A Terribly Strange Bed part 4

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!”

Gracious Englishman

“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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