‘Oh, dash it, the chap’s drunk,’ growled Jack aloud to himself; adding to Pacey, ‘you shouldn’t get up so soon, man -- sleep the drink off.’

Pacey stood nonplussed.

‘Don’t you remember, Mr Spraggon,’ at last asked he, after watching the tassel of Jack’s cap peeping above the bedclothes, ‘what took place last night, you know? You asked me to get you Mr Sponge’s chestnut, and you know I did, you know.’

‘Hout, lad, disperse! -- get out of this!’ exclaimed Jack, starting his great red face above the bedclothes, and squinting frightfully at Pacey.

‘Well, my dear friend, but you did,’ observed Pacey, soothingly.

Nonsense!’ roared Jack, again ducking under.

Pacey stood agape.

‘Come!’ exclaimed Jack, again starting up, ‘cut your stick! -- be off! -- make yourself scarce! -- give your rags a gallop, in short! -- don’t be after disturbin’ a gen’leman of fortin’s rest in this way.’

‘But, my dear Mr Spraggon,’ resumed Pacey, in the same gentle tone, ‘you surely forget what you asked me to do.’

I do,’ replied Jack, firmly.

‘Well, but, my dear Mr Spraggon, if you’ll have the kindness to recollect -- to consider -- to reflect on what passed, you’ll surely remember commissioning me to challenge Mr Sponge’s horse for you?’

Me!’ exclaimed Jack, bouncing up in bed, and sitting squinting furiously. ‘Me!’ repeated he; ‘unpossible. How could I do such a thing? Why, I handicap’d him, man, for you, man!’

‘You told me, for all that,’ replied Mr Pacey, with a jerk of the head.

‘Oh, by Jove!’ exclaimed Jack, taking his cap by the tassel, and twisting it off his head, ‘that won’t do! -- downright impeachment of one’s integrity. Oh, by Jingo! that won’t do!’ motioning as if he was going to bounce out of bed; ‘can’t stand that --impeach one’s integrity, you know, better take one’s life, you know. Life without honour’s nothin’, you know. Cock pheasant at Weybridge, six o’clock i’ the mornin’!’

‘Oh, I assure you I didn’t mean anything of that sort,’ exclaimed Mr Pacey, frightened at Jack’s vehemence, and the way in which he now foamed at the mouth, and flourished his nightcap about. ‘Oh, I assure you, I didn’t mean anything of that sort,’ repeated he, ‘only I thought p’raps you mightn’t recollect all that had passed, p’raps; and if we were to talk matters quietly over, by putting that and that together, we might assist each other and --’

‘Oh, by Jove!’ interrupted Jack, dashing his nightcap against the bedpost, ‘too late for anything of that sort, sir -- downright impeachment of one’s integrity, sir -- must be settled another way, sir.’

‘But, I assure you, you mistake!’ exclaimed Pacey.

‘Rot your mistakes!’ interrupted Jack; ‘there’s no mistake in the matter. You’ve reglarly impeached my integrity -- blood of the Spraggons won’t stand that. ‘‘Death before Dishonour!’’ ’ shouted he, at the top of his voice, flourishing his nightcap over his head, and then dashing it on to the middle of the floor.

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