« PreviousContinue »
Your honour, replied the corporal, is too much concerned; shall I pour your honour out a glass of sack
to your pipe? Do Trim, said my uncle Toby.
I remember, said my uncle Toby, sighing again, the story of the ensign and his wife, with a circumstance his modesty omitted ;—and particularly well Uiat he, as well as she,upon some account or other, (I forgot what) was universally pitied by the whole regiment;—but finish the story tiiou art upon.—'Tis finished already, said the,corporal,—for I could stay no longer,—i—so wished his honour 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 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 over Then what is to become of his
poor boy? cried my uncle Toby.
It was to my uncle Toby's eternal honour, though
I tell it only for the sake of those, who, when cooped in betwixt 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 carry'mgon the siege of Dendermond, parallel with the allies, who pressed theirs on so vigorous!),, 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; iuid bent his whole thoughts towards the pritate distresses at the inn; and, except .that he ordered the gardengate "to be bolted up by which he might be said to have turned the siege 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 should 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 tliee in what, Trim, - -In the first place, when thou madest an offer of my services to Le Fevre, — as s ckness and travelling are both expensive, and thou knowest he was but a poor lieutenant, with a son to sulsist -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 honour knows, said the corpora), I had no orders ;- true, quoth my uncle Toby, - and 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 then
offeredst him whatever was in my house — thou shouldst
have offered him my house too :- A sick brother off
cer should have the best quarters, Trim; and if we had
Vitn with us — we could tend and look to him :- Thou
jrt an excellent nurse thyself, Trim, - and what with
•thy care of him, and the old woman's, and his boy's, and
'miiie together we might recruit him again at once, ai.-d
'set him upon his legs.
— In a fortnight or three weeks, added my uncle Toby, smiling — he- might march — Hfe \vill never march, an' please your honour j in this world, said' the corporal ;He «ill march'; said my uncle Toby, rising up from the side 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.
taining his point,—the poor soul will die: He shall
not die, by G—d, cried my uucle Toby.
—The: accusing spirit which flew 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 forever.
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 sun look'd btight the morning after, to every eye in the village but Le Fevre's and his afflicted son'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-side, and independently of all mo^es and customs, opened the curtain in the manner an old frrend and brother officer would have done it, and asked him how
he did,—how he had rested in the night, what was
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 enquiries, 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.
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 soul, and showed you the goodness of his nature; to this, there was something in his looks, and voice, and manner, superadded,which eternally beck. cued 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 slow within him, and were retreating to
their last citadel, the heart, rallied back, the film
forsook his eyes for a moment, he looked up wishfully in my uncle Toby's face, then cast a look upon his boy,—
and that ligament, fine as it was, was never broken.
Nature instantly ebb'd again, the film returned to
its place the pulse flutter'd stopp'd went on
throbb'd stopp'd again-: iriov'd stopp'd—
shall I go on? No. Stern£.
.' YORICK's DEATH.
A FEW hours before Yorick breathed his last, Eugenius slept in with an intent to take his last sight and last farewell of him. Upon his drawing Yorick's curtain,and asking how he felt himself, Yorick looking up in his face
took hold of his hand, and after thanking him for the
many tokens of his friendship to him, for which, he said, 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 slip for ever. 1 hope
not, answered Eugenius, with tears trickling down his cheeks, and with the tenderest tone that ever man spoke,
1 hope not Yorick, said he. Yorick replied, witb
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 for
rake thee at this crisis when thou most wantest them ;~.— who knows what resources are in store, 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, 1 declare I know not, Yorick, how to
part with thee, and would gladly flatter 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 beseech thee, Eugenius, quoth Yorick, taking off his night-cap as well as he could with his left hand his right still being grasped close in that of Eugenius, 1 beseech thee to take a view of my head.—
1 see nothing that ails it, replied Eugenius. Then alas! my friend, said Yorick, let me tell you, that it is so bruisid 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 from heaven as
"thick as hail, not one of them would fit it." Yor
iok's last breath was hanging upon his trembling lips-ready to depart as he uttered this; yet still it was uttered with something of a Cervantic tone;—and as he qjoke it, Eugenius could perceive a stream of lambent lire lighted up for a moment in his eyes ;—faint picture pf those flashes of his spirit, which (as Shakspeare said of his ancestor) were wont to set the table in a roar!
'Eugenius was convinced from this, that the heart of his friend was broken; he squeezed his hand,—and then walked softly out Of the room, weeping as he walked.— Yorick followed Eugenius with his eyes to the door,—he then closed them,—and never opened them more.
He lies buried in a corner of his church-yard, under a plain marble slah, which his friend Eugenius, by leave o' hia executors,, laid upon his grave, with no more than