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 chair—“my name is Sawbridge, sir, and I am the first—lieutenant of the Harpy. Now, sir, you have your answer.”

Mr. Sawbridge, who imagined that the name of the first—lieutenant 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 first—lieutenant is, and I take it for granted that you do not, by your behaviour; but depend upon it, I’ll let you know very soon. In the meantime, sir, I insist upon it, that you go immediately on board.”

“I’m 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 Jack’s impertinence, could have time to reply,

“Waiter,” said Jack, “show this gentleman downstairs.”

“By the god of war!” exclaimed the first—lieutenant, “but I’ll soon show you down to the boat, my young bantam; and when once I get you safe on board, I’ll make you know the difference between a midshipman and a first—lieutenant.”

“I can only admit of equality, sir,” replied Jack; “we are all born equal,—I trust you’ll allow that.”

“Equality—damn it, I suppose you’ll take the command of the ship. However, sir, your ignorance will be a little enlightened by—and—by. 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, to—morrow 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 mad—quite mad,” exclaimed Sawbridge, whose astonishment even mastered his indignation. “Mad as a March hare—by 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.”

  By PanEris using Melati.

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