Page images


[ocr errors]

she, upon some account or other, (I forget what) was uni-
versally pitied by the whole regiment;-but finish the story
thou art upon.-Tis finish'd already, faid the corporal,
for I could stay no wished his honour a good
night ; young Le Ferre rose from off the bed, and saw
to the bottom of the stairs ; and as we went down together,
told me they had come from Ireland, and were on their :
route to join the regiment in Flanders-But alas ! said.
the corporal,--the lieutenant's last day's march is
Then what is to become of his poor boy ? cried my uncle

It was to my uncle Toby's eternal honour,—though I tell it only for the sake of those, who, when cooped in be twixt a natural and a positive law, know not for their souls, which way in the world to turn themselves. That notwithstanding my uncle Toby was warmly engaged at that time in carrying on the fiege of Dendermond, parallel with the allies, who pressed theirs on fo vigorously, that they scarce allowed him time to get his dinner that nevertheless he gave up Dendermond, though he had already made a lodgment upon the counterscarp; and bent his whole thoughts towards the private diftreffes at the inn; and, except that he ordered the garden-gate to be bolted up, by which he might be said to have turned the fiege of Dendermond into a blockade,-he left Dendermond to itself, to be relieved or not by the French king, as the French king thought good ; and only considered how he himself ihould relieve the poor lieutenant and his son.

_That kind Being, who is a friend to the friendless, shall recompense thee for this. 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 knoweft he was but a poor lieutenant, with a son to subfist as well as himself, out of his pay,—that thou didit not make an offer to him of my purse ; because, had he stood in need, thou knowelt, Trim, he had been as welcome to it as myself.

-Your honour 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 haft the fame excuse, continued my uncle Toby, when thou offeredst him whatever was in my house-thou shouldst have offered him

house too :-

A fick 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 excel. lent 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' please your honour, in this world, said the corporal :He will march ; said my uncle Toby, rifing up from the fide of the bed, with one shoe off :-An' please your honour, 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 become of his boy ; He shall not drop, said my



[ocr errors]

Toby, firmly.-A-well-o'day,- do what we can for him, said Trim, maintaining his point,—the poor soul will die :

-He shall not die, by G-d, cried my uncle Toby. -THE ACCUSING SPIRIT which few up to heaven's chancery with the oath, blush'd as he gave it in--and the RECORDING ANGEL as he wrote it down, dropp'd a tear upon

the word, and blotted it out for ever. -My uncle Toby went to his bureau,-put his purse into his breeches pocket, and having ordered the corporal to go early in the morning for a physician-he went to bed and fell asleep.

The fun look'd bright the morning after, to every eye in the village but Le Fevre's and his afflicted fon’s : the hand of death pressed heavy upon his eye-lids,—and hardly could the wheel at the cistern turn round its circle,—when my uncle Toby, who had rose up an hour before his wonted time, entered the lieutenant's room, and without preface or apology, sat himself down upon the chair, by the bed-lide, and, independently of all modes and customs, opened the curtain in the manner an old friend and brother officer would have done it, and asked him how he did,-how he had refted in the night,—what what his complaint, -where was his pain,—and what he could do to help him ?-and without giving him time to answer any one of the inquiries, went on and told him of the little plan which he had been concerting with the corporal the night before for him.

--You shall go home directly, Le Fevre, said my uncle Toby, to my house,-and we'll send for a doctor to see what's the matter,--and we'll have an apothecary, and the corporal shall be your nurse ;-and I'll be your servant, Le Fevre, 26


There was a frankness in my uncle Toby.—not the effect of familiarity,—but the cause of it,—which let you at once into his foul, and showed you the goodness of his nature ; to this, there was something in his looks, and voice, and manner, fuperadded, which eternally beckoned to the unfortunate to come and take shelter under him ; so that before my uncle Toby had half finished the kind offers he was making to the father, had the son insensibly pressed up close to his knees, and had taken hold of the breast of his coat, and was pulling it towards him.-The blood and spirits of Le Fevre, which were waxing cold and flow within him, and were retreating to their last citadel, the heart, rallied back,—the film forsook his eyes for a moment,-he looked vp wishfully in my uncle Toby's face,—then cast a look upon

and that ligament, fine as it was, was never broken.

Nature instantly ebu'd again, the film returned to its place—the ,pulie Auttered -- stopp'd -went on throbbidstopp'd again moved-stopp'd hall I go on? No.


his boy,

[blocks in formation]

FEW hours before Yorick breathed his last, Eugenius

ftept in with an intent to take his last fight and last farewei of him. Upon his crawing Yorick's curtain, and akking how he felt himself, Yorick looking u; in his face, took hold of his hand, ----and, after thanking him for the


many tokens of his friendship to him, for which, he faid if it was their fate to meet hereafter, he would thank him again and again; he told him, he was within a few hours of giving his enemies the flip for ever.--I hope not, anfwered Eugenius, with tears trickling down his cheeks, and with the tenderest tone that ever man spoke, I hope not, Yorick, said he.-Yorick replied, with a look up, and gentle squeeze of Eugenius's hand,—and that was all,--but it cut Eugenius to the heart.-Come, come, Yorick, quoth Eugenius, wiping his eyes, and summoning up the man within him,my dear lad, be comforted,--let not all thy spirits and fortitude forsake thee at this crifis when thou most wanteft them ; -who knows, what resources are in itore, and what the power of God may yet do for thee ?Yorick laid his hand upon his heart, and gently shook his head ; for my part, continued Eugenius, crying bitterly as he uttered the words,-—I declare I know not, Yorick, how to part with thee, and would gladly fiatter my hopes, added Eugenius, cheering up his voice, that there is still enough left of thee to make a bishop,-and that I may live to see it. I beleech thee, Eugenius, quoth Yorick, taking off his night-cap as well as he cauld with his left handstill being grálped close in that of Eugenius, - I befeech thee to take a view of my head. I see nothing that ails it, replied Eugenius. Then alas ! my friend, said Yorick, let me tell you, that it is so bruised and mis-shapened with the blows which have been so unhandsomely given me in the dark, that I might say with Sancho Panca, that should I recover, and “ mitres thereupon be suffered to rain down 66 from heaven as thick as hail, nui one of them would fit ci it."' ---Yorick's last breath was hanging upon his trembliny lips ready to depart as he uitered thus ;-—yet ftillit

-his right


« PreviousContinue »