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Page:Sketches by Mark Twain.djvu/18

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M. Fourtou should ever have agreed to so strange an innovation. Go at once and require a later hour."

I ran down stairs, threw open the front door, and almost plunged into the arms of M. Fourtou's second. He said,

"I have the honour to say that my principal strenuously objects to the hour chosen, and begs that you will consent to change it to half-past nine."

"Any courtesy, sir, which it is in our power to extend is at the service of your excellent principal. We agree to the proposed change of time."

"I beg you to accept the thanks of my client." Then he turned to a person behind him, and said, "You hear, M. Noir, the hour is altered to half-past nine." Where upon M. Noir bowed, expressed his thanks, and went away. My accomplice continued:—

"If agreeable to you, your chief surgeons and ours shall proceed to the field in the same carriage, as is customary."

"It is entirely agreeable to me, and I am obliged to you for mentioning the surgeons, for I am afraid I should not have thought of them. How many shall I want? I suppose two or three will be enough?"

"Two is the customary number for each party. I refer to chief surgeons; but considering the exalted positions occupied by our clients, it will be well and decorous that each of us appoint several consulting surgeons, from among the highest in the profession. These will come in their own private carriages. Have you engaged a hearse?"

"Bless my stupidity, I never thought of it! I will