'Snodgrass,' said Mr Winkle, when they had turned off the public street. 'Snodgrass, my dear fellow, can I rely upon your secrecy?' As he said this, he sincerely hoped with all his heart that he could not.
'You can,' replied Mr Snodgrass. 'Hear me swear - '
'No, no,' interrupted Winkle, terrified at the idea of his companion promising not to give information before he knew what it was; 'don't swear, don't swear; it's quite unnecessary.'
Mr Snodgrass dropped his hand. He had, like a true poet, raised it towards the clouds as he prepared to promise. Now he instead showed that he was ready to listen.
'You shall have it,' replied Mr Snodgrass, taking his friend's hand in his own.
'With a doctor - Doctor Slammer, of the 97th,' said Mr Winkle, trying to make the matter seem as solemn as possible; 'an affair with an officer, seconded by another officer, at sunset this evening, in a lonely field beyond Fort Pitt.'
Sincerely: Honestly Swear: Promise
Assistance: Help Affair of honour: Another way to describe a duel Solemn: Serious Seconded: Here it means 'helped'