Nutts. Minutes, Mr. Slowgoe, are the small-change of life. Cant wait for nobody. Ill take you then, Mr. Limpy. (LIMPY takes the chair.) It makes my flesh crawl to see some folks with a newspaper. They go through it for all the world like a caterpillar through a cabbage-leaf.
Slowgoe. Well, for my part, I like to chew my news. I think a newspapers like a dinner; doesnt do you half the good if its bolted. Havent come to it yet; but tell meIs it true that the Duke of Wellingtons going to repeal flogging?
Tickle. Why, yes; they do say so; but the duke does nothin in a hurry. Always likes to take his time. You know at Waterloo he would wait for the Prussians; and only because if hed licked the French afore, he didnt know how else to spend the evening.
Nutts. Nothin but reglar. You see the cat-o-nine-tails is one of the institutions of the country, and therefore must be handled very delicate.
When cats away
Thats been the old notion. And folksthat is, the folks with gold lace thats never floggedthink to bolish the cat at once would bring a blight upon laurels. They think sojers like eelsnone the worse for fire for being well skinned.
Nutts. To be sure. Well, as I was saying (To LIMPY.) Whats the matter? Im sure this razor would shave a newborn baby; but for a poor man I dont know where you got such a delicate skin. I will say this, Mr. Limpy, for one of the swinish multitude, you are the tenderest pork I ever shaved.
Nutts. Dont hurry me; Im going to his grace. Well, they do say that hes going to get rid of the cat by little and little. He knows the worth of knotted cords to the British soldier, and, like a dowager with false curls, cant give em all up at once. So theres to be a law that the cat is still to be used upon the British lion in regimentals, only that the cat is to lose a tail every year.
Nutts. Certain. So you see, with the loss of one tail per annum, in only nine years time, or in anno Domino 1855, every tail will be bolished; that is, the cat with its nine tails will have lost its nine lives, and be defunct and dead.
Nosebag. What horrid things theres been all the week in the papers. Officers of all sorts writing what theyve seen done with the cat. Well, if I was a sojer, my red coat would burn like red-hot iron in me; I should think all the world looked at me, as if they was asking themselves, I wonder how often youve been flayed.
Slowgoe. Bless your heart! and heres a dreadful matter. James Sayer, a marine on board the Queen, sentenced to be hanged for assaulting two sergeantsto be hanged by the neck. And the president says, James Sayer, I am sorry indeed that I cannot offer you hope that the sentence of this court will not be fully carried out, and I recommend you to prepare yourself to meet your doom.
Bleak. What a difference is made by salt water! Frederick White, private soldier, is sentenced to be flogged for giving a blow to his sergeant. James Sayer, marine, is to be hanged for the same offence. So a blow afloat and a blow ashore isnt the same thing.
Nutts. Why now, I suppose thats what theyd call a fiction of the law; and when we think what a dry matter all law is, can we wonder that the torneys and such folks spice it up with a few lies? Bless you, if all law was all true, nobody would go on swallowing it. Its the precious fibs thats in it that gives it a flavour, and makes men live, and grow fat upon it.