When dinner was over, and the nectar, such as is brewed by those rival benefactors of the thirsty Indian, Messrs. Bass and Allsopp, had given place to a "brew" of which Mackenzie was the able compounder, Norman intimated his wish to address a few words to the assembled company.
Much encouraged - by the marked, not to say noisy, intimation of approval this proposal excited, and the gratifying nature of the remarks it elicited, he rose to his legs, blandly refusing the affectionate offers of assistance in holding him up which were freely made on all sides. His appearance in that position was received with a round of applause, varied with sundry howls indicative of esteem and appreciation.
When this had subsided, and he had acknowledged the favourable nature of his reception by repeatedly bowing with one hand over his heart, and the other waving gracefully in the air, he began :
" Gentlemen, we have met we have met, I say-"
" We met, 'twas in a crowd, and I thought he would shun me," sang some one, as Norman made a slight pause.
« Prove it, old fellow," shouted another; " I deny the premises."
" I think," said a third, " there are some elements of truth in the assertion, but I should like to hear to what it tends."
" Fire away, Norman," observed a fourth ; " I am deeply interested in the very attractive nature of your remarks. The subject is one on which we all certainly require considerable enlightenment,"
" Confound you all," remarked the persecuted speech-maker, as he turned from one to the other, " can't you hear what a fellow has got to say? I have a good mind not to enlighten you."
" Don't say that," a neighbour remarked ; " we should be such terrible losers. I can't bear to think of the deprivation."
" Par tur hint monies, etc. Out with it, old fellow," another said encouragingly.