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Chapter 39 (continued)
'Lively, master, lively,' said the fellow. 'Here's a new brother, regularly put down in black and white by Muster Gashford; a credit to the cause; one of the stick-at-nothing sort; one arter my own heart. D'ye see him? Has he got the looks of a man that'll do, do you think?' he cried, as he slapped Hugh on the back.
'Looks or no looks,' said Hugh, with a drunken flourish of his arm, 'I'm the man you want. I hate the Papists, every one of 'em. They hate me and I hate them. They do me all the harm they can, and I'll do them all the harm I can. Hurrah!'
'Was there ever,' said Dennis, looking round the room, when the echo of his boisterous voice bad died away; 'was there ever such a game boy! Why, I mean to say, brothers, that if Muster Gashford had gone a hundred mile and got together fifty men of the common run, they wouldn't have been worth this one.'
The greater part of the company implicitly subscribed to this opinion, and testified their faith in Hugh by nods and looks of great significance. Mr Tappertit sat and contemplated him for a long time in silence, as if he suspended his judgment; then drew a little nearer to him, and eyed him over more carefully; then went close up to him, and took him apart into a dark corner.
'I say,' he began, with a thoughtful brow, 'haven't I seen you before?'
'It's like you may,' said Hugh, in his careless way. 'I don't know; shouldn't wonder.'
'No, but it's very easily settled,' returned Sim. 'Look at me. Did you ever see ME before? You wouldn't be likely to forget it, you know, if you ever did. Look at me. Don't be afraid; I won't do you any harm. Take a good look--steady now.'
The encouraging way in which Mr Tappertit made this request, and coupled it with an assurance that he needn't be frightened, amused Hugh mightily--so much indeed, that be saw nothing at all of the small man before him, through closing his eyes in a fit of hearty laughter, which shook his great broad sides until they ached again.
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