« PreviousContinue »
corporal made his old bow, which generally spoke, as plain as a bow could speak it, “ Your honor is good;” and, having done that, he sat down, as he was ordered, and began the story to my uncle Toby over again, in pretty near the same words.
“I despaired at first,” said the corporal, “ of being able to bring back any intelligence to your honor about the lieutenant and his son ; for, when I asked where his servant was, from whom I felt quite sure of knowing every thing which was proper to be asked " “ That's a right distinction, Trim," said my uncle Toby. “I was answered, an't please your honor, that he had no servant with him; that he had come to the inn with hired horses; which, upon finding himself unable to proceed, - to join, I suppose, the regiment,
- he had dismissed the morning after he came. And I was told that he said to his son, as he gave him the purse to pay the man, 'If I get better, perhaps, we can hire horses from hence.' 'But, alas! the poor gentleman will never get from hence,' said the landlady to me, ‘for I heard the death-watch all night long; and when he dies, the youth, his son, will certainly die with him ; for he is broken-hearted already.'
“I was hearing this account,” continued the corporal, “ when the youth came into the kitchen, to order the thin toast the landlord spoke of. “But I will do it for my father myself,' said the youth. “Pray, let me save you the trouble, young gentleman,' said I, taking up a fork for the purpose, and offering him my chair to sit down upon by the fire, whilst I did it. I believe, sir,' said he, very modestly, 'I can please him best myself.' 'I am sure,' said.I,'his honor will not like the toast the worse for being toasted by an old soldier.' The youth took hold of my hand, and instantly burst into tears.” “Poor youth!” said my uncle Toby, “ he has been bred up from an infant in the army, and the name of a soldier, Trim, sounded in his ears like the name of a friend. I wish I had him here."
“I never, in the longest march," said the corporal, “ had 80 great a mind to my dinner, as I had to cry with him for cumpany. What could be the matter with me, an't please your honor ?” “Nothing in the world, Trim," said my uncle Toby, wiping his face, “but that thou art a goodnatured fellow." togeier, told me they had come from Ireland, and were on their joute to join the regiment in Flanders. But, alas!” said the corporal, “the lieutenant's last day's march is over!” “Then what is to become of his poor boy?” cried my uncle Toby.
“When I gave him the toast,” continued the corporal, “1 thought it was proper to tell him I was Captain Shandy's ser. vant; and that your honor, though a stranger, was extremely concerned for his father; and that, if there was any thing in your house or cellar " "and thou mightst have added my purse too,” said my uncle Toby — " he was heartily welcome to it. He made a very low bow — which was meant to your honor — but no answer,- for his heart was full; so he went up stairs with the toast. 'I warrant you, my good lad,' said I, as he left the kitchen, your father will be well again.' Mr. Yorick's curate was smoking a pipe by the kitchen fire, but said not a word, good or bad, to comfort the youth. I thought it wrong," added the corporal. “ I think so, too,” said my uncle Toby.
" When the lieutenant had taken his glass of sack and tvast, he felt himself a little revived, and sent down into the kitchen, to let me know, that in about ten minutes he should be glad if I would step up stairs. 'I believe,' said the landJord, “he is going to say his prayers; for there was a book laid upon bis chair by his bedside, and, as I shut the door, I saw his son take up his cushion.'
“I thought,' said the curate, that you gentlemen of the army, Mr. Trim, never said your prayers at all.' 'I heard the poor gentleman say his prayers last night,' said the landlady, “very devoutly, and with my own ears, or I could not have believed it.' 'Are you sure of it?' replied the curate. "A soldier, an't please your reverence,' said I, 'prays as often, of his own accord, as any man; and when he is fighting for his own life, and for his own rights, he has the most reason to pray to God of any one in the whole world.'”
“ 'Twas well said of thee, Trim," said my uncle Toby. • But when a soldier,' said I, “an't please your reverence, has been standing for twelve hours together in the trenches, ud
to his knees in cold water, or engaged,' said I, for five months together, in long and dangerous marches — harassed, perhaps, in his rear to-day — harassing others to-morrow detached here — countermanded there — resting this night out upon his arms — beat up from sound sleep the next — benumbed in his joints — perhaps without straw in his tent to kneel on; he must say his prayers how and when he can.
