Imágenes de páginas

Corporal ! faiờ my uncle Toby the corporal made his bow. My uncle Toby proceeded no farther, but finished his pipe.

Trim ! faid my uncle Toby, I have a project in my head, as it is a bad night, of wrapping myself up warm in my roquelaure, and paying a visit to this poor gentleman. -Your honour's roquelaure, replied the corporal, has not once been had on, since the night before your honour received your wound, when we mounted guard in the trenches before the gate of St Nicholas; -and besides it is so cold and rainy a night, that what with the roquelaure, and what with the weather, 'twill be enough to give your honour your death, and bring on your honour's torment in your groin. I fear fu, replied my uncle Toby: But I am not at rest in my mind, Trim, since the account the landlord has given me. I wish I had not known fo much of this affair,added my uncle Toby, or that I had known more of it: How thall we manage it? Leave it, an't pleate your honour, to me, quoth the corporal; -I'll take my hat and ftick, and

go to the house and reconnoitre, and act accordingly; and I will bring your honour.a full account in an hour.

Thou shalt go, Trim, said my uncle Toby; and here's a shilling for thee to drink with his fervant.-I shall get it all out of him, said the corporal, fhutting the door.

My uncle Toby filled his second pipe ; and had it not been that he now and then wandered from the point, with considering whether it was not fult as well to have the curtain of the tennail a straight line as a crooked one ;-he might be said to have thought of nothing else but poor Le Fevre and his boy the whole time he smoaked it. . It was not till my uncle Toby had knocked the ashes out of his third pipe, that corporal Trim returned from the inn, and gave him the following account. i I despaired at first, faid the corporal, of being able to bring back your honour any kind of intelligenee con


cerning the poor fick lieutenantIs he in the army, then? faid my uncle Toby.He is, said the corporal

And in what regiment ? faid my uncle Toby

-I'll tell your honour, replied the corporal, every thing Itraight forwards as I learnt it. Then, Trim, I'll fill another pipe, said my uncle Toby, and not interrupt thee till thou hast done; fo fit down at thy case, Trim, in the window seat, and begin thy story again. The corporal made his old bow, which generally spoke, as plain as a bow could speak it,Your honour is good :-And having done that, he fat 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 honour about the lieutenant and his fon; for when I asked where his servant was, from whom I made myself fure of knowing every thing which was proper to be asked,

-That's a right distinction, Trim, said my uncle Toby -I was answered, an' please your honour, that he had no fervant with him; that he had come to the inn with hired horses, which, upon finding himfell unable to proceed, (to join, I suppose, the regiment) he had dismissed the morning after he came. If I get better, my dear, said he, as he gave his purfe to his fon to pay the man, 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, faid the youth. Pray let me fave 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, whilft I did it. I believe, Sir, faid he, very modestly, I can please him beft my


felf. I am sure, faid I, his honour 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 ! faid my uncle Toby,“he has been bred up from an infant in the army, and the name of a soldier, Trim, founded 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 so great a mind to my dinner, as I had to cry with him for company

What could be the matter with me, an' please your honour ? Nothing in the world, Trim, said my uncle Toby, blowing his nose,—but that thou art a good-natured fellow.

When I gave him the toast, continued the corporal, I thought it was proper to tell him I was captain Shandy's servant, and that your honour (though a stranger) was extremely concerned for his father And that if there was any thing in your house or cellar and thou mightest 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 honour) but no answer -for his heart was full-fo he went up stairs with the toaft.- I warrant you, my dear, said I, as I opened the kitchen-door, your father will be well again.--Mr Yorick's curate was smoaking a pipe by the kitchen fire,

—but said not a word, good or bad, to comfort the youth. I thought it was wrong, added the corporal

I think so too, said my uncle Toby.

When the lieutenant had taken his glass of fack and toast, 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 landlord, he is going to say his prayers,

-for there was a book laid upon the chair by his bed-side, and, as I shut the door, I saw his fon take up a cushion.

I thought, said the cúrate, that you gentlemen of the army, Mr Trim, never faid your prayers at all.

I heard

Are you

I heard the poor gentleman fay his prayers last night, said the landlady, very devoutly, and with my own ears, or I could not haye believed it.. fure of it? replied the curate. A foldier, an' please your reverence, said I, prays as often (of his own accord) as a parson; and when he is fighting for his king, and for his own life, and for honour too, he has the most reason to pray to God of any one in the whole world. Twas well fáid of thee, Trim, faid my uncle Toby.But when a soldier, said I, an' please your reverence, has been standing for twelve hours together in the trenches, up to his knees in cold water,

-or engaged, faid I, for months together in long and dangerous marches ;-harafled, perhaps, in his rear to-day ;-harassing others to-motrow ;-detached here; countermanded there ;-refting this night out upon his arms ;-beat up in his shirt the next;benumbed in his joints ;-- perhaps without Atraw in his tent to kneel on ;-must say his prayers boru and when he can.--I believe, faid I,- for I was piqu’d, quoth the corporal; for the reputation of the army,

I believe, an' please your reverence, said I, that when a soldier gets time to pray, he prays as heartily as a parson---though not with all his fuss and hypocrify. Thou should'st not have said that, Trim, faid 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 has done their duties in this world, and who has 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 shew it thee to-morrow : In the mean time we may depend upon it, Trim, for out comfort, said my uncle Toby, that God Almighty is so good and just a governor of the world, that if we have but done our duties in it, it will never be enquired into whether we have done them in a red coat or a black one: I hope not, said the corporal


-But go on, Trim, said my uncle Toby, with thy story.

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, with 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 it 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 bed-side :-—If you are captain Shandy's servant, said he, you must present my thanks to your master, witli my little boy's thanks along with them, for his courtesy to me ;-if he was of Leven's—said the lieu. tenant-- I told him your honour was- -Then, faid he, I served three campaigns with him in Flanders, and remember him but 'tis most likely, as I had not the honour 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 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 arms in my tent.--I remember the story, an' please your honour, said I, very well. fo?" 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 ribe band about his neck, and killed it twice-Here, Billy, said he,- the boy flew across the room to the bed-fide, -and falling down upon his knee, took the ring in his hand and kiffed it too, then kifled his father, and fat down upon the bed and wept.

I wish

Do you

« AnteriorContinuar »