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Father. And yet these operations are done for the benefit of the sufferers, and by their own desire. But in a battle the probability is, that none of those engaged on either side have any interest at all in the cause they are fighting for, and most of them come there because they cannot help it. In this battle that you are so rejoiced about, there have been ten thousand men killed upon the spot, and nearly as many wounded.
Oswald. On both sides ?
Father. Yes-but they are men on both sides. Consider now, that the ten thousand sent out of the world in this morning's work, though they are past feeling themselves, have left probably two persons each on an average to lament their loss, either parents, wives, or children. Here are then twenty thousand people made unhappy at one stroke on their account. This however is hardly so dreadful to think of as the condition of the wounded. At the moment we are talking, eight or ten thousand more are lying in agony, torn with shot, or gashed with cuts, their wounds all festering, some hourly to die a most excruciating death, others to linger in torture weeks and months, and many doomed to drag on a miserable existence for the rest of their lives, with diseased and mutilated bodies.
Oswald. This is shocking to think of, indeed! Father. When you light your candles, then, this evening, think what they cost.
Oswald. But every body else is glad, and seem to think nothing of these things.
Father. True they do not think of them. Is they did, I cannot suppose they would be so void of feeling as to enjoy themselves in merriment when so many of their fellow creatures are made miserable. Do you not remember when poor Dickens had his leg broken by a loaded waggon, how all the town pitied him?
Oswald. Yes, very well. I could not sleep the night after for thinking of him.
Father. But here are thousands suffering a much as he, and we scarce bestow a single thought upon them. If every one of these poor creatures were before our eyes, we should probably feel much more than we now do for all together. Shall I tell you a story of a soldier's fortune? Oswald. Yes-pray do!
BARBAULD AND AIKIN.
YOUR honour remembers with concern, said the corporal, the total route and confusion of our camp and the army, at the affair of Lauden; every one was left to shift for himself; and if it had not been for the regiments of Wyndham, Lumley, and Galway, which covered the retreat over the bridge of Neerspeken, the king himself could scarce have gained it he was pressed hard, as your honour knows, on every side of him.
up with enthusiasm
Gallant mortal! cried my uncle Toby, caught this moment, now that all is lost, I see him galloping across me, corporal, to the left, to bring up the remains of the English horse along with him to support the right, and tear the laurel from Luxembourg's brow, if yet 'tis possible--I see him with the knot of his scarf, just shot off, infusing fresh spirits into poor Galway's regiment-riding along the line-then wheeling about, and charging Conti at the head of itBrave! brave, by heaven! cried my uncle Toby, he deserves a crown-as richly as a thief a halter, shouted Trim.
As the number of wounded was prodigious, and no one had time to think of any thing but his own safety-I was left upon the field, said the corporal. -Thou wast so, poor fellow! replied my uncle Toby So that it was noon the next day, continued the corporal, before I was exchanged, and put into a cart with thirteen or fourteen more, in order to be conveyed to our hospital.-The anguish of my knee, continued the corporal, was excessive in itself, and the uneasiness of the cart, with the roughness of the roads, which were terribly cut up-making bad still worse-every step was death to me: so that with the loss of blood, and the want of care-taking of me, and a fever I felt coming on besides-poor soul! said my uncle Toby; all together, a'nt please your honour, was more than I could sustain.
I was telling my sufferings to a young woman at a peasant's house, where our cart, which was the last of the line, had halted; they had helped me in, and the young woman had taken a cordial out of her pocket, and dropped it upon some sugar, and seeing it had cheered me, she had given it me a second and a third time. So I was telling her, an't please your honour, the anguish I was in, and was saying it was so intolerable to me, that I had much rather Jie down upon the bed, turning my face towards one which was in the corner of the room-and die, than go on when upon her attempting to lead me to it, I fainted away in her arms.
Tristram Shandy, vol. i. ch.
WHILE the mother of our hero wearied heaven with prayers that Europe might speedily be involved in a general war, the flame broke out between the houses of Ottoman and Austria, and the Emperor sent forth an army into Hungary, under the auspices of the renowned Eugene. She cheerfully followed to the field, where she had not continued many weeks, when she was an eye-witness of that famous victory which, with sixty thousand men, the imperial general obtained over an army of an hundred and fifty thousand Turks. She was a perfect mistress of all the camp qualifications, and thought it a duty incumbent on her to contribute all that lay in her power towards distressing the enemy. With these sentiments she hovered about the skirts of the army, and the troops were no x 3
sooner employed in the pursuit, than she began to traverse the field of battle, with a poignard and a bag, in order to consult her own interest, annoy the foe, and exercise her humanity at the same time. In short, she had, with amazing prowess, delivered some fifty or three-score disabled Mussulmen of the pain under which they groaned, and made a considerable booty of the spoils of the slain, when her eyes were attracted by the rich attire of an imperial officer, who lay bleeding on the plain, to all appearance in the agonies of death. She could not in her heart refuse that favour to a friend and a Christian, she had so compassionately bestowed upon so many enemies and infidels, and therefore drew near with the sovereign remedy which she had already administered with such
It would have been happy for her had she been contented with these first fruits, reaped from the fortune of the day, and retired with her spoils, which were not inconsiderable; but intoxicated with the glory she had won, enticed by the glittering caparisons that lay scattered on the plain, and, without doubt, prompted by the secret instinct of her fate, she resolved to seize opportunity by the forelock, and once for all indemnify herself for the many fatigues, hazards, and sorrows she had undergone.
Thus determined. she reconnoitred the field, and practised her address so successfully, that in less than half an hour she was loaded with ermine and embroidery,