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tapping himself significantly on the breast. “A man's a fool, sir, who forgets himself under the most pressing circumstances; and, as I've said before, the Crumps are the original blades spoken of in history as sharp, keen-set razors.
“I can't say," continued he," that there was as favourable an answer as could be desired; for my master grew daily worse, and at last became little short of a confirmed idiot.
“Matters went on in this way for the best part of three months, when a letter with a large official seal upon it, and directed to Lieutenant Somerset, was delivered into my hands; and thinking it the wisest plan to make myself acquainted with its contents before anybody else possessed the same, I thanked the planet under which I'd been born, that I went oftener to the Sunday-school than to play pitch-and-toss on the green.
“It was merely a formal admission from head-quarters of the receipt of the resignation of the lieutenant's commission. No word alluded to his conduct; and whether an explanation accompanied it or not at the time of his sending it in, was never known from that day to this.
* It was now clear to my mind that no further notice would be taken either of him or the offence of which he had been guilty. Indeed, his situation was such that nothing could have been done by way of punishment, as the depth of misery to which he had sunk possessed no lower.
“ After considering well what steps had better be taken, Mrs. Somerset determined upon returning to England; and although it's not a rule of mine to study the interests of others in preference to my own, I made up my mind to go with her, provided I could get my discharge. The war being at an end, there was not much difficulty in obtaining this; and with a pension of tenpence a day, the rank of a full corporal, and, I believe, the character of a good soldier, I quitted his most gracious Majesty's service"-Corporal Crump brought his right hand, with a squared •elbow, stiffly to his forehead, and saluted the King—" to defend and protect, instead of my country, a poor broken-down man in body and mind, a little fat ball of a female squeaker, who looked first cousin to an angel, and a good dear lady, not”—the corporal dropped his voice to a scarcely audible whisper—"not much better qualified to struggle with the world than the aforesaid sucking baby at her bosom.
“For home, or as I should say to seek one, we sailed, and, after squatting down at one place and then at another places which the poor lieutenant knew when he was a boy-in the hope that visiting them might work a change for the better, we at last settled in a little quiet seaside nook in the west of England.
“The cottage which we occupied was a snug little box within a few yards of the shore,” resumed Corporal Crump, “and either in wandering along the sands, or watching his little child play with the pebbles on the beach, the poor lieutenant's harmless life glided on with scarcely a change from one twelvemonth's end to another. He made no inquiries, rarely spoke; but would sit for hours, with his blinkless eyes fixed on vacancy, and dwelling upon one thought, the maddening misery of his brain. And so days were added to days, and, at length, years to years.
“ Changes, however, slowly as they may work, are ever going on.
"One day I noticed that the lieutenant looked paler than usual, and his limbs trembled under him as he walked. The following morning he roused us all at sunrise, and begged that the curtains from the chamber windows might be withdrawn, and that the casement might be opened.
76Let me,' said he, once more see the glorious giver of life, and feel the fresh breezes of heaven play upon my brow. It does not ache now, Clara,' continued he, speaking to his wife, but,' and he shook his
head mournfully, “how it has throbbed for years, long years! I know all that has passed,' and as he spoke he clasped his hands together, a dream too frightful, and, alas! too real. The hand of affliction has been heavy upon me and upon mine, but the hour is near when our troubled hearts shall be at rest.'
“He then asked for his little child, and taking her in his arms, he looked earnestly in her face, and prayed God to bless her.
"I think I see him now, comrade," said the corporal, hastily brushing something from his cheek, “ folding her to his breast, and kissing her as I'd seldom seen him do before.
" That which he said to me is not worth repeating, only that it's as well to observe that I didn't deserve one-fourth part of what his grateful soul gave vent to.
“By his wish I now led little Clara from the room, and the few remaining moments of his life were witnessed by her alone, whose broken spirit will be healed only when they are united again in heaven.”
Corporal Crump's voice faltered with the conclusion of the sentence; but its steadiness of tone recovered under the influence of a timely appeal to Jacob's mixture.
“We remained at the cottage for some time after the lieutenant's death,” continued he," and it seemed a melancholy pleasure with my mistress to go almost daily to her husband's grave, in a small, out-o'-the-way churchyard close by, and planted with garden flowers. Poor thing! I'm afraid she often watered them with her tears."
(By permission of Messrs. Chapman and Hall.)
As market-days are wearin' late,
This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
O Tam, hadst thou but been sae wise As ta’en thy ain wife Kate's advice ! She tauld thee weel thou was a skellum, A blethering, blustering, drunken blellum ; That frae November to October, Ae market-day thou was nae sober, That ilka melder, wi' the miller, Thou sat as lang as thou had siller, That every naig was ca'd a shoe on, The smith and thee gat roaring fou on ; That at the Lord's house, e'en on Sunday, Thou drank wi' Kirkton Jean till Monday, She prophesied, that, late or soon, Thou wad be found deep drown'd in Doon ; Or catch'd wi warlocks in the mirk, By Alloway's auld haunted kirk.
Ah, gentle dames, it gars me greet, To think how mony counsels sweet, How mony lengthen'd sage advices The husband fra the wife despises !
But to our tale. Ae market night, Tam had got planted unco right
Fast by an ingle bleezing finely,
Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
Nae man can tether time or tide : The hour approaches Tam maun ride; That hour, o' night's black arch the keystane, That dreary hour he mounts his beast in; And sic a night he taks the road in, As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in. The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last; The rattling show'rs rose on the blast; The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd; Loud, deep, and lang the thunder bellow'd :