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that played with the string of a cushion. At last, the creature leaped inside the fender, and began to paw an inflamed piece of wood that had fallen from the fire. •Tom,' said I, “have à care : thou wilt burn thy fingers for thy folly.' I had scarcely spoken, when the pretty animal uttered a subdued human-like cry of pain ; and I caught it in my arms to comfort it. I thought the creature liked my kindness, for it cast its mild eye gratefully towards my face. While I was thus engaged, the door opened, and Flint stood erect before me. Well, Flint, didst thou hear the kitten cry?' said I. No, Sir: Lieutenant Burford's servant hath left a note for you.' 'Ah! i ejaculated ;' for all the circumstances of the previous night shot across my mind : • Stay ; did the servant say aught?' 'No, Sir,-more than that the letter was important.' This, I fear, is a bad business, Flint,' said I, while opening it. • Very sorry for it.' 'I believe thee, for thou art not so deep a philosopher as Rochefoucault.'
" When I read the note, I was much affected by the incoherence which ran through it. It was written evidently by a man in great irritation of spirit; and as its object was to request an interview with me, I resolved to go to the Lieutenant's quarters forth with. I arose from my seat, and Flint brought my coat. Whether or not he perceived my concern, I know not; but as he was brushing my back, he said, “You have not finished your coffee, sir; the air is cold without.' Never mind, Flint; I shall walk briskly.' It were well, Sir, for there is a rent here,' putting his cold finger on my shoulder. "Ah, indeed! was I steady last night, Flint ?' *As ships are in a heavy sea, sir : you could just keep your eye against the wind.' "'Tis sad work, Flint, when men are lost in liquor : beware, boy,—this quarrel has arisen from it. I know not thai I should have told Plint of the nature of the present business, if my mind had not been so totally absorbed in it. Hold ! your honour will not answer the challenge!' said he, standing between me and the door. "Stand back !' returned 1, in an angry tone. I had now advanced beyond him; and as I was going out, he caught me by the skirts of my coat, and earnestly begged me not to risk my life. Thou art mistaken, Flint,' said I: 'I go to endeavour to save one.' "That is more like your honour,' he replied ; and I went to the lieutenani's.
" While on my way to the lieutenant, I will relate to you what occurred on the previous night." "An epical episode ?" enquired Dick Careless. “Yes.” “ Go on; 'tis according to rule.” The Major received Dick's approving nod, and continued. “There had been a party of us that night at a tavern; and as our spirits flowed with the wine, the merriment ran high. Poor Burford, as I have told you, was addicted to the glass ; and he did not, on this occasion, belie the character he had acquired. Many scorned him for it; but I knew his heart better, and pitied him. Captain Howard was also of the party, a man of calm temper and generous feelings, but who had not much respect for the Lieutenant. This was owing partly to the little esteem in which the Lieutenant was held by his brother officers, and partly to a coldness which had arisen between them, on account of some misunderstanding relating to a shooting-match. This affair was alluded to during the debauch, for such it was,” added the Major,
reluctantly; "and words ran high between the two officers. Burford fancied the Captain treated him with contempt; and being ever alive to an insult, his impatient spirit could not brook the indignity. Inflamed at once by anger and wine, and forgetting his station as an officer, he sprung up and collared the Captain, exclaiming, I am neither a coward nor a reptile ! Thou shalt suffer for it!' Howard had more self-command; and seizing the Lieutenant by the wrist, he hurled him to the ground. The rest of the party immediately stopped the fray; and the Captain soon after disappeared.' I went up to the Lieutenant, and asked kindly, "Art ihou hurt, Burford ? Yes, yes,-here!' he cried vehemently, striking his hand against his heart, to intimate that his soul was hurt more than his body. Unfortunate man! he looked wildly about him, ground his ieeth, and clenched his hands together. He had been cast down before bis brother officers, and the disgrace was too much for him. I was commiserating his vexed state of mind, when I arrived at his quarters.'
“Good morning, Burford,' said I, on entering the room. He ran up, and grasped my hand convulsively, but did not speak. Thou art not well,' I continued : 'thy hand burns.' I think I never saw before, so wild, and yet so melancholy a look, as he gave me. He caught my hand again, and said in a repressed guttural accent, 'Hell is not hotter! My body is a living coal! Disgrace! Disgrace! The sense of it burns up all within me !' The poor fellow then cast another look at me, it was a contemplative one, and led me to a chair. I had now an opportunity to regard him; and so strong a picture of m.sery did he exhibit, that I could not, for some time, draw my eyes off him. His countenance was haggard, his hair dishevelled, and his shirt was open at his throat; so that I could plainly see that he had not slept since I left bim. The wildness of his look I attributed to the wine, which had not yet left his wits sober.
