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CHARLEY NUGENT.

CHAPTER I.

GARRISON THEATRICALS.

ABOUT this time I received a mandate from my respected governor, to the effect that my cousin Harry Leicester had exchanged into the 21st Hussars, stationed at Dublin, and that it would be desirable for me to look him up and cultivate his acquaintance. I had never seen the young gentleman in question since he was quite a juvenile; when I, younger still, used to stand aghast at his mad freaks, and felt my blood run cold as he detailed the tricks and escapades of a large public school, into which he had been initiated at an age when most boys are still in petticoats.

My father and mother had a wholesome dread of similar performances in their own family. Tom at an alarmingly early age began to exhibit unmistakable evidence of the talent for candid observations that soon caused him to be regarded as the “enfant terribleof the neighbourhood; and to have had an obstreperous and rebellious son into the bargain, would have

VOL. III.

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been quite too much for mortal parents. So Harry Leicester was not much cultivated at Langley Park. He had been expelled from one school, and he ran away from another; entered at Oxford, he was compelled to leave it in order to avoid an enforced dismissal; and at last in utter and sheer despair his father bought him a commission in the cavalry, settled an allowance upon him, and told him that if he got into debt or into any more scrapes he might go to the devil his own way, he washed his hands of him entirely.

His regiment was in India, and thither he went, and had only been a few months in the country when they were led into action against some native tribes who had revolted. During a very hot engagement Harry contrived to distinguish himself greatly, and was especially mentioned in the despatch as a very promising young officer. A cessation of hostilities enabled Harry (who detested India) to effect an exchange and return to his own country; he had now joined the 21st Hussars, one of the finest corps in the service, and particularly noted for the extravagance of its appointments in everything relating to regimental expenditure.

The colonel was a man of noble family, many of the officers very highly connected, and most of them rich ; indeed Colonel Fitzneville discouraged all but wealthy men from entering his regiment.

“Let poor devils stick to the Line, we don't want them here," he remarked, with all the arrogance of a full-blown cavalry officer; and “poor devils” were not welcomed accordingly.

The mess was on a scale of luxury and magnificence only fitted for a royal palace, the band was the finest in the service, and both the head cook and the band

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