"Thank you, Major, for your kind reception and your pretty compliment," I said, matching my host's easy tone as closely as the necessary restraints on my side would permit.
Major Fitz-David lifted my hand again from my lap and drew his chair as close as possible to mine.
"Yes, yes," repeated the major, "yes -- there -- is -- a -- postscript."
"`In order to save Major Cavalcanti the trouble of drawing on his banker, I send him a draft for 2,000 francs to defray his travelling expenses, and credit on you for the further sum of 48,000 francs, which you still owe me.'" The major awaited the conclusion of the postscript, apparently with great anxiety.
"Clearly," replied the major; "but what metal do you calculate upon employing?"
"But," interrupted the major, "since the weight of a shot is proportionate to its volume, an iron ball of nine feet in diameter would be of tremendous weight."
"'Twas there ye coorted me, Meejor dear," the lady said; and the Major assented to this as to every other proposition which was made generally in company.
Major O'Dowd, who had served his sovereign in every quarter of the world, and had paid for every step in his profession by some more than equivalent act of daring and gallantry, was the most modest, silent, sheep-faced and meek of little men, and as obedient to his wife as if he had been her tay-boy.
Through the thick veils of irresistible sleep, the major soon saw the husband and wife as mere points or formless objects.
"It is the retreat of the rear-guard!" cried the major. "All hope is gone!"
"Cray!" exclaimed the Major
, staring at him; "did you fire that shot?"
"We shall know when Major
Thomson returns," she said.