“Mike," said he, as he lifted his trembling hand, and passed it across his forehead, thou wast present last night: he hath dishonoured me!' 'Not to my mind, Burford,' returned I, in a mild tone : What is done at night, over wine, is forgotten at the morning meal.' 'I never can forget it,' he answered, bitterly. But thou wilt forget it when thou hast slept.' Then may I never sleep!' replied he, in a vehement tone : Wilt thou take that to him ? As he questioned me, he handed me a letter; but as he gave it, his hand shook, and his voice quivered, like the broken tones of a harp-string struck by an abrupt blast. I took the letter from him, and read the superscription. It was directed to Captain Howard. What does this mean, my good friend ?' said I. Can'st thou not guess? Dost thou think that I would send thee with a flag of truce?' He now put his hand on my shoulder, and gazed eagerly in my face ; while I turned the letter over and over, to consider what I should do with it. • Take it ! take it !' he said earnestly, grasping me, at the same time, more rigidly. I marked his agitation, and replied, “Think well of it: thou art not yet thoroughly sobered; thy whole body trembles; get but an hour's sleep.' 'Nay,' said he, as he darted from me to a sideboard, and taking a decànter of brandy, he quaffed the spirit greedily, • I will sober myself thus! See, I do not tremble now !' and he held
out his hand steadily, to give me the proof of it. “Art thou resolved to send this ?' said I. "Ask me not! Take it! I shook my head, and, without saying another word, I dropped it into the fire. He stepped forward to seize it, but he was too late : it was already in flames. And you, too, insult me!' he cried, as he fixed his iron gripe upon my arm ; while his veins swelled, and his eyes almost started from his head with convulsive agony. God forbid l' replied I, desirous of soothing his spirit. "False ! False! You all despise me! You conjure against me, all of you! But I will be revenged ! He flung me from him, and made his escape by the door. Poor Burford ! my heart beat for thee then, and my pulse quickens bow every time I think of thee! But discipline must be enforced, even at the expense of thy life, erring man!"
The Major's voice became plaintive, and a little touched with regret, as he uttered this sentiment. Dick Careless thought that at this moment it would not have cost the Major much to have sacrificed his principles of military discipline: for the tide of human kindness swelled strong in him, and went very nigh to break down all the factitious barriers of lluty. He took his cigar, and lighted it at the candle; and when the flame beamed upon his eye, itglistened more than was usual to it.
“When Burford” (said the Major, recommencing)“found that I would not deliver the challenge for him, he applied to another officer, who, careless of consequences, carried it to the Captain. 'Twas a foolish thing! The Lieutenant could not have considered the danger in which he placed himself. But the man was insensate! Howard, it would appear, took no notice of the note, which served to provoke the Lieutenant still more. He wrote to his antagonist again; and in the second challenge used very violent language, threatening him with an exposure of his conduct if he did not fight the duel. The Captain consulted with a brother officer; and it was resolved, in order to stop the violence of the Lieutenant, that the Colonel of the regiment should be informed of it. Howard sought only to protect himself from the necessity of fighting with a man who was beneath him in rank, and whose character, it was generally known, he despised; and did not dream of the consequences to be produced by the step. The Colonel was a strict disciplinarian, and immediately ordered a court martial. It was then only that the two parties became fully conscious of the effect likely to be produced by their conduct. The Captain was not less afflicted than the more blamable Burford. He besought the Colonel to annul the proceedings; and beyged, that as he himself had forgiven him, the laws might forgive him also. To be in any way instrumental towards the death of a fellow-creature, wounded his heart; again and again he besought the Colonel, who was, however, resolute, and fixed to the line of his duty. Finding supplications in this quarter made in vain, he determined to go at once to the Commander-in-chief, and plead for the life of the unfortunate Burford.
"With feelings harassed between hopes and fears, the generous Captain sought the quarters of the Commander-in-chief. The character of tbis General was not unknown to the army; and when I heard of the Captain's expedition, I had my doubts of the success of it. Look you, my friends," said the Major, addressing us, while, by way of exemplification of what he was about to say, he closed his fist, and shot his arm forward, “ you could as soon change the course of a cannon ball as bend the Commander-in-chief from the right path.” The conversation that occurred on this occasion I never heard ; but I happened to be walking towards the General's quarters on that day, and met Captain Howard returning from them. His step was hurried, and his head was bent upon his chest. Well, Howard,' said I, 'is poor Burford pardoned ?" The Captain gazed into my face for a moment, then raised his hand with the palm before my eyes, lurned away his head, and burst into tears. I almost censured myself for asking the question : but I said no more, and Howard went away.
“A few days after this circumstance, a court-martial was held to try the prisoner. The Lieutenant showed no weakness, although I could perceive the signs of previous suffering in his face. He answered all the questions put to him, calmly, and seemed to expect the final sentence. Captain Howard, who appeared to suffer more agony of soul than the Lieutenant, supplicated the pardon of the court; but it was unrelenting: and, in accordance with the law which awards death for contempt towards a superior officer, the unfortunate Burford was condemned to be shot.
