Istanbul Hints

A Terribly Strange Bed part 5

Written on 11/04/2019   By   in General

of the French Army!” cried I, in a mad state of exhilaration, “I am on fire!
how are you? You have set me on fire! Do you hear, my hero of Austerlitz? Let
us have a third bottle of champagne to put the flame out!”

old soldier wagged his head, rolled his goggle-eyes, until I expected to see
them slip out of their sockets; placed his dirty forefinger by the side of his
broken nose; solemnly ejaculated “Coffee!” and immediately ran off into an
inner room.

word pronounced by the eccentric veteran seemed to have a magical effect on the
rest of the company present. With one accord they all rose to depart. Probably
they had expected to profit by my intoxication; but finding that my new friend
was benevolently bent on preventing me from getting dead drunk, had now abandoned
all hope of thriving pleasantly on my winnings. Whatever their motive might be,
at any rate they went away in a body. When the old soldier returned and sat
down again opposite to me at the table, we had the room to ourselves. I could
see the croupier, in a sort of vestibule which opened out of it, eating his
supper in solitude. The silence was now deeper than ever.

sudden change, too, had come over the “ex-brave.” Heassumed a portentously
solemn look; and when he spoke to me again, his speech was ornamented by no
oaths, enforced by no finger-snapping, enlivened by no apostrophes or

Mysteriously confidential tones

my dear sir,” said he, in mysteriously confidential tones— “listen to an old
soldier’s advice. I have been to the mistress of the house (a very charming
woman, with a genius for cookery!) to impress on the the necessity of making us
some particularly strong and good coffee. You must drink this coffee in order
to get rid of your little amiable exaltation of spirits before you think of
going home—you must, my good and gracious friend! With all that money to take
home tonight, it is a sacred duty to yourself to have your wits about you.

are known to be a winner to an enormous extent by several gentlemen present
to-night, who, in a certain point of view, are very worthy and excellent
fellows; but they are mortal men, my dear sir, and they have their amiable
weaknesses! Need I say more? Ah, no, no! you understand me! Now, this is what
you must do—send for a cabriolet when you feel quite well again—draw up all the
windows when you get into it—and tell the driver to take you home only through
the large and well-lighted thoroughfares. Do this; and you and your money will
be safe. Do this; and to-morrow you will thank an old soldier for giving you a
word of honest advice.”


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