The Debate

It was just as Mr Sponge predicted with regard to his admission to Nonsuch House. The first person who spied his note to Sir Harry Scattercash, was Captain Seedeybuck, who, going into the drawing- room, the day after Mr Sponge’s visit, to look for the top of his cigar-case, saw it occupying the centre of the mantelpiece. Having mastered its contents, the Captain refolded and placed it where he found it, with the simple observation to himself of -- ‘that cock won’t fight.’

Captain Quod saw it next, then Captain Bouncey, who told Captain Cutitfat what was in it, who agreed with Bouncey that it wouldn’t do to have Mr Sponge there.

Indeed, it seemed agreed on all hands that their party rather wanted weeding than increasing.

Thus, in due time, everybody in the house knew the contents of the note save Sir Harry, though none of them thought it worth while telling him of it. On the third morning, however, as the party were assembling for breakfast, he came into the room reading it.

‘This (hiccup) note ought to have been delivered before,’ observed he, holding it up.

‘Indeed, my dear,’ replied Lady Scattercash, who was sitting gloriously fine and very beautiful at the head of the table, ‘I don’t know anything about it.’

‘Who is it from,’ asked brother Bob Spangles.

‘Mr (hiccup) Sponge,’ replied Sir Harry.

‘What a name!’ exclaimed Captain Seedeybuck.

‘Who is he?’ asked Captain Quod.

‘Don’t know,’ replied Sir Harry; ‘he writes to (hiccup) about the hounds.’

‘Oh, it’ll be that brown-booted buffer,’ observed Captain Bouncey, ‘that we left at old Peastraw’s.’

‘No doubt,’ assented Captain Cutitfat; adding, ‘what business has he with the hounds?’

‘He wants to know when we are going to (hiccup) again,’ observed Sir Harry.

‘Does he?’ replied Captain Seedeybuck. ‘That, I suppose, will depend upon Watchorn.’

The party now got settled to breakfast, and as soon as the first burst of appetite was appeased, the conversation again turned upon our friend Mr Sponge.

‘Who is this Mr Sponge?’ asked Captain Bouncey, the billiard-marker, with the air of a thorough exclusive.

Nobody answered.

‘Who’s your friend?’ asked he of Sir Harry direct.

‘Don’t know,’ replied Sir Harry, from between the mouthfuls of a highly cayenned grill.

‘P’raps a bolting betting-office keeper,’ suggested Captain Ladofwax, who hated Captain Bouncey.

‘He looks more like a glazier, I think,’ retorted Captain Bouncey, with a look of defiance at the speaker.

‘Lucky if he is one,’ retorted Captain Ladofwax, reddening up to the eyes; ‘he may have a chance of repairing somebody’s daylights.’ The captain raising his saucer, to discharge it at his opponent’s head.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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