Jack then went back and consulted Gascoigne, who approved of Mesty’s advice, and thought the scheme feasible.

“If we could only pretend that we were thrown out of a caricola, you break your leg, a compound fracture of course— I break my arm— both left on shore at sick quarters, with Mesty to take care of us.”

“Capital indeed,” replied Jack; “I really would not mind it if it really took place; at all events we’ll overturn the caricola.”

“But shall we get leave the last day?”

“Yes, it’s two days since I have been on shore, for I have not liked to go to Don Rebiera’s since what Agnes told me. Besides, my clothes are all on shore, and that will be an excuse for a few hours.”

Our two midshipmen applied for leave the next morning to be off in the afternoon. The first-lieutenant gave them permission. They hastened to the hotel, sent for Don Philip, and made him a party to their plan. He readily promised his assistance, for he had resolved that our hero should marry his sister, and was fearful of the effect of his absence, coupled with Friar Thomaso’s influence over his mother. He went to the surgeon of his regiment, who immediately entered into the scheme.

Our two midshipmen got into a caricola, rattled up and down the streets, and perceiving Captain Wilson at his window flogged the horse into a gallop: when abreast of the barracks Jack ran the wheel against a bank, and threw himself and Gascoigne out. Midshipmen are never hurt by these accidents, but fortunately for the success of the enterprise their faces were cut and bruised. Don Philip was standing by: he called the men to pick up our two scamps, carried them into the barracks, and sent for the surgeons, who undressed them, put Jack’s left leg into a multitude of splints, and did the same to Gascoigne’s arm. They were then put to bed, their contused faces, with the blood, left in statu quo, while Don Philip sent an orderly, as from the commandant, to Captain Wilson, to acquaint him that two of his officers had been thrown out of a caricola, and were lying dangerously hurt at the barracks.

“Good heavens, it must be Mr. Easy and Mr. Gascoigne!” said Captain Wilson, when the intelligence was communicated; “I saw them galloping down the street like two madmen just now. Coxswain, take the gig on board and tell the surgeon to come on shore immediately, and bring him up to me at the barracks.”

Captain Wilson then put on his hat, buckled on his sword, and hastened to ascertain the extent of the injury. Don Philip kept out of the way, but the captain was ushered into the room by one of the officers, where he found, in two beds, our two midshipmen stretched out, the surgeon of the forces and the regimental surgeon in consultation between them, while attendants were standing by each bed with restoratives. The medical gentlemen saluted Captain Wilson, and looked very grave, talked about fractures, contusions, injuries, in the most interminable manner— hoped that Mr. Easy would recover— but had doubts. The other gentleman might do well with care; that is, as far as his arm was concerned, but there appeared to be a concussion of the brain. Captain Wilson looked at the cut and blood-smeared faces of the two young men, and waited with anxiety the arrival of his own surgeon, who came at last, puffing with the haste he had made, and received the report of the brothers of the faculty.

The leg of Mr. Easy fractured in two places— had been set— bone protruding— impossible to move him. Gascoigne, arm, compound fracture— concussion of the brain not certain. Now, that all this would have been discovered to be false if the surgeon had been able to examine, is true; but how could he not credit the surgeon of the forces and the regimental surgeon, and how could he put the young men to fresh tortures by removing splints and unsetting limbs? Politeness, if nothing else, prevented his so doing, for it would have been as much as to say that either he did not credit their report, or that he doubted their skill. He looked at our hero and his companion, who kept their eyes closed, and breathed heavily with their mouths open, put on a grave face, as well as his brothers in the art, and reported to Captain Wilson.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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