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"Trim," said 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 so," 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 so much of this affair," added my uncle Toby, "or that I had known more of it. How shall we manage it?" "Leave it, an't please your honour, to me, quoth the corporal. "I'll take my hat and stick, 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 servant. "I shall get it all out of him," said the corporal, shutting the
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 full as well to have the curtain of the tenaille 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 smoked 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 despaired at first," said the corporal, "of being able to bring back your honour any kind of intelligence concerning the poor sick lieutenant." "Is he in the army, then?" said my uncle Toby. "He is," said the corporal. "And in what regiment?" said my uncle Toby. 'I'll tell your honour," replied the corporal,
"everything straightforwards as I learned it." "Then, Trim, I'll fill another pipe,' said my uncle Toby, "and not interrupt thee till thou hast done; so sit down at thy ease, 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 sat down, as he was ordered; and begun 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 son; for when I asked where his servant was, from whom I made myself sure of knowing everything 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 servant with him; that he had come to the inn with hired horses, which, upon finding himself unable to proceed to join, I sup pose, the regiment-he had dismissed the morning after he came. 'If I get better, my dear,' he said, as he gave his purse to his son 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 brokenhearted 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 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," 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 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 anything 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 honour; but no answer, for his heart was full; so he went up stairs with the toast. 'I warrant you, my dear,' said I, as I opened the kitchen door, '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 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 upstairs. I believe,' said the landlord, he is going to say his prayers, for there was a book laid upon the chair by his bedside, and as I shut the door, I saw his son take up a 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' 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 his honour too, 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' please your reverence, has been standing for twelve hours together in the trenches up to his knees in cold water, or engaged,' said I, 'for 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 in his shirt the next; benumbed in his joints; perhaps without straw in his tent to kneel on; one 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' 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 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 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 show it thee to-morrow. In the meantime, we may depend upon it, Trim, for our 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 inquired 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 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 Levens's, said the lieutenant. I told him your honour was. 'Then,' said 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 't please your honour,' 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 I was asleep. "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
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 thou art upon.' """Tis finished already," said the corporal, “for I could stay no longer; 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 this 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 carrying on the siege of Dendermond, parallel with the allies, who pressed theirs on so 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 his private distresses 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 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 thee in what, Trim. In the first place, when thou mad'st an offer of my services to Le Fevre-as sickness and travelling are both expensive, and thou knowest he was but a poor lieutenant, with a son to subsist as well as himself out of his paythat 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 corporal, "I had no orders. "True," quoth my uncle Toby; "thou didst very right, Trim, as a soldier, but certainly very wrong as a
"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 the 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, 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." "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 uncle 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-," cried my uncle Toby. The Accusing Spirit, which flew up to heaven's chancery with the oath, blushed as he gave it in, and the Recording Angel, as he wrote it down, dropped a tear upon the word, and blotted it out for ever.
The sun looked bright 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 eyelids, 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 bedside; 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 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 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."
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 nature; to this there was something in his looks, and voice, and manner superadded, 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 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 ebbed again; the film returned to its place; the pulse
My uncle Toby went to his bureau; put his purse into his breeches' pocket; and having ordered the corporal to go early in fluttered-stopped-went on-throbbed the morning for a physician, he went to-stopped again-moved-stopped. Shall bed and fell asleep. I go on? No.-Tristram Shandy.
THEY were the sweetest notes I ever heard, and I instantly let down the foreglass to hear them more distinctly. 'Tis Maria, said the postillion, observing I was listening. Poor Maria, continued he (leaning his body on one side to let me see her, for she was in a line betwixt us), is sitting upon a bank playing her vespers upon her pipe with her little goat beside her. The young fellow uttered this with an accent and a look so perfectly in tune to a feeling heart, that I instantly made a vow, I would give him a four-andtwenty sous piece, when I got to Moulines. -And who is poor Maria? said I. The love and pity of all the villages around us, said the postillion: it is but three years ago, that the sun did not shine upon so fair, so quick-witted, and amiable a maid; and better fate did Maria deserve, than to have her banns forbid, by the intrigues of the curate of the parish who published them. He was going on, when Maria, who had made a short pause, put the pipe to her mouth and began the air again: they were the same notes ;-yet were ten times sweeter. It is the evening service to the Virgin, said the young man; but who has taught her to play it, or how she came by her pipe, no one knows; we think that Heaven has assisted her in both; for ever since she has been unsettled in her mind, it seems her only consolation-she has never once had the pipe out of her hand, but plays that service upon it almost night and day. The postillion delivered this with so much discretion and natural eloquence, that I could not help deciphering something in his face above his condition, and should have sifted out his history, had not poor Maria's taken such full possession of me. We had got up by this time almost to the bank where Maria was sitting; she was in a thin white jacket, with her hair, all but two tresses, drawn up into a silk net, with a few olive leaves twisted a little fantastically
on one side-she was beautiful; and if ever I felt the full force of an honest heart-ache, it was the moment I saw her. God help her! poor damsel! Above a hundred masses, said the postillion, have been said in the several parish churches and convents around, for her-but without effect. We have still hopes, as she is still sensible for short intervals, that the Virgin at last will restore her to herself; but her parents, who know her best, are hopeless upon that score, and think her senses are lost for ever. As the postillion spoke this, Maria made a cadence so melancholy, so tender and querulous, that I sprang out of the chaise to help her, and found myself sitting betwixt her and her goat before I relapsed from my enthusiasm. Maria looked wishfully for some time at me, and then at her goat— and then at me, and then at her goat again, and so on, alternately.- -Well, Maria, said I, softly, What resemblance do you find? I do intreat the candid reader to believe me, that it was from the humblest conviction of what a beast man is, that I asked the question; and that I would not have let fallen an unseasonable pleasantry in the venerable presence of Misery, to be entitled to all the wit that even Rabelais scattered. Adieu, Maria! - adieu, poor hapless damsel!-some time, but not now, I may hear thy sorrows from thy own lips
but I was deceived; for that moment she took her pipe and told me such a tale of woe with it, that I rose up, and with broken and irregular steps walked softly to my chaise.
WHEN we had got within half a league of Moulines, at a little opening in the road leading to a thicket, I discovered poor Maria, sitting under a poplar. She was sitting with her elbow in her lap, and her head leaning on one side, within her hand: a small brook ran at the foot of the tree. I bade the postillion go on with the chaise to Moulines, and La Sleur to bespeak my supper, and that I would walk after him. She was dressed