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Chapter 9

He is found by Lieutenant — Reconducted to his own House — Married to Mrs. Grizzle, who meets with a small misfortune in the Night, and asserts her Prerogative next Morning, in consequence of which her Husband’s Eye is endangered.

Meanwhile Lieutenant Hatchway made shift to hobble to the church, where he informed the company of what had happened to the commodore: and the bride behaved with great decency on the occasion; for, as she understood the danger to which her future husband was exposed, she fainted in the arms of her sister-in-law, to the surprise of all the spectators, who could not comprehend the cause of her disorder; and when she was recovered by the application of smelling-bottles, earnestly begged that Mr. Hatchway and Tom Pipes should take her brother’s coach, and go in quest of their commander.

This task they readily undertook, being escorted by all the rest of his adherents on horseback; while the bride and her friends were invited to the parson’s horse, and the ceremony deferred till another occasion.

The lieutenant, steering his course as near the line of direction in which Trunnion went off, as the coach-road would permit, got intelligence of his track from one farm-house to another; for such an apparition could not fail of attracting particular notice; and one of the horsemen having picked up his hat and wig in a by-path, the whole troop entered the village where he was lodged, about four o’clock in the afternoon. When they understood he was safely housed at the George, they rode up to the door in a body, and expressed their satisfaction in three cheers; which were returned by the company within, as soon as they were instructed in the nature of the salute by Trunnion, who, by this time, had entered into all the jollity of his new friends, and was indeed more than half-seas-over. The lieutenant was introduced to all present as his sworn brother, and had something tossed up for his dinner. Tom Pipes and the crew were regaled in another room; and, a fresh pair of horses being put to the coach, about six in the evening the commodore, with all his attendants, departed for the garrison, after having shook hands with every individual in the house.

Without any further accident, he was conveyed in safety to his own gate before nine, and committed to the care of Pipes, who carried him instantly to his hammock, while the lieutenant was driven away to the place where the bride and her friends remained in great anxiety, which vanished when he assured them that his commodore was safe, being succeeded by abundance of mirth and pleasantry at the account he gave of Trunnion’s adventure.

Another day was fixed for the nuptials; and in order to balk the curiosity of idle people, which had given great offence, the parson was prevailed upon to perform the ceremony in the garrison, which all that day was adorned with flags and pendants displayed; and at night illuminated, by the direction of Hatchway, who also ordered the patereroes to be fired, as soon as the marriage-knot was tied. Neither were the other parts of the entertainment neglected by this ingenious contriver, who produced undeniable proofs of his elegance and art in the wedding-supper, which had been committed to his management and direction. This genial banquet was entirely composed of sea-dishes; a huge pillaw, consisting of a large piece of beef sliced, a couple of fowls, and half a peck of rice, smoked in the middle of the board: a dish of hard fish, swimming in oil, appeared at each end; the sides being furnished with a mess of that savoury composition known by the name of lub’s-course, and a plate of salmagundy. The second course displayed a goose of a monstrous magnitude, flanked with two Guinea-hens, a pig barbacued, a hock of salt pork, in the midst of a pease-pudding, a leg of mutton roasted, with potatoes, and another boiled, with yams. The third service was made up of a loin of fresh pork, with apple-sauce, a kid smothered with onions, and a terrapin baked in the shell; and last of all, a prodigious sea-pie was presented, with an infinite volume of pancakes and fritters. That everything might be answerable to the magnificence of this delicate feast, he had provided vast quantifies of strong beer, flip, rumbo, and burnt brandy, with plenty of Barbadoes water for the ladies; and hired all the fiddles within six miles, which, with the addition of a drum, bagpipe, and Welsh harp, regaled the guests with a most melodious concert.

The company, who were not at all exceptions, seemed extremely well pleased with every particular of the entertainment; and the evening being spent in the most social manner, the bride was by her sister conducted to her apartment, where, however, a trifling circumstance had like to have destroyed the harmony which had been hitherto maintained.

I have already observed, that there was not one standing bed within the walls; therefore the reader will not wonder that Mrs. Trunnion was out of humour, when she found herself under the necessity of being confined with her spouse in a hammock, which, though enlarged with a double portion of canvas, and dilated with a yoke for the occasion, was at best but a disagreeable, not to say dangerous situation. She accordingly complained with some warmth of this inconvenience, which she imputed to disrespect; and, at first, absolutely refused to put up with the expedient; but Mrs. Pickle soon brought her to reason and compliance, by observing that one night will soon be elapsed, and next day she might regulate her own economy.

Thus persuaded, she ventured into the vehicle, and was visited by her husband in less than an hour, the company being departed to their own homes, and the garrison left to the command of his lieutenant and mate. But it seems the hooks that supported this swinging couch were not calculated for the addition of weight which they were now destined to bear; and therefore gave way in the middle of the night, to the no small terror of Mrs. Trunnion, who perceiving herself falling, screamed aloud, and by that exclamation brought Hatchway with a light into the chamber. Though she had received no injury by the fall, she was extremely discomposed and incensed at the accident, which she even openly ascribed to the obstinacy and whimsical oddity of the commodore, in such petulant terms as evidently declared that she t............

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