“ I believe,' said I, for I was piqued,” quoth the corporal, “' for the reputation of the army, I believe, an't please your reverence,' said I, that when a soldier gets time to pray, he prays as heartily as any one, and with less hypocrisy.'" “ Thou shouldst not have said that, Trim," said my uncle Toby ; " for God only knows who is a hypocrite, and who is not. At the great and general review of us all, corporal, — at the day of judgment, and not till then, - it will be seen who have done their duties in this world, and who have not; and we shall be advanced, Trim, accordingly." “I hope we shall," said Trim. “ It is in the Scripture," said my uncle Toby ; " and I will show it thee to-morrow. But go on, Trim,” said my uncle Toby," with the story."
have not who have done undgment, and acil review
113. The Same, concluded.
“When I went up," continued the corporal, “ into the lieutenant's room, which I did not do till the expiration of the ten minutes, he was lying in his bed, with his head raised upon his hand, his elbow upon the pillow, and a clean, white cambric handkerchief beside it. The youth was just stooping down to take up the cushion, upon which I supposed he had been kneeling; the book was laid upon the bed; and, as he rose, in taking up the cushion with one hand, he reached out his other to take the book away at the same time. “Let it remain there, my dear,' said the lieutenant.
“He did not offer to speak to me till I had walked up close to his bedside. If you are Captain Shandy's servant,' said he, ‘you must present my thanks to your master, with my little boy's thanks along with them, for his courtesy to me. If he was of Leven's — 'said the lieutenant. I told him your honor was. “Then,' said he, 'I served three campaigns with him in Flanders, and remember him. But 'tis most likely, as I had not the honor of any acquaintance with him, that he knows nothing of me. You will tell him, however, that the person his good nature has laid under obligations to him, is one Le Fevre, a lieutenant in Angus's. But he knows me not,' said he, a second time, musing. Possibly he may know my story,' added he. 'Pray tell the captain, I was the ensign at Breda whose wife was most unfortunately killed with a musket-shot, as she lay in my tent.'
“I remember the story, an't please your honor,' said I, 'very well.' 'Do you so ?' said he, wiping his eyes with his handkerchief, — then well may I.' In saying this, he drew a little ring out of his bosom, which seemed tied with a black ribbon about his neck, and kissed it twice. “Here, Billy,' said he. The boy flew across the room to the bedside, and, falling down upon his knee, took the ring in his hand, and kissed it too, - then kissed his father, and sat down upon the bed, and wept.”
"I wish,” said my uncle Toby, with a deep sigh, "I wish, Trim, I was asleep."
“Your honor," replied the corporal, “ is too much concerned. Shall I fill your honor another pipe ?” “Do, Trim," said my uncle Toby.
“I remember," said my uncle Toby, sighing again, “the story of the ensign and his wife, and particularly well that he, as well as she, upon some account or other, - I forget what, - was universally pitied by the whole regiment. But finish the story." “ 'Tis finished already," said the corpo ral; “for I could stay no longer, – so wished his honor a good night. Young Le Fevre rose from off the bed, and saw me to the bottom of the stairs; and, as we went down
“Thou hast left this matter short,” said my uncle Toby to the corporal, as he was putting him to bed, “and I will tell thee in what, Trim. In the first place, when thou madest an offer of my services to Le Fevre, -- as sickness and travelling are both expensive, and thou knewest he was but a poor lieutenant, with a son to subsist, as well as himself, out of his pay, — that thou didst not make an offer to him of my purse; because, had he stood in need, thou knowest, Trim, he had been as welcome to it as myself.” “Your honor knows," said the corporal, “I had no orders.” “True," quoth my uncle Toby; "thou didst very right, Trim, as a soldier, but certainly very wrong as a man.
“In the second place, — for which, indeed, thou hast the same excuse," continued my uncle Toby, — “when thou offeredst him whatever was in my house, thou shouldst have offered him my house too. A sick brother-officer should have the best quarters, Trim; and if we had him with us, we could tend and look to him. Thou art an excellent nurse thyself, Trim; and what with thy care of him, and the old woman's, and his boy's, and mine together, we might recruit him again at once, and set him upon his legs.
“In a fortnight or three weeks," added my uncle Toby, smiling," he might march." "He will never march, an't please your honor, in this world," said the corporal. “He will march,” said my uncle Toby, rising up from the side of the bed with one shoe off. “An't please your honor," said the corporal, “ he will never march, but to his grave.” “ He shall march,” cried my uncle Toby, marching the foot which had a shoe on, though without advancing an inch, -" he shall march to his regiment." "He cannot stand it," said the corporal. “He shall be supported,” said my uncle Toby. “He'll drop at last,” said the corporal, “and what will