of marines, to fetch you.
You may depend upon it, sir, replied Jack, that I also shall not fail to mention to Captain Wilson, that I consider you a very quarrelsome, impertinent fellow, and recommend him not to allow you to remain on board. It will be quite uncomfortable to be in the same ship with such an ungentlemanly bear.
He must be madquite mad, exclaimed Sawbridge, whose astonishment even mastered his indignation. Mad as a March hareby God.
No, sir, replied Jack, I am not mad, but I am a philosopher.
A what? exclaimed Sawbridge, damme, what next?well, my joker, all the better for you, I shall put your philosophy to the proof.
It is for that very reason, sir, replied Jack, that I have decided upon going to sea: and if you do remain on board, I hope to argue the point with you, and make you a convert to the truth of equality and the rights of man.
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