The Major now puffed vigorously at his cigar, and winked his eyes several times, as if they had been annoyed by the smoke. But Manlove was affected more than any other, by the decision of the court martial. “Murder! foul murder !” he ejaculated with vehemence; “ humanity groans at it.” “He died by the articles of war," said the Major, authoritatively. “ It's not law," replied Manlove, with feeling indignation. " 'Tis discipline," answered the Major. Dick Careless was thrown into a reverie; and Balance said, in a serious tone, “ This must be altered—I'll see to it."
“Well," continued the Major, “the prisoner was to be shot the next morning, by sunrise, at a field without the city; all his brother officers were there, and I made one of the number. There was the Colonel ; and at a little distance was Howard. • 'Tis a pity,' said I, musingly;
may God give you mercy!' as I arrived on the spot, and saw the young Lieutenant with one knee beot on the ground, waiting to receive the fire of a line of soldiers, drawn up before him. I shall never forget it, my friends," continued the Major, in an agitated tone;"no! never shall !-I can see him now, in my mind's eye, and a better man never wore a red jacket. It was drawing close upon the awful moment, and every pulse was beating time to the seconds; I happened to look towards Howard, his eyes were bloodshoc: I walked up to him, wishing to draw him from a scene where he could not possibly be of service. It is over now, Howard,' I began, 'thy generosity cannot avail him; the witnessing of this scene must wound thee, and cannot console him.' How knowest thou,' answered he abruptly, .but he will lose his life ; and what reparation can I make him?' -The blood fled from his cheek, then returned, and fled again. At that moment he cast his eyes towards the Colonel, who was looking attentively at his watch: 'I will speak to him once more,' he continued, I will seek forgiveness ;' and seizing my hand, I would rather die a hundred deaths than he should lose one hair on my
account. I have done him wrong--wrong! He repeated the word, and with such an emphasis, that it ran chill through my soul. He then left me, and darted through a crowd of officers. I saw him, in a moment after kneeling before the doomed man. “Canst thou forgive me?' said he, in a voice tremulous with grief ;- canst thou ?' I have done wrong in this matter-thy blood rests on my head I feel it !' *My tears shall cleanse thee ;' answered the other, while he wept bitterly, and fell upon the Captain's shoulder. The agonised Howard threw his arms around the prisoner's neck, and they were locked in a convulsive embrace. Each sob was heard distinctly by the anxious spectators; for there was a silence, a deadly silence around, like that which precedes the burst of the thunderbolt. There was scarcely a dry eye about us, and many a head was averted from the scene." The Major placed a knuckle on the inner corner of his eye, and breathed audibly.
“ 'Twas a mournful scene,” continued the worthy officer; “and we are but men after all. I have heard men pray, ay, and pray fervently too ; but never did I hear so solemn a prayer as followed that ardent embrace.” The Major hesitated, as if words were wanting to depict the condensed interest that now pervaded the spectators. “All men gazed," said he, "as if their souls looked out of their faces, eager to catch the lowest word that came sighing on the morning breeze. The two brave men clasped their hands together on their bosoms, and with eyes turned towards heaven, and with faces expressive of the deepest earnestness, they offered up a mutual prayer. And what prayer think ye it was? The Lord's Prayer. When they said, with trembling voices, • Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven'--' forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us,' I thought my heart would burst. The two men wept-stopped-and continued, in smothered accents. The spectators burst simultaneously into tears; and when the Colonel attempted to speak to end the scene, his words were choked in his throat and he merely waved his hand. The time was already past, and a serjeant advanced to intimale it to the Captain. The miserable Howard cast a desponding look over his shoulder as the serjeant warned him, and again earnestly embracing the prisoner, he arose; but contrition yearned strongly: he hesitated, then advanced a few steps; I think I see his look now." The tears trickled over the Major's cheek. “I cannot help it,” said he, as he brushed them away hastily with his handkerchief. “I think I see his look now, as he stopped suddenly, and cried, with a bosom swelling with agony, • Hast thou fully forgiven me?' The Lieutenant sprang up and gave him his hand — As I hope to be forgiven,' answered he. Their hearts met, and mixed in that fervent pressure, and I thought their hands would have grown together; for it seemed as if they would never relax. Again the serjeant advanced, and the Captain hurriedly withdrew. The Lieutenant sank upon his knee, cast his eye to the soldiers, and then bared his chest. When his shirt was withdrawn, his heart could be distinctly seen to beat, although his face was perfectly calm. He then bent his forehead upon his hands, as if in deep thought ;-'twas his last moment of solitary reflection; the soldiers presented arms--poor Burford cast a glance