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Adventures of Major Gahagan   By: (1811-1863)

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THE TREMENDOUS ADVENTURES OF MAJOR GAHAGAN

CHAPTER I

"Truth is strange, Stranger than fiction."

I think it but right that in making my appearance before the public I should at once acquaint them with my titles and name. My card, as I leave it at the houses of the nobility, my friends, is as follows:

MAJOR GOLIAH O'GRADY GAHAGAN, H.E.I.C.S., Commanding Battalion of Irregular Horse, AHMEDNUGGAR.

Seeing, I say, this simple visiting ticket, the world will avoid any of those awkward mistakes as to my person, which have been so frequent of late. There has been no end to the blunders regarding this humble title of mine, and the confusion thereby created. When I published my volume of poems, for instance, the Morning Post newspaper remarked "that the Lyrics of the Heart, by Miss Gahagan, may be ranked among the sweetest flowrets of the present spring season." The Quarterly Review, commenting upon my "Observations on the Pons Asinorum" (4to, London, 1836), called me "Doctor Gahagan," and so on. It was time to put an end to these mistakes, and I have taken the above simple remedy.

I was urged to it by a very exalted personage. Dining in August last at the palace of the T l r es at Paris, the lovely young Duch ss of Orl ns (who, though she does not speak English, understands it as well as I do), said to me in the softest Teutonic, "Lieber Herr Major, haben sie den Ahmednuggarischen jager battalion gelassen?" "Warum denn?" said I, quite astonished at her R l H ss's question. The P cess then spoke of some trifle from my pen, which was simply signed Goliah Gahagan.

There was, unluckily, a dead silence as H.R.H. put this question.

"Comment donc?" said H.M. Lo is Ph l ppe, looking gravely at Count Mole; "le cher Major a quitte l'armee! Nicolas donc sera maitre de l'Inde!" H. M and the Pr. M n ster pursued their conversation in a low tone, and left me, as may be imagined, in a dreadful state of confusion. I blushed and stuttered, and murmured out a few incoherent words to explain but it would not do I could not recover my equanimity during the course of the dinner; and while endeavouring to help an English duke, my neighbour, to poulet a l'Austerlitz, fairly sent seven mushrooms and three large greasy croutes over his whiskers and shirt frill. Another laugh at my expense. "Ah! M. le Major," said the Q of the B lg ns, archly, "vous n'aurez jamais votre brevet de Colonel." Her M y's joke will be better understood when I state that his Grace is the brother of a Minister.

I am not at liberty to violate the sanctity of private life, by mentioning the names of the parties concerned in this little anecdote. I only wish to have it understood that I am a gentleman, and live at least in DECENT society. Verbum sat.

But to be serious. I am obliged always to write the name of Goliah in full, to distinguish me from my brother, Gregory Gahagan, who was also a Major (in the King's service), and whom I killed in a duel, as the public most likely knows. Poor Greg! a very trivial dispute was the cause of our quarrel, which never would have originated but for the similarity of our names. The circumstance was this: I had been lucky enough to render the Nawaub of Lucknow some trifling service (in the notorious affair of Choprasjee Muckjee), and his Highness sent down a gold toothpick case directed to Captain G. Gahagan, which I of course thought was for me: my brother madly claimed it; we fought, and the consequence was, that in about three minutes he received a slash in the right side (cut 6), which effectually did his business: he was a good swordsman enough I was THE BEST in the universe. The most ridiculous part of the affair is, that the toothpick case was his, after all he had left it on the Nawaub's table at tiffin. I can't conceive what madness prompted him to fight about such a paltry bauble; he had much better have yielded it at once, when he saw I was determined to have it... Continue reading book >>




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