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The Tremendous Adventures of Major Gahagan William Makepeace Thackeray

Chapter III: A Peep Into Spain--Account Of The Origin And Services Of The Ahmednuggar Irregulars

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"But, General," said he, "you are standing. I beg you chiudete l'uscio (take a chair)."

I did so, and then for the first time was aware that there was some foreign substance in the tail of my coat, which prevented my sitting at ease. I drew out the Magazine which I had seized, and there, to my wonder, discovered the Christino lance twisted up like a fish-hook or a pastoral crook.

"Ha! ha! ha!" said Cabrera (who is a notorious wag).

"Valdepenas madrilenos," growled out Tristany.

"By my cachuca di caballero (upon my honour as a gentleman)," shrieked out Ros d'Eroles, convulsed with laughter, "I will send it to the Bishop of Leon for a crozier."

"Gahagan has CONSECRATED it," giggled out Ramon Cabrera; and so they went on with their muchacas for an hour or more. But, when they heard that the means of my salvation from the lance of the scoundrelly Christino had been the Magazine containing my own history, their laugh was changed into wonder. I read them (speaking Spanish more fluently than English) every word of my story. "But how is this?" said Cabrera. "You surely have other adventures to relate?"

"Excellent sir," said I, "I have;" and that very evening, as we sat over our cups of tertullia (sangaree), I continued my narrative in nearly the following words:-

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"I left off in the very middle of the battle of Delhi, which ended, as everybody knows, in the complete triumph of the British arms. But who gained the battle? Lord Lake is called Viscount Lake of Delhi and Laswaree, while Major Gaha--nonsense, never mind HIM, never mind the charge he executed when, sabre in hand, he leaped the six-foot wall in the mouth of the roaring cannon, over the heads of the gleaming pikes; when, with one hand seizing the sacred peishcush, or fish--which was the banner always borne before Scindiah,--he, with his good sword, cut off the trunk of the famous white elephant, which, shrieking with agony, plunged madly into the Mahratta ranks, followed by his giant brethren, tossing, like chaff before the wind, the affrighted kitmatgars. He, meanwhile, now plunging into the midst of a battalion of consomahs, now cleaving to the chine a screaming and ferocious bobbachee, [1] rushed on, like the simoom across the red Zaharan plain, killing, with his own hand, a hundred and forty-thr--but never mind--'ALONE HE DID IT;' sufficient be it for him, however, that the victory was won: he cares not for the empty honours which were awarded to more fortunate men!

"We marched after the battle to Delhi, where poor blind old Shah Allum received us, and bestowed all kinds of honours and titles on our General. As each of the officers passed before him, the Shah did not fail to remark my person, [2] and was told my name.

"Lord Lake whispered to him my exploits, and the old man was so delighted with the account of my victory over the elephant (whose trunk I use to this day), that he said, 'Let him be called GUJPUTI,' or the lord of elephants; and Gujputi was the name by which I was afterwards familiarly known among the natives,--the men, that is. The women had a softer appellation for me, and called me 'Mushook,' or charmer.

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The Tremendous Adventures of Major Gahagan
William Makepeace Thackeray

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