Ere the seamer bore him Eastward, Sleary was engaged to marry An attractive girl at Tunbridge, whom he called "my little Carrie." Sleary's pay was very modest; Sleary was the other way. Who can cook a two-plate dinner on eight poor rupees a day?
Long he pondered o'er the question in his scantly furnished quarters -- Then proposed to Minnie Boffkin, eldest of Judge Boffkin's daughters. Certainly an impecunious Subaltern was not a catch, But the Boffkins knew that Minnie mightn't make another match.
So they recognised the business and, to feed and clothe the bride, Got him made a Something Something somewhere on the Bombay side. Anyhow, the billet carried pay enough for him to marry -- As the artless Sleary put it: -- "Just the thing for me and Carrie."
Did he, therefore, jilt Miss Boffkin -- impulse of a baser mind? No! He started epileptic fits of an appalling kind. [Of his modus operandi only this much I could gather: -- "Pears's shaving sticks will give you little taste and lots of lather."]
Frequently in public places his affliction used to smite Sleary with distressing vigour -- always in the Boffkins' sight. Ere a week was over Minnie weepingly returned his ring, Told him his "unhappy weakness" stopped all thought of marrying.
Sleary bore the information with a chastened holy joy, -- Epileptic fits don't matter in Political employ, -- Wired three short words to Carrie -- took his ticket, packed his kit -- Bade farewell to Minnie Boffkin in one last, long, lingering fit.
Four weeks later, Carrie Sleary read -- and laughed until she wept -- Mrs. Boffkin's warning letter on the "wretched epilept." . . . Year by year, in pious patience, vengeful Mrs. Boffkin sits Waiting for the Sleary babies to develop Sleary's fits.