The Morning's Reflections

When young Pacey awoke in the morning he had a very bad headache, and his temples throbbed as if the veins would burst their bounds. The first thing that recalled the actual position of affairs to his mind was feeling under the pillow for his watch: a fruitless search, that ended in recalling something of the overnight’s proceedings.

Pacey liked a cheap flash, and when elated with wine might be betrayed into indiscretions that his soberer moments were proof against. Indeed, among youths of his own age he was reckoned rather a sharp hand; and it was the vanity of associating with men, and wishing to appear a match for them, that occasionally brought him into trouble. In a general way, he was a very cautious hand.

He now lay tumbling and tossing about in bed, and little by little he laid together the outline of the evening’s proceedings, beginning with his challenging Mr Sponge’s chestnut, and ending with the resignation of his watch and chain. He thought he was wrong to do anything of the sort. He didn’t want the horse, not he. What should he do with him? he had one more than he wanted as it was. Then, paying for him seventy sovereigns! confound it, it would be very inconvenient -- most inconvenient -- indeed, he couldn’t do it, so there was end of it. The facilities of carrying out after-dinner transactions frequently vanish with the morning’s sun. So it was with Mr Pacey. Then he began to think how to get out of it. Should he tell Mr Sponge candidly the state of his finances, and trust to his generosity for letting him off? Was Mr Sponge a likely man to do it? He thought he was. But then, would he blab? He thought he would, and that would blow him among those by whom he wished to be thought knowing, a man not to be done. Altogether he was very much perplexed: seventy pounds was a vast of money; and then there was his watch gone, too! a hundred and more altogether. He must have been drunk to do it -- very drunk, he should say and then he began to think whether he had not better treat it as an after-dinner frolic, and pretend to forget all about it. That seemed feasible.

All at once it occurred to Pacey that Mr Spraggon was the purchaser, and that he was only a middle- man. His headache forsook him for the moment, and he felt a new man. It was clearly the case, and bit by bit he recollected all about it. How Jack had told him to challenge the horse, and he would stand to the bargain; how he had whispered him (Pacey) to name him (Jack) arbitrator; and how he had done so, and Jack had made the award. Then he began to think that the horse must be a good one, as Jack would not set too high a price on him, seeing that he was the purchaser. Then he wondered that he had put enough on to induce Sponge to sell him: that rather puzzled him. He lay a long time tossing, and proing and coning, without being able to arrive at any satisfactory solution of the matter. At last he rang his bell, and finding it was eight o’clock he got up, and proceeded to dress himself; which operation being accomplished, he sought Jack’s room, to have a little confidential conversation with him on the subject, and arrange about paying Sponge for the horse, without letting out who was the purchaser.

Jack was snoring, with his great mouth wide open, and his grizzly head enveloped in a white cotton nightcap. The noise of Pacey entering awoke him.

‘Well, old boy,’ growled he, turning over as soon as he saw who it was, ‘what are you up to?’

‘Oh, nothing particular,’ replied Mr Pacey, in a careless sort of tone.

‘Then make yourself scarce, or I’ll baptise you in a way you won’t like,’ growled Jack, diving under the bedclothes.

‘Oh, why I just wanted to have -- have half a dozen words with you about our last night’s’ (ha -- hem -- haw!) ‘handicap, you know -- about the horse you know.’

‘About the w-h-a-w-t?’ drawled Jack, as if perfectly ignorant of what Pacey was talking about.

‘About the horse, you know -- about Mr Sponge’s horse, you know -- that you got me to challenge for you, you know,’ stammered Pacey.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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