was alarmed by bawling at his window, which was in the second story, but he could not find his clothes in the dark, and his room-door was locked on the outside. The servants called to him, that the house had been robbed; that, without all doubt, the villains had taken away his clothes, fastened the door, and set the house on fire, for the stair-case was in flames. In this dilemma the poor lieutenant ran about the room naked like a squirrel in a cage, popping out his head at the window, between whiles, and imploring assistance. At length, the knight in person was brought out in his chair, attended by my uncle and all the family, including our aunt Tabitha, who screamed, and cried, and tore her hair, as if she had been distracted. Sir Thomas had already ordered his people to bring a long ladder, which was applied to the captain’s window, and now he exhorted him earnestly to descend. There was no need of much rhetoric to persuade Lismahago, who forthwith made his exit by the window, roaring all the time to the people below to hold fast the ladder.

Notwithstanding the gravity of the occasion, it was impossible to behold this scene without being seized with an inclination to laugh. The rueful aspect of the lieutenant in his shirt, with a quilted night-cap fastened under his chin, and his long lank limbs and posteriors exposed to the wind, made a very picturesque appearance, when illumined by the links and torches which the servants held up to light him in his descent. All the company stood round the ladder, except the knight, who sat in his chair, exclaiming from time to time, ‘Lord have mercy upon us!—save the gentleman’s life!—mind your footing, dear captain!—softly!—stand fast!—clasp the ladder with both hands!—there!—well done, my dear boy!—O bravo!—an old soldier for ever!—bring a blanket—bring a warm blanket to comfort his poor carcase—warm the bed in the green room—give me your hand, dear captain—I’m rejoiced to see thee safe and sound with all my heart.’ Lismahago was received at the foot of the ladder by his inamorata, who snatching a blanket from one of the maids, wrapped it about his body; two men-servants took him under the arms, and a female conducted him to the green room, still accompanied by Mrs. Tabitha, who saw him fairly put to bed. During this whole transaction, he spoke not a syllable, but looked exceeding grim, sometimes at one, sometimes at another of the spectators, who now adjourned in a body to the parlour where we had supped, every one surveying another with marks of astonishment and curiosity.

The knight being seated in an easy chair, seized my uncle by the hand, and bursting into a long and a loud laugh, ‘Matt (cried he), crown me with oak, or ivy, or laurel, or parsley, or what you will, and acknowledge this to be a coup de maître in the way of waggery—ha, ha, ha!—Such a camisciata, scagliata, beffata!—O, che roba!—O, what a subject!—O, what caricatura!—O, for a Rosa, a Rembrandt, a Schalken!—Zooks, I’ll give a hundred guineas to have it painted!—What a fine descent from the cross or ascent to the gallows!—What lights and shadows!—What a groupe below!—What expression above!—What an aspect!—Did you mind the aspect?—ha, ha, ha!—and the limbs, and the muscles—every toe denoted terror!—ha, ha, ha!—Then the blanket!—O, what costume!—St. Andrew! St. Lazarus! St. Barrabas!—ha, ha, ha!’ ‘After all, then (cried Mr. Bramble very gravely), this was no more than a false alarm. We have been frightened out of our beds, and almost out of our senses, for the joke’s sake.’ ‘Ay, and such a joke! (Cried our landlord) such a farce! such a denouement! such a catastrophe!’

‘Have a little patience (replied our’ squire); we are not yet come to the catastrophe; and pray God it may not turn out a tragedy instead of a farce. The captain is one of those saturnine subjects, who have no idea of humour. He never laughs in his own person; nor can he bear that other people should laugh at his expence. Besides, if the subject had been properly chosen, the joke was too severe in all conscience.’ ‘’Sdeath! (cried the knight) I could not have bated him an ace had he been my own father; and as for the subject, such another does not present itself once in half a century.’ Here Mrs. Tabitha interposing, and bridling up, declared, she did not see that Mr. Lismahago was a fitter subject for ridicule than the knight himself; and that she was very much afraid, he would very soon find he had mistaken his man. The baronet was a good deal disconcerted by this intimation, saying, that he must be a Goth and a barbarian, if he did not enter into the spirit of such a happy and humourous contrivance. He begged, however, that Mr. Bramble and his sister would bring him to reason; and this request was reinforced by lady Bullford, who did not fail to read the baronet a lecture upon his indiscretion, which lecture he received with submission on one side of his face, and a leer upon the other.

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