And I did go on—went on at such a rate, that in another quarter of an hour the croupier called out, “Gentlemen, the bank has discontinued for to-night.” All the notes, and all the gold in that “bank,” now lay in a heap under my hands; the whole floating capital of the gambling house was waiting to pour into my pockets!“Tie up the money in your pocket-handkerchief, my worthy sir,” said the old soldier, as I wildly plunged my hands into my heap of gold. “Tie it up, as we used to tie up a bit of dinner in the Grand Army; your winnings are too heavy for any breeches-pockets that ever were sewed. There! that`s it—shovel them in, notes and all! Credie! what luck! Stop! another napoleon on the floor. Ah! sacre petit polisson de Napoleon! have I found thee at last? Now then, sir—two tight double knots each way with your honorable permission, and the money`s safe.Feel it! feel it, fortunate sir! hard and round as a cannon-ball—A bas if they had only fired such cannon-balls at us at Austerlitz—nom d`une pipe! if they only had! And now, as an ancient grenadier, as an exbrave of the French army, what remains for me to do? I ask what? Simply this, to entreat my valued English friend to drink a bottle of champagne with me, and toast the goddess Fortune in foaming goblets before we part!”“Excellent ex-brave! Convivial ancient grenadier! Champagne by all means! An English cheer for an old soldier! Hurrah! hurrah! Another English cheer for the goddess Fortune! Hurrah, hurrah! hurrah!”
“Bravo! the Englishman; the amiable, gracious Englishman, in whose veins circulates the vivacious blood of France! Another glass? A bas!— the bottle is empty! Never mind! Vive le vin! I, the old soldier, order another bottle, and half a pound of bonbons with it!”“No, no, ex-brave; never—ancient grenadier! Your bottle last time; my bottle this! Behold it! Toast away! The French Army! the great Napoleon! the present company! the croupier! the honest croupier`s wife and daughters—if he has any! the ladies generally! everybody in the world!”By the time the second bottle of champagne was emptied, I felt as if I had been drinking liquid fire—-my brain seemed all aflame. No excess in wine had ever had this effect on me before in my life. Was it the result of a stimulant acting upon my system when I was in a highly excited state? Was my stomach in a particularly disordered condition? Or was the champagne amazingly strong?
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