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The Tremendous Adventures of Major Gahagan William Makepeace Thackeray

Chapter VII: The Escape

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This accounted for the confusion of my valet when I entered!--and for the scoundrel's speech, that the lieutenant had JUST BEEN THE ROUNDS;--he HAD, poor fellow, and had been seized and bound in this cruel way. The three men, with their liberated prisoner, had just been on the point of escape, when my arrival disconcerted them: I had changed the guard at the gate (whom they had won over likewise); and yet, although they had overcome poor Mac, and although they were ready for the start, they had positively no means for effecting their escape, until I was ass enough to put means in their way. Fool! fool! thrice besotted fool that I was, to think of my own silly person when I should have been occupied solely with my public duty.

From Macgillicuddy's incoherent accounts, as he was gasping from the effects of the gag and the whisky he had taken to revive him, and from my own subsequent observations, I learned this sad story. A sudden and painful thought struck me--my precious box!--I rushed back, I found that box--I have it still. Opening it, there, where I had left ingots, sacks of bright tomauns, kopeks and rupees, strings of diamonds as big as ducks' eggs, rubies as red as the lips of my Belinda, countless strings of pearls, amethysts, emeralds, piles upon piles of bank-notes--I found--a piece of paper! with a few lines in the Sanscrit language, which are thus, word for word, translated:-

(On disappointing a certain Major.)

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"The conquering lion return'd with his prey,
And safe in his cavern he set it;
The sly little fox stole the booty away,
And, as he escaped, to the lion did say,
'AHA! don't you wish you may get it?'"

Confusion! Oh, how my blood boiled as I read these cutting lines. I stamped,--I swore,--I don't know to what insane lengths my rage might have carried me, had not at this moment a soldier rushed in, screaming, "The enemy, the enemy!"

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The Tremendous Adventures of Major Gahagan
William Makepeace Thackeray

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