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The Tremendous Adventures of Major Gahagan William Makepeace Thackeray

Chapter VI: Famine In The Garrison

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"Oh! just as good."

"Only the divvle's in the luck, there's not a fresh egg to be had-- no, nor a fresh chicken," continued I, "nor a stale one either; not a tayspoonful of souchong, nor a thimbleful of bohay; nor the laste taste in life of butther, salt or fresh; nor hot rowls or cowld!"

"In the name of Heaven!" said Mrs. Van, growing very pale, "what is there, then?"

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'll tell you what there is now," shouted I. "There's

"Two drumsticks of fowls, and a bone of ham. Fourteen bottles of ginger-beer," &c. &c. &c.

And I went through the whole list of eatables as before, ending with the ham-sandwiches and the pot of jelly.

"Law! Mr. Gahagan," said Mrs. Colonel Vandegobbleschroy, "give me the ham-sandwiches--I must manage to breakfast off them."

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And you should have heard the pretty to-do there was at this modest proposition! Of course I did not accede to it--why should I? I was the commander of the fort, and intended to keep these three very sandwiches for the use of myself and my dear Belinda. "Ladies," said I, "there are in this fort one hundred and twenty-six souls, and this is all the food which is to last us during the siege. Meat there is none--of drink there is a tolerable quantity; and at one o'clock punctually, a glass of wine and one olive shall be served out to each woman: the men will receive two glasses, and an olive and a fig--and this must be your food during the siege. Lord Lake cannot be absent more than three days; and if he be--why, still there is a chance--why do I say a chance?--a CERTAINTY of escaping from the hands of these ruffians."

"Oh, name it, name it, dear Captain Gahagan!" screeched the whole covey at a breath.

"It lies," answered I, "in the powder magazine. I will blow this fort, and all it contains, to atoms, ere it becomes the prey of Holkar."

The women, at this, raised a squeal that might have been heard in Holkar's camp, and fainted in different directions; but my dear Belinda whispered in my ear, "Well done, thou noble knight! bravely said, my heart's Goliah!" I felt I was right: I could have blown her up twenty times for the luxury of that single moment! "And now, ladies," said I, "I must leave you. The two chaplains will remain with you to administer professional consolation--the other gentlemen will follow me upstairs to the ramparts, where I shall find plenty of work for them."

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The Tremendous Adventures of Major Gahagan
William Makepeace Thackeray

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