‘Yes, my lady -- that’s to say, miss,’ replied Peter.

‘Come, has he!’ chorused three or four voices.

‘Well, he must have a (hiccup) room,’ observed Sir Harry. ‘The green -- the one above the billiard-room will do,’ added he.

‘But I have that, Sir Harry,’ exclaimed Miss Howard.

‘Oh, it’ll hold two well enough,’ observed Miss Glitters.

‘Then you can be the second,’ replied Miss Howard, with a toss of her head.

‘Indeed!’ sneered Miss Glitters, bridling up. ‘I like that.’

‘Well, but where’s the (hiccup) man to be put?’ asked Sir Harry.

‘There’s Ladofwax’s room,’ suggested her ladyship.

‘The captin’s locked the door and taken the key with him,’ replied the footman; ‘he said he’d be back in a day or two.’

‘Back in a (hiccup) or two!’ observed Sir Harry. ‘Where is he gone?’

The man smiled.

Borrowed,’ observed Captain Quod, with an emphasis.

‘Indeed!’ exclaimed Sir Harry; adding, ‘well, I thought that was Nabbum’s gig with the old grey.’

‘He’ll not be back in a hurry,’ observed Bouncey. ‘He’ll be like the Boulogne gents, who are always going to England but never go.’

‘Poor Wax!’ observed Quod; ‘he’s a big fool, to give him his due.’

‘If you give him his due it’s more than he gives other people, it seems,’ observed Miss Howard.

‘Oh, fie, Miss H.!’ exclaimed Captain Seedeybuck.

‘Well, but the (hiccup) man must have a (hiccup) bed somewhere,’ observed Sir Harry; adding to the footman, ‘you’d better (hiccup) the door open, you know.’

‘Perhaps you’d better try what one of yours will do,’ observed Bob Spangles, to the convulsion of the company.

In the midst of their mirth Mr Bottleends was seen piloting Mr Sponge up to her ladyship.

‘Mr Sponge, my lady,’ said he, in as low and deferential a tone as if he got his wages punctually every quarter-day.

‘How do you do, Mr Sponge?’ said her ladyship, tendering him her hand with an elegant curtsy.

‘How are you, Mr (hiccup) Sponge?’ asked Sir Harry, offering his; ‘I believe you know the (hiccup) company?’ continued he, waving his hand around; ‘Miss (hiccup) Glitters, Captain (hiccup) Quod, Captain Bouncey, Mr (hiccup) Bugles, Captain (hiccup) Seedeybuck, and so on;’ whereupon Miss Glitters curtsied, the gentlemen bobbed their heads and drew near our hero, who had now stationed himself before the fire.

  By PanEris using Melati